The City Fades…. – An interview with a BMIR DJ

Dave spinning the decks.

We have all wanted to reinvent ourselves. Whether it’s right now or during that summer between High School and College when you realized that UFOs were unfathomably uncool, the desire to be something drastically different has compelled us all. Well, ladies and gentlemen, you can now take notes from the impossibly talented Dave Decibel as he reinvents himself from DJ set to podcast, with skill and fervor.

I originally interviewed Dave to talk with him about his BMIR-aired Exodus podcast. “The City Fades Back into the Dust” never got the appropriate audience since this year had an unexpectedly tame Monday night. Before getting him on the phone, I not only listened to his podcast once, but I made my co-workers experience the awesome 75-minute journey through Dave Decibel’s iTunes library a second time. This was not your typical DJ set; instead of actively mixing and moving with the music, Dave took a more passive approach, letting the songs play themselves until completion then kindly usher the next in with placidity. With this podcast, he navigates the wide range of emotions that simmer below the surface as well as the ones violently boiling over as one leaves the Playa. He juggles melancholy, joy and absurdity with the grace that only a multi-faceted DJ of his caliber can pull off.

Dave has been a part of Burning Man Information Radio since 2009, and spent 2012 as one of the great multi-tasking station managers. For those of you who are unaware, BMIR is Black Rock City’s very own radio station that provides inspiration and information alike. They go live before many of us even get to Playa, providing weather conditions, traffic updates and music to move you closer to Home. Once comfortably into the week, BMIR is on and open 24 hours a day, connecting lost children to parents (or vice versa), providing support for any conceivable problem and airing music both similar and vastly different to that of major sound camps. This year, Dave was on-air countless times, providing a respite from the incredible dance music that he was playing across Playa (as if you would need one). He played everything from Blues to Hair Metal and still found time to rock places like Kostume Kult with Moombahton and New Orleans Bounce. Dave currently has 4 of his live Playa sets available to stream now at

A short digression; this year on Wednesday night, I went out in attempt to see the Grandfather of DnB, someone so skilled and versed in this genre that I was sure to experience a good set. I found him, he killed it at Opulent Temple and I danced my ass off. I then ran to Root Society, riding high on the endorphins of decent dance music, and what the fuck did I find? This DJ I thought so highly of, playing an almost identical set, not 30 minutes later. I have never seen Dave play live, but I would put my almost 4-digit life savings on the fact that this would never happen with him. As you listen to his podcasts, you see one common thread, engagement.  Not to chastise those who have found something that works and stick with it, but to give props to an individual who reinvents himself at every opportunity. Someone who truly reads a crowd to give them something to move to, or to shake up their conceptions and offer something that they didn’t know they loved. Dave’s music burns bright with excitement and adventure, and once you speak to him, you see why. Dave is a genuinely excited person, not to be mistaken with naivety or simplicity but that rare, all-encompassing excitement that is simultaneously pregnant with optimism and realism. He respects all forms of DJing but personally opts for live mixing and set production, never falling complacent into the press play pantomime.

Follow his podcasts, go see him play with the array of other talented DJ’s at Chicago Decompression or make sure to catch him next year on Playa. Regardless of your ideal dance music, Dave Decibel will knock your socks off and show you how great personal reinvention can be. Now listen to all that is Exodus by clicking below to play, The City Fades Back into the Dust.

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