This Sunday, July 19, 2009, at precisely 4:30pm, I will play a set at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago’s Union Park. I would tell you to come, but Sunday tickets have been sold out for a month.

So my advice is more specific: gather at ‘Balance Stage’, up close and on time! Especially because it’ll be a short “45 minute set – STRICT set length”. (in Band time, 45 minutes is often enough; in DJ time it passes so quickly.) Which means we will have go in deep, together, from the very beginning, at once and completely.

At first I was a bit worried about being the only DJ at a big 3-day festival. I was gonna invite an MC, or a video artist for projections, or a cellist… Then I decided no. I’m just gonna DJ, as I always do, and if I’m not as exciting to watch as, say, every other act at the festival, then that’s that — you should be dancing anyhow. Life in DJlandia evolves via participation (bouncing around, dutty wine, grinding, etc) not spectatorship, in part because the crowd’s energy & responsiveness to certain tunes or moods actually changes what will get played. A feedback loop. A symbiotic relationship.

Put another way: let’s dance!

OR, it’s better to think of DJs a mediums (rather than performers or Artists or whatever). Grabbing the dictionary…

Medium – (1) a substance regarded as the means of transmission of a force or effect (2) a channel or system of communication, information, or entertainment รขโ‚ฌโ€ compare mass medium (3) an individual held to be a channel of communication between the earthly world and a world of spirits (5) a condition or environment in which something may function or flourish.

but mostly, these days, it’s about cumbia. and our homegrown beats. and Kassav’! (Also – where are the cumbia / Mexican music shops in Chicago?)

A week from today I’ll be back home in BROOKLYN, playing the latest installment of New York Tropical. Think hummingbirds.


  1. A couple ok ones in Pilsen… Dave, the one you mention has a sign with “100% SONIDERO” out front, right? I’ve been meaning to go in there for ages. Jace, any chance you are playing an afterparty in Chicago with perhaps a more expansive set and accomodating venue?

  2. you sum up all my thoughts once again. nicely put! you’re the only one i know who really talks about what’s being a dj. truly helpful (while i’m working on a new mix). how about a “dj pride” some day?!?

  3. For the full sabor mexicano in Chicago, head down to La Villita and walk east on 26th St from Kedzie Ave. There are street vendors selling elotes y pepino en jugo de limon, restaurants that will have pozole y menudo, and music stores as well. Espero que disfrutes tu tiempo en Chicago

  4. yeah the one on cermak and levitt has 100% sonidero out front no doubt, something records and gifts

    right about la villita, that place is no joke

  5. Gavin I have been meaning to check out Pacos, vinyl? gotta check it out for sure.

    I’ve actually been working on a list of hot spots for Cumbia in chicago but my money situation has kinda been hindering me

    neighbors are having a huge party and playing the sickest Cumbia track right now

  6. the spot at like 2843 w cermak seems real good too or so say the neighbors

    just spent 2 hrs in this dudes car blasting cumbia and merengue rap with a great system, more on this later

  7. CUUUUMMMMBIA! Yes, it works well. Massive short set on Sunday! Too bad the crowd, as usual with these events, was so shy.

  8. hey man i had never seen you live but your set blew my mind and really rocked the entire Pitchfork weekend in my opinion. my friends and i danced our faces off but unfortunately the crowd was mostly the too-hip-to-move crowd…i hope you come back to chicago again and play a small cozy venue at night so you can spin for hours…i’ll be there! give me an email if you need a place to crash ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I just wanted to say thank you for the set at Pitchfork. You were on my list of people I wanted to see and wasn’t sure I would have time for. I am so glad i made time! It was amazing.

  10. I was in the front row of your set, which was pretty much life changing. I was looking forward to it probably the most of all the events of pitchfork, and I can’t say I was disapointed. You should come to asheville sometime, I’ll teach you some stuff on the sitar(if you want). by the by, i was the dude who waved at you.

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