DJ Dan - Layne Loomis, Sam Kane, Mener, 5657
The crowd erupts over and over in a state of frenzy with every little tug of their string by DJ Dan, who is a master at eliciting such responses." (All Music)
Long before periodicals like URB and BPM Culture began sponsoring annual surveys of the world's favorite DJs, dance music lovers had already spoken, loud and clear, in favor of DJ Dan. From his rise through the early '90s Los Angeles rave scene, to his non-stop international agenda today (he traveled 135,000 miles in 2004 alone), Dan has continued to thrill audiences wherever he goes, from Sydney to San Paulo, Taiwan to Toronto. He has sold over 300,000 mix CDs in North America alone, been featured prominently on MTV and network television, rocked a crowd of over 50,000 LA New Year's Eve revelers in 1999, and was one of the first American DJs to play China.
How does Dan account for his far-reaching appeal in such a mercurial genre? "One thing a lot of people have said is that I'm consistent," Dan observes. "In my programming, my mixing, and in the way I play to the party." When artists and labels want to be sure their records get heard by discerning listeners, they bring them to Dan – and when clubs and promoters want a headline act who is guaranteed to satisfy their patrons, he's the one they call. No wonder DJ Dan has been anointed "America's Favorite DJ" by URB, as well as "The Hardest Working DJ In America" and "The People's DJ" by other publications. Dan was selected as the #1 DJ in LA by Los Angeles Times in 2002, and DJ of the Year by Raveworld in 2001.
Keeping a firm finger on public tastes and new sounds, without being sidelined by fleeting trends, has allowed Dan to remain ahead of the pack for over ten years, playing a staggeringly diverse array of venues internationally: Coachella, the Love Parade, Creamfields, Fabric, Ministry of Sound. Comrade-in-wax Carl Cox handpicked Dan to join him on his 2000 Phuture tour of Africa and Europe, while Moby recruited him to join an all-star line-up including David Bowie, Busta Rhymes, Tiesto, and John Digweed on the Area2 Tour. Music by DJ Dan features prominently on MTV programs Road Rules and The Real World, while Dan himself appeared on the MTV reality show The Club.
"DJ Dan has become one of the most well-known and renowned house DJs on the planet." (About.com)
When not behind the decks, Dan doesn't rest on his laurels, as fans of his enduring club hits and remixes can attest. In 2005, he's lent his production to a slew of international smashes, including remixes of two different tracks for New Order, and a reworking of "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls that topped the Billboard charts (for three weeks in a row) and was used by the girls for their appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He was recently tapped to interpret Depeche Mode next single, "Precious." And be sure to ask him about updating "Give Peace A Chance" for Yoko Ono – you'll get to hear him use a lot of words like "shivers" and "goosebumps" when describing the feeling of manipulating John Lennon's original vocal tracks.
But it comes as no big surprise that visionaries like New Order, Depeche Mode, and ONO reach out to DJ Dan… because he is a kindred spirit, a pioneer in the musical as well as geographical sense. Dan was one of the first DJs to champion the breakbeat sound, and, later, funky house, and one of the earliest bastions of the LA scene invited to travel extensively outside his home turf. And with good reason. He may lend his unerring taste and refined mixing skills to an ever-evolving palette of sounds – Dan has never been one to be hemmed in by genres – but Dan always delivers a top-notch night out.
"There are dance-floor superstars, and in this upper stratosphere of big beats, Los Angeleno DJ Dan is a stealth bomber." (New Times Miami)
Dan originally hails from Olympia, WA, where he grew up with nine siblings. While still in his teens, he jerry-rigged the family stereo to facilitate making homemade mixes; he also became interested in fashion, and would go on to graduate with honors from the Thomas Edison School of Design in Seattle. "A lot of people bitch about the weather in the Pacific Northwest," recalls Dan of his tenure in Washington state, "but I found the rain very artistically inspiring."
In the early '90s, Dan attended his first big rave, in Los Angeles, and was smitten. He soon relocated to California, and quickly refined his mixing skills. He hooked up with fellow DJ Ron D Core, and, as the LA rave scene blew up, was at the forefront of the movement; when it began to taper off, he and Ron seized the initiative and began the successful No-Doz party. Dan's increased prominence in the City of Angels inspired promoters outside the region to book him more, particularly in San Francisco, where he eventually relocated for a period. Working with the groundbreaking Funky Techno Tribe, he continued to expand his stylistic parameters, embracing an increasingly diverse range of tempos, timbres, and musical styles.
"DJ Dan forced the sounds and energy of rock and funk deep into his music, a style that eventually became known as west coast house." (Beijing Weekend)
As demand for his DJ skills continuing coming in from the four corners of the globe, Dan also dedicated more time to original productions. His 1995 single, "Loose Caboose," by the Electroliners (a collaboration with Jim Hopkins), proved one of the definitive tracks of the breakbeat era; later, his 1998 classic "That Zipper Track," by DJ Dan Presents Needle Damage, put a fresh, funky new spin on the genre. He delivered celebrated remixes, too, for diverse artists including Groove Armada, Filter, Keoki, and A Tribe Called Quest. His 1999 remix of Orgy's cover of "Blue Monday" earned him his first Platinum record.
More recent DJ Dan singles, like "Put That Record Back On" (2000) and "That Phone Track" (2003) – the latter a #1 Billboard Club hit – have shown a marked maturation in his production aesthetic. "I used to be content with a simple, straightforward sound: Get a jam going, lay down the samples, slap the track together, and call it a day. Now I'm using a lot more effects, the bass lines are deeper, the layers and dimensions are much more intense. I'm really focused on creating a very harmonious mix." His audience has continued to expand with each project; most notably, in 2003, he composed new theme music for the Transformers cartoon.
Since 1996, Dan has release ten full-length commercial mix CDs, for respected labels like Sm:)e, Kinetic, Moonshine, and Kinkybeat; in North America alone, he has sold over 300,000 records. To program his most recent, the multi-faceted Lift, Dan reviewed which tracks had rocked the hardest in his travels worldwide over the past 18 months, loaded up his crate with those cuts, and cherry-picked judiciously. "I didn't base my mix around what the newest tracks of the week were, but rather, what would make up a great set that captured the vibe of not only where I'm at musically, but also the diversity that inspires me," he insists. "I love playing house, techno, electro, old school, breaks, and I want to represent all of those sounds."
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