A GoPride Interview

Tracy Young

Tracy Young interview with ChicagoPride.com

Tue. May 17, 2005  by DJ Plez

Tracy Young
photo credit // dale stine
The past decade has truly been a joy ride for Miami DJ Tracy Young. She has achieved superstar status on the circuit and DJed just about every large event around, including the Winter Party, White Party Palm Springs, Montreal Black & Blue, and here in Chicago for Fireball. As well, Young has become DJ to the stars having spun at various private parties for Cher, Smashing Pumpkins, Lenny Kravitz, Madonna, and Ricky Martin. Not bad for a girl from Virginia who in the early 1990s in the Washington, DC area at fraternity parties and on the radio started out mixing a hodgepodge of music: hip-hop, Euro-dance, funky R&B, house, and even some local flavored go-go tracks (remember “Doin The Butt” by E.U. and “Busting Loose” by Chuck Brown?).

More than just a DJ, Young has proven to be a creative force over the years with her various remix projects. Her remix of Madonna’s “Music” earned Young worldwide acclaim and dance floors have been energized by her mixes of songs by the likes of Enrique Iglesias, Gloria Estefan, the Pet Shop Boys, Stevie Nicks, and Cyndi Lauper.

Young has always been a favorite here in Chicago. In addition to several Fireball bookings, she has played the city on several occasions at venues such as Crobar and Circuit Nightclub. In anticipation of her upcoming debut at Hydrate this weekend (Event Details) she took some time out recently for a ChicagoPride.com Q&A session.

CP: How did you get started DJing?

TY: Back when I was in college a friend of mine was a DJ. I just started playing around with his equipment and from there things kind of just developed. He said he thought I was pretty good and had a good ear and he really supported me early on as I began to get gigs at parties.

CP: Unlike most DJs on the gay dance club and circuit scene, you got started spinning more urban fare like hip-hop and R&B formats. Many of the DJs I’ve interviewed are old-school house-heads or were really into the more typical gay dance formats of disco or the late 1980s Eurodance stuff.

TY: Actually, my early DJing period was just really diverse and included hip-hop and the like. Back then dance music – and the dance music club scene - didn’t seem to be so segregated and classified. You played stuff that would get folks dancing. In the course of a night I would play Madonna and Janet Jackson songs, Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing”, and Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Right Round.” Plus when I lived in Washington DC I was doing a mix show on the radio and with that I had to appeal to a broad audience.

CP: And I suppose being in DC you were exposed to the local dance music called “go-go music”?

TY: Oh my god! You know about go-go?

Yeah, go-go was definitely part of the mix. Groups like E.U. – Experience Unlimited as well as Chuck Brown.

CP: After your time in DC you headed down to Miami. How did that come about?

TY: I got hired by Interscope Records to work in Miami and moved down there after college. While working for Interscope full-time during the day I began to DJ at night at various bars and clubs in Miami and on South Beach. I was interested in spinning more for a gay clientele and thus with that development the style of music I played became more progressive house oriented.

CP: Was there a breakthrough moment as DJ that you can point to that catapulted your career? A particular party you spun or an appearance at a certain club?

TY: Not really. My DJing career has been mostly a progression. I started out with small parties and gigs.

Also during my early years in Miami I would still fly back up the coast for various booking at clubs throughout the mid-Atlantic region, where I got to be fairly well known. Over time I started to get booked for bigger parties and at some of the more famous and prestigious clubs here in Miami as well as across the country.

This coincided with some of my compilation CDs that were released as well as some of the remixes I became known for. Thus looking back, there isn’t one thing I can point to and say that was my “big moment.” It’s been a lot of “little moments” and hard work that has gotten me to where I am.

CP: Much has been said about the recent evolution of gay dance culture and the circuit scene. What has been your experience? What have you witnessed from your front-row seat in the DJ booth?

TY: I definitely think that the music on the circuit scene has gotten really dark in the past couple of years. I think a lot of this move toward a preponderance of darker heavy beats has to do with the increased use of drugs and especially crystal meth. It used to be that going out to the clubs and to circuit parties was more holistic – figuring out what clothes to wear or what costume to conjure up, meeting and hanging out with a group of friends, and having a good time while laughing and dancing the night away. Now it seems to be solely about the use of drugs and the art of getting high. I think this has impacted the style of music that has been played. Music played at circuit parties has gotten away from the diverse mix that included not only harder tribal beats but also plenty of uplifting music with vocals.

CP: So how has this evolution of the scene affected you as a DJ?

TY: Well, while I still love to play and incorporate progressive tribal tracks into my sets, I have definitely been mixing things up, returning somewhat to be early roots which included fun party music. I’m pulling from a wide varietry of sources for my music: from my own Ferosh label and from other labels such as Star 69 and Defected.

CP: Tell us about the new CD you’re soon to release?

TY: I have a new mixed compilation CD coming out at the end of May called Dance Culture. It will focus on vocal tracks and uplifting house music.

It’s quite reflective of the type of music I’m playing now.

CP: What other plans do you have coming up?

TY: Well, I’ll be traveling extensively this summer with club dates around the country in support of Dance Culture. The next six weeks will include appearances in Pensacola over Memorial Day weekend, the One Might Party at Gay Disney the first weekend in June, and then to New York City to spin the Pride Party at Spirit with Junior Vasquez.

Tracy Young will appear at Hydrate Chicago on Saturday, May 21, 2005. (Event Details) You can get more info about Tracy at www.tracyyoung.com and at www.ferosh.com.

Interviewed by DJ Plez