DJ Putty is making his reputation on the Maritime scene
by DJ Rose
Donovan Morgan, aka DJ Putty, is a versatile musician who, besides performing lead guitar and vocals with Flush, has been making a name for himself throughout Atlantic Canada with his performances as a DJ.
Putty, who admits that he has been listening to dance music (the good and the bad) for his whole life, has embarked on a quest to create his own brand of electronic sound. In 1998, Putty started experimenting with digital music programs, drum machines, and synthesizers. He tinkered with bleeps and blips, entertained a few house parties, and eventually was asked to perform live alongside some local DJs at the UPEI Barn. Exhilerated by the crowd's response, the next time he was asked to perform, he said, "Sure! but this time I wanna use records!"
Some trial and error was inevitable, but Donovan's experience gave him an edge in understanding how to manipulate vinyl to create a seamless stream of funky, floor-shaking beats. Putty's advice for bedroom DJs? "Pick out your records carefully...and listen to them...don't just mix them. Put on a record, sit down in a comfy chair, and listen to one song after another. Make your set this way. The producer put sounds in there that people should hear, and you need to learn how to accentuate these sounds, not just mix them with another record..."
These days Putty spins a mix of dark, funky disco and techno music, and incorporates original tracks using CDs. He has performed at Evolve 3 (Antigonish), Insomnia (Fredericton), Reflections and Massive productions' Soda and Summer Shock (Halifax), and holds residencies with Fast Forward clothing, Sonic Funk productions (Moncton), and Myrons.
Putty regards last year's Evolve festival in Antigonish as his best gig to date. "I went on at about twelve, and I remember thinking that I had to pull people from Bullfrog and Kid Koala if I wanted to get a crowd. I started and some people scurried to the front of the stage, then more people came... after keeping my head down for a while, I peeked up and saw a remarkable crowd... I remember feeling so proud at that moment... I was elated. It started to rain, and I thought to myself, oh well, it was good while it lasted, but I guess that made people crazier and more people came. The memory that lasts the most is laying down ‘September 99: Phats and Small rmx' as the last song, and seeing the Islanders jumping up and down with a gigantic PEI flag. That was definitely a high point."
Donovan is looking forward to turning the dance floor into "putty" once again at Evolve 4 in August. He will also be releasing his first original CD, introductions, which will feature an eclectic mix of trip hop, drum and bass, breaks, house and techno, due out this month.
First in a series of articles on Atlantic Canadian DJs by Island-born, Halifax-based DJ Rose.