By Cory Sklar
By Alee Karim
By Christina Li
By Dave Pehling
By Ian S. Port
By SF Weekly
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
Originally from Venezuela, DJ Omar was raised in the thriving musical subcultures of Washington, D.C., where he was exposed to sounds such as punk, goth, new wave, and hip hop at concerts and clubs. He credits this early education for the eclectic and open-minded slant he brings to mixing records. Ask him about his favorite artists and he'll offer up a list of strange bedfellows that includes Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Joy Division, Suede, Tom Waits, Air, AC/DC, Spacemen 3, and Neu! Few other DJs in San Francisco can speak of playing such a wide variety of sounds, preferring instead to stay within the genre lines. But Omar's multivariate approach resonates with many people whose tastes may be equally as broad; it's the secret to his success, an asset that has made him an in-demand DJ for various parties and promoters. His near-decade-long friendship with DJ Jenny has resulted not only in them both jettisoning their last names in clubland, but also in their hosting some of the most musically diverse and inclusive dance parties in San Francisco. In a local nightlife scene that falls prey to segmentation, they've attracted gay, straight, hipster, nerd, rocker, technophile, and curious bystander alike with their late, great clubs such as "Sixxteen," "Bordello," "Fake," and "The Finger."
DJ Star Eyes
Star Eyes is the rare DJ who actually dances and participates with the crowd, dissolving the wall that so many DJs build up. With an unwavering ear to the rumble of the underground, she has spent a decade chasing both the toughest and the sassiest grooves.
A Star Eyes playlist is tailored to the event, but her arsenal includes a choice selection of drum 'n' bass, two-step, breaks, and electro jams, all focused on cultivating upbeat parties. Her diverse tastes take her to an equally varied bunch of local venues, from hipster nights at the Rickshaw Stop and the Sunset Boat Party to underground raves and drum 'n' bass events. She's also gone on the road with the Warped Tour and played events in many cities throughout the country and in Europe.
Star Eyes began her DJ career at age 16, spinning raves in Southern California where she grew up, developing a reputation for seeking out the cutting-edge end of the musical spectrum. For five years, she was a resident DJ at S.F. drum 'n' bass night "Eklektic" and more recently has hosted her own club nights, like the former "Slow Burning" event at the Arrow Bar. She's also one-half, along with Siren, of the DJ tag-team Syrup Girls.
Star Eyes daylights as Vivian Host, who was recently appointed editor of local electronic music culture bible XLR8R. A graduate of UC Berkeley, she served as the arts and entertainment editor for the Daily Californian and has since written for such publications as URB, Deuce, Anthem, and the Stranger.
Oakland's Lovemakers are one of the bay's biggest recent success stories. Just a year ago, the synth-pop trio didn't have a record label, a distributor, or a booking agent. Hell, the group didn't even have a drummer. All of that has changed in a hurry. The threesome has hooked up with Marilyn Manson's manager, Tony Ciulla; inked an A&R deal with Martin Kierszenbaum, the producer of Russian faux lesbians t.A.T.u.; and signed on with Interscope, one of the majorest of major labels. The band is currently recording its Interscope debut in Los Angeles, with possible production by Kierszenbaum, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, and Nellee Hooper, who helmed No Doubt's hit cover of Talk Talk's "It's My Life." All this for a group that's only been around for two years, and had to book its initial shows and self-release its first CD because no one else would. Even more amazing, the band started out as a goof -- a way for guitarist Scott Blonde and bassist/violinist Lisa Light to have fun after the soul-numbing experience of being in mopey noise-poppers Applesaucer. But one whiff of the Lovemakers' self-titled CD or the act's salacious live sets, and it was obvious this ensemble was going places. The trio -- filled out by keyboard whiz Jason Proctor -- concocts songs that are clever, catchy, and fun, and then performs them with sweaty abandon. And while the Lovemakers are very much a product of the '80s, the band's sound -- a combination of the chilly synths of Depeche Mode, the art-punk guitars of the Cure, and the sly seductions of Prince -- feels more like a synthesis of influences, rather than blatant retro-mongering. Plus, the musicians' new tunes are bigger and grander than ever, aka ready for some stadium rocking (sure to be even more so when they add a live drummer soon).
For better or worse, Matmos is best known these days for playing with that lovely Icelandic pixie, Björk. But there's soooo much more to the groundbreaking electronic music duo of Drew Daniel and Martin Schmidt. Take their fifth CD, last year's The Civil War(on Matador), for instance. Who else would attempt to make instrumental music that sounds medieval and modern at the same time, adding traditional instruments like dobro and pedal steel to synthesizers and drum machines? Or compose a song titled "Reconstruction," which seems to get at the true ennui of living in the South in the 1860s? Or craft one of the most hilariously, chaotically fucked-up versions of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" in existence, complete with a sample of someone dropping Henry Kissinger's Diplomacyon the floor? Big challenges and outrageous concepts are nothing new to Matmos, however. Last November, the pair set up shop at Yerba Buena, improvising music and video with their pals in front of live museum audiences, eventually concocting 97 hours of material as part of the "Work, Work, Work" installation. This April, the twosome released Rat Relocation Program, an EP featuring an unedited field document of a rodent being lured into a Havahart trap, along with Matmos' musical remix of that recording. This all follows the group's previous Matador album, 2001's A Chance to Cut Is a Chance to Cure, which was composed from samples of plastic surgery. Not content to rest on its peculiar laurels, the act has spent the last year touring Europe with reunited industrial art-punks Throbbing Gristle, recording weirdo house music as Soft Pink Truth (Daniel solo), teaching "Theory and Practice" at the S.F. Art Institute, and composing music for a play about drunk famous poets called The Appeal. Over the past nine years, Matmos has taken electronic music to new heights, utilizing technology to push the boundaries of what sound can be and do.