It wouldn't be a stretch to call DVS1 (aka Zak Khutoretsky) the biggest new thing in techno, except for the fact that he's been deejaying for nearly two decades and promoting underground events in his native Minneapolis for just as long. He made his Denver debut in February of last year, performing with Ben Klock during an amazing weekend of cutting-edge techno that also saw the likes of Sweden's Mikael Stavöstrand and San Francisco's Jason Short roll through the Mile High City. We recently caught up with DVS1 (due tonight at 2200) and asked him about his last trip to Denver, his style of techno and why he's just now earning notoriety.
Westword: You've been promoting events and deejaying since the mid '90s, but it's really only been in the last two or three years that you've really started to get a lot of national and international attention. Why do you think that is?
DVS1: Even though I have been deejaying since 1995, the unfortunate reality is that it's extremely difficult to get noticed as a DJ in this day and age. So production and putting out music is your way in. After I put out my first couple of releases for Klockworks [Ben Klock's label] and Transmat [Derrick May's], I started getting the opportunities to travel and show my history as a DJ.
The set you played your first time in Denver (with Ben Klock in February of 2011) was pretty impressive. How did you enjoy playing here?
It was good, but was also pretty tiring as it was the last day of three stops in a row crossing from one side of the U.S. to the other, and then back to Denver on that Sunday. The crowd was energetic and I could tell they were really happy to have us.
What are the clubs and the underground scene like in your hometown, Minneapolis?
The clubs, except for First Avenue are really not very supportive of "real" house and techno. But the underground scene here is where things have always flourished and continues to push things beyond what any club could offer.
You have, I think, a really unique sound. How would you describe your style of techno?
I'm always quick to reference my upbringing in this music to describe my style, more than just other DJ names. I was raised on huge sound systems. The music wasn't just about what your heard, but what you physically felt from the power of the wall of speakers in front of you. It was also in an era where the music was still new to the performer as much as it was to the crowd listening. To try and put it into a few words, I play beats and rhythms, sometimes slow, sometimes fast -- it all depends on the room, the sound, the crowd's feedback, and what I feel is appropriate to make all those work together!
Who are some of your influences?
When it comes to dance music, the '90s house and techno scene in the Midwest! Otherwise, old hip-hop, funk, soul, jazz, and just anything that moves me.
Do you have any new projects you want to tell us about?
I started my own label, Hush, back in December to celebrate fifteen years of my promotion, production and various other projects under that name. The label is dedicated to my own productions with four to five releases a year. I've also just signed up to do a release for Berghain's label Ostgut [Ton], which will come out around August. I've got a remix for Trus'me coming on his label, Prime Numbers, and a remix coming for Nina Kraviz's album on Rekids.
What can we expect at 2200 on Friday?
I give what I get, so if the crowd gives me good energy, I'll take that and put it back out to them through the music and the speakers!
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