David Harness - How I DJ

Residing in Oakland, California. David Harness is one of the most popular DJ/producers in the San Francisco Bay Area club scene. His influences vary from Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Quincy Jones, the Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, Parliament Funkadelic, the Isley Brothers and First Choice, among others so it’s easy to see why funk and soul have always been strong elements in his sound. As a DJ, David had the opportunity to play various spot & with many legendary DJs like Frankie Knuckles, Tony Humphries, Little Louie Vega, Tedd Patterson, Dave Morales, Danny Teneglia, London’s Simon Dunmore & Aaron Ross, Los Angeles’ Marques Wyatt, San Francisco’s Miguel Migs, Mark Farina and Kaskade, Quentin Harris, Dennis Ferrer, DJ Spen, Timmy Regisford, Doc Martin, Osunlade, Danny Krivit, Joe Clausell, Derrick Carter Mr. V, Kenny Dope, DJ Spinna— just to name a few.

On the production front he’s had countless original projects & remixes out on labels like Defected, King Street, Soul Heaven, Tony Records, Chez, Loveslap, Foliage Records, ITH, Papa Records, Look At You & many others along with Moulton Music which he runs with Chris Lum.

With David Harness latest compilation UnHarnessYoSelf out now on Traxsource via Moulton Music, we caught some time with David to get insight into how he plays in the clubs & his personal preferences with regards to his set-up, equipment & more. This is how David Harness DJs.

Are you more of a DJ or Producer— or one in the same?

I am a DJ all the way to the very end. I love to produce but my heart is being a DJ.

Describe what makes a good DJ in three or four words.

Lover Of All Music!

Who or what inspired you to become a DJ?

Once again it was the music. Growing up a Military Brat in the 70’s & 80’s, I was introduced to all types of music nationally and Internationally. Your ears are so keen on sounds. Now that I am a Grown Ass Man I love finding out music you heard and reminisce on life’s journey.

When did you know you wanted to DJ?

I always wanted to be on the radio back when I was a teenager. I did so with a radio show on KAZU 90.3fm as soon as I was out of High School.

Who to you is/was “The Dj’s DJ”.

There are many who fall into this category.  For me the standout of course is Frankie Knuckles for his passion as a DJ, an Artist/Producer, and Friend.  He was and always will be respected by all in the world of music.  To me that is a DJ’s DJ.

Describe your main and preferred DJ set-up.

3 to 4 Nexus CDJ2000’s, Rane Rotary Mixer or Pioneer 900 Mixer, Bozak Isolator.

Do you use a lap-top? If so, what platform/program?

I do not use a laptop.  I use thumb drives. In some cases will pull out the CD books and or Vinyl.

Why do you choose this way of playing?

Convenience is and has always been important.   Unless we are going back to carrying heavy record cases to DJ sets that can be 3 to 4 hours.

Any special, unique, crazy things on your rider?

Got to have a fan and towels.   I sweat even when it’s 10 degrees out. I have also asked to be taken to an Amusement Park because I am huge fan of Rollercoasters!!!!

Beverage of choice while playing?

Jamesson and Ginger, Water, & Rosé

Favourite country /club / city to play?

Wow!  Too many to mention.    

  • Japan/Tokyo Solid (Tokyo)

  • United Kingdom/Soultogether, Minitry Of Sound (London)

  • Italy/Tenax (Florence),
  • Room26 (Rome)

  • USA/Cielo (NYC)

  • USA/Club Universe (SF)

To name a few 

Do you Sync, What’s your view on this? Has it levelled the playing field for the better or worse?

Don’t think I have ever Synced. I am a beat matcher.  The whole joy in DJing is to match the music together and create something to groove too. If you can’t do that then..

Any DJ Controllers?


Favourite or “go-to” EFXs while playing?

Like to use a Flanger from time to time.

Read the crowd or just pound it out?

Always read the crowd.  If the crowd wants it pounded then you pound it out!!!

Big festivals or intimate clubs? Why?

A crowd is a crowd whether big or small.   They are there to hear you turn it out and that is what you should do!!! I like them both.   Can be challenging and exciting all at the same time.   Be in tune with your crowd and tell them the best story big or small.

Ever miss the CDs or Vinyl days?

I do!  However, I don’t miss carrying those record cases around!!

How do you maintain your music library?

At times it can be a hot mess.   For the most part “Everything Is In The Right Place

Wavs OR MP3 — WHY? Is their a difference?

I do both as long as the MP3 is the highest quality. Depends on the quality of the actual recording.

Any Tips for aspiring Young DJs?

Learn the difference from playing in your bedroom with your peeps to playing for a Dance floor. Also, when playing for a crowd you don’t have to play all new new. Tell a story with your music by giving them something to remember you by. Go digging in your library for that story.

Do you do any of the Obligatory DJ Poses?

I do the poses PARIS HILTON is NOT doing!!!

David Harness latest compilation “UnHarnessYoSelf” is out on Traxsource.

David Harness

David Harness latest DJ Chart on Traxsource.