Jake Goldsmith on Why Every Single DJ Should Know How to Dance
Jake Goldsmith is one funny dude. Whenever we get to speak with the 30-year-old selector and member of the Rebel Disco collective, he tends to be quick with quips or some sort of wittiness that always makes for a lively interview. Such was the case when Up on the Sun had a chat with Goldsmith recently for this week's DJ Dossier, which - as you'll read - is filled with plenty of wisecracks about his lack of dancing skills and a secret crush on Ryan Gosling.
This same spirit of fun tends to flow through both his sets and those of every member of Rebel Disco during their Wednesday night Push Push affair at Bar Smith. "It means you can dance and sing with a group of DJs that don't take things too seriously, we try to have fun," Goldsmith says. "Playing fun music for fun times. No aggro nonsense."
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Name: Jake Goldsmith
Current Gigs: My residency at Push Push on Wednesdays is my priority right now, but I do have a Saturday thing with the Rebel Disco crew coming up on Saturday, February 16, at Bar Smith.
Preferred Genres: Disco, house, acid, techno, but of course I play a lot of other things...funk, soul, boogie, proto, no wave, kraut...etcetera.
How did you get into the DJ game? I used to skate back in El Paso with a group of friends. We would all hit the local spots together and travel to out of town contests together. So we were very influential on one another. One of the older guys in the group started scratching hip-hop records and we were all blown away by how cool it was. This was the '90s. That sorta spread throughout the group and one by one [and] we all picked up DJing, breakdancing, and other forms of street culture. I played breakdancing shows, skate events and raves early on.
Was it a crew? No, nothing like that, just ghetto kids doing what ghetto kids do -- raise hell.
What's the most hell y'all raised? We once were arrested for skating on a school roof.
What's your mantra as a DJ? Real DJs dance.
So rate yourself as a dancer. Oooh...a high four maybe. I'm a much better DJ. I'm not awful, though. I can have a good time.
Are we talking Elaine Benes bad? Not that bad.
What's the best thing about being a DJ, in your opinion? Nothing, it all stinks! Just kidding. Honestly, it would have to be sharing the music you have personally formed an obsessive relationship with. It is a true feeling.
How do you stand out from other rank-and-file DJs? Other than being the most misunderstood, I don't really know. I have a birthmark on my forehead, if that helps.
Misunderstood? People who don't know me think I'm an asshole, but i'm really just a super passionate nerd.
What's been your favorite experience thus far as a DJ? Still remember my first night as the closing DJ, something I worked so hard to get to for years. Exciting experience
What's something that no one else knows about you? I'm secretly in love with Ryan Gosling
girl Jake, is he aware of your secret love? Dunno.
How much work do you put into your mixes? You mean like a recorded DJ mix?
Sure. Gosh I don't know, not too much time, but enough to make the mix good and give it a vibe. Live DJing is different.
How so? It's an aggregate -- an accumulation if you will -- of stuff you discover while DJing both live or in the studio. When I play live, I go off the cuff but reference things that have worked in previous sessions and still try new things. So to answer your question, it's an ongoing thing.
What's something you've pulled out on the fly that went over like mad? One track that I love and now try to play every so often is "Song For Ellen" by Mighty Mouse. It's an edit that I hadn't played yet a few years back, and when I did, I knew straight away I'd be playing it more and more. That, and "Love The Night Away" by DJ Kaos. Killer.
Ever have a particular track flop? Yeah, part of the trade. If you aren't challenging your audience, then you aren't doing the job of a DJ...introducing music that otherwise goes unplayed. It doesn't always pan out at the moment you try it though.
What's your favorite track of the moment? I would say Jacques Renault, "Back To You" (Paradis Remix) on Let's Play House. It is a cool, deep little number with intoxicating, yet restrained, vocals.
Are you a huge fan of Renault? I'm a huge fan of feel-good tunes, his name happens to be attached to a lot of those as of late. He's a friend though, and a talented dude
Is this the first time he's performed in Phoenix? Third.
Why do you keep bringing him back? Good question. He was relatively unknown here the first time round and the turnout was underwhelming. So we are hoping the third time will be the charm. We've also invited his NYC pal and DFA stalwart Justin Miller along this time.
What does Renault do better than other DJs? His collection is noteworthy, his remixes are class, and he pushes the latest sounds. He's got his finger on the pulse, if you will.
Does he have anything special planned for his set on January 30th at Bar Smith? Actually, I'm sure he's got something off his new label Goodnight Moon that he'll play. And he, Justin and I will be tagging -- playing together record for record -- from 11:30 on. Gonna be a gas.
Are special guests such as Renault how events like Push Push stands out from other club nights? Yes, but also the night itself. What we do and what we play isn't being done/played anywhere else in the valley. It means you can dance and sing with a group of DJ's that don't take things too seriously, we try to have fun. Playing fun music for fun times. No aggro nonsense.
The rooftop at Bar Smith during a typical club night.
If you could change anything about the local club scene, what would it be? Less competition, more love and support. It's cool to push one another along.
But isn't cattiness and competition always going to be inherent to any scene? Yeah, I guess. I just choose to not associate with such characters. DJing and dance music is about fun...period.
Speaking of fun, what's yer preferred poison while DJing? Stella, Jameson, Corona, Beefeater, Tequila.
All at once? Definitely not all at once, and in any order I suppose
What's the craziest shit you've witnessed at a gig? Other than sex on the dance floor...[there was] fireworks on the dancefloor on New Year's Eve at Bar Smith. Funny shit man...smoke bombs, roman candles, etcetera. Pretty dangerous actually. Dude got tossed out.
Was anyone hurt? No one was hurt... just startled. Funny thing to see while DJing to a packed crowd.
Did you cue up an appropriate song to fit the moment, bychance? No, [got] totally caught off guard with it.
Any advice for newbie DJs who are just starting out? If you aren't willing to learn by playing on turntables with two pieces of vinyl, simply for the love of music and the art of mixing, then don't do it. Leave it for others. I just don't think you can truly learn to DJ without turntables, vinyl, and an audience. Just my honest opinion.
Rebel Disco's Push Push featuring Jacques Renault takes place at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, January 30, at Bar Smith. Admission is free before 10:30 p.m., $5 until midnight, and $10 thereafter.
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