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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
by Christina Li on Nov 11, 2010
Fueled by his fascination of turntables and even breaking a few when he was a kid, DJ Teeko came from hip-hop and jazz roots with a very musical family. Starting out his DJ career with a mobile DJ group called Divide and Conquer in 1997, he continued to learn the ins and outs of music by pushing hard and doing parties every weekend. Currently part of crews like 4onefunk and F.A.M.E, his musical imprints are all over the Bay Area and spreading to ears of superstars like Mark Ronson. Catch him DJing Nov. 27th with guest DJ Weezy (Bangerz) and every last Saturday for 4onefunktion events at Elbo Room!
SF Station (SFS): You've won a lot of DJ championships; which was the most satisfying for you?
Teeko (T): The most satisfying was probably one that I didn't win and it was also my last. The 2003 ITF World Finals, held in Munich, Germany, was my last one for some good reasons. I started doing competitions as a platform to perform whatever I was working on. I never really made hard core competitive style sets; they were usually more musical expressions.
So, naturally the aspect of competition and being judged took its toll. I remember leaving Germany knowing that it would be my last competition and that I would focus more on recording and creating innovative music. That personal confirmation was worth more than any championship.
SFS: Tell us about 4onefunk.
T: Four DJs, from the 415, all for the funk! The name ď4onefunkĒ was crafted by DJ B.Cause after a few weeks of pretty hilarious brainstorming sessions for what would be the name of our crew. The original members are B.Cause, Mista B, Max Kane, and myself. We all met through the Zebra Records DJ community, hosting monthly competitions and turntablist gatherings.
SFS: Tell us about F.A.M.E, the other project youíre behind.
T: F.A.M.E. is Fresh Analog Music Experience. We are a production/live performance group. Myself, Max Kane, and long time friend/producer Malaguti came together to form a music-production unit which would create an innovative live show, incorporating true live beat creation with turntables, MPC, drum machines, and analog synths. The turntables we use in this group are called The Controller One, original concept by Ricci Rucker and co-designed by D-Styles, Mike Boo, and myself to create the first melodic turntable instrument. Throw my name in YouTube and you should find some videos of this turntable in action.
F.A.M.E. has much in store for the world of both produced and live music. We will be releasing several projects this coming year as well as taking the live performance to new heights.
SFS: What are the ideas behind your upcoming second album, Light Up the Darkness?
T: Light Up the Darkness is my second album, due at the beginning of 2011. The concept is capturing the sonic contrasts between the light and dark. The album itself takes you from darker tones to the uplifting light and back again as it plays like a cycle. There are some tracks in the middle that emulate the structure of a yin yang, where there will be the two sides and an element of one in another. The album was originally started and conceptualized about two years ago and eventually revisited and completed. It also features the amazing talents of Coultrain, Dwight Trible, Black Spade, Dibiase, Jazz Mafia, Mugpush, F.A.M.E., and more.
SFS: Since youíve been around DJ world for more than a decade, what's one misconception about DJs you'd like to overcome?
T: If someone has a misconception about DJs, there isnít anything I can do directly for them other than continue doing what I have been doing. I DJ sometimes and donít always consider myself a DJ, because I am not just that. People may have misconceptions about DJs that are perpetuated by the massive amount of wack DJs out there. So you can either live with any misconception or go to a show and see us push the boundaries.
SFS: What was the moment for you when you decided this is something you want to do full-time?
T: I think ever since I started I would dream of being able to sustain with this. One moment was the day I didnít show up to my old day job. I told myself that if I could create music/DJ related work for myself that I wouldn't go back, and I haven't since. Itís difficult with any art. The hardest part is visualizing how it will work and be sustainable, and then keeping it consistent with persistence.
Check out his melodies at http://www.myspace.com/teekonefunk
by Christina Li on Nov 11, 2010