DJ Sober and PicnicTyme Are Booty Fade, Dallas' Newest Party Starters
"BOOOOOO-TY FADE! BOOOOOO-TY FADE!" chants a mob of people in snapback caps, cardigans and cowboy boots. The Dallas-based DJ duo of Sober and PicnicTyme are just getting started under the tent at Thin Line Film and Music Festival's main stage. And then a speaker blows out.
"Sorry for those technical difficulties, but y'all need to know I'm not playin' no mo'," Picnic yells. He runs to center stage from behind his MacBook. "Like I said before, this is my dude Sober, I'm PicnicTyme, this is Booty Fade, and you're about to put your damn hands up ... NOW!" It's enough time for the sound man to recover, and within milliseconds the crowd erupts, showered by a synchronized rainbow of pulsating lights, triple-time hi-hats and bass-heavy mixes of everything from trap music to EDM to mariachi.
Booty Fade is more than a DJ and production duo. Since debuting a year ago, the pair has played SXSW and nabbed a Dallas Observer music award for best song. Now they're preparing for the March 4 release of their self-titled EP. But it's more than shows and songs. Picnic and Sober are trying to create something bigger than that, something they describe in summary as "The Booty Fade Situation."
A woman in a leather jumpsuit runs toward the stage, dripping puddles of beer from a back corner bar. "Are they fucking fading salsa straight into Trinidad James?!?!" she screams. "Popped a molly, I'm sweating, WHOOOO!"
That particular transition isn't even a stretch for Booty Fade. Before they were making their own music, the two artists were musical sponges, absorbing everything from punk to Tejano. Picnic's been listening to Tejano for as far back as his memory will allow.
He remembers riding shotgun in a 1990 Toyota Corolla, announcing in unison with a radio announcer, "99.1 Kick FM, Puro Tejano" as his mother cranked the volume up. "I was that weird black kid in band that loved rock, Tejano and Stevie Wonder," Picnic says. "Not all soul, just Stevie Wonder, and no rap."
Not wanting to be like everyone else, he was anti-rap to the core until a high school classmate formally introduced him to hip-hop by way of Q-Tip's debut effort, Amplified. He shared his new passion with a blind cousin. "Listening to Dr. Dre and Outkast with my cousin pushed me to appreciate music from a blind man's perspective, down to the smallest synth."
Around that time, 100 miles southeast in Fort Worth, 12-year-old Sober was starting to step outside of the country-Western classics that were the soundtrack of his childhood. Upstairs his dad would be tapping his boots to Merle Haggard while Sober was downstairs experimenting with a new wave of all-American storytellers. "Once I was old enough to start consuming music for myself, I got as far away from country as I could," Sober says. Early on he was introduced to the Beastie Boys, N.W.A and his favorite hip-hop album of all-time, Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest. As a teenage skater, punk rock and alternative acts like the Sex Pistols and Depeche Mode added a heavy electro dose to his headphones. "All of the genres I experimented with from my middle school days are the reason behind how I DJ now."
Hyper-speed samples of Dallas rappers fuse as rattling bass lines damn near blow the blond hair off a couple standing near a speaker. "Texas, home of the best. T-T-T-T-Texas, home of the b-b-b-b-b-buh. Texas, home of the best syrup." The high-pitched Dorrough sample echoes as The Thin Line crowd chants with Booty Fade's hypnotic mix. These references to Dallas' legendary hip-hop scene show Picnic and Sober's deep connection to where they both found their creative voices.
Picnic left Wichita Falls in 2001 for school. "I got a video film production scholarship to the Art Institute of Dallas," he says. "Ever since that day 13 years ago, I automatically connected to what Dallas offered me." He formed Dallas-based rap group PPT, which added a taste of eclectic soul to area's hip-hop scene in the early-to-mid 2000s.
Sober, meanwhile, had been heading for Dallas since he was a kid. "When I first started DJing in high school, all the DJs I looked up to were making a name for themselves in Dallas," he says. "I would tell my parents I was going to stay at a friend's house and every weekend I would sneak off to Dallas trying to get into functions." After graduating and getting a corporate job in brand marketing (which he quit), Sober formed The Party, a multi-genre DJ collection with Dallas DJs Nature and Select. They built a steady following among the city's hungry and creative, including a young art-school graduate with a taste for the eclectic.