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Opel Productions: Dex Stakker

Dex Stakker
links: www.dexstakker.com

Dex brings stomping electrotech and an amazing use of vocabulary to the party

Your music style in a few words: Riff driven (even when just beats), anthematic and pushy, often with basslines that establish a rhythm that contrasts the percussion

Why? Because I feel there is compulsive dance music out there, and not enough of it reaches the floor collected together. Finding those tracks, digging out cuts with those themes that are unifying, galvanizing a dance floor without being unforgivably cloying (forgivably manipulative, with a wink might be OK), and watching their effect on the floor (and on me dancing behind the decks, for that matter) is addictive.

Obligatory DJ questions: How long have you been DJ'ing? I went to a smaller state college that was largely a commuter school. You basically had to join one of the five Greek fraternities in order to have a night-life. Our "frat house" was a recently-purchased historic apartment building facing the main school administration building. Throughout the final three years of schooling, I was known for running "Rocker Room," which basically consisted of me in my apartment, using a single full-sized CD player, swapping out songs as fast as I could to counter whatever music played by the theme party we were throwing at the time. Don't like the disco music in the main room? You could always wander in and dance in my room. I would throw on Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun" and draw every girl (and therefore many guys) within a 2-mile radius into my room (what is it with that song?), and then see how long I could keep the room packed with the pop and rock and I had on hand at the time. When it got late, and it got down to a few friends, the metal-head in me emerged and I'd tear through a hair, speed, thrash, and progressive metal regimen. The dance music side of me would later merge these two influences. Ironically, when I bought my turntables in the fall of 2005, someone had to remind me that I had done this before in Rocker Room, and that I tended to take over the CD players in the waning hours of most parties that I had attended in the years since.

What got you into the scene? My friend Michael had been immersed in the San Francisco scene in the mid-90s, when his roommate had been an emerging producer achieving some success. It was a magical time for dance music, and for San Francisco in particular, and he imparted a large part of his appreciation of electronic and dance music to me when I was his roommate in 2002-2003. Coincidentally, we both started to attend Opel parties and at a Love Parade after-party, spent a night in a tiny room at Kelly's Mission Rock listening to Fred Funk and Smoove. I had never liked dancing all that much, but I sure liked dancing to that, and I was hungry for more. I had been hung up on Uberzone's "The Freaks", but was unsure of where to find more, when Michael bought and I "borrowed" (for three years), Hyper's "Wired" mix. I realized there was a whole genre of dance music that revolved around this sound, and I LOVED it.

What made you decide to come off the dance floor & get behind the decks? My favorite local DJ, who had been batting 1000 percent in my book for quite a while, started to evolve his sound in a different direction that wasn't conducive to my tastes and while there are scores of great locals, I felt I couldn't count on complete satisfaction in any one direction. I was sitting on a bench at The Mighty, having exhausted myself dancing to an extraordinary set from Simply Jeff, and I mentioned to a new friend, Marcine, that I was thinking about getting a pair of decks, and she said "Don't think about it. You want to do it. Just do it." and I went home that night and started scouting around Ebay, and by the end of the week, I had my tables.

Day job? What is it? Software Engineer.

What keeps you motivated to keep going out there, getting new music, and DJ'ing? I think this question has the cause and effect reversed. New music and savory old music is constant thread of what keeps life worth living. Love, hate, all these other emotions, wax and wane, taking you to the highest highs and the lowest lows, but music brings a satisfaction that is unflappable, often playing off of the volatility of those other aspects of your life..

Music influences, electronic and otherwise: The Cult - They used simple, impossible-to-forget riffs and beats, to create music that still came off as artistic. It's straight-up rock that you can actually dance to. Megadeth - I've been a fan since I heard "So Far, So Good, So What" on a school bus in 1989. I raced to catch up on their albums and found that 1988's "Rust in Peace" was my favorite (and still is). Now, with the context of dance music, I consider them the breakbeat of metal with that album. Constant rhythm changes with dynamic riffs that made me want to sing along with the guitar.

Favorite 12" of all time? Young American Primitve - The Reality of Nature - It's epic, anthematic, and yet completely unique. I've never heard another song like it.

What DJ's still make you want to go dance? Locals: Syd Gris (when he puts his evil electro hat, mustache and sunglasses on, putting away his progressive halo and wings), Smoove, Melyss, Icon, Raydeus, Mozaic, Evinrude, Aaron Jae. SF-Frequent Headliners: Uberzone, Krafty Kuts, Meat Katie, Dylan Rhymes, Bassbin Twins

Favorite vice you're willing to share: Blue movies.

Tell us your top DJ moment to date: Burning Man 2007. I went on following Bassnectar and Lee Coombs, both of whom had helped to whip the crowd into a frenzy. I knew I had strong, fresh material and I knew that all I had to do was bring what I had to the table, and everyone would eat. I had one song that dives almost into a progressive-style breakdown, haunting and beautiful, and I took a moment to breathe and really soak up how large and happy the crowd was. I still tear up when I play that song, remembering that moment.

Sweet or savory? Savory..

Abbey Road or Sgt. Peppers? Sgt. Peppers

Tell us something most people don't know about you. I'm a singer. Boys choir, quit for puberty, garage band, and then national anthems (because hockey needs Canadian too) for football games and hockey games.

What are you waiting for? Burning Man next year.

Interests outside the scene: I don't understand the question.

April 1, 2004 12:00 AM, by mark

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