Those who hear the name 'Citizen Kane' may think of Orson Welles' Oscar winning film, but DJ's, record collectors, and NY party goers, know the name Citizen (Dennis) Kane from the incredible 'Selects 001' and 'Greatest Part' mixes he’s done along with Chairman Mao, the more recent 'Adult Section' CD, and the various parties he DJ's in NY. When seeing him spin live he's guaranteed to play stuff to keep a crowd moving. He's been holding down a spot at APT for nearly 8 years now and still going.
You may also remember Citizen Kane as one of the buyers/seller at A1 records back in the day. I'd imagine DJing for as long as he has and working as a record buyer/seller at A1, one would come up on a nice amount of gems, and indeed every mix I've heard from Citizen Kane has had some tasty rare treats as well as all around good tunes. Citizen Kane has great taste in music and plenty of it.
I'm surprised to see this music blog here reaching different countries, but what's even more surprising is when the site reaches the artists I feature on it. Dennis sent over an e-mail after hearing about the set I posted from his appearance on the CM Famalam show. He was nice enough to offer a track list for the set he spun, and take time to answer these few questions I had.
DW: Where were you born and raised/currently representing?
CK: Born in Ireland, raised in the city of brotherly love - Murderdelphia
I currently live in the LES (which now looks like a condominium farm)
DW: What inspired you to start record collecting/Djing?
CK: Love of the music, the joy of playing records for others. My brother bought me a mini turntable unit when I was about 8-9 it was on from there. Also at that time ( in my neighborhood ) it wasn't uncommon, it was more a part of the pre-teen social fabric than some isolated fetish. We traded records - would go to each others house play different 7's
DW: How many records do you own?
CK: ugh - too many, that I know, I'm actually trying to sell large portions of it off - stuff I'm no longer interested in, etc... I feel like I could use an archivist... certainly over 10,000 pieces, and with the hip-hop stuff, (the majority of which is in storage) significantly more.
DW: What are your rarest/ most valued pieces of wax?
CK: hmmm, several really rare pieces - The Rammelzee/Jean Michele Basquiat Beat-Bop, some beautiful northern 7's my friend Keb (Darge) gave me, a signed King promo 12 from the G.F.O.S. himself!
most valued - any record that's really getting to you emotionally and working out on the floor, it always changes and can be really rare or really common.
DW: How and when did u become involved with A1 records?
CK: When Aldo Rossati took over the shop he changed the climate significantly, he had had a career as a DJ in Europe and his knowledge of disco and euro sounds was pretty intense. He brought in a nice crew, myself, Eric Duncan, Toshio Kajiwara, Amir, Dan the beat man, and Roman from Paris. Later Tomas Bullock, Paolo Argento and Danny Wang worked there. Aldo was a social guy, he knew tons of different people and would cultivate relationships. The time I was there 99' - 2001 was a very intense time for the shop, records were moving in and out so quickly it was hard to get stuff even for the staff. Aldo would yell "hey we need something left for the customers..."
DW: Do you have a best/ worst diggin' story?
CK: several great finds, (the one's where you have to keep a straight face and not sweat) California is the place for sure it seems, every time I travel there I find amazing stuff.
worst - oh man the dust, the mold, the bad knees, the headaches - one place in western Canada a guy in this spot kept staring at me - he was slightly off, but it still was disconcerting - I had never met him.... so I picked out some stuff, brought them up to his desk, he stared at me intently, seemingly without blinking and finally before I could say anything he said "you been spending time with Carla?" I was like"um no....?" Then this extremely large young woman came in, very large, I mean well you know....He said: "You know this guy? Is this the guy?" She was like - in a squeaky sullen voice "no I don't know him "...( it was his daughter - did I mention she was a big girl? ) Once on a bus in Las Vegas it was so hot I thought the vinyl was going to melt.....
DW: How did u link up with Chairman Mao for the Selects 001 and Greatest Part mixes, and what was the inspiration behind the making of?
CK: Selects was a clothing line I did with Chris Gibbs (Union LA), Jeff and I had been doing gigs together so I suggested we make a mix as a promo item. It (that mix) has certainly had a life for itself since the summer of 99' We wanted to do a mix that was compositional in it's impetus and away from the tedium of compiled breaks. The Greatest Part was a worthy followup but we had some shady distribution issues. I know both have been bootlegged to death. I'm happy they still hold up so well.
DW: They definitely do, do you have any new projects in the works, or DJ residencies (APT still?)
CK: November will mark 8 years at APT, it's flown by so fast.... I do STROBE LODGE a dance party w Darshhan Jesrani (metro area) we have done 8 or so over the past few years, we rent a space, bring the sound, do the decorations, the whole 9.... it is an insane amount of work, but we get nice crowds and DIY is the best response to some cheesy club manager, skimming money from the door, or not caring about the sound system etc.... we are also doing the Adult Section party this June 3 @ Cielo, and we have some poolside stuff coming up in the Hamptons in August, summer fun!!!!! I run the Disques Sinthomme label we have 2 releases out, 2 on deck, I also have work out on the Ghost Town, Moton and Homestyle labels.
Big thanks to Citizen Kane for taking the time out for this interview. Be sure and support his new CD and check him live on the 3rd. Also check his excellent dance mix which can be found in two parts on Daily Session (and linked below), and in case you missed it the first time, check his set of old school hip hop rares from his CM Famalam appearance... You can also peep the Strobelodge site for more bios, info, and mixes
DJ Citizen Kane - A1 Mix (hr 2)
DJ Citizen Kane - CM Famalam mix