TF Archives

LA DJ Dan and his New Waver, Fashion Following Past

Author: Jonty Adderley
Saturday, May 17, 2003
"I got voted 'the biggest new waver of my senior class' because I had a Mohawk, head shaved and purple and black hair. So it was very difficult to go to school and fit in."

Sitting in the stark luxury of a bar in Central London's Myhotel, superstar Los Angeles spinner DJ Dan looks anything but punk though admits that he's more than impressed with the DIY fashion kids he recently stumbled into at an electroclash night in New York. In fact, with his cropped hair, T shirt and simple slacks, he looks every inch the superstar DJ he is, hailed throughout America and the world as one of the world's top draws.

Back in 1991, though when he was growing up in Olympia, outside Seattle, the young future star found himself isolated from most of his peers ('you were either a hardcore rocker or a jock') finding solace in house music.

"My friends and I were always into house music and there'd be very small house parties going on back then," he tells Skrufff Jonty Adderley.

"The energy at those parties was so intense that I didn't pay attention to anything else that was going on in Seattle."

Dan's in London for his regular stint at Fabric where he'll be joined later that evening by Sheffield couple Dave and Vanessa, soon to be better known as Grandadbob. The trio recently collaborated on an acid house club tune called Disco Hertz, which comes out on Faith And Hope Recordings in June.

Skrufff (Jonty Adderley): How easy was it to fly into Sheffield and suddenly start working with the Grandadbob guys-

DJ Dan: "It was great actually. I've worked with lots of friends in LA and we've all liked the same style of music, whereas with these guys everything flowed better. The music spoke for itself, we all agreed on what liked and didn't like and it's probably one of the smoothest experiences I've had in the studio, it was bizarre. Especially since it was the first time we'd worked together. It was fun too, we could have made a whole album if I'd been there longer."

Skrufff: You're best known for DJing in LA, how does you're approach differ for London-

DJ Dan: "What I usually do when I come over here is bring music by producers from America and Canada that I know nobody can find here. In general though I do what I do. When I used to play at Fabric in the main room I used to tone my set down a little but now that I play in Room 2 I feel free to go off on tangents, so do. Sometimes I even play harder at Fabric than I do at home, though I never really plan my sets too far in advance."

Skrufff: How much attention do you pay to what's happening in London, musically-

DJ Dan: "I'm on various mailing lists from here so I'm quite well covered for promos and I get lots of CDRs in the mail. London seems to be going through a similar phase to LA at the moment, with lots of clubs closing down and the scene going back underground, with smaller things starting to take off. The same thing is happening in San Francisco, New York and LA. So it feels like this general change is coming along which I really see as positive. Things got out of control everywhere, particularly the United States and the UK, because the club scenes seemed to get so huge, so fast. Hopefully the changes will filter out all the bullshit."

Skrufff: You studied at the Thomas Edison School of Design in Seattle; did you really plan to be a fashion designer originally-

DJ Dan: "Yeah, I wanted to go into fashion design and a lot of that ambition was due to encouragement from my Mom and my sister. But I always liked music and to be honest if I'd known I could have gone to school to study music I would have done that. But I grew up in Seattle and at that time there were no courses for electronic music in the area. So I went into fashion design and did really well at that, even visiting New York for a job interview at Perry Ellis and having interviews at Guest Jeans. If I'd become a designer, I'd probably have ended up working for Diesel, th