Jimmy Gillan, aka Ash, got into DJing by attending parties like Black Disco and Sarcastic Disco during his college years in L.A.. After witnessing a set by Norwegian record producer Prins Thomas, he purchased turntables and vinyl records, and started playing house parties. Soon he moved back up to San Francisco, and has been throwing the notable Beards of a Feather party every first Tuesday for the past three years. This year, he hopes to focus on production for domestic dance labels. He plays this Friday 2/24 for Situation, a party at the newly remodeled 222 Hyde, with local DJs Eug and Derek Opperman.
Where did you come up with the moniker Ash?
I used to post to my blog Disco Horror (now defunct) fairly often, but I let that lapse as I decided to focus more on making music. The concept was to post music I was into alongside horror flicks and one of my favorites is Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy. Ash Williams is the protagonist in the movies, played by Bruce Campbell.
What made you move back up to S.F. after college?
I went to college in L.A., but I’m originally from the East Bay (out in the burbs). After I graduated, I knew I wanted to stay on the West Coast, but I also wanted something more metropolitan so S.F. was the perfect fit.
Tell us a little about the concept behind your Beards of a Feather.
I started the party about three years ago with my friend Jason who runs the incredible blog Robots In Heat and was most recently a resident at Haçeteria. Basically, we just wanted to screen weird culty movies and play whatever beardo records we felt like, but Jason got tired of it and left about a year in. I’ve been doing it by myself with a different guest every month ever since.
How do you manage to garner a following for a Tuesday party?
I feel like there’s not much else happening on Tuesdays, except for High Fantasy at Aunt Charlie’s and Slow Jams at Makeout. So it’s a good place for friends to come by for a drink. We watch obscure movies listen to good jams, and you can order from Foreign Cinema for the first hour if you feel like some bomb food. It’s a pretty mellow party, but the monthly guests make each party unique. One month I had my friend Pickpocket as a guest and Gavin Russom of The Crystal Ark came by to play records because he was on tour with LCD Soundsystem and they had just gotten into town. Before long, other members arrived and I got to watch “Liquid Sky” with James Murphy and Pat Mahoney, which was pretty incredible.
You’ll be playing Situation on Friday with two local DJs. Tell us a little about the vibe of the party.
Situation came about through Derek, Eug and I discussing how there wasn’t really a regular club that focused on local talent and pushed genres to the side. That’s not to say the dance scene hasn’t been vibrant. Over the last couple years, parties like No Way Back, As You Like It, and Donuts! have regularly brought amazing talent in from out of town. The local parties that have survived, like O.K. Hole, Haçeteria, and 2MenWillMoveYou subsist on live sets or take place at dive bars that don’t quite capture the essence of the Chicago and New York undergrounds. We are hoping to recreate that with our own style. Rad music, new and old, sequenced in an interesting fashion on a great soundsystem to keep the place moving all night long.
What do you have in store in terms of production this year?
I currently have my head down finishing several tracks and readying them to send off to labels. I’ve also been collaborating with other local producers and artists such as Roche, Magic Touch, and Alexis Blair Penney. I work with mostly with outboard analogue gear to drive the process of what I’m making, so most ideas start as live jams that I then refine into tracks. I’ve just been confirmed at Haçeteria to perform live in June, so I’ve been working on putting that together as well.
Where can we usually find you hanging out in S.F.?
Most the parties I’ve mentioned so far are good places to find me: Amnesia, The Knockout, Public Works, or Deco. I’m also a major nerd for movies so I frequent the Castro Theater several times a month and I try to make it out to DJ Purple’s karaoke at Jack’s pretty often.