Our newest mixtape comes to us from the renowned Deep Woods, who has been a fixture on the New York music scene for over twenty years. From his roots in the early 1990s House scene to the heavy influence of disco and rock ‘n roll in his sound, Deep Woods offers up an eclectic and refreshing mix in his music, while taking listeners through the twists and turns of a sonic dark forest. Later this summer, he’ll be making his first appearance at Burning Man, but before shipping off to the Nevada desert, we caught up with him in Brooklyn to talk about his musical influences, how fashion and visuals play into his work, and what the deep dark forest inside his head looks like these days.

OAK: We spoke briefly about your upcoming first experience at Burning Man later this summer. For our readers, what will you be doing there, and what are you expecting from the festival?
DEEP WOODS: This being my first time at Burning Man, I am not sure what to expect, but I feel I will keep an open mind. I will be spinning at some of the camps – Disorient, Kostume Kult & Heroes & Super Villains to name a few – so I hope to get to bring some of the Deep Woods sound to the Playa. I personally hope to be inspired musically from all the different music & art and the experience of Burning Man so that I can translate that into my productions.

OAK: There’s a lot of 1970s and 1990s influences in your work. What about those decades do you find inspiring?
DW: I have always loved the music from both decades, the ’70s since I grew up listening to disco & rock here in NYC and the 90s is when I started to DJ downtown in Manhattan. The groove and rhythms of ’70s disco, along with a quality of deepness in some of the underground tracks, had a massive influence in my music production and the feel of some of my records. The ’90s gave us some great R&B sounds as well as the rise of House music here in NYC. I am grateful to have been a part of developing and bringing house music to NYC. I got to work with and be influenced by so many great DJs and producers who gave NY house music the unique sound that it has.

OAK: Where do the two eras meet, and what went wrong in the ’80s?
DW: The sound from the ’70s and ’90s meet in many of the elements of House tracks, so many producers, myself included were influenced by disco and sampled bass lines and other elements from ’70s records to give birth to House. The ’80s? Hmmmm, well there were some good things in the ’80s… What were they again? Seriously, there are some great musical elements in todays productions that have come from that decade as well.

OAK: What is the best album from the ’70s? Best of the ’90s?
DW: The “best of” questions are always the hardest, [there are] too many records to choose from. [For] the ’70s anything by Chic/Nile Rodgers. The ’90s well, Portishead’s Dummy and Massive Attack’s Protection are [at the] top of the list.


OAK: What does the deep dark forest inside of your mind look and sound like?
DW: Sometimes it’s hard to know where that path through the forest that is inside my mind will lead. One day it is a mysterious deep dark wooded area filled with ghosts of the past, while sometimes it seems dark and frightening only to lead to an oasis in the form of a beautiful meadow filled with color and textures. The sounds that follow the sonic landscapes are dark melodies and bass lines that beckon one to explore what lies within your own mind’s hidden forests. I like to travel down many of the different paths not knowing where they may lead both musically and visually.

OAK: Music and fashion – at least since the 20th century – have always had a symbiotic relationship to one another, but it seems like now more than ever, they go hand in hand. What role does fashion play in your work?
DW: Now more then ever fashion plays a role in my work as a DJ and producer. Personally I see my style as an extension of my sound when I am spinning, bringing forth elements that express the feeling of where I want the journey to go through the music I am playing.

OAK: How would you describe your personal style?
DW: Subdued with an element of street.


OAK: Can you tell our readers about ‘Lost in the Deep OAK Forest’, the mix you made for us? What was your creative process like while putting it together?
DW: While putting together a mix for OAK I wanted to create a journey where one could start in a safe melodic place and venture forth down a darker intriguing path only to find oneself carried by the groove through tracks that make exploring the unknown effortless. A magical fun adventure within your own mind that will leave you wanting to dance and think where you have gone while the tracks echo in your head.

OAK: You can definitely hear the influence of the ’90s in the mix, which brings to mind the golden age of the music video, or at least a time when artists really began experimenting with the artform. How do visuals play into your sound? Do you feel like videos still hold the same importance when it comes to music?
DW: Visuals are essential in music as I “see” music as well as feel and hear it. Currently I have been working with Lumenoti (NYC based visual &graphics expert) on all the visual elements for music for my label 3Bridge Records and Deep Woods productions and live sets. Besides videos for Deep Woods tracks, we have developed “The Deep Woods Experience”, a 3D projection mapping live DJ sets that allows the expression of the visual and auditory elements of what my sound is all about.

OAK: Other than Burning Man, what else are you looking forward to doing with the rest of your summer? Do you have anything big planned – work or otherwise – heading into fall?
DW: I have been working on a number of productions in the studio for an album release in the fall. “Certain Dark Things” will have tracks that define the sound that I have developed over the past year. Also the new 3Bridge Record label has been keeping me busy curating a number of great artists from around the world to bring their music to the label for DJs and dance music lovers alike. You can check them out at 3bridgerecords.com.

Deep Woods wears Rick Owens Drkshdw s/s seam tee in dark dust and OAK shawl collar zip pullover.