Interview: Jonathan Galkin with Justin Strauss
New York City
Jonathan Galkin is the day-to-day man behind DFA Records — the unassailable dance floor institution he co-founded with Tim Goldsworthy and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy. DFA’s little lightning bolt has graced some of the most influential records released this century, and Galkin’s ears steer the ship. For this latest edition of the Just/Talk series, music producer, remixer, legendary DJ and Ace friend Justin Strauss sat down with Galkin to talk about the label’s early days, following your gut and finally leaving Manhattan.
Justin Strauss: In the late 90s and early 2000s, I was becoming bored and disillusioned with dance music. Then I heard “House of Jealous Lovers” by The Rapture and “Losing My Edge” by LCD Soundsystem, and they both really blew me away — I got inspired about DJing and making records again. How did DFA start, and what was the inspiration?
Jonathan Galkin: Before it was a record label, DFA was a party and a studio called “Death From Above” — it was the name of the sound system that James had built a few years prior for Juan Maclean’s band, Six Finger Satellite.
JS: Where did this sound system reside?
JG: I think the sound system was born in Providence, RI — that’s where Six Finger Satellite were based, and where a lot of people related to DFA come from: Black Dice, Pat Mahoney from LCD Soundsystem — people from the post-Fort Thunder/Lightning Bolt scenes. Death From Above was what they called this punishing, relentlessly loud sound system.
Back then, James was helping to build a recording studio — that’s where he met Tim Goldsworthy, and eventually how he met The Rapture. The band had just moved to New York and needed a place to record, and there was this alignment — an indie rock band who loved dance music, but weren’t initially trying to make a dance record. So Tim and James went to work with The Rapture — this was before I met them.