Q & A With Darku J--Kick In The Bass
It has been ages since I have published a Q & A and I am so thrilled to get back in the swing of things with one of my fave categories here on Go French Yourself with none other than the talented Darku J.
I have always had a thing for electronica music, ever since high school. I grew up on the border in a desert surrounded by mountains in a place called El Paso. Maybe you have heard of it? I lived there for 16 years and witnessed both the negatives and positives of border life. But the lasting impression is of a place of hope, decency, and cooperation and some of the best underground desert dance parties of my life.
So let me give you a little glimpse of how this love affair all started for me.
In Junior High I lived on The West Side and took a love for skate boarding and The Breeders and Folk Implosion. I was mostly a tom boy who hung around my best friend at the time--Christian. He could skate like no other. My mom hated my hobby as you can imagine. We moved to the northeast side of town before I started my freshman year. Coming to the northeast from the west side was a total shocker for me. People from EP will understand this. I could only see Christian a few times every quarter and eventually we would drift apart. I ended up meeting a few skater kids in my neighborhood but they didn't go to my school. We would skate after school and on the weekends but eventually I ended up getting hurt and was too scared to get back on the board seriously.
I ended up meeting a boy who would eventually become a serious boyfriend. He was strongly connected to El Paso's rave scene. And yes we had a huge rave scene but a lot of it was incredibly "underground". I got introduced to Mark Farina and fell in love with House music. You never knew where the DJs were going to be--just a date and time to call for a map to its location. The clandestineness of the rave locations was intriguing as well as inviting to the person who wanted to experience the spontaneity for a few hours or days.(seriously days) The secrecy was mainly to avoid interference by law enforcement since there was the possibility of illegal activity. But I am going to go ahead and keep some of these details private! The mystery and adventure of whether you’d find yourself dancing the night away in an abandoned warehouse or in the sand dunes under the night sky was all part of it. I got wrapped in and cannot even tell you how many raves I attended. I was a club kid and have the photos to prove it.
I would eventually move to OKC and meet Zoë's dad who not surprisingly was a DJ (and super involved in OKC's dance scene) and best friends with Jeremy Dawson. Some of you may know The Shiny Toy Guns. Here I would fall further in love with DJ Keoki, DJ Dmitry, BT, and Moby.
I have so much passion for DJ's and am so honored to feature my friend Darku J here on the blog!
Darku J is A lover of all types of music. No matter what type of music you prefer, Darku J will give you something you’ll love. His vast musical knowledge, crowd-pleas- ing song selection and creativity keep his schedule filled with gigs both in his home- town of Tulsa and around the Nation. In Tulsa he is the first call for hi-profile club parties, corporate functions and private events. No stranger to producing or re- mixing, Darku J has had originals and re- mixes on known labels like Fools Gold, ALLME, Plus posted on number blogs such as The Music Ninja, EDM Assassin and even hitting Hypem’s top 10 twice. His Latest single “Kick In The Bass” has been Streamed on Spotify over 25k and viewed over 17,000 times. Darku J is ready to rock whatever party.
INTERVIEW WITH DARKU J
-Hi dear, thanks for finding the time to chat with us at Go French Yourself. How has your day been so far?
It's been pretty good, Just had a sandwich at Tavern and now chatting with you!
-Um..super jelly of that Tavern sandwich!! So....tell us a little about your history. What inspired you to become a DJ in the first place?
I'm not sure I can pin exactly when I started playing music but I'd have to guess around age 9 or 10 I first started messing with guitar, after that I picked up on drums and then around 2000 / 01 I found myself really interested in electronic music after hearing Daft Punk's Discovery. I started digging into this sound and started importing records from the UK, Germany and few other spots were electronic music was thriving.
-What would you consider to be the biggest end of night anthem?
Robin S. - Show Me Love. Like right when that bass line comes in it's just instantly massive and then a few bars later you hear Robin Come flawlessly belting out "ohhhhhh" it's massive. Some of my friends actually brought Robin S out to a party in NYC to surprise sing this song near the end of their set at Roseland Ballroom, The whole room of 4000 some people just lost it.
-Over the years, techno has been transformed from the fast, loopy and linear industrial style of the early 00s, to a much more funk driven and slower sound today. You’ve been front and centre as that transformation took place with tracks like Kick In The Bass . (My personal fave) How do you see techno and electronic music developing in 2018?
I think Techno and electronic music are constantly pushing new envelopes. A genre that used to be limited to hardware synthesis' capabilities is now being made on digital instruments that can perform sounds and effects no hardware could ever be capable of.
-Can you talk us through your studio set up? Are you using any hardware still, or has it all been downsized into the DAW?
So it's kinda a mess right now as I'm trying to re organize whats being used, not used. but I run a Mini Mac as my machine of choice with Ableton. I have a few pieces of kit I use because being all software is boring. I have a sampler from Elektron that I use to create a lot of odd sounds as well as some classic synths like the Roland TB-303 (heard on basically every mid 90's techno recored). Also adding in some hardware effects like compressors and EQ's just give even software synths a bit of a more real sound.
-Your tracks have a unique feel to them. Can you tell us how you achieve that level of polish?
I'm not sure, I try to make stuff and then it comes out not as I thought but usually better so I just roll with it till there's a finished product.
-If you could choose anyone in the world, who would be your ultimate B2B pairing and why?
I think Boys Noize, I've always been a fan of his tracks and I feel like my style closely relates to his.
-What inspires you on a daily basis (Music and non-music wise)?
I feel like I'm most inspired by quality and passion. I don't drink coffee much but when I can go somewhere and see someone put a next level amount of work and craftsmanship into an espresso shot or whatever it be I feel inspired to work harder.
-Do you have any ritual before starting playing?
No, I probably should but I don't haha.
-On a social and artistic level, what represents techno and what role does it have in our current society?
I feel like Techno is one of the few genres left that's truly non descript. It translates in every culture, every country.
-What do you think about the debate Vinyl vs. Digital?
It's stupid. I use both I love both, they both have their ups and downs. I feel like anyone being elitist to either way is missing the real picture.
-What festivals would you most like to play at?
All of them? I'm not sure, they all seem magical in their own different ways.
-What single night out has been the most memorable for you? As a DJ? As an attendee?
Recently I played as support at Cain's Ballroom. It was a great feeling being a billed act at a legendary venue. I think another amazing night was opening for Disclosure at Webster hall, Such an amazing venue and the stage was just packed full of every hip cool person in the scene. As an attendee I went to this place in Brooklyn called 3001 space odyssey It was a disco party at noon and come 4am It was all these german techno DJs who were just getting their night started. I think I stayed there till about 7am when we left went a few blocks over and found another warehouse party going on.
-What is one mistake you see a lot of up and coming DJs making? / What advice would you give to aspiring DJs?
Immediately trying to be the headliner. It's 9pm theres three people here turn it down and play something chiller. I feel like another thing I see is always instantly copying whatever their favorite DJ is doing, Figure out who you are as a DJ and create your own style.
-Where do you think the scene is headed? One year from now? Five years from now?
I think it's headed in a good direction. There's a huge force of people interested in the advancement of dance music in our city I think all that's missing right now as stated above is a true venue. All the other things taking off in Tulsa have a true place for the craft to continue and grow, but dance music right now is still stuck to dive bar shows. Once that's over turned I see a huge development happening.
-If you could eternally be stuck in one year's music scene, which year would it be?
2007 or 08 I feel like every one was making super creative music, in all genres. computers were around to help learn things but FB was still a collage only tool so music careers and success wasn't super dependent on social media
-What is one sub-genre you think doesn't get the attention it deserves?
I think minimal techno could play a really awesome roll in nightlife but it's always getting pushed aside.
-What is it that you love about the scene?
I love the strong sense of community that comes with the electronic music world.
-What is something that frustrates you about the scene? Throughout and in Tulsa, especially?
In Tulsa I feel like there's no true outlets for electronic music. There's some awesome weekly, monthly and one off events that happen but they're all happening in dive bars which I feel like really hinders the musical growth. Sure they may be busy and people are dancing but with out a full sound and light show I think a lot of what electronic music is about gets lost. Plastikman's Spastik just sounds like noise on a laptop but play it on a massive system and you're in a new world.
-What is one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you hear it?
Telepopmusik - Just Breath. It's like instant bliss.
-What is one track that got popular that you can't stand?
Despacito (Bieber remix), Really didn't mind it too much at first but after seeing bieber forget the words to his own song at a show just showed how little he cared about the reggeton community.
-What’s next for you?
-Where can we find you playing in 2018?
Just confirmed the 2018 run of Pony Disco Club at sound pony being the second Saturday of every month.
-Fave thing in your closet?
I'm not sure, I like to stick to black and simple basics so probably some of the shirts I've got from Berlin.
-Cocktail of choice so we can send them your way if we like the music??!
Negroni's are never a bad choice, but so are Fresh 75's and I'll never be mad about champagne.
So send Darku J all the champagne my friends. We had a blast drinking French 75's together one day at Hodges and I am truly blessed to know this talented man. Enjoy the sweet sounds weaved throughout and I have linked all of his social pages below so you can keep in touch!
Check out more Q & A interviews with people who inspire me here.