Daniel Wherrett has been a powerful force behind the turntables for over two decades. He began his career as DJ Dan amid the emergence of underground and rave music in the early 90s. Since his early years on the west coast, DJ Dan has become a highly sought after performer and recording artist.
"The one thing that has definitely changed is that we [DJs] are not carrying around two 50 pound crates of vinyl to the gigs," says Dan. "I just recently played an all vinyl show with Hipp-E and carrying around those boxes really reminded me of how lucky we have it now with showing up with CDs or a laptop.
"I did however love the feeling of playing vinyl, even with the records skipping and popping. We just got on the mic and said, 'Sorry bitches, this record is from '89 ... show some love!'"
DJ Dan still thinks that the vinyl format sounds better and enjoys watching his favorite labels spin on the turntable. Not only that, but DJ Dan notes that dance music has gained so much popularity and sound systems at clubs have improved. In the current underground scene, DJ Dan believes in educating the crowd, not in selling out.
"I just listen to my heart and play the music that I love, I always have," says Dan. "Whether it's new or old stuff that I pull out, I think the secret to it for me has been just loving what I am playing.
"I've been mixing in a lot of my older classics lately and the crowds have been loving it. I just think as long as you play great music and you are feeling it, the crowd will be feeling it too. Great music is timeless."
Although DJ Dan has been collecting records since he was the age of 5, he explored other creative mediums, including fashion and painting, in his quest for a career.
"I was always looking for ways to tell my story and even though music was right in front of me," says Dan. "I think I just never imagined myself being able to do it as a career, so I just kept it as a hobby growing up."
It wasn't until after college that DJ Dan landed back into music.
"The one thing I have always known is that once you are into this music, there's no getting out; especially if your heart is truly in it. Music has always been very healing for me and my favorite way of expressing myself."
DJ Dan has remixed popular and legendary artists. Some of his top picks include Lady Gaga, Depeche Mode and New Order.
"Probably one of my favorites was A Tribe Called Quest – 'Pubic Enemy.' I got the chance to do a hip-hop remix and do a new take on a more underground track by them. The vocals are hilarious. It's 'pubic' enemy so it's a song about this guy getting crabs. Funny shit!"
Last year marked the release of DJ Dan's debut album Future Retro. DJ Dan admits that the project was a lot of work, but it was fun and he got a great response from his fans.
"For me, it was a big challenge to re-do all the elements on the cover tracks as well as getting the right vocalists on each tune," says Dan. "It was a great personal journey and was a big learning experience in the studio."
Right now, DJ Dan is mainly focusing on new original works. He has worked on some new collaborations, of which he says to keep on the lookout for.
"The one thing I do know for sure is that you can count on me to keep it funky on the dancefloor and put out good vibes in my sets. It's always been a great experience for me playing in Detroit and I am really looking forward to it!" | RDW