Over the past two and a half decades Jex Opolis has found himself in quite a few scenes. Now based in NYC, Jered Stuffco played in bands in Edmonton in the 90s, was a founding member of the Toronto electronic group DVAS in the early 2000s and now finds himself firmly established as one of the top selectors and producers in Brooklyn’s ever expanding landscape of artists.
Along the way he has released countless solo EPs and remixes as well as limited pressings of side projects such as Conga Radio on his label Good Timin’ Records.2018 has seen him move away from his classic balearic style and closer to the club with a new live show and the appropriately named sister label Bad Timin’. While the goal this year was to “flood the club,” it doesn’t mean he still didn’t have his fair share of tasty flea market finds to drop into his mix for us this month. We had a chance to talk about his favorite gear, guilty pleasure tracks and Michael Douglas in our latest Mixed By feature. Check out the interview and mix below.
How do you approach recording a mix? Is it mainly newer tracks you’ve come across? Do you have a specific tracklist you stick to or is it free flowing and random?
For this mix, a bunch of the records came from an old collection I found at a flea market in Edmonton. I was back in there to visit family, but ended up spending more time with the dude who runs the flea market LOL! So I took some of those 12s and noticed they were in the same key and then threw ‘em together with a bunch of other stuff I’d picked up over the past couple years.
If Michael Douglas was a muse for some of your work with DVAS, who would you say is a muse for your work in 2018?
So funny you dug that up! DVAS verged on performance art at times. Times change! Now, I’m more into Sting or maybe Peter Godwin. Peter Godwin is so tight. He’s soft and romantic but his tunes kick serious ass.
When organizing your new live set, where did you start? Is there a lot of room for additions to older tracks and improvisation? Or is your main goal to recreate the studio version live?
For the last run of live shows, I went through my discography and picked tracks that would hold a floor. The show is pretty turbo; I think it’s surprised some folks who only know me for my balearic mixes or whatever. There’s no Hawaiian shirts in this live show! Anyhoo, everything is stripped down: Recreating the records wasn’t the goal, the goal was to flood the club!
As for your crates, how do you organize your tunes? By genre, energy or your own unique system?
My main organization system is to donate records to Goodwill every month! The less records you have, the less you have to sort through. About two years ago, I was doing last-minute prep for a gig and found like, seven copies of the Dennis Parker LP. My wife was like, “Bro, the Lyft is here! Time to get rid of your doubles!”
You’ve previously said you got into house music in the early 2000s. Were you DJing before that? If so, what kind of stuff were you playing?
I didn’t DJ at all before about 2003. I pretty much thought DJs were useless! Back then we’d go to the club to party and take a pill, not watch the DJ. I remember watching a guy play records once, and I thought, “That’s all he’s doing up there?!” Meanwhile, I’ve been doing it now for 15 years and I still trainwreck and get nervous and fuck up. DJing is way harder than it looks—except on CDJs, when it’s easier than it looks. Anyhoo, some of the first gigs I got were through my friend Pam Hong in Toronto, she hooked me up big time to play her “Lipstick Cherry” night at the Drake. She was playing a lot of italo and then newer stuff like Lifelike or Glass Candy or whatever, which was what I was into as well.
Do you have any guilty pleasure tracks that you find yourself playing even though they may not fit into the set?
I bring a 12-inch of Van Halen’s “Jump” to every gig, and if the crowd is wack or if I get frustrated, I’ll put it on. It certainly gets people’s attention.
Can you name one underappreciated artist, past or present, you believe deserves more recognition?
I think Gene Tellem is going to keep making vital club gear and will get more recognition as a DJ/Producer in the coming years. The heads already know!
What has been your favorite piece of hardware in the studio in the past two years?
I just bought some Adam A7Xs and built a bunch of sound absorbing panels out of Roxul, fabric, wood and staples. I also made the fabric orange and blue (Go Oilers!) so the studio looks sick now. Once I got everything set up, I played the 12-inch of “Dance Sister” by the Peech Boys. I almost cried it sounded so good. The stereo field was huge. Larry was with me for a second, I swear!
Which is your favorite club to play in Canada?
Anywhere that will have me! I’ve had lots of fun at Bambi’s and at both Bleury (RIP) and Datcha. Is there a club for haggard diggers in Saskatoon?
Do you have any plans for any Conga Radio live shows in the future?
It all depends on whether or not Roberto finishes some of the new tunes I sent him!
Interview by Nicholas