Little Melanie has learned some big lessons about DJing in her years behind the decks. Like never go topless in the kiddie pool when fools are within camera range. And it's ok to slap tanked tourists if they leave bite marks on your record collection.
This Mission mainstay has had her share of stories from her nights at the Casanova and the Make-Out Room, but, she explains, these days she keeps it classy. She also steps around the turntables to play live tunes too: Melanie is one-third of the indie-pop act Altars with Rev. Bertie Pearson of EpiscoDisco.
We got to know Melanie a little better below, in hopes that when her Dan Aykroyd fantasy disco happens, we can be first in line for a dirty Ghostbustini.
Name: Melanie Ann Berlin, aka Little Melanie
Club night(s): Falling And Laughing - third Wednesdays at Casanova (usually with my friend Michael Aguilar), and All Fall Down, an indiepop night currently on hiatus.
Style(s) of music you DJ: Mostly stuff of the indiepop/post-punk/C-86 variety, but on my night at Casanova I end up playing pretty much everything and anything I like--Brazilian pych, soul, punk, weird dubby disco stuff, synthy stuff, gothy stuff, happy hardcore, power violence, etc. Also I try to play as much Fleetwood Mac and Paul McCartney as I possibly can in one night.
So what's your story, in 100 words or less?My older brothers are total record collector nerds and I started taking after them at an early age. I cut my teeth DJing at house parties and record stores in Sacramento almost 10 years ago, but didn't start playing in clubs until I moved here in 2003. I've done a variety of successful and not-so-successful nights in SF, in addition to a 3-year run on West Add Radio (RIP). Right now I'm keeping it mellow with my monthly stint at Casanova and shitty homemade podcast, but big things are in the works for this summer!
Name of a track you can't get out of your head: It's a tie between "Janitor" by Suburban Lawns and "Real Life" by Tanlines. Both of those songs have been on a constant loop in my head for the past couple of weeks.
Musical mantra: "You can do it, put your back into it"
Favorite DJ experience: I did a weekly called "Club Neon" at the Make-Out Room for two years, and not to sound corny, but those were some of the most fun nights of my entire life.
The best nights were the ones where you'd hear a collective "AWWW MAAAANNN" when the lights would come on at the end of the night and you'd look out and everyone would be a nasty, sweaty mess.
Worst request: One night at Casanova these drunk Irish dudes kept asking me to play shitty Euro dance and were getting more and more aggro every time I told them I didn't have any, which should have been obvious since I'd playing indiepop all night. At one point I turned around and one of the dudes was biting one of my records! I got so mad that I slapped him and got him and his friends all thrown out.
Worst club faux pas you've committed: Getting a little carried away one night at Neon and ending up topless in a kiddie pool. I wasn't that embarrassed about it at the time...but when pics started showing up on the Internet a few days later I was like, "Uhh good goin, Mel." I made sure to keep it classy after that.
What other music-related projects are you currently working on? I sing in a band called Altars with my friends Bertie Pearson and Brendan Brehm. We've been writing songs together for the past year but have just started playing shows. We're going to be filming our first video in the next month and hopefully putting out some recordings by the end of the summer.
Also, I have a crappy blog where I sometimes talk about music I'm currently into.
What's something happening in the local music scene that should be getting more attention? SF's current crop of quality noisy indiepop bands, like The Mantles, Nodzzz,
and Grass Widow.
What elements would your fantasy club night entail? Orange Juice reunites for one night only to play a very special All Fall Down. All of my friends are there dancing like crazy til 6 a.m. I get paid a million dollars in one of those giant Publisher's Clearinghouse-style checks and a lifetime supply of Crystal Skull vodka delivered to me personally by Dan Akroyd.
Question we didn't ask you but you often ask yourself: Will you ever invest in a rollie record case thing, or will you always insist on carting your records around in shitty canvas tote bags from Thrift Town?
Next time we can see you DJ/perform: Lots of stuff coming up that I'm super excited about!! Altars is playing at the Knockout on April 26 with this awesome band from Vancouver called Cosmetics. On May 13, Altars are DJing and playing a show at the Knockout with Primo Pitono and other special guests. Then on the 18th I'm DJing at the KO again for Factory Records night with Josh Yule and John Segura on the anniversary of Ian Curtis' death. Morbid!