After 21 years in the Bay Area DJing game, Audio1 continues to grow in popularity booking tours throughout the country and as a local ambassador for the popular electronic genre moombahton. He opens the SF stop of the Moombahton Madness tour at Ruby Skye on Wednesday, May 16.
We chatted with Audio1 about the Bay Area’s unique musical landscape, evolution of his style and excitement over playing with Nadastrom and DJ Sabo.
How did you first get into DJing while growing up in the Bay Area?
Watching a lot of MTV and rap city, it was fascination with hip hop music and culture. At some point in time in hip hop music the DJ was an important part of the group and that inspired me to make it happen.
I’ve been DJing for 21 years. I started out playing hip hop, pop and house – everything on the radio. In the Bay Area there was a lot of dance music so we played Miami bass and Bmore club, Latin house and freestyle. It’s no surprise now that it’s 2012 and we play everything since we came up as open format. We’re so cutting edge out here.
Was anything unique about the music experience growing up here or could you have gotten the same background in another city?
I came up at a time when the best DJs in the world were coming out of this area – Qbert, Mixmaster Mike, Shortkut, DJ Quest, Apollo, Skratch Piklz, the Beat Junkies crew. We had pretty awesome house DJs too, any genre of electronica we were pretty much killing it.
I would think maybe New York would be similar, you always have to have your game up. Here it’s all about showing and proving. It wasn’t as easy as it is today – just getting a laptop and not paying dues. When I was 13 or 14 I had to show people that I was worth the time, that I was actually doing this for a reason, not to get popular or get girls.
We still work like that in a lot of ways. If you’re grinding, you’re going to get respect. We’ve got that competitive spirit here and we still have that to this day.
You started out as an open format DJ and that’s what you play in clubs now, has your style really changed at all?
It has evolved. When I first started I was really into underground hip hop, then became really involved in drum and bass, jungle and the rave scene. Over time I kept adding different sounds and styles.
For club sets you have to kind of be the same as everyone else but I want to be more creative and bring out records that no one else is playing. Play songs that people love but also show them other stuff that they don’t normally hear. I’m all about giving people something different.
You do a hard electro and dubstep radio show on House Nation every week, does that let you play some music you can’t play in the clubs?
It’s a good release and great avenue. Originally dance music was always supposed to remain underground, especially dubstep. It doesn’t get much play in clubs unless you’re at an electronic event but the fans are out there. I’ve been doing the show for a couple years now and it’s great.
DJ Audio1 “House Nation Special Mix 4/28/2012”
You were an early advocate for moombahton, what turned you on to that sound and led you to share it with so many people through your sets?
It’s a way to showcase one style of music to other people who wouldn’t typically listen to it. For the Latin crowd or the hip hop crowd who normally isn’t into electro it was a gateway to electro or house. Same with the electro crowd who isn’t necessarily into hip hop or Latin. It opens up a lot of peoples minds when looking at the music they like in a different way.
Are you excited about being a part of the Moombahton Massive tour’s SF stop and opening for Nadastrom and DJ Sabo?
Yeah definitely, I’ve met them and seen them play but never opened for them so this is a pretty big deal for me. My name’s coming up on the maps now and I’m seeing a lot more moombahton in my inbox. laughs
At this point Nada’s pretty much the mastermind of the entire genre and Sabo was doing the same thing really but with the Latin or Cumbia sound. You combine those forces together and that’s pretty much the essence of it all. They’re really into the Latin influence.
You’ve got a sound that’s all over the place and being compared to electro, dubstep, or called brobahton because it sounds like aggro dubsteppy moombahton. Then there’s the sound that a lot of us like and is original that’s Latin, reggaeton or Cumbia and those are the guys that bring that out the most. They can put all the styles together seamlessly with moombahton.
Ruby Skye presents the Moombahton Massive Tour featuring Nadastrom, DJ Sabo and DJ Audio1 on Wednesday, May 16 at Ruby Skye. More info.