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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
by Christina Li on Jan 27, 2011
Bay Area favorite DJ Solar grew up listening and watching the famous acid-house Wicked DJ’s. Mostly a bedroom DJ in the beginning of his career, he soon hooked up with Galen and J-Bird and started the unprecedented Sunset Parties. If you’ve ever jammed on a boat or an outdoor setting, there’s a good chance you have them to thank. Solar’s diverse range of house and techno sounds have led to opening sets for acts like Simian Mobile Disco to Joey Beltram, so be sure to catch him February 5th at Public Works with the legendary Egyptian Lover and Jaime Jupiter.
SF Station (SFS): Since you blend sounds of Detroit techno with the BPM-forward sounds of Chicago, what do these cities mean to you?
Solar (S): Chicago and Detroit mean a lot to me. The music that was coming out of there from the later 80s was what first that turned me on to this music, and it is still my favorite stuff to this day.
SFS: How do they incorporate into your sets to appease the SF crowds, since SF is known for a distinctive deep and funky house sound?
S: I have always played what I feel. I don't think too much about what categories things fall under. To me it’s mostly electronic dance music with a bit of organic tracks thrown in there. I find it a bit boring to be stuck to one genre. I think what I play will always have some elements of deep or funk.
SFS: Since you've been a prominent DJ for awhile, what was the most important part of house and techno’s evolution?
S: For me, personally, it was when the Wicked guys first came over here and started throwing these renegade full-moon parties; just showing up in a van, kicking some speakers out and playing this crazy music that I had never heard before. It was a very DIY approach, taking dancing out of the clubs and celebrating under the moon and stars.
SFS: What do you think is in store for the deep house/funky techno scene here this year?
S: I'm not very concerned about what’s going on with these small genres. One person's idea of funky techno is totally different than the next, but it seems the undergrounds are starting to become alive again, which I think is very vital for the scene.
SFS: Why do you think the Sunset parties have always remained so successful? People try and recreate them, but mostly fail.
S: Well, we have been doing it for quite some time now and we have learned how to work with the powers that be, building relationships with the various departments of the city. We have always made an effort to leave the spots cleaner than they were before and be mindful of our surroundings.
SFS: Since Sunset parties are known to be outdoors, as well, what are the benefits of being outside?
S: Just being outside of a smoky club is a huge difference! There is nothing better than playing outside at a beautiful location with a good sound system. No fancy lights or smoke machines can compare to it, though I am know for loving smoke machines.
SFS: What's one brush you have had with the law?
S: We had gotten kicked out of Berkeley Marina, the original sunset spot, and had found a little piece of land nearby on a map that was private property. Midway into the party the cops show up to try and bust us, but we are showing them on the map that this is private land. They have a helicopter circling the party finally they realize that there is nothing they can do. They leave us to continue with a rocking party, with everyone cheering as the helicopter took off
SFS: What are you currently working on?
S: I just finished a mix for Monty Luke’s radio show for Scion that should be up next month, and I’m getting back in the studio. We just finished our Sunset calendar for the upcoming season, and some fun things are lined up for my other parties like Bang the Box, No Way Back, and Bionic.
Solar opens for Egyptian Lover on February 5th at Public Works. Tickets are $15 and the party starts at 10pm.
by Christina Li on Jan 27, 2011