DJ Sun is a bit of a legend in these parts — a 10-time Houston Press award-winner for best disc jockey, the founder of KPFT's seminal Soular Grooves show and proprietor of the brief-but-influential Soulstice music club on Main Street.
After two decades as a staple at every Houston event worth its weight in salt, Sun is beginning to shift his focus towards recording in addition to regular local residencies at Boheme and The Flat as well as at Washington, D.C.'s Eighteenth Street Lounge, the renowned bar owned by East Coast DJ duo Thievery Corporation.
While he has released a handful of singles and short EPs in the past five years, the forthcoming One Hundred — to be released worldwide Jan 19, 2013 — marks Sun's first foray into crafting a full-length effort. (Click below for a sample track and a great DJ set from 2011.)
"My goal is to find unique sounds and music, and then make them accessible to people," he said. "Moving forward, I'll always keep doing just that."
"Yeah, this album's taken about five years," he laughed during a recent interview before playing a suite of new mixes at Mongoose versus Cobra.
"There's definitely a learning curve with recording, just because the logistics are so totally different from performing. It's taken me a lot of time to find the right engineer and the right studio setting. There are all these unexpected things that become so important as far as the creative process is concerned."
Because of the more controlled nature of recording, Sun noted a subtle stylistic shift in his music as he had time to add light touches of live instrumentation and vintage synthesizers to his patented blend of jazz, R&B and world music.
Esteemed producer Dave McNair — who's helped put together albums for icons like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Tina Turner — sculpted Ruiz and Sun's recordings into final 19-track album that delves into what Sun calls his "love affair with soul" and those warm analogue sounds from the '60s and '70s.
"When I first started performing around 1993, I stepped into this niche that was completely unfilled at the time," Sun said.
One Hundred delves into what Sun calls his "love affair with soul" and those warm analogue sounds from the '60s and '70s.
"From there, I found myself with a radio show and a chance to do club nights all in the genres of music I wanted to be a part of. It was always cool being able to share all this music and be a source for people. Now, with online sources like Pandora and Spotify, I think people have developed more varied palates as far as their musical tastes go."
Though his old school DJ traditions will always have him searching for classic vinyl, Sun said that he hopes to continue to evolve his signature sound with Resolution, a multi-piece band with whom he performed to rave reviews at the recent SXSW.
"My goal is to find unique sounds and music, and then make them accessible to people," he said. "Moving forward, I'll always keep doing just that . . . In fact, I'll probably still be doing all this stuff when I'm 80. You never really retire from the music industry."
Don't miss DJ Sun on Monday nights at the Flat, Wednesdays at Onion Creek (playing only 45s), Fridays at Boheme and Sunday afternoons in the MKT Bar at Phoenicia Downtown. Soular Grooves airs Saturday 9 p.m. to midnight on KPFT 90.1.