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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
by Christina Li on Aug 25, 2009
DJ Nisus has been blowing up the speakers of San Francisco for quite some time. With his dirty grimy electro beats to bass thumping rhythms, DJ Nisus gives loviní to all electronic music genres. With a recently released mix called Bass Grenade 3 and the support of big houses like Blasthaus, thereís nothing but good times in store for him. Talking some time to answer questions, DJ Nisus enlightens SF Station with tales of his journey.
SF Station (SFS): Are you originally from the Bay Area?
DJ Nisus (N): I was born in San Jose, grew up in Sonora and lived in Brooklyn before moving to San Francisco.
SFS: What inspired you to start DJing?
N: About ten years ago I was riding snowboards for Santa Cruz, living in a cabin in the woods making mix tapes for my friends on an old stereo and fighting off raccoons. There would always be people over hanging out. Inevitably it would turn into a party and I was the guy obsessed with all the music that no one had heard before. It made sense that turntables would follow.
SFS: Any story behind the name Nisus?
N: I read a lot of weird old books on metaphysics. I came across the word "Nisus" at about the same time I started DJing and I couldn't get it out of my head. So, Nisus: an effort, endeavor to realize an aim (from the Latin: endeavor, impulse, effort) -- that is what good music is to me.
SFS: How did you connect with Blasthaus?
N: I don't know if you know this but Blasthaus used to be a team of Bangladeshi freedom fighters that sold arms and legs to children that were victims of land mines in the 70s. At that time I was an imbedded foreign reporter for the ministry of sound. We met on the battlefield through our mutual friend, a shady character who was serving as a photographer and jet fuel tanker truck operator. They liked my skills as a sound gunner and put me in a passenger seat with Sleazemore and Nikola and we been blowing it up ever since.
SFS: How did you manage to get into the dirty French disco sound?
N: On one of my frequent record buying trips to Ameoba in 2005 I randomly bought a double CD called Bugged Out by Erol Alkan. I liked the cover photo and it was a mix that opened with "Hush" from Deep Purple which I figured must be followed by something good. There was a track on it by Etienne De Crecy called "Fast Track" with vocals by Simian. I played that track a billion times in my car and I was like, "Oh my god, this is the shit. I have to build a set around this!" The next summer "We Are Your Friends" by Justice came out and from there its been a constant evolution through filthy electronic music. Recently in my sets I've been playing a lot of tracks from a genre called Bassline.
SFS: As a DJ, what is the most important component of success for a great party?
N: The most important component of any party is the team that makes it happen. Itís like a Formula One racing team. Everyone's job is critical to creating an epic night. As a DJ I just get to drive the soundsystem but there so many talented people behind the scenes making everything happen that you never see. From a DJ perspective, itís what I call "the trinity": a great sound system, great DJs and an amazing audience. When those things align, itís stellar. If any of them fail, the whole thing collapses. I love working with promoters that are on top of their game and understand what it takes to make it happen.
SFS: How do you manage to fire up the crowd every time?
N: I love what I do! I'm always searching for the best new sounds that get me excited and I pass that excitement on to everyone around me. Itís the best feeling ever to connect with the dance floor when everyone just loses it. Itís like a full on rave/riot.
SFS: You've played many festivals that are coming up. Where are you going to be
this year and do you have any memorable stories to share?
N: I've really worked at developing a festival sound that's designed to bang on large systems with big audiences and thatís where I want to keep heading. I love generating huge amounts of energy with this sound. I'm really looking forward to playing at LovEvolution on the Solid Gold Jacuzzi float and at our pre-parties beforehand. I got asked back to play at Coachella after hijacking a stage in the Heineken Dome. The two festivals I really want to play locally are BFD and Treasure Island. Burning Man this year is gonna be mental at the Nexus camp. We have four Funktion One dance stacks and a 30 foot wall of Turbo Sound speakers. I love playing the camps out there so hit me up if you want a set.
I keep finding myself in amazing situations. This one time I was at P Diddy's white party in the Hamptons....no seriously, drinking a glass of milk cause they didn't have white russians in a Sean John linen suit size 5XL picking up on super models being all "are you hungry, wanna get something to eat?" They were. Just owning the place and laughing about telling this ridiculous story sometime like right now.
SFS: What's up next for you? I know you recently released Bass Grenade 3Ö
N: Bass Grenade is my podcast of new mixes that I post on NisusTheMovement.com. I'm really focused on music production right now. Every day I learn so much from music. It is a lot of work to actually produce tracks. Most electronic music that people would think sounds simple has incredibly technical production involved. So thatís cool. I'm collaborating on producing some disco house tracks with Pete from Portable Sunsets called ORCA. I am starting a radio show on FCC free radio 107.3, and playing with Boys Noize on November 7th at Mighty with Blasthaus. Also co-managing theprojects.com which provides street team, video flyer service and sound system rentals to event promoters. Be sure to look out for my Little Boots remix in the next few weeks.
SFS: Who are some of your inspirations?
N: I'm totally inspired by the people that make up the electronic music scene in SF. Every time I go out I'm stoked to see how vibrant our scene is. Blasthaus has an amazing fall line up! I just had fun at Shane King and DJ Morale's party Dirty Rotten at Madrone. I attended a historic CD release party for the godfather of controllerism, Matt Moldover at Lovetech. I'm excited about Hacksaw's new weekly Disco vs Dubstep at Poleng. Sleazemore's Lights Down Low, Goldsweat, Dirty Bird in the park, Honey Sound System, White Girl Lust anything he does... the list goes on and on. We are so lucky to live here.
SFS: Do you see yourself staying in the Bay for awhile?
See what Nisus is up to next at http://www.myspace.com/djnisus
by Christina Li on Aug 25, 2009