“Masters Of The Edit” : An Interview With Tal M Klein

Science dropped by joppa AKA Arthur Jopparelli. Sep-06-2011

Welcome back, this time we start a new series of interview with DJs who mastered the art of disco edits. What is a disco edit? It’s basically a special version of a track, prepared by a DJ to make it more fit for the dancefloor. Today we’re talking about the legacy of Disco music, the art of making people move their feet.

Sometimes edits are so good that they become more famous than the original track. And sometimes the DJ adds some elements to the original, blurring the line between an edit and a proper remix. But we don’t want to be boring, in both cases we’re still talking about DJs modifying tracks to impress the audience, ok?

Today’s guest is Mr. Tal M Klein. He was brought to my attention when i heard (and immediately bought) this track from his label, Aniligital Music Records:

Brownout – Slinky

Dope, isn’t it? Well, let’s start with a few background history:

Tal M. Klein is the founder of San Francisco-based Aniligital Music records and has been DJing and producing his trademark “drunk funk” style of disco-influenced funk since 1996.


He has played every where from the legendary Club Yellow in Japan to Fabric in the UK, playing alongside acts such as Grandmaster Flash, LCD Soundsystem, Kraak & Smaak, Fort Knox Five, Mr. Scruff, Nightmares on Wax, and Ursula 1000. Tal’s remix repertoire includes names across the entire musical spectrum, from Coldcut to Cut Copy. His most recent album is “Plastic Starfish”.


Currently working on collaborative projects with Anthony Mansfield, The Hardway Brothers, and “The Sly Players” with Slim Goodgroove.

And here’s Tal Describing himself in a few word (from his facebook page. Yes, the guy got some humour):

Hi. My name is Tal. I like to party.

Somewhere around 1996 Dave Marino (whom I met while doing a late night talk show called “The Saturday Night Hangover” at our university radio station) made the tragic mistake of letting me into his recording studio in Belmont, New York. Since then I’ve been an auditory menace to the world at large, forcing my records, mp3′s, and cd’s down everybody throats like it was cod oil and the asian flu was going out of business.


I’m all about drunk funk, that’s music which inspires one to both chill and shake their ass at the same time. Finding that perfect funky record, to me, is like winning the chocolate, money, and sex lottery.

I used to record under the moniker “Trancenden” but decided to shed it after people kept thinking I made trance music. Now people just know me as Tal M. Klein. But you can call me Tal. I consider my love affair with music a hobby, not a career.


I’ve been fortunate enough to work with my friends on many musical projects ranging from country blues to 80′s synth pop. On my spare time, I compose background music for TV shows, you’ve probably heard my music while idly flipping channels on the telly.

Got it? Ok, we asked Tal a few questions on his job, his musical tastes and his career, so enjoy this interview while you listen the sound snippets we selected for you along this post. Let’s go!

1- What is the first piece of music ever you can remember listening to?
The first one I remember is definitely Peter and The Wolf. I love the idea of stories intertwined with music.

2- Tell us a little bit about how you started doin what you do, and how your love for music was born.
I took an electronic music class in high school and fell in love with the process.


3- In your opinion, who is the best ever in doin disco edits, the one who inspired you most?
I think those are two separate questions. The disco edits I play out the most are from my boy Anthony Mansfield – he knows just the right sounds that I’m after and he always makes his edits super tight and sleazy. As for inspiration, well – I think I’d probably credit my friend and partner in the Sly Players – Slim Goodgroove for inspiring me by always digging deep into his collection and sending me the sickest cuts for our disco breaks records.

4- What grabs your attention when you hear a track for the first time? Do you ever come across tracks that you don’t like the first time, but then hear again and change your mind?
I’m looking for a good thwacking beat – something that really makes the dancefloor breath. A good track should feel natural and fit perfectly into a variety of sets. I learn to love a lot of stuff…It’s a cliche but I usually buy a record for the A-side and then end up falling in love with the B-side.

5- When a DJ creates an edit, we can assume the aim is making the best
DJ tool possible. What else? What other characteristics are important
in your opinion for an edit to be a killer one?
The original song has to be killer and I think the edit should be an original interpretation of the song. I don’t think there’s a magic formula, but ultimately the idea would be for an edit to be respectful to the source material and attempt to make it more digestable to a modern audience.


6- What is your relationship with new technologies? How do you think technology has affected the job of djs making edits for the dancefloor?
I’m a vinyl junkie – I think it’s nice to force myself to choose 100 records that I absolutely love rather than 1000′s of songs on a laptop. I don’t really have an opinion in general on the subject -I’ll do my thing and you do yours. As long as it’s about the music and not the ego, we’re cool.

7- Do you listen to music that you might not play in the club? If yes, what are you listening now?
Yeah, I listen to a lot of stuff I don’t play out. I’m a big fan of outlaw country music, Billy Joe Shaver and Tony Joe White.. people who have “Joe” as a middle name apparently fascinate me.

8- Tell us a little bit about your creative process in making an edit, like where do you start from and how you decide the job is complete.
I always look for songs that other people haven’t done yet. I quantize the hell out of it. Then I try to cut out the boring bits and extend the interesting bits. Then I put in some disco lasers and delays. Then I send it to a couple of friends. If they don’t write back that they love it then I delete the file.

9- When you play, how do you choose the balance between what the crowd wants and what you want to play?
I always see myself and as opening DJ even if I’m the headliner. I draw people in with stuff they know and then try to blow their minds with stuff they don’t. I like to surprise and educate, but not annoy and pontificate.

10- What is the release you’re most proud of? Tell us a little bit about how it was born.
Probably the release I’m most proud of is my first 12″ called DJ’s Delight – back in 1996 under the name Trancenden – which was me and Dave Marino. We did this killer edit of a Trouble Funk track and it really lead to the creation of my record label – I attribute a lot of my success to that first record.


11- Tell us about the stuff you’re workin on right now, and your future projects as well
I’m doing all sorts of stuff, mostly focusing on originals. My newest 12″ is called “Deep Dark Place” and it’s by far some of the weirdest but funnest stuff I’ve done. Slim and I are working on new Sly Players madness, and Anthony Mansfield and I are doing some crazy villainy.
Life is good.

And finally, here’s a nice funky ass mix to download, offered by Tal and his partner aka the Sly Players….enjoy! And don’t forget to go to his page and give him props.