House music has lived a tarnished existence. Plagued by the stigma of corny jock-jams, bad BPM TV specials, and irritatingly euphoric club kids, sometimes itâ€™s hard to believe that there are people out there doing it right. Enter Dances With White Girls, an aptly-titled DJ and producer from the Throne of Blood camp. On his debut EP, â€œNew Crack Swing,â€ DWWG, AKA Frog, grinds dark hip-hop sensibilities into idiosyncratic dance-floor magic, effectively birthing a sound capable of forming common ground between street dudes and electro brats alike. Having made the rounds in Philadelphia and New York and quickly gaining international notoriety, Frog may be in your town very shortly. Hang on to your girl.
â€œAll I saw was screaming hipsters looking into my eyes, waiting for me to fail.â€
Format: Tell us a little about yourself. Why the nickname(s)?
DWWG: Iâ€™ve had Frog since I was like 13, [because I] had/have a deep voice. [As for] Froggy Fabrizio; I was at Beatrice Inn and some 50 year-old dude was killing it so hard. Out of nowhere, some model looking chick comes up and kisses him and yells â€œFabrizio!â€
Dances With White Girls- well- if you watch â€œDances with Wolves,â€ think about what that name means and then apply it to the thought of who does dance music, youâ€™ll see how it works.
Format: What got you into spinning records as a profession?
DWWG: I did house parties a little, but I worked for this company Music Choice, so I had tons of promo vinyl. I lost my job, and that same week I got my first Saturday gig in the LES.
Format: When and why did you begin producing?
DWWG: Iâ€™ve been making beats since I was 13 or 14. I started â€˜cause I always liked movie soundtracks, the RZA, beats, and everything. I also needed beats to rap to.
Format: How did you make the move from producing rap to producing house?
DWWG: I made the move by sampling the rap records I DJed with; changing the tempos and using the same breaks, just sped up.
Format: What goes through your head when making a track? What do you draw from?
DWWG: When I make a track, I sit down and say, â€œIâ€™m trying to make something, so people can feel how I feel right now.â€ Iâ€™m trying to bring whatâ€™s happening; to bring the darkness of the club.
I usually watch a video or something, or look at clothes; little go-go dancers in cages, and pics of them. I draw from freestyles that were on [DJ] Clue tapes, or that moment when the beat drops at 5 am and hands are in the air. I also draw from the top five rolls Iâ€™ve ever had.
Format: How did you become involved with Throne of Blood Records?
DWWG: I became involved because my boy Bushy was cool with Mattie from The Rapture, and also because of DJ Jaclyn from The Bangers. They gave Mattie my â€œGypsy Womanâ€ remix, which was the first B-more thing I ever did; the first [club track] that I put out. Up until then, I was hip hop.
One day, they shot the â€œW.A.Y.U.H (People Donâ€™t Dance No More)â€ video down the street from my apartment. Mattie came over to chill, and I hooked him up with some tracks. After about two years, here I am.
Format: Tell us a little about how things operate over there. It’s a relatively new imprint, right?
DWWG: I mean, I donâ€™t know how things work per se. Iâ€™m an artist; I try to figure out as much as possible. I just know itâ€™s The Rapture and James Friedman- and Kompakt distributes. Itâ€™s not really my place; I just make sure my shit gets pushed. I can say they are behind me 100 percent. It took a while because of distribution for this to come out, but I never said, â€œLet me jump ship even before the contract was finally signed,â€ and I probably could have. Having somebody fully believe in you- who is ready to push it and have you develop- is important.
I think if Iâ€™m right, it works like this: The Rapture is Jay-Z; James Friedman is Dame Dash.
Format: How has living in different cities affected the way you make music?
DWWG: I mean, not to be too hip-hop, but itâ€™s simple 21215 [editorâ€™s note: an amalgamation of New York and Philadelphia area codes]. I see both; I have my own way I do with both things. I get respect; I can see both sides. I go home [and] Iâ€™m just Frog, who played ball and rapped here.
I can still get the vibe of shit just by seeing Mad Decent heads and [DJ] Sega. It allows me to stay gritty. But in NY, I see the other things. I see how much money is out there; all the other different influences. [My style] is simple really. Itâ€™s a Pacha breakdown, a Paramore hook, [and] a Peedi freestyle [mixed] with the struggle of a dude from West or North Philly.
Format: What is the science behind the “Thug House” movement?
DWWG: Iâ€™m trying to bring it back to the gritty. The club is not a fun place. Itâ€™s dark. Itâ€™s not about being a thug or anything; thatâ€™s been played out since Pac got shot. Itâ€™s more about all of my boys from NY or Philly; a lot of dudes are still on the block, not to be a clichÃ©. For the record, I put most of these heads on this â€œletâ€™s wild out to electroâ€ tip, and itâ€™s all about finding a way to do that.
Thatâ€™s not so simple as putting a down-South acapella over a dance beat. Itâ€™s about having that aggression without it just being distorted. Itâ€™s about keeping it hip hop at all times.
Format: Describe your favourite party memory.
DWWG: Probably either New Yearâ€™s Eve a few years ago at my old building in Bushwick, where I destroyed it in front of a super packed loft, killing it [by] playing whatever, while drinking Andre [champagne], or the GBH ten-year anniversary, where I went on right after MSTRKRFT. Nobody knew who I was, and it was a packed stage. All I saw was screaming hipsters looking into my eyes, waiting for me to fail. And mind you, this was after MSTRKRFT and L.A Riots had played, so itâ€™s not like I had any electro bangers to rely on. I went on and just said, â€œFuck it,â€ played my own remixes and some big techno, and killed it. Then Armand Van Helden told me I killed it, so I knew it was a wrap.
Format: There is an understated rawness to your image and musicianship. What would people be surprised to know about you?
DWWG: I love lemonade, especially Lorina Sparkling Lemonade. Ooh, and Newman’s half-and-half.
Format: How important would you say appearance and personality are in packing venues?
DWWG: Probably about 30-50 percent of it. At the end of the day, this shit is just music. Nobody had any idea what Justice looked like when â€œWe Are Your Friendsâ€ came out. Yet at the same time, image works. Steez sells.
Format: What are your must-have pieces when going out in public?
DWWG: Patricia Field heart necklace, afro pick, purple jeans, and swag.
Format: What would you like to see changed in the club music circuit? What do you think is working?
DWWG: I would like to see less crowded bills. Unless itâ€™s worth it, why have five DJs? I would like to see less gig trading- lots of dudes are only on tour off of gig trading. I would like to see more people dancing, and less thought paid to the internet. What I think is working are all parties that promote outside of their circles to kids, without being a total money tie-in. Kids who come to shit just like, â€œOh I like this artistâ€; shit works. Also, what works is anybody that just tries to do it. [Booking] loft parties, warehouses, [and] really small spots for fun kill it.
Format: Corporate sponsorships: savior or death sentence?
DWWG: Iâ€™m not going to cop out and say â€œa combo,â€ but just booking somebody with no pull â€˜cause of â€œinsert-company-here moneyâ€ is a death sentence. Youâ€™re killing your scene.
If you want to promote parties, make paper, and get some numbers; do a mainstream party.
Trust me; I do bridge-and-tunnel.
It is also a savior, though. Lots of companies are supporting stuff and acts on tour that are doing some ill things, and we all want to eat. Itâ€™s been about corporate since Moby did â€œPlay.â€
Format: Thanks so much for you time. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
DWWG: Iâ€™d like to say: follow me on twitter, at twitter.com/dances. Throne of Blood for life. Shout outs to Team Facelift, and my whole 21215 family. Any privileged young girls trying to dance, get at me.
For more information, please visit Dances With White Girlsâ€™ Myspace page. His music can be found online, and in all record shops using Kompakt distribution.