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DJ Vin Sol
Last Night A DJ Saved My Life
by Christina Li on Dec 26, 2008
Born and raised San Francisco DJ Vin Sol spins beats and rocks dance floors with his creative and innovative approach to party music. Sampling hooks and remixing beats from Lil’ Wayne to Yelle, it’s no wonder this DJ has worked with the biggest names in the industry. His originality shines through his music, and most importantly, it’s easy to see why Vin Sol remains fun and playful in his profession, which radiates onto the crowds and dance floors. Playing everywhere from New York and LA, he remains true to his roots and continues to give the city of San Francisco something to be proud of in the party music scene. In an interview with SF Station in the Lower Haight, Vin Sol shares his musical thoughts and love for SF.
SF Station (SFS): Tell us how you got started in the DJ scene.
DJ Vin Sol (VS): Well I was born and raised in San Francisco, and actually started when I was underage. I met Ted Shred one day at a store while looking for records. We hung out, and then he started booking me for parties, bars, club parties, which I would sneak into. Then at Milk one night, Handsome Boy Modeling School was late, so I had to DJ a longer set, and the crowd loved it. Soon after, I started my residency at Milk, called the Superfriends Party. I brought a lot of East Coast DJs to the West Coast. Now that party has basically become Born and Raised at 330 Ritch, and through those parties I met a lot of DJs from Chicago and New York.
SFS: Why the name Born and Raised?
VS: Actually I started Born and Raised with DJ Morse Code, because we are both born and raised in San Francisco.
SFS: You travel coast to coast and have experienced many different scenes, what makes you stay in San Francisco instead of larger party scene city like LA?
VS: I like the quality of life here, and my family is here. I also don’t feel like moving my 20,000 records to LA. I mean, there are big advantages of living in LA but I love San Francisco.
SFS: Obviously you’ve worked with many big names. You mix and mingle with tons of artists, and sample many dope beats as well. Who was particularly memorable, and who do you like to listen to?
VS: Mark Ronson, Diplo, A trak, Lykke Li, Estelle, just to name a few. I like to work with emerging artists and I try to book with emerging artists as well. A-Trak is doing some really great stuff right now, and his label Fool’s Gold is stellar. Diplo’s Mad Decent label is really good as well. I like a lot of Southern rap, Bay Area rap, and the new San Quentin is good too.
SFS: Any favorite venues in SF you particularly like?
VS: Mezzanine, 330 Ritch, and my residency at Ambassador because there’s no cover, and there’s a good crowd there. Rickshaw Stop too; I do the Blow Up party sometimes.
SFS: Since you’ve been in the Bay all your life, what do you think about the Bay Area music scene itself? Has Hyphy buried its hatchet? What’s the new thing, you think?
VS: I think Hyphy is done. But Oakland-based Tracademics is really doing amazing things. Like dance-rap type of stuff. I think that’s the next thing for the Bay Area in terms of rap music, because nowadays it’s a younger group of kids. In SF, there’s an old guard even with the DJs.
SFS: You’re known for your party music. So what makes a good party vibe?
VS: First and foremost, a good promoter and a good bill. When you have a good bill, the sound system could suck but you can still get that vibe and good energy.
SFS: How do you stay original and innovative, especially nowadays when anyone can pick up two laptops and become a DJ?
VS: I constantly listen to records, especially old music. On January 3, I will be DJing at UndergroundSF for Gemini Disco, and I’m gonna be doing all vinyl. By collecting records, listening to old music, and being conscious of what’s going on right now is what’s really important, otherwise you’re just downloading the same tracks as everyone else. I look to the producers of the 70s for inspiration; they were doing disco, dance, and soul music at the same time, instead of nowadays it’s all about electronic producers.
SFS: What’s next for you?
VS: I’m putting out my multi-genre CD called Snakephone. I’m aiming for March, but I’m also going to SXSW. It’s going to be a rough month. My girlfriend is going to hate me.
SFS: Any words of inspiration to younger DJs?
VS: Pay your dues, be original and be yourself.
Come have some good dance party fun Born and Raised at 330 Ritch and listen to some feet-tappin’ beats at www.myspace.com/vinsol or www.vin-sol.com
by Christina Li on Dec 26, 2008