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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
by Christina Li on Jul 07, 2009
A resident DJ at the legendary Qoöl Happy Hour in San Francisco, Silencefiction has proven to be a multi-faceted DJ. With a plethora of collaborations and his very own record label, there is no doubt that he has worked very hard for his accomplishments. With techno sounds giving audiences new perspectives, one would be missing out without giving his grooves a listen. Taking time to humbly give SF Station some insight, Silencefiction tells us about his career.
SF Station (SFS): I see that you are originally from Canada, what brought you to California, and more specifically, San Francisco?
Silencefiction (SFic): I moved around a lot when I was a kid but actually went to high school in the Bay Area. So as soon as I could drive, I began trekking into the city to see shows and buy books. After a few years of university in Vancouver, I moved to San Francisco somewhat permanently to go to the San Francisco Art Institute and be with my high school sweetheart, the performer/choreographer Monique Jenkinson. We've been living in the Mission ever since. San Francisco is a locus of experimentation. It's always an exciting and challenging place to be.
SFS: What got you into DJing? Was it something you always wanted to do?
SFic: Not at all. But one of the most consistent things in my life is that I have always bought and immersed myself in a lot of music. Like when I was in art school and spent more time in record stores than in my studio. DJing is largely about being a voracious consumer and cataloguer of music. And I am one. To a fault.
SFS: Interesting and lovely DJ name. Where's it from?
SFic: Thanks! I took it from the name of an old Dumb Type track. That's a project Ryoji Ikeda was involved in last decade.
SFS: Did you always see yourself playing techno?
SFic: Sort of. A long time ago, I was working at Aquarius Records. Drew from Matmos came in to sell some of his vinyl which included some Chain Reaction 12"'s. I was blown away by them. It was the first time I really "got" techno. I really fetishized the Minimalist visual art of the late sixties and early seventies and here was this label that was creating music that I thought was analogous to that movement. Pretty soon after that, I bought decks and was making regular orders from Hardwax in Berlin. My sound has certainly shifted around over the years, but techno has always been at its core.
SFS: What is your music inspired by?
SFic: Right now, I am supercharged by the Nick Cave (the sculptor, not the murder balladeer) exhibit that was just at the YBCA. Standing in front of his Soundsuits was like nothing else mattered in the world. I'm also really inspired by the San Francisco drag community. I don't know if that's very overt in my music, but they're my family and speak to everything I do.
SFS: There's nothing quite like Qoöl in SF. How do you like being a resident DJ?
SFic: I know! Qoöl is really singular. I love being a resident there! I've learned so much from Jondi and Spesh, Scott Carrelli and all of the guests who come through. And the crowd is always full of surprises.
SFS: Any favorite artists, personally?
SFic: My Bloody Valentine and Bauhaus. The Field and Neu! Ellen Allien and early Christian Death. I'm also loving the new Horrors record. Rock is dying this slow, undignified death but Primary Colours is pretty special.
SFS: Tell us about your record label, Untitled & After. What do you look for in recruiting artists?
SFic: Untitled & After is a place for artists to push at the seams of techno. Techno is often this cold, faceless machine; that's part of what I love about it! But what I'm exploring with U&A is electronic music with an emotional weight. Using beats to explore dolor or rapture. Something other than badass techno. If producers are game for that, I'm all ears.
SFS: Anything upcoming releases/parties you want us to be on the outlook for?
SFic: Next on Untitled & After is The Sea by Land Sound, which is my collaboration with LA artist Robert Crouch. It has a stunning remix by Jesse Somfay. I couldn't be more excited about it. Whether I'm mixing at Qoöl or not, I'm there almost every Wednesday. Come by and say hello!
To find out more about Silencefiction and his projects, check out silencefiction.com, his label Untitled & After: untitledandafter.com. And his laptop, collaborative duo with LA artist Robert Crouch: landsound.com.
by Christina Li on Jul 07, 2009