Eugene Tambourine is one of those rare DJs whose broad-ranging tastes can educate, transport, confuse, elate and inspire all at the same time. I first heard Eugene at the Seattle Eagle way back in the day, well early 90s. His sets were, and still are, transformative and constantly evolving journeys.
Along with spinning amazing sets, Eugene is also a very established musician and producer. His precisely crafted edits are bright and introspective while being very complimentary to the original version. He also recently toured the world with singer-songwriter Scott Matthew.
EUGENE TAMBOURINE – New York City
I used to think that you had to go to broadcasting school to learn how to spin. I was partly wrong. In the early ’90s I noticed that Hombres, a Seattle cowboy bar was looking for DJs and submitted a cassette of songs which had been edited from tape-to-tape. No dice until I learned to mix and began working at an ill-fated record store called Underground Dance Music, hanging out at Re-Bar and Tugs Belmont, which were my first residencies. Throughout the decade I played a quirky format of soul, vocal house, hip-hop and dance classics at other local venues such as the Eagle, Aro.Space, Kid Mohair, The Weathered Wall and The Easy, where I co-founded the infamous “Mahogany” parties. In the daytime, I wrote music reviews for local magazines like Resonance and the first several issues of XLR8R.
Moving to New York in the early 2000s, I left a promising Brooklyn gig to tour Europe as bassist/pianist for Australian singer-songwriter Scott Matthew. Despite time away from the club scene, deejaying is what I love the most. I’ve done a lot of re-editing over the past ten years which has made my playlists even more varied and versatile. The crossover can be anything from Tito Puente to Tears For Fears as long as there’s a groove and the people are willing to join me there.
WHY DO YOU PLAY MUSIC?
It’s the only thing which brings me pure joy. Taj Mahal has an album called “Music Keeps Me Together” and that pretty much sums it up.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS YOUR ROLE IN THE MUSIC WORLD GOING INTO THE FUTURE?
Honestly I’m still trying to figure it out! As a musician I’m comfortable in many roles; singer, bassist, keyboardist, percussionist. However, deejaying will always be my first love and the thing that brings me the most satisfaction when the stars are aligned. I think these experiences are par for the course of production, collaboration and music-making of my own. The more comfortable I get with recording, the more I think it’ll be something I’ll want to share with the world.
FAVORITE LABEL OR ARTIST FROM THE PAST YEAR?
As far as new music goes, I’ve been consistently impressed by Little Dragon and their vocalist Yukimi Nagano. She’s got one of the most unique and soulful voices out there. Pretty much anything coming out out Scandinavia gives me hope for the future. ABBA was not an accident; those people have a deep understanding of composition and melody.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST THIS YEAR?
2013 has been pretty good so far. I recently helped Scott Matthew record his fourth LP earlier this month. Once it’s packaged and marketed, we’ll probably tour again. I welcome any chance to travel, however the biggest thing I look forward to is the completion of my own album which is still in the early stages of mixing and recording.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR DJ NAME?
Eugene Tambourine is a name given to me by Barry Walters, a really wonderful music writer from San Francisco. We were at the Experience Music Project where Nicky Siano was deejaying a party to celebrate that 2002 exhibit of disco culture.
I was the only one in the room with a tambourine and Barry was actually sent by Nicky to ask if he could borrow it! Prior to that I’d just been DJ/PhDJ Eugene until I discovered other guys with similar titles. ET makes sense now, but back in the day Terry Hecker and I used to joke about this queen at the Timberline who would shake a tambourine all throughout their tea dance. Now I’m basically that guy!
Tracklist for BOTTOM FORTY Mix by EUGENE TAMBOURINE (NYC)
intro: You Have Been Were No Fairies Have Gone / BETTER BOYS FOUNDATION FAMILY CENTER
Spanish Dancer / STEVE WINWOOD
Legacy / ART OF NOISE
Theme from “Which Way Is Up?” / STARGARD
Human Behaviour* / BJORK
Tom Tom Theme* / TOM TOM CLUB
Curb My Heart* / TIGER & WOODS
Galacticus* / FREESCHA
Can You Feel It? / THE JACKSONS
Dinner With Gershwin / DONNA SUMMER
In The Mind Of One* / ISIS
Shake Your Body To The Beat* / PAL JOEY
Melodies* / MADE IN USA
I’m Afraid Of Me* / CULTURE CLUB
Dreampieces / HEADMAN featuring JEREMY KERR
Brazilian Love Affair (Zimmer Edit) / GEORGE DUKE
Do You Dream?* / CARLTON
And I Moved / PETE TOWNSHEND
Bowls / CARIBOU
Don’t Try It (ET Overdubs)* / CHEZ & TRENT
Le Velour (Martinez Brothers Mix) / SHONKY
On The Upside / XENA
Hold Tight (Unouzbeck Edit) / CHANGE
I Believe In You* / WILBUR featuring DEE DEE BRAVE
Ross! Ross! Ross! (Yowsah! Yowsah! Yowsah!)* / DIANA ROSS & CHIC
Living For Your Love* / BIG FUN
Falling In Love (Mo-C Edit) / SURFACE
(Joy) I Know It / ODYSSEY
*An EeeTee Edit.
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