Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Interview: El Nomo

Can you give us an intro to who you are and what you are trying to do?

My name is Dan and I'm trying to travel around and get paid to play other people's music in different places.

What are the main differences between being a DJ trying to get over in Europe and Asia?

I'd say there's more opportunities to work and make money as DJ in China (especially if you're a non-Asian looking foreigner), but that the work is generally not as creative as in Europe.  I do a lot more soul-sucking top 40 corporate events to pay the bills out there.  The club scene is way less developed, the kids are on less drugs and are victims of a communist society that doesn't value individuality or freedom of thought and press, so people are generally less plugged in to the current happenings in the world of music.  That said, Shanghai is a very international and cosmopolitan city and more and more foreigners are moving there every year.  So the musical scene is slowly developing and there's a bit more opportunity to build your own club nights and it's easier to get a foot in the door.  My experience in Barcelona was that you could basically kick an empty can of Estrella across the MACBA plaza and it would ricochet off ten dj's before spinning to a stop in the corner.  The market here is just way more saturated, and there are a lot of people happy to dj for next to nothing in a bar with a crappy sound system just to get some shine (myself definitely included).  But that saturation also (probably) drives the general quality up...  you've actually got to be decent (or at least know the right people) in order to get good bookings here.  However I'm not exactly thrilled about the extreme amount of techno nights here in Barcelona or the fact that Nasty Mondays (super guay gimmicky night of pop rock poorly mixed by sexy Argentinian or Chilean dudes with lots of tattoos and no shirts) is pretty much the most successful long standing night in town.  I wish the hip hop, funk and reggae scene was a little more vibrant here and that the success of club nights had a bit more to do with the quality of the tunes and dj's and less to do with what's the in place to be with the fashionistas.

What is your current favourite record?

Like actual record?...  I only have about twenty of those in Asia (I'm Mr. Digital Dj these days, not trying to amass kilos of vinyl that I will eventually have to move somewhere else), but one of them is this Judy Chan record that Onra left at my apartment when he came to China to play some shows and do some digging.  I like it because it's east meets west...  A woman from Hong Kong with a beautiful voice singing in Mandarin over western style 1960's arrangements and instrumentation, but it still has some eastern flavor.    

If we're talking about tracks, umm...I've really been feeling this Afrodisiac Sound System cut, "
Raygun Kills"
.  Slow burn dancehall meets disco afro-beat gem for stoners on the dancefloor.  At home I've been listening to this guy Lee Michaels lately...  Just him on organ and vocals plus a drummer, and presumably a lot of drugs.  His stuff is, as my buddy Adam says, "swimming in it's own samples" funky funky madness.  I've also really been enjoying the new LCD Soundsystem album and Caribou's "Swim" LP.

What is the ultimate end of the night track?

Anything by Sam Cooke.  Or "Cantina Band" from the Star Wars soundtrack.  I played that one two years ago at the end of the night in Denmark at this club Jolene, and people just went nuts.  Time of my life. Or this track, "Boyo in the Area" if you want to dub people's brains out.

Which artist gets ultimate Nomo respect right now?

Lots and lots!  LCD Soundsystem (I'm pretty convinced James Murphy is a genius, and making the best records of the last decade) Caribou, Fashawn (repping the San Francisco bay area and real deal hip hop), Tanya Morgan, Nacey, Greenwood Rhythm Project, XXXchange, Eli Escobar, Michna, Afrodisiac Soundsystem, Eliot Lipp, Nosajthing, Mark Ronson, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Downtown Party Network, the list goes on and on.  I think I have too much respect to give.  I'm probably not blowing anyone's minds with the latest most freshly minted tracks.  I'm kind of lazy about keeping up with all the new shit and generally just find out about new music from friends and other dj's I go to listen to.  There's just way too much music on the web to stay on top of these days and I'm still happy with a lot of the records I listened to ten years ago.  Also, I think I might be too old for all this new fidget-electro-dub-step stuff (not to dis all of it, there's definitely a lot of good new stuff out there, but I'll take a James Brown record over the latest Crookers remix any day of the week).

What parties are showing the rest how it's done?

Uh, Plat du Jour and Bananas, obviously!  I got to play at this party Hot Pot in Beijing, (hosted by 3x China DMC Champ, DJ Wordy and DJ Lomang from NYC, and Pimpin' Ain't Easy in Hong Kong (hosted by ITF Champ Kid Fresh and DJ Enso of Solos Records) and those guys are the ones doing it proper in China/Hong Kong right now.  Haven't been in Europe for two years, so I'm excited to see what's going on.

What is your Plat du Jour?

Like my latest greatest favorite?  I'm pretty into rock climbing lately.  And soundcloud, what's not to like...  I've also been digging Chinese foot massage to help me get to sleep at a reasonable hour... and learning how to read Chinese characters.  That and trying not to drink like a fish anymore.  Ya tengo un edad, and the hangovers just fucking suck.

You can catch El Nomito at Dostrece this Thursday which would make it the ideal pre-drinking joint before the Plat Du Jour Mondo Mondo joint!

If your not in the city to be at the weekend to be peep some mixes and productions at that Soundcloud, and keep abreast of the scene in China with Dans blog herrre.

Thanks for the words kid!

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