The 312 is 5 Magazine’s Chicago dance music podcast, featuring 100% real Chicago DJs.
5 Magazine’s Chicago-centric podcast series features half (Side A!) of a new cassette tape mix from our town’s Tim Zawada: Chicago DJ, Chicago producer and all around impresario. Tim is part of the Boogie Munsters, the pilot of the Tugboat Edits and more recently the unfathomably futuristic Star Creature.
The interview picks up below the mix. The handsome photo above is by Alex Gomez.
The 312 Mix Vol 19 presents Tim Zawada
The 312 Interview with Tim Zawada
I first got to know you through the Tugboat Edits, and was pleased to see a new one made an appearance in August! Can you tell me about the series & the latest edition from Hotmood?
Tugboat Edits started during a time after I had made the transition to Serato (before going back to vinyl) and was trying to figure out how to make these dollar bin boogie records knock a little harder. Had just moved back to Chicagoland after college and a lot of the DJ events I was playing were House/Hip Hop so needed stuff to bridge that gap and flex the boogie collection.
Doing the records started off as kind of a joke but once I started to put them out, just kept releasing stuff that I wanted to play out.
And Star Creature, which has had an eclectic run to date to say the least. It’s more synth-based and I’ve loved the output so far.
Star Creature leans more on the natural, unadulterated boogie sound – all original contemporary productions, the feel of the bands and groups from years past, definite homage to the ’70s and ’80s but a modern/future feel. As much as I like all genres, the blanket of Boogie Funk/Disco stuff has always been what I’ve had the most fun digging for, dancing to and spinning out. Gradually over the past five or so years, a few new (as in, recently produced) boogie records had started to make their way into my crates. These were from labels like MoFunk, Voltaire, Omega Supreme, Sound Boutique, People’s Potential, etc. All cranking out great stuff. I was finding cool unreleased music all the time and already pressing records so decided to just release more.
And just to round it out since our last 312 Mix with Moppy: What’s up with the Boogie Munsters?
Boogie Munsters formed here in Chicago but the core crew has kind of spread out – Detroit, LA, NYC, maybe even London soon. We try to stay true to our city, all sides, and contribute what we can to the fabric and history of this Chicago DJ thing. We spin the music we like, we play our own style and selections and support the artists and causes we believe in, play records, make records, throw events, make gear, have fun. We’re casual. “Chill.”
I wanted to do a new mix that bridged the gap between the recent spaced out boogie funk and recent spaced out sorta-house records I’ve been into lately. I wanted to show that this stuff could co-exist in the same package right here on Earth, not in space.
I’m not sure if you’re in charge of this on the team, but I check out everything you do via Bandcamp — and I’ve noticed some records you still have in stock there that are sold out elsewhere. How is your experience selling with Bandcamp — is it a viable distribution point for our type of music?
We started off selling on our own site, Bandcamp, Big Cartel, and maybe even a few others but Bandcamp quickly proved best for us. The social element really helps good music spread. They are super supportive across all genres and formats – constantly publishing articles and features on new artists and labels, highlighting what’s selling well, you can follow your friends and other people’s taste you respect to see what they are checking for, nice reminders and recommendations, etc.
Bandcamp only accounts for about 1/4 of our physical sales right now though, but I would highly recommend it to any artist or label not already on it.
This mix is half of a tape being issued for Cassette Store Day. Can you give me some specifics of the mix?
I sometimes wonder about the segregation between scenes and musical styles. I’m not great at using words to describe music but I wanted to do a new mix that kind of bridged the gap between the recent spaced out boogie funk and recent spaced out sorta-house records I’d been into lately. I wanted to show that this stuff could co-exist in the same package right here on Earth, not in space. I wanted it to be warm and energetic but also relaxing. I wanted to create a soundtrack for those times where you might want to exercise and be healthy but you also just want to get in a jacuzzi tub – maybe even a mental jacuzzi.
Where can people see you around town in the coming days?
The gigs in October I’m most excited for would be playing alongside Star Creature’s Shiro Schwarz coming up from Mexico City to perform live at SmartBar for QUEEN! on October 16. We just released their debut EP on Star Creature as well as a limited VHS Mixtape featuring myself mixing about an hour’s worth of my favorite Shiro Schwarz tracks while they provide the visuals. It’s a really unique project on an outdated format but worth the pick up! All other gigs – probably easiest to just hit me up on Facebook or Instagram via @timzawada.
Is there anything else I left out?
I think it would be important to shout out all the great people and artists in the city of Chicago and elsewhere in the universe that are constantly pushing positivity and creativity. Wouldn’t be possible for me to do anything without being able to interact with the above.
Published first in 5 Magazine Issue 138, featuring Dave Pezzner, Jeff Derringer, a tribute to Earl Smith of Acid House pioneers Phuture, mixes and interviews from Boorane, Jay Hill, Tim Zawada & more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full Access to Real House Music.