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DJ Shane King

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

As one of the founders of the young and promising Hacksaw Entertainment, DJ Shane King knows how to get a party going. Playing feel good dance party music which incorporates everything from grimy hip hop to 80s electro, this DJ knows the beats and sounds to get a crowd going crazy. Fresh from an opening stint for DJ Craze of Kanye West fame, Shane shares with SF Station his own experiences and thoughts about the manic DJ world.

SF Station (SFS): Tell us what influenced you to start DJing.

Shane King (SK): My father was a music collector and had an incredible record collection, so I grew up with a love for music. I started DJing on the radio, initially for a few college radio stations then for a community radio station and, eventually, I started my own pirate radio station, KULT Radio 89.9 here in SF, which was up for a few years until the FCC stopped by for a visit. I always wanted people to know about the great music they weren't being exposed to, and radio allowed me to communicate with an audience that appreciated being introduced to interesting new music.

I bought some shabby turntables and a mixer from a guy in DC for $100 simply because I didn't have a record player at the time and wanted to listen to all of the old jazz records I was buying on my trip to the east coast. When I came back out to California a friend of mine suggested we play records for our friends at an old bar that had been shut down since the early 80s called the Harlem Club, in "Little Harlem", in the little mountain town of Quincy where I'm from. We got in touch with the owner, and he let us open up this old dusty bar once a month to have a party.

The party didn't have a name, or a functioning bar, so people brought their own alcohol and it was all ages, so everyone in the community came out and danced their asses off until we felt like going home. After that I was hooked, and decided to move to SF so I could play music for more people more often.

SFS: Did you know right off the bat you would play the music you mix today?

SK: Not at all. My first gig in SF was playing jazz records at an oxygen bar.

SFS: So what inspired you to be a co-founder of Hacksaw Entertainment?

SK: Similar to why I started DJing; I felt like I could deliver and introduce amazing musical to an appreciative audience, and my two business partners, Tom and George, are incredible people to work with.

SFS: How do you guys manage to book the freshest acts?

SK: It helps that two of the founders of Hacksaw are DJs, because our job as DJs is to figure out what people want to hear.

SFS: What are some of your favorite venues to play around San Francisco?

SK: The 222 Club…RIP…was a great place to play. I really enjoy playing at warehouse parties. A venue that I'm excited about playing at soon is Project One Gallery, where there's a Friday happy hour starting up in the spring.

SFS: Who are some of your personal musical influences?

SK: My influences are constantly changing, but I grew up in California listening to LA and Bay Area rap music, which I love to this day, but one of the best performances I've ever seen was Sa-Ra's Arkestra. Right now I really enjoy listening to tech-house, even though I don't get to play it out that much, I think it's some of the most creative music being made today.

SFS: What are some ups and downs of the DJ lifestyle? Do you do this full-time?

SK: I DJ and throw events full time. Some of the downsides of the DJ lifestyle are not getting a proper amount of sleep, dealing with shady promoters, not having a steady paycheck, and having to compromise your musical integrity. That being said, there isn't much better in life than watching a whole room full of people lose their minds from the music that you're playing. And you get to be your own boss.

SFS: Any words to upcoming DJs on how to insure their success in the entertainment circuit?

SK: If you don't love what you do just stop doing it, but if you do love it keep hustling until it works.

See some of the best upcoming parties in SF at http://www.hacksawent.com/, and follow Shane at http://www.myspace.com/kult_radio