Sounds of Detroit: Mister Joshooa
You’ll notice him for his killer mustache, but you’ll remember him for his epic DJ sets. Over the past decade, Mister Joshooa has established a reputation as one of the most versatile DJs in the Motor City with a record bag full of dancefloor magic that competes with the world’s best party starters. A TV Lounge legend, Joshooa is not only a resident DJ at the beloved venue but also serves as its Music Director. Between bringing incredible talent to Detroit and serving up some of our favorite DJ sets, Joshooa is poised to make 2016 his biggest year yet with his first production being released this summer. Ahead of his performance at Movement Festival, we caught up with the mustachioed man to ask him about Detroit influences, that weird baby head symbol we love, can’t-miss after parties, and much more.
RP: You moved to Detroit to pursue music at the Recording Institute of Detroit. Tell us about that experience.
MJ: Detroit was and always will be an untamed super beast full of surprises both ugly and amazing. That’s what drew me to her in the first place. Once I got there, I naturally found my way into the rave scene. After a few events, I got it in my head that I wanted to throw parties. Not knowing a mixing console from my asshole, I decided to get myself educated. A friend of mine had attended the RID a couple of years previous and had nothing but good things to say. I knew that Andy Toth (half of Detroit Grand Pubahs at the time) was attending. Being a major fan of his work, I decided to take the plunge. It gave me an overall understanding of studio recording and live engineering — from signal path to mix down as well as mixing a drum kit. And I got my hands on an MPC for the first time. The founder of RID is Bob Dennis, a recording supervisor for Motown Records 1963-68. So naturally we were taught the recording techniques and secrets of Motown. I’m convinced that if Ii hadn’t attended RID, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
How has living in Detroit influenced your sound?
It has everything to do with my sound. In the beginning, I was listening to a lot of drum and bass and jungle, and didn’t know too much about house music. I landed a bartending job at Half Past 3, which is what TV Lounge used to be. Tuesdays were house night and the sounds were provided by the likes of Delano Smith, Norm Talley, Minx, Terrence Parker, Bruce Bailey and so forth. It was then, week after week, that I realized that House was where it was at.
Tell us about the baby head with the cigarette. How did that become your symbol?
So the story goes, one year during Halloween at TV Lounge, a patron had a baby doll as part of their costume. I guess they decided they couldn’t take care of the little guy any more, so they left it under our supervision. Big mistake. Being the idiots that we are, we gave it a name and would leave it out at parties. The baby looked like it needed a ciggy so I busted out the drill and made a hole for it to smoke out of. We’d give it cocktails and introduce him to girls and what not. He just sort of became our mascot. It sort of fits with our whole attitude of being ignorant for fun. TV Lounge’s reputation was built on us not giving a fuck.
What are some of your favorite spots to play in Detroit?
TV Lounge first and foremost. It’s been my 2nd home for 11ish years now. It’s my booth, my people. I really enjoy playing the front room at The Works in the wee hours of the morning. Something about that dirty ass place that makes the monster come out. I find myself playing in a way I don’t anywhere else. Marble Bar is another great spot that just opened up this year. The vibes over there remind me of the early days of TV.
You’re playing the Beatport Stage on Saturday – what can festival goers anticipate from your set? Any teasers you can give us?
Honestly I don’t even know what to expect from myself. One day I’m like, “I’m gonna play scary minimal techno,” and the next I’m all about house and disco. If I had to guess, it’s going to be a mix of all those things. That’s when I play best, when I don’t think about it. I just trust my record bag and let my hands do the work.
Tell us about the can’t-miss after parties you’re playing during Movement weekend.
OK Cool for sure. That’s my baby along with collaborators Dax Presents and Ted Krisko. It’s in its fourth year and we are only getting better at creating an honest event that we truly believe in. With top notch sound and production and no cheesy shit. Another would be From Hell with Love Monday night at a loft in Eastern Market. It’s a lumberjacks in hell showcase with a secret line up and location. This too is my event. I wanted to provide a place for the homies to hang on the last night without the hassle of being in an over packed mega club. By the time Monday rolls around, I’ve had enough techno to last me a year. I’m always in search of a proper disco party so I figured, why not create one?
Any tour dates/releases planned for the summer you can share with our readers?
As of right now my DJ schedule will be mostly in Detroit. I’m not quite to the point yet where I’m traveling consistently. I do, however, have my first record coming out this summer. It will be the first release on my own imprint, My Baby. Keep an eye out for it in late July.