At the age of 21, Dave “Disco D” Shayman has already accomplished more in his life than many of us, sadly, ever will. He has performed worldwide as a DJ, spinning a style of Detroit-bred urban dance electronica called Ghettotech, which has begun to garner serious attention outside of its city of origin largely because of his own innovations and relentless touring. Shayman is the founder and CEO of GTI Recordings, a record label he started in 1999 when he was 19-years-old, and has been recognized as a prodigious talent by magazines including Details, Alternative Press, URB and Mixer, to name a few. And all this while pursuing a business degree at the University. Truly, Dave Shayman is a busy little beaver.
In the world of Disco D every day is a party, but today is especially meaningful for him. His new album Straight Out Tha Trunk, which represents his first commercially available Ghettotech mix CD, was released yesterday, and to celebrate he”s hosting a release party tonight at the Necto. Disco D”s previous releases primarily consisted of promotional demos for live appearances and vinyl 12″ records intended for other DJs to spin, but a distribution deal with the New York-based Proper Sales and Distribution (Transmat, Never Records) is changing the game. Squeezing us in between a North American tour and a Business Law exam, Disco D was kind enough to grant The Michigan Daily an interview.
The Michigan Daily: Wow. I”m a little starstruck. Are you really Disco D? Like the Disco D?
Disco D: (laughing) C”mon, man, we were in the dorms together! Gimme a break!
TMD: Disco D, your new album is so sick it needs a bone-marrow transplant. Discuss.
DD: Well, I just wanted to come with the hot tracks, you know? I wanted to wait to put out a mix CD until I had stuff that I was really happy with, both my own stuff and stuff from my label. I think it”s a really good representation of where the sound”s going, where I”ve been, where I”m going, and where Ghettotech is going. I”m most proud of the remix that I did with 8Ball and MJG being on there and the stuff with Paradime, and also the stuff off my own label from other artists, like DJ Deeon, DJ Nephets and DJ Slugo. I”m real happy with it.
TMD: For the uninformed and uninitiated, describe Ghettotech.
DD: I think my boy Joe, who works for Sony, said it best: “You wanna know what Ghettotech is? Take a little bit of house, a little bit of techno, a little bit of drum “n” bass, take that shit to the hood and pour a 40-ounce of St. Ides on that shit.” I don”t know how else to describe it.
TMD: What can we expect from your set at the Necto tonight?
DD: Lots of foul sexual language, lots of crazy scratching, high-energy tricks and lots of ass-shaking. That”s the most important thing. I wanna see people shaking their ass.
TMD: Speaking of foul sexual language and ass, some of the samples on Straight Out Tha Trunk are pretty racy. Would you say that sexual energy is an integral part of the Ghettotech sound, or are you just some sicko who likes putting dirty words in his mixes?
DD: I think a lot of music is about sex. You listen to Marvin Gaye”s “Let”s Get It On,” and it”s just talking about sex, straight up. So what”s wrong with being upfront about it, you know? People love it, people want to be hit in the face hard like that. If they don”t love it, they”re completely appalled. Either way, I”m making an impact.
TMD: You”re blowing up so fast you”ll probably be starring in movies soon. What kind of movies would you want to star in?
DD: I know you want me to say porno, but I”d rather just direct them.
TMD: Direct porn?
DD: Maybe. No, just kidding, just kidding. Maybe I”ll just do the soundtrack, I don”t know. I don”t know if acting would really be for me. Hey, you never know, I don”t got no shame, I”ll do whatever! Just no porn. Well, maybe just directing the porn, but that”s it.
TMD: What”s the wildest thing a fan ever did to get close to “the big D?”
DD: Just recently in Seattle, a fan asked me to sign her breasts while her boyfriend took a picture. Actually, the picture is now the desktop art on my computer! I don”t know, I get flashed a lot, people ask me to sign their thongs and their breasts and what not. One time I was leaving for the airport after a show and there was a thong hanging on my doorknob.
DD: And I have no idea who left it there. So, it gets a little wild when I”m on tour.
TMD: Most B-School students I know whine and complain about how hectic their lives are, and they don”t have tours and record labels to worry about. How do you respond to them?
DD: My take on the B-School is a little different than most people, just because a lot of what the B-School culture”s about and what it breeds is this whole recruitment thing, and the need to recruit with these companies that are coming to the “U” all the time. I haven”t gone to a single interview or gone to a single recruitment session. It”s just not for me. I got my own thing going on. I can understand why they”d be a little stressed about that, trying to get a job. Me, I just kinda go with the flow, do my classes and have my own thing going on outside of school. Most kids are in like five million clubs, marketing club, consulting club, blah blah blah and then some business fraternity, and I”m not involved in any of that.
TMD: Pretend you”re me and I”m you. What would you ask me? Meaning you, of course.
DD: Can I get into your show for free tonight?
TMD: Absolutely, I”ll put you on the guest list plus one. Hey Disco, is there anything else you want to plug right now as far as upcoming projects and events?
DD: I just really want this CD to succeed. I want everyone to go out and give it a listen. A lot of stores around here will have it in the listening stations, so give it a try. If it”s not for you, cool, but if it is, pick it up. And if you do like it, the next one will be coming out in September 2002. I can”t mention names, but I”ve been working with a lot of bigger urban artists, doing some collaborations. So expect some crazy shit to go out. What I”m really trying to do is bridge the gap between urban and electronic music. In addition, I”m producing a couple tracks for Detroit rapper Lola Damone, who”s on Universal. I”ve also got a remix on the new Lords of Acid CD that comes out this fall. So that”s about it, try to catch me on tour.
TMD: Seriously man, no B.S., where”s the afterparty tonight?
DD: For you? You can go home. For all the fine ladies, come to my apartment.
Straight Out Tha Trunk is in stores now. For more info on Disco D, go to www.discod.com.