Los Angeles resident John Tejada is one of those versatile, classically trained producer/DJs who has a huge advantage over the typical laptop jockey, who knows how to move a cursor and little else. The son of a Viennese composer father and an opera-singer mother, Tejada learned piano and drums as a youth, then caught the hip-hop/electro bug. He mastered DJing those styles, then became engrossed in Detroit techno in the mid-'90s and started putting his own twist on the classic design conceived by Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Carl Craig, and others.
Rather than shunt you onto the dance floor with brute force, Tejada slyly coaxes you there with lithe rhythms that friskily slap you on the rump, rather than crush your sternum. And his melodies -- exemplified on 1998's Little Green Lights and Four Inch Faders (A13) and Backstock, a 20-track compilation issued on his own Palette imprint -- swirl in a halogen glow that presses powerful emotional buttons. Tejada's stab at IDM, 2000's The Matrix of Us (DeFocus), pales compared to his techno creations, but as anyone who saw last year's ceiling-levitating set at Touch can attest, he's proved himself a wily, genre-spanning trickster on the Technics.
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