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Richie Panic

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

As one of the most lovable DJs in San Francisco and across the country, itís no wonder Richie Panic is the resident DJ of insanely wild parties such as Blow Up, Wanted, and Boner Party. Playing tunes guaranteed to get your body rockiní and hair shakiní, this DJ is all about having a great time. Speaking with SF Station on a beautiful sunny day in Dolores Park, Richie shares with us why living life to the fullest is the only way to go.

SF Station (SFS): Tell us about how you got into DJing.

Richie Panic (RP): I started a long time ago because I had the most records out of all my friends at the time. We started a Mod Soul party actually, just kind of for fun. And from there I got offers to DJ other things. Music and the scene evolved, and I just kept on evolving artistically and musically too. I did a couple of other parties, more underground stuff, until I started doing Frisco Disco, and the rest of that is history!

SFS: Are you originally from San Francisco?

RP: No I moved to California in 1994. Iím originally from South Florida where I never really fit in, and I was always buying records and listening to all kinds of different music. You know how you usually have friends that are usually into what you are into? None of my friends were really into what I was into, and I would get a lot of music from their older brothers and sisters -- punk music, rock music -- and all my friends just only listened to hip hop. So when I moved out here it was awesome, I could go to punk rock shows or raves, and I finally found other people that were into what I was into.

SFS: So when did you start the Blow Up parties?

RP: Well, Jeffrey Paradise started that himself and he asked me if I wanted to co-promote it, but I was quite busy; however, I said I would be totally stoked to be resident DJ! So thatís what I do unless Iím out of town. Itís just been phenomenal, 600 people easy every Friday. The thing that is really good about it is that people come there just to get nuts! Itís kind of a carry over from Frisco Disco on a bigger scale. Itís like we donít always play the hottest or coolest music, we are just worried about what would be party music, what will make people go wild. With Blow Up, we have all different kinds of DJs, all our different kinds of friends, but the one thing that unites what their doing is that we know they are party rockiní DJs. I mean there are people who are popular and super cool, and they come to us and say "Can we please play at Blow Up?", but we say 'no' because it doesn't fit what weíre trying to do.

SFS: So basically you have to be a party rockiní DJ.

RP: Yeah, thatís kind of the thing at Blow Up. Itís just about having a serious party every Friday. I think thatís what made it be successful for so long -- because we never followed any trend or went for any sort of thing besides partying. If you donít like partying, you wonít like Blow Up, but if you do like partying, chances are you will like it there. And thatís exactly what we tried to do with Frisco Disco.
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SFS: So youíve collaborated with a lot of different people, what have been some of your more memorable collaborations?

RP: I did a series of the Girls Nite Out mixes with Gold Chains. Itís not just a mix. We re-edited everything to make it fit and flow. Iím also in talks to do a series of parties out in Japan. And the most exciting thing is, of course, what youíre doing right now, and thatís working with Ed UFO! from New York. And we just wrapped up the mix right now. And we have offers coming in, and we work together really well in the studio, so Iím excited about that.

SFS: There are so many tracks to choose from. How do you choose which one to remix, like your recent Lily Allen mix? Personal preference?

RP: I love Lily Allen anyway, and I love that song so right away I was, like, I wanna remix this song. And Ed came into the picture, and we talked about how much we love it, and we saw all the parts were available online. Thatís mostly what it starts with, because weíre doing unpaid promotional remixes. We have to really like the song or itís like whatís the point? You can always pay us $10,000 to remix The Jonas Brothers.

SFS: That sucks.

RP: Well, itís fine to be honest! And weíre also thinking of doing of a Yeah Yeah Yeahs remix, and also that local band Lilofee. Weíre also gonna go local and remix one of their tracks, and we are really excited to embark on another level of things.

SFS: So you do this full-time.

RP: Yeah, all I do is DJ and work in the studio. Thatís my job. And getting ready to go back to New York to do some parties.

SFS: What keeps you in SF?

RP: I love San Francisco. Itís a great base of operation. If I want to go to LA, I can just jump on a plane. I love the weather here, and living where I live now with my boy Ronnie Buders, and Ed UFO! lives there too, and itís so good that we can work on music whenever we want. There are amazing people doing amazing stuff in San Francisco right now. Trackademics, Vin Sol, Qzen, got all this cool stuff going on. But you got to be prepared to be trapped in this bubble and you have to really push to break out. And thatís sort of the pleasure and pain of the rhythm here. Itís always a good time, so many of my friends come from everywhere, and their minds are blown! People are going for it; people here want to have fun. I think itís also the people I gravitate toward. If you just wanna be seen and look good, Iím probably not gonna be for you. But if you want to get wild and have as much fun as you can, then letís hang out!

SFS: Would you say thatís kind of your motto?

RP: I donít like something that isnít full throttle. For me, the whole time I DJ, the music makes me crazy! I just canít help and affect everyone else.

SFS: What are you inspired by?

RP: My friends from all over the place! Thank god for instant messenger. Itís so great cause every day you can check in with everyone. The traveling and reconnecting with these people and partying, and this is my job to see my friends and party with them. In my mind, it doesnít get any better than that. Itís just an adrenaline rush!

Come celebrate Richieís birthday with him this Friday at the Mezzanine with stellar line-up including Green Velvet and Designer Drugs, and if you want to party hard, you know where to find him on Fridays at Blow Up! Get some tunes at richiepanic.com.