One of our very own SCers is taking the stage tomorrow at Cine/Spin! Get to the BAM/PFA on 2626 Bancroft Way at 7:30 pm to hear Eszair spin!
Tell us a little about yourself.
Twenty year old DJ hailing from Taipei, Taiwan with a passion for the poetry of visual arts and sound.
How did you get into DJing?
I started DJing at Fusion Radio in Toronto last year under the mentorship of some older DJs who also worked at the station. I had the opportunity to host my own live show called “Mix Mentality” which was an amazing experience that really helped me develop the craft.
What was your favorite experience as a DJ?
I love and appreciate every single one of my experiences as a DJ. I think most of all, I enjoy deciphering and adapting to the vibe of whichever party, venue, or event I am at, and providing the right music that makes people happy. The constant interplay between their energy and mine is invigorating, and the ultimate gratification comes from just knowing that everyone is enjoying what I’m spinning and mixing. It’s still nerve-racking at times, but I know I’m doing something right when they start dancing on the tables.
Could you give a little insight into your creative/spinning process?
I listen to live sets or radio podcasts from my favorite DJs and pay attention to their transitions so that I can learn from them. I also frequently scour these sets through Youtube and Soundcloud for tracks that can become my latest obsessions. Then I incorporate all the tracks I like and record a new mix which I upload to share. For specific events, I try to get a feel for the air it is trying to exude by communicating with the event-coordinators, and then compile playlists with pertinent tracks to spin and mix live the day of.
Cine/Spin is this Friday, April 19th at 7:30 pm at the BAM/PFA in case y’all haven’t heard! Rigo C. will be starting the score off and you better not miss it!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I like to mix all kinds of music ranging from Dirty Dutch, Electro House, Dubstep, Hip-hop, and Top 40. I also DJ at all sorts of venues such as clubs, frats, co-ops, and house parties. I’ve been doing this for almost three years now, although I had contemplated doing so for at least five years.
What inspired you to be a DJ and make electronic music?
The initial determining factor in becoming a DJ, like perhaps many others can relate, was my strong passion for music of all genres. DJing was just the means of conveying this; there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a crowd up people dancing to your music or complementing you on a set.
Who are some of your music inspirations and how have they influenced your music?
Most of the music that I’ve worked on are unfinished projects on ableton that I initiated and failed to complete because I was unsatisfied with the way they sounded. I’m a perfectionist by nature which is probably why this has been the case, that and a busy schedule. In terms of musical selection, I used to listen to live sets by popular EDM DJs and got ideas as to how to mix music but lately I’ve been more into underground beats, watching the boiler room series on youtube.
What was it like to score a film? Did it present any challenges?
It was definitely different to anything that I had done in the past, and it made me really work on selecting tracks that in a way narrated the scenes that I was assigned. I watched my section several times and mixed the music simultaneously before I was satisfied with the outcome. Having to play generally more mellow tunes was a bit of a challenge as well since I’m used to mixing more upbeat productions.
And in what ways was it different and/or similar to your usual process?
Generally I play music taking the crowd into account and, based on their reactions, I can calibrate what works and doesn’t. What didn’t change was looking for the ideal cue points in order to make my transitions as smooth as possible or the use of tracks by producers that I admire. Lastly, I’m glad I was granted the opportunity for it was quite an enjoyable endeavour.
Ben Sudduth, aka Cool Hundo, will be our second DJ in the lineup on this Friday’s L@TE: Cine/Spin at the BAM/PFA. We’re real pleased to have this three time Cine/Spin DJ on board with us again! The show starts at 7:30 pm. Be sure to check him out and see his moves in action!
How’d you get your start as a DJ?
I began making electronic music in high school, inspired by the goofy, bassy sounds of the hyphy movement. After making simple rap beats for a bit, I started to focus more on instrumental beats, self-releasing a handful of mixtapes under the name Sudman as part of the duo Plan 9. About three years ago, I started DJ’ing parties on campus, mostly at the Berkeley Student Coops. At the BSC, I met fellow Cine/Spin DJ Patrick Lotilla, who I’ve shared the stage with many times and whom I hold partially responsible for my love for the airhorn as a sound effect. This is my fourth year participating in Cine/Spin, and every year it has been a special experience.
You’ve been a seasoned Cine/Spin DJ. What’s been your favorite Cine/Spin moment so far?
For Cine/Spin 2011, I had the pleasure of spinning to the German Expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. I worked really hard and prepared an original score for my chapter of the film. There is a moment in my chapter where a sonambulist (read: sleepwalker/zombie) breaks into a young maiden’s home and brandishes a knife over her as she sleeps. In my score, I tried to create some serious tension as the knife slowly approaches her, and then i left a small beat of silence as the sleepwalker pauses. Several beats later, the girl startles awake in dramatic fashion. I prepared a loud, startling synth sound to correspond with this action - WAAOW! - and it really caught everybody in the audience off-guard. I heard some genuinely shocked exclamations, as well as some laughter and whatnot. It was very special to elicit such a visceral reaction from a crowd.
How would you describe your musical style?
It’s hard to say, because each beat I make comes from a different point of inspiration, or whatever. I work in a hip-hop format, always with a strong backbeat, and I like to combine samples as well as synthetic sounds. Like every musician, my style can be traced back to my influences - RZA and the Wu-Tang Clan, Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus, Miles Davis. I’ve always drawn a bit of inspiration from the cinematic world, too - sampling film scores by Ennio Morricone and borrowing chunks of music, dialogue and sounds from plenty of other films. I have about three songs based on the music and sounds of Caddyshack.
Do you have a dream film you’d like to spin to?
Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa - aesthetically beautiful, poetic and poignant, but also features plenty of drinking, fighting and comedy. Sounds like the perfect summation of my artistic vision!
What was in your parent’s or sibling’s record/tape collection that got you into music?
My dad spent most of his life recording guitar bands, so there was plenty of rock music around - The Band, The Beatles, etc. But the two records that spoke to me the most were Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way and A Tribute to Jack Johnson.
What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made DJing? (and you better not do it this time)
2012 Cine/Spin - drank a big Red Bull and had to piss for the duration of a 70-minute film. Fortunately nobody was hurt.
What was the first album you could listen to on repeat and why?
I can and will listen to the Beach Boy’s Pet Sounds on repeat for days. The songs are simple and relatable, yet the world of sound behind the songs is crafted so brilliantly that you can soak it in, pick it apart or simply appreciate it for ages.
LinksAnd, as a bonus, here are a few videos from his past Cine/Spin sets. They’re rad, and this one will be too.Cine/Spin 2011 - The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - (original score)
Patrick Lotilla will be DJing our 7th annual Cine/Spin this Friday, April 19th at 7:30 pm. This is his third consecutive time spinning for us and we’re stoked to have him back!
Give us a lil’ info about yourself.
I’ve been DJ’ing seriously for about 3 years now, on KALX 90.7 as DJ Fish and under my own name for a variety of events ranging from dance parties to museum receptions. In the past 3 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to open for Nosaj Thing when SUPERB brought him to CAL and to share the stage with Shlohmo, Groundislava, and Ghosts on Tape. As of right now, I spin every so often for the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, the Firehouse Art Collective, and the Berkeley Student Cooperative. Also, I’m really into weird electronic music – wonky and atmospheric!
What do you enjoy most about DJing for cine/spin?
I like completing the cinematic experience. Music is so important to films and could totally change the way viewers experience a scene so I think it’s really neat that I can provide my own reinterpretations.
What is most challenging about spinning to a film?
Being precise and appropriate in selecting music despite not having encountered situations I’ve experienced before. If you’ve never experienced trench warfare, it’d be really difficult to choose music for a trench warfare scene.
Do you have a dream film you’d like to spin to?
Spring Breakers!… j/k… Seriously though, I think it’s a tie between Koyaanisqatsi or Begotten.
What music have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been rinsing Legowelt’s EP from 2003 “Tower of the Gipsies” and this mix by local DJ Matrixxman titled “WR 004” !
Any advice for new DJs?
Take your time figuring out what you really like to listen to and spend a lot of time listening to unfamiliar music or even music you don’t like. It’s a good thing to surprise yourself.
David Kirshenbaum will perform at L@TE: Cine/Spin on Friday, April 19, 2013 at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive. The event will start at 7:30 PM. We talked to David to hear about his music experience and his approach to scoring Keystone Kops’ short film, “Love, Speed, and Thrills.” Here’s what he had to say:
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve been writing, playing, and recording music since I was ten years old. A kid’s interests are constantly changing, but the first time I played a piano I knew music was what I wanted to do, and over ten years later I feel the same sense of excitement from creating sounds as I did then. My goal when making music is to elicit in the listener some of the same emotions I experience while playing it. While some people feel discontent for the current state of music, I feel really lucky to live in a time where technology has allowed more people than ever access to creating their own music and to be able to work within such an expansive and collaborative musical landscape. In addition to my own music, I’m always trying to work with as many different musicians as possible and am always excited about the potential for a new project.
What experience do you have with creating music for films, if any?
The first film that I worked on kind of happened by accident. I posted a song that I had recently finished at my home studio online and a student at Boston University working on her thesis film contacted me to see if she could use the song. I ended up scoring more of her film, which then won the Redstone and Redstone West Film Festivals. I also scored a movie that recently went to the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. The majority of the music I wrote for that film was for a scene at a middle school talent show, so I wrote it from the perspective of what kind of beat a 7th or 8th grader would make, so it was really fun to write music like I was really young again.
You will be scoring the short film at the beginning of the event, “Love, Speed, and Thrills”, what has inspired your new score to this classic?
I really want to see if it’s possible to evoke a different emotion than the one that a viewer might initially perceive from the film. I think that sound plays such a large role in what a viewer experiences when watching a film that this is a really cool opportunity to explore that idea and play around with their emotional response. It also goes along with it being a comedy that there is comedic quality to music when it is counterintuitive and that can be just as powerful a form of comedy as the actual imagery.
Other than scoring films, what kind of music do you make?
I think it’s kind of twofold. I do a lot of writing on my own, which is more stream-of-consciousness, it varies in genre because it is very reflective of the place I’m in when I write it. And then I also do a lot of production and co-writing with other artists, which I think is more deliberate, I’m trying to accommodate their preferences, and not to say one is less valuable than the other, but they are just two different approaches to making music. I think both, in combination with each other, lend themselves to making music for film. That’s how film ended up being this third step. I originally started making my own music, went on to produce other people’s music and then ended up composing music for film.
It’s your first time performing at Cine/Spin, how are you approaching this task and what are you excited about?
I think what’s really exciting about Cine/Spin is that it falls in line with a lot of my musical projects lately. I’m really interested in electronic music and how that’s performed and the idea of live performance using instruments with aspects of DJing is something that I’ve been trying to develop for my live performances. Since this is a DJ centric event, it will be interesting to see how I can incorporate what the DJs are doing but also incorporate a live element that will hopefully be exciting for people.
Where can we find out more about you and your future musical projects?
Right now, my main musical project is my band, The Form, which consists of me and a collaborator in Boston. Our music can be found on www.soundcloud.com/the-form. As far as the future goes, I have a lot of exciting projects I’m working on and when it’s time for them to have a web presence I will definitely update people on www.facebook.com/theformmusic, so that would be a good place to check in the coming months. Also, feel free to send me a message through that page if you are interested in collaborating on a project!
March 15, 2013 - March 23, 2013
Each year, the Center for Asian American Media brings us the best in contemporary cinema from Asia and the Asian diaspora. The thirty-first installment of this adventurous festival at the PFA Theater features films and documentaries from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and a real rarity, a feature film from North Korea.
In conjunction with the festival’s special highlight on filmmakers from Singapore, we devote an Afterimage series to the sometimes controversial director Royston Tan. Tan introduces three films and joins artist and critic Valerie Soe in conversation following the screening of the provocative 15, a film heavily censored upon its first release. We also present two films by the great Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul in recognition of his video installation Morakot (Emerald), now on view in the galleries as part of our MATRIX Program: his newest, Mekong Hotel, and the 2010 Cannes Grand Prize–winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
And each year, this bold film festival, previously known as the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, brings us unexpected surprises. This year, it’s a name change–welcome to the new CAAMFest!
- Steve Seid, Video Curator
Come join us for CAAMFest 2013! If you’ve already missed out on the weird and wonderful first three days, don’t worry, there are still plenty of films left for you to enjoy. (I shed tears for all those who missed Seeking Asian Female) Some of the directors include Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Royston Tan, Sion Sono and Deepa Dhanraj. Take a break from the midterm madness and check out the upcoming films at the BAM/PFA website: http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/filmseries/CAAM_2013.