Autobrentt Interview with Three
DJ Three is an underground legend. Once a former resident of New York’s infamous Twilo club, Three he has been a key player in New York’s vibrant techno scene since it first started rumbling dance floors a decade ago. Known for his unique productions and expansive library of music from the few and far between, Three is a musical storyteller with a canny ability for crafting wildly creative and adventurous sets.
Three is hard to pin down these days – one day he’s spinning in Tokyo and the next day he’s headlining an afterhours in LA. On top of traveling, he’s got his hands full with production and running his label, Hallucination Limited. Therefore, he has always been a bit of a mystery to us, leaving us wondering – who is this man behind the legend that Three is? In this exclusive interview, he let us pick his mind about his future, what “underground” means to him and where the name “Three” really comes from.- It seems you are so in-demand these days – when would you say your career really picked up? And do you ever feel like slowing down?
In 2006 things started to happen a lot more internationally… a lot of new places I’d never been like Japan and Australia. Right now I like DJing more than I ever have. I try to make it special regardless of what I’m walking into on any given night. [Running] all over the place all the time will certainly run it’s course, but I don’t see myself slowing down anytime soon.- If someone were to write a biography on your life as DJ Three, what would you want the title to be?
Nobody is going to be writing any books, but we could have some fun with this:
“Don’t Quit Your Day Job”
“Sex Drugs and Tax Evasion”
“Pump Up The Valium” (thank you Sean Cusick)- Your sets are so eclectic and original, every time I hear you play, regardless of time and place. Do you prepare in advance for your gigs? How do you ‘decide’ what music you are going to play?
That’s the best compliment I could get really. Thank you. I never know really. I don’t plan much. I rarely keep anything in any sort of order accept new stuff I just got. I’ll have plenty of ideas before I play, but I find that often always doesn’t end up being the case so I just try and move with whatever I feel is appropriate — in my mind — for the room. Over the last several years I’ve split full nights with Doc Martin, Harvey, Sasha and FK, all very different DJs…All those scenarios lend themselves to playing differently based on personal tastes and hopefully breaking peoples preconceptions as much as possible.- The word “underground” has been used a lot to describe your music and the scene you are affiliated with. What does “underground” mean to you – musically and culturally?
The underground is a multi-tiered place for all involved. A multi-headed beast for all invested. I’ve been able to regularly interact with a full spectrum of people regardless of age, musical or cultural background. If memory serves that is what this was all about.- Can you tell me about how you came to call yourself “Three”? And how did you come to choose the name “Hallucination Limited” for your label? I always like the stories behind artist and label names, and how people get there.
When i started to collect records, most [but] not all, but most of the names I saw on those records were monikers: Flood, The Latin Rascals, Rave, Jose “Animal” Diaz, Curtis Mantronik, Virgo, Hypo Luxa…. or U2’s guitar player calling himself The Edge. The Sisters of Mercy’s drum machine is named Dr. Avalanche. When you read “engineered by Flood” on both a Ministry record and then a U2 record. For me that left a big impression - you know like “whoa — who the hell is this Flood guy?”. The name alone conjured up mystery and made me want to investigate. I liked the idea of separating the person and the artist by using a moniker instead of one’s real name. I made up a DJ name long before i ever knew I would ever get to do it in a club. I was just home with one turntable and two cassette decks making pause-button mix tapes and dying to know more about what went on in the world of music. I [was] incurably curious! How I actually picked the name “Three” is even less interesting than this so I’ll save you that!!- Let’s talk about your label, Hallucination Limited. What are you seeking sound-wise? Is there a certain criterion for signing on artists?
The label mix album “Hallucienda” was very much meant to show the diversity of the label tracing from Hallucination Recordings to my own vision with Hallucination Limited. Ultimately, we have always wanted to show any music we think is exceptional from any and all styles. Most important is for it to still be and feel relevant many years on down the line. The main thing is to have had some experience or connection with the artist either by way of influence, connecting dots with moments in time, or personal experiences. A great experience with Seth Troxler is what lead to his release with Inxec. That type of thing is also what has lead to upcoming solo singles by Zev and Gadi from Wolf + Lamb.What was the “aha” moment where you realized or decided a musical career was your calling?
When I was in my early teens I was listening to everything from pop like Prince, Madonna… to proper electro and NY freestyle like Soul Sonic Force, Mantronix, C-Bank to alternative or industrial stuff like Skinny Puppy, Sisters of Mercy and Big Audio Dynamite. I started to notice a lot of the same names in the fine print of these records….Ultimately, it made me .incurably curious as to both what went on behind the scenes of making records and what went on behind the music that made up the “scenes”.- And lastly, what’s in store for you for the rest of the year?
In October look for new label catalog pieces with exclusive mixes added to Beatport. We are also pressing vinyl again and start with one of the best house records I’ve heard all year…. the Queen of Hearts EP by NYC’s own Zev. Look for it this November directly from HallucinationLimited.com