his start in 1991, this DJ From Washington
has spun everywhere from California to
Florida. Spinning mostly Progressive House
and Breaks this DJ/producer isn't afraid
to throw down whatever tracks he wants
at his residency at 26mix in San Francisco
for the sake of keeping it fresh and keeping
clubbers grooving! I got in touch with
this old schooler from back in the day
to hear what he had to say, what his current
goals are and what kind of wonderful things
lay before him in this wonderful scene
we all love and appreciate! Check out
his website at http://jl.halogen.org
to see when you can catch this cat at
his next gig!
February 27th 1973 in Bremerton, Washington
Years spinning: 13 Years!
Progressive House, Tech House, Breaks, Electro,
Techno, Dark Trance, Down tempo, and Ambient.
Influences: There is only one DJ that really influenced me and continues
to influence, that DJ is Sasha. I remember
seeing him spin in Orlando Florida in
1993 and experiencing the control that
he held over the floor and the sound that
was emanating from his set was legendary.
Shortly after that listening to his QAT
Collection, Renaissance Mix with Digweed,
and Arkham Asylum I've been obsessed ever
since. To this day there is no DJ that
is quite like him. Other musical influences
generally come from all the producers
that really push music in a direction
it's never gone before. Such artists include
Charlie May, Junkie XL, Hybrid, Blackwatch,
John Digweed, Slacker, Fluke, Leftfield,
Chicane, James Holden, Oliver Lieb, Underworld,
Orbital, and Luke Chable, I am drawn to
big tunes, but I more so like the quality
and depth in which all these producers
have been able to put out there.
How did you get started?
In high school sometime around 90 or 91 about every other week the school sponsored a mobile DJ to come play music in the outdoor courtyard during lunch breaks. Seeing this guy play music that he loved in ways that created a vibe for the hour was intriguing. Needless to say after being bit by the bug a trip to Good Guys and buying a $100 mixer, and picking up a couple of tables from a flea market in 91 I was well on my way to becoming a DJ.
What was the 1st record you ever
First record I ever bought on vinyl was Bryan Adams back in 1984. A few years later I started buying stuff like Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, Erasure, and New Order. I've been addicted to record shopping ever since! It's a very expensive habit, but one I encourage!
What/Where was your 1st gig?
My 1st gig was at this party called "Rave and Stimpy" located at a Mission in Stockton, CA back in 1992. The party like many others back then was based on the theme for the newly popular animated series Ren and Stimpy. It was a great party that got busted, but at that time, the cops really didn't know how to handle the event, they kindly asked us to end it around 3am just after my set!
How did you end up in Los Angeles?
Ok, I'll admit that I lived in the Valley (Northridge) for about 4 months in 1996; however I left my heart in San Francisco where I currently live ;)
Do you currently have any residencies?
I hold a residency with 2 very talented Progressive House DJ's ( Jack Triumph and DJ Illiaster) called "Progression" at 26Mix (http://www.26mix.com) located in San Francisco. We do a party every 3rd Fridays and feature a rotating guest at each event, Scott Carrelli will be playing with us this June and our resident. Jack Triumph will be heading up to Phoenix in June as well to possibly startup a Progression weekly there. Who knows what future residencies are on the horizon!
Do you currently have any albums
Nothing official yet but you'll hear I have a lot of stuff I've handed out to friends and promoters. I'm currently working on my first album of original material, and I'm starting to take to remixes as well.
Are you in the studio now, do we
have anything to look forward to in the
near future, maybe some collaboration
with someone else?
I'm currently working on a bunch of original tracks. I'm also working on renovating some classic tracks hoping to bring new life to an old sound which is very exciting. Expect to hear some great tracks in the near future ;).
What do you think about all this
mainstream dance music on the radio these
days? Do you think it is good for the
scene or are you 100% against it selling
You can't fault the masses for liking and embracing popular tracks. Some tracks are engineered to be big tunes; some get the right exposure for instance the Dirty Vegas track Days go by. Techno being played on the radio has happened ever since I can remember. The really novelty stuff back in 91 to 93, Moby's track Go, or The Smart e's - Sesame Street as well as a handful of others received a ton of radio play. I think these tracks do well to a certain point when breaking through as they tend to introduce something different and fresh for a listener who normally doesn't listen to dance music in general. On the other hand, radio play tends to be a quick death to any track that reaches such great heights.
I think for any mainstream tune that
has had a ton of airplay can be dusted
off, played, and relived for a moment
after so many years, they are great bridges
for bringing people together, so I do
think mainstream tunes have their place.
What type of music do you listen
to when you are not spinning?
Currently I'm listening to a lot of
my old new wave / synth pop / alternative
stuff and really enjoying it! Stuff like
Book of Love, OMD, Front 242, Anything
Box, etc. I've also been spending a lot
of time exploring new styles of music,
most of which is obscure independent stuff.
And of course every now and then I'll
tune in radio station for background noise.
Have you ever worked on a Movie
I would love to do something for a Movie
or even a video game÷÷ perhaps in the
What are your thoughts on the scene
right now locally?
In one word, transition. Everything
is cyclical so Quantity is out, and Quality
is in. Dance music will never fade out
completely, sounds and styles will continue
to change as well as the support for it.
I think the scene is re-adjusting right
now, discovering new ground and building
a network of support that is more core
to the values of where it originated,
which is within the music itself.
Do any favorite moments in your
career come to mind?
My favorite moments are the most challenging ones! Showing up to events that have the worst setup you can imagine are a great example. There is really nothing like working your ass off to make something wonderful happen. It's so rewarding to walk away from those moments where you just can't believe you pulled it off!
In the many places you have performed,
which venue is your most favorite?
Each venue deserves its own place in my heart; it's hard for me to choose one that stands out as one of my favorites. It really depends on my mood and direction at times. Currently I really enjoy the smaller more intimate clubs. The people tend to be there for all the right reasons and are very supportive and really into the music. The larger venues were great back when the majority of the party goers had the music in mind. Nowadays it's really a hit or miss with big venues. I get taken back when there's a swarm of people hovering over the DJ expecting a magic trick or the fans are so star struck they just stand there staring at the DJ rather than dancing on the floor contributing to the energy of the party.
How has your creativity changed
over the last 13 years? Do you tend to
stay with your own styles/ideas or do
you allow the mainstream to influence
you and your work?
In the early 90s I started spinning all the New Wave and European dance stuff. Over the years though my sound and style slowly progressed to follow where dance music was going. I transitioned from early new wave, to industrial, acid house, and onto all the rave anthems of the times. When I was living in Florida from 92 to 95 I really got into the whole American break beat phenomenon that was happening then. Just as DJ Icey was introducing the infamous Icey sound, you had others who were at the time really pushing the break beat sound, Rabbit in the Moon, Bassbin Twins, Huda Hudia, Jim Hopkins, and later on Uberzone. However breaks weren't the only style of music I enjoyed spinning, other influences and styles I embraced included house and club anthems aka "hands in the air" tracks that were being hammered by DJ Sasha, Kimball Collins, Andy Hughes, and Chris Fortier. Being in Florida during this period was a real treat and a major influence on me, I remember having Chris Fortier pull records for me almost every week when he was working at shop in Orlando called Underground Record Source. Now, I follow my own path and it's very easy for me to pull big tracks if that's something I'm looking to go for. My comfort and skill level though is at a point where I have no reservations to incorporate any style of music into my set if I can get the track to work with a feeling I'm looking to convey.
What is your current Goal as a DJ?
I want to Explode! At the moment nothing
would get me off more than to continue
to step behind systems that can handle
me and my sound÷ hahaha. Sound is such
an important aspect to any event and out
of fear of being busted, blowing something,
or sounding like shit, sound levels are
constantly monitored and moderated for
such reasons, sometimes very poorly. I
just want to continue to get behind the
decks on systems that are capable of pushing
it to level I need them to be in÷.. get
lost in music, and shut everything else
around me÷.. only then can you "feel it".
Where do you see yourself in the
next 10 years?
In the next 10 years I would like to have a couple of albums published with all original material. I would also like to startup my own label featuring DJs and artists that represent the sound I enjoy
What would you be doing right now
if you never bought that 1st record and
became a DJ?
I can't imagine myself not being where I am today as a DJ, although I think if I didn't pickup djing I would be either producing tracks or playing in a band exclusively.
Last question... What, in your opinion,
is the greatest aspect of being a DJ?
I could simply say that spinning music is pretty fucking amazing and fun, however what I do is beyond something that is just that simple to say. I'm sure a lot of DJ's out there have so many ideas of what it really is to be a DJ or a performer, what it means to them when their playing their particular sound, style, or even original material to a broad audience.
For me, I DJ to express the passion and excitement I feel in music, what it represents, and how it makes me feel when it resonates out. It's an amazing thing to have a medium that communicates it so well.
The music I play, and the way I play it represents so much of me and my life. At each event the experience of every moment and the way we live it is what life is all about. Some people believe that they can't change the world. I believe you can, one ear at a time.
- interview by Annalee Stone