House producer DJ Fame began hitting the clubs in 1994, at the age of 14, back when big beat artists like The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers dominated arenas and P.L.U.R was just being introduced into the raver vocabulary. Wanting to immerse himself in the expanding U.S. EDM culture, DJ Fame practiced DJing by mixing old trance records on a set of Gemini belt-drive turntables -- a habit that, two years later, would help him earn slots at underground New York parties. Since then, his achievements include having being the first American signed to Switch's Dubsided label, multiple world tours, and a six-year residency at New York's Sullivan Room. He recently spoke with All Shook Down about co-heading the Rock It Science label, signing new talent, and the evolution of his sound throughout his career. He headlines the Oddjob Loft at Public Works this Friday.
Your first solo EP was released on Switch's Dubsided label. How did that come about?
Dave (Switch) and I had met out one night in NYC. He was kind of wandering the city parties on his own while in town, and someone that had known him gave us a quick introduction. Not thinking much of it past that, the night went on as normal. We had a bit of an afterparty at the place I lived at downtown, and guess who rolls in? We spent some time hanging while he was in the city for a few months, and met up during Winter Music Conference that year. The sound that really seemed to be slamming parties that year were these big builds of mids and highs that would almost scream and drop to nothing, and we both seemed to take that away with us. Got back to NYC and out came "Name It X!"
How did it feel to be the first American producer to join the label?
It was definitely an honor to put out my music with the likes of the Dubsided artists, [especially] since they have all gone on to do even bigger and better things, which is really great to see.
How has your sound evolved since then?
The past few years have been great for dance music, I think, as the boundaries have really been blurred. I get to go everywhere these days, though I tend to keep it 4/4, so I'm hitting speeds as slow as 110 bpm for nu-disco up to 135 for the harder tech. It's been great being able to shake things up a bit from what I've typically always done.
You've been on quite a few labels throughout your career. What finally pushed you to help start the Rock It Science label?
Eric really had this idea conjured up before I got involved, but it was still a year before launch date when I came on board fully. He was flying me in to S.F. quite often for events, and as each one got better, we got some more time to hang, talk shop, and lay down a few tunes in the studio. When it came time to start shopping them, we thought why not release them ourselves and have the next event I fly out for centered around a release on the label? A year later, we launched the label, and released our first collaboration together, and the rest was science.
What's been the most memorable thing you guys have accomplished with the label in the past two years?
Just to not have given up is an accomplishment all in itself, I think, when it comes to a labor of love. We really are just happy being able to shape these releases and contribute to the dance music world. But we are definitely very proud of all of the accomplishments along the way, including C.S.I. Miami choosing our first release to air in one of the episodes, all of the great features, press, and support from people and places we really respect.