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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
by Christina Li on May 26, 2009
Originally hailing from the dirty south of Atlanta, Kap10 Harris has been blowing up SF spots with his energetic party music ever since he located here three years ago. Opening up for Pretty Lights this Friday at The Independent, itís clear to see heís worked hard to put his name out there. Sitting down with SF Station to discuss his career over bagels and coffee, Kap10 Harris shows us his gracious and endearing personality as well.
SF Station (SFS): So what brought you to San Francisco?
Kap10 Harris (K): Well I first moved out of Santa Cruz, because I was working with a band there. I actually just moved up here because I wanted to do the DJ thing full-time.
SFS: So what got you into DJing?
K: Honestly, it was mostly friends having equipment around and just kind of knowing that I wanted to do it. I just kept buying records on my own and I used my friendís equipment for like a year. And finally I was like "Okay, Iím good enough to buy my own." (Laughs). Ok well not even good enough, but knowing that I want to do it enough to buy my own stuff.
SFS: What got you your name Kap10? It actually took me awhile to realize, oh, itís captain!
K: Itís kind of funny because a friend of mine gave me the name Captain Harris which unfortunately is from Police Academy. And I actually went through a year without knowing thatís how he got it. He would always call me Captain Harris. And when I went to look on MySpace, someone already had it and I donít even think it was a DJ. So I did everything until the one zero was the only thing that was left. But it works! The one thing I donít like about it is that it kind of looks like a graffiti tag!
SFS: What are your favorite types of music to DJ?
K: I would say crunk, like lots of southern rap. But a lot of places, especially out here people donít really like it. A lot of people here are more into hyphy.
SFS: Really? I think the basis is the same for both.
K: Oh yea, the basis is totally the same. I would say hyphy is a little faster. And honestly I like paying Top 40s even though most DJs donít like playing it. But people love it! A lot of DJs look at it as the easiest thing to do, but I kind of consider it like anyone can play whatever they want. It took me five years to figure out that you canít go out to play what you want to play every night. I kind of look at it more like if Iím the DJ Iím here to play the music, whereas the Pretty Lights show is like, "Hey, this is me, check me out." At the bars, the stuff you play is what people are expecting to hear.
SFS: Since you are from the South, what are some of the differences in the scenes, as in San Francisco versus the South?
K: I would say San Francisco is a little more trying to grasp the underground scene. Atlanta is mostly around mainstream hip-hop, like Jermaine Dupri and Dallas Austin. The bigger scene in San Francisco is mostly underground. I hate calling it something, but glitch-hop maybe?
SFS: Yeah itís hard to pinpoint. Where do you mostly DJ and how often? Do you do it full-time?
K: Well lately I was doing 4-5 days a week, but lately Iíve been trying to put more emphasis on my own production and own remixes.
SFS: Howís that going?
K: Itís going good, really good. Sometimes Iím too much of a perfectionist, and Iím kind of learning how to find a balance of being a perfectionist and being productive. I feel like when I first got into the production I wasnít getting anywhere because I kept on thinking "oh thatís not good, this isnít good," so Iím trying to figure out the balance of being really stoked about something and actually putting it out there.
SFS: Do you see yourself staying in SF for awhile?
K: I honestly go back and forth every week. I love this place, I hate this place. I kind of find with people I talk to itís like one week you love it, one week you hate it. And lately Iíve been doing some traveling so I can get out and come back. Hopefully if that keeps going at a steady pace I can stay here longer.
SFS: Thatís the manic bipolar side of being in San Francisco. Who are some of your inspirations production-wise?
K: Right now I would say Eli Escobar, heís like the DJís DJ. Heís one person whose stuff I love, no matter what he puts out. Another person would be Sirkin. As far as actual skills the best DJ Iíve been in a long time is Boys Noize, who was at Vessel awhile back. Some of his stuff is way too hard for me but he puts so much into his production, which not a lot of people are doing these days. But to each their own! But a lot of people are just throwing anything out there, like check this out, put this out, but Iím more a quality over quantity person.
SFS: Exactly. Itís like writing; if they donít proofread, itís over.
K: Totally. Itís the same with producers and remixers. Itís like "I know you listened to it when you made it, but did you listen to it before you put it out online? What are you thinking?" Thatís why Iím into Eli Escobar and Boys Noize, and the people that put a lot of time into how it actually sounds. I also like Jesse Rose and the stuff heís been doing lately.
SFS: What are some of your upcoming projects?
K: Iíve got some mixes coming up which is more of what I listen to and what I would play if it was all people wanting to see me, but recently Iím about to put out more mixes of what I would play on a weekend. I feel like Iíve been putting those off just because you listen to it and hear it all the time, so the last thing you want to do is go home and work on a mix. But now Iím trying to push that side a little more, and Iím trying to come out with my own stuff.
SFS: I think the Pretty Lights show will be a great opportunity to showcase that.
K: Yes, itís crazy how big these dudes got. Should be a great show!
Catch Kap10 Harris this Saturday opening for Pretty Lights, and follow his thoughts at twitter.com/kap10!
by Christina Li on May 26, 2009