Things end but memories last forever. With that in mind, welcome to the first installment of our Last DJ Set series where we’ll be talking to DJs about the last set they played before lockdowns and travel bans went into effect.
First up is techno luminary Alan Oldham (a.k.a. DJ T-1000). The Detroit-bred DJ/producer/label owner has been deep in the mix since the ’80s. In the wake of countless fleeting musical fads and trends, he’s never wavered when it comes to his musical ethos. He’s an accomplished graphic artist too.
We talked to the well-traveled Oldham about his final set before lockdown, what he’s been up to during the pandemic and how fans can support him while the music world remains on pause.
When and where was your last DJ gig?
Alan Oldham: Cluj, Romania!
How did it go?
Incredible. It was my first gig of 2020 and my last, as it turned out.
What was your mindset going into it? Where had you played
With all due respect, it was just another gig. I had ended 2019 with a little German tour of Berlin, Dortmund and Braunschweig. Then a quickie [DJ gig] in southern Italy.
Did any tracks, in particular, go over especially well during that gig?
My unreleased track “Body Signal.” And good old Regis’ “Speak To Me.”
What is your best memory from that gig?
The Romanian crowd was well-educated thanks to the resident DJs, who were also the promoters. Lots of energy and smiles. Great hospitality. If that was my last gig for a while, it was a good one.
Everyone can’t wait for clubs and festivals to begin again. What do you miss most about DJing? How are you keeping your skills sharp?
I miss the travel. We complain about it, but now that it’s taken away, I miss it. I miss the new surroundings and people. On the other hand, there is now plenty of time to produce without running for planes and trains. The studio space where I used to practice my mixes is now shut down due to COVID-19, so be kind if you hear some trainwrecks when I get back out there.
A lot of DJs have been doing live streams and working on tracks. What have you been working on during the lockdown? How can fans support you right now?
I’ve been doing a lot of freelance art and music. I just did a T-shirt design for a Japanese clothing store. Stacking up a ton of new tracks and trying to shop them. Failing that, I’ll release them myself on digital. Doing a lot of quarantine mixes as well for various platforms. Weirdly enough, people are asking me for shoegaze/indie mixes. I started doing them for fun, then I got a write-up in Pitchfork. Now it’s taking off for me. I was offered a weekly show on a Pandora-style online station, but I turned it down as it would cut into my production time.
Any last words on your last gig?