Justin Miller is the kind of DJ who creates soundtracks to nights to remember. A longtime record collector and passionate lover of music; he is a key player not only in New York City’s dance music scene – from its dingiest bars to its most upmarket clubs, and is also a frequent guest at some of the best parties and clubs around the world. His reputation for keeping diverse audiences on the floor has led him to be embraced by the fashion and art worlds, and to featured spots at carefully curated galas, parties hosted by New York City’s prestigious Museum of Modern Art and a long list of fashion events.
After seven years assisting in the operation of James Murphy’s preeminent indie/dance music label DFA RECORDS , Miller left to pursue DJing & music production on his own accord but you can keep up to date with his latest exploits via his website www.haveakillertime.com.
Justin answers the questions of SUPERMAX's host and DJ Sigmund Kraftwerk and gives us his last podcast ahead of playing at the next SUPERMAX on the 16th of March...
2011 has been a great year for dance music and an exciting year in your career. What were the best moments for you?
2011 was quite a year and such a resurgence for dance music. One of my highlights was playing with Benoit & Sergio here in New York at Le Bain. It was their first time performing in NY and they had people lined up around the block. Made for one hell of a night! Along with that i think traveling to play in Australia and South America for the first time was exciting. Made some great friends and lasting relationships on these trips.
Which artist(s) impressed you the most ?
Benoit & Sergio, Maceo Plex, KRL, Session Victim, Cottam, Tornado Wallace, Todd Terje made me a happy man in 2011. Solid releases from all of them that got my attention and most everyone else too.
How did DFA influence your personality and your musical orientation ?
DFA was a huge influence. When I began there seven years ago I thought I knew a thing or two from working at a record shop but I quickly realized I knew jack shit! I was turned on to everything from Detroit techno to major singer songwriters from the '70s at the label. It was a constant daily education in music. Personality wise, I think DFA gave me the confidence to be more assertive and take chances. I was part of a unit and everyone was supportive of one another. When I first started at the label, I had a dance party night that was real beginner stuff but everyone from the DFA family still came out and supported. Even the Murph Man (James Murphy) himself. After DJing in clubs for the past five years around the globe, the music, culture & lifestyle of the dance scene shaped and informed my style.
What defines the fine line between Justin Miller at DFA and Justin Miller DJing and working a crowd?
Justin at DFA was Justin at work. It was a full time job and a lot of work. Me working a crowd - well that's pure pleasure. A release from the daily grind and having the know how to get a party going. I'm only as good as the records I play. The more you play the better you become at discerning what works and what doesn't.
What experience do you have of the London crowd ? How would you define it ?
I have not been to London in almost two years. From what I can recall of the crowd, there were a lot of DUDES. I always try to play to the ladies. Get the girls dancing and you have a party. A lot full of dudes and you have a snake pit. The girls and the gays make my playing records a whole lot of fun. I hope to see more of that this time around. Friends in London have been telling me the energy there right now is electric. I'm really looking forward to it.
Not quite sure how I would define the London crowd. I've played Fabric a few times and seen some really silly shit. Once, there was this poor guy simultaneously puking and pissing at the stall and it was only midnight. I don't think this defines the London crowd but it makes for a funny memory.
Can you tell us a bit more about this mixtape ?
The mix was made for my friends site Autobrennt for their podcast. A collection of tracks and artists that I like and vibe well together. Jacques Renault had just got his hands on a Dope Real and offered to have me over to record it at his place. The Dope Real and rotary Urei really warmed up the mix. I think it's best experienced in headphones.
What are you up to next?
Right now I'm focused on making some killer jams of my own. I've stepped back from my day to day duties at DFA to give myself the time and freedom to make this happen. I'll be touring, buying gear, learning a few tricks and hopefully by the years end I'll have something special to share.
Justin Miller - Autobrennt Podcast
Catch Justin at the next SUPERMAX at Dalston Superstore alongside The Lovely Jonjo and residents Sigmund Kraftwerk and Eugene & Mortimer on the 16th of March from 9pm - 4am (Justin's set will be from 2am-4am).
(Photo credit: Callie Barlow)