Hey DJ! Friday Q&A: Aaron Axelsen

Categories: Q&A


Aaron Axelsen is one DJ who has been around the S.F. club scene longer than I've been able to legally enter it. The guy has an unparalleled talent for picking up on acts right before they're about to break, and he spins those bands on his various club nights (Popscene, Leisure) and as a DJ on Live 105. He's also booked acts at Popscene before mainstream America even knew who they were -- everyone from the Killers to Amy Winehouse to the Klaxons and beyond first hit his stage in this city. Axelsen not only has an ear to what's gonna be hot in the indie/pop world, he also has endless reserves of enthusiasm about new music. Here's a guy who just never seems to get jaded on the music world. Axelsen is spinning at a party for the Owl mag tonight at the Independent, so to highlight both the event and his years of experience, Aaron Axelsen is our DJ of the week. -- Jennifer Maerz

Name: Aaron Axelsen

Club night: Popscene/Leisure/Radio Soundcheck (on Live 105)

Style of music you spin: indie/britpop/electro/60s soul/post-punk/synthpop/downtempo/new shit

How you got your start as a DJ: making crush tapes for cute new wave girls back in high school

Best piece of advice you've gotten about DJing:
"Keep your day job"

Your secret for not burning out when you're in the clubs so much: Passion and an inextinguishable appetite for music.

Your secret for averting hangovers: I'm still working on that one.

Name of a track you can't get out of your head: Ladyhawke- "Paris is Burning (Alex Gopher remix)", great new Australian artist coming to Popscene in October

Dream DJ partner(s): In the club, Omar Perez, Nako, Jeremy Goldstein and Disco Shawn; from a radio perspective, John Peel (R.I.P.)

Favorite DJ experience: Back in 1997, Blur's "Song 2" just went #1 on the US Billboard charts and the band were hanging out @ Popscene when I dropped the track on the decks. A near dancefloor riot ensued which included [Blur's] Damon, Graham, and the boys dancin' around with a mob of crazed fans all singing 'Wooo Hooo' in a drunken frenzy.

Favorite Popscene event: 3-way tie between Amy Winehouse opening up for The Klaxons in April of 2007, Muse's second performance at Popscene in the spring of 2004 (we needed to rent three extra generators to power Muse's insane production effort) and The Killers secret performance at our 10-year anniversary.

Worst request: "Rednex" by Cotton Eye Joe. Ugh

Favorite new discovery: Glasvegas from Glasgow. Brilliant new band

How do you generally discover new music? UK music mags, blogs, industry colleagues, listeners, Mod Lang Records in the East Bay, bands themselves submitting music, and the SF Weekly of course.

Country producing the best music right now (and a couple examples): Brooklyn, USA (Santogold, MGMT, Telepathe, Vampire Weekend, Battles)

One act you'll never understand why people like: Grateful dead

Question we didn't ask you but you often ask yourself: Why was Peter Hook of New Order fame DJing at Popscene donning a pair of jean shorts and a Budweiser 'I live to party' t-shirt? I mean, one of the founding members of Joy Division was guest DJing with me clad in a pair of jorts.... quite confusing to me and a lingering question I often ask myself at least 7 times a day.

Next time we can see you spin: This Friday night, 8/8, with one of my favorite Bay Area DJs/producer Amplive of Zion I at the Independent for the Owl Mag anniversary shindig.

Other music-related projects you're working on: Live 105's annual holiday concert Not So Silent Night 2008 in December and a bunch of cool new bands coming down the pike @ Popscene, like HeartsRevolution, The Pigeon Detectives, Bryn Christopher, The Whip, Rumble Strips, The Enemy UK...

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