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John Tejada's All Vinyl Mix Is a Deep Trip Down the Rabbit Hole

The acid-loving veteran shows what two turntables and a mixer can do before a headlining appearance at beloved Detroit Movement week party OK, Cool.

David Garber

David Garber


Few work a pair of turntables and mixer better than Vienna-born, LA-based DJ and producer John Tejada. Like many, Tejada, who's been spinning plates since the early 90s, has something of a special kinship with the electronic music epicenter of Detroit. It was here that a series of early releases—and a visit to the inaugural year of Detroit Electronic Music Festival—helped solidify his place in dance music lore.

Next Sunday, May 28, a moment when many of Detroit's Movement week parties—and partiers—gear up a final go into the wee hours of Memorial Day, Tejada will be making an exclusive appearance at beloved event Ok, Cool, at the city's TV Lounge venue. To help us get ready for the festivities, Tejada laid down a seamless, hour-long all-vinyl mix that showcases some of his currents favorites, and a couple forthcoming releases of Los Angeles imprint Acid Camp and Playground. We also caught with John for a short chat about his relationship with the Motor City below the mix. Tickets for Ok, Cool are available here.

THUMP: Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with Detroit?
John Tejada: I first visited the city in 1997, and started working with Seventh City Records right around that time. I got to experience the first year of DEMF which was quite amazing, too. My wife is from the Detroit area and I still visit frequently to see family.

Who are some artists from the city that have mentored you or you've learned from in some way?
There's been so many great varieties of music that have influenced me over the years from Detroit since I was a child. With my own work, Daniel Bell gave me a big push by releasing five singles of mine on his Seventh City imprint. Through [Dan] I got to know Anthony Shakir and Claude Young. Mike Grant also was a big help releasing my collaborations with Arian Leviste. Through Mike I got to meet Kenny Larkin who lives quite close to me in LA. I also had the pleasure of remixing my favorite Kevin Saunderson tune "Just Another Chance." I think over the years I got to meet many of my Detroit music heroes and had great experiences meeting them.


Any Detroit memories you'd like to reflect on?
I've played a variety of parties since the festival started in 2000. A real highlight was playing Daniel Bell's moving party that first year at his office space for Seventh City on Gratiot. There was a real who's who of people piled into that space. Many I didn't know were there till years later. That was a really fun memory.

What have you noticed happening with the acid sound these days?
It seems to be a thing again. Although more the name than the sound? I've got a collaboration with Tin Man who's doing great things with silver boxes. It's been nice to explore that sound with him and collaborate.

Tell us a bit about the mix and what we're going to hear in it.
I recorded the mix at home, in real time on 2 turntables and a mixer. It starts with a few current favorites and then previews some new works I've got on test pressing with Arian Leviste and Justin Maxwell that's being released soon.

John Tejada's mix tracklist:
Vulva - Funk Star - Reflective
Braccio d'Occo - Baby Steps - Atavisme
Logic Systems - Ultranet - 89:Ghost
Brawther - Visions - Cabinet
John Tejada & Arian Leviste - Machine Of Marley - The Playground
Varhat - Ban - Varhat
Makcim & Levi - 1055ML - We Are Hoche
Dana Ruh - Make You - Cave
John Tejada & Justin Maxwell - The Name Rolls In - Acid Camp
John Tejada & Arian Leviste - Rock The Transport - The Playground
John Tejada - Therapy (A1) - Palette
John Tejada & Justin Maxwell - I've Got Acid (on my brain) - Acid Camp
John Tejada & Justin Maxwell - Mindbend (feat. Daniel Bell) - Palette
John Tejada & Arian Leviste - Switched Mode - Areal