DJ Three interview
DJ Three speaks to Rhythmatic ahead of his rare appearance in the UK by Samara Moss
Q. Hi Chris, how are you? How has the start of summer been for you?
A. The Spring into Summer transition has been amazing. Symbiosis Gathering during annular solar eclipse, Movement 2012 in the D, amazing stops in NYC, Miami, Los Angeles and the 10 year Anniversary of Snatch the residency I do in Tampa, Florida which is the city where I came up in the 90′s…. and summer’s just barely begun! Bring on London!!
Q.What were your influences as a DJ growing up? How did you get into DJing in the first place?
A.The rollerskating rink and b-boy culture — freestyle and proper electro was the first time i witnessed DJing. As i got older the alternative side of things like Wax Trax-era industrial music which shares Chicago DNA with house music. When things started to bleed together musically during your Summer Of Love in ’88 underground dance clubs in Florida here were playing Master C& J on Trax Records in-between alternative stuff like Skinny Puppy and sampledelic hip-hop like Public Enemy. By ’92 .. as rave culture started to blossom in Florida.. having been magnetically drawn to the DJ booth from all my tastes that whole time it finally lead to me trying to figure that out myself. Crazy though, as my first night on two decks and mixer was in a club in front of 300 people!
Q. So, tell us a bit about the rise of DJ Three in the early 90s. When did people really start to take notice of you as a DJ?
A.It was just super exciting being at the beginning of a cultural movement like punk rock before it. Rave culture was terra-forming before our eyes and we are all just making it up as we went along, really. No thinking about what PR plan before you even made the record type of thing going on back then. There were no rules yet, and i know you can ask anyone from Richie Hawtin to Doc Martin — I don’t think any of us then thought we would still be doing this at all let alone like it is now twenty years down the line. I guess i started to travel out of Florida in ’94 and that’s when you start to think things are clicking for yourself. You’re reputation amongst the people is solely what made it happen then. There was no internet to self-promote. It wasn’t a career choice like now as much as something you just did — like being a skateboarder or a punk rocker — you were a raver! I was just really fortunate to have people respond how they did! And I never looked back…
Q. Tell us about your record label Hallucination Limited, started in 2003. What was the idea and drive behind this? What is the relationship with Hallucination Recordings?
A.Down in Tampa, Florida I had been involved with Monk and David Christophere… founders of Hallucination Recordings and Rabbit In The Moon. We threw Florida’s first proper warehouse rave in December 1991. Monk and Dave started Rabbit In The Moon and the label. Records by Rabbit In The Moon, Dynamix II, Second Hand Satellites and the Hazed record we licensed to Plus 8 — it was a special label for sure. After ten years it stopped around 2002 and they parted ways. From there I wanted to carry on the ethos of the label in my own vision so i started Hallucination Limited.
Q. How do you go about finding artists you want to sign?
Q. One label achievement to note was the featuring of 5 tracks from your catalogue on Cassy’s Circo Loco mix CD for Mixmag last year. You must have been really pleased? Why do you think so many tracks were selected?
A. Yeah, that was exciting for sure. The thing with Hallucination was always to release timeless music and a lot of labels say that, but we’ve really been fortunate I think. The catalog doesn’t have any casualties in the wake of stylistic trends and things always come back to proper house and techno anyway. So, to have Cassy put five tracks on a CD themed “The Sound Of Circo Loco / DC 10 Terrace” and on the cover of Mixmag no less…. that’s super dope.
Q. Do you like that you are sort of classed as an ambassador for the American underground sound? Why do you think this is?
A.To hear any commentary like that…. I mean … it’s amazing to earn the respect of your peers. That’s success to me. As to why I think it is I don’t know. I think maybe … a lot of cats moved to Berlin or wherever in the last 10 years, but i made a conscious decision to stay in the States so that alone has people looking at you as an “American DJ” i think. I surely wanted be an American DJ that cats in other countries respected enough to bring over just like the US dj’s i looked up to were. For me I still look at Doc Martin, Derrick May, Josh Wink. They do it their way and have never slipped or compromised. Danny Tenaglia.
Q. You’re known for genre-bending and your tour dates often show diversity on your audience. Where do you tend to find your most receptive audiences? And which part of your sound do more people go for?
A.I think Tokyo is one of the best places to play…. such an open minded crowd willing to follow you and accepting of challenging moments. I feel the most freedom there i think. Berlin is a very comfortable place to play. London is as well, but i maybe get more nervous there cause there’s so much to do people can have a short attention span. You gotta be sharp with a London dance floor! New York and most definitely San Francisco in America. I can’t say enough about San Francisco! As far as music goes if I can get to the right place there is simply no dance floor moment better than a proper house vibe with all the elements working… sound, space, people. I have yet to see or feel anything better, but dance floor magic is simply when a DJ can make any sound his own for that moment, and I’m always chasing that in some way.
Q. You’re UK visits are few and far between. Are you looking forward to your imminent visit to play at London event, Rhythmatic?
A.Yeah!! I feel a special connection with London. Even as Berlin came to disco glory in the last decade London’s still the mecca in my eyes. While I’m usually there just once a year I’ve been really fortunate that for ten years or so its mostly been at Fabric… and they were the first to host me…. as well as Mr C’s excellent Superfreq events and some amazing smaller parties like Slowpoke and of course the wonderful Kubicle events. Really looking forward to Rhythmatic as it looks to be super deep but, still ready to party … can’t wait!!
Q. What else have you got coming up for the rest of 2012? Is there anything you are particularly excited about?
A.To be honest I can’t see past the excitement of summertime in Europe. OH… except for the idea that when I get back to America after this tour I go to Burning Man!!
Three at Sup3rfr3q Warehouse – Dallas USA
DJ Three will be playing for Rhythmatic on the 7th July @ TBA location
For more info click here
UK writer Hannah Briley’s on Three at last years Fabric 12th Birthday
“DJ Three followed and instantly became my Room 3 highlight. …I was struck by his smooth yet arresting mixing technique and accomplished track selection which included Engels’ “To The Music” remix that has been happily spiraling in my head ever since… ….A true dj’s dj, Three had punters and fellow artists climbing up the Room 3 walls”
Visionquest’s Lee Curtiss names Three as his favorite DJ for Resident Advisor,click here for more info