How did you come up with the name/ concept for Desert Blaque?
W: Most of my song names for Blixaboy are deep cut Comic Book (Marvel, DC, and beyond), Cyberpunk or Dungeons and Dragons references. Nerd stuff. It’s always fun when people figure out the reference and how much it’s tied directly to the tune.
What is it about the Electro genre that inspires you?
W: I am a funk and soul DJ (60s and 70s) on the weekends for my better-paying gigs. Usually, all vinyl gigs playing Afrobeat, James Brown, Funkadelic, Sharon Jones & the Dapking, lots of funky 45s…That kind of stuff. The work gigs are usually 5-hour sets and they pay the bills. As soon as I’m off work my head zips straight back to my multi-decade obsession with Techno (which I also produce under other aliases). When my work gig funk collides with my private life Techno fascination Electro happens.
When I was a kid growing up in the 80s there was a time when Breakdancing was a national trend. Kids in every city small and big were busting out their cardboard mats and jamming their K-tel breakdance compilations. The first time I saw Turbo breakdancing to Tour De France on the big screen in the Break-in movie I was hooked. I have gone through a lot more musical phases since then. Many years of playing in Punk, Shoegaze, and experimental bands. Overall those years and many phases, Kraftwerk was always a constant. Then I started digging into the deeper roots of Detroit Techno and Electro. When I finally started actively making Electro/Techno it was like coming home to my favorite music of my childhood.
Which artists/ genres have influenced your music?
W: That is hard to narrow down. A few Artists at the top of the list would be Kraftwerk, Can, Klaus Schulze, Drexciya, Electra-Era Miles Davis, Autechre, Claude Young, DJ Stingray, Ellen Allien, pretty much all the pre-85 old school electro, Jeff Mills, Underground Resistance, Robert Hood, Aphex Twin, Basic Channel, Sterac, Convextion, Egyptian Lover, Funkadelic, Fela Kuti, James Brown, Morton Subotnik, Stockhausen, AACM, Sun Ra…
Genre-wise I pull influence from a lot of non-Electro music. I have a lot of current Electro Artists I love and follow, but it’s more natural for me to bring something new to the table if I’m taking inspiration from outside of the genre I’m working in. I find this to be true with most of my fave artists regardless of what genre they work in.
What are your thoughts on the Dallas music scene?
W: Dallas generally has no idea what is in its own backyard. the electro DJ and producer talent here is out of control and has arguably been the biggest influence on me. Not so much as what I make, but the very high bar that is set as the standard. Cygnus and ERP make some of my favorite modern music anywhere and I listen to their catalogs of tunes on the reg. DJs like Vectorvision and R9 absolutely slay on the decks and it’s equally entertaining and humbling to watch them throw down. I used to go see Maetrik play (before he became Maceo Plex) all the time before he moved off to Europe about a decade ago. He had to leave to find his audience. Like most places, people tend to overlook great talent in their own town since it is “local”.
That being said, the Techno underground has grown to a significant size in recent years, but it is most definitely underground. You have to be in the know to find it, but that leads to some fairly large parties.
Most of the old school DJs here are House heads. On the surface, Dallas is a lot of Top 40 bars just like any other American city, but that is far from what is actually happening here.
What inspires you to make music?
W: I’ve been making music for 3 decades. I’m not sure I know how to do much else. If I had to narrow it down I’d say comic books, science-fiction and the desire to express myself.
What does your process look like in the studio? How do go about starting/ finishing your tracks?
W: I’m always writing. After many years of this, I always have tunes to finish lying around in my vault. I play live a lot, so I’m usually writing more for my live sets. The stuff that works live usually gets developed more. I don’t labor over tunes. If I’m not feeling it I scrap it and move on. My most recent album Databreak was recordings of me improvising in my studio. All one take, no additional mixing. the single for Audiophile “Desert Blaque/Molo” were both more in line with my normal process. Tunes that were written in an afternoon with fairly quick mix sessions for a gig. I sit on them for awhile using them for DJ and live sets to figure out what needs to be tweaked on the mix.
What are your 2020 goals for this release and other releases down the line?
W: I am releasing music every month in 2020. In some cases multiple releases within a month. A lot of that will be Blixaboy releases, but I have some Krautrock influenced Synth stuff, Techno (Dub techno and Warehouse Bangers), Modern Classical, and Shoegaze stuff coming down the pipe under various aliases as well.
I just overhauled my live rig. I was hardware only for live sets for a few years and my main sequencer(RS7000) went down. It’s getting repaired, but I’ve added a few more pieces of kit so I can get back into the live setting again. I’m a 20 year Ableton user and live in it everyday mixing projects, but I prefer to use hardware only for the live rig. I’m a poor musician and I need to make my laptop last. Aside from that hardware is just more fun and tactile in a live setting.
Do you have any future live shows lined up?
W: With my new rig up and running I’ll be playing live sets 2 or 3 times a month (if not more) the rest of the year. That is mostly regional gigs, but trying to get on the road and do some proper out of state touring later in the year. between DJ residencies and Live gigs, I play about 8 to 10 nights a month. I stay busy. I am a resident at our Dallas Electro night Computer Love and I’ll be doing Live sets at that more than DJ’ing for most of this year and that is every third Saturday at Industry Alley. I also have a residency on second Wednesdays at Beauty Bar called Robot Punk and I’ll alternate between DJ and Live sets all year.