LE BAIN: You were on Resident Advisor's podcast recently, and RA described you as a "well-kept secret in a city [Detroit] full of them.” How does that inspire you?
SCOTT ZACHARIAS: To be perfectly honest, if many of the DJs that I looked up to when I first got started were still in the game, I would sit the fuck down. Their enthusiasm, eclecticism, and kindness opened up a world of expression I never knew existed. We are all standing on very tall shoulders. I would specifically like to thank John ‘Bileebob’ Williams and Mack ‘Paris’ Goudy Jr [of Detroit Grand Pubahs].
Your style is described as “psychedelic”, “odd eclecticism”, “dirty,” “decadent,” and “anything goes”...
For context, I grew up in the '80s and things were just as messed up as they are now, but from my perspective as a child, I think people were more open to all styles of everything, including technology. And there was a point in the '90s when I actually believed in the future. I was ready. Let’s stop all the bullshit and put on the silver pants and GO! Get the fuck outta here (ie: human suffering). Pants still packed.
“It’s all reggae.”
You started to make a name for yourself at the No Way Back parties in Detroit. Tell us about those.
I’m not exactly qualified or elegant enough to fully explain how No Way Back has become what is now to thousands of people. It’s a feeling. It's not just a throwback--it's a feeling of intense Midwestern pride. I’m just happy to be included. I feel my style isn’t exactly in the techno realm for some, but I try to connect all the dots. Not always successfully, but hey, these sets are over six hours...
You once said about DJing, “I’m not an artist and don’t subscribe to that shit. I’m a DJ. The music is bigger than you and love is the only message.” Is that it? Anything to add?
[Laughs.] Not really. I’m constantly telling everyone “it’s all reggae.” Even with a nod and a wink, I’m dead serious.
I also love that "RELAXER Goes Leather" mix. What was that about?
It was an homage to all the unknown gay DJs out there that kept the music alive even when everyone was constantly going to funerals. The mix is thirteen years old now. I was naive and a wee bit revisionist, but out of that, we started a party called Disco Secret, which eventually became Macho City. It’s a place where anyone can come and be whoever the fuck they are--and not many parties like that were around in the '00s. We’ve been going for over a decade now with no intention of stopping.
On Friday, August 31st, Le Bain presents Scott Zacharias
The Standard, High Line | 10pm