Club denizens typically call Halloween “amateur night.”
But they’re referring to the clients, not the DJs. Take Amy Pickett’s Slam Factory Halloween Mix 2017 (October 28, 2017), the second set from that weekend I’ve highlighted in this space since 2018 began. (The first was mrBlaQ, at the beginning of January.) Something was clearly in the air that night.
In Pickett’s case, it was something very shiny and, as a result, rather sinister. It’s not quite right to call this set tech-house, even though it has house’s warmth as well as techno’s sheen. Mostly it has electro’s bug-eyed futurism. The paranoid strings of Peverelist & Hodge’s “21 Versions” intrude upon a whapping synth snare as the a cappella hook of Florian Kupfer’s preceding “Discotag” continues to float through the mix. Catz ’N Dogz’s remix of Moodymann’s “Freeki Mutha F*cka” give the original’s lowdown groove some spring, all the better to blend into the positively blurry “Transmission 5,” by Paranoid London. Pickett’s set clocks in at a lean, user-friendly 46 minutes, as well.
A native of St Paul, Pickett had lived in New York City, Oakland, and Chicago before returning “ten years ago to be near family,” she says. “I’ve always been obsessed with music,” she says, and around the turn of the decade she began learning to mix, going public three years ago. “I mainly play deep house, techno and a variety of electronic music.”
Since then, Pickett has been playing regularly for Communion and Black Mass, the House Proud parties at Honey, and events for System, Always Human Tapes, and in the tents at Even Furthur. As part of the Why Not? Crew—alongside Ben Brumm, Jim Frick, Travis Stearns, and Robert James—Pickett throws a monthly at Dinkytown’s Kitty Cat Klub, the third Friday. This month, that comes the night after Pickett and Brumm go back-to-back opening for Call Super at Honey.
The Call Super party, incidentally, promises to be amazing. The Berlin-based DJ is one of the sharpest left-field selectors around; His Truancy Volume 196 mix from November is one of the most dizzying of its type I’ve heard recently. “Ben and I hope to warm up the room and get people engaged early on,” says Pickett. “We are both interested in an eclectic mix of dance music and our set will reflect that.”
Are you a Twin Cities dance-music DJ? Michaelangelo Matos wants to hear your latest set. He writes about recent mixes by local DJs (and DJs making local appearances) every Thursday for City Pages. Tweet to his attention: @matoswk75.