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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

Getting introduced to DJing by way of turntablism, underground hip-hop, and drum ín bass, Epcot found his heroes within the realm of scratch musicians. Now a major part of the Bay Area based label Frite Nite, along with running label party Fritemare, his success is presented in the form of cross-over genres such as dance and bass music. He is currently working on new vocal music and mixtapes with acts like H.U.D. from London. Epcot shares with SF Station why he barely sleeps.

SF Station (SFS): You are a DJ, but also an MC and vocalist. How did you get into that aspect?

Epcot (E): Getting into the vocal side of things was hand in hand with the underground hip-hop aspect of my influences. Growing up in the Midwest during the inception and peak of the movement that was happening there, at that time was quite inspirational for me as an MC. Obviously, things have changed a bit in my taste since then.

SFS: How do you manage to incorporate that into your DJ sets?

E: When I play live, I basically approach my live vocal set as I would approach a DJ set. I use a combination of original tunes mixed with live remixing of my own material, as well as others, while performing live vocals with effects and on the spot live edits to keep an edge of spontaneity.

Feeling out the crowd and keeping a DJís edge is a must, in my opinion, to keep listeners interested throughout, as opposed to an MC just spitting bars and bars, and more bars until the audience is forced to turn their ears off for sake of sanity. There is nothing worse than an MC who just doesn't know when to hold back for a second and let things breathe a bit. Proper song structure, as opposed to just straight freestyling for hours, is something I pride myself on as well.

SFS: What inspired you to be a part of Frite Nite music group?

E: Frite Nite was actually founded by my long time collaborative partner and best friend Salva. My involvement for the label extends as far as me being an artist, A&R, and all-around hustler of things Frite Nite. I run a label party called Fritemare in the city with fellow crew member and FN artist Comma.

SFS: What would you say is the main thing that distinguishes the label's sound from others of the like?

E: I feel like Frite Nite is unique in the sense that at its core, the people and artists involved all represent different and original sounds, yet all seem to have a common thread tying everything together.

It's a real tight-knit fam, you know, which makes it infinitely stronger in my opinion. There is definitely a crew vibe among the artists, and everyone is just out riding for the label. While everyone is out carving their own lanes all over the world with various other labels and one-off releases, it all comes back to bigging up the family.

SFS: How did you decide on your moniker Epcot?

E: My DJ name was actually handed down to me when I was a wee aspiring turntablist kid in Milwaukee, bestowed by the elder scratch gods of the region. Shout out to J-Slim, Redshift, T-Nek and B-Side ó Still some of the best out there, no question.

SFS: What do you listen to when you're not making music?

E: I try to listen to a wide range of things when I'm not working on my own music. Lately, Iíve been immersing myself with the music that I've been DJing. Trying to stay on strict regimen for supreme knowledge of tunes, that's how holograms are made.

SFS: You recently came out with remixes of your LP by some pretty prominent names. Tell us more about that.

E: Yes! My LP Heroes as well as the Heroes Remixes EP were both released on Frite Nite earlier this year. I was fortunate enough to be blessed with versions from some of the best in the game that do it, all of which are doing quite well for themselves at the moment. It is insanely fulfilling and completely flattering to hear your music interpreted by some of your own personal favorite producers in the world. Fittingly, that's pretty much where I came up with the name Heroes for the album.

SFS: If you could share a stage with anybody at this point, who would it be?

E: As obvious as this may sound, it will be insane to be called out by HOV [Jay Z] on stage at his sold-out Madison Square Garden show to spit my 16 on our new single together. As far as DJ'ing goes, I kinda just wanna go have scratch meditation sessions over at Qbert's house with Salva, Mike Boo, and D-styles.

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