Oct 04, 2010
DJ Dan

Hot off a recent album release, DJ Dan is in high demand. One of his most distinguishing features at the moment is his return to the retro sound of dance music. LessThan3 sits down for a chat to hear more about this style and some of his upcoming projects.

DJ Dan - Make My Body Rock (Late Night Mix)
LessThan3: Your artist album Future Retro hits all major stores on the September 14th. How does this album compare to your previous releases?
DJ Dan: In the past I have only ever released mixed compilations which have included a few of my tracks mixed in here and there. This is my first original artist album and it is entirely unmixed. The first half of the album are new recreations of tunes that inspired me growing up like A Guy Called Gerald Voodoo Ray, Mr. Fingers Can You Feel It and Company B Fascinated, just name a few. It was quite an undertaking; I had to recreate all the vocals and music from scratch and did not use any samples. The second half of the record consists of entirely new material as well as some reworks of previously released material that I did just for the album. Most of the songs are in DJ-friendly form.
LessThan3: Gigs, travel time, and studio time seem like a difficult balance to maintain, but you’ve been doing it longer than most DJs. What’s changed over the years, and what have been some of the most difficult obstacles to overcome?
DJ Dan: The most important thing I have learned over the years is time management. Between studio work, DJ-ing and travel, I make sure I still have time to be with my family and friends. It is very easy to get consumed in your career especially when opportunities are coming at you so fast but I now try to keep a balance so that I can continue to stay inspired and not get burned out.
LessThan3: Since you’ve been based out of California for some time, you’re probably aware of the huge boom in the west coast dance music scene. How is it different from the first boom of the late nineties? Do you think it is likely spread to other metropolitan areas in the U.S.?
DJ Dan: The boom in the late nineties was also similar to the one I experienced in LA in 1992. LA and SF are both very trendy places and everyone wants to be where things are kicking off. The difference this time is that it is much bigger and the police are really coming down on the scene pretty hard. As always though, things will calm down for a minute and it will grow even bigger. It would be nice if the rest of the country had numbers this large but due to the economy, these smaller cities might have one average-sized party a month.
LessThan3: As “the man who brought acid house to the shores of America,” part of what has made your success everlasting is your ability to evolve your sound and cross a wide range of genres. What is it that has fed your versatility to sustain your career?
DJ Dan: Because I was so heavily influenced by disco, funk, new wave and all things funky growing up, it was always my main goal to play a diverse range of styles in my DJ sets. The first gig I ever got hired for in LA in 1991 was because a big promoter heard me mixing hip-house with disco and acid house. It was the thing that actually set me apart from other DJs at the time. I enjoy playing many different styles in my set because it really keeps me on my toes and makes it more adventurous for the crowd.
LessThan3: On your latest album Future Retro, were all of the tracks produced specifically for the album, or did you include some older favorites?
DJ Dan: Chopshop and N20 were both previously released but got new reworks just for the artist album.
LessThan3: What inspired you to incorporate a retro dance sound into this next album? Do you think this style is making a comeback?
DJ Dan: Since this was my first original artist album, I wanted to pay respect to many of the original artists that inspired me growing up by doing new current versions of some of my old favorites. It’s been great because within the 2 years that it has taken to make the record, a retro sound has really come back in house music. I think people really enjoy hearing a bit of the familiar on the dancefloor whether it’s with an old sample or a remake of a classic.
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