Interview: Apophenia ॐ Atrium Obscurum ॐ Texas
You’ve been a part of the Dallas electronic dance music scene for well over a decade. Tell me how you went from being on the dance floor to being a dj
Well, I’d have to say that I’ve been at least a bedroom DJ the entire time I’ve been a part of the EDM community in DFW. When I was 16 my parents bought me a set of decks and a mixer for Christmas. Imagine my excitement to hear that my dad was going to take me to Guitar Center and let me get whatever I wanted, he didn’t really know about equipment of that nature and wanted me to have the best. So I walked out of there with top of the line everything for the age we were living in. But I didn’t have any records! So a couple friends of mine who played Drum N Bass who had a pretty extensive collection of records (but had really crappy equipment) started using my house as a place to play… and party, and I got the luxury of storing, and being able to use their record collection. A while later one of them got pretty bad into drugs and sold off his share of the vinyls to me for 40 bucks and the other one went away to college, at that point I had a whole collection of vinyls. I still actually have them, It’s always nice to lisnten to them, it totally brings back memories. It wasn’t until 5 or so years later that I wound up at my first psytrance party and my musical tastes as well as equipment took a drastic change from the DNB and UKG that I was playing in my much younger days.
I’ve noticed that you’ve been playing more on the techno side of things. What are you planning with for your next set?
You noticed correctly! You are always so informed about the subtle nuances in electronic dance music! But seriously, a couple of years ago at the first river party in New Braunfels, TX I was a little lifted and I heard Sean Anderson playing his Pointbender project really late on Satuday night, the speakers were down low because the police had already been there and nobody was dancing except me and Dawn Soleil Psychedelique. I was hooked! The slow pulsating rhythm and the eerie psychedelic sounds layered in the most simplistic way just left me feeling speechless. So, I went home and started fevorously downloading as much Techno as I possibly could and started playing it. For this next upcoming set, I’ll be playing very similarly to what you’ve heard from me in the past (no country western this time…lol) but I have a lot of new material that I’ll be playing with. I was starting to feel stifled by the lack of new music so I went out and basically revamped and replaced my entire collection. It’s going to be very fun, groovy, psychedelic, and most importantly, booty shakin!
Serato, Traktor, Ableton and CDJ’s. What are your views on the new digital revolution?
Well, I think that the digital revolution is a great thing. I really enjoy the freedom it gives artists to really explore multiple facets of music all from a very convenient, easy to carry, package. Gone are the days of lugging pounds of vinyl, making sure there’s a wind deflector at outdoor parties so the wind doesn’t pick up the needle and stop the music, and making sure that vinyl stays in the shade so it doesn’t melt. As long as the artists that use it are using it to really explore new horizons and not to just be lazy, I think it’s great!
There are a slew of bedroom djs out in DFW who want to start playing out, what is advice you have for them?
My advice to new DJs that are just playing at their own homes is to practice, practice, and practice! Once you feel comfortable enough to allow other people to hear you, try and get some friends to let you play at a house party of theirs. It’ll break you in so that you aren’t scared to play in front of people and, if you are good, you might get a booking elsewhere. Burn events are good practice too. At those events, you’ll get practice playing on a sound system that is bigger, plus if you aren’t great nobody will boo or yell at you (radical self expression, right) unless you are playing psytrance at 8am when everyone is sleeping and/or hungover. And if you are good, more exposure, leading to bookings. It’s all a very organic process, at least it was for me.
Downtempo, drum & bass, moombahton, psytrance, techno. What do you listen to normally? Right now, what do you enjoy playing the most?
Out of everything that you listed, I am listening to a lot of downtempo, moombahton, and techno. I really love moombahton, like a lot. I played a moombah set the last time I played the Pubstep weekly here in Denton. The crowd went insane! Something about it, it’s slow enough for people to keep up with it yet high energy enough that it just hypes the room. Plus we’re in Tejas so, everyone loves anything that has that south of the border feel to it. Lately I’ve found myself listening to a lot of late 90’s Trip Hop. Which strikes me as odd but I’m finding so much of the roots of the music that is coming out today in that low-fi gritty sound that is Trip Hop. Sadly, the genre only lasted for a very short time and then fell apart. Plus it’s super fun to cut into Downtepo sets. As far as what I like playing most, it’s hard to choose. I like to play different things at different times for different reasons. I’m too indecisive to choose just one.
Let me know if you have any shouts & thanks to make!
Shout outs! I would love to thank first and foremost my loving partner for being so supportive of me for the last year of the wicked journey of life. I’d also love to thank all of the people that have touched me, inspired me, loved me, and pushed me to go beyond. I’d like to thank Ally Fiesta of HydroSupraLicked.com for interviewing me, and for being my friend for so many years. My good friend Jared for being there in the beginning of it all, Erin Lee for widening my views on music, and life; Lydia for teaching me that through darkness you find the light. I’d like to thank all of my family at Atrium Obscurum, Jessica, Brian, Melody, Keith, Willa, Sonty, Sarah, Juju, gosh the list just keeps on going and going! Thank all of you for putting up with me over the years, I know I haven’t been an easy one to deal with and for a while there I was a super hot mess. I’d like to lastly thank my blood family for always supporting me and being so wonderful and kind. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for each and every person who has been a part of this existence. Thank all of you for co-creating reality with me. I love you all.