DJ Dan, named “America’s Most Beloved DJ” by URB Magazine, has played a legendary role in the electronic music scene for over a decade. Dan attended his first rave in Los Angeles during the early ’90s; electronica was a burgeoning phenomenon and Dan got in on the ground floor. Renowned for his relentless mixes of funky house, break beat and techno, Dan has released half a dozen mix CDs and produced several chart-topping 12″ singles, including the explosive track “Needle Damage.” A resident of San Francisco, Dan has headlined clubs, raves and special events across the globe. Tonight, he will be making an exclusive appearance in downtown Santa Barbara. Artsweek caught up with Dan and hit him up with a few questions:
ARTSWEEK: How did you initially become interested in deejaying and electronic music?
DAN: Music was the only thing that kept me sane growing up in a family of seven brothers and sisters. I always loved funky music like disco, funk and soul, and when I was old enough to go clubbing, I became obsessed with mastering the art of manipulating the dance floor through my mixing and programming. I would practice about 12 hours a day. It truly became an obsession.
ARTSWEEK: You recently released the mix CD In Stereo on Kinetic Records. What are your thoughts behind this mix and how does it differ from your past compilations?
DAN: I decided to have fun with In Stereo and I tried to capture an old school house/breaky vibe while still using current tracks. It’s a party CD.
AW: You’ve successfully worked with other big names in the industry. Who do you like working with the most and who would you like to work with in the future?
DAN: I truly love working with Hipp-e. We have worked on a lot of material that has never even been released. I also love working with Smitty and Davenport. It’s great to work with your friends; it keeps it fun. I would love to work on a track with the Rhythm Masters; I think that would be insane!
AW: Are you working on any projects right now?
DAN :I am currently starting my own label and I have a track coming out with Smitty and Davenport, “Bam,” on the Rhythm Masters label Dis-Functional. They will also be remixing the track along with Angel Alanis and Hipp-E.
AW: Many people in Santa Barbara are aspiring DJs and producers. Do you have any advice to these people on how to be an original success?
DAN: Don’t worry about what other DJs are playing and what the current musical trend is. Create your own style. There is so much good music out there, old shit too. It’s not always about the newest record so much as how well you play what you have. Play from the heart and you will never go wrong and always give your music out to those who support and believe in you.
AW? What track have you been playing the most lately?
DAN: Dave Armstrong, “Downtown.”
AW: How was your last appearance in Santa Barbara? What did you think of the crowd?
Dan: I had an amazing time the last time I played in SB. The crowd was incredible and I went home telling everybody that they missed out on an amazing night. That’s why I decided to come back so soon. I also think that SB is a beautiful city and I hope to spend more time checking out the city this time.
AW: Do you have any last words for Artsweek readers before your performance? What can we expect?
DAN: All I can say is that I am really excited to come back and I have a lot of unreleased party rockin’ jams that I am going to bust out, so get ready for another great night!