While many students work their way through college serving coffee or giving lap dances, Julio Galvez, aka The Whooligan, spent his years rubbing shoulders with Ghostface Killah and hosting hip-hop appearances at S.F's Amoeba Music. Already a budding DJ and producer, he found his push to fame when MTV contacted him to open for artists Rick Ross and Lupe Fiasco. Now a well-established DJ in the Bay Area and beyond, he is part of electronic soul group 40Love and has appeared on compilations like Mushroom Jazz 7. We recently spoke with the Whooligan about his former job as an entertainment director, his days working at Amoeba, and his own original productions. He performs this Saturday, Feb. 16, with Mikos Da Gawd at John Colins.
What was your best memory of working at Amoeba Records?
At that time, I was hosting pretty much every big hip-hop in-store; it was exciting to brush shoulders with the greats at that age. Working at Amoeba, I came in contact with a grip of iconic musicians and celebrities, but my fondest memory was probably being asked to kick it with Ghostface before a particular in-store and signing. We talked about bubblegum, inflatable floats, and martial arts. Dude is entertaining, but so random.
How did working in a record store shape your career?
There aren't enough hours in a day to be exposed to the amount of music employees at Amoeba are exposed to on the daily. I owe my musical foundation to my parents and Amoeba and my co-workers. They truly know their music. I made a commitment to study any piece of music that came my way, and as a result, it shaped my acceptance of all styles and gave me a lot of inspiration that I still find today. I'm grateful for that work experience and I'm not mad at that employee discount, if you know what I mean.
You've also worked as a former entertainment director of Eve Lounge. Did being a DJ influence your booking choices?
Eve gave me a unique opportunity to book DJs I admire and challenge them to experiment with new sounds. I booked a lot of homies and I also reached out to anyone I felt could hold it down. I built relationships with so many ill DJs in the process. I've never been into politics so I don't care who knows whom, or who's beefing with whom. The business is crucial, but at the end of the day, it's all about the vibe, the music, and bridging the gap between communities. It's hard for clubs to maintain their identity, but I think Eve has done a great job. They're fun and throw fly events.
Why do you think there's such a huge gap between a bottle service clubs' music choices versus an underground party?
One of the reasons I left the business side of things was to actively participate in bridging these gaps. You can't do that at only one venue. I'm a fan of Jaime Jones, Disclosure, and house music, just as much as I'm a fan of Willie Colón and Latin music, or Kendrick Lamar, Dilla, and hip-hop. That's the beauty of San Francisco; you can experience all of this in one night. Maybe not in the same club, but definitely in the same night. Apart from working at Amoeba, touring with MTV years back allowed me to really expand my musical palate. I had to keep it current for the most part, but I always mixed in what I thought was fresh and was listening to at the time. In my opinion, DJs and promoters need to ruffle some feathers and experiment with merging different types of dance music at their parties. The Red Bull Thr3style is a great example. I think we have a responsibility to think outside the box and get creative with our art.
Having that experience, what is the most important aspect to pay attention to when booking a DJ?
DJs who build a fan base, promote, drop mixes, and hopefully produce their own music, [those] are important aspects. If you're passionate about your work, it'll show and you'll rock it. I'm not an expert when it comes to booking DJs, but from my experience, it's in everyone's best interest to work together toward a common goal. Everyone's gotta eat, but it's more valuable to grow with whatever venue and fan base a DJ is working with. It's all about longevity; easy money comes and goes.
Who are some local producers that influenced your career?
The amount of talent in the Bay, past and present, is incomprehensible. I wouldn't be doing us justice if I only spoke of a couple producers. I draw my influence from a lot of close peers and folks from afar.
Why do you think DJs should produce more music these days?
Versatility. If you're making your own music, it's just more exciting. I support a lot of DJs because I'm a fan of their productions. And I want to hear their music live and direct. I think DJs who produce their own music have a better chance of prolonging their careers and staying on the radar. Even releasing edits or remixes, just putting quality music out.
You're also part of an electronic soul group, 40Love. Tell us a little about your work with them.
40Love was conceived in 2007, 40 years after the Summer of Love here in the city. We get together whenever possible and create beautiful music. Everyone, individually, is a gifted artist with a unique style and infinite potential. We're all working on individual projects, but we'll link again when the time is right. 40Love and all of our supporters will always be family.
What's your personal favorite remix/track that you worked on this past year?
I've been working closely with Mikos, who also produced for 40Love and produces a lot of amazing work in his own right. We're currently working on some soul, disco, and bass DJ edits and an EP of some original blaps. I guess everything new we create is my favorite. We're always trying to grow from our previous work. I'm learning a lot in the process and it's an incredible new chapter in my career. We'll be releasing new material through our SoundCloud.