Dave Audé might be the gayest non-gay person you don’t know. But you’ve probably heard his work – mixes of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and The Pussycat Dolls’ “When I Grow Up,” both part of a two-disc dance set out this month, “Ultra 2010.” The longtime DJ, who’s worked for just about everyone that matters in the music biz (he’s recently been pitched Mariah Carey and Rihanna singles), caught up with Between The Lines before his Nov. 25 gig at Menjo’s in Detroit.
Audé chatted about the “weird” people he’s mixed for, what it’s like being a straight man in a gay world, and why he’s like Lady Gaga.
Forty-two No. 1 Billboard hits – that’s huge. Congratulations on that.
Forty-two … so far. Considering I had four last year – yeah, it’s pretty crazy.
Your ego must be deservedly huge right now.
No, no, no, no. I’ve worked very hard for many years to get to where I’m at now. It’s taken time.
How did you get into mixing music?
I’ve always done this. I got into this when I was 23, and I’ve been making music since I was 13 when I got my first keyboard. I got a synthesizer, actually – in the ’80s. I won’t tell you exactly when (laughs). So I grew up learning to play a synthesizer, and in the early ’90s I went to my first underground house club. And it changed my life.
Tell me about some of your favorite mixes on this album.
I love the Fedde le Grand track (“Let Me Be Real”). These are all just pretty huge club songs – Axwell and Angello’s “Leave the World Behind” is a classic now. It’s pretty much played in every club right now. Pitbull is huge. And you can’t go anywhere without hearing David Guetta.
Will you be spinning some of these songs during your Detroit set?
Yeah, I’m definitely spinning a couple of these songs in my set right now because of the CD.
You’ve called Detroit one of the greatest music havens – why do you feel that way?
You guys have your festival (the Detroit Electronic Music Festival) every year, first of all. And, I guess if you’re gonna test me on my music knowledge, a lot of music has come out of Detroit – a lot of electronic music especially. That was a very, very big part of my musical upbringing.
What’s it been like working for such an eclectic mix of artists?
Yeah, I’ve worked across the board with just all kinds of weird people. I don’t turn down things very often. A lot of guys turn down work because they’re not feeling the song. For me, somebody sends me a Yoko Ono or a Korn single to remix and I consider it a challenge. In fact, I just did Rob Zombie about a month ago. You wouldn’t normally expect these kinds of things to turn into dance records, and that’s why I like to take on these projects. It’s a fun challenge to me. A Pussycat Dolls song is pretty easy to remix because the song’s already sort of in that format. But you take a Rob Zombie song, and it’s a challenge to make that listenable on the dance floor. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I actually succeeded in doing so, but I certainly gave it my best.
Do you spin at many gay clubs?
I do. I just played one in Salt Lake – the club is called Bliss, and it was really, really, really great. Last week I was in a gay club in Vegas; believe it or not, at the Mirage. They have a gay club; it’s a lounge they have called the Revolution Lounge. It was crazy and packed.
What’s it like to be a straight man in a gay world?
I always do full vocal mixes, and they’re only gay in the sense that straight guys are too cool to listen to a vocal, which is actually ridiculous because I know a lot of straight guys who love the music that I do. I guess for them to be driving around (laughs) with the top down listening to that stuff doesn’t make sense. I work with so many gay guys, and I have a lot of gay friends that I work with in the business and I never really think about it. It doesn’t even cross my mind.
Isn’t your studio in West Hollywood?
The Moonshine Studio that I used to have was in West Hollywood. I was there for 10 years. It’s funny because I guess you could say I started my music-producing career in the middle of the gay mecca; one of the gayest cities – if not the gayest city – in the world. But I’m not trying to make straight or gay music. I just do what I do, but like Madonna and Gaga I guess I just have a huge gay following because the type of music that I work on.
What differences do you notice in gay and straight crowds?
I have a lot more fun playing for the gay crowd because they usually know the music more than a straight crowd. The straight crowd’s there because it’s a cool place to be, not really for the music.
Right. It’s not like at a gay club where if you play a Lady Gaga song the gays go nuts.
Yeah. I played Beyonce Saturday night at the Salt Lake club and they were going crazy – hands in the air, everybody singing along with the song; they knew the song, they’ve heard it before. If I played that in the straight clubs they would be like, “Yeah, this is Beyonce.” But they’ve never heard it before.
That must be a great feeling when you’re feeding off that energy.
Absolutely. That’s the only reason I DJ. I don’t really DJ to make a living; I make most of my living from producing records. I DJ to get out of the studio and see the club reaction and hear the music that I’m making on the dance floor.
Dave Audé, DJ John Cruz and DJ Jace
9 p.m. Nov. 25
928 W. McNichols, Detroit