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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
by Christina Li on May 27, 2010
Since moving to San Francisco in 1994 to skateboard and go to college precisely in that order Danny Ruxspin, better known as key&kite, has infiltrated San Francisco's nightlife scene. For the past 10 years, he has been putting out memorable remixes and innovative original tracks. Catch him Mondays and Saturdays at Q Bar.
SF Station (SFS): What is the inspiration for the name key&kite?
key&kite (kk): Well, I've always been obsessed with electricity. My favorite toy when I was growing up was a kit from Radio Shack that could make lie detectors and ham radios. The key and kite are from the story of Benjamin Franklin proving that lightning is static electricity. I'm a nerd!
SFS: Did you design your logo yourself?
kk: I did. Its actually a tattoo I designed. I design all of my tattoos and most of them have to do with electricity. Surprise!
SFS: The Wanted parties are awesome. How did they come about?
kk: Thanks so much. Well, I had met Dana, the manager of Q Bar, and she was thinking of throwing a rock night there on Mondays. I was totally down but a little skeptical rock in the Castro? So I called the night Wanted in reference to a Bon Jovi song and got my friend Richie Panic to do it with me. I'm actually a kindergarten teacher by day, so no DJing late on school nights!
After a couple of weeks of proving that rock music and the Castro were like chewing peanuts and gum, Richie and I decided to start creeping in Indie remixes and stuff we had worked on. Dana gave us a big thumbs up and before we knew it Wanted was just straight up insanity.
SFS: I love the mugshots concept. Where did that come from?
kk: Ha! The original visuals I made for the night were of celebrity mugshots to fit the wanted theme, so Richie and I had a little mugshot photo shoot of our own to slip ourselves in there. Then we thought it would be awesome to have a mugshot photo booth set up in Wanted once in a while. It turns out people love pictures of themselves, even if they're mugshots.
SFS: What do you attribute its success to?
kk: I don't know. That's a good question. I think Wanted just has a fun vibe. It's not pretentious and people just come to dance and go nutters. And I guess the $1 well drinks aren't hurting the night. Also, Richie and I are actually good DJs!
SFS: You and Richie Panic balance each other out quite well in the AM/PM context. What defines your DJ style?
kk: I just play things I really like and hope the crowd is down for it. I'm not so into songs with no vocals, and I am a sucker for a good hook. I like to keep an eye on the crowd and try to manipulate their mood. I like building up to a crazy place, smooth things out for a bit, and then jump out of the side hatch again with some WTF songs to bring back the crazy. Then rinse and repeat.
SFS: You've done some great remixes from tracks by the Smiths and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. How do you choose the tracks?
kk: Again, I just choose songs I really like that get stuck in my head. The "This Charming Man" one I did was made just for Wanted. I always played that song and realized there wasn't a remix for it. I made the Imogen Heap one because my wife loves that song and I didn't like any of the remixes of it at the time.
SFS: What's next for you?
kk: Right now, I'm finishing up a remix of a song called "December" by one of my favorite San Francisco acts, the Altars. Once that's done I'm actually working on an album of all originals. Richie and I are also working on some Wanted originals and remixes. Besides that, I'm working on another Wanted mix along with a new wave mix that I love from the salad days. Finish teaching these kids and then summertime! Man, I can't wait for summer.
For more information, visit http://keyandkite.com.
by Christina Li on May 27, 2010