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Carey Kopp

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

DJ Carey Kopp has managed to become a prominent presence in the San Francisco nightlife scene in a short amount of time. Talented and humble, while dropping some of the best hip hop beats around and recently opening for acts like Madlib, Carey recently spoke with SF Station for an interview. Catch him at Wish on every 2nd Thursday.

SF Station (SFS): How did your DJ career start?

Carey Kopp (CK): Ever since I was a young kid, I have been a huge hip-hop head. I was always the kid that was adamant about making sure my friends new about the latest and greatest hip hop. When I moved to San Francisco, I started working in the nightclub industry, which afforded me the opportunity to meet new DJs and learn from the greats. Three years ago, I got serious about it, and since then, I've had some really great opportunities.

SFS: What made you keep your name and not some crazy DJ moniker?

CK: I don't really know why I never had a DJ moniker. Back in Michigan my friends call me CKopp, and I suppose I could have used that one. I guess nothing ever really stuck. Plus I like my name, I feel like it has some sort of star power (laughs).

SFS: You seem like an eclectic DJ with many tastes, how do you manage to keep the feel-good vibes of crowds going for a couple hours?

CK: Picking music comes with the territory. The most important thing about DJing is knowing your music and knowing which tracks to mix, and also knowing your crowd. I like to imagine myself in the crowd during the party and I ask myself, "What would I like to hear?" If I'm DJing CakeMIX at Wish or a hip-hop party at Mighty it's pretty easy for me to figure it out. I love hip hop so I'll just play records that I love to hear. That seems to work pretty well. On the other side of things, I love throwing mildly obscure records in the mix that get a response from only a few in the crowd. When I see those few respond, it feels really good.

SFS: You play everywhere from larger venues like Mighty to small places like WISH. What's the main difference that you see at venues with different sizes?

CK: The main difference is the energy. DJing at Wish is more comfortable for me; it’s cozy and intimate. You don't necessarily feel the need to impress when you’re at a smaller venue. When you step into a place like Mighty, there is more of a demand for you to play the crowd pleasers. You can just feel the energy coming off the crowd, and when you hit that mix, or play that one song that that crowd wants to hear, you get a response and energy from the crowd that I can't even explain; it feels really good.

SFS: You've also played with a ton of fantastic people; do you have any memorable moments to share?

CK: I don't really have any crazy stories. Opening up for Madlib was kind of a trip. He is somebody I've been listening to since I was 16. I had the opportunity to have dinner with him before the last show, and got to pry his brain about a lot of things. Just watching him listen to the background music at the restaurant was interesting, it was like second nature for him to hear something and figure out a way he can manipulate it.

SFS: Where can we usually find you?

CK: Catch me 2nd Thursdays at Wish for CakeMIX; it’s a classy party with no cover. Grown folk hip hop for grown folks. Roll through!