Here we have DJ-Macintyre, a name associated with the infamous Burning Man playa. His captivating sound is something of a gem and his recent LP proves his prowess in the studio…
Hi, how are you?
Hi DMC, doing well, thank you.
How has your 2018 been so far? Has it gotten off to a good start?
2018 has been off with a bang. I started the year in New York and am now back home in California – I love both places, and they are very different.
What were the highlights of your 2017?
2017 was a big year for me musically. I made a big push in the winter making music which then carried through until the release of my first album in the late autumn. It was a fun, creative, and difficult experience with a steep learning curve, and I’m ready to move on to the next one! I started the SLC-6 Music record label in 2017, so that was big too.
We’re digging the new LP on SLC-6! Tell us more about the label and how you started it?
The label came about as I was thinking about how to release and market my album. I considered different options, but ultimately I felt I was interested in having more control over how the music was released and probably most importantly to know who my supporters were and be closely in touch with them. Another important role I see SLC-6 playing is as a vehicle to support other djs with whom I come in contact with. I meet a lot of cool people who I enjoy helping in the ways I’m able, and I enjoy collaboration. We will be releasing a remix compilation of my Tandava album in the first half of this year, and that has been a fun project to work on with others.
How would you describe your sound?
Well, I always think it’s dangerous to start describing music too much because at the end of the day we often misunderstand each other. I’ve seen it happen so many times where a term such as “Progressive House” starts off meaning one thing, and it changes and changes as similar things get added on, and then it becomes fashionable and everyone starts calling everything under the sun by that name, and you end up with nothing like what you started with. But, I’ll risk it by saying that I’ve always been influenced by what I call the trance ethos which has been, and still is, found in Progressive House, Techno, and Trance music at different times. That is, I am drawn to music that throws one into a trance when it is done right. So, as a dj, I am drawn most often to long, progressive mixes. All that said, I try to remain open to all kinds of sounds. Some of the tracks on my album are hard for me to classify – they sort of just popped out. Some of them don’t fit easily into my dj sets, but I believe they are still worth sharing for someone else to enjoy.
Were you always musical growing up? What inspired you to make dance music?
I was an athlete and student growing up and refused music lessons. So, I’ve been kicking myself for that for a number of years. But, looking back on it, I see that I did things that djs do even as a kid. I would listen to albums that I did not know what they were, just to see what they were about. I made mixtapes with a simple tape recorder. When I would hear a song, I would try to find out what it was – this was long before Shazam and Napster and it often wasn’t easy!
I got into dance music when I was living in England for a short time in 1999. I really dove in after going to Nocturnal Wonderland in Southern California in 2004. Since then, dance music has been my primary musical interest, but of course I like other things as well. It had always been a fantasy to dj and produce and eventually I just decided to tuck in and do it.
You’re a regular face at burning man! How did you come to play there so much?
Burning Man wasn’t really on my radar until I became involved with an underground arts collective in Santa Barbara called Fishbon. I stumbled into them by accident, started djing parties for them, and before long became friends. Many of the artists are experienced Burners, so that culture was introduced to me and it started to pique my interest. I ended up going with many of those same people who make up a great camp called, The Enclave. The Enclave has a unique art car called the Pyrobar, and I sort of took over musical programming for the car during that year.
Would you say it’s your favourite festive experience?
Burning Man is a different animal than other festivals. The physical conditions are extreme and challenging. It’s hard on equipment and on your emotions. Burning Man demands your participation – it’s really hard, if not impossible, to remain a spectator there. As a result, many people get far more out of it than a normal festival. You can’t really just sit back and watch the spectacle. Even if you try to shield yourself from the elements, they will find a way to reach you. This forces you to engage at a basic level and connects you to others going through the same thing, which primes the pump for a sense of larger connection. And of course, it’s highly stimulating with music and visual art.
Any tips for people going there for their first time?
For me, it was rewarding to go with a camp. There were people who knew what they were doing and could help when the inevitable unexpected took place. And of course, you start off with a community connection. I think going with a plan and then having an open mind to flexing with that plan is important – you have to do your best to bring what you need, but almost certainly things will break or not develop as you hoped, and you will have to drop your expectations and adjust or you will go crazy. Maybe this is one of the gifts of Burning Man – a lesson in letting go.
Any tips for people who want to start a label?
Check back in once we are down the road with this one!
What does the future hold for D.J. Macintyre? Any further goals or ambitions to achieve?
I want to keep growing as an artist, keep having fun with music, see more of the world, and help others.