King Britt on the Importance of Focusing on the Music, Not the Artist

Categories: Hey, DJ!, Q&A

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For the past 25 years, Philly DJ King Britt has been attempting to push the limits of musical artistry by channeling his funk, jazz, and hip-hop knowledge into original productions and DJ sets, as well as by curating art shows and producing film and TV soundtracks. Britt's talent for uniting sounds of the past and present is apparent, whether it's combining '70s vocal recordings with his own contemporary compositions for Preservation's Hall's King Britt presents Sister Gertrude Morgan or touring with Grammy-winning hip-hop fusion group Digable Planets. We spoke with him about his upcoming album, his many labels, and collaborating with Rich Medina. Britt and Medina headline Mighty this Friday with local support from J Boogie and projections by film director Terence Nance.


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French Producer and DJ Feadz on Instant Alpha and His Favorite Rap Song of All Time

Categories: Hey, DJ!, Q&A

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With a passion for graffiti, rap music, turntablism, and techno, French producer and DJ Feadz has been making his unique blend of hip-hop-infused electronic music since the '90s, long before trends like trap music ever existed. As one of the earliest artists signed to the Ed Banger label, his accomplishments include producing Uffie's first five EPs and showcasing his turntable skills on Mr. Oizo's first full-length album, Analog Worms Attack. In the past few years, he's been collaborating and touring with Australian producer and DJ Kito with 2012's EP Electric Empire, and just last week he came out with his solo full-length album Instant Alpha. We recently caught up with Feadz via e-mail about Instant Alpha, his love for rap, and what he misses about the '90s. He DJs Neck of the Woods this Thursday with Phantoms and Richie Panic as support.


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VNDMG on Joining Beat Church and Finding Uniqueness in Trap Music

Categories: Hey, DJ!, Q&A

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As a child, producer and DJ Anthony VanVranken, aka VNDMG (pronounced Van-Damage) was always inspired by musicians but found himself drawn toward electronic music over traditional instruments. His love for technology helped him discover he could combine his two passions, and, in 2004, he began producing IDM and downtempo tracks under the moniker a. vanvranken. In 2010, his second moniker, VNDMG, was created, and since then he's been making acid trap and 808 beats while serving as a resident of S.F.'s bi-weekly bass party Beat Church. Fresh off his Doing Damage tour, we spoke with with VNDMG about his two monikers, being a resident at Beat Church, and his VNDMG Report mixes. He headlines the Booty Trap room this Friday for Trap City featuring OOKAY at 1015 Folsom.


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Goldenchyld on Winning the Redbull Thre3style Battle and the Joys of Listening to Music in Cars

Categories: Hey, DJ!, Q&A

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As a winner of DJ battles like DMC and Redbull Thre3style, DJ Goldenchyld has been representing the Bay's music scene since he started DJing at age 12. His crew, the Bangerz, are best known for collaborating with Jabbawockeez, and are currently behind the score of their Vegas show. These days Goldenchyld is focusing on solo production, and just recently came out with the single "Rambo," a collaboration with Cutso and Don Prahfit. We spoke with Goldenchyld about the success of the Bangerz, his Return of the Boom Zap event, and how he likes to promote parties. He plays Friday at Public Works with J Boogie, Ren the Vinyl Archaelogist, and headliner Z-Trip.


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Paul Kalkbrenner on Staying "Inspiration-less" and How Not To Name a Techno Track

Categories: Hey, DJ!, Q&A

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German techno producer Paul Kalkbrenner doesn't consider himself a DJ. In fact, he doesn't really listen to other people's music, let alone play it. His choice to keep things 100-percent original has clearly worked out for him, judging by his ability to garner over 2.3 million fans worldwide, the success of his record label, and his sold-out tours. He's even the star of Berlin Calling, a German film chronicling the ups and mostly downs of being a DJ. And despite all this fame, the 36-year-old is just now embarking on his first solo U.S. tour. We spoke with Kalkbrenner about growing up in East Berlin, his process of developing tracks, and why he doesn't like to be called a DJ. He headlines Mezzanine this Sunday, Dec. 15.


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12th Planet on Seven Years of SMOG and Loving the Doobie Brothers

Categories: Hey, DJ!, Q&A

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thesupermaniak
With a repertoire of bass-heavy tracks that hit so hard they may induce clubs to invest in defibrillators, John Dadzie, aka 12th Planet, has been making dubstep and drum 'n' bass music for the past 13 years. Based in Los Angeles and hailed as an "American Dubstep God," he has toured the world multiple times and collaborated with artists like Plastician and Skrillex. He is also co-owner of SMOG, the record label and collective behind the notorious SMOG parties. We recently spoke with 12th Planet about sci-fi, seven years of SMOG, and DJ lists. He headlines the Regency Ballroom this Thursday, Dec. 4, for the SMOG City tour.


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DJ Vinroc on East Coast vs. West Coast DJing, Finding New Music Spiritually, and More

Categories: Hey, DJ!, Q&A

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With a career that began at just 10 years old, New York-born DJ Vinroc's musical path has taken him from scratch DJ to producer to, most recently, record label owner. After moving to the Bay Area in 1997, he quickly established himself during the height of the '90s turntablism movement, winning two ITF advancement championships in a row and becoming a member of crews 5th Platoon and Triple Threat DJs. Today, he is still primarily known for his hip-hop roots, but is experimenting with genres under various aliases like Millenium Social and runs his record label, That'sThat. He DJs this Friday, Nov. 29 at Slate Bar and Saturday, Nov. 30 at Luka's Taproom and Lounge in Oakland. We chatted with Vinroc about the evolution of DJ technology, how he finds new music, and the Bay Area DJ scene.

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Comets On Fire's Ethan Miller on Reuniting, Speaking In Tongues, and Finding Out If the Spark Is Still There

Categories: Q&A, Reunions

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Comets on Fire plays the White Horse Bar in Oakland on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

For the better part of the aughts, local psych-punk outfit Comets on Fire stood at the forefront of San Francisco's modern revival of unhinged, mind-altering musical mayhem. Founded by childhood friends Ethan Miller (guitar and vocals) and Ben Flashman (bass) in Santa Cruz just before the turn of the millennium, the group forged a chaotic sound matching Miller's corrosive guitar destruction with his wildly effect-drenched vocals that were pushed to the brink of unintelligibility by Echoplex manipulator Noel Von Harmonson. After the addition of powerhouse drummer Utrillo Kushner and Six Organs of Admittance mastermind Ben Chasny on second guitar, Comets on Fire earned a deserved reputation as one of SF's most ferociously transcendent live acts. Two stellar albums for Sub Pop Records (Blue Cathedral in 2004 followed by Avatar two years later) further established the quintet as major players on the global psych scene.

Comets on Fire went on an extended hiatus following a performance at the Sub Pop 20th anniversary party in 2008. Individual members pursued other projects, but the nagging question of whether Comets would ever take flight again hung in the air -- until a seed of a reunion was planted last year when the band came together to back Chasny on his acclaimed Six Organs album, Ascent. Convinced that the quintet's unique sonic alchemy remained intact, Comets on Fire began to plan its current resurrection.

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Chuck Prophet On Musicals, Mid-Market Development, and Not Using His Audience As an ATM

Categories: Q&A

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Charlie Homo
Chuck Prophet performs "Temple With Strings" at the Great American Music Hall Nov. 24.

Chuck Prophet might not have known what a nerve he would hit with his most recent album, 2012's Temple Beautiful. It was an intimate-yet-raucous love letter to San Francisco in record form, and one that garnered critical praise from everyone from the Washington Post to NPR to the BBC. But in a city going through serious growing pains, odes to Willie Mays and Halloween in the Castro (the album's title itself is a reference to a long-defunct punk club on Geary) took on another level of meaning to longtime S.F. residents.

Prophet and his band the Mission Express have been touring the U.S. and Europe on-and-off since then. Back home in the city this week, he was gearing up for two special appearances: On Sunday, Nov. 24, the band will be joined by an eight-piece string section to perform Temple Beautiful straight through in a one-off performance at the Great American Music Hall. But first, tonight, he'll be at GAMH as part of a sizable lineup performing Bob Dylan songs at the San Francisco debut of Dylan Fest. We caught up with him beforehand to talk musicals, condos, and why he feels at liberty to hassle Supervisor Scott Wiener when he sees him on the street.

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Ezra Furman on Making Music For the Broken-Hearted

Categories: Q&A, Show To Know

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Rosie Wagner
Ezra Furman plays Café du Nord Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Ezra Furman still believes in the power of music to change lives and save the world. He's a driven artist and, in the last seven years, he's released six albums, two of them this year -- the bare bones effort The Year of No Returning and Day of The Dog, an intense excursion with his new band The Boy-Friends. "My goal is to be prolific," Furman says from the back seat of a van driving towards Salt Lake City for another one night stand. "I try to write a lot, but I'm still not as prolific as I'd like to be. The Year of No Returning was released this year, but I actually made it last year, so I'm not as productive as it might appear."

Despite his protestations, Furman -- who hits Cafe du Nord Nov. 19 -- has already created an impressive body of work. Between 2007 and 2011, he made four albums with his first band, The Harpoons, all noted for Furmans's insightful lyrics, primal vocals and upbeat melodies. On Day of the Dog he's even more intense, exploring the barren landscape of modern life with an almost Biblical outlook that combines the skeptical poetry of his lyrics with bright, upbeat melodies.

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