As you read this, DJ Fashen is getting ready to drop some high-energy dance cuts for club kids in our nation's capital. Then he'll spend the next few weeks bouncing around North America like some bald-headed pinball, flying between Boston, San Diego, Alberta, and even down to Florida. But somewhere in this cross-continent whirlwind of non-stop travel, Fashen will be making two appearances back here in his hometown.
Unfortunately for local EDM fans, these gigs will be his last in the Valley for the foreseeable future. As we reported earlier this past week, the 38-year-old superstar spinster is getting the eff outta Phoenix in favor of living it up in El Lay.
But before Fashen puts P-Town in his rearview mirror, we though we'd offer up a special edition of DJ Dossier to provide some more in-depth explanations as to why the former Power 98.3 jock was bidding adios to AZ. He's also putting the Scottsdale club scene on blast on his way out.
Name: DJ Fashen
A.K.A.: Daniel Kutz
Club gig(s): Next Friday at Suede is like my once a month appearance at Suede, and then my basically my final day playing in the Valley is next Tuesday, August 28, at Dirty Pretty and that's pretty much it.
Preferred genre(s): I'm all over the place and it's a mixture of just about everything. Basically any kind of dance music. I've been there long enough to train the crowds somewhat at my club nights. They definitely want to hear the hits Top 40 hits, but at Dirty Pretty I've been able to go out of the box a bit with that crowd. I think it says something on the MySpace page about "grungy disco, electro goth hip-hop smoothed out on the R&B tip, then remixed dub style," if that makes sense.
How did you start out: In the early 90s I started out doing fraternity parties at ASU and then the first club I DJ'd at was at Club 411 in 1992. I've pretty much done every place in this town: Club Tribeca, Cage, The Buzz, and even Jetz/Stix a couple times when those were was still around. It just built from there.
What's you connection with Z-Trip: He was one of the people that first helped me get going. We were roommates for a year and we still talk all the time. We've talked about starting our own night when I get out [to LA]. I definitely see what he did by leaving and he always was telling me, 'Sooner or later you're gonna have to get up outta there.' And look how successful he's become.
So why are you leaving: I just feel like I've been hitting a glass roof here. Most of the stuff I do is out of town and in Canada, traveling there probably like two or three times as month. The only stuff I do here in town is just two or three clubs nights. Just recently, both my parents passed away within a year of each other. And really, my sister is the only person that's family I have out here. Besides her and these nights I do, there's not much left for me in Phoenix.
Explain the whole 'glass ceiling' thing: I've been DJing almost 20 years, like 11 years on Power 98.3 [from 1995 to 2006], and you only go so far in certain realms. Like when I left the radio station two-and-a-half years ago because I couldn't go any further there. Being at that station, they made me feel like that I was nothing without them. And in a way it felt like me leaving was kinda proving them wrong. So I started spending two to three weekends a month out in Los Angeles, where there were more opportunities, and it just occurred to me: 'Why keep flying out to L.A. when I can just live out there and do all this stuff all the time.' I more or less just want to be surrounded by a lot more things going on versus just sitting here and waiting for things to happen.
So what are your issues with the Valley scene: You go to Scottsdale and the clubs are pretty much the same. It's the same handful of DJs that just circulate in those clubs. And I consider myself one of them as well, I play Dirty Pretty on a Tuesday night, but then like they'll have a different DJ on a Thursday night and that DJ will be somewhere else on a Friday night, like PCL, or Myst or Suede. And it just kinda circles around like that.
PHX vs. LA: In Scottsdale, they mainly just expect you to play the Top 40 songs. You can't really get loose or you can't really like experiment with a lot of new music. It's because Old Town is all about selling tables or are doing bottle service and the people that are coming in and spending money want to hear songs they want to sing along to. Whereas those parties in LA I've done, it's not like that. People just show up and they're there to dance, to hear good music. It has nothing to do with what kinda car you're pulling up in or how many bottles you're sitting at a table with.
Opinions on the EDM/DJ scene in Phoenix: The Internet is definitely helping spread things a lot faster. There are so many new producers and so many new bands and so much new stuff coming out of both LA and New York. But there's really not much coming out of Phoenix. I know that's artists and there's a lot of DJ talent here in Phoenix, it's just not getting recognized.
The music here has slowly been changing. Indie rock is building again, and the dance music and the electro-house music is coming back again, whereas the hip-hop stuff, it's so...well, as Jay-Z said in "Death of Autotune" everything's just so stale right now.
Ain't looking back: This has been home for the past 30 years. I can always come back if it doesn't work out, but I'm kinda going out there with the intention that I'm moving away for good. The promoter at Suede is talking about having me maybe come out once a month or something, but we'll see. I'll be back every once in awhile to visit.