It must be great to be a professional DJ, traveling around the world in a haze of loud music and bright lights. For a start, think of how much time you'd save record shopping once everybody started to send you records for free. Someone forgot to tell Desyn Masiello, though; he still plows his way through every single house record, every single week. For someone constantly on the move, checking out around 21,000 tracks every year surely wouldn't leave any time for actually playing them, but the surprisingly relaxed and jovial DJ has a very clever way of shopping that keeps him away from malls, high streets and even record shops.
“I use the samples on the Internet,” he shares. “Places like juno.co.uk put up at least a minute and a half of each tune they sell, and I download every last one of them. Then I get the vinyl delivered to my house.”
It takes his pre-DJing experience in computers and a mammoth six-hour session to get through the 400-odd tunes each week, but between him and his music-loving mates — who add an extra 1,800 cross-genre listens of their own — every Website is trawled no matter where he is in the world. And the rising star is often too far away from his home on the English south coast to leaf through the racks, making his first trip to Brighton's Rounder Records a treat.
Powering his way through the masses of electro, deep and tech house music in the 40-year-old shop, he explains that a three-week trip to Australia and Thailand has left him exhausted. But it's not just the long sets (Masiello will play for as long as nine hours, given the chance) that have left him wanting his duvet. Masiello is known as one of the biggest party animals on the international circuit, with a generous heart that pumps whiskey as easily as it pumps blood. The tales relayed by his best DJ mates Omid 16B and Rowan Blades would be enough to send mere mortals rushing for the colonic irrigation-pumped detox retreats that the Alternative Route Recordings boss favors. Still, this year he promises to settle down and finally get his name into the record racks by tackling production head on. (In the meantime, check out his latest mix CD Balance 08 [EQ, 2005].)
In the meantime, he shuffles through the tightly packed 12-inches, pulling out tracks that he's been meaning to pick up for a while, new copies of old favorites too battered to play and mountains of tracks he can't remember hearing.
His devotion to check out every potential gem means that, despite the homework he's put in on his laptop, there's soon a huge pile of records by the decks. He's even digging into his own pocket when Remix's allotted $100 runs dry.
“Rej” (Sonar Kollektiv)
This is a replacement for one of my favorite records of the last year. There's something about this track — it gives me the creeps. My style as a DJ is quite uplifting and anthemic, so I don't normally play dark records. “Rej” sounds like it's from a horror film, but it's really beautiful at the same time. I love all the sounds. These guys obviously take their influences from people like Carl Craig and a lot of the Detroit scene.
“King of the Mountain (Bootleg Mix)” (Xmixer)
Is Kate Bush big in the U.S.? She's our goddess of rock — queen of kooky. This is the first track off her new album, very simple and again quite hypnotic, which has come from the very electronic original. This version sounds much like something that Deep Dish would do. It's very big sounding. I first heard this in Peru when I was playing with Danny Howells, and I didn't even know it was Kate doing the vocal. It's taken me months to find a copy.
THOMAS DI MATTEO
The reason I picked this compilation sampler was for the live version of Spirit Catcher's “Party Circuit.” A lot of his stuff is quite samey, but when he does a good one, he's incredible. This version is much better than the original mix that came out a few months ago. It's much more raw, with less of a studio feel than the other version, which was very programmed. This is a bit madder and better for it. It's still quite techy, so it will fit in a lot of different sets.
“Give It Back” (Naked Music)
Naked might not be getting as much coverage in magazines as before, but I think they're putting out better music than ever. They've been heading into the Martinez and Trentemøller — style minimal/electro/pulsating end of deep house. The “Eric's Wollman Dub” is one of the best vocal tracks I've heard in a while. It's got a nice, fat live slap bass and some big orchestral stabs that really give it a big feel. The vocal is amazing. It could become a classic. It's a record for the ladies.
“Gebrünn Gebrünn” (BPitch Control)
This is just mad — the sort of record you'd play to a massive crowd. It would be tough to drop. But it may be good for an outdoor festival because it's got such a dirty vibe. It starts off grungy and dark, kind of industrial, then mad-filthy sounds keep coming out of it. It's very trippy but also quite minimal — I wouldn't know what category to put it in. The big, sweeping strings and hypnotic feel mean that I might use it to open with or to mess around with people's heads in a long set.
LAYO & BUSHWACKA!
“Deep South” (End)
This is a bit of an older track, but something that I've been looking to pick up on a good vinyl copy for a while. This is one of those rare records that is timeless. It was genre-defining in the way that it mixed up tech house and breakbeat. There's a great old blues sample, I don't know where they got it. It's kind of spooky but also warm. It really trips me out as it gets toward the end and the moody strings build up. Utterly genius.
“Reflections” (Montana Entertainment)
If I was playing a terrace set or a house club, the “Morjac Club Mix Instrumental” is the sort of track I would go for. It's uplifting with a lot of melodies in it and quite pumping with a really nice breakdown. It's pretty euphoric, classic, timeless. The top line is twinkly, which keeps your head interested. It's just a fat, pumping house record — I really like it. I've never heard of these guys before, but I find that a lot with the records I buy.
“Sei (Steve Bug Remix)” (Poker Flat)
I like melody and harmony, but a lot of the minimal stuff is just bleeps and click. This one I love, though. It's got the most beautiful harmonies in it — it's mellow and pretty. I buy a lot of stuff on Poker Flat; it's probably the best minimal label out there. Their stuff is clubby, and unlike a lot of minimal stuff, it goes somewhere. This builds to a nice crescendo, and there are some nice drops.
“Goettsching” (Full Pupp)
This is a funky, jazzy, laidback track. Again, it's trippy and atmospheric but this time more chilled out. This guy is Norwegian and works a lot with Lindstrøm — just a couple of the many Scandinavians making some pretty hot music. It's the kind of record you could play in a bar, or at sunset, or anywhere. It's not a big club record, but it's really nice to listen to. I love pretty much everything the pair has done, but I'm so selective in what I play that not many of their tracks made it into my box. This might, though — it's a special-occasion record.
Rounder Records; 19 Brighton Square, The Lanes, Brighton, East Sussex, England BN1 1HD; 44-1273-325440