by Brett Abramson
Dean Coleman is an artist that works on his own terms. Never one to bow down to industry pressures, Dean has spent years making a name for himself as a world-class producer and DJ. He is one of Atlanta's most respected talents, and deservedly so. But it is quite obvious that Dean's career is still very much on the riselocally, nationally and internationally.
Lunar: How would you describe your sound as a DJ and producer?
Dean Coleman: My sound as a producer changes every month, but I always try to focus on the overall quality of what my mix sounds like. I like thick beats and crisp hats. I like 'thumb muted' bass sounds. I usually spend time on the Roland XV5080 doing custom patches for my tracks and try to come up with new sounds. I have a bounce to my tracks that gives them energy. I like to merge different types of music into what I am doing to drop surprises here and there.
Lunar: Current projects?
Lunar: What is the objective of your label, 12x12 Records?
Dean Coleman: Vince La Duca and I have only one objective with 12x12, and that is to put out our own personal tracks they way we want, when we want, without waiting for some douche bag from a label to decide they want them. We want every record on 12x12 to be special; they are all personal to us, and that is why only Vince and I do the production unless we involve close friends. 12x12 is the sub portion of Twister New Media, our larger production company, where we offer full video production to commercial sound design and web design. Vince is about to drop his next track called Cenzo - Spread My Wings EP - 12x12 Records. It's a west coast tip deep house EP. OFF THE HOOK!
Lunar: How did you become involved with companies such as Roland and Pioneer?
Dean Coleman: I was in college in Chapel Hill, NC when you couldn't give Pioneer stuff away. I was fortunate enough to meet their rep at the right time. Ken Cantor is his name, and he hired me to demo around that area. One thing led to another and from there I met the folks from Roland at a trade show. Working with both those companies, as well as Apple, Emagic, Native Instruments, and Stanton, continues to be a high honor for me.
Lunar: How did you come to work with Roger Sanchez so closely?
Dean Coleman: Roger and I met at a trade show, and Roland had me work with him to teach him some of our new products. Trust me when I say Roger didn't need much teaching from me. One thing I always respected about Roger was he produces all his own stuff. He doesn't take short cuts on anything ever. I already had an immense respect for him as a producer, but now I have a bigger respect for him as a close friend and brother. Roger Sanchez is above and beyond the best DJ I have ever seen or will probably see. Roger has been the biggest inspiration for me and really kept me from quitting DJing about 2 years ago when I was really down on things. Roger brought me over to Ibiza and I spent about two weeks there reviving my soul, which I really believe turned my career around. Although I do owe some of my summer weight gain on his girlfriend Monica's excellent cooking, especially [her] cheese bread!!! lol...
Lunar: To what do you attribute the overwhelming success of your, and all mixes, of "Safe From Harm?"
Dean Coleman: This one is really simple: first and foremostGREAT RECORD. Second, GREAT RECORD. Third, I did this mix without intention of selling it or putting it out. I did it off of the original, which was sent to me in mp3 format. My heart went into that mix and that is what people were able to hear off of the track. Anything that anyone puts 100% of their heart into is going to come out right.
Lunar: Thoughts on the Atlanta scene?
Dean Coleman: I think Atlanta has ALOT of potential. I think our local DJs could rival any city in the world hands down. I would really like to see people who plan to have a career in this business work together by throwing better parties and having more weekly events. I would love to see a slammin Monday night at the Crescent Room or somewhere with just good music. NO LABELS, just good music. I think in time Atlanta will have a lot more going on. I was planning to move to NY, but after last year I really decided to stay in Atlanta because I love this city and the people here.
Lunar: Does Atlanta have a "sound" that may separate it from other cities? If so, how would you describe it?
Dean Coleman: Yeah, Atlanta has a hip-hop sound and I love hip-hop... LOVE IT. I think hip hop production is some of the most creative stuff out there, and my ears are always perked up for new ideas. I think a lot of producers here that do house have come from that influence and we have a nice street vibe. I think Atlanta can pull off any sound it wants and do it well.
Lunar: Where do you see the sound of house heading in general?
Dean Coleman: I think house and music in general is headed in a new direction, trying to find the next thing. I think people are experimenting more with software and hardware to come up with new types of sounds. I am very excited about the future to see what comes out. I am broadening my horizons on musical style. I am working on some hip-hop stuff now, as well as commercial sound design and hopefully into film score. I did the music score of 'Oracle Open World' last year where I had to score a video and perform live with Spinal Tap. I also did a music piece for Intel for their Lance Armstrong commercial.
Lunar: What's right/wrong with the dance music industry right now?
Dean Coleman: What's right with the music industry right now is the people who aren't supposed to be involved are getting the shakedown. Roger S said this to me and I believe it: 'Cream Rises to the Top.' I would say by the end of next year this business will be back to the people who love it and want to see it grow.
Lunar: Advice for aspiring DJs/Producers?
Dean Coleman: I don't want to sound like everyone else, but the best advice I got and still get is to stick with it. Respect yourself and the crowd you play for. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't get that gig or no one will sign that. Go for it. Do things for yourself, and most importantly if you produce, LEARN YOUR EQUIPMENT inside and out. If you are starting, get one piece and learn it before getting anything else. One more thing... don't take being a DJ too seriously. There should be a movie about DJs that take it too seriously like they are curing cancer or something?? Play music you love and have fun. That is how it started!
Lunar: Favorite all-time gig?
Dean Coleman: WITHOUT A DOUBTEl Divino, Ibiza, July 2001 with Roger Sanchez
Lunar: What artists are inspiring you right now?
Dean Coleman: Hans Zimmer/Andrea Bochelli/Eminem/Missy Elliott/Roger Sanchez/Cassius/Soulstice/Harry Choo Choo Romero/Rulers of The Deep
Lunar: Hot tracks for you right now?
Thanks go out to Dean for speaking with Lunar and to Kris at Bullitt Bookings.
Live @ Roxy
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