Dallas has been fortunate over the years.. Not only has its art scene grown enormously but it’s been blessed with tastemakers doing the same thing in its music scene, and one of those incredibly talented and undeniable tastemakers is DJ/Producer Sober. He has thrown some of the most memorable parties in Dallas that have launched movements, helped bring attention to the local boohoo scene, pushed young artists, and paved the way for generations to come. Without Sober, Dallas would never be where it is today, and not only that, the scene wouldn’t even be a fraction of what it is producing today in new talent and exposure for the city. Vice did a story a few months back as well as Nakid in the growing hiphop scene and why it may just be the best in the country let alone Texas right now – one reason in our opinion, Sober. For over a decade he’s shaped and honed an aesthetic that’s one of a kind and untouchable. From his mixes, to his parties, to his amazing illustration work, he is a renaissance blessing to North Texas and Dallas specifically. TONIGHT we have Sober out to party with us for our One-Year Anniversary party at It’ll Do Club in Deep Ellum (Tickets and info found here), and we caught up with the hiphop producing guru recently to pick his brain on what’s new, how he got here, and what’s next on this wild ride he calls life..
- Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Will aka DJ Sober. I reside in Dallas and DJ, produce, illustrate… I make art for a living.
- I can remember back in the day you playing Zubar or the then Suite Basement, now it’s called the Travis. You’ve been killing it in Dallas though for years, one party and one venue at a time. Do you have a favorite spot overall you’ve played in Dallas over the years or party? How do you think Dallas’ music scene has changed from when you started, specifically within hip hop circles?
Man! Those were the days. I would have to say Zubar was my favorite for nostalgic reasons. That’s where everything really started for me and my old DJ crew The Party. I am also really fond of Beauty Bar for its house party-like vibe. I feel like anyone can attend my Big Bang Thursdays at Beauty Bar and have a blast. As far as the scene changing, there are always younger kids coming up so the crowd tends to change every few years. Throwing all-ages parties years ago helped to gain attention from a younger crowd. Now, those kids are over 21 and come out to Beauty Bar and other parties I play. It keeps me on my toes and challenges me to stay on top of new music that I can introduce to my crowds. It’s an exciting time in music and folks are in to multiple sounds, so that keeps things fun for me.
- I see you jet setting now a days all over the place, you play here, New York, Austin, where do you love playing most and why? Do you think you will ever move from Dallas or Texas? What about Dallas or TX in general feeds your inspiration and keeps you here versus moving to other larger markets where you could easily push your success even farther like NY or LA?
I plan multiple trips per year to visit / play other cities and markets. I was just in Miami a few months ago and had a blast! If you are out that way, check out Peach Fuzz; it’s a great party. More than doing spot dates, I love touring. It’s the best feeling to play for a new crowd every night, see what folks in different regions are in to, learn about tunes from the locals.
I love TX and think Dallas has been a great place to have as a home base. Dallas knows how to rock. A lot of the guests I’ve had rock my weekly party are blown away at how progressive our scene is and how much fun everyone has. I’m not against moving around, though. That California weather is always calling my name.
- We saw you are about to do a mini-tour in LA in September, that’s really exciting and we’re siked to cover it too, especially the legendary echo! What are you most looking forward to on the tour? Will we see you doing more of these mini tours around the country or is there a bigger tour on the horizon, maybe with another artist?
I’m looking forward to rocking some legendary local spots and playing for fresh new faces. Really stoked on meeting up with a bunch of homies while I’m in town as well. Besides that, shooting photos, surfing and record shopping are at the top of my list of things to do. More traveling is in the cards for sure. I did a few tours with Black Milk and that was an amazing experience. My producer partner Picnictyme and I are working on some crazy new music for our group Booty Fade, so maybe we will be rocking in more places than ever real soon!
- You’ve been a part of and created a lot of parties that have all been successful over the years most notably the Basement with you and Picnictyme as well as The Party with DJ Select and Nature. Now you have Humpday hangout and Big Bang at the beauty bar in Dallas bringing artists in every week to play with you and it’s consistently packed and crazy in there, probably the best Thursday night party in the city in our opinion. How do you go about creating these parties and how do you choose who you wanna partner up with on them? Are you planning on expanding to possibly monthly’s in say Austin or other markets since you’ve seen such success in Dallas and with your monthly Top Notch in Houston? What do you think sets you and your events apart from others trying to do the same thing and does it make it easier being Promotor and DJ and how does that aspect help you push your brand?
Thanks! I am very fortunate to have my Thursdays. 5 years in and it’s only getting wilder. I have always reached out to fellow DJs whom I respect and think would be a good fit for my parties. I want the crowd and the guest to leave raving about the night.
Monthly parties in other cities are hard to keep up with, but Top Notch in Houston has been going strong for 6 years! If anything, I would aim higher and focus on a monthly in another state – bring this TX flavor somewhere else.
I’d say what sets me and my parties apart is that there is something for everyone who attends. You can’t fake music knowledge. Sure, you can download a torrent file of all the hot songs but they’ve got to be mixed and blended seamlessly throughout the night. You’ve got to be able to move the crowd from A-Z without missing a beat. Being able to do that is something I pride myself on. Because I’m also an illustrator, I became my own promoter as well. I think I’ve created a brand for myself that people recognize immediately. The quality of my song selection, blends, art for the party, etc. are all super important to me.
- A lot of people may not know this but you create all your own graphics and illustrations, has that always been another creative outlet for you and do you ever see yourself pushing your illustration work farther then just promoting your brand, maybe say a gallery showing or something along those lines?
I’ve drawn for as long as I can remember. I was a visual artist before I was a DJ. I do most of my own party flyers. If I’m slammed I will art direct a flyer along with one of my many talented artist friends who gets my style. I’ve recently worked on a slew of cool new art projects, such as designing for a nail polish line, album artwork for Nina Sky and a couple of zines on train culture. My ‘Say It Ain’t Southern’ project focuses on train culture. I’ve released 2 zines under that brand so far. For the first release, I had all of the artists in the zine create pieces for an art exhibit and showcased their work at a gallery here in Dallas. I see myself moving more and more into visual arts and really enjoy creating and curating.
- We love asking everyone this, what is your spirit animal?
I’d say David Byrne mixed with a lil Prince.
- What new music do you have on the horizon for fans as far as a full length or EP is concerned and when can we expect it to drop? What collaborations do you have in the works with some of the new stuff you’re cooking up like with Booty Fade, you guys last EP that came out a year ago was seriously killer!
Right now I’m in the studio working on Booty Fade stuff with Picnictyme. I can’t wait for people to hear it. I feel like each song we create is better than the last, which is a good feeling to have.
- What are some of your favorite spots to chill in Dallas or some of the other places you travel to frequently that you love getting to hang at or eat/drink?
All Good Cafe, The Wild Detectives, La Calle Doce, Pints & Quarts.
- What new music or artists are you grinding on that’s inspiring you right now you think people should know about?
Sam Gellairty, Uproot Andy, Prince Innocence, Eli Escobar, SUDIE, The Galleria, Durkin, Young Thug, The Outfit, TX, and Picnictyme.
- If money was no object what would your dream project be and who would you wanna collaborate with alive or dead if you could?
Wow. I’d just want to be a fly on the wall during the recording process of any early Prince record. Or I’d buy a time travel device, go back in time and be an original member of Black Sabbath.
- If you had some advice for young producers, artists, and DJ’s out there trying to make the come up and get their name out there what would it be?
First and foremost, follow your passion. Whatever it is in music that you love, perfect that craft and push that skill. If you are a master of your craft, people will notice. Also, when it comes to social media, show people other sides of you. It doesn’t have to be all music related. Folks like a glimpse into who you are outside of all of that.
(some of Sober’s past illustration work)