DJ UMAMI | THE INTERVIEW

State your stage name and profession for the record.

DJ Umami, professional DJ.

I think that’s the first time I called myself that.

How long have you been DJing? Do you remember your first DJ gig?

I’ve owned turntables for a little over 12 years. Originally just bought them to let off some steam during a really crazy period in my life. The good homie Cutso was patient enough to show me how to beat match and I just kept going.

I was working the door at Gwrex’s party at Poleng called Strut. One day he asked me if I was down to do an opening set the following month. I laughed at first, and he was like, “why not? Fuck it, man.” So I did. That was my first gig. Strut in May 2008.

What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?

I don’t really want to give away my age, but as soon as I was old enough to go out, I was drooling over sets from Music Machine when it was at SOFA lounge. I can’t really pinpoint a specific time, but I know that past vibe is still hanging on by a thread. Where DJs were playing golden era hip hop, soul and funk and it was nutty from front to back.

I remember going there by myself just to catch The Bangerz play. I would also hit up PST a lot when it was at Levende (now Brick & Mortar) and followed it to 330 Ritch. In Oakland, I remember catching The Oakland Faders at Luka’s and wondering where has this party been all my life. I used to follow most of Fran Boogie’s Parties, so I was no stranger to the legendary Triple Threat DJs.

You’re on stage in front of all your heroes and you gotta rock a 10 minute vinyl set to prove your worthiness. What records do you choose?

I’m extremely blessed to know and call most of my influential DJs my big brothers. I’ve learned so much and have been put on by them. When I’m up and playing with some of these cats, trust that I’m nervous AF. The thought of trying to find self-worth next to (usually) men that have been killing the game for years gets me sweating bullets and is a setup for failure.

The only thing that gets me in the right headspace is usually focusing on the crowd rather than which DJ is behind me or in the building listening to my selection or transitions. When the crowd is fuckin with you, that’s when you prove your worthiness. I know that doesn’t directly answer your question, but I guess it’s because it depends.


“When the crowd is fuckin’ with you, that’s when you prove your worthiness.”


Peaches Crew has undoubtedly become an institution. Talk about the history and influence y’all have had and what it means to be a part of such an important collective in Bay Area DJ history.

The Peaches Crew was started by Masaye Waugh at Skylark in SF. She wanted to do a weekly party that featured women DJs, so we were handpicked by her and essentially became a family more than a crew. The core group was Deeandriod, Lady Fingaz, DJ That Girl, and myself. We’ve then since added members Pony P, Deejay Andre, and Lady Ryan and some have also left because they’ve had to move. In our going on 8 years together, we’ve established multiple residencies around The Bay that we all rotate.

It’s been so important to have theses badass women in my corner in this male-dominated field, as they have been such a motivating force within my life (I know I just quoted Aaliyah). From time to time, we get together in a non-club environment and shoot the shit, eat, drink, share music, have mini scratch sessions, and update each other with our dating lives. It’s so hard to get anything productive done though because we have so much fun when we’re together.

Favorite burrito joint?

I try to stay away from burritos these days because they make me hella sleepy. They are, in fact nature’s giant sleeping pill. But if I’m going to spoil myself, Papalote’s adobo burrito with avocado, extra Papalote Salsa please.

Curry or Kobe?

No disrespect to the Black Mamba and the career that he’s had, but Curry all day. Curry’s already had one more MVP awards than Kobe has, one being unanimous, and his career is still pretty young. But, people would say my opinion is totally biased, which it is.

What’s one of your favorite places to go unplug and unwind on the West Coast?

I love going up to wine country for little staycations. I recently visited Indian Springs Resort in Calistoga for a couple days after a seven gig in four days weekend, and it was just what I needed to reboot. But most of the time, I really love just being at home chillin’ with a cup of tea.

What’s a current favorite album you’re listening to that you think you’ll still be listening to 10 years from now and why?

This changes a lot. I’ve had Goldlink’s “Crew” on heavy rotation lately. I tend to lean towards R&B rather than hip hop. I feel like it’s a perfect balance of both, or maybe just enough for me. Music that is timeless versus trendy tends to resonate more with me, so I get juiced when I find soulful artists these days.

Drop some shout outs and where folks can find you on social media.

Shout out to my sisters in the Peaches Crew. Follow us on IG to stay updated with our shenanigans @peaches_crew.

Shout out to my kids, Demarcus & Ajrien because they’re awesome and maybe one of their friends will read this and my kids will finally think I’m a little cool…or not. Whatever. Love you guys.

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat at @djumami
Like me on Facebook at Facebook.com/djumami
Check out some of my mixes at djumami.com

DJ LazyBoy | The Interview

State your stage name and profession for the record.

DJLAZYBOY aka GREG FRESSSH aka GREGORY THE GREAT aka GANGSTA SUSHI aka HARDBOILED GREGG aka YOUR MOM’S FAVORITE DJ

How long have you been DJing? Do you remember your first DJ gig?

I started djing in December 1999. My first gig was at this teen center. They had a dance night and I had a dope collection of cds. I asked to rock one night and when I dropped my songs and the girlies screamed, I knew I found what I wanted to do. My first paying steady dj gig was at a bowling alley in Santa Rosa, Ca. on Saturday nights called Continental Lanes. My homie from 1st grade Forrest hooked it up. It was definitely an open format gig, and all I really had was house and radio hits on vinyl. They had tons of DVD’s and CD’s though so I would drop music videos, take requests, and try and slip in as much radio house hits as I could. My jam at the time was “Papi Chulo” by Funkdoobiest. They could only handle so much of that Wild 94.9 stuff there.

What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?

I’d have to say the battle era. Even though I wasn’t a part of it, looking back, some of the most legendary relationships were made during that era. All of the gods were in the battle circuit and became friends just like I am with folks in the battle circuit today. The difference is that djing was so young that many of the folks were pioneering techniques and styles. I mean ISP, Beat Junkie Sound, Oakland Faderz, Triple Threat Djs, Bullet Proof Scratch Hamsters, FourOneFunk. I WISH I could cruise down the street and see cats in their garage juggling, scratching, mixing, and that’s how it was in Daly City back then. For me being from West Sonoma County me and the homies would travel down to San Bruno every Sunday to see Ales1 and Teeko mix it up and talk about their week at Ultra Sounz. That’s what life was for us. We just wanted to be accepted and more connected with our “older brothers” in the game. Shout to Rob, Ajax, and Kendo (I don’t think kendo worked there but he would always ask “so what do you think of Amen” LOL). Good times.


“That’s what life was for us. We just wanted to be accepted and more connected with our ‘older brothers’ in the game.”


You’re on stage in front of all your heroes and you gotta rock a 10 minute all vinyl set to prove your worthiness. What records do you choose?

First of all… I’m a “Control Vinyl Purist” so you probably wouldn’t catch me rocking an all vinyl set, unless I came into some serious money and could afford it! If I did rock it… I have some seriously dope transitions like this one from “My Thang” to “Funky Child” to “Sideways” that puts a look on your face like you smell some piss! So I’d just do creative transitions, and be super different. I got to open for Z-Trip 3 years ago and in my set I rocked an auctioneer selling over a bass heavy beat into some other tracks about money. He’s definitely my dj hero. Lately cats in Oakland have been coming out with cases of fresh vinyl, carrying themselves like they are the shit, but can’t even mix with them. I saw one guy out of a crew of 5 actually mix. I immediately went up and offered him free one on one mentoring because it felt like I needed to feed the hunger that separated him from his homies. Perhaps that would help them to step it up and find a desire to push themselves further into the rabbit hole. Back in my day (2000’s LOL) if you went up and let a song play and then just dropped the next track you would get kicked off the tables. I never heard from him. I definitely want to dig through my vinyl go out and show them how it can be done. I am probably coming off super arrogant right now, but those of you who grew up on vinyl and see these types of newcomer djs doing this know how cringing it is to be in the same room and watch this go down.

You’re known as a fierce competitor in the battle scene. Do you identify with being a battle DJ first and foremost or something else? Which do you like doing more, showcasing, competing, or party rockin’? Why is still important for DJs to showcase skill in their sets, i.e., scratching, trick mixing, etc.?

HAHA! I didn’t know that I was! I guess now that I look at it I suppose I am. I’m just a dj who sees the battle scene as an opportunity to showcase talent. It’s like a recital for djs, where we get to write our own show and perform it. I don’t battle to prove I’m the best. I don’t think I’m the best at all, but I know that I’m dope! I know that I’m creative. I know my place is to entertain the people who paid to have a great time and hear great music, so I do it with skill, precision, and a style that only lazyboy can. The dj scene here in the bay and many other places is super clicky. I’ve been trying to earn my stripes for years here, and even with Shortkut vouching for me, and many others who stand by me, I am just starting to get the recognition I’ve been working so hard for. I give it to the battle scene for providing me that platform. I still haven’t gotten booked at many of the places I want to spin at, with many of my favorite bay area legends I’d love to share the crowd with. So I use the battle platform to show everyone what I’ve got in hopes to finally be accepted and invited to rock a crowd. So to answer your questions, I identify as a well rounded dj first and foremost. I mostly enjoy party rocking which allows me to showcase with a competitive mindset. See what I did there? LOL. Here’s why I feel it’s important. This day in age there are a blahzillian amount of “DJs” out there undercutting those of us who have dedicated our lives to this as an art form and career. The way that we differentiate ourselves is by how we get down. Selection will ALWAYS be first, but your style is what the listener will use to separate you from the next guy with a laptop and a library.

Favorite burrito joint?

Hmmm… Papalote, but I’m more of a taco guy really and I’ve gotta shout a spot you may never have guessed to have one of the best tacos ever. Eastside West on taco tuesdays. Get “The Vampiro”. I know it sounds like a strange place, but trust me. Go there, get that, and thank me later.

Curry or Kobe?

Curry. C’mon son!

What’s one of your favorite places to go unplug and unwind on the West Coast?

To unwind sometimes I enjoy going where the people are. Downtown San Francisco on a sunny day feels great. Also hiking in Marin, Sonoma County. Taking a drive through the wine country back roads. Hitting up random food spots in cities I’ve never been. Hopping on a train or a bus and ending up wherever. I’m a very spontaneous person and that’s the best way for me to unwind.

What’s a current favorite album you’re listening to now that you think you’ll still be listening to 10 years from now?

I listen to a lot of playlists, mixes, and podcasts. Mostly self help books on dating an socializing. LOL I’m such a dj nerd. I’m a drake fan and I could definitely hear “Take Care” 10 years from now. I can ALWAYS listen to “Uptown Saturday Night” Camp Lo, “Dookie” Green Day, “Smash” The Offspring. “They’re all gonna laugh at you” Adam Sandler.

Drop some shout outs and where folks can find you on social media.

I def gotta shout Platurn for this dope interview and giving me a spotlight to share some of what goes on in the mind of the boy they call lazy, thank you! Shortkut, Gordo/MOM DJS, Chuy and Hugo Gomez, Dinga, Sizzlak and Casa Rasta, Eddie Marz, Patrick Malone, Beset, Ousa, Mr. Murdock, Classic, Samantha Mineo, Crimson, TypeOne, Antriks, Ajaxx, Illborn, Expo, Ynot, Luis Orozco, JB, Tamayo, Cal, Fabian, Mark Maiden, Kendo, Dan Rosenbach, all for putting me on. Zhaldee, MytyMyke, Phil Drummond, Ease for keeping me informed on dj battles. GoldenChyld, Z-Trip, Ferno, Danny West, David Neito for offering help guiding myself in this career, Cutso for saving my ass, Marvell for ALWAYS being there for me. Apollo, Jam, Mr. Choc, Rectangle, Revolution, Spinbad, Icewater, Jazzy Jeff, JFB, Rafik, PriMO, Tony Tone, J. Espinosa, Byte, Four Color Zack, Craze, Enferno and many more for inspiration. Shout to my sponsor Class Acts 93 y’all should carry some of the gear at TRUE. It would be a nice fit. Shout to all the groupies and cuties out there! If it wasn’t for y’all it would be that much less fun for us! A MASSIVE SHOUT OUT to ALL of my fans and those who believe in the boy they call Lazy! You help me each and everyday and what is a dj without a crowd?!

Catch me on social media FB/IG/TWITTER : @djlazyboy

www.djlazyboy.net

MIXCLOUD: @djlazyboy23

Lean Rock | The Interview

State your stage name and profession for the record.

What up! My name is Lean Rock and I’m a bboy/dj.

How long have you been DJing? Do you remember your first DJ gig?

I’ve been playing music for about 12 years but honestly I would say I didn’t really start djing until about 6 years ago. My first gig was Ken Swift’s Raiders of the Lost Art back in 2005. Looking back at that gig I wouldn’t really consider myself a DJ.

What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?

I’m originally from Boston so I grew up around more djs from the New York/Philly/Boston area. I didn’t really know much about the Bay Area dj scene until I met Paulskee. He put me on to a lot of gems and Bay Area legends mainly from early 80s to late 90s (Bullet Proof Scratch Hamsters, Apollo, the Filipino mobile Dj movement, etc.). I was familiar with Qbert, Mixmaster Mike, and Dj Shadow as a kid but I didn’t really know much about the Bay until Paul schooled me. Derrick D, Shortkut, and Swiftrock (R.I.P) were probably the first Bay Area djs I heard play out live. The moment I heard them play, I knew the Bay was on another level. I really appreciated hearing how tasteful they were with selection and how skillful they were. On the skilled dj tip they were better than most djs I’ve ever heard… they could also rock a party and they could also kill it at the bboy jam. You know that saying jack-of- all-trades… master of none… a lot of Bay Area dj legends I know are the master of all trades. I’m going with the 90s generation but don’t take my word on that because my knowledge isn’t so deep on Bay Area dj history.

You’re on stage in front of all your heroes and you gotta rock a 10 minute all vinyl set to prove your worthiness. What records do you choose?

I think it’s safe to say that my specialty is playing obscure breaks. So I’m definitely going to rock out some obscure joints that most peeps probably aren’t hip to. I’m definitely “nerding” out in this situation. Most of my dj heroes are hip hop heads, so I think they would definitely appreciate hearing some breaks. I mean that is the foundation of hip hop culture right? I’ve been fortunate enough to play at the Tools of War park jams in NYC every year and play with most of my dj heroes…I’m not really big on sharing titles of breaks but I’ll give you a little something:

3rd Avenue Blues Band – Come On and Get It
Keef James – Find Your Own Way
Kaleidoscope – Tempe Arizona
Mandrill – Get It All
XXXXXXX – Hey Hey Na Na

Talk about what it’s like to DJ for b-boys and battles in general. Is it challenging? How different is it from rockin’ clubs? What methods do you use to prepare for specific gigs? Any other insight for DJs that want to get more into the b-boy scene?

This is going to be long because there is just so much to bring up…. I feel like just like anything else in life… it’s as challenging as you make it. You can either play it safe and play all the known joints or you can be righteous to the people and put them on to something dope they aren’t up on. It’s either you’re in it for the quick fix or you’re in it for the long run. Just like anything else you have to put in the time if you want to do it right. The basic dj mixing skills are definitely required to play bboy battles but in general most dancers get annoyed with over the top scratching/juggling when they’re dancing. Most bboys and bgirls aren’t too keen of it because when it’s overdone it overpowers the music. It’s better to be funky and clean on the cuts. It’s also best to keep the beat steady on the juggles. Rocking a party is definitely the same in this sense. It’s about BALANCE. Through my experience, I would say selection is most important to the dancers. As long as you keep a nice flow going on the mix and you’re playing the right joints for them, they will go off. There are 2 approaches you need to learn in order do well at a bboy event.

The first approach is the cypher approach, which is pretty much like rocking a party. This is considered the “down time” at most bboy events but for me it’s the time to go in. Cypher time is a true testament to how well you control the vibe and how well you’re really rocking the jam. This is your time to shine. There is nothing forced at this moment. This is the perfect time to take people on a journey. Your job is to play music that will touch different feelings and different emotions. I usually play more feel good classic/unknown boom bap hip hop joints and classic funk/breaks joints during the cypher time. Depending on the crowd at the event (mixture of dance styles or just normal folks), I will go even a little further with my music selection (maybe some House, Future Funk, etc.).

The second approach is the battle approach. Bboys and bgirls are kind of forced to dance to what’s given to them in a battle. So the battle approach is definitely more about giving the dancers something a little more energetic to keep the spirits up. So I tend to play my more up-tempo breaks and up-tempo funky joints (JB style) for battles. I try my best to keep it funky and not too fast. For battles I usually play tracks in the bpm range of 110 – 125. I’m personally not a fan of dancing to stiff drums. As a bboy, I need to be just as loose as that drummer is. I need that natural swing or it just doesn’t that funky feel to it.

I highly suggest keeping the music going in between battles. This keeps the vibe and flow of the event going. When you cut the music off the vibe dies down and I feel like the host goes a little overboard with the talking. So keep that music playing to keep everyone in check. Quick mixing is also very important to playing bboy battles. You want to make sure you’re not playing the same track for too long (unless there are multiple sections on the song you can flip). I would say play a track no longer than 2 minutes. You want to also make sure you bring in the next record at the right time during a bboy battle. You don’t want to interrupt the dancer’s flow or energy in a battle. So you bring in the next record either as soon that bboy finishes his round or as soon as that next dancer comes out. It’s very important to pay attention to the dancers and try your best to read their movement. The next song you bring in should also match in energy. This is important when it comes to keeping the energy up in a battle. Most djs are all over the place with this. So it’s all about putting the right pieces together to the puzzle.


“You don’t want to interrupt the dancer’s flow or energy in a battle. So you bring in the next record either as soon that bboy finishes his round or as soon as that next dancer comes out. It’s very important to pay attention to the dancers and try your best to read their movement. The next song you bring in should also match in energy. This is important when it comes to keeping the energy up in a battle. Most djs are all over the place with this. So it’s all about putting the right pieces together to the puzzle.”


Since playing at bboy events are so focused on one particular crowd (bboys & bgirls), the idea of playing at a bboy event is pretty simple. As long as you keep it in the realms of up-tempo hip hop and funk you will be good. The hardest part of it is finding the music for it since there really isn’t a lot of good music made specifically for breaking. Apache and Its Just Begun are considered bboy classics, but these records weren’t made with bboys in mind. They just happen to have the feel that was needed to make bboys go off. Digging is key.

As far as preparation goes, if I’m not familiar with the party or the city I do my research on the party and city. I’m asking people I know that might have attended/played the party/gig and I’m also getting info from the promoter. In the breaking world, I have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t work through experience and travel. It’s not as complicated as a party is for me because I’m definitely more known in the bboy community. As far as the set goes, I tend to prepare micro sets but I’m freestyling. You will never know the exact mood of any gig until you feel it out. Bboy events are usually very long too (much longer than most parties are). So you definitely need to prep up to play tons of tracks (at least 6-10 hours worth of tracks).. There isn’t a great variety of music that will be played at a bboy event compared to the variety being played at most parties… so digging is key in the bboy world.

The edits, remixes, and original production thing are also cool as long as it’s done right (and tastefully). Relying too much on remixes and edits gets a little corny considering a lot of the songs we dance to are already masterpieces (Kon makes some really good remixes though). You’re probably not going to make a James Brown song better than what it already is. As far as edits go, don’t just have the track looping the whole time… it’s boring. Give it a little flavor. As a dancer, I really feel like these remixes don’t give as much new inspiration as new music does. New music brings new feeling. Most remixes and edits are done in lazy fashion (especially in the bboy scene), usually with too many layers of drum breaks on top of the main groove. I think when some people make remixes they’re relying on the popularity/catchiness of a song rather than how well how they can be creative and flip it better to the point where it is almost unrecognizable. This is why I really appreciated hip hop remixes back in the days… because people actually made the effort to flip the original. They weren’t just throwing in a extra verse over the same beat and calling it a day. They were giving the songs new life. As far as original production, you need to spend loads of time on it and hire real musicians if you’re plugins aren’t cutting it. I personally hate it when the instruments sound super generic and unreal especially with horns and drums. Your drums need to be knocking….. I will just leave it at that.

Lastly, most bboy events lack females. I think this makes a lot of bboy events boring compared to parties. I feel like females bring a very dynamic energy that is needed to set the mood right. The female presence definitely lightens up the mood and definitely makes the environment more fun. So the party rocking scene is definitely miles ahead on that. So yeah rocking a party and bboy events are two different animals with plenty of similarities.

Favorite burrito joint?

My burrito game is weak out here (LA). I spend more time eating tacos. My go to spots for tacos are Guisados and Leo’s Taco Truck. The only spot I go to consistently for burritos is Papalote’s in SF and I’m barely ever in SF. (I have to add that I was really disappointed in the OG El Farolito).

Curry or Kobe?

I’m a Boston guy so this kind of a difficult question to answer. I can’t front though…I got a lot of respect for Kobe and Curry. Kobe has proved himself as one of the most fierce competitors in the NBA ever. Kobe definitely stepped up his game when it mattered most. He had the killer instinct that most players lack today. I think Curry is great role model on & off the court and I feel like he’s improved on his game faster than anyone I’ve ever seen in the NBA. I’m just not so sure if Curry has that same killer instinct that Kobe or Jordan had. I mean it’s really hard to compare them because they both play the game differently. They both can score but Curry relies more on shooting outside (Curry is a much better 3pt shooter). Kobe relied more on jump shots and driving to the hole. I think Westbrook would probably be the better comparison for Kobe. I think Kobe at his prime was a better all around basketball player than Curry is in his prime. I think this also comes down to size. Kobe has leverage on size…so typically you’re going to get more defensive attributes with size. Curry still has some years left in the NBA, so there’s still plenty left to prove. Curry is probably better for team chemistry and probably a better fit in most team rotations in today’s NBA. Kobe’s competitive attitude was his strong point but it also his downfall. So I feel like Kobe really thrives depending on who’s coaching him, his teammates and what system he’s playing under… while Curry would probably thrive under more coaches and thrive under more systems than Kobe would.

What’s one of your favorite places to go unplug and unwind on the West Coast?

I love going to Point Dume in Malibu. There is nothing that clears the mind better than the ocean. There aren’t a lot of tourist that go to Point Dume because it’s kind of a mission to get to and it’s also difficult to find.

What’s a current favorite album you’re listening to now that you think you’ll still be listening to 10 years from now?

My taste in music has changed drastically since I’ve moved to LA. I think I got exposed to loads of great music well beyond the funk & hip hop realm since moving here. My standards are a bit higher because the musical inspiration here in LA is much better than it was in Boston. Boston is a much smaller city with less going on in the arts & entertainment world. I’ve gained more of an open ear to different genres of music and I’ve went to more shows that made me feel uncomfortable (which I think is very important as a music lover). You know I’m a hip hop head but I really feel like hip hop music has really been inconsistent with the word “timeless” in recent years. I feel like it’s really shifting into sub genres. Most albums don’t provide the middle ground that’s needed to make a classic. There have definitely been some solid releases (ATCQ, De La Soul, Kendrick, etc.) in recent years but there really isn’t any hip hop album that has stayed in my rotation after a few months in. Everything kind of seems rushed out and the standards are just really low right now. It all feels like some flavor of the month type thing. I feel like most people are peer pressured into feeling like some of these solid rap albums are classics just because most albums that have came out in recent years have been subpar. I’m trying my best to enjoy music for what it is not even use the word classic…because only time can tell. I don’t really have one favorite album at the moment…. but I will say these 3 albums have definitely been in my rotation steadily the past 2 years… Anderson Paak’s “Malibu”, Kaytranada “99.9”, and Hiatus Kaiyote “Choose Your Weapon”… they’re hip hop influenced.

Drop some shout outs and where folks can find you on social media.

Shout out to Platurn and True for the interview. Shout out to God, my family, my crew, my friends, and all the people that I’ve ever got to vibe out with. One love.

Insta: @djleanrock
Twitter: @djleanrock
Facebook: @djleanrock

 

Proof | The Interview

State your stage name and profession for the record.

Hello, my name is Proof. I’m a deejay, connector, and Massive Selector.

How long have you been DJing? Do you remember your first DJ gig?

Hella long. Let’s just say I picked up my first set of (mis-matched) turntables sometime in the early 90’s.

What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?

The late 90’s, early 2000’s music scene in the Bay Area was my favorite because it was the most influential to me. At the time, I was really into funk breaks, classic hip-hop, turntablism and the Bay was ground zero for that scene. I remember going to Deco on Tuesday Nights for the original Beat Lounge to watch the best turntablists in the world catch wreck. The old Justice League (now The Independent) always had something dope going on (and the Twist mural was hella dope!) My favorite promoter at the time was Future Primitive because they not only produced ground breaking events like the Future Primitive Sound Session with Shortkut vs Cut Chemist (legendary Bay Area shit!) but they always had the illest flyers.

You’re on stage in front of all your heroes and you gotta rock a 10 minute all vinyl set to prove your worthiness. What records do you choose?

It really depends on the situation…time, place, crowd, are all factors of course. But if I only had 10 minutes, I’d probably play 3-4 of my favorite songs at the moment. I’ve found that if you play joints you’re really feeling, and play from the heart, you’ll connect with the dance floor.


Massive Selector has undoubtedly become an institution. Talk about the history and influence y’all have had and what it means to be a part of such an important collective in Bay Area DJ history.

Wow, where do I start. Massive Selector was founded in 2000 by a group of friends who shared a passion for art, music and underground culture. I actually didn’t join until 2001…I rocked a guest set at the first Massive Selector monthly “WORD” at Rawhide (who remembers that spot?) and I’ve been with the crew ever since. Since then, we’ve produced countless events and booked some of our favorite artists: DJ Jazzy Jeff, Gilles Peterson, Dwele, The Rebirth, King Britt, DJ Scruff, Vikter Duplaix, Mark De Clive Lowe, Daz-I-Kue, Peanut Butter Wolf, Egon, Madlib, Breakestra, Rich Medina, Stretch & Bobbito, DJ Spinna, ?uestlove just to name a few. This list doesn’t even include all the local heavies we’ve worked with throughout the years.

After making some noise in nightlife, we ventured off into new frontiers. In 2003, we had an opportunity to open our own venue, Poleng Lounge (formerly Storyville), a tea lounge, restaurant, and night club located in the heart of San Francisco’s upper panhandle. We tried to continue the legacy of Storyville by creating a space that put music first. Little did we know, the restaurant would be the star, and Poleng Lounge became the face of modern Filipino cuisine. In 2010, we launched The Summit (a nod to our monthly at Club Six) a cafe, co-working, and art space in the Mission that became one of SF’s most exciting new venues to open at the time.

Today, Massive Selector still produces annual events Wonder-Full: A Tribute to the Wonder of Stevie and Soul Slam: Prince & Michael Jackson which are going 13 years strong in the Bay. While most of the crew has gone on to do different things, I’m still holding it down. It feels good to know that something we started way back when is still contributing to the culture in a positive way.


“It feels good to know that something we started way back when is still contributing to the culture in a positive way. “


Favorite burrito joint?

Favorite burrito joint is El Super Burrito in Millbrae. I’ve been coming to El Supe since high school and what keeps bringing me back is how they steam their tortillas. They pre-steam their tortillas resulting in chewy, moist, perfection. That is key. I even bumped into Barry Bonds eating a burrito there back in the day, so you know it’s legit!

Curry or Kobe?

I was born in San Francisco, do I even need to answer this?

What’s one of your favorite places to go unplug and unwind on the West Coast?

Running thru Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach with no head phones, just sounds of the birds in the trees is my favorite way to unwind. Ok I’m lying, I’m usually plugged into KNBR sports talk radio while I run!

What’s a current favorite album you’re listening to now that you think you’ll still be listening to 10 years from now?

This is a tough one. Too much good music out there, hard to pick just one. I’m still bumping Childish Gambino “Awaken My Love.” The Funkadelic, Sly Stone, and Prince influences are undeniable and I’m not mad at that. Not an album, but I’m hella digging the latest from 1-O.A.K. “Lost & Found.” If you’re a Bay Area DJ, this joint needs to be on heavy rotation!


Drop some shout outs and where folks can find you on social media.

You can catch me every 2nd Saturday at Straighten It Out at Madrone Art Bar in SF with my mellow DJ Jerry Nice playing our fav hip-hop, r&b, classics, and remixes. Check me out at Sweater Funk, the original boogie funk, modern soul, 2 step all-vinyl dance party every Sunday at The Knockout in the Outer Mission. I’ll be rocking Off The Grid in Fort Mason and Picnic in The Presidio this season as well. Shoutout to the original Massive Selector crew: DJ pantyROBber, D-Reel, Malex, Politik, Paul, Marco, Steve, Alex, and Desi. And BIG S/O to Platurn for putting me on!

Follow me:

facebook.com/livinproof

twitter.com/livinproof

instagram.com/livinpro0f

livin-proof.com

massiveselector.com

Sean G | The Interview

State your stage name and profession for the record.

My Name is Sean G and I am a DJ.

How long have you been DJing? Do you remember your first DJ gig?

I’ve been Djing since I was 16 years old, so almost 20 years now.


“There have been many great DJ eras in the Bay Area but my favorite were the late 90s to mid 2000’s. As a young DJ those were very creative and inspiring days.”


What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?

There have been many great DJ eras in the Bay Area but my favorite were the late 90s with Maritime Hall, Justice League, Rico’s Loft, etc. and the mid to late 2000’s with Club 6, Levende Lounge, Milk, Mission Rock etc. As a young DJ those were very creative and inspiring days.

You’re on stage in front of some of your music heroes and you gotta rock a 10 minute set. Which tracks do you choose to showcase your musical diaspora?

In that situation i’m going to go with whatever vibe is needed for the situation. Whatever will fuel the energy of that specific party/concert is the direction I will go in while also throwing in a song or two that maybe most people won’t know but should.

Favorite burrito joint?

As a Mission native I can’t disclose that info now. Top secret info LOL.

Curry or Kobe?

Curry all day, fuck Kobe.

What’s one of your favorite places to go unplug and unwind on the West Coast?

Anywhere on the coast north of the Bay Area. I can really just hit Highway 1 and enjoy any of it.

What’s a current favorite album you’re listening to now that you think you’ll still be listening to 10 years from now?

Right now I really like the ‘Tonight Show’ project Rydah J. Klyde & DJ Fresh have just released. I have like 30 new projects on my phone right now but I feel like I’ve been listening to that one almost every day.

Finally, drop some shout outs and where folks can find you on social media.

I currently am doing a party every Sunday Night at Somar called The Collective with Lady Ryan D. Roq and it’s been a lot of fun so shout out to all of them and shout out to my other home away from home, 1015 Folsom. I’ve been spinning at 1015 a lot over the years but recently have become a resident DJ over there and I love the programming and staff over there — shout out Dials and Melissa!

facebook.com/djseang

twitter.com/deejayseang

instagram.com/deejayseang

Vinroc | The Interview

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State your stage name and profession for the record.

DJ Vinroc,  Soundwave Communication Specialist

How long have you been DJing? Do you remember your first DJ gig?

It will be 30 years next year. I did a classmates 6th grade party with one strobe light, one turntable and a crate of records. Of course the promoter/mom stiffed me.

What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?

Right now is amazing. So much talent and the technology is enabling some brilliant music. I mean live remixing and sequencing has diversified talented artists and DJs to do amazing things. We had to do that manually before with just 2 tracks (left turntable/right turntable). Archaic now that I think about it.

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?

My heroes would not be impressed by me no matter what records I played. But they’d likely take some shots with me at the bar because of my warm personality.

The Triple Threat DJs have undoubtedly become an institution. Talk about the history and influence y’all have had and what it means to be a part of such an important collective in Bay Area DJ history.

I’m told we’ve had an Influence but I have never really felt personally that I was a major influence. Perhaps the idea of balance between keeping the crowd moving and hard-core turntablism was something that was inevitably going to have to evolve. I don’t know if I can take credit for that as there were other groups out there doing that in their own ways. I do know I’m blessed to have some really talented peers who thought I had what it took to build an idea, a philosophy with them.

Favorite burrito joint?

Papalote of course.

Curry or Kobe?

I prefer Tikka Masala and I don’t eat beef.

What’s one of your favorite places to go unplug and unwind on the West Coast?

Monterey /Carmel area is amazing. I might head to Santa Barbara soon as I’ve only been through there DJing in the past. Time to be a tourista.


“Right now is amazing. So much talent and the technology is enabling some brilliant music.”


What’s a current favorite album you’re listening to now that you think you’ll still be listening to 10 years from now?

It’s a singles based industry just like it was in the 50s. There is rarely a classic album you can listen through now. And since playlists are so brilliantly easy to make now I imagine the future would have me listening to music in that format. So I imagine I’d pull up a playlist from a certain time to remind me of that time a decade ago. Even now I have a playlist I know I built in 2006 of some fave tunes.

Drop some shout outs and where folks can find you on social media.

SoundCloud/thatsthatlabel
SoundCloud/vinroc

FIVE MACHINES AND A TABLE

FIVE MACHINES AND A TABLE

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True Clothing introduced street wear to the upper Haight in 1996. 20 years strong, the shop remains a fixture in a city going through an unflinching state of flux. There’s something so San Francisco about it; something that, when talking to the natives, one gets a clear sense of what the city is losing. The culture is on a time limit. As big business and tech creeps its way in, it routinely forces small business out and at the pulsating heart of San Francisco lies small business, entrepreneurship, a DIY mentality, and an inherent need to look out for our own. Brands that gained popularity both nationally and internationally claim their beginnings at True and when one gets to know the shop and the now booming street wear culture orbiting around it, a sense of family and community is clear. So when San Francisco native and Project Runway contestant Jenni Riccetti proposed an in-store pop up, we gladly opened our doors.


“Brands that gained popularity both nationally and internationally claim their beginnings at True and when one gets to know the shop and the now booming street wear culture orbiting around it, a sense of family and community is clear.”


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“Cozy and Clean,” was the first of many titles for this interview we cheekily spitballed. It’s what she describes her line as. Throughout the course of the interview she sewed fabric live via a sewing machine set up in the shop window. The machine whirred every so often, further illustrating the picture her words painted. Her finished product hung up on a rack by the entrance. Running one’s hands through each piece, it is clear why she described them the way she did. She grew up in the Mission, which may be why her line is so fabric-specific. “Everything is soft”, she mentioned with a deliberate tone; yet another title for this interview which was, too, being sewn together in real time. The Mission is one of the major neighborhoods in the city undergoing a cultural gutting. I brought up its fabric stores, which one could only assume left some sort of impression on her growing up. The neighborhood is also characterized by its murals and graffiti, which explains why her logo is styled like a throwie. It is clear she’s a product of her environment. Her grandfather used to custom-make Italian suits. She describes her childhood as one where she was oblivious as to why her clothes were so original and tailor-made to her fit; ironically enough going on to describe how she had a hard time fitting in socially. She wears herself on her sleeve these days and it is clear her misfit-ness is something she perfected with time.


“The neighborhood is also characterized by its murals and graffiti, which explains why her logo is styled like a throwie.”


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She carries herself with a certain confidence; a genuine immunity to adversity. When talking about how she doesn’t mesh with the fashion-corporate industry of SF she decisively stated “that doesn’t mean I’m not good, that means I’m not them.” A Bay girl at heart, she listed off Mac Dre, The Jacka, Andre Nickatina, and Too $hort among the sounds one would hear coming from her workspace. There’s something about the Bay that insists on being itself. It refuses to compromise for the masses, instead makes the masses conform to it, and I suppose she’s just following tradition. “Not everyone understands a creative mind,” she threw out, suggesting it took time for her weirdness to be seen as uniqueness. Fresh off of her Project Runway appearance and onto her first in-store pop up, Too $hort’s early hustle of selling tapes out of his trunk came to mind when she described her space as just “five machines and a table;” the perfect description of this young woman making big moves with her own two.


“A Bay girl at heart, she listed off Mac Dre, The Jacka, Andre Nickatina, and Too $hort among the sounds one would hear coming from her workspace.”


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Interview and words by Temba Kamara
Check out more from Jenni Riccetti @ www.riccetticlothing.com

 

Neil Armstrong | The Interview

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State your stage name and profession for the record.

DJ Neil Armstrong, professional old guy at the club.

How long have you been DJing? Do you remember your first DJ gig?

DJing now since 1995, so 21 years. 1st gig, real gig… I guess opening up for the X-Men, for Fat Beats release party of Rob Swift’s video maybe? I can barely remember the gig I did last week so… yeah my memory is crap.

What’s your favorite DJ era in NYC and why?

Oh for sure, early 90’s to late 2000’s. Golden Era of Hip-Hop. We used to do shows with Company Flow and The Arsonists and there were girls there and people used to just get down and have a good time. No holding up the wall, the b-boys hung out with us, the skaters hung out with us. I have a video of one of our early performances, we’re just doing turntablist/battle routines. Harold Hunter was there chilling…it was really like that in new York, all the cool kids of the era just colliding and having a good time.

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?

www.thefuture.fm/mixes/42087/djneilarmstrong/nonstop-original-live

5th Platoon is undoubtedly an institution. Talk about the history and influence y’all have had and what it means to be a part of such an important crew in NYC DJ history.

Appreciate the kind words. I guess if you were to stretch out the timeline of that great era of turntablism, our crew was the “middle child” of the greats . When you mention battle crews, 9 times out of 10 a knowledgeable older school DJ would say, X-Men, ISP, and The Beat Junkies. If you ask a later DJ, they probably would mention the Scratch Perverts, the Crash Dummies, The Allies…

Well, right smack dab in the middle of everything was my crew the 5th Platoon. We had to battle EVERYONE. I battled personally every single one of the X-Men. In competition we had to battle the Beat Junkies, we battled Shortkut, Vinroc had to beat members of the Scratch Perverts….we had to battle Craze, and I.Emerg who came late. Had to battle Vajra (Chris Karns), and DJ Shiftee and DJ Enferno and all the new school cats.

Our crew as a collective did a lot of damage in the battle scene. I.Emerg was the last US champ to win back to back DMC world titles for the US. Vinroc won the ITF back to back. On top of that we had one of the premier female battle DJs of the time DJ Kuttin Kandi on our squad, raising the bar for what females could do in a male dominated art form.

But still, in the whole scheme of things, we were the “middle children” of the era, the Scotty Pippen to Jordan, the Klay Thompson to Steph Curry. At our height we were fighting the X-Men, members of ISP and the Beat Junkies as the established crews… and on the other side we had A-Trak and Craze and the Crash Dummies/Allies to coming up behind us.

On top of that we came up in the era before videos and social media, so a lot of what we did is just lost in history.

As the turntablism scene has changed dramatically from its heyday, I don’t really know what our real status is in that world anymore. I like to believe that somehow the new kids still know what we did as a collective and I’m sure some folks out there do.

I personally will always really love that point in my life as a turntablist DJ, but like everything, that was just a “stepping stone” , a chapter in my life that set me up for the next part of the story…


I personally will always really love that point in my life as a turntablist DJ, but like everything, that was just a “stepping stone” , a chapter in my life that set me up for the next part of the story…


Favorite pizza joint?

hmmm… right now maybe maybe Di Fara in Midwood, Brooklyn .

Lebron or Carmelo?

hmmm… I guess I gotta say Carmelo cause i’m a Knicks fan.

What’s one of your favorite places to go unplug and unwind in the world?

My crib in Jersey City, or with my wife out in Tokyo.

What’s a current favorite album you’re listening to now that you think you’ll still be listening to 10 years from now?

Whole album? hmmm….. thats a tough one, cause I rarely listen to whole albums. Possibly Kendrick M.A.A.D. City? Don’t know if you would consider that current at this point though.

Drop some shout outs and where folks can find you on social media.

Shouts to all the folks who have ever listened to one of my mixes, all the folks who have hired me to DJ for them, and all the people who came out to party with me.


djneilarmstrong.com

instragram.com/djneilarmstrong

twitter.com/djneilarmstrong

facebook.com/djneilarmstrongfanpage

Shortkut | The Interview

Shortkut perform during Night 1 of Red Bull Thre3Style World DJ Championships 2013 at the Adelaide Music Hall in Toronto, Canada on the 5th of November, 2013.

State your stage name and profession for the record.

Shortkut

Wax Juggler and selector for Invisibl Skratch Piklz, Beat Junkie Sound, Triple Threat DJs.


How long have you been DJing? Do you remember your first DJ gig?

Djing for 29 years. First gig was in a garage party in Daly City.

What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?

The late 80s. At a young age, mobile DJ crews were like rockstars to me. And the era of the mobile sound system in the Bay Area was different than any other scene I’ve experienced or heard of.

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?

Everything in my crate of 45s.

The Invisibl Skratch Piklz have undoubtedly become an institution. Talk about the history and influence y’all have had and what it means to be a part of such an important crew in Bay Area DJ history.

Still trips me out how far we’ve gone and how I’m part of that crew. Been a fan of Dee, Q, Mike, Apollo and for them to put me down was an honor. From the days of the late 90s when those Turntable TV videos came out, it was us just messing around…didn’t think it would reach the world the way it did. Glad it spread what we did to the masses.

Favorite burrito joint?

Papalote no doubt, but my first love is La Cumbre.


“From the days of the late 90s when those Turntable TV videos came out, it was us just messing around…didn’t think it would reach the world the way it did.”


Curry or Kobe?

Kobe Beef is superior to a Curry beef dish.

What’s one of your favorite places to go unplug and unwind in the world?

Maui

What’s a current favorite album you’re listening to now that you think you’ll still be listening to 10 years from now?

99.9% – Kaytranada


www.djshortkut.com

instagram.com/shortkut

www.facebook.com/shortkut

CUTSO | THE INTERVIEW

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State your stage name and profession for the record.

Cutso.

Professional vibe purveyor, producer, remixer, host and mixer on Rebel Pop Radio on Wild 94.9, tour DJ for Lyrics Born, upscale sparkling water enthusiast.

How long have you been DJing? Do you remember your first DJ gig?

I first got serious around 93-94. Didn’t play my first gig until 96. It was a house party in Eastside San Jose. Unfortunately, my big DJ debut was cut short when a fight erupted. Dude got stabbed as the fight moved outside. Fortunately, he was OK. That’s when my friends started calling me Cutso. Just kidding. That’s not how I got my name. But dude really did get stabbed though.

What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?

From 1993-1999. I was taking more of an interest in DJing at that time, and meeting everyone that shared the same passion for it. We were earning stripes rolling with mobile crews, making 4-track mixes (or two dual tape decks if you were broke, but crafty), mixing with three decks and learning about scratching and beat juggling. That all evolved into battling and turntablism, as we know it. And of course, that’s also what motivated us to buy our first samplers and drum machines and start incorporating production. There was so much progress and innovation in the art form of DJing/turntablism in just that six year spread alone! And at that time, we were dreaming up what the near future had in store for music technology. We were the last of the analog children and the first of the digital children. Crazy times.


“There was so much progress and innovation in the art form of DJing/turntablism in just that six year spread alone!”


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?

Tom Tom Club “Wordy Rappinghood”
Freestyle “Don’t Stop The Rock”
ESG “Dance”
Bucketheads “The Bomb”
Steely Dan “Peg”
Prince “Let’s Work”
Show Boys “Drag Rap (Triggerman)”
Masta Ace “Born To Roll”
UGK & Outkast “Int’l Players Anthem”
Too Short “Freaky Tales”

Rebel Pop Radio has become a bit of an institution. Talk about the history and influence it has had and what it means to be a part of such an important outlet for DJ creativity in this day and age.

Growing up on Bay Area radio, we always had the cleanest DJs. Bay Area radio has always championed DJ skills and choice selection. With Rebel Pop Radio, TRUTHLiVE and I are trying to keep that tradition alive by putting on some of the world’s baddest club DJs, established and up-and-coming alike, and focusing on choice selection and skills. It’s our way of contributing to the evolution of the art. Providing a forum on a commercial dance radio station to catch wreck and show the world that real DJs still exist.

Favorite burrito joint?

Lorena’s in San Jose, Papalote in SF.

Curry or Kobe?

As far as beef goes, I prefer Kobe over Curry. I’ve always enjoyed curry more with chicken. It holds the flavor much better than beef. But really doe, Curry ’cause Dubs for life. But there’s no denying the beast that Kobe was.

Drop some shout outs and where folks can find you on social media.

Shout outs to my crew, The Bangerz, TRUTHLiVE and my Rebel Pop Radio/Wild 94.9 fam, the homie Lyrics Born, the Bello family, all my friends inside and outside of my professional life. To you, Platurn, for giving two shits about a young player like myself. To anyone that decided to click, repost or even read the first couple of lines of this interview, thanks for your time. And to the whole entire Bay Area. Couldn’t quit you if I tried. Unless you force me out like you’re doing to all of my friends.