Hey, DJ : Platurn

The Icelandic DJ wants you to "get off your fucking phones and enjoy your environment."

DJ Platurn (Credit: JZLim Photography)

Local DJ Platurn has spent the last two decades of his career throwing events and sharing musical experiences that capture the spirit and sound of vinyl culture. As the founder of The 45 Sessions, the Icelandic DJ seeks to bring back a club atmosphere that focuses not on theatrics, but rather the art of mixing and appreciating records in an intimate setting with friends.

We got a chance to catch up with Platurn about his staying power in the music game, notable Icelandic jams, and his take on the ever-changing Bay Area nightlife culture.

The 45 Sessions featuring DJ Z-Trip takes place this Thursday, [11/10] at The Uptown Nightclub in Oakland.

How are you and how excited are you to feature Z-Trip at The 45 Sessions this upcoming week?
Can’t complain, and thanks for asking. Most definitely excited. I’ve been working on this event for almost three months and the response has been overwhelming. One of the biggest Sessions we’ve done to date. Z himself is really amped for it and has a special set planned out just for the night. Thursday will be one for the books no doubt.

For those of us unfamiliar with your history, how many years have you been DJing?
I’ve been around records since I was a baby — Pops was a DJ in the motherland back in the day — and DJs and sound systems since high school, but I didn’t get my own rig and start taking it seriously until ’94.

How have you seen your career fluctuate during this time?
That’s a loaded question. I feel like I’ve seen every imaginable angle to this DJ game, from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high. Been doing this for 22 years and played so many different roles in the industry, not to mention how much the industry has changed over the two-plus decades I’ve been involved in it. I’ll say this though, if you don’t learn to adapt while simultaneously staying true to your roots, you won’t see much longevity in this industry. Adjust, but never forget why you got into this in the first place.

Being from Iceland, can you share with us some noteworthy tracks of your homeland?
A few favorites, but somewhat obvious joints to those in the know. (See below.) I’m actually in the process of creating a mix of nothing but highly obscure old-school Icelandic music with the groove in mind, coming out before summer of next year. Some heads will bug out with surprise over how funky and out there some of the music was that was created back in the day on that little rock so far removed from the rest of the world. It ain’t all Bjork and Sigur Ros, kids.

 

As someone who has been a part of the nightlife scene for quite some time, what has been one of your best experiences to date?
Another loaded question and definitely hard to pinpoint just one after all these years. I will say that getting to build with, DJ with, and book and showcase some of my heroes has been infinitely satisfying on a personal and artistic level. Having groups like De La give me props on my homages to them, becoming friends with gods like Nu-Mark and Shortkut, and getting to travel all over the planet playing other people’s music in my own little way are most definitely highlights. I’m still very grateful to this day that people care to see what I have to offer. I’m forever humbled by the fact that I’m still around and working.

What’s a nightlife faux pas you often see, whether it be DJs or the crowd?
Cell phones. I can add probably 20+ more things to that list, but that has to be hands down the worst shit ever as far as music and nightlife goes. Get off your fucking phones and enjoy your environment. As far as DJs, take some damn chances on occasion. When you play the same song multiple times in a night that was already played over and over again on the radio all day, you’re just adding to the fuckery. Going to a jam used to be an outing that you believed and trusted in — it’s corny to go to a social gathering with masses of people thinking the experience is all about you. Get off your ego trip and take part.

Tell us what you’re hoping to achieve with Platurn Productions.
The Bay has changed a lot over the years and the arts and music scene along with it. I used to DJ out five nights a week doing the type of DJing I do [now], and those types of avenues are few and far between at this stage. I began to shift my focus to throwing events in the last few years because I simply didn’t see the events happening that I thought were/are important to Bay Area nightlife and DJ culture. I don’t have what I would consider unreasonable expectations, just for these types of shows to be able to exist and thrive enough to sustain themselves. The history in the Bay is too rich for it to be taken over by EDM and pop-rap shit — counter culture and underground music deserves to still live and breathe here.

The 45 Sessions remains an integral and important part of preserving nightlife culture. Why is this party important to you personally?
The Sessions is an interesting anomaly. When we started back in 2010, it was pre- and post-45s hype (it goes in waves). We just wanted an outlet to play some of these little records we had been collecting forever — it was really that simple, hence the 30-40 folks we began by entertaining on random Thursday nights. I think the reason I have such a love for what it has become is because it all happened rather organically. This outlet is so raw and basic and takes it back to the essence of what real DJing is all about — there’s no bells and whistles, nothing stuffy or hype fueled, just talented DJs playing timeless little records for real fans of the culture.

Also, the heads that are really into this culture are really hardcore about it, and it shows. They put a lot of time and effort and care into their collections and sets, and on top of it all, you have to have a certain finesse to be able to DJ such a sensitive format and do it well. All in all, it’s just bringing it back to the basics and that’s what I really love about it. All I really did was give this type of DJ outlet a home — nothing more, nothing less. We didn’t invent the wheel, we just cared enough to give it some new tires when no one gave a shit. Amazed and grateful it’s come as far as it has, and with all the love and support the scene keeps giving us, we won’t be going away any time soon.

Where are some of your favorite places to dig for records in the Bay?
Amoeba, Park Blvd, Champion Sound, Down Home, Vamp, Dave’s Records, Strictly Vinyl, Groove Merchant, Rooky’s, and a bunch of other secret spots that none of y’all know about.

What can we expect to see more of from you in 2017?
More shows, more funk, more music, more bounce. Got a new mix, new 45, and new EP all dropping before summer. No matter how the tides turn in our business, I’m here for the music first and foremost. That will never go away, and as long as I can breathe and hear, I’ll be doing this ’til I can’t. Much love to everyone that has supported me thus far, and thank you Christina for always looking out for us little guys — y’all are the reason I keep doing what I do. Big ups!

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