DJ Dossier

2ToneDisco's James Campbell Talks Tear Gas, Sticky Fingers, Calvertron, and More

AKA: One-half of 2ToneDisco

Current gigs: Every Friday you can catch us at Bar Smith for Sticky Fingers.

What genres do you specialize in? Mainly hard electro, house, and fidget (which is a genre with tons of those wobbles that dubstep has, except you can dance to it).

We tend to throw in a few crazy disco tracks in there. You can find some pretty hard disco tracks out there surprisingly, also in a lot of work you can find some super disco samples. I like sprinkling some funk and groove into my energetic sets.

Why do you dig those genres? I love house for its danceable beat, but a lot of it really doesn't have the energy that electro and fidget have. A lot of the music we play feels like electronic rock music and it has tons of variation. It's nice to feel like the mood changes with each track rather than having a set vibe.

How did you get started in the DJ game? Started when I was about 15, finally started getting real equipment towards when I was 17. It was something I really enjoyed doing and I loved the music and the people. So it was really just something I saw and wanted to do, so I did it. It really isn't the best story, haha. I mean, I went to a lot of underground parties and thought "Hey, I could do that", but when you're 15, the ones that you could go to were not really the best ones.


Rusko - Hold On (2ToneDisco Remix) by 2TONEDISCO

What's the story behind 2ToneDisco: It's been around for just over a year. I was originally spinning solo in a hookah lounge, when I met Aaron. He is a very talented artist and has a ton of passion for the music. We started 2ToneDisco to do something different than just two guys standing behind some turntables.

What are your gigs like? It's audio visual experience in the form of a DJ set. We use Pioneer DJ gear with no laptop for the music. I prefer to keep that side of things as analog and connected with the audience as possible. We also use a single laptop for visuals, which is controller by a MIDI controller and an iPod touch which lets Aaron control his visuals on multiple projectors wirelessly from up to 30 feet away. We really try to make our sets like watching a performance, rather than just listening to somebody play their favorite music. Not to mention we recently added laser gloves to our set up which shoot a laser from each of our fingers. It looks really good in fog.

Is that it? That is a small summary of our live show. We also produce our own music and visual clips, throwing in sample video game videos, movies, whatever we feel. We started off small using computer monitors, and now use two projectors for our work accompanied by some of the finest DJ gear out there. We are hoping to expand and start touring and share our work with the world. It really is a project of passion and we hope it doesn't stop anytime soon.

What are some of the other clubs you've spun at over the years in the Valley? We have spun at Cream, Afterlife, District 8, Fifth Avenue Warehouse, and Stratus.

What's the best concert or gig you've been to lately? The most memorable show was these guys at SXSW called Gobble Gobble. These guys set up just suitcases of random homemade synths and controllers, tape a drum machine to a shovel, and next thing you know, they are in the crowd performing this orchestrated noise music and going nuts. It was amazing and really inspiring.

What other acts have been in your playlist as of late? Well at this moment we love GTRONIC and Calvertron. Oh, and Zed's Dead. Local acts we wish we could play but love listening to is TABS and At Dawn We Rage. Those guys both are doing really big things.

Do you shop locally for your music? I used to love that local London Underground record shop on Scottsdale Road -- only place to get dance music locally, but I do have a huge indie music vinyl collection, and for that I love Stinkweeds. That record shop closed unfortunately. For dance music now, it's all online, unfortunately.

PheosiA Films Presents: 2TONEDISCO! from PheosiA Films Production on Vimeo.

Craziest shit you've seen at a gig: Well the craziest thing I've seen and experienced was the time two people made out so hard they pushed the entire DJ booth on top of me. Not to mention it was Bar Smith and they almost sent me backwards off the roof. I think that was pretty crazy --  cut sound, and I got a Technics 1200s turntable to the knee, and those things are like bloody tanks.

What did you do? All I could do was pick up all the gear as quickly as possible and hit the play button. Party must go on no matter what, even in cases of tear gas, which has happened.

Tear gas!?! Explain. Well, at Sticky Fingers, we are sandwiched between two pretty riley clubs: PHX and the Latin club [Sky Lounge]. I guess one night a semi-riot broke and the police used tear gas, which made its way up to the open rooftop. I started coughing and most of the dance floor ran downstairs. I was crouched on the floor of the DJ booth with the music still going and when it was semi-breathable, got back up. Music never stopped and the dance floor returned once it was safe. That stuff burns your lungs like crazy.

How and when did 2TD get started? 2ToneDisco has been around for just over a year. I was originally spinning solo in a hookah lounge, when I met Aaron. He is a very talented artist and has a ton of passion for the music. We started 2TD to do something different than just two guys standing behind some turntables.

Different how? Could you elaborate? Well, for a lot of duos, it's two really good musical artists who switch up tracks or DJ side by side. For us, we figured two people could mean controlling a whole show from one place. Music, visuals and lights creating a full show.

So have you gotten any haters (other DJs, etc) at the fact you've been performing for such a short time? Well haters are always going to hate. I have been a DJ long before 2ToneDisco started. So a lot of people have respect for us as a duo. Also a lot of the people we meet are really supportive and love what we do. Of course in the end there will always be haters, but honestly, I am kind of glad because if they hate us, they at least know who we are. I think once I have tons of forums and blogs hating on us, that is when we will know we have made it.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.

Latest Stories