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Photos by Sam Campbell and Nina Wright

Know Your DJs

2/3 of D Numbers = 100% Awesome

August 20, 2013, 12:00 am

Saying you don’t love experimental-rock act D Numbers and its three members (who are so talented you kind of want to just quit trying to do anything) is like saying you wish the sun would explode! Not really, but the point remains the same—Brian Mayhall, Ben Wright and Paul Feathericci are champions among men and, more importantly, among musicians. But did you know that each member is a masterful DJ in his own right? Probably. Even so, there are myriad reasons why these guys are vital to the Santa Fe music ecosystem. They encompass so many musical styles while providing countless events across town in varying incarnations. The boys even kicked off a brand-new record label called Mesa Recordings last February and, since Feathericci’s had his fair share of the spotlight (sorry, Paul…I still love you), it’s time to get in the minds of Mayhall and Wright with this, the latest installment of Know Your DJs!

Brian Mayhall is a DJ because…
“I always looked at music from a compositional standpoint; like, if I heard a repetitive drumbeat, I assumed it wasn’t great music. But then I started attending these beautiful outdoor dance parties in places like Diablo Canyon, and when you’re throbbing along to dance music with a huge group of people, it becomes this physical, spiritual experience. The more I went to these parties and felt the undeniable danceability, the more I knew I wanted to make this kind of music.”

Mesa Records is awesome because…
“It’s an expansion of the whole D Numbers universe. When we were out on tour, it always seemed so amazing at the time, but we’d come home and realize that it was almost limited in its actual scope. Mesa allows us to take the concepts that make up our band and DJ projects, and to build on them, both with the core members and other musicians and DJs we love…like David Last from Colorado, who will have a release in February of next year.”

When you hear my music…
“You’ll only hear songs that would make me want to dance. I tend to keep the low-frequency stuff—the drums, for example—banging and hard-hitting, but there’s a degree of restraint to the high-frequency stuff that makes it really inviting. You’re going to hear tech/house stuff, but whereas so much dance music can be abrasive or overly loud, I bring a softness to my production that I think sounds really cool.”

Ben Wright is a DJ because…
“In the late ’90s, I was outgrowing my jam-band/bluegrass/fusion-jazz phase, and I had cut my ponytail off and was getting turned on to some heady electronica like Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and Mouse on Mars. Feathericci, my old buddy from back East, took me to my first ‘rave’ in 2000 at an abandoned department store on St. Michael’s Drive here in Santa Fe, and the rest is history…a DJ changed my life, etc. Trippy side note: that DJ who changed my life all those years ago now heads up the Netherlands-based digital distribution company that handles Mesa Recordings.” (Author’s note: it’s called ETM Music.)

Kids are cool because…
“It’s a wild ride being a new parent and supporting a family as a working musician in Santa Fe, but our kid is amazing and a total inspiration to me. Next up is a release from my solo project, Mi, that was written during my wife’s pregnancy and is an homage to bringing a new human consciousness into the world. It’s called One on the Way and will be released on Mesa Recordings on Oct. 9.”

Rock and Americana are a part of the equation…
“I love the interplay between my different musical environments. My electronic music is made almost exclusively from organic sources like guitars and cellos and banjos and field recordings. I feel my production comes across as very band-like from years of composing and arranging for bands.”


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