Interview: DJ One Five

Ask anyone about the history of dance music and you’ll soon find the conversation turn its attention to cities like Chicago, New York, and Detroit, the latter of which became responsible for a large number of techno’s early success stories.

As such, it’s become common place for DJs, promoters, producers and pretty much anyone else in the industry to pay tribute to the Motor City in one form or another.

For Berlin’s Get Physical Music, that tribute comes in the form of a new compilation series, titled “Detroit Gets Physical”, the first edition of which finds itself being curated by Detroit native, and long time techno affiliate, DJ One Five.

His tracklist for the album brings together music from Scan7, Gino, Biz, Jon Dixon, Vince Watson, GPU Panic, and others, for 11-tracks of Detroit-inspired club jams that perfectly showcase the modern day sound of the city.

We spoke to DJ One Five following the compilations release, where we got to ask him about the early days of Detroit techno, his thoughts on some of the tracks included on the album, and more. Get the full discussion below.

You grew up in Detroit, so we imagine you must have some pretty unique stories when it comes to the early days of techno, what’s one memory you have which stands out in particular?

One of my best memories is going to my first Movement festival, which at the time was called Detroit Electronic Music Festival. It was Memorial Day weekend in Detroit which is a holiday and one of the best weekends to be there. I remember hearing so many great DJ”s, including Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins.

After the festival I went to a warehouse party in the city and didn’t get home until the next morning after hitting Coney Island, a well known 24 hour food spot. I felt like Detroit was the place to be. The scene in Detroit is pretty much 24 hours.

You’re now based in Las Vegas, what inspired you to move there?

I actually recently moved to Las Vegas because I love the weather and all of the venue options I have to play house and techno. I also like the underground scene here.

And how would you compare the club scenes of the two cities?

The Vegas club scene is more tech house and techno with great-looking venues. The Detroit scene is like a whole different experience. You can go to a club and see your favourite DJ while partying with your favourite DJ’S.

You recently teamed up with Berlin’s Get Physical imprint to put together the first volume of their “Detroit Gets Physical” compilation series, how did you go about choosing which tracks to include on the release?

Get Physical is such a great and respected label so I felt honoured to be a part of the first volume and to be the person behind picking the music. I wanted to choose tracks that had that Detroit feeling behind them. When I first heard Gino’s track ‘Dam I wrong’ I knew instantly it would be a great fit for the compilation. Gino definitely brings the Detroit sound that I was looking for.

The Scan 7 remix of­­ “No Way Out” is a perfect blend of Detroit’s underground and club scene, I wouldn’t be surprised if it touches the radio airwaves on the local stations in Detroit. Biz “City Lights” is a track that instantly fits because of the ride it takes you on and it reminds me of the warehouse scene in Detroit.

Everyone knows about the history of Detroit when it comes to techno, but who are some of the cities emerging talents that you think we should all be aware of?

Yes, Detroit is full of emerging talent. Keep an eye out for Deeper Waters, Gino, Drummer B, Mona Black, Tylr_, Mr. Drew, Dr. Poppers, and Cowboy Paul.

As someone who has been around club music since the early days, what are some of the biggest differences you’ve noticed between then and now?

I would say one of the biggest differences are the DJ’s. I feel like back in the day DJ’s supported each other while still having competition, because they all needed the clubs and music to thrive. Now I think it’s important to bring that sense of community back to the music.

And who do you think has been one of the most consistent producers in the game over that time?

I think DJ Pierre has been very consistent in providing not just dancefloor bangers but tracks with deep meaning behind them.

Before we wrap things up, is there anything else you would like to mention?

Yes, I am excited about the future of house and techno. I want to be considered as a person that touched souls through my music and the way I treated people. House music saved my life and gave me purpose and I hope to inspire people to be themselves and believe anything is possible.

DJ One Five – Detroit Gets Physical is out now on Get Physical Music