State your stage name and profession, for the record.
Teeko – producer / dj / musician / innovator
How long have you been DJing, and do you remember your first DJ gig?
Somewhere around 1997-98 I started rolling with bay area mobile dj crew “Divide & Conquer”. After being introduced to the crew by some members I was friends with in high school, I started rolling with them on the weekends setting up speakers and lighting systems. It wasnt until late 98 or 99 that they started letting me open up the events as a dj. I think the very first time was a small family party at a restaurant in top of the hill Daly City. I was terrified! Shoutout to my OG crew for giving me a shot and letting me get my feet wet!
What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?
Of the past – 1997-2003 – the battle scene was at its peak and the music of the time was still hype – digital djing hadn’t come into play yet so the scene was relatively untapped. You had to really want it and put that work in, there were no shortcuts (only Shortkut)
But really Im looking forward to the next era!!! I see some emerging djss that integrate the tech with their own styles and its starting to come together in the ways I had envisioned. And of course, I plan on coming out with some ideas I’ve been working on myself with the hopes to inspire.
“I don’t really feel like what I do is DJing anymore and as an artist I reserve the right to change my name for stylistic purposes.”
You dropped DJ from your nom de plume a while back — break down why you are known as Teeko these days instead of DJ Teeko?
Yea I decided to drop “Dj” for two main reasons – one is that I started feeling the over-saturation of the dj culture and felt like it was becoming less respected. Secondly, for me personally I started feeling like I wanted to be known as more than just a DJ; as a producer and musician. So it made sense to me to just use my nickname and set myself apart. I don’t really feel like what I do is DJing anymore and as an artist I reserve the right to change my name for stylistic purposes.
You’re on stage in front of all your heroes and you gotta rock a 5 minute all vinyl set to prove your worthiness. What records do you choose?
Fortunately, I’ve had a little chunk of my own music pressed on wax – so I’d grab all that shit and representa! Lately I’m really in the direction of pushing myself as a producer/musician so when I do my performance sets its mostly all my own productions and exclusives.
You are a constant innovative creator and put out groundbreaking content on a regular basis. Talk about some of your current and upcoming projects, and maybe even touch upon some past experiences in the last couple of years that have gotten you to where you are today.
First off thank you for the respecognition. Currently I’ve been working on the new T3 (Slum Village) album along with my bro Ruckazoid. It’s such an honor and Im extremely grateful to have been recognized by someone who I’ve been a fan of for so long. He discovered me during last years Playlist Sessions at Jazzy Jeff’s when we were recording the “Chasing Goosebumps” album. There was a night in the “Wave Cave” (aka Jeff’s movie theatre) where I had set up a studio and I was IG snapping a bunch of clips of beats I had been making there. I guess T3 had started following me via Jeff and he messaged me saying he wanted some joints for his new album. I sent all the instrumentals from me and Rucks BeatDiscovery “The Findings Vol. 1 and 2” (available on wax at TouchingRecords.com). We recently released his first single as a teaser check that shit and support that – i’m really hype for him to bless the scene and put it down for Dilla and Baatin!
For more on BeatDiscovery the VST and albums go here (we released 3 albums using this revolutionary sequencer, all recorded live)…
Also, this past summer I had the opportunity to tour the US with the great DJ Shadow. Really amazing show and he’s definitely someone I’ll continue to support as he cares so much about the culture. Dude puts in work! We had a great time and all the shows were amazing. I really enjoyed opening up for him and being able to do my thing the whole way. For the most part, I was new to the crowds and really won them over playing all the styles I produce from boom bap, funk, turnt bangers and all the in betweens. Really great open minded crowd who just wanted the dope! Much love to my man Shadow for having me. I would close each set by performing a live version of my remix of “Best Foot Forward” from his Entroducing anniversary release. Check the recorded version here…
After our last show in Nashville, I headed straight to the airport for a flight to Philly for Jazzy Jeffs 2017 Playlist Retreat. Such an honor again to be invited and not only as a guest but this year myself and Ruckazoid were presenting BeatDiscovery. It was amazing to say the least. Like the previous year, we had another music challenge and I was hype to find that Dres from Black Sheep was on my team (along with DJ Jaycee and Maimouna aka MuMu Fresh). We made a crazy joint that will be released soon along with all the others (super heat in there!!). Dres and I continued to stay in touch and actually have been working since. He has a new mixtape in the works that myself and Ruck both produced on. Def look for that!
Favorite burrito joint?
Not only for the food (which is top notch) but the love and compassion shown for his community and family makes Papalote a top pick for me! I tell people that I was raised on his salsa – and I was! Every month back at Zebra Records on Filmore, Mr. E would bring all the djs chips and salsa!! My dude!!
You travel, like a lot. You just had a couple of healthy runs while rockin’ Jazzy Jeff’s “Playlist Retreat” in between. Please share some insight on how to stay healthy on the road and what it takes to stay focused and productive while being so busy and traveling.
Generally I try to keep it righteous when it comes to intake. On the road it’s definitely a bit tricky. I stick to lots of water and since i’m a vegetarian I like to pack dry snacks like nuts and chia bars. My rider tends to be consistent with my diet. My friend recently hipped me to this app called “Happy Cow” which locates all the nearest vegan/veggie options while on the road. I see health and productivity hand in hand, when my health is up i’m able to maintain high productivity levels and continue to heal the game. 😉
Curry or Kobe? Rane or Vestax? Soundcloud or Mixcloud (or none of the above)?
Curry, Rane, aaaaaaannnnnnnnd i’ll pass.
Shout outs to your folkers, and where folks can find you on social media.
So blessed to have so many amazing people around me who keep me on point – much love to my G Ruckazoid, Starship Connection (B.bravo), Mugpush, 4onefunk, B. Lewis, Diamond Ortiz, Jazzy Jeff and all my Playlist Retreat fam, T3, Dres and all my real ones who been on the wavestrength. Let’s keep riding!