Breakbeat bass in your face!

Dayton’s dance scene pops with Elton Mack

By Wu W.A.N.G.

For one local DJ, life is good and getting better. Elton Mack is one part family man, helping to raise three children all under the age of nine, one part DJ – who is getting booked so often, that the weekends are starting to run into each other – and one part club promoter, yeah, the one behind the brilliant idea to keep Dayton on the radar of touring DJs. He recently booked two well-known artists (Philadelphia’s Nigel Richards and the UK’s Aphrodite) to play roof-raising, intimate shows in Dayton.

Mr. Mack’s drive to keep the Dayton scene’s “whomp whomp whomp” sound of dubstep and the “warp to lightspeed” thrills of drum-and-bass alive at Vex for the party crowd has kept him quite busy. Such is the life of a passionate guy who absolutely has no time to play.

Everyone has a moment when they realize they have found their music scene. How did it happen for you?

In 1996. To get to my first party, I drove to a map point location and got directions to an underground event at the Boys and Girls Club in Dayton. –Elton Mack

What was the spark that fueled your newfound passion for electronic dance music?

Attending my first party, watching the DJs, I was intrigued. I watched how the crowd got hyped and that really made an impact on me. The movement of the crowd, how the energy was so “live.” The party was 500-deep with all different types of people, all feeling the same energy. I get goose bumps just talking about how it was back then; the underground was really special at that time. That unified vibe that the crowd was feeling was being driven by one person. I paid my 20 dollars and headed straight to the front of the party to observe and listen. -EM

When did you start your DJ journey?

In 1998 I finally bought some low-end turntables to practice on at the house. I bought the American DJ, belt-driven turntables. My knee-high coffee table in my living room became the practice space.

I went to Hot Topic at the Dayton Mall and bought five vinyl records – all of them drum-and-bass. DJ Aphrodite’s track “All Over Me,” was the first piece of vinyl I ever bought. So, right away I started putting in the time to learn the skills that I had absorbed at the time. -EM

Who inspired you to put your new turntable skills to the ultimate test?

DJ Paode (Jason Flinton) was my first influence as far as getting more involved with DJ’ing and going out to parties. Paode was doing his thing early on, so that was my draw into the scene and DJ’ing. –EM

What was the first party you played?

In 2000, my first party was at a New Year’s Eve event at the old Nite Owl.  Drum Squad Productions at the time threw an afterparty. So I got to play with more experienced DJs right from the beginning. That led to regular bookings at the Nite Owl. -EM

What was your style of music?

I loved playing darker, harder drum-and-bass artists like Teck Itch and Dylan and Ink for a few years. Then I discovered breakbeats and starting leaning toward that genre. The sound of breakbeat was more sexy and smooth with rolling bass lines. -EM

How did taking a five-year hiatus away from the scene to focus on family affect you?

We had two little girls and a little boy to take care of, so it was tough, but I was a DJ. I still had my records, so I still played at home for friends. -EM

What happened to get you back involved with scene?

Once my kids got into school, the late Stuart Allen contacted me about restarting a music promotion group called “Give Us A Break” (GUAB). Stuart booked me to play at “Psych” an event put on by GUAB, at Aquarius. Eight hundred people showed up and I played before the headliners DJ Icey and DJ AC Slater. After that set in front of an electric crowd, I felt I was on top of the world and it was amazing to feed off that energy. Right after my set, promoters came up and starting asking for my booking information.  -EM

2009 was significant for you. What happened?

Since April of that year it’s been a complete turn for the better, I’ve played in 13 states, as a DJ not a producer. I played three shows in Miami during Ultra. I played at Future Sound of Breaks at Club Mecca where I opened the dubstep room for all the biggest names Skrillex, Zeds Dead, Juan Basshead, Subfocus and other top producers. From that point I decided to do promotions through my group Run DDT and through that I am getting booked even more. -EM

What do you say to people who wonder how you keep it all together?

I tell them it’s because this is what I love. It’s my passion, what I love to do. When you want to do something there is no excuse to stand in the way. My goal is to throw good shows and make sure everyone has a great time. –EM

To hear more from Elton Mack and find out more about upcoming appearances, visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Wu W.A.N.G. at

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