Conor has been involved in the SF rave scene since the 90s and continues to keep himself busy as a DJ and promoter today. Recently he and Solar have stirred up excitement with their party this Friday at Public Works, presented by No Way Back, which will be headlined by acclaimed house DJ/producer Theo Parrish. Read on to learn more about Conor and catch him as he opens for Theo Parrish’s special extended three hour set.
Which artists have made the biggest impact on your taste?
Art Of Noise, John Rocca, Rinder & Lewis, Pal Joey, Larry Heard, David Morales, Maurice Fulton, Claudio Simonetti, Arpadys, Steely Dan, Black Sabbath, Ron Hardy, Danny Krivit, Gino Soccio, Blaze, Cabaret Voltaire, Psychic T.V., Underground Resistance, Azymuth, Chris Blackwell, Wally Badarou, John Carpenter, Francios K, Dj Thomas, Jeno, James Glass, Solar, Yello, Deodato, Ashford & Simpson, Peter Daou, Travis TK., Tyler Flaherty, Ian “Cobra” Sanchez
What was your introduction to electronic dance music?
My introduction to dance music was through attending raves in San Francisco during the 1990s. I Started collecting mix tapes in 1994 and soon after wanted to find the records that were on the tapes. Jeno, Thomas, and Spun were some of the DJ’s that I would go out to listen to and are still some of my favorite DJ’s.
Which music styles do you like to play around with the most?
I definitely don’t pick the music I play based on genre, more from a specific production aesthetic.
What sorts of details do you pay attention to when making a set?
Arrangement, mix-down, mastering, and any message that may be contained in the record.
How long have you lived in SF and when did you start DJing in SF?
I’ve lived in Northern California all my life—moved the actual city of SF around 2004. I think the first party I played at in SF was around 2000. I don’t remember much about the party except that it wasn’t very good.
How have you seen the SF rave scene develop since you got involved? What are some notable changes, good and bad?
In San Francisco from the mid 90s to present the number of venues and overall attendance has definitely decreased. I feel that this is due to the drastic change in demographics in SF attributed to the increased cost of living in the city. Also it seems that there was a huge shift from underground parties to clubs.
I don’t think there is much of an underground party (or rave) scene left here- its more of a club /after-hours thing right now. I’ve also noticed that the quality of soundystems has deteriorated both in clubs and at undergrounds. Many venues and promoters seem to regard the soundsytem as a detail rather than the main focus. There definitely are still some venues and promoters that are sound very sound conscience.
Also, alcohol seems to be the main substance at parties now. It used to be drugs. Lots of parties would go off without a bar in sight; I don’t have too much more to say about that. Recently I’ve noticed more new faces and people younger than me getting involved- I’m happy to see that. These are just my opinions.
How do you think the SF rave scene compares to those in other major cities?
The sheer stamina that people in SF possess for raving never ceases to amaze me. I love what’s happening musically and aesthetically in certain underground circles in Los Angeles. Respect to Junior and Paul T.
What are some stressful points for you when throwing a party?
When I realize that we’ve gone way over budget for the party and I at the same time I also start suspect I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
When does it all click?
When the people who have come to the party are having fun.
When was the inception of No Way Back? How did it happen?
Two years ago in November I threw a party called No Way Back (named after a certain record), it went well, people had a good time, and so I decided it might be a good idea to do a few more. Solar played at one or two of the first ones- we shared a lot of same ideas and I liked his approach on music so we ended up working together.
Who do you work with and what have been some highlights for you as a team?
Solar is the other person responsible for No Way Back. There have been too many highlights to mention.
Who are some of your favorite promoters to work with? Share a fond memory.
We have worked with: Gun Club, Hot Biscuit, Beats in Space, Junior from Sarcastic Disco (LA), Jeno (Noise From The Void), As You Like It, Anthony Mansfield, and Donuts.
In June we promoted the first No Way Back underground in Los Angeles. Junior, Travis TK, and Dewey Chan helped us pull it off. It was an amazing party, a really good experience, and it exceeded everybody’s expectations. We can’t wait to work with or LA friends again.
What should we look forward to at NWB with Theo Parrish at Public Works this Friday?
Theo Parrish playing an extended 3-4 hour set for a damn fine crowd.
What are some future parties you’re excited about? Do you have any new projects you’d like to share some details about?
Both members of OPTIMO (first time together in SF) will be playing for No Way Back on September 3rd, we will be doing another Underground in Los Angeles in October, and Tiago is our November guest DJ.
Conor opens for Theo Parrish this Friday at 10pm at Public Works. Tickets are $15 and $20 at the door.