DJ Danny White got his start in DJing when he started buying ’80s New Wave Records back in 2000 in Brooklyn. Armed with only one turntable, he constantly thought about how each song could transition into another, and even tried to switch between phono to tape to CD just to create the basis of a good mix.
Soon, he left the East Coast and drove cross-country, filling his trunk with more records along the way. Getting 1200s as soon as he arrived to San Francisco, he got his start by just playing a few house parties. Now, Danny runs the successful Indie Slash party. We picked his brains about its evolution, vinyl-mixing, and what jams he’s currently digging. Don’t miss a chance to experience this party, which recently celebrated its 6-year anniversary, on June 10th at Amnesia.
How did you get started with Indie Slash?
In January 2005, a friend of a friend asked me to DJ a one-hour slot at her photography exhibit at the Attic, which was weird because there aren’t usually art shows there. Jen, the bartender, liked my set and asked if I would be interested in a monthly Monday night starting that May. Soon after, I filled in for an empty Friday slot and it went so well, Jen said, “You should always do Fridays!”
Have you always been interested in indie dance rock?
No. I used to be strictly rock ’n’ roll in my younger days. I played bass guitar in some bands and was part of that strange mindset that synthesizers weren’t legitimate instruments. It wasn’t until college, when New Order and Depeche Mode showed me the way.
Since it’s been going strong for 6 years, could you give us a little timeline of its evolution?
2005 was its humble beginnings with close friend Jody Duncan (DJD) as my partner. We would record practice mixes at my apartment on a mini-disc and scrutinize our flow. Our moniker was “80s Alternative / 90s Nostalgia / 00s Indie” since most of my records in rotation were still thrift store finds. In 2006, Rance Brown moves to SF and becomes my new partner. The music of the 00s takes over. The next two years brought the era of the Creature Moped Gang dominating the dance floor, crowd surfing, breaking tables.
In 2009, Rance takes a four-month break, and BIA steps in and hijinks ensue like costumes, confetti, and toasting on the mic. Last year, the neighbor/lawyer wins and the Attic cancels all DJs right before my 5-year anniversary party. Amnesia was the logical next step — bigger, and with a better sound system.
Why not expand it to somewhere even bigger?
It gets packed at times, but only once in the nine months at Amnesia has it been full all the way until the end. I think it’s a comfortable space for now and it’s nice not to have the pressure to fill a bigger club and do a bunch of promoting. I’m happy with a small following that responds well to the music that I’m excited about. I rarely get requests and I never have to play “crowd-pleasers,” so it’s a unique position to be in as a DJ. Expanding it might affect that position.
If you had the chance to expand Indie Slash to one part of the world, where would it be and why?
Based on the small amount of traveling and dance parties I’ve attended abroad, I’d have to say Glasgow, Scotland. And then my DJ soulmate BIA could easily come up from London to join me every month.
It’s nice that you put up the record you play after each song. How did you get started with this practice?
As a graphic designer I have a big appreciation for album art, and since I go through great pains to track these records down, I might as well show them off, right? Rance calls it “curating.” Hopefully it doesn’t come off as pretentious or anything.
Is it hard doing the vinyl mixing compared to just bringing a bunch of CDs?
Mixing vinyl is all I’ve really known, so it’s way easier. Sometimes I’ll bring a cheap CDJ to play some must-have tracks that aren’t available on vinyl, but tapping those cue/play buttons just isn’t as fun.
What are some jams you’re currently into?
I have three 12 inches en route from England that I’m hoping to get in time for the next Slash: Pional “Where Eagles Dare,” Alba feat Fred Ventura “Without You,” and Bubble Club’s “Morning Star.” The new Friendly Fires LP is really good too.
Lastly, what would be the three words you would like people to leave with after experiencing your party?
Good clean fun.