The man behind the excellent events curated at our city's (arguably) best dance venue, Mezzanine, and the Internet's go-to blog for old-school dance jams is one Brian Tarney. Party goers and vintage-tune seekers may know him better as BT Magnum, Tarney's alter-ego, who runs about S.F. DJing some of the best classic house, disco, and boogie parties, and writes regularly for Beat Electric
. BT is a veritable vault of knowledge when it comes to the smooth grooves and stellar tracks of the '80s, but he also continues to keep a finger on the pulse of contemporary music that's inspired by those same sounds.
We had a quick chat with Tarney before his party this Friday at Beauty Bar
with Portland dance outfits Soft Metals
and Starlight & Magic
, both of which will be performing live. BT Magnum gave us his list of top 10 favorite tracks to put in a DJ set, a brief history of his blog, and the two things any aspiring movers and shakers need to succeed.
How long have you been DJing and running Beat Electric?
have been DJing for almost 10 years now. Beat Electric is just about to
turn three years old.
What got you into DJing?
was playing in a band and promoting shows in Milwaukee. At the time it
just seemed like the logical thing to do. I was collecting a lot of
records, and it felt natural to start playing out. DJing has always been
a more casual thing to me. I love it, but I've never had an aspiration
beyond playing out for some friends at the local dive bar.
did your blog start up?
Myself and Andrew [who DJs as
Black Shag] had a weekly gig at Double Dutch for a couple years. We had
been playing exclusively boogie and disco cuts, and when we stopped
throwing that party we felt we needed something else to do with our time
rather than spend it spinning in a bar to a bunch of people that only
want to hear Michael Jackson tracks.
What kind of perks come
from running such a well-know blog while also being a DJ?
were just flown out to headline a party in Montreal. A lot of folks came
out and supported us. It was definitely eye-opening to see that many
enthusiastic kids so fired up on what we do, seeing [as how] we don't
really do anything in actuality -- besides post up some cool tunes on
What else do you do in San Francisco?
I am the talent buyer at Mezzanine.
What are some of your favorite producers/bands right now?
I keep my head firmly entrenteched in '80s music right now, but I have a few artists I am digging. Azari & III are doing really killer stuff. Legowelt is amazing. Just checked out Urban Tribe and Xosar [who make] really underground, interesting tracks.
Give us your top 10 favorite tracks to play out, and why. No rules.
Jamie Principle - "Your Love" (Just a beautiful game-changing Chicago track.)
A Number of Names - "Sharevari" (All-time top-10 Detroit track.)
Risque Rhythum Team - "The Jacking Zone" (Heavy jacking house.)
Candye - "Loverboy" (Brilliant private Detroit production circa 1985.)
Armenta - "I Want to Be With You" (Classic vocoder boogie cut.)
Manujothi - "Shake Your Body" (1980 disco rap [with a] very limited pressing. The most money I ever spent on a record by a longshot.)
TC Curtis - "You Should Have Known Better"
Joy - "I Need Your Love"
Glass - "Let Me Feel Your Heartbeat" (Amazing Larry Levan production on West End.)
Gwendolyn - "Come To Me"
Michael Sterling - "Desperate" (Underground Michael Jackson vibe, yet way cooler.)
What's the best show you've promoted or DJed in the City?
The Paradise Disco with Escort a few years back was amazing. The Seventh Heaven Roller Disco at Mezzanine is pretty much the best thing going in SF. We are working on a Detroit-style dance show in late August that will be filmed on VHS!
What can you tell us about the groups performing at Beauty Bar this Friday?
Soft Metals are good friends from PDX. The are making stellar Italo/darkwave tracks.
Any advice for aspiring DJs/bloggers/promoters?