As leader of Anabatic Records and a founding member of the Dirtybird collective, locally-based DJ Worthy has spent the past decade cultivating a sound he classifies as “booty future house.” From early beats like “Work the Walls” to 2013’s insanely catchy “Dip,” his work has remained consistent in its ability to move just about any dancefloor, whether it be a day party in Golden Gate Park or an after-hours basement function.
[jump] Last year saw the release of his much-anticipated full-length debut Disbehave, a two-year project that takes listeners through an experimental spectrum of bass-infused house music. We caught up with Worthy about the two-part remix album, nine years of Anabatic Records, and his typical night out in San Francisco. He plays Opel’s 13 year anniversary with the Stanton Warriors this Friday, March 13, at Mighty.
Anabatic Records turns nine this year. How does it feel to have almost a decade of releases under your belt?
It's really kind of crazy to realize that I have been doing Anabatic for that long. It feels like I just started all of this craziness a year or two ago. Looking back it has been an awesome experience to see the level of talent I have had the honor of putting out. From Christian Martin, to Nick Monaco, to Tom Flynn and so many others. It's been amazing to see so many artists who have had some of their first releases on the label now having become such well-known artists.
Did you ever imagine you would be so prolific in making remixes?
I have always enjoyed doing remixes and trying to find how to recreate a song on another level or transform it into something different. The last couple of years I have really had a great time doing them. I have also had a great time finding tracks I like and making some bootleg remixes like the ones I did for Flume and ODESZA. I didn’t know that they were going to be so well-received.
Disbehave has been met with great reviews from all media fronts. What inspired you to do a two-part remix album for Disbehave?
My initial idea was to just do a single remix package. So, I just went about it by hitting up all of my friends who are amazing producers and asked to see if they would be interested in doing a remix. I was actually amazed at how many came back to me saying they would love to do one. I had so many more come back then I was expecting that I decided it was going to be better to split it into two parts. Once you go over about 10 tracks, it can be a challenge to keep the interest of the listener.
What was the biggest challenge you encountered in the making of this remix album?
My biggest obstacle in this was to make sure that there was not too much overlap on the tracks that got remixed. There were a couple of tracks that everyone wanted to remix mainly “On the Floor” and “The Words.” On those tracks I worked to make sure that the artists who remixed them had very different styles. For instance, with “The Words,” I chose two totally different artists to do the remixes for that song: Thugfucker, who are deep and moody house music comparative to Bachelors of Science, who make drum n' bass. It was cool to see how each artist reinterpreted the original.
Also congrats on ten years of Dirtybird merry-making. How does the crew manage to stay so grounded and fun?
I think it has to do with starting the party in the park. We keep that fun outdoor sunshine (and sometimes fog) vibe that we had in those first years with us. We have all worked really hard to get where we are today and that also helps to keep you grounded and makes you not take for granted how lucky you are. We are all good friends and that makes it always a lot of fun.
With the Bay Area as your home base, how have you seen the music scene change since you've been here?
It has just continued to evolve so much. When I first got here in 2002 it was really a low point in the electronic music scene, in my opinion. There was not a ton of diversity going on, but people were still really passionate about the music. That passion has really made the scene in SF take off. So many new crews and styles grew since then in the Bay Area, spin-offs of deep and tech house, and obviously the ever-changing bass movement. There are so many clubs and parties now, and they all go off every weekend, and even on the weekdays. It is so amazing to see how huge the scene is now comparatively to when I first moved out here.
What would be a typical Friday night for you if you weren't DJing?
I would probably stop by the Hi Lo club on Polk St. or Madrone on Divis for some happy hour drinks with friends to catch up, and then grab some dinner somewhere in one of those neighborhoods. Then I would probably end up swinging through Monarch for a drink and possibly jump over to Mighty or Public Works, depending on what was going on. If I was really going for it, I would probably end up at an after-hours party somewhere in SOMA. .
A few years ago when you were interviewed for our publication, you said your musical mantra was “Make it fun and bouncy, and never have an ego.” Has it changed at all or is there anything you would like to add?
I pretty much have kept with them same mantra for the most part. I would say I like to take it a bit heady at times now too, but still with a nice bounce to it. And I always try to not have an ego when it comes to music and life in general.
Lastly, what are some of the vibes that will be present this Friday when you play with the Stanton Warriors?
I am just going to be keeping it fun and bassy with some breaks in my set. Its the 13th anniversary for Opel and I feel honored to be asked to play their 13th birthday party along side of the Stanton Warriors. It is going to be a fun night of celebration so I want to keep with that vibe. That party is going to go off!