A Q&A with Tucker's mainstay DJ JJ Lopez

Steven Gilmore

I hear you have a pretty impressive vinyl collection. How big are we talking?
I bought my first record in 1984 when I was 10. Back then you could go to a record store and they still had LPs or the cassette, and CDs weren't even really there yet, you know what I'm saying? I was used to vinyl because my dad had a vinyl collection and I remember trying to buy the cassette to the soundtrack of the movie Beat Street and they didn't have it so it was natural to buy the record because I was used to playing my dad's LPs. I still have it. That was the first one. Where I'm at right now with LPs and 45's, yeah, I've got a little room devoted to it.

What are you playing at home?
Right now at home I'm listening to this thing called Capricore, it's a group of DJs out of the U.K. Their mixes are tracing the roots of the original rave scene from the late '80s, 1988, up to about 1992, which is the core of the original Manchester rave scene. Lately I've been revisiting that period, and even though I don't play it, I have a huge part in my heart for original raves. The sounds are not what you would typically imagine the rave scene to be. You know, like you hear Tiësto. It's a far cry from that. You'd be surprised.

Out of all the songs you play, which one never fails and always gets everybody going?
Jamiroquai's "Canned Heat." It is the epitome of what I'm about, what the environment is I hope gets across, and what I hope we can accomplish collectively whenever we're in that disco situation. I got "Canned Heat" in my heels tonight, you know? (Laughs) It's about getting down. It's a Tucker's favorite, it never leaves my bag. It's everything Tucker's is about.

When all of the partying and dancing are over with, how do you like to unwind?
Most often I'm with the other DJ because we're tearing down. My favorite thing to do is revisit the night and really break it down you know, in a way that only DJs really can relate to. As I'm DJing he's listening, or if he's DJing I'm listening and we know what's happening. Where the rest of the crowd is on for the ride, we're in the science of it: programming, technical aspect, records, maybe particular tricks we did. And so it's fun to revisit the night and curate the night. It could last a couple of hours. It's fun. C

Get down with JJ at First and Third Fridays at Tucker's Kozy Korner (1338 E Houston), Fourth Fridays at Space with House Nation (229 E Houston), and every Saturday on 91.7 KRTU with the Diggin' Deep Soul Shakedown.

JJ Lopez Soul Spot Top 10

Jamiroquai, "Canned Heat" (1999)
Rebirth, "Evil Vibrations" (2006)
Gwen McCrae, "Keep The Fire Burning" (1982)
Kenny Burke, "Let Somebody Love You" (1981)
Uptown Funk Empire, "You've Got To Have Freedom" (2009)
James Brown, "Give It Up, Turn It Loose (In the Jungle Groove)" (1986)
Instant Funk, "I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)" (1979)
Mellow Madness, "Save The Youth (Kenny Dope Rmx)" (2007)
Special Touch, "This Party Is Just For You" (1981)
New Birth, "I Can Understand It" (1973)

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