Article | Onlythebeat

I was recently headed to Dallas for some non-OTB related work, but as with every other trip I take, I make sure to include the local scene in my visit. Austin and Houston have amazingly strong scenes right now, and I asked some friends if they had recommendations on who to meet up with. Henry Chow, of Crossroads Houston, sent me Gavin Guthrie a.k.a. TX Connect's way. Guthie started a new label, Texas Recordings Underground (TRU), to showcase Lonestar talent. Dallas appears to be at an interesting crossroads. It had been quite a few years since I had stayed in Dallas proper, and walking around I noticed something very specific. It was clean. Really clean. Maybe one of the cleanest metropolises I had visited in recent years.  It was refreshing, but also felt somewhat antiseptic. While there were no shortage of museums and well-groomed hotels, there didn't seem to be a lot of flavor downtown. Texas' pro-business laws bring a large amount of foreign residents and visitors, which you would think would lead to a good amount of lounges or nights with electronic music in business areas, but it doesn't appear that is the case yet. Luckily, disco always leads the right way. I headed to a monthly event, Disco's Revenge at The Crown & Harp in the Lower Greenville neighborhood a short Lyft away from city center. The all-vinyl all-underground house/disco/techno event is put on by Gavin, Mr. Daishiki Jones, and Rick Simpson. It was a bit thin this evening, but being the weekend before Thanksgiving in a town like Dallas will always be a challenge.  I found refreshing that the DJs were there to play music, not have people worship them. And the selections were on point. Gavin was kind enough to do a guest mix for us, so hit play, sit back, and read up: While the night was a little more disco-tilted than what they usually do in remembrance of David Mancuso, there was definitely a fun free-wheeling vibe to choices with everything ranging from deep soulful house to nasty techno. Here we get a little more in depth with Gavin.

OTB: What are the origins of your DJing and producing career? Who were your mentors? 

Gavin Guthrie: I began producing around my second year of college, so around 2005.  Like most in their humble beginnings, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.  I had some crappy Roland keyboard with a d-beam controller and a copy of a lite version of Cubase that came with a Presonus interface I had bought.  A year or so after that I discovered things like Reason and Fruity Loops and would make some of my first electronic tracks on those.  As far as DJing goes, I want to say I played some of my first gigs at house parties in Denton, Texas around 2008 - just loading up a bunch of tracks in Ableton Live and playing them.  I didn’t really know anything about blending or beat matching or anything like that at the time I was just excited to play songs I enjoyed on a big sound system. 

Around 2010, I was granted my first weekly event at a club called Rubber Gloves, also in Denton.  This was an all-vinyl night my friend Oleg Belogorsky and I called “Whatever Wednesdays.”  Again, I still hadn’t the furthest clue about mixing records, especially on wax.  By this point, I had amassed a decent little record collection, though in this town house and techno were pretty sparse to find at any local shops.  I was playing more Industrial and New Wave at these gigs with the very little house and techno I could find.  At some point Oleg got tired of me not beat matching, knew I could learn it, and decided to teach me.  It took me quite a while to get comfortable but once I did things changed forever and I haven’t stopped spinning and learning the craft since.

OTB: Who are your top three musical influences within electronic music?  And top three outside of electronic music? 

Gavin Guthrie:That’s a really hard question as I’ve been into music so deeply for so long.  I’ve never been one for putting lists together as I’ve got so many favorite songs, artists, and albums.  For electronic music Larry Heard has always been at the top however.  He’s always spoken to me on so many levels from the rough around the edges Gherkin Jerks material to the smooth breeziness of his mid 90’s Sceneries Not Songs records. 

John Carpenter is always in the back of my mind as it always impressed me beyond belief that he could make such incredible films and equally good music.  The music of horror soundtracks has always had a very big influence on me and the textures and atmospheres the man created I will cherish forever. 

It’s also really hard to not include Legowelt as he’s been such a guide to many of this generations newer producers.  His output and number of aliases, his ability to take on so many different styles of music is outstanding.  Also, his selflessness in giving back to the community with programs, samples, guides, and openness on the equipment he uses and how he goes about creating gave me so many ideas and inspiration over the years.  Outside of electronic music I could never narrow it down to 3 but for now I’ll say Cocteau Twins, Tears For Fears, and Hum.

OTB: What is the number one change you've seen in electronic music since you started listening and playing? 

Gavin Guthrie:I’m not sure how much real change I’ve seen rather than such an overwhelming amount of growth.  In Texas, the amount of talented DJs and producers we have here is astounding.  Everyone has got their own exciting sound, style, and flavor, nobody’s really clashing with any one and everyone supports everyone, it’s beautiful.  It’s the #1 reason I started my label Texas Recordings Underground - to show the rest of the world what we’ve got going on here.

OTB: What do you like and not like about the scene in Dallas? 

Gavin Guthrie:I like the diversity and commitment to quality music and vibes, the attention to detail people put into their parties (mainly DIY) is astounding.  So much care is put into shaping people’s surroundings into creating a safe-haven for anyone to be themselves and soak up incredible music and art on just about any given weekend.  I don’t like the fact the traditional venues or clubs shut down at 2 a.m., most have atrocious sound, and many though not all only care about how much money you’re bringing in rather than trying to help contribute to people’s artistic endeavors.  

OTB: Who is upcoming in Dallas that you think has great potential? 

Gavin Guthrie: AFTV, Chris Polcyn, Jake Shrock, Andrew Barton, Jeff Johnson, Mammalsounds, Nathan Golub, Vectorvision, Spice Boys, and many many others that I’ll feel bad about later for leaving accidentally leaving out.

A favorite of Gavin's picks: [embed][/embed] And Rick Simpson brought out this sexy piece:

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