How did you get your start as a deejay? I guess I got my start as a dj the first time I got a cassette player as a child. I loved making mixtapes for people and would meet with other friends dubbing songs from each other for as long as I could remember. I didn’t start performing as a dj until 2007 when Cage and Aquarium started up, and didn’t start getting into the technique and art of djing until last year.
What genres do you consider to be your specialty and how has that evolved? I love soul music. I feel like motown and stax stuff from the 1960s and 1970s capture so much. Those songs are poppy and catchy, but not corrupted by corporate formula. They’re sexual and political, but in an encoded and subtle way. I just love that era of history and music. I also have a huge soft spot for 80s rock and pop.
What/who are your musical inspirations? That’s hard to say. I think I admire musicians who have something to say. From Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye to Zach de La Rocha, John Legend, and The Roots, I always appreciate musicians who indulge in their philosophical self and allow their perspectives to come out in their music.
When deejaying an event, how do you prepare? How do you choose your songs? At a bar or a private party I tend to be pretty loose. I think of a concept for the night (retro night or soul night) and create a skeleton playlist. For weddings I put a lot more time into preparation. If I’m choosing songs in a genre that my background knowledge is less strong – say for instance contemporary top 40, I rely on Pandora and the Billboard charts a lot.
If you weren’t a deejay, what would you be doing instead? Well, I am an elementary school teacher, so if I wasn’t a dj in the off time, I’d probably just relax like a normal human being. I don’t think just listening to music would suffice, though. I like the performance aspect too much.
In your off time, what do you like to consume your time with? Reading, writing, walking, going to the beach, thinking about existence.
In ten years, where do you see yourself? In a post-apocalyptic zombie world fighting for survival, and then justice.
Where can we expect to see you next (any special events or performances)? Well you can always catch me on my mixcloud page (http://www.mixcloud.com/anthonyclaypool/). I’m hoping to hitch on to a bar gig or two in Rogers Park this summer, but I’ll keep doing weddings until I build up some better skills to wow the club crowds.