Dubspot Instructor Spotlight – Video Profile: Abe Duque (NYC DJ / Electronic Music Producer)

In the latest Dubspot Instructor Spotlight, acclaimed electronic music producer and DJ Carlos Abraham Duque, known around the world simply as Abe Duque, takes us through his musical journey, from the moment he discovered the limitless possibilities of the synthesizer to having his first of many club hits to teaching at Dubspot. Ableton Live Courses start 7/24, 8/4, 8/18 in NYC, 9/22 in LA, and Online. Register today!

In our latest instructor profile, we turn the spotlight on Queens, NY-based Dubspot Instructor, DJ, and electronic music producer Abe Duque. Abe takes us through his musical journey from discovering the limitless possibilities of the synthesizer at age fourteen to programming and playing keyboards for Victor Calderone and Genero Le Fosse’s Program 2 project to first encounter with Techno music. Abe talks about signing his first record deal with the Munich-based electronic music label Disko B and grinding for more than a decade as a DJ and producer before finally landing a massive club hit in 2004 with the track “What Happened?” featuring Blake Baxter and churning out remixes and original productions for the likes of Pet Shop Boys. He talks about working with the legendary New York City club owner Peter Gatien and hosting ‘Rancho Relaxo’ parties with other residents including John Selway at the seminal Limelight night club. Abe discusses his passion for teaching and the satisfaction he gets from sharing knowledge and guiding up and coming DJs and producers.

Below you can listen to Abe Duque’s “Diabeto” from Rules For The Modern DJ which came out in 2013. Catch Abe Duque in Berlin August 29th playing Club ADS (Maria) and somewhere in Leipzig on August 30th.

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Photo c/o Suzana Gostimirović

Abe Duque Biography:

With a career that started in the early days of house and techno at New York’s notorious Limelight, Abe Duque has been at the head of the acid-house and underground-techno table since his earliest releases way back in 1992.

His first tracks were influenced by the madness of the Limelight’s club-kid audience, later publicized by films and books like Party Monster and Clubland Confidential. From muscular and melodic techno to cocktail jazz and ambient interludes, his early tracks on his own labels Tension and Hollis Haus, his releases under pseudonyms like Kirilan, Super Secret Symphony and his releases on others’ labels like Disko B, Rapture!, Morbid, and Tresor captured a particular period of clubbing history bought to a sudden halt when the Limelight was shut down.

Duque by then had a thriving European and worldwide touring schedule, and musically he still had roots in the underground. Abandoning the glossy, high-fashion style of Tension and Abuse Industries, Duque’s next sets of releases were on anonymous, vinyl only stamped with catalogue numbers like “ADR40″ [Abe Duque Records 40] and etched on one side at the pressing plant with strange, hand-drawn messages from the man himself.

In some ways Duque was turning his back on the New York style, and on his previous successes. As he describes it, “I wanted to prove that my music spoke for itself”. It did. Despite the secrecy about who had actually written the ADR releases, this second part of Duque’s career was a run of increasingly massive 12″ hits like Champagne Days, Cocaine Nights; Acid, Disco Nights, and in 2004 his monster smash with Blake Baxter, “What Happened?”, the track that launched Duque and Baxter out of the underground and into the spotlight. That track’s call for a turn away from safe, un-challenging clubbing sold 25,000 copies on vinyl alone and in 2009, it was the focus of a rare remix competition on Resident Advisor – despite Duque and Baxter’s refusal to market the track by signing it to any the 100s of compilations on offer.

Having been dragged out of the underground, Duque found himself feted by the mainstream, delivering hugely successful remixes of acts like the Chemical Brothers, Moby and Pet Shop Boys while continuing to work right across the techno world. There, his brutally funky basslines and acid influence were – and still are – hugely in demand for remixes of acts such as Miss Kittin, Remute, Chloe, Savas Pascalidis, Knart IV and Daniel Meteo – as well as DJ Hell, with Duque becoming a regular on Hell’s Gigolos label. The two had met moving in the same German and NY electronic circles since the Abuse Industries days, and so Duque was asked to produce Hell’s infamous album NY Muscle in 2003 and in 2006 to helm the well-received “American Gigolos II” compilation.

The highlight of this period, though, was Duque’s first album under his own name, “So Underground It Hurts”. The title was yet another example of Duque’s ambivalence about succcess and its trappings, but the album was undeniably a techno event. Reviewed in the fashion press as influenced by Gigolos’ German electroclash style, but the album was understood by the music press as something quite separate and self-contained.

Duque was again striking out along his own path. Part wild acid, part dark house and all leavened with Duque’s dry, quiet stoner-humor, the album also provided a launchpad for Duque’s return to wild live performances – a whiskey bottle in one hand and a 303, drum machine, two PCs and a microphone operated by the other.

It was the start of Duque’s second, endless round of watching the world through the windows of a hotel and moving restlessly between his flat in Berlin and his spiritual home in Queens. Several years on the road with his stable of vocalists – Blake Baxter, Tijiana T, Acid Maria, Virginia, and occasional appearances by Abuse collaborator Andy Orel as “Sin” meant that Abe released only intermittently on his own label, Abe Duque Records. There, new tracks like the darkly funny It Moved Me, Whose Got the Flave, and a singles collection on CD When the Fever Breaks added to Duque’s reputation as the producer’s producer.

Eventually, though, Duque had had enough of continual touring. In 2011 Abe was invited to join the staff at Dubspot, an invitation that would make great sense to him. He had always had a passion for teaching and here was an opportunity to share all he had learned.


Ableton Live Producer Certificate Program

Classes Starting Soon, Register today!
7/24, 8/4, 8/18 in NYC
9/22 in LA
and Online!

The flagship of our music training, with every Ableton Live course offered at the school. After completing this program, you will leave with a portfolio of original tracks, a remix entered in an active contest, a scored commercial to widen your scope, and the Dubspot Producer’s Certificate in Ableton Live.

What’s Included:

  • Ableton Live Level 1: Beats, Sketches, and Ideas
  • Ableton Live Level 2: Analyze, Deconstruct, Recompose, and Assemble
  • Ableton Live Level 3: Synthesis and Original Sound Creation
  • Ableton Live Level 4: Advanced Sound Creation
  • Ableton Live Level 5: Advanced Effect Processing
  • Ableton Live Level 6: Going Global with your Music

This program is about learning Ableton Live by going through the entire process of being an artist, by developing your own sound through a series of sketches and experimentation. You will also learn the ins and outs of this powerful software through a series of exercises designed to help you master the steps involved in producing your own music. After a level of getting familiar with the tools that Ableton has to offer, you will then develop your sonic ideas into full-length tracks. You will be exposed to a variety of approaches to arrangement and composition, storytelling techniques, ways of creating tension and drama in your music. At the end of the day, it is the sum total of your choices as an artist that define your sound, and levels 2 – 6 will give you the experience of actually completing tracks to add to your portfolio.

More start dates and information about payment plans can be found here.

If you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.


DJ Extensive Program

Classes Starting Soon, Register today!
8/4, 8/10, 8/19 in NYC
7/28, 8/1, 8/16 in LA
and Online!

Immerse yourself in the complete art of DJing: from the fundamentals of beatmatching and mixing to using effects and programming extended club sets. Whether you’re a beginner wanting to learn fundamentals or a seasoned pro looking to take your talent to the next level, our curriculum is designed to accommodate all skill levels and styles of music. This comprehensive DJ program covers everything from basic mixing to advanced digital DJing with both Serato and Traktor.

What’s Included

  • DJ Level 1: Rookie Sessions | Essentials I
  • DJ Level 2: Phrase Mixing | Essentials II
  • DJ Level 3: Beyond The Blend | Intermediate Skills
  • DJ Level 4: Preparation | DJ Psychology
  • DJ Level 5: Classroom to the Club | Advanced Techniques I
  • DJ Level 6: Club to the World | Advanced Techniques II

More start dates and information about payment plans can be found here.

If you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.


NYC Open House: Sundays 11am & 12pm

Ask questions. Watch demos. Test drive workstations.

Anyone who comes by will have the opportunity to ask our instructors in-depth questions about our programs, curriculum and philosophy, and watch live music production and DJ demos. You can even sit down at one of our workstations and take it for a test drive. If you are still trying to decide what you are looking for, we suggest you stop by one of our Open Houses to learn more about the school, understand what the learning process at Dubspot entails and help you decide what is best for you. We can also help with scheduling details and payment options.

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