DJ Dan at Club Glow Washington DCDJ Dan is back and he has twenty years of watching and being part of an industry that has transmogrified from vinyl and wax to mp3’s, CDs, and computers. He can be referred to the “Frankie Knuckles of the West Coast” as he embeds disco, jazz and funk sounds in his tracks. DJ Dan voyaged up and down the West Coast, Seattle- Los Angeles-San Francisco, taking the spirit from each city he encountered, he seasoned and spiced his flavor into what would be an electro, funky, and disco recipe all promoters were demanding for their clubbing menu.

He not only created sounds, DJ Dan is responsible for forming the 90’s house group, “Funky Tekno Tribe.” Even so, Dan knew what the music heads wanted and brought then undiscovered French act, Daft Punk to America. We all know how well that went for them and for us.

The 80’s and 90’s were the days for DJ Dan, but now he’s back with his first ever artist album, Future Retro! It represents the sound that shaped his career as well as what contoured his sound. So even if you were still in diapers when Dan was paving the house scene, this release will teach you a little lesson in electronic music history. LL Cool J said it best and is a testament of DJ Dan, “Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.”

DJ Dan was very polished in his interview with me, that he left me absolutely no choice than to publish this old skool Q & A style!

GLOW: Tell us about your new album, “Future Retro”; the first part is old school tracks that are remastered, and the second part is dedicated to the new sound that you have.

DJDAN: Future Retro is a concept album that I have put together- to not only express my current sound, but to also pay tribute to the artists that have inspired me growing up. On the retro part, I chose tracks that I wanted to re-interpret with a modern day twist. Every single element in these re-creations have been re-done and re-sang from scratch in my studio. It was quite an undertaking to get just the right vocalists and musicians together to pay homage and to compliment these legendary songs. I am thrilled with the end result and truly hope that it touches people in the same way the originals have touched me.

GLOW: Talk to us about your best productions on this new album (pick one from each side).

DJDAN: I would have to say the best one from the retro side is Operator. The original was an early eighties freestyle classic originally done by Midnight Star. I worked on this one with Uberzone because of his vast knowledge of this era and his amazing studio filled with the best vocoders and keyboards I have ever witnessed in a single studio. I had Blake Lewis from American Idol re-sing the vocals and then Uberzone and I did our magic in his studio, using various vocoders and synths to really give it that retro eighties vibe. On the Future side, I am going to say that Chopshop is my personal favorite. It really represents my breaks, electro and techno background and is by far the funkiest one on that side.

GLOW: How has time changed for you in the last 20 years, in DJing/production/music, personal life and your view on these new budding artists?

DJDAN: Obviously technology has changed the game quite a bit and there are some things that are wonderful about it. I used to carry two 45 pound boxes of records with me every weekend and now I carry 3 times that amount of music with me but on CD’s. I miss the vinyl but not the pain of hauling those boxes everywhere. Technology has also helped in the sound quality of the music coming out now, things I used to dream about are now available such as better compression, cutting up samples faster, internal synths, the list is endless. I also think it is great that many new up and coming artists can get their music out there faster via blogs, etc. It definitely has helped getting hype going faster versus the old school method of relying solely on the label. As far as my personal life, I feel much more grounded these days. I have been very blessed in my path and really look forward to all the wonderful things I have coming up this year.

GLOW: If you could pick one artist today that reminds you a little of yourself, who would that be?

DJDAN: Lil Jon or Lil Wayne

GLOW: Do you think the west coast sound has changed dramatically from when you started it?

DJDAN: Every sound has changed from that time. That’s why music is so great; it’s always an extension from the day before. The best example is how funk inspired disco which inspired house which inspired techno……..and so on. The wonderful thing about this music for me has been the fact that I can pull from so many genres and throw them all into one set. That’s what creates the excitement and anticipation on the dance floor; it’s like showing everyone your photo album and telling your story along the way.

GLOW: Tell us about the remixes you have been doing over the past months?

DJDAN: I have been doing some really exciting remix projects over the past 6 months and it has been probably the most studio work I have ever done in such a short time. I have remixed many of my own singles off my album such as Drop Hits, Voodoo Ray and Operator. I have also remixed Loops of Fury, 3 remix singles for Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, Space Cowboy, Diddy, Trent Cantrelle feat Princess Superstar, Fort Knox 5 Feat. Afrika Bambaataa and just now finished a remix for Black Eyed Peas

GLOW: When’s the last time you played DC? What do you think about GLOW DC and the scene here in comparison to LA?

DJDAN: The last time I played in DC was at Ultrabar on Sept. 17, 2009. GLOW DC is consistently solid! The thing I love about the DC crowd is that there is a real passion for all things funky and there is just always something really raw about the vibe which reminds me of the old school days in San Francisco. The West Coast club scene is still great but is definitely a bit more “table service” oriented than the old days. Don’t worry though; LA and San Fran still have an awesome underground scene as well as the mega clubs.

GLOW: What would you do if you weren’t DJing? I heard you were into design and clothes, is that a rumor?

DJDAN: Yes, that is true. I studied at Seattle Central’s Thomas Edison School of Design. I have always loved creating whether it was in the kitchen, on paper, or anything that has to do with stimulating the senses. Music has always been my true passion and Djing had become my obsession through my college years. I think if I were to do something other than Djing I would continue in design or become a chef.

GLOW: Who’s your favorite fashion designer right now? Electronic device?

DJDAN: My favorite designer right now is Diesel, that has remained the same for years. As far as electronic device, love it or hate it, you can’t beat the Iphone!

GLOW: Where do you see yourself in another five years?

DJDAN: I will still be rocking underground beats and be producing and remixing as much as I am now. I also hope to be getting into doing more music for film and TV.

(Interview by Dee Sanae)

Come see this legendary house producer and pacesetter, as the West Coast meets the East Coast only at CLUB GLOW DC! Glow is a weekly EDM event, held only at the best DC Nightclubs, Lima on Thursdays and Fur on Saturdays!

For more information on DJ DAN please visit: www.djdan.com

Future Retro Tracklisting:

1. Operator ft. Blake Lewis

2. Can You Feel It? (Album Version)

3. Baby Wants to Ride (Album Version)

4. Tribute to Voodoo Ray

5. Your Only Friend (Album Version)

6. Fascinated

7. Let Me Love You For Tonight

8. More Bounce to the Ounce ft. Bigg Robb & Sure 2B (Album Version)

9. Come On & Get It ft. LP

10. Chop Shop (Album Version)

11. Drop Hits (Album Version)

12. N20 (Album Version)

13. Hit the Drummer

14. In Your Area

15. Disco Request

By Dee Sanae, Glow Contributing Writer

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