- Forward-thinking techno played by a master of the CDJs.
"If I were to just sit there while the track plays for two minutes I would lose my mind," Juliana Huxtable told Resident Advisor last year. If you were to sum up her DJing style in one sentence, that might be close to it. The American DJ is one of the most dynamic, creative and innovative jockeys going, and her skills on the CDJs equal Total Freedom or Karizma. She's one of those DJs who likes to use every piece of technology and function that the CDJs offer, as she explains in the interview below.
But it's not just a matter of using bells and whistles, either. Huxtable organizes and hears things by tone, atmosphere and, of course, key—she can mix together things that should make no sense on paper, she can stop and start in the strangest of places, or drastically change the tempo on a dime. Her approach is all about tactility, from the feeling of the music, and the way it changes and shifts over her sets, to the feel of the CDJs themselves.
Huxtable's RA Podcast catches her in peak-time form, inspired by a set she played in Berlin and then tried to recreate. It's techno with a twist, plowing through tracks from Special Request, Ploy, Hodge and even Coyu, with the kind of aggressive but stylish mixing style we've come to expect from Huxtable. Oh, and that stretch through SHYBOI and Jasmine Infiniti through to DJ Seinfeld and Tygapaw in the middle? Divine.
What are you grateful for these days?
My friends... I have the most amazing friends on earth.
How and where was the mix recorded? And can you tell us the idea behind it?
I recorded the mix in Somerset House in London. I'm here with my bestie and collaborator Joe Rinaldo Heffernan for a residency and we have a pretty sick music studio to work in 24/7. I had just returned from some back-to-back travelling gigs and was so excited to get this mix out. The mix is really a modified reflection of some of the sets I've been playing. Its genesis was an exquisite night I had in Berlin playing between DJ Stingray and LSDXOXO. It was one of my favorite sets of the summer so I retraced what I played and mixed in some other moments from sets since then.
What are you looking forward to in the near future?
Working on making new music in this residency and visiting Beirut again before going to New York for the holidays.
What's one social or political cause you want the world to pay more attention to?
What is happening in Lebanon is unacceptable right now. This piece in the London Review Of Books paints a picture. The world is a strange and highly unstable place right now and the unending saga of Covid discourse and policy and its shadow over daily life has gripped what we follow. A country is literally slipping into darkness (no electricity, and so much more) right now.
You're a contemporary artist in addition to a musician/DJ. Does your art practice inform your DJing style, or vice versa?
I'm sure on some level it does, less as an explicit exchange between the two (DJing and art) and more so in that everything I do is a manifestation of a love for research that I have. The proverbial "crate digging," literal or not, is a form of research and archival exploration. I am in love with music as an aesthetic and sensuous experience yet also as an embodiment and reflection of social, economic and political information. A deep desire to understand, witness and speak to the complexity and complexities of the world drives everything I do and music is no different.
You've talked about using CDJs as an instrument / as a device with unique possibilities for DJing. What are some of your favourite features, tips or tricks you've learned over the years, that you're willing to share?
The fundamental joy of CDJs for me is that any digital sound can be translated and manipulated physically. That the contours, buttons, edges and interface of the CDJs are tactile expansions of former digital sounds. It is also, in many ways about databasing and finding ways of organizing the files themselves in a way that can be explored through the device.
My ID3 tags have information that allows me to mix in ways that my brain understands, and also in ways that allow me to stack and arrange tonal centers. I love a heavy jog-wheel that allows me to really guide a track. A song from a favorite band of mine, into something that follows a dance music grid more explicitly. I use just about every feature, it seems less about specific tricks to me than understanding what about the tactility draws me in, what expands my sense of play and intuition.
I also must say I LOVE the Pioneer DJM mixers. The effects are literally incomparable. The combo of CDJs and DJM... I am in HEAVEN when I'm playing. I literally feel like I have endless possibilities. Also, I can generate entirely new sounds. I hate the sync button, it's rarely that accurate if you're playing a range of sounds and musical types, and takes away the joy for me—the tactility of it all!
Astaron - Untitled
Hanin Elias - Get It Back
Raär - Ritual 3
Sept - Suicide Generation
Ploy - Ramos
Alignment - Infinity
Special Request - Wallabies
Coyu - My First Pill
Dalibor Cruz - No Redux
Gemeine Gesteine - War Party
SHYBOI - Head Top
Jasmine Infiniti - YES, SIR
The Jack Nation - Keep On Banging
Kettama - B O D Y
DJ Seinfeld - Sakura
Tygapaw - Magenta Riddim
Soda Plains - No Fear
Alejandro Paz - El House (Imaabs Trash Edit)
LSDXOXO - DEATH RATTLE
Sept - Ultimate Seduction (Original Mix)
Bruce - What
Hodge - Sense Inversion
Pugilist - Untitled
Distal - Hostage Track