Globetrotting around the far reaches of the world, from Australia to Norway, France to South Korea, Dallas' own JT Donaldson has been spreading the gospel of Deep House to those who will listen.
Currently riding high on the release of his compilation "San Francisco Sessions v.5" on Om Records, made with partner-in-crime Lance DeSardi, the pair will be among the tens of thousands to celebrate North America's version of the Love Parade in San Francisco.
JT Donaldson gave RA some of his time to tell us some stories from last year’s parade, his hopes for the remainder of the year and what's in store for him in the coming 12 months.
You’re playing on Om's float this year. What makes Om different to other house labels?
Om has an amazing staff and a great family vibe to them. Plus they’re the most consistent house label in San Francisco.
The first Love Parade to hit North America had an attendance of 30,000+ with an expected 80,000 dance lovers attending in year two. Are you excited to hear how people in the dance community have embraced the concept of the Love Parade?
Definitely. I think it’s great to see the stateside dance community embrace what has been a phenomenon in Berlin for many years. All it takes is a bit of organization to show the world that America is still ready to shake their ass.
This year's parade has expanded to the entire weekend with pre-parties, post-parties, and weekend parties throughout the city in celebration of the Love Parade and the idea of Dr. Motte’s “Love, Peace, and Pancakes”. How do you think the Love Parade is different compared to other dance events like Glastonbury, Fuse-In, or Coachella?
The difference to me lies in the fact that the parade rolls through the middle of the city and you get the general public involved without buying a ticket, driving somewhere, parking and all that. Seeing a 75 year old Chinese guy getting into it as he’s buying a news paper is fucking priceless.
Any memorable moments from last year's parade that you can share to those who might think otherwise about coming to San Francisco to experience this version of the Love Parade?
There were many but my favorite moment of last year was simply not knowing what would happen. We didn’t have any idea of how many people would crowd the streets for the event. I think we were all blown away by the response.
The Love Parade and Woodstock have the same essence, same vibe; two events that bring love and peace; colorful and open-minded people together in one location, with a massive party and some of the most popular entertainers of their time. Do you see any correlations between this and Woodstock?
Sure, I think both events are built on promoting love and awareness of the world around you.
Do you believe dance music, or dance culture is just a fad like what most people in the general music business believe?
Not at all. The industry will continue to change and evolve, but you’ll always have dance music in that equation. Look at Gwen Stefani for example, she dropped a dance album that has won awards and topped the sales charts globally. You see pop artists and major labels continuing to try and tap into the dance music scene. I mean shit; Madonna built a career on dance music. Is she a fad?
Do you think the parade will open or has opened the eyes of those that haven’t paid attention to dance culture? Do you think this event will eventually revitalize the presence of dance music in mainstream culture in America?
I hope so.
What are your opinions about the city of San Francisco in general? Why do you think so many people are attracted to the city since you come from Dallas?
I think people realize San Francisco is a major force in the dance music scene. There’s a history as well as a sense of community. Most of all, people love to party out here. It’s really that simple, because when you’re living in a city where there’s not a lot going on and you come to San Francisco, you just let loose and the city let’s you have it.
You create house music, you play house music, and you have been enamored in house music for years, but what is your response to those who constantly say that DJs are no more than a guy putting a record on and pressing the ‘play’ button?
They’re fuckin’ idiots. I’ve never encountered anyone saying that in my years DJing.
You and your DJ partner Lance have recently released the fifth installment of “San Francisco Sessions” on Om. Can you give RA a heads-up on anything to keep an ear out for or anything else happening towards the end of 2005?
Yeah, I’ll be releasing my solo album early next year, continuing to run Gallery (my label), remixing artist's singles, and have just released a mixed CD with Syntax Music in New York.