Ryan Elliott (fabric 88)
I was born and raised in Carleton, Michigan. A very small town 30 miles south west of Detroit. My family still lives there.
My father is from Alabama. His family moved to Detroit in the mid 60s to find work in the auto factories. Because of this, there was always country and blues music around. Lots of Elvis, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash albums and tapes would be played at home. My mother is from the same town as me. Neither play an instrument, but have always been very supportive. I grew up in a very loving, normal environment.
I was a rap and hip-hop kid. I thought I was a break dancer. When I was 8, I saw the movie Breakin and loved everything about it. I bought the soundtrack on tape and listened to it non-stop on our family road trip that year. On that soundtrack was Kraftwerk’s Tour de France. I remember being completely mesmerized by that song. It was like nothing I had ever heard. Only later, would I realize the impact it had on me. Throughout high school it was all about gangster rap. This is when all the Dre, Snoop, Biggie, and Tupac albums were coming out. I was also really into Tribe Called Quest, EPMD, KRS-One, The Pharcyde, Eric B and Rakim, and Wu Tang Clan.
Detroit radio and television were a huge influence as well. I remember watching The New Dance Show after school in the afternoons. There were so many great radio DJs back then - but what had the biggest impact on me was the fact that they were mixing, cutting, and blending songs together. I had never heard that before and wanted to know HOW they were doing that.
Relatively speaking, I started DJing a little bit later than most people. It was only when I moved back to Detroit after university that I really became immersed in the clubbing and DJ scene. My friends and I would go to Motor Lounge (Detroit’s big super club at that time) and see Robert Hood, Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin, etc. From the clubbing experience I started asking myself 'What is that person actually doing in the booth? Where do they buy this music? How are they actually putting these songs together?' I had no DJ friends, I had to figure it all out on my own.
Around 2002/2003, a friend from high school was a waiter at an Italian restaurant in Ann Arbor. The restaurant also had a jazz club in the basement. He gave my 'demo' to the manager of the jazz club who was looking to fill a slower Tuesday night with 'electronic music'. On the very first night that I played, Matthew Dear came in to check it out. He introduced himself and we immediately struck up a friendship. I can’t remember if I invited him to play with me the next week, or if he invited himself but either way he played with me and it went so well that we decided to do the night together. We did our Goodnight Gracies night every Tuesday for 4 years. That was where I really learned how to DJ in front of people week in and week out. Through Matthew, I met the owner of Ghostly International and Spectral Sound, Sam Valenti. He and I also struck up a lasting friendship and I joined the Spectral team.
By 2008 I was playing in Europe pretty regularly and knew that DJing was what I wanted to do with my life. At this point I was playing at Berghain and Panorama Bar a few times a year and had a good relationship with its owners and resident DJs. So, in 2009, with my cat and 500 records I made the big move from Detroit to Berlin. It wasn’t long after I moved to Berlin that I became and resident at Berghain and joined the Ostgut Ton label.
"fabric to me has always been about getting lost and locked into one continuous groove. It’s never been about stand alone songs. That’s what I hope to achieve with this mix - a sum of parts that together create one whole feeling of rhythm. The mix was done at home, in my studio in Berlin. I cannot thank the fabric team enough for giving me the opportunity to contribute my chapter to their story. Things have come full circle since I first heard Craig’s fabric 01 and dreamed of one day doing a fabric mix myself."
LABELS AND PRODUCTION:
I have done EPs for Ostgut Ton and Spectral Sound. I have done remixes for Rekids, Life and Death, Sushitech, Work Them, Prime Numbers, Classic, Karlovak, Cocoon, and Hotflush to name a few.
I first went to fabric in November, 2000. It was my first trip outside the US and my main reason for wanting to go to London. It lived up to every expectation that I had. It’s really that simple. I returned home to Detroit a changed man and knew one day I had to play there. Five years later, I received an email from Judy asking me to play alongside Matthew Dear in Room Two. I nearly fell out of my chair when the email arrived. It was my first international booking! Matthew and I played in Room Two with Alter Ego live and Craig [Richards] played in Room One. The night was absolutely perfect, a memory I will never forget.
fabric to me has always been about getting lost and locked into one continuous groove. It’s never been about stand alone songs. That’s what I hope to achieve with this mix - a sum of parts that together create one whole feeling of rhythm. The mix was done at home, in my studio in Berlin. I cannot thank the fabric team enough for giving me the opportunity to contribute my chapter to their story. Things have come full circle since I first heard Craig’sfabric 01 and dreamed of one day doing a fabric mix myself.
I’m very excited for all of my upcoming DJ dates. My monthly residency at Berghain and Panorama Bar, a few dates upcoming at fabric, festivals, Ibiza, and loads of good clubs all very soon. I have also started working on original production material again as well as a few remixes.
fabric 88: Ryan Elliott is out now.
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Photography: Jimmy Mould