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Dentana: “There’s a Hypnotic Nature of Dance Music That Draws Me In.”

February 10, 2015

Gun$GarciaMIXTAPE01Here’s the latest installment of our monthly mixtape series, which is curated by GUN$ Garcia. This month, she brings us Dentana, who hosts the EXTRA DARK parties at Kung Fu Necktie every Tuesday.

Our Brianna Spause spoke with Dentana about the party and her inspirations.

What kind of vibe do you create at Extra Dark?

It’s the escape from places and people and things. Electronic music is the best way to escape and find yourself while getting lost dancing. I think that’s why a lot of people struggle and don’t like to dance but I like to encourage a very dark, more mature kind of dance vibe. People can have more space and darkness to express themselves, and not have to worry that people are judging what they’re doing.

What is it about electronic music that draws you in?

I’m really excited to be out there and show people things they might not really know about me. I was always a ‘riot grrrl’ in my early years, and I was always into the punk scene where you rub shoulders with people and pretend like you didn’t see them there. In this culture, people are a lot warmer. There’s dancing and people are more familiar than it would be in a pit, moshing. To me that goes a lot deeper. Everybody is kind of faceless on the dance floor, and that makes people me a lot more welcoming. It’s the classless, genderless, faceless capabilities that the culture has that I can really get behind.

So, it’s like a Tuesday night escape?

Everybody has their drug, and it’s not necessarily a drug at all, but it’s part of my job to allow people to get lost in something. Whenever you are involved with a culture that has a surreal or an underground activist, “for us, by us” vibe, it can breed toxic things. Music always did that for me. It was the thing I could use to get out of my own head. I definitely do this because I want to hear that with other people. There’s a hypnotic nature of dance music that draws me in.

Where do you find inspiration to create and produce tracks?

I came out of skating rink culture, and luckily for me the DJ at the skating rink where I grew up was still there from the 80s. So I got turned on to all of this heavy Chicago house music really young. I didn’t realize that I was so lucky to have that. I’m an only child, so thank God for Soulseek and Napster and all of these artists that I was able to dig out of the Internet hole. I’ll one day repay my debts to them one day for having piracy be my older sibling to give me access to things.

How did you get into DJing?

I was classically trained on piano since I was 10, and I was always in bands until I was old enough to realize that being in a band is like being in a long-term relationship with all of the members of the band, separately and together. I just realized that for me to be able to put out the massive creative energy I have. If I can’t express my creativity, I back up.

Almost like it comes out of your ears?

Exactly! I do so many different things that are creative, but everything in my life is dictated by music. It makes everything easier for me. If you do something you love, you never work a day in your life – that saying is true. I switched from bartending into DJing because I realized that was a tangible way financially to be a musician. It’s obviously not a very affluent career choice – not at first anyway… or maybe never.

How are parties different from a live concert?

I can wake up very late in the day, which I do because I have been working in nightlife for the past 10 years, go to this show, stay until the end with my friends that are there, and then wind up the gig that I will inevitably have that night because they operate in these two spheres of time. When there are words you get these assigned nostalgic viewpoints, but I find that in electronic music with the crash of the high hat at a certain point in a track. It’s kind of churned out by bands, but it’s my job to create that nostalgia in electronic music. You have this freedom to make what you want of it – midi is magic. There’s a never-ending growth with this kind of music, that’s what I love about it.

How is dance music a spiritual experience?

Music is a beginning and an end, which is ironic because I find that to be the problem with some major world religions. Because of the nature of this music that is so accessible to cultures all over the world. There are countries where dance music has been Top 40 since the middle of the 80s. There is this faceless nature to it where you all know that you are there for the same kind of thing. Even though your thing might be different. I just like to be able to provide as much access to the things that I find are the positive experiences of church on the dance floor. It’s ultimately all about providing an environment that will push you toward the freedom of space and time.

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