This week’s featured artist is someone you might have heard of if you’ve been up in the SF Bay Area, or you just like progressive and electro house music. DJ Geo-D is a San Francisco native who is making waves and starting to build his reputation as an excellent opening DJ. His production has constantly improved over the years, and his tracks are getting tons of notice and play time from some major artists. We had a full in-depth interview the other week, and we happy to now finally post it! Check out a few tracks from Ge0-D, and of course read the interview below! Enjoy!
First of all, what got you into producing and DJ’ing?
My older cousins actually. They were all listening to these bootleg mixtapes that were compilations from local rave sets around Diamond Bar- southern cali area and I sort of caught on and to the scene. Mind you, I was like 11 or 12 at the time. Fast forward to 2001, I moved up to San Francisco and stumbled into this record store called Skills Dj Workshop (now called Skills Events) and sat in on a few in-store live sets which featured local rave legends such as Dyloot and Dj Denise to name a few. Fun Fact: bought my first vinyl record at that store: Tiesto’s Urban Train featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw.
At the same time I also became interested in hip hop turntablism which led me to attend a session that was taught by DMC finalist DJ Pone along with the Dj Guzie of the now infamous Rock-It Scientists. These guys were really influential with regard to staying away from being a “cookie cutter” and always stay away from the safe. Gutsy advice even to this day of the “press play” generation.
Production-wise, I was influenced by a highschool buddy of mine, Brian Knarfield from DTE (Direct to Earth), who produces dark tech house. We both actually started off spinning trance music in highschool when EVERYONE hated it. Well, not everyone, but we got a lot of sh*t from it because we would rather play trance than crunk or hyphy music.
What’s the scene like in San Francisco? What do you like most about it?
San Francisco, like other major cities, is a clusterf*ck of scenes.
I have friends that play in dark tech house venues, strictly hip hop/top 40 lounges, deep house bars, big room edm theaters… you name it. The one thing I love about this city is how open minded people are and how supportive and faithful they are to electronic music as a whole…including the promoters. Promoters here really know music, like, you can’t just waltz into the SF scene just because you’re in a “mega-duo” made 6 mashups and have fancy logos- if anything, free and independent musical artistry is celebrated here as opposed to your “Brand”.. Compared to LA or OC, DJ’s here have to show more than just have several greasy duo pictures of them twisting mixer knobs or clapping hands in unison.
Who has been your favorite artist to play with to date and why?
I don’t really have a favorite artist that I like doing shows with. A lot of them have very different styles but there are a handful of DJs that clicks with how I perform such as DJ Jtrix from radio station, Wild 94.9 to name a few. Usually, it’s harder for me to play with someone who just “mixes” cdjs since it’s the product is so linear and rigid; actual turntables are more versatile and allow me to make mixes on the fly.
As an example, I recently played a 2×4 set (two turntable setups) with Jays One at Slide-SF who usually spins for an EDM weekly called EPR and we both clicked performance wise. Since we both come from an all vinyl/turntablism background but spin EDM, we knew when to scratch vocal loops in or cue up songs live as supposed to just playing tracks.
Here’s one “cool story bro” moment: I opened for Ferry Corsten a few years back and remember being a bit drunk and was really vibing off the crowd. I started really overdoing the Pioneer Effects on the mixer-drum roll, flanger everything which really took a toll on the speakers and later Ferry went behind me and told me “I was red lining on the speakers”. Embarrassing.
What is one thing people should know about you?
Pursuing a career in Law while also pursuing music is tough. Hopefully I can practice law and DJ in the future without conflicts. Right now I’m booked every week as my job as a Paralegal and my only free times are Sundays where I can sit back and just get an espresso from Starbucks or Peets. Yes, coffee is my preferred drug.
When you’re not making music, who are you listening to?
Probably rock, jazz or classical music. I’m a big Foo Fighters fan in general and love how they recently incorporated acoustic sets into their shows. Right now I’ve been listening to a lot of Portishead and Massive Attack after my sets.
What has been your favorite venue to play at?
Man, most epic venue I’ve played at was probably at the Avalon in Los Angeles with Mistermike a couple of years back. The sound quality and the size of the venue was just mind blowing since we both had control of all this audio fire power at our hands. Yeah, we really tore up the house that night since it was, I believe, in 2010 just when “EDM” and more specifically, Dubstep, was on it’s way to the mainstream; everyone went nuts when we played Dada Life’s remix of Kaskade’s Dynasty.
Another crazy venue is Eden in Hollywood. In addition to their top notch sound system are the built in ice cannons on top of the ceiling; it rivals the one at TAO in vegas or Marquee.
Tell me about the quote on your Facebook page: “Every set, every song, and each reaction by the crowd is part of it all.You bring it strong to the people and then musical artistry is born.”
This quote has always been my mantra as a DJ. I’ve always been taught that being a DJ or a performer is for the people to enjoy and judge. A lot of Dj’s nowadays are groomed to take everything inward as supposed to outward, it’s more of a marketing game than it’s been about the people to enjoy. I made this remix of Florence and the Machine’s No Light, No light and played it in front of a crowd and the response was meh. So I scrapped it and tweaked it some more.
You really have to look at the crowd and see their reactions (Granted, you’re playing in a venue that caters to your genre). There are a lot of edm dj’s that just simply can’t move their crowd and just keep playing house bangers one after the other. If anything, mixing a set or producing a track is like telling a story to the crowd, your story- if it can invoke emotion other than apathy throughout the night then you’re doing your job.
What did it feel like to get voted in the SF DJList’s Top 100?
Honestly, I didn’t even notice that my name was that high up DJlist top 100. I registered in 2010 since I thought it was a cool site for publicity and what not and I was ranked like 557 or something like that so I left it alone. I check back on the site a couple and some months later and i was #67. It fluctuates every now and then after every month but the highest I’ve been was like #51. I’m not sure how it works but people do vote! Thanks for your support guys!
What’s next for DJ Geo D?
Right now I’m working on an EP with one of the tracks is called Temescal which is named after this old historic street in Oakland. It’s a really “minimal” Progressive/Dutch house track that hits pretty damn hard even my neighbors downstairs complain. It’s almost a combination of Jochen Miller’s synth and Sandro Silva’s hard dutch percussions; very minimal in the beginning but one epic party sits on the breakdown. Can’t wait for you guys to hear it!
Also I’m in the process of creating a website and announcing a new duo project with a friend of mine, DJ RE-DAK, which will be announced at our release party at the Palms Pool in Las Vegas in September!
2 MK5 Technics 1200′s,
Pioneer 500 mixer,
M-Audio Axiom Pro Keybard,
2x Tannoy 601A studio monitors,
2x Mackie HR6MK@ Studio Monitors,
Ableton Live 8
Connect with DJ Geo-D