Meet Kellen a.k.a. DJ Black Dominoes.
Weekly Residencies: When in Atlanta, I do Top Flr (on Ponce) every Friday night from 10pm-late, and the Sound Table (Edgewood & Boulevard) three times a month.
I’m also lucky enough to sometimes guest at places like MJQ and El Bar on Ponce and Graveyard Tavern in East Atlanta.
What makes for a good DJ?
Someone who gets a crowd excited with music they haven’t heard before. In 2011, so it’s really easy to hit the internet and download the top 40 or obvious dance tracks and call yourself a DJ — there are a lot of those these days. There is an upside to this, however. The Internet also makes it easier to research really good old music and really good new music that a lot of people don’t know about and would love, if only they heard it! Back in the day, it was about getting and owning a certain record that was hard to find; now it’s about knowing a tune that other DJs don’t know about.
What is one of your fondest memories behind the 1s and 2s?
There are so many! Getting paid to have fun is so awesome. Probably deejaying at SXSW in Austin, Texas last year with Washed Out, Diamond Rings, Who Not Who, and dudes from this New York City band, Chairlift. I looked up and saw a guy from the band Soulwax hanging out and Brian, a.k.a. Danger Mouse, was dancing in the front row. Hanging with those guys afterwards and them telling me that they had fun was really surreal and awesome; they are heroes of mine. Plus, my friends organized the party and got some good footage of it.
What other DJs would you love to work with and why?
Joy Orbison, Deetron, and Julio Bashmore; they’re making the best club and dance music right now. I would love to learn recording techniques from them. Also, Cassy and Marcel Dettmann, they are DJ residents at Panoramabar/Berghain in Berlin, which might be the most prestigious dance club in the world right now.
What are some of your favorite places to party?
Anywhere I can get in front of a bunch of people in a dark room really late at night and play them records! I love San Francisco, the have very smart crowds and arguably America’s most beautiful city. (Shout out to GoldSweat SF and the amazing 222 Hyde — great venue). I really like the summer parties at MOMA PS1 in New York City. NYC might have America’s best dance club: Cielo. Los Angeles’ A Club Called Rhonda might be the best nightclub in the country. Oh yeah, I can’t forget the Templum Group and Bassik do some cool parties down in New Orleans! When home in Atlanta I try to get to the Sound Table as often as I can.
What are three songs guaranteed to make everybody dance?
“Ribble To Amazon” – Julio Bashmore. No one is making better bass than him right now.
“Falling” – Maceo Plex. It has great vocals and just exudes good feelings. At every gig, there’s one tune the crowd seems to be feeling the most and last week at the Sound Table, this track was it.
“Ragysh” – Todd Terje. Awesome space disco jam. It’s sure to be a classic. Running Back as a label never disappoints.
Do you have a good luck record?
Van Morrison’s “Saint Dominic’s Preview” LP. It’s so, so, so beautiful. I’ll never tire of it.
What are the top 5 songs playing on your ipod right now?
“Get It In Your Soul” (Alternate Take) – Charles Mingus
“Shades Of Jae” – Moodymann
“As” – Stevie Wonder (from the Songs In the Key Of Life LP)
“Can’t Say Nothing” – Curtis Mayfield
“Adrenalin” – Scuba
What is your most loathed request?
It’s funny, I’m lucky enough to be DJing at places these days where I rarely get requests! I’m pretty upfront about what I do, and I like that I get hired to play music that’s different from what’s on the radio. That being said, I love slipping a classic MJ jam into the middle of my set or turning off the record players at 1am to wheel up, ‘Rockin Robin’ or some fifties dance tune. It’s fun keeping people on their toes and inserting little ‘easter eggs’ into parties.
What’s your favorite thing about this city?
The rent is cheap and my friends are close.
To learn more about DJ Black Dominoes, follow him on Twitter @blackdominoes or check out his websites residentadvisor.net/dj/blackdominoes, soundcloud.com/blackdominoes, soundcloud.com/heavyrecordsdistro, blackdominoes.official.fm/.