The rave scene is "absolutely not
dead" DJ Dan proclaims! Amen to that!
And he should know as he had a HUGE hand
in defining the 90's rave scene by launching
notorious clubs like NO-DOZ in Los Angeles
and snagging a coveted spot as resident
for the infamous Funky Tckno Tribe in
San Fransisco. Now he is keeping the movement
going continuing to play raves across
the country and promoting his love of
music to anyone willing to listen to one
of his stellar sets. Yes, DJ Dan has been
in the game since anyone can remember
and it looks as though he will be for
years to come!
Born in Washington State into a huge
family of 9 brothers and sisters, Dan
always knew he wanted to do something
different than all of his kin. Break the
mold he did as his love of music was discovered
at age three when he got his very first
turntable, yes, age 3! By age 14 Dan was
making his very first mixed tapes after
rigging his turntable to the tape deck.
Around this same time, Dan caught a bit
of a fashion bug and was so good at design
that only a few years later he was accepted
into the highly acclaimed Thomas Edison
School of Design where he graduated with
honors. He admits he got off the fashion
track a bit while finding his true home
behind the decks, but he still has some
tricks up his sleeve: he is working on
a line of jeans that he compares to the
likes of Diesel and Evisu.
Dan has come quite a long was since his
move to San Fransisco back in the early
90's. Gone are the days of rigging set-ups
to satisfy his love of music. These days
Dan is using state of the equipment to
play and record with. Just recently DJ
Dan released his latest mixed CD, "Mixed
Live at Rube Skye" which was actually
mixed live at the club, a night that Dan
remembers fondly, because that night finally
put his hometown of SF on the map in his
series of Mixed Live CD's. On top of setting
the standard for live recordings, he is
working on another fabulous project with
Hasbro, for which he will be re-writing
the theme song from "THE TRANSFORMERS",
a cartoon he loved as a kid - didn't we
all!! Dan truly is on the road to immense
success these days!
Raves.com caught up with him for an interview
and he told us all about his thoughts
on the "rave scene", upcoming
projects, and his future goals. To learn
even more about DJ Dan you can log onto
his website at www.djdan.com
and see for yourself that there really
is more that meets the eye with this guy!
Annalee Stone: As
one of most recognized names in the industry,
how have you managed to make yourself
stand out from the rest of the DJs and
producers out there?
DJ Dan: I am not afraid
to experiment and change my sound up if
it feels right to me. I have gone on my
instincts since I first started djíing
and I think that has given me an upper
edge on things. I think the fact that
I mix up house, techno, tribal, and breaks
keeps my sets fresh and interesting for
myself as well as the crowd.
Your newest album "Mixed Live" on
Moonshine is your 9th album - how has
your style/sound changed over the years?
I have changed with the times according to the music coming out, my crowd, and ultimately my desire to keep my sound pushing forward with a very upfront party rocking vibe.
How would you describe what you've
done on Mixed Live?
I wanted to create a great party vibe that represented a real cutting edge SF sound to it. I also wanted the mix to peak out and then come full circle at the end.
When you recorded "Mixed Live" at
the club Ruby Skye in San Francisco, how
did you manage to get studio quality sound
when you were actually playing a live
We went in early that day to do a sound check. We made sure that all our bases were covered and that there was no way that anything could go wrong. I just had to make sure that I watched the levels on the mixer the whole time.
Was that night different from other
nights you played in any way other than
it was being recorded?
It was a very special night for me because it was my chance to put SF on the map in the Mixed Live Series. I was amazed as to how many old school heads came out to show their support on the dancefloor. I could hear many of my friends screaming their lungs out on the mix when we went to master the recording later.
Did you have to plan out your set,
or at least a part of it because you knew
the tracks would need to get licensed
to go on your mix? How did you work out
which tracks they would be?
I submitted about 30 tracks that I was currently playing and just flew by the seat of my pants on the night of the mix. I wanted to do the mix in SF because I knew that the crowd would guide me through my set and the whole thing would become interactive. I did not even know which track I was going to start with until I stepped up to the decks that night. The crowd let me know what I needed to do.
Do you ever record your live sets
on your own? What do you do with those
I have tons of home recorded sets of myself as well as tag team sets with good friends like Hipp-e and Donald just goofing off. I keep all of these sets in the vaults unless a friend really wants to get a copy.
You were born in Olympia WA, to a
family of 9 brothers and sisters. Do you
think coming from such a large family
gave you the added desire to really stand
out in your field?
I was always the kid standing in the hallway with all of my brothers and sisters running past me making me spin like a top. I always wanted to do the opposite of what they were in to especially with music. My family was very supportive of my love of music. Every year since I was 2, it became a tradition to buy me a new turntable for Christmas. My favourite one was this round smokey glass Japanese turntable that my cousins bought for me one year. My sister has this photograph of me when I was 3 years old. Itís me waiting for my dad to finish getting his haircut at the barber shop, I was so bored that I was spinning a 45 record on the drawer handle with this fascinated look in my eye. That pretty much sums everything up for me!
At age 14, you were into music, as
well as fashion design. You were in fact
accepted into the Thomas Edison School
of Design in Seattle WA, are you still
involved in fashion?
I have done a lot of interior design to my home but I am still interested in pursuing my jeanswear line. If I were to compare my look to any company, it would be most like Diesel or Evisu.
You had a huge hand in keeping the
scene alive back in the 90's with the
launch of clubs like No-Doz in LA and
being a resident at the Funky Tekno Tribe
in SF. Out of all these experiences, what
would you call your crowing moment?
Most people would probably say my move
to SF in 1993. I hooked up with the FTT
crew and redefined the sound at that time.
I had just come off playing hard techno
and started playing what I call Funk-Fusion.
I mixed up Funky Jazz dubs, Hip Hop instrumentals,
Acid House, Early Progressive House, Techno
dubs, breaks and electro all in a funk
fuelled frenzy. This sound redefined the
time and was extremely psychedelic.
How have you evolved with regards
to the equipment you use now compared
to back in the day when you would hook
up your tape deck to the turntables?
I feel like a spoiled child compared to those days. I would have never dreamed that I would have a mixer with built in effects and a sampler. I especially never imagined that I would be able to mix cdís in a set.
When you first started out, you were
huge in the rave scene - are you still
I still play a lot of raves. They are not as frequent as they used to be but they still happen in the bigger cities and the spirits are still high!
How do the parties you play now compare
to those early days?
The old school parties were a bit more barbaric in the way that sound systems were not as dialled in as they are today. I still miss that rawness of the old days though.
Has the rave scene really "died"
like everyone says?
Absolutely not. We are just being held back at the moment. Who knows how it will change once the government changes over again and the economy bounces back. I am still seeing big crowds in many cities, especially in Europe.
Where do you see the US scene going
in the future?
It is hard to predict at the moment but it would be nice to see electronic music get more support at radio like it does in the UK and in Europe. That would be a great start.
You've worked with Carl Cox, Donald
Glaude, Orgy and Deep Red. Anything new
collaborations in the works at the moment?
I am coming out with my new single "That
Phone Track" as well as writing the
new theme song for The Transformers. Hasbro
is re-launching the cartoon and has commissioned
me to re-write the theme song. I am very
excited about this since I used to love
the show when I was a kid.
Is there any artist you would just
love to work with that you haven't yet
had the chance to?
Depeche Mode, Missy Elliot, Basement Jaxx, and Prince.
You've played all over the world,
but is there anywhere you would like to
play that you haven't yet?
I have not played in Asia yet and would still love to check it out.
Your website www.djdan.com lists
your upcoming tour dates, and also you
can listen to some "DJ Dan" music... did
you pick those four tracks?
We put those tracks up there temporarily.
We will put up some new material once
the new site launches in a few weeks.
We are doing some crazy new animation
on the site as well as some great new
surprises. We are very excited about the
new site because it is going to have loads
of content as well as top 10ís and fresh
What advice would you give to any
aspiring DJ's and Producers out there?
Be yourself and never be afraid to take risks. Remember, we are artists and we need to be individuals. Forget the trends of the moment, pull inspiration from them and start your own trends. Thatís the ultimate reward!
Any final thoughts you'd like to
share with the Raves.com audience?
Keep the party spirit alive! This music is about having fun. Letís keep it that way!
-- written by Annalee Stone