You’ve been heard playing a variety of genres over your 10 years of djing. This summer you’ve played midtempo psyglitch & glitch hop. What current producers do you currently enjoy playing out?
For the last year or two I have been focused on playing psychedelic bass music like PsyGlitch and PsyStep. I have been playing a lot of material from Australian producers like Kalya Scintilla, Mr. Bill, Hypnagog, Barry Koota, and Sun Monx. I am also very inspired by a lot of stateside producers like Bird of Prey, Sixis, Desert Dwellers, Mr. Rogers, Heyoka, and Cheb I Sabbah.
I try and keep a balance between glitchy, world, and psychedelic vibes.
Is this a change from what you like to listen to in your non-djing time?
When I’m not DJing I like to listen to psytrance (Progressive Psy/Full On/Psybreaks) downtempo (Trip Hop/Lounge/Ambient/World) and bass music (Glitch Hop/Trap/DnB).
I heard your going to be playing trap music soon. What do you think of trap music, any tracks stand out to you?
I have only been playing trap for a few months now, it’s really just something I have been dabbling with for local gigs at clubs and bars. It’s a nice middle ground for me and a mainstream audience. It’s still bass music I love combining the tempo of dubstep (without the in your face shrill sounds) and some elements of rap (rolling hi hats and deep bass) that people can really groove to. As far as trap goes I would say some of the top producers right now are Flosstradamus/Diplo/Baauer/Drankenstein/UZ.
Even though it’s been a while for you, do you remember what made you start djing?
I got introduced to electronic music at a pretty early age, 13. I was already collecting a lot of electronic music on vinyl and cd. It seemed the next logical step to start DJing. I was obsessed with the culture and would collect anything that had to with electronic music, books, magazines, movies, flyers. After reading mixing tutorials on the internet and watching a local DJ (Jason Hatfield) mix in my bedroom, by age 16 I was pretty much hooked on DJing. From then on I would buy records at a local shop (The Volume) and hit up shops (Core/Spinmasters/Bills) every time I went to Dallas with family. Started doing house parties at 16 and playing out at local raves by 17.
Right now there is a lot of talk all over the dj world about dj not mixing live, what is your opinion on that type of performance?
It’s 2012 and the world is changing. Technology is changing too and if you don’t keep up it will leave you in the dust. A lot of what you are speaking of probably has to do with the fact most DJs are mixing on laptops now. For some reason people have lost respect for DJs when they make the switch to laptop DJing. It has made DJing accessible to the masses because almost everyone owns a laptop and can afford a cheap DJing program. This is good in some ways but horrible in other ways. It’s like owning a drum kit and saying you are a drummer or a rockstar, just because you own the equipment it doesn’t make you good. Also a lot of producers are DJing their tracks on programs where you can preset your mix or have it arranged ahead of time. This is great for producers who don’t specialize in DJing but want a way to showcase their music in a DJ setting. I have been using a laptop to mix on for the last 6 months and I love it. Do I use the Sync button? No I don’t, its not even very accurate and there are bpm readouts on every program and on cdjs so just quit being a lazy ass and manually adjust your beats like every one else.
Since you’ve played outdoor festivals this summer, how would you compare that to the atmosphere of a single night event? Any preference?
I love playing at festivals. I think it’s great having an entire weekend to pace yourself and be able to hear a wide spectrum of music throughout the event. Also being around artwork and being involved in activities like workshops and ceremonies is awesome. Plus having vendors and being outside and getting to camp out adds to the experience as well. It basically encompasses all of my favorite things into an entire weekend of fun, yes I love festivals I can’t express it enough. I would pick a festival over a club night hands down every time.
Excited about your planned tracks with Murcielago, a producer in Texas. Describe what we can except from this collaboration.
We haven’t sat down and worked on any tracks just yet. Both of us have just been tossing around some ideas on what we would like to do. We have had a few jam sessions with fellow Pinealien producer Psymatik and dabbled with different styles. Hopefully we will be working on some hybrid tracks that incorporate elements of PsyGlitch, DarkPsy, PsyStep, and Psybient.
Any shout outs & thanks.
Yes shout outs to all my crews I’m involved with Pinealiens, 903 Bass, and Beatdown Krew. A lot of love going out to the Atrium Obscurum crew for helping me be involved in the Texas Psy scene. Shouts to Moksha music and Jordan Moondoggy for having me out to Arkansas recently. Respect to DJs and Promoters like SoundShaman / InertG / Banjos to Beats for pushing the PsyBass/Glitch sounds in Texas. Shouts to my family and close friends who have supported me throughout the years and who have kept on believing in me.
Tell me where you’re from, where you currently live.
I was born and raised in San Antonio, Tx. After a brief stint in College Station I made my way to Austin where I’ve been for most of the last six years. I’ve taken a few extended vacations from Austin. One to Asheville, NC, where I got engulfed in the magic of the psytrance community, and one to the west coast on the annual fall hippie migration to the Nevada dessert and norCal. Austin is where I always end up though, and it’s a great place to be. There’s so many things going on all the time that you’re always able to find something fun to do and there’s a great EDM/Burner community.
What kind of music & parties did you first go to?
Ha, oh man! Big raves for sure.. My first party was Meltdown in Dallas and I was blown away from the start. Most of my first parties were more mainstream raves in Dallas and Austin. That was all when I lived in College Station and I was into the more mainstream producers and genres like house and breaks. Dubstep wasn’t really on the scene yet, but I always had a thing for DnB and 2-step.. It wasn’t until I moved to Austin that I started going to more underground warehouse and house parties though. I kinda got sucked into the Austin EDM scene when I got here. There were so many fun parties that weren’t in downtown clubs and it’s a pretty close-knit community, really most of my friends here I’ve met through electronic music scene. Then one day I found psytrance and nothing has been the same ever since..
When you started djing, you played so many different things. As your style has progressed how would describe it?
Oh I’m still all over the place when I dj. I’ve really tried to build my collection to be able to play just about any vibe of music from chilled out to tripped out to danced out and my influences are across the board: dubstep, breaks, glitch, idm, dnb, psytrance, house.. I try to find music that combines elements of all those into something that can’t be described by a single genre, and instead look for what a track does to me when I listen to it. I guess that’s why it’s always been so hard for me to answer the ‘what do you play?’ question, it really depends on when and where I’m playing but ‘psychedelic bass music’ is usually a good blanket term.
I’ve definitely come a long way from some of the first SoundShaman sets. That was around 2 years ago, and I was playing a lot of Mimosa, Heyoka, Vibesquad, mostly the west-coast bass music pioneers, and it all had that ‘slow and low’ dubstep/glitchop vibe. Now I tend to go for music that’s more upbeat and cerebral and really works it’s way into you and takes control. It took me a while to get comfortable playing more complex music and utilizing the dj software I use (Traktor!). I like being able to shift the bpm’s around in a set rather than staying in one place the whole time. It really gives me a lot of freedom to read the crowd while I’m playing. If people are really into it, I can keep going with that vibe and if not, I can switch it to something totally different. Or sometimes everyone is really into it and I’ll switch to something totally different anyways =P I’ll do things like go from a heart-opening emotional track into the nastiest wall of sound you’ve ever heard into something so goofy you can’t help but laugh at. I guess that’s a good metaphor for my dj’ing philosophy: take it serious, push peoples limits, but don’t forget to make it fun!
As you’ve tour different festivals & events, what experienced really made you love what you do? Any challenges?
I think SoulRise was one of my stand-out dj experiences. I played a 3-hour set at sunrise that capped off an amazing weekend, so many of my friends dancing and vibin’ out.. It definitely gave me a feeling of ‘this is why I do it’. There’s been many other moments like that.. Any time everyone is really into the music and feelin it, it’s an awesome feeling to be up there in the dj booth when that’s going on.
I suppose the biggest difficulty has been getting myself into the dj booth at the right time and place. Early on I would always get stuck on the chill stages at weird times, and end up having more people dancing than the main stage, or end up playing an awesome set to 3 people.. It took a while to get given the better time slots, but honestly now that I’m getting booked to play more festivals, I enjoy the challenge of putting together a set to fit a certain time, regardless of when it is.
What are some producers that you encourage others to listen to?
I’ve been really digging all the stuff from Australia I’ve been finding. Merkaba/Kalya Scintilla, Goosebumpz, Blatwax, Meat Axe, Mr. Bill, Sun in Aquarius, Mindbuffer, Circuit Bent, Hypnagog.. Luke Mandala and Jpod out of Canada are pretty sick too. Street Ritual out of California has some great artists like Thriftworks, JOBOT, and Knowa Knowone.
As Re:Growth nears, what are you looking forward to?
I’m really excited about Old Growth! The venue looks prime, so many friends and amazing musicians on the lineup, and friends and family from all over the country will be there.. It’s gonna be a great time! I’m playing at 1:30pm Saturday afternoon, which is one of my favorite times at a festival so look forward to some vibey daytime grooves!
Do you have any shouts or thanks to give?
So many! Pretty much all my friends all over the country, many of whom unknowingly influenced my dj’ing in some way or another, for listening to my dj sets and supporting my efforts. My brotha from anotha motha and all-around homie for life Joshuasca, who has been a huge musical influence in my life since we met. DJ Nod, the only person to play dubstep at World Bridge, for showing me both Traktor, and what it means to play a vibe rather than a genre. Brian, Jessica, and the rest of the Atrium Obscurum crew for all the awesome work they’ve done for the psytrance scene in Texas, and for booking me to play their festivals! Lydia and the Synergy I.D.E. Crew from Austin, where I played my first gig as SoundShaman, for constantly pushing me to evolve musically. All my friends from Asheville and Atlanta, who invited me into their tribe with open arms and showed me how awesome the psytrance family was! And everyone in Austin who has been coming to my gigs and rockin out on the dance floor for the last 2 years.. And thanks to you Ally for doing this interview with me!
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.
Juju is a multi-gene dj from Denton, TX. While listening to the flow of her sets I’ve heard break beats, techno that tangle in with psytrance to create a dance friendly dance floor all the while thinking, “What exactly am I listening to because I am LOVING this!” Vudujuju has been djing since she was FOURTEEN years old which may be why she has a flowing mixing technique that allows her transitions to flow without stopping a dance floor.
This Sunday she’ll be playing at River Legacy Park and I’d love to catch up with her on how she got to this point and where she is going.
Well, I started young due to my older sister being the most influential person for me at the time. She and a friend came home one night after a party listening to trance and dance music, and seemed like they had a blast. I was intrigued and had thought everything was still renegade warehouse style still! lol little did i know the scene was still alive, but regardless, the first thought than ran through my head was, Id like to be the Dj that made the awesome time. 😉
I’ve noticed your mixes have a wonderful selection from various genes, what can we expect from your upcoming set?
For this upcoming set, you def nailed it, a mixture of genres! It has always been my style, i feel it keeps thing moving. Def some tech/ minimal with some slight breaks as well, annd maybe a little swing house thrown in for surprise. >-..-<
You will be playing in Arlington, TX and there will folks coming who have NEVER heard the blend of music you play. How would describe the set you’ll be playing this Sunday?
Its danceable, booty shaken’ 4 by 4 beats that shall keep ya entertained. 😉
Defiantly being a jeweler and working with jewelry design, it has been the other big part of my life that i take pretty seriously as far as who I am and what I do.
What style of psychedelic trance do you prefer? How does this effect your dance floor experience?
The Psytrance i prefer would be sounds from forrest to full on. Sometimes I like my music to have a small hint of pretty melody, but more often than not ass kicking bass to to keep it pumped.
Exciting times coming up lots of goodness to look forward to! Thanks for the time annd ill see you guys on the dance floor!
Vuduju will be playing from 3:15 PM. – 4:30 PM at A.O.’s Park Party & Potluck. You can join the Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/events/313762685352591
It was New Year’s Eve when I hear Dub Till Dawn get her dub on and it’s been on since there. She has a style that is dance floor fun and her energy behind the decks always makes her a pleasure to just watch if you ever take a break from grooving to look up. I took some time to ask her five questions about her music style, venue preference and gave her some space for shout outs.
Tell me how you got started djing, when did you go from buying music to djing?
I’ve been playing with mostly vinyl, since I was a teenager. It was an on again off again relationship really but, I was more of a dancer & liked to be immersed in the music. I started with some random ambient sounds fused with crazy Hawaiian surfer music to atmospheric drum & bass on to a little house music & some epic trance. It wasn’t until a few years ago did I muster up the nerve to play in front of more than just a hand full of people. I never had the equipment of my own to really delve deep into the musical stylings that I loved, so I had to rely on friends & loved ones to provide that platform. I have to say that people at the time I started playing in venues weren’t really pushing the dub/reggae sounds anymore. It was pretty difficult to find really good dub music that wasn’t completely overplayed. I’d been a long time reggae & dub lover. Anything from King Tubby to Bob Marley… one of the local groups that turned me onto the neo-dub sounds was Sub Oslo out of Fort Worth. I still collect vinyl but, I’d rather carry CDs because of shear portability & convenience.
When it comes to the music that you play, what kind of experience are you seeking for the dance floor?
When I’m playing music, which to me should evoke an emotional response in people, I hope to see people getting the message that I’m trying to relay while grooving to it. Most of the dub/reggae influenced music has a clear message. The messages I try to portray are of peace, positive forward movement, respect & tolerance for one another, the unification of us as people, standing up for your beliefs & the ability to overcome even the most tumultuous of hardships.
I have noticed that you have a great love of punk music and have a GRRL quality about your personality,is there any link from punk from what you play now?
Punk is a state of mind. It’s the never ending desire to do what you want, push the limits & boundaries of society; influence those around you, backing down to no one. So in essence, yes, I would wager that it’s really had a major influence on my choice in music. As you know, punk, dub & reggae are very much intertwined (think Ska, that’s a nice fusion to relate them with). They are all heavily revolutionary in my mind. Amazingly enough, the type of music I play is becoming more relevant in today’s world than I’d ever imagine it being (at least in my lifetime).
You have played at bars, club, warehouses, the great outdoors – out of those venues which is your favorite so far?
I prefer to be outdoors honestly, connecting with the earth & all the creatures, whether it’s someone’s land & we’re camping, an outdoor festival or a park party scenario. However, I won’t pass up an opportunity to play for a bar/club venue that has more of an eclectic mix of people. The more differing people & world views that are exposed to the type of music I play the better.
Are there any artists out there right now that you can not get enough of?
I’d say that I cannot get enough of the French dub producer KANKA. He has a terrific set of MCs & his dub production is right up my alley. “Kanka, he’s a dub organiza, he’s a dub constructa..”
I’d like to thank some very special musical catalysts in my life: AEON, SunRay, Burl (R.I.P.), Epik, Nao & TomB. Love & Respect
I started hearing the name Uhm one night on the radio when he played a guest mix on Edgeclub and since then always wanted to hear him live. 5 years ago I finally started to go to psytrance parties and eventually listened to Uhm’s absolutely balls to the wall music that had me dancing from the moment he went on and then I lost track of time & realized the sun would be coming up soon. Since then I’ve heard Uhm play all over and I believe you should hear him play out as well. Psytrance is MEANT to be heard to outdoors anyway.
Did you come from a musical upbringing?
I don’t recall any of my close family playing any instruments when I was young. My dad had a pretty eclectic taste in music, so I was exposed to a rather large palette at a young age. I grew up wanting to play an instrument, but that never manifested. Maybe one of these days I will learn how to play piano [:D]
How would verbally describe the type of music that you like to play? Hmmmm……the music I play is intense, but yet can also be laid back, it can be in your face, but yet subtle. I also describe it as sometimes twisted, sometimes psychotic, sometimes hypnotic, and sometimes incredibly beautiful. I get pigeon-holed a lot with people saying that I play darkpsy, or that I play neuro, but I really feel that labels like that don’t really fit me as a dj. I don’t consider most anything that I play as something that is dark, and neuro is something that is very much subjective. I guess the best way that I could describe my music is by saying I play music that is a microcosm of my life.
Does this differ at all from the music that you listen to while not in trancing-your-brains out mode?
I don’t really listen to a lot of music that isn’t psytrance. It is tough enough staying on top of finding music that moves me enough to play it, let alone do that with other genres of music. I can find most everything I need musically in the realm of psychedelic music. Admittedly though I have been spending a good amount of time in the past month or so re-visiting music that I used to dj many years ago. Dancing around in my kitchen making dinner while singing the lyrics to kick ass progressive house tunes from the 90s…..oh yeahhhh baby!!
Do you think what you are doing now is in an extension of America’s dance music history?
I think what we do is definitely an extension of America’s dance music history. Just how much of a spot in the light a genre like psytrance is given hasn’t been completely written. Thankfully there are still great people in Texas and across the country who are willing to champion the sound and continue bringing psytrance gatherings to the people. I am just happy to be a part of it all, and to play the role that I do.
While at Deep in the Heart of Trances I heard the comment that the psytrance scene was the “most hippie of the EDM” scenes.” What are you thoughts on this statement?
Psytrance is the most hippie EDM scene……hmmmm. That’s definitely a pretty common generalization. Yeah we have people with dreads, we have people who recycle, who eat organic, who burn incense, buy crystals, who meditate, and any other number of things that people could label as hippie. The fact of the matter is though that a vast number of people could fit those statements – not all of them mind you – and that wouldn’t make them a hippie. Heck, I do all of those things, and I have dreads, and I wouldn’t label myself as a hippie. That box is way too small for me to fit into. The only thing that I can say about the people that get attracted to the Atrium Obscurum gatherings is that they like the people/community, and the energetic vibe that is present. That seems to be the biggest bond, for not everyone who comes out cares for psytrance – and that’s okay.