Christmas music is a lot of things, but it’s not usually danceable. That is until P(eace) L(ove) U(nity) R(espect) On Earth, the holiday mix that New York City-based deejay Daniel Fisher, a.k.a. Physical Therapy, made for the fashionably antifashion online magazine DIS last year. The sequence started off with a Japanese version of “Carol of the Bells” composed entirely of computer-generated vocals, dissolved into a jazzy synth line from “Jingle Bells,” and then moved into a Dutch hardcore techno version of “Are You Santa Claus?”
Esoteric mixing is nothing new for the 23-year-old Fisher, who made his name at the popular roving GHE20 G0TH1K party in 2010 and 2011, where he presided alongside fellow deejays Venus X and $hayne. There Fisher and his crew stripped pop songs and filled them with obscure beats, ethnic samples, or whatever else they could find. Like many deejays, Fisher doesn’t bother with vinyl. He burns CDs with files ripped from SoundCloud and YouTube and plays them via CDJ. One recent example was the way he blended Carly Rae Jepsen‘s Justin Bieber-endorsed pop song “Call Me Maybe” with a Dutch dancehall track, and added a sinister-sounding low-pitched vocal. “I try to be a little shameless,” Fisher says, discussing the way he incorporates pop into sets that range from metal and jazz to spoken word. “People talk about songs being ‘guilty pleasures,’ but I wasn’t born with that gene—I love watching people have moments of recognition.”
Fisher differs from his peers by focusing on a slower, more introspective type of dance music meant to be played superloud. In June, Fisher releases his first five-track EP, Safety Net (Hippos In Tanks). It features two dance-floor singles: “Drone On,” with vocals by New York artist-musician Jamie Krasner, and “Do It Alone,” an out-of-tune gospel-house track, as well as “Record Sales,” a ’70s orchestral song with a classic break beat. He jokes about calling these slower songs “drum ‘n’ space,” his update on the ever-popular British dance music genre. Many of the songs share what Fisher describes as “an end-of-the-night feeling”—a blissed-out, fatigued state that deejays know all too well.
PHOTO: DANIEL FISHER IN NEW YORK, APRIL 2012. SHIRT AND PANTS: DIOR. TOP (WORN UNDERNEATH): ACNE. HAT, COLLAR TIPS, AND BOLLO: WESTERN SPIRIT. SHOES: ADIDAS Y-3. STYLING: SARAH ELLISON. GROOMING: WESLEY O’MEARA/THE WALL GROUP. SPECIAL THANKS: GABRIELLE JAWORSKYJ AND LIBERTY HALL AT THE ACE HOTEL.