Doug and Desiree Bolt, aka DJs Dozuki and Merkaba, are something of a rarity in this town: a husband and wife DJ team. But don’t let that convince you they’re joined at the hip; they work from very distinct perspectives.
Doug and Desiree Bolt, aka DJs Dozuki and Merkaba
“It’s kind of interesting because we have very different styles,” Dozuki said. “Even the times we’re playing out of the same record box, we’re very different. She’s very bouncy and off the wall.” Whether spinning separately or as a team, they’ve been at it for four years now, ever since Dozuki bought a turntable in 2000. They both learned to spin even as they were first dating. For the last year they were resident DJs at the now sadly defunct Monochrome night, and now ply their trade at a variety of different events and venues. As for their handles, I’ll let them field that one: Merkaba: “A merkaba is a star tetrahedron which is a perfect balance between male and female. Spiritually, it’s an interdimensional vehicle. I picked it because I connect with it.” Dozuki: “A dozuki is a Japanese handsaw whose design hasn’t changed in a thousand years. I’ve been a carpenter for 17 years, and it resonates with my ideals of perfectionism and precision.” Their musical influences are as diverse as their naming interests. “I like to play anything with a breakbeat, and anything that moves me emotionally,” Dozuki said. “A lot of times I use music to convey the emotions I feel at the time I’m playing. Most of the material I play is jazz, underground hip-hop, funk and jungle.” “I like to play dark and motive sometimes. Or wacky!” Merkaba said. “It’s kind of like two ends of the spectrum. I guess I aim for vibrance. I’ve gotten into a lot of exotica music lately. It’s music for sitting on the beach, sipping a drink, while birds sound in the background. It’s very relaxing. People seem puzzled when I play it, but a lot of times they like it. It’s just too cheesy! I’m really into stuff that’s different. I like uniqueness, off the beaten path. I like stuff that grabs me.” They work almost completely with vinyl, drawing off a collection of 6,000 records (8,000 if you count the extra stacks currently overflowing their garage). It certainly contributes to their very physical, tactile style of DJing. Merkaba often leans in very close to the vinyl, almost as if she’s listening to the actual needle scratching. “To me, CDs are kind of anonymous,” Merkaba said. “They’re a copy of a copy of a copy. With vinyl, you have an actual pressing in your hands … Real DJs spin vinyl because there is a better depth of sound [“Aw, ya fucking purist!” their friend DJ Shiva calls out mid-sentence] than you can get with digital CDs. And it’s very tactile. You can TOUCH it.” Check out Merkaba spinning at the Melody Inn, 3826 N. Illinois St., April 13 and Dozuki at the Mel April 27.