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DJ Centipede (Mophono)

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

DJ Centipede, who also produces under the moniker Mophono, got his start in the early 90s scratching EPMD and Beastie Boys records. He discovered raves and DJ-based dance culture events shortly after, and started an experimental musical journey that lead to his current success. Be sure to catch him at the Change the Beat party every Tuesday at SOM.

SF Station (SFS): So currently, you DJ under Centipede, and produce under Mophono?

DJ Centipede (C): In 1996, I made my first DJ Mixtape and titled it Mophono. I did not revisit that name until 1999 after passing out cassette beat tapes to close friends and recording artists I respected. In 1999, I changed my production alias from Phono Constructions to Mophono. Later that year, I started getting embraced by the skateboard community and had such a high demand from my songs in skate videos that I put out my first Mophono album, I Cry.

SFS: How did your monikers and these separate concepts come about?

C: Electronic musicians have always had a unique approach to live performance. When I DJ at an event I am always giving it all I have and trying to destroy it.

Performing Mophono compositions live and manipulating prerecorded records sometimes overlaps, but for the most part, I wanted to put a divider between rocking a party and performing a composition by bringing electronic music to the stage by performing it on the spot.

SFS: You are basically starting and creating the concept of Thug Jazz and Riot Funk. Tell us more!

C: All and all, if I can inspire some folks to create more music and art with conviction and heart, I will feel successful in this movement.

I think it is still such a concept in the infant stages that I can't really comment on immediately, but what I can say lately about playing instruments is that sometimes it’s more important to play one note just right than it is to play a whole bunch of notes.

SFS: How do you manage to stay innovative and original with the influx and infiltration of so many types of music?

C: Playing music and making music that sounds like it was made in another time to me can often sound fresh and innovative. Some times the act of being ahead of the times can be boring and not cool. I definitely want to stay off of the flash in the pan treadmill and help create some amazing music.

SFS: Tell us about your analog recording techniques.

C: I really come from a strong computer and electronic music background but I still really believe in the act of physically recording and capturing sound, whether it be sampling or setting up mics, and rooms and amps.

SFS: How did your party Change the Beat come about?

C: Change The Beat was originally started in 2006 by myself, Gaslamp Killer, Citizen Ten, and Aspect McCarthy.

The main concept is to bring hard shit to the people. Here is our musical direction: Thug Jazz and Riot Funk, Psyche Madness, and Funk Rock layered with the hardest and dirtiest instrumental and dub beats from around the world.

SFS: Lastly, if you could have three people DJ a party (dead or alive), who would they be?

C: How about a band with these dudes in it instead? Jack Degionette on drums, Pierre Henry on Moogs and weird door slams, on drum machine there’s Eqyptian Lover, and an Atari 2600 crushed.

Find DJ Centipede online at