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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
by Christina Li on Mar 10, 2010
DJ Spesh is a founder of SF’s famous happy hour party Qoöl, which ended after 15 years earlier this year, but there are still many opportunities to see this dynamic tech and progressive DJ spin. Spesh recently spoke SF Station about Qoöl, his music, and what’s next for his label. Catch him March 24th at Project One Gallery, and on March 27th at Paradise Lounge.
SF Station (SFS): What inspired you to get started with Qoöl?
Spesh (S): Prior to Qoöl, I was the resident DJ at a popular SF party called Release. The music I played ended up being too edgy for the crowd they wanted to pull so we parted ways. I quickly missed the weekly DJing, but only wanted to do something on my own terms. During that time I discovered 111 Minna Gallery, and would head there sometimes after work with a couple of friends. The gallery was pretty unknown at the time and mostly empty on weeknights. Then the idea hit. What would happen if I just showed up there once a week after work and played my music? That was the beginning of it all.
SFS: Is there story behind the name Qoöl?
S: The name Qoöl came courtesy of our brilliant art director, Christian Matthews (Xian). The first name of the party was actually "Electronicool," and Xian later came up with Qoöl, which is an inversion of the word Loöq, of course!
SFS: Why did it end?
S: The decision to stop the happy hour was not an easy one to make, but after 15 years it was time for a change. We are proud of what we accomplished in those years. The Qoöl Happy Hour was the longest running weekly dance music event in San Francisco history, but even more importantly, over that time it created so many great experiences and memories for or so many people. I know I was profoundly affected by it.
Ask around and I'm sure you will hear some remarkable stories about Qoöl. But the change is a great creative opportunity. For those of you out there that are sad that the Qoöl happy hour is no longer, you can take heart in the fact that we are busy creating new innovative events that you will definitely want to be involved with. We have already had a successful event at the 4Fourteen event at Ruby Skye, and we have much more in the works, all with that "come as you are" attitude that everyone associates with Qoöl.
SFS: You also have a label now. Which came first, the label or the party?
S: The party started first, but the Loöq Records, was an extension of an earlier label Jondi and I were involved in, followed soon after.
SFS: Tell us about what's next for Loöq records and your partnership with Jondi.
S: Qoöl and Loöq Records are both Jondi and Spesh creations, and we are equal partners in each company. Loöq Records has some very exciting stuff happening at the moment! Our releases are branching out into expanded musical territory, and we are evolving the focus from mostly singles to releasing more full-length albums like Momu's "Momentum" and Methodrone's "Nonlinear Reality".
We are also doing a lot of licensing business at the moment, which explains why you've been hearing Loöq tracks on shows like CSI, The Forgotten, and others. All the while, we do keep a tight focus on the soul of the label which is great electronic dance music from an ever-expanding roster of artists from around the world. Oh, and don't forget to check out the Loöq Radio podcast!
SFS: What inspires you personally to keep going?
S: I love the creative process of being a DJ. To me that means immersing myself in the mountains of new music I am exposed to, eventually making some kind subconscious sense of it, then putting it together in a way that not only inspires me, but the people around me as well.
SFS: And any plans to start up Qoöl again?
S: As I hinted at earlier, Qoöl is already off and running with a string of new ideas and events. The next event is on March 27th. It's called Steady, and is being thrown by a partnership between Qoöl, FiX!, and Coda.
We have signed on to do three of these events so look for Steady in April and May as well. Other than that, I can only say that Qoöl has been clandestinely sizing up venues throughout San Francisco. I invite each and every one of you to become a fan of Qoöl on Facebook or get on our mailing list so that we can whisper our secret plans into your ear.
Visit DJ Spesh online at http://www.djspesh.com.
by Christina Li on Mar 10, 2010