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DJ and bass player Bad Goat holds it down in Durango

Ep 181109965
Courtesy of Stephen Sellers
Ep 181109965
Courtesy of Stephen Sellers

DJ and bass player Bad Goat holds it down in Durango

Courtesy of Stephen Sellers

Stephen Sellers may be the only musician in the Southwest who plays bass in an old-time bluegrass band, while also spinning his own brand of house music at events around Durango. While the two genres may seem like polar opposites – one a band ripping through a set of originals that sound like they’re 100 years old alongside songs from the public domain that ARE a hundred years old, the other a steady beat that every so often drops in familiar hooks or full songs from the last 35 years – but they are both styles of music that influence and inspire people to dance.

And, that’s what Stephen Sellers is getting after musically. He’s pursued that old-time music since moving to Durango, where he fell into the town’s acoustic music scene and became the bass player for The Six-Dollar String Band. The DJ sets, on the other hand, come from the love of electronic music he’s had since his teenager years, when he’d listen to a Dallas dance music radio station late at night.

Billed as Bad Goat, Sellers has spun music around town for the last three years, and holds it down twice a month with sets at 11th Street Station.

His interest in playing bass and being a DJ goes back to grade school.

“It all happened simultaneously,” said Sellers. “I was in seventh grade the first time I heard Daft Punk. I remember that experience, listening to the album “Homework,” and being blown away by the energy of it. It had this punk feel to it. That was the same year I got my first bass. And, like a lot of kids, I was learning tabs of Nirvana. The love affair of bass and dance music, it’s all kind of intertwined.”

It was the late ’80s and early ’90s era of electronic music – the sounds of The Prodigy, Crystal Method, or The Chemical Brothers – that inspired him enough to experiment with making electronic music, but laptops weren’t a commonly owned item, especially among teenagers. Sellers bought one secondhand and got some audio-recording software to teach himself, a “painstaking” effort, he said.

It’s a story that reads the same across genres and music scenes. A kid figures out a way to get some instruments or gear and starts experimenting. Kid turns some close friends onto what they’re doing, and making music becomes a routine. The mission is about the music, and the kid naturally becomes part of “the underground.”

“I’ve always thought that the underground is as simple as a couple of people getting together in a garage with a sound system and just playing music,” said Sellers.

His role as DJ Bad Goat is simple. Those house music rager events can call for a DJ to be front and center, but Sellers, on the other hand, is satisfied with setting up his rig in the corner, where he builds a set, one not bound by name or genre.

“I want to be about helping people expand the notion that good dance music is good dance music,” said Sellers. “It could be Fleetwood Mac, it could be Stevie Wonder, it could be Chic or Daft Punk. The genres aren’t so much important to me.”

The next set from Bad Goat will be held on Friday, November 2, at 11th Street Station.

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. liggett_b@fortlewis.edu.