John Digweed Heads to The Mayan Downtown Wednesday: He Does The LA Weekly DJ Q&A
Paris Hilton recently tweeted that "House music is taking over!" And she thus marked a new life cycle for a 30-year-old genre. In dance music, though, it's not about what's taking over but about what aspect of the scene has bubbled back up and taken on a new identity.
The house of today is the trance of yesterday (see Kaskade or Deadmau5), and the bubbly, "minimal" techno sound that was so hot five years ago was really just another way of expressing a "progressive" side of the untz-untz world (and "progressive house," to many, was simply a tamer, more soulful side of trance). Discuss.
While the likes of Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta and Dirty South have attached themselves to the new-house juggernaut, here's an idea: Attach yourself to everything (a la Danny Tenaglia, Danny Howells and L.A.'s own DJ Harvey). That way you can just play whatever's good when the mood strikes. John Digweed, whose new three-disc release Structures 2 features a live mix from Avalon Hollywood, is just such a macro-spinner, and he's in town Wednesday for a special spin session at the Mayan downtown with DJ Kazell.
You can find elements of trance, techno and brooding tribal house in Digweed's sets. He dips his brush in a broad palette of colors, some sublime, some brooding, to control the club's aesthetic and conduct a flowing dance floor symphony.
Known for his 1990s sessions with Sasha and for the duo's Delta Heavy Tour, Digweed has, over the years, fashioned himself as a DJ's DJ, a perennial headliner who's more about the vibe than the pecking order on the invite. Is he one of DJ Magazine's Top 100 DJs? He usually is in the top 20 if not top 10. But for his fans, the correct answer is, Who cares?
Those accustomed to Adele remixes and sing-along pop DJs need not apply. Digweed constructs his own charts.
We recently caught up with the spinner and asked him a few questions:
LA Weekly: Was CD 2 on Structures 2 really recorded live at Avalon, or did you put it together based on inspiration from your appearance?
John Digweed: I record every single show that I do. When I was putting the compilation together I knew in the back of my mind when the night was happening this is a special party. I knew when I played the show March 19 that was the one I wanted to use on the new album.
Were there any problems getting permission to use all the tracks?
There were quite a lot of different labels on the album. A few years ago there used to be problems because people were precious about their tracks. These days a lot of labels are happy to generate extra revenue.
That used to be what you'd do -- put tracks together in studio then get a knock back from someone who doesn't want you to use it. It's definitely not as hard as it was a few years ago.
What part of your set did you chose for the mix?
It was a six- or seven-hour set. The CD is from about 18 minutes in. The latter half is too banging. Those early set records sound so much better on CD. If you have a CD that's all banging and fast it's hard for someone to listen to. This one shows a nice curve to the mix.
You also do podcasts and give away your mixes?
I do a podcast every week on Mixcloud -- 30 minutes, edited down. You gotta use the platforms that are out there to gain exposure. Being a record label (Bedrock), I'm conscious not to give music away, but rather to let people hear it and buy it. I don't upload it at full-quality. I talk over it. I think I'm doing quite good promotion.
How is L.A. sizing up as a global dance music town these days for you?