Denise Gurney, or "Twisted Dee" as she's come to be known by fans, was destined for a career behind the turntables. She was first introduced to the DJ booth in her early teens at her family-owned Long Island dance club. "The island's first dance club," she emphasizes.
The club's Mixmaster made Denise his protege and taught her how to work the DJ equipment. When the club eventually closed down, Denise, 15 at the time, inherited the turntables, amps, speakers and the good ol' disco ball. She used these things to transform her bedroom into a nightclub where she entertained and performed for her friends.
Dee was inspired by '70s disco music. "When everyone was listening to Zepplin and Floyd," explains Dee, "I was listening to The Trammps and Donna Summer. This was way before anyone even knew who Donna Summer was! Early on, I recognized the power of music and I made it my dream and goal to share it at every opportunity."
She was offered her first real gig at 17. A minor, she needed her parent's permission to accept the job. "The club was called After Dark. It catered to a straight crowd, which at the time was fine. It gave me a platform to hone and refine my craft, especially my mixing skills, which today I feel are impeccable," she grins. "I humbly admit my command in the booth is something I am very proud of."
Dee is also a proud lesbian. In 1989, after spinning popular Long Island gay nightspot Millennium, Dee made the choice to focus her career to the gay community. "My preference by far is to play for gay men. I definitely feel the boys get me more than any other audience." That's because Dee plays the music gay boys want to hear ? vocal house anthems with some underground and tribal mixed in. "I like to make people feel good," she continues. "I play 'songs', not just drums and noises. I like big baselines and powerful music? Music that makes people feel emotion." She adds, "When I'm in the booth, you are not going to hear your favorite song chopped into pieces just so I can prove I know how to use the looping feature on the CD player. I'm not one for fancy tricks? For me, the beauty is all in the mix."
As the award winning "Best DJ On Fire Island" for several years running, Dee has made quite a mark in NY. She is now spreading her sound throughout the States as more and more clubs are making 'Twisted Dee' a household name. With current residencies on Fire Island and in Washington DC, she's keeping very busy, but says, "I would work 7 nights a week if I could? For me it's like watching an awesome show every night? seeing beautiful bodies dancing? the smiles? the hands in the air? the happiness that flows through the music and into the people? it's quite magical? as a DJ, you can never get enough of that? it's what you live for!".
Dee's recently began dabbling in production. She's completed a slew of new remixes for artists including D1 ft. Lisa Hunt, Ceevox, Sandra Carlucci, Brian Kent, Ari Gold, Seduction, Dee Robert, Raw Deal, Scandelle & Randy Friess as well as several original productions, which will be released in the coming year. "I think producing will keep me going long after my DJ career is over. Right now, it's a learning process for me, but I am loving every minute of it! It's what I want to be when I grow up."
Dee also has a CD of her own available in stores. It's a mixed compilation of house hits called "Addiction", released nationally in early March 2004 on Episode/Benz Street Records.
She also dreams to one day open her own club. "I definitely have my own vision of what a club is supposed to be. I would like to see my vision come to life one day soon."
For now though, Dee's grateful to have been given the opportunity to pursue her DJ career, especially at a time when so many DJs are not working. "Not many people can say that they love what they do for a living? I feel so blessed and thankful that I can."
Twisted Dee releases on Amathus Music: