So maybe we could start off with you giving me a bit of your background? Like where you’re from, how old you are, your inspirations, interests stuff like that.
I’m originally from Hacienda Heights, CA (LA County) but moved to Orange, CA (Orange County OC) I’m 27 years old. I’ve been inspired by turntablist artists such as A-trak, Craze, DJ Qbert, Mix Master Mike, Z-Trip and DJ AM. I am also inspired by nostalgia such as the 80s, old video games, one hit wonders, 90s, and disco music. My biggest inspiration would probably be the internet. If it wasn’t for the internet, none of us would probably be talking or meeting new people right now. I love internet memes and random funny or interesting videos. I usually post those on my site. I’ve told people that if I was to party, I’d party in the disco era 70s. I am a web designer and web developer during the day. I try to make my own album art as well as maintain my website dannahan.com.
I’m interested in kung fu flicks, cool documentaries like Helvetica, Supersize Me, and Beer Wars and shows on Cartoon Network like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Adventure Time, the Boondocks, and anything from Tim & Eric. I love science so I make sure Mythbusters is #1 on my DVR list. 2nd to that is cooking. I love to cook. I watch Good Eats and Man vs. Food all day erre day. I’m into video games (like most of us are). More specifically fighting and racing games. So the Street Fighter & Gran Turismo series is what I follow.
I love to dj. That is my passion. Been doing it for almost 9 years now. I’m not really good at producing music (like on Acid Pro, Fruity Loops or Ableton Live) so I try to do it the old school way, on turntables. Raw, live, and uncut. If i messup in between, I start all over. I believe in this because you can gain more skill on on the fly mashups/mixes as well as appreciate the amount of work you’re putting into it. The best thing about new technology like Serato Scratch Live is that you can put cue points and treat them like samples. Also I like to incorporate some form of turntablism, whether it be scratching or juggle tricks, into new music like electro or house to pay homage to my turntablist roots.
So lets talk about your mashups. How do you create them? Are they planned out? What do you look for when creating a mashup?
My mashups are pretty random tbh. i’m usually thinking of one song and another song comes into mind while say playing video games when i made “flex man” or when i hear 2 of the same chord progressions in 2 different songs and in different genres but the same sort of bpms like in “thuggish and let me go”. most of them are pretty much a + b mashes, but some of them, like my latest one “ILLifornia Gurls”, with the use of cuepoints on Serato Scratch Live, I use my keyboard as triggers and, like an MPC, I use the acapella as sound samples. I also want an excuse to scratch or cut on tracks to so I love using Technics over a production program. They are all live for a few exceptions (Whatcha Say we Hide and Seek done in Ableton Live and both You Got Street Justice & Drop Drop Rasputin done in Acid Pro) which meant if I messed up, or if it was very obvious, I’d have to start from the top. I sort of like that approach because, just like any old school video game, there are no save points, you must be perfect or close to it in order for you to proceed. I look for a mix of both abstract and familiar.
The main reasons why I make them is to either introduce new genres to people that are unfamiliar or to get a laugh out of them. Most of my work is just for fun, I don’t take things too seriously because if i did, I wouldn’t have fun making them. I also look for shock value or nostalgic things. I did a live mashup of MMMbop mixed in with some hip hop instrumental at a house party one time and EVERYONE got nuts because it wasn’t expected. And that’s what I love to get out of a crowd, something that I thought was interesting or funny and everyone thinking the same thing. Like im giving the crowd a piece of my mind. Also with the use of Serato Scratch Live and a few other programs, mashups are much more easier and alot more interesting. Songs you wouldn’t have known are shown to you through bpm filing or tone matching. Sorta takes most of the guesswork outta the dj and more into how a dj will integrate it into their set (scratching, triggering, looping, etc.) I try to find the inside joke in a song and exploit that to the crowd.
What do you see happening for the future of mashups, in legal terms and musically?
I don’t see mashups leaving anytime soon. With artists like Girl Talk, Super Mash Bros., E-603, and Hood Internet banging out high quality mashes to the public, it being so mainstream now. It’s now commonplace. I believe as long as it abides by Fair Use, if it has some sort of purpose, such as pointing out similarities or songs having ridiculous lyrics or something quirky, it can be defended in court if need be (see article: http://www.yalelawtech.org/ip-in-the-digital-age/mashup-a-fair-use-defense/). Look at most of the songs now, sampling old house tracks like Pitbull, or 80s song riffs like the Black Eyed Peas. It all goes back to sampling, and in one shape or another, that “sample” was probably taken and twisted from a previous song. I mean dj’s were meant to blend two tracks together that have either similar tones, bpms or lyrics, right? That’s our job. Finding similarities within other songs so we, as the dj, teach the crowd or tell them a story they can understand. Mashups are another form of artwork and without them, music cannot progress.
Awesome. Last question! What is the future for you?
The future? I don’t know what the future holds for me. I’m just happy for right now and every little blessing I have received. I will continue to do what I love and hope people will enjoy, appreciate, and/or understand what I’m doing behind these turntables. I’m going to continue djing and challenge myself by finding the most obscure or weird breaks/samples and display them in a way that everyone can have fun with it. It’s cliche I know, but if you’re having fun doing what you do for others, good things will happen to you.
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