Hey DJ! Friday Q&A: DJ Primo
Primo is one of San Francisco's preeminent soul men (with a feminist heart). He's one of the city's main DJs for slow jams, oldies, and other bits of Motown magic that get folks crowding the dive bar dance floors in the Mission and the Tenderloin. Just to keep it interesting, though, Primo also gets the disco ball spinning for Ferrari Party at Triple Crown. He's a backwards looking record collector with a drool-worthy stack of vinyl and a knack for throwing unpretentious parties that get real popular real quick.
Tonight brings another edition of his Oldies gig to the Knockout. In addition to donning your best '50s/'60s attire for the evening, you can get ready for a night of retro fabulousness by digging into a bit of your host's history.
Club night(s): Oldies Night -(soul doo-wop, girl group, R&B) at The Knockout every first and third Fridays. Ferrari Party- (Italodisco, dance music, acid, party jams,) second Thursdays at The Triple Crown. Lost and Found -(slowjam soul 45s) every Tuesday at the Make-Out Room. Nightbeat- ("Northern soul and Motown magic") fourth Saturdays at the Edinburgh Castle. Primo & Jordan- (not genre specific) third Saturdays at The Attic.
Style(s) of music you spin: 50's RnB, 60's RnB, 70's RnB, 80's RnB, 90's RnB, and anything halfway decent I can find on record...
So what's your story, in 100 words or less? I was obsessed with ESG, the Slits, Liliput and The Fall and I worked in a record store called Wowsville in New York and had given up graffiti because jail was no fun. The store owners were punk/sixties garage fanatics named Alberto and Sonya-- they introduce me to Joey Ramone (R.I.P.) and a record called My Baby Likes To Boo-Ga-Loo by Don Gardner. On my own I found a song called "Little Girl Blue," by the Marvellettes. I decided to start DJing oldies and soul. Everything else is the same old boring sex and drugs and brushes with death story
Name of a track you can't get out of your head: "Lemonsweet" by Bagarre. It's a teenage girl talking about taking acid at discotheques.
What started your obsession with oldies music? I'm obsessed with music in general, but I think drinking Thunderbird with Thiefscrew in the Aquatic Park had something to do with the oldies part.
Name of an artist you're currently championing in your DJ sets: The Marvellettes and Gino Washington always.
Musical mantra: I'm a feminist.
Favorite DJ experience: Whenever we can get a sweaty, crazed, at capacity crowd to slowdance at the Knockout, that feels pretty rad.
Worst request: There are no bad requests, but Bob Dylan for sure.
Worst club faux pas you've committed: Putting DJ Dr Scott in a headlock--as a compliment. He was nice enough not to sock me.
Most treasured vinyl score: "If you don't come you better call" by Patience Valentine on Sam Cooke's SAR label, from Groove Merchant in the Lower Haight. Although I've found so many rad records at Rooky's on Fillmore and Haight that they should definitely get mentioned.
What other music-related projects are you currently working on? I also work at an award winning printing and binding company with Danya Winterman and my DJ partners from Oldies Night, Ivar and Daniel. It's called the Key Printing and Binding. We make beautiful work, and it's nice to be able to work with/for my friends at a successful local business (with a fringe benefit of being able to print the best club flyers in the city for myself)
What elements would your fantasy club night entail? I think it would be some sort of childish midsummer night's dream, Cinderella, haunted amusement park, Alice in Wonderland, romance fantasy with waterfalls and enchanted everything. That would do it.
Next time we can see you spin: Oldies Night is tonight (Friday, June 5th) at the Knockout and Ferrari Party is Thursday, June 11th at The Triple Crown (which is an awesome venue btw).