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10,000 Pound Turntables

Since scratching his way to the top of the competitive DJ circuit as a teenager in the mid-90s, A-Trak has rocked parties worldwide, created his own record label and served as Kanye Westís touring DJ. The DJ/producer, who is in the conceptual planning stages for his first album, stops in San Francisco on his 10,000 Pound Hamburger Tour on July 16th. He spoke with SF Station on a pit stop in Pensacola, FL during a drive from Miami to Austin.

SF Station (SFS): What song do you think will be the jam of the summer this year?

A-Trak (AT): Iím hoping itís going to be a song that I made. I have a project with Armand Van Helden we call Duck Sauce. The first single is coming out soon and itís definitely a summer song, at least for DJs and clubs. Iím hoping it will be the one.

SFS: Are your sets any different during the summer months?

AT: A lot of times, in the context of my gigs, it doesnít matter what season it is. If there is a specific setting that has a really strong feeling -- like a summer BBQ -- I might change my set. I played an outdoor show once and it started raining really hard so I played ďMake it RainĒ by Lil Wayne, but that was more of a joke than anything else.

SFS: Do you ever get to take a summer vacation?

AT: Itís rare, but I strive to make myself take at least a short break every two or three months. After this tour I should really make sure I go somewhere for a week and leave the Blackberry at home.

SFS: Where is the ideal vacation spot?

AT: I travel so much for music, itís tough for me to think of a place I want to go to that wonít feel like work. Iím not saying my career is really painful work, but itís hard to find a place where I really wonít think about responsibilities. It would have to be somewhere off the beaten path.

SFS: Whatís the concept behind the 10,000 Pound Hamburger Tour?

AT: There is no concept at all. I needed a name and that one sounded good. I tend to go for names that are a little bit nonsensical; itís tradition for me.

SFS: What did you learn from touring with Kanye?

AT: I learned more than what I could tell you in a few minutes. It was a big part of my goals as DJ, producer and artist. I learned how to take my craft, which is very specialized, and distill it to find the best parts of what I do to make it accessible to a much bigger audience. That is something that Kanye is great at and he always brings that out of me when we do shows together. Witnessing how the Kanye operation works and the amount of work, focus and determination it takes to be an artist of that stature was definitely a big source of growth for me.

SFS: Did Rye Ryeís last-minute cancellation as your opener on the tour create any problems for you?

AT: It was definitely a monkey wrench because it was two days before the first show and she was the opener for the whole tour. I wish Rye Rye the best. She is going through some stressful stuff and itís not her fault that she had to pull out. I hope everything works out, and Iím sure she and I will do other stuff in the future.

Thankfully, I was able to work it where Theophilus London is replacing her. Iím just excited about him as I was about her, and Theophilus and I have been talking about working on some projects together so there is a connection there. In the big picture, it is working out.

A-Trak performs at The Independent on July 16th. Tickets are $15 in advance and $17 at the door. Doors open at 8:30pm and the show starts at 9pm.