Name, Location, What You Do:
Jess aka Terry Dactyl. I’m a music and culture journalist writing for Newsweek, Consequence of Sound, Billboard and Dust & Grooves, among other places. I’m based in Brooklyn and am from Oakland, California. I spin soul, funk, reggae and Latin tunes whenever I can.
So many! I’m impressed by all the DJs I know who spin full time and have epic musical knowledge. I was on the radio for many years and make an active effort to listen to community stations across the country, so I’m influenced by many amazing radio programmers. The late, great Sharon Jones is a huge inspiration. Journalistically, my biggest influence is probably Gay Talese, who pioneered “new journalism.”
Favorite Records at the Moment:
Orquesta Akokan’s self-titled debut on Daptone Records, I can’t get enough of that big band sound. Jr. Walker and The All-Stars’ b-side “Brainwashed pt. 2” is so funky it took me by surprise. Bob Andy’s 1967 tune “The Sun Shines For Me” is a working man’s anthem that makes me feel good during what feels like an ever-lasting winter — big up Adam from Wake The Town Radio for turning me onto this happy place record.
Best Digging Story:
Years ago at the KUSF Rock n Swap, I met a dealer named Gary who liked that I was asking for Ronettes records. We became friends and I started digging at his storage locker in the East Bay. I came up with a number of dope Ronettes tunes, an orange Japanese pressing of a Marvelettes comp and, my favorite, a Hamilton portable turntable from the ’60s with a built-in speaker that was loud enough to hear Ronnie and crew singing over the sounds of the freeway. I had to give that up when I moved to Brooklyn.
Favorite Mix and Why. Any Genre, Any DJ.
Hard question! Probably DJ Turmix’s Mobile Mondays set from 2014. Turmix is a Latin soul and boogaloo expert; he always seems to have a perfect mix of hits and obscurities in his sets. This mix features some of his heaviest tunes in his collection and always gets me dancing (or helps me edit and write).
LP, 12”, or 7” format?
LPs for listening at home and 7″ for playing out. I definitely collect more 45s these days, but I won’t forsake a great LP if I see one. I recently snagged a Celia Cruz and La Sonora Mantacera album at Record City in Brooklyn that’s been on repeat.
Junk Food You Can’t Live Without:
Cheeze Itz. I love ’em, but only the original kind or, maybe, the cheddar jack flavor. I can eat a whole box in one sitting and always bring a bag on a long flight.
Most Memorable Gig Played:
Spinning the patio at Funky Sole in Los Angeles last August. The night always has incredible guests from around the world. I try to go to Funky Sole at The Echo every time I visit LA and was honored to get to spin in the Funkyard. I saw a lot of good dancing and made some new friends, but my biggest regret is that I didn’t get to play Kool and The Gang’s “Hollywood Swingin’.”
Record That Never Leaves Your Record Box:
The Dynamics “Misery” b/w “I’m The Man” on Big Top. There is nothing else like this 1963 R&B stomper and I always try to find a way to fit it into a set.
Shout Outs, Last Remarks, and Gig Info:
I don’t have a regular gig at the moment but I’ll be at Santa Salsa in Bushwick in May, a few places in the Bay in June and, likely, Funky Sole and some other SoCal spots over the summer. Shoutouts to my bornt up sister DJ Miss Hap at Record City, soul brother Crayola Danger, DJ Small Change and my dear friend, vocalista Erica Ramos. Lots of love to Bay Area brethren, including the fine folks at KPOO 89.5 FM in San Francisco, VAMP Records in Oakland and the homie Andre Cruz (whose band The Humidors is on Flea Market Funk). And of course, big ups to DJ Prestige for the interview!