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Friday, August 7, 2009

Hey DJ! Friday Q&A: Nisus

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 9:31 AM

There are DJs who log a lotta miles, and then there's Nisus. While other vinyl slingers rack up passenger time on airlines, this guy has spent the summer getting between gigs in Germany, France, Spain, and Switzerland by bike. Overall he  traveled, (two wheel-style), across 1,300 miles, and still had the energy to spin at various gigs in little discos along the way.

Tonight marks this homecoming for this Blasthaus/Solid Gold Jacuzzi/Look Out Weekend regular, and he'll be spinning as one of the openers for Jack Beats over at the Paradise. Welcome back the man for whom the ultimate club night would entail "bass so big that it would separate peoples' dense physical bodies from their souls."Seriously. 


Club night(s): Residencies with Blasthaus, Solid Gold Jacuzzi, Nexus, OMGLOL!!! Look Out Weekend

Style(s) of music you spin:
Big room bassline and electro house hop with glitchy elements, anchored by nu rave and fidget.

So what's your story, in 100 words or less? I've been DJing for 10 years, worked as a graphic designer and photographer in NYC, and decided to ride a fixed gear bike across the country. Along the way decided that I loved DJing more than design and committed to doing it successfully. Moved to SF 2 years ago, played out as much as possible, and secured a residency at Blasthaus. I started producing tracks, bought part of Pink Floyd's sound system, played Lovefest and Coachella, and now I'm working on booking more international festivals.

We hear this is your welcome home party after gigging in Berlin and Barcelona for a couple months. Tell us a little about that. This summer I wanted to check out the EDM scenes in Barcelona and Berlin after years of hearing fabulous stories, so I booked some shows and headed out on a sort of micro tour. But instead of flying from Barcelona I thought it would be more interesting to ride a bicycle to Berlin, through Spain, France, Switzerland, and into Germany. 1300 miles. It was pretty amazing!!

Every small town has a discotheque that's open on Fri and Sat. I got to hang out with all these kids from small towns just rocking these clubs and so stoked. The next day I would ride like 80 miles and sleep in an orchard or an abandoned church and eat fruit right off the trees. The whole experience was unreal. Having accomplished things in my life like this gives me the confidence to push through the hard work of becoming a successful DJ.

What's one thing San Francisco has over those other cities? It's hard to generalize the complex resonance of a city, but I feel like SF has a lot of high-frequency energy, a buzz to it. It is always evolving and innovating. SF is like Berlin's hyperactive little brother. Berlin has so much history that it's very comfortable with itself, like a grown up SF. Barcelona has no real need to push too hard because it's just so nice at the beach today.

Name of a track you can't get out of your head: My head is full of tracks I can't get out. It's like I have neuroleptic bleeding from storing too much music in there. Brain scientists think that consciousness operates at about 40 hz. That's about where I like all my basslines, just above the kick. "Lyposuct" by Tai and D.I.M. comes to mind often.

Name of an artist you're currently championing in your DJ sets: Since I've gone digital I've been digging through MySpace and fairtilizer looking for unsigned artists and trying to avoid the blogoshpere. I think DJing is all about bringing unheard music into the light and curating culture. That's a super challenge today though because everything blows up so fast and gets disposed of even faster. I'm really championing more of a sound than any specific artists. Come up to the booth and ask me what a track is, I'm always down to share.

Musical mantra: The future is for the ones who can hear it coming. Let it bang.

Favorite DJ experience: Right now in the heart of this city there is a crew amassed that's gonna put SF on the new music map: the Solid Gold Jacuzzi crew. It's comprised of Shane King, Sleazemore, Eric Sharp, DJ Morale, Swayzee, Cocheeze and myself. It's a devastating lineup of local talent. Like one of those rare nights when every DJ crushes their set because they are sessioning and feeding off of each others' energy. It all culminates in the Lovefest float, with theProject's 30 foot wall of speakers and 80.000 people. It's the most surreal experience.

Worst request: "Turn the bass down."

I try to generate and focus so much energy through the music and my performance that if I do my job well, there are no requests. One time I knocked a dude out from behind the turntables when he reached over the booth and stopped the record in the middle of the biggest build of the night. I think he learned there are "No F*#@ing Requests Ever". Since I'm not playing '80s jams or '90s rock, people don't really know what to ask for anyway.

Worst club faux pas you've committed: I keep playing closing sets and people who don't know what the headliners look like think I'm whom they've come to see. One time I was setting up and some fans saw me behind the headliner getting ready and they started yelling at the dude to get off the stage and giving him the finger across the throat sign. I was super embarrassed and was trying to play it down like, "I hope they don't kill me".

Most treasured vinyl score: When I first started DJing there were no record shops in my hometown. Every Saturday I would go to the salvage store where they would reclaim stuff from the dump and sell it like a ghetto thrift store. They had a whole wall of vinyl so most of my collection is rock from 1969-74. Too many gems to list but I found the very first Def Jam 45, LL Cool J's "I Can't Live Without My Radio." Most personal to my sound would be a 12" of "This is Sick" by Solid Groove.

What other music-related projects are you currently working on? I have a monthly podcast on iTunes called BassGrenade. I'm about to do remixes for Little Boots and Kry Wolf in the UK as well as starting a collaboration with Portable Sunsets called ORCA. On top of that I have a company called theProjects that offers event support services to promoters. We run a street team and produce video flyers and rent out a huge wall of 21 inch subwoofers and 3 way tops of the turbosound sound system.

What's something happening in the local music scene that should be getting more attention? SF is in a position of being a major electronic music destination and it's heating up. I think the thing that needs to be looked at is the way the city has been cracking down on after hours and private parties. It needs to stop.

Nightlife tourism in SF is a vital part of this city's history and economy. In Berlin it was really nice to be treated like an adult, it made people act like grownups and take care of themselves and their scene. There is no 2AM lights out bedtime, no fights outside the club, no getting arrested for hosting a party and no sound systems confiscated. Going out at night and throwing parties shouldn't be criminalized.

What elements would your fantasy club night entail? I would pull up to the club in a monster truck spitting flames and crush all the expensive cars in the valet. I'd get out in a matching track suit and '70s mustache with a briefcase like I was going to work, toss the keys to the bouncer, and drop a one liner like "Park it". I'd high five Mr Oizo and Led Zepllin in the VIP and head to the DJ booth. My whole SF family would be there.

The club would be made of a translucent, soundproof material shaped like a diamond in the crown of a cross. The light would be coming from inside out. The sound system would be these huge helicopter engines with the blades still attached that could whomp your guts out at like 3 hz and instead of treble I'd use the sound of angels singing and lasers would shoot out of their mouths and scan the audience. The bass would be so big that it would separate peoples' dense physical bodies from their souls. At the peak of the set the rockets in the dance floor would ignite and the whole place would lift off into space and burn up in the light of the sun.

Something mellow like that, you know?

Question we didn't ask you but you often ask yourself: Everyday I ask myself what else I can be doing to get where I want to be and I realize that I couldn't do anything without the amazing people that have supported me in my endevor. People such as Monika at Blasthaus, my awesome girlfriend Carmen, George and Shane at Hacksaw, Prem at Flavorgroup, Christian at Look Out Weekend, Euna at Adidas, my headphone sponsors Ultrasone, Nexus family and all the talented DJs I'm fortunate enough to be in this crazy scene with. Above all I'm most thankful to all the people that keep coming out and supporting electronic music in SF!

Next time we can see you spin: At Paradise Lounge (on the corner of 11th and Folsom) this Fri, Aug 7th with the mind blowing Jack Beats and Sticky K. Both producers are personal favorites of mine and hold the sound of the future. Ill be on around 1:45am.

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Ian S. Port


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