Laser Native Label Founders on Their Two-Year Anniversary, Emerging Artists, and “Vibular Activation”

For those that enjoy breaking a sweat on the dancefloor, there’s often nothing more satisfying than feeling the crowd around you vibing and pulsating to the same beats and rhythms. For the past two years, local record label Laser Native has been releasing music and putting on events that cultivates the saying, “Your vibe, attracts your tribe.” Founded by artists Devo (Vitamindevo) and Dan (Lt. Daaan), Laser Native has contributed greatly to the local dance scene by putting an emphasis on showcasing up-and-coming producers and DJs established in the Bay Area.

We got a chance to talk to the duo about their upcoming release on July 18, record label and two-year anniversary party. Laser Native record label's anniversary party happens tonight, [7/7] at Monarch with BOT headlining. 

[jump] Give us a brief history of how each of you got into DJing.

Devo (DV): I had grown up in a musical household, and back then I thought a DJ was someone who played weddings, and birthday parties. It wasn’t until my much older roommate in college got a pair of turntables, and took me to my first warehouse party, that I was hooked. I was a bedroom DJ for roughly 3 years before I ever played in front of a crowd, my styles were all over the place, ordering vinyl and digging for tracks that I felt like flowed into some sort of story. I really do feel like Burning Man although I don’t want to admit it, has had a lot to do with the sound and styles I have grown along with.

Dan (D): My passion for DJing really got kick started when I attended Burning Man for the first time. It was there that I saw DJs of all different styles performing in a wild environment. I guess I really was drawn to the opportunity that DJing affords for self-expression while also requiring a deep commitment to engaging with the community that is present in real-time during your set. From then on I was obsessed.

What were some of the inspirations behind starting Laser Native?

DV: After being part of a handful of Burning Man camps over the past 12 years, and that whole world, I wanted to start something outside of that space, but that bumped along the edge of it. I was producing music that didn’t necessarily fit with other labels and their predefined sound. I was also hearing so much good music from brand new artists and young artists, and I knew there had to be a way for us all to grow together, under one tribe.

D: There are so many amazing DJ crews / collectives that are established in SF. I think I really wanted to contribute something personal and unique to the scene. Devo and I are committed to both putting on dynamic and fun events for the audience and we are also equally committed to planning events that treat all of the professionals involved – DJs, artists, VJs, volunteers, everybody – with respect and making sure they all know that their contribution is invaluable.

How did you guys come up with the name?

DV: We started with a saying, “Your vibe, attracts your tribe” that was our guiding light in coming up with a name. We had vision boards, certain songs, and styles of music that we felt connected to. To break it down, Laser is the technology that is all around us, the instruments we use to modulate the sonic waves that move us. Native is us, its the people, the group, it’s you, it’s everyone that shows up and dances with us endlessly into the night. They feed off each other, the music provides a space for us all to move, and we align the music to the movement. It’s the yin and yang of where we are now with so much technology at our fingertips, we have to remind ourselves what we are without it. The woman’s face who defines our icon, was created as a beacon, she is a warrior, yet her eyes are soft, you can gaze upon them and feel at home, feel connected.

What are some of the things you guys are hoping to accomplish with this label?

DV: Laser Native is a space for the artists’ music who we can’t help but vibe too. I am constantly blown away with the level of talent out there, and we can only hope to bring in new artists you haven’t heard before, along with some new styles you didn’t know you needed until you found yourself melting on a dance floor alongside some new found friends. We would love to bring the sound of Laser Native and the vibe on the road when the right opportunity presents itself.
You guys emphasize supporting local emerging producers and talent. What are some concepts important to you about cultivating a vibrant local music scene?

D: Up-and-coming talent first and foremost need spaces where they can gain experience and exposure. This is true both from a performance aspect and from a publishing/distribution aspect. Having a label and putting on consistent events allows us to cultivate a space where emerging artists can get some exposure and test out their material.

Who are some local producers on your radars right now?

D: A few local produces who are starting to make a big impact right now are 219 Boys, Grensta and Lenny Kiser to name a few.

DV: Besides our ultra faves that Dan mentioned we have a few new artists up our sleeves; I wouldn’t want to give them up until we start releasing their tunes. Some additional faves who have been rocking their ways up and down the West Coast are Fritz Carlton, Ghostea, A-Fox and NYC’s Eelrack to name a few.

Because both of you have solo DJ/production careers, what was the biggest change in your working dynamic when you teamed up?

DV: Playing with Dan is nothing short of fun, I’m constantly challenged yet excited with almost every tune he drops. We have a mini pow wow before where we talk about what the event is like and what direction we want to head in, but for the most part it’s freestyle. I feel like our tunes vibe very well, yet have their own flavor.

D: Devo and I have enjoyed a really natural workflow together from the start. I think the biggest change was just in terms of time management. Both Devo and I have full time jobs outside of music so making sure there to schedule in time to both work on personal projects and label projects has been challenging.

Tell us a little about your upcoming release on July 18.

D: Our July 18 release is an exciting two track EP from local artist Lenny Kiser. Lenny is an amazing producer and is well known in the Bay Area because he runs his own music production school called Sequence One and he also heads up the Bay Area Ableton Meetup Group. Lenny has a really unique and fun style. His original productions are always crowd favorites so we are stoked to be unleashing his tunes this month.

How does it feel to be able to celebrate two years of the label this Thursday?

DV: I’m blown away that it’s been two years; it all was just an idea that came to fruition through hard work, and consistency. Laser Native is young and we have many years ahead of us, we are so appreciative of all the people who have stuck with us since the very beginning, and continue to do so, we can’t do it without you!

D: It’s a cliché, but I’m amazed at how fast time flies! It really doesn’t feel like it’s been two years already.

What's something about the nightlife scene you ask yourself that we haven't asked you?

DV+D: What can we do to provide a space for our tribe new and old to grow, to feel safe and open. How can we hold ourselves to a higher standard, pushing both the sound quality, positivity and vibular activation? With a stripe of paint on your face you are one with the Laser Native tribe, enter with an open mind, and leave with an open heart.

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