Gay DJ brings beats ‘like sex’ to Jungle Atlanta

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Even if you haven't encountered DJ Deanne yet, she knows how to find your sweet spot. And she means that like it sounds. The spinmeister gives us the scoop ahead of her local debut conducting the Jungle party train on Saturday.

DJ Deanne hits town with a decade of experience under her belt. Since a big leap to South Florida last year, this Midwestern transplant is kicking ass and taking names that she hopes will include all of gay Atlanta’s dancing queens after her Saturday set. It would only add to her two South Beach residencies, the Beach Party with legendary Brett Henrichsen during Miami Beach Pride, and an upcoming Tampa series with Power Infiniti.

“These things, in addition to the Jungle gig, have been the new changes in this region alone in just the last six months,” she tells Project Q Atlanta. “It's been amazing to see the progress and my fan base building in such a short time.”

Now, back to those sexy promises. Deanne lays us out and serves us the dish on why she approaches sets like sexual encounters and why Jungle is like “an experienced lover, and I know that I have to come with it.”

Describe your sound for those who haven’t had the Deanne Experience yet.

Each set is much like a sexual encounter for me – flirtation, foreplay, heavy petting, full on intercourse and then the release. Not every encounter is exactly alike, and figuring out what's going to turn you on is the exciting part.

My sound continues to evolve over time, but regardless of where music is at the moment and who is standing in front of me, I have always tried to come to my events equipped with fresh, attention-getting, emotion-inducing tracks.

At the root of it all is house music. You'll definitely hear a little tech house, a lot of tribal and some vocals here and there, all constructed with that "encounter" in mind. I'm not a show(wo)man, per se, but I'll be getting into it right along with my dance floor so that we can feel it together.

From the Midwest to Florida and beyond over the last decade, how have your sound and the crowds changed?

I started DJing and really cut my teeth in Indianapolis, primarily at a club named Talbott Street, where I was the resident DJ for nine years. Options to play to gay audiences were very limited, and Talbott Street really was the only club that was committed to offering it's patrons a progressive sound, to bringing in big DJs –circuit or otherwise – and to really trying to provide a NYC or Miami style of nightlife.

I was fortunate to have that experience for so long. We all know that times have changed in a lot of regions and clubs with the change in the music we hear on the radio and for a variety of other reasons. The mainstreaming and commercialization of club music that is the national trend right now definitely took hold in Indy. I found myself having to change with the club, too, in order to remain successful.

I had been playing at Twist in South Beach for a number of years, two or three times a year, and always felt an energy that was so different than anywhere else. You can do anything in that space – anything. Playing there really allowed me to break free of those constraints that I was feeling back in Indy.

Since I moved to South Florida last year and am concentrating solely on making this my career, the shift in my mentality and my approach in the booth, as well as the evolution of my sound, has been almost immediate. I have picked up more of that Miami vibe. Those boys like to go hard down there, so that's what we do. At the same time, they appreciate a more sophisticated delivery of the music.

I've had to raise my game. I'm getting some attention, so I think it's working. ... It's been an exciting 2013/2014 so far!

Now that we know what to expect from you, what do you expect from Atlanta this weekend?

I have only driven through Atlanta, either very quickly to avoid the traffic or very slowly stuck in it! I really do expect great things, though. My good friend and mentor, [gay Atlanta’s] Twisted Dee has said nothing but amazing things about the people, the club and the city! She says that Atlanta boys know their music, know how to party and know how to treat you right. That all sounds pretty good to me!

I arrive a day early so that I can see a little of the city. I'm definitely going to check out Midtown and have been encouraged to try Einstein's, Roxx and Zocalo. Of course, after my set I am going to head over to Xion to have a listen to Scott Anthony. I can't wait to see what Atlanta is all about!

With big outdoor events, smaller venues and everything in between, how do you approach a gay Saturday night club space like Jungle?

My experiences have definitely been varied over the years! Jungle is a big-room venue that is high on the USA bucket list for most gay DJs, and I feel very fortunate to be appearing there. Though I find myself playing in smaller rooms and outdoor settings a lot, my sound is really made for the big room.

Given what I have heard from Dee and others, I am definitely preparing my set with a lot of respect for the good taste of the audience. In regards to the encounter I referred to earlier, I look at Jungle as an experienced lover and I know that I have to come with it!

What inspires you when you’re in the booth?

Happy people! I'm not saving lives, directly. I'm not ending world hunger or creating the cure for a rare disease. But if I can wrap my musical arms around a room full of people and they can forget about any of their worries or stresses and feel my energy and love, or whatever it is they need to feel from me and the music, and that makes them happy then I am happy. That's pretty inspirational.

What’s your favorite song or artist to play at the moment?

This is always such a hard question to answer. There are sooo many producers, remixers and artists now. It's not like back in the day when every other mix was created by Thunderpuss, Victor Calderone, Hex Hector, Razor and Guido or Peter Rauhofer (rest his soul) and you could count on one of a dozen divas or so to be singing on the record. Anybody can sit in their pajamas and make a mix in their bedroom. And they do. And some of them are really good.

On the other hand, everything gets remixed. You really have to sift through hundreds, if not thousands, of shitty records to find the great ones. For that reason, it's hard to pinpoint a favorite artist or song. I may be really feeling a track but only play it once or twice and then move on. I kind of have A.D.D. like that. I really just go on the overall energy level of the record, the titillating elements of the track, the vocal or instrumental hooks that might catch the listener and where it fits in my set.

What’s next after Atlanta, and what are your goals for the more distant future?

Things have been happening pretty quickly since the move to So Fla. I'm really excited about it! Though I live in Tampa, I plan to continue to look at Miami as my "home base" and grow that listener base. They are loving and loyal there. I feel a connection just like I do in Indianapolis with all those who have been so supportive and loyal over the years.

But my goal has always been to go beyond my locale. I really hope that my appearance at Jungle helps to boost that effort and open some doors in other markets. Without a doubt, production is going to play a more predominant role in my future. So, be on the lookout for those Deanne mixes soon!

If anyone is on the fence about attending, how would you get them to check out Saturday's appearance?

Anyone who is a little uncertain because they may not have been exposed to me or because it's not some huge name playing, I say grab a friend or a gaggle of them, come out and see what happens. I can almost guarantee that I'll find your sweet spot and make a believer out of you.

DJ Deanne plays Jungle on May 10 at 10:30 p.m. Check her out on FacebookTwitter and Soundcloud.


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