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ONE WAY DJ
When Nathan arrived in San Francisco, he bagan exploring the world of West Coast House. He worked for several years in the for BPM records and a start-up called Groovetech and in 2003 he launched his own record label, Care Recordings, The focus of the label is deep house for the dancefloor. Keep your ears to the ground - you can here it bubbling up from the depths!
DJ Nathan was kind enough to chat with Famous about his background as a DJ, his record label and his upcoming gig in Fresno.
What kind of music did you grow up with, what was playing in your house as a kid?
My dad listened to classic rock and some bluegrass and some blues.
What sort of music did you listen to as you got older?
In my later teenage years, I went quite a few years before I got into house, and at that time I listened to Jane's Addiction, a lot of what was called alternative music and a lot of classic rock. Pink Floyd and U2 ...
Do you think that influence comes out in the way you make music now?
I am sure it does in some way, to some extent. My tastes changed over time, when I was skateboarding I got into stuff like dead milkmen...
When did you first start getting into house music?
Where I grew up there wasn't anything like that, we didn't get and 80's music, no New Wave. You really had to go and seek it out ...
Where did you grow up?
In Southwest Virgina. I was living there, and there was this guy who told me about a party in DC and we ended making the drive up there. That was the first time I had really heard house. I walked into this party and I was blown away.
Who was DJing that night? Do you remember?
I don't remember who it was exactly, but at that time it was usually more east coast guys, like DJ Scott Henry and Charles Feelgood. The Chocolate Factory guys would come down to DC once in awhile.
So how long did it take you to pick up your first pair of turntables?
Not too long. Where I was living, I couldn't hear the music and so I would have to go to the parties to hear the music. I ended up buying crappy compilations and I would call the college radio station and ask them to play house and just I couldn't find it. I couldn't get the 12 inches. I think I got a turntable in '94 and then I started getting records here and there.
What were some of the first records you picked up back then?
Progressive and break-y records. Back then I couldn't just go to the store and find the records I was looking for. I'd call up record stores in different towns and have them play the records on the phone and then if I liked what I heard I would have them send it.
I could see how that would be frustrating. At what point did you decide to move to San Francisco?
I started checking out west coast and SF raves and as soon as I graduated from school I got a one-way plane ticket. I had never been here before then. I figured if I didn't like it, I could always go back.
What brought you to San Francisco, rather than New York or wherever?
I liked the history of the city. It had a reputation for being friendly place and livable and more of a European city. A city you can hang out in and call your home. I didn't move back. I didn't even go back home to visit for almost five years.
When does your album hit the streets?
It was released a week and half ago. It's called "First Light" by 3brotherstrong. We have info on where you get it on the Care Recordings website. It is pretty much everywhere. [DJ Jordan's store] Ditrec has some copies.
I love the picture you have on the front of your website, the picture of the headphones lying in a field of grass.
It just sort of happened. I took a picture while I was lying in the park. I liked the idea of the organic natural with technology. We've got lots of good stuff on the webpage.
Why did you start Care Recordings?
I had done a lot of stuff in the industry. I worked as a distributor at BPM records, I ran Groovetech, and after it faded I was making music with friends. At the time it was hard to get stuff out if you were an unknown. Care Recordings became a form of expression and a way to get the music I was making out there.
How is this release different then your previous releases? "Catch Me "Island Dreams" "Jah Calling"?
I'd say that it is a little bit different in that I'm learning my way around the software. Essentially it is still an organic, deep, dub-y house sound and while I'm experimenting with sounds and production and the sound has advanced, but it is still in the same vein.
I was reading the bio on your websiteand it seems you do a lot of international travel. In your opinion is there a strong international House scene?
There is in some ways. A lot of the Deep House scene is being played at smaller venues and smaller parties, weeknights and Sunday gigs, and most places seem to be into harder stuff and progressive. SF is unique in that way, the Deep House sound dominates and in most other places it is a niche ...
What's your favorite place to spin?
Place to spin? The End Up [in San Francisco]. You can get away with anything. They are up for it, for dancing. They are enthusiastic, there are a great variety of people and the attraction is the variety, there are people of different ages, gay, straight, you've got everyone from everyday clubbers to curiosity seekers.
DJ Nathan will be spinning at Club Fred on Wednesday, June 15th with DJ Jordan. You can check out Nathan's website at CareRecordings.com.