SF native The Genie spent three years in the subways of Montreal creating his “scratch guitar” style before bringing it back to SF to perfect it. Working with nothing but a couple of loop pedals, a guitar, and occasionally an iPod, Genie makes a hybrid of original music and covers. He produces live electronica, hip-hop, and psychedelic surf-rock in what is part performance and part what he calls “analog DJing.”
The Genie is between albums now, but he tours endlessly around the country, striving to add something new to his concerts. Local Frequency sat down with The Genie in his Bernal Heights home to talk about world affairs, loop pedals, and feet appreciation.
If you could describe your sound as a San Francisco neighborhood, which one would it be?
The Genie: It would have to be a hybrid of all the neighborhoods. I've grown up in the city, and I've played in them all. I've tailored my act to various audiences, and I've found I can hit someone on some level that they may not have thought possible. I've got to break down a lot of barriers, that's my drive, that's what keeps me going,
You coined the “scratch guitar” style. Can you explain exactly what it is?
TG: The word itself I'm borrowing from the DJ language, in the sense that what you hear is me scratching, mixing. It's also a play on words because I make everything from scratch, live. I do a variation of things. For example, I may start with a guitar riff – loop that. Then I may beatbox on top of it, and loop again. Other guitar elements are then added and played on top of what's there. Basically I use the loop pedal as an instrument. I have about an 8-second window or less to record a beat and play it back, before doing something else.