As I begin drafting my Dirtybird Campout recap, I find myself wanting to learn more about some of the cool interesting individuals I met during the festival. One of them being an artist that goes by the name Love Tap.
Love Tap and I actually had been in contact for quite some time, but it wasn’t until Dirtybird Campout that we spontaneously met. I had been walking back with Corey and his friend after the Family Set had ended and we happened upon the grassy renegade right next to the outdoor movie theatre section. I had heard from a friend of mine, Jacob Massey, that he had played the renegade a day or two prior so I decided to go towards the front to see if he was around.
Spoiler alert: he was there. To my surprise, I turn to my right and right there in front of me is the lad from down unda: Fisher. If I remember correctly, either Love Tap or someone he knew came up to Jacob and some others and asked if he could help him out with putting up the LED screen that was up behind the DJ booth. One thing led to another and we talked for a little bit and I mentioned I wanted to publish an interview with him.
And so, here we are with an in-depth interview with Love Tap. He’s been in the game for a while and he has some really incredibly motivating and endearing words.
Love Tap, thank you for being interested in doing this interview with me! Let’s start of with some basics, where are you from?
I’m originally from St. Louis, and Chicago and have lived in multiple spots in the continental U.S. I’m located i San Francisco specifically, Nob Hill. I have decided to stay here for a while as I’m really liking the scene here. Beyond the people, there’s always so many great artists booked at so many different events so regularly.
And what were you doing prior to music?
Actually, I have been a musician for most of my life. It began when I started playing the guitar and bass in the concert choir at age 12. From there, I moved onto turntablism, beat juggling, cutting, scratching and finally mixing at around 15 years old on Technics 1200’s. And the rest is interesting!
At one point, I even tried to get through Music Theory III, but I really didn’t know two hand music reading on both bass and treble clefs, so I moved on to Computer Science. Right now, I’m learning production, track mastering, and going in depth on vocal processing for my pieces, which is a lot of fun seeing the progress and magic pop off.
In general, what does music do for you?
Music makes me want to pass on a really happy, fun, free energy that are brought out by the rhythms, instruments, bass lines, and the particular sounds that make up any particular song. It generates love by taking what’s already been done sometimes and improving or changing it to make it unique and magical (i.e. remixes).
As an artist, I love to pleasantly surprise and engage your ears with something that you’ve never thought possible in combination whether it’s accentuating certain sounds or tweaking something that’s already on a killer beat such as the melody or lyrics.
Music is a way for us transcend and brighten our minds and our lives. So that’s my main drive, to shift the overall mood into a cool place, really rock your world with my sounds to the point of even changing your strict purist outlook if that’s what you had prior: i.e. a house purist, techno only please, turned simply lover of really good music. Freedom is one of the most important aspects to music, so that liberal edge is my forte as an artist, and lover of music.
How’d you decide on DJ/Mixing and/or Producing? Why?
I decided that I wanted to be able to mix quickly and montage pieces together like a Bad Boy Bill mix or Craze, and have those turntablist aspects in my skill set, yet have a smooth mixing capability as a DJ as well, so a lot of versatility so the mixes aren’t so predictable and can be seen from several angles of appreciation. Usually it doesn’t work out like that since most people are very compartmentalized when it comes to mixing tastes, where a cut and scratch is banned from what they might consider a great set, or versa, where they don’t want a long, slow, smooth, extra blended mix.
How long have you been DJ/Mixing and/or Producing?
I’ve been DJ/mixing for 13 years and producing for 6 years.
How did you come up with your artist name?
DJ Love Tap refers to music as it is a labor of love. My label is called Love Time Records (LTR – a long term relationship and love of music). More philosophically, someone may need to get tapped with some love to open their mind to different styles, ideas, genres, and that’s saying they need to get that needle out of one groove and into another to grow as a person: sometimes we all need a nudge or a Love Tap to get us to another level in refinement, discernment, or whatever it is the universe deems necessary to revolutionize our life and take us to a new outlook/perspective.
Given that you’ve been in this scene for quite some time. How do you feel about the current status of DJ’s?
Most DJ’s I see are always “tapping” that Cue button, which I never do. What I like to do is place the board on the “Vinyl” setting and scratch the incoming track in on the first bass beat and then let the track begin, which is a carry over from being a hands on turntable technician, as well as an operator of the vinyl on the Technic 1200’s. This is something I take a lot of pride in: building the scratching and cutting smoothly put over a fast beat of 124 to 128 or so.. sometimes 160’s if it’s Drum & Bass.
Can you tell us one of your most memorable experiences that you’ve gone through throughout your career as an artist?
My most memorable experience in my life has got to be seeing Danny the Wildchild bring the house down, pause the show and then bring it back into a frenzy in a matter of seconds. He had the place on pins and needles… that was in Chicago, and to this day, he still has great chops. It was such a strong performance with such great technical prowess on both the mixing and the beat juggling/scratch front. It was utterly life changing.
Any clubs, venues, or festivals you have played that really stuck out to you?
There are number of great clubs that I played that I liked a lot: Oz in St. Louis, Great Northern in SF (their sound system was notable), Halcyon in SF (sound and lights are amazing), and Audio in SF (awesome sound as well). The Armory located in SF was a very impressive venue. We had an armory in St. Louis, which was about the same massive size, but this venue here is so top knotch with all the bathroom stalls (I think there’s like 300 bathroom stalls and I’m like,” OMG this is like Death Star massive”).
I was also was impressed with the Dirtybird Campout on how well organized that was with so much going on. They could have kept it simpler, but it’s better that it isn’t since it’s that much more interesting (that’s my idea of a good party or venue, going that extra step to make it much more fun, and it works the same with songwriting.
So, you were part of a renegade set up for this year’s DirtyBird Campout. How did it go?
I set up a disco ball that was hanging in the sky in the middle of a field in “Take a Seat”, where I took a seat, and then I became engulfed in a sea of tents and cars the next day. At that point I hardly knew where anything was because it was so filled in and jam packed but I love a crowd, and the neighbors were a lot of fun to kick it with and showed a lot of appreciation for my renegade. I decided not to bring my big 5000 Watt speakers and used my Tesla to power everything. My neighbors came over and invited me to play on their much louder system, and I got a lot of positive feedback on my mixing and cutting in scratching abilities. I had also been getting my original tracks down to a fine science in how I throw them together with all my other tracks and perfectly matching them so I can slam jack from side to side. So I got a lot of people approaching me and letting me know how gifted they thought I was, which is so awesome to hear.
All those years DJing have definitely paid off on in experience points, I feel fully confident that I could rock like a slick beast magician on the wheels with all the expertise gained over time. I’m thinking of putting a renegade together next year with an RV and my own lighting gear set up. I have a couple of really great DJs in mind for my new label who have also contributed to remixing some of the Love Powder LP.
I’ve also put a LGBT Dirtybird Campout East and West group together with Dirtybird Records’ official blessing. This will accompany my future unity parties in bringing in new diverse groups of people together as well as genres and artists under one big roof. I look forward to seeing everybody getting together and realizing their similarities rather than their differences, that we’re all brothers and sisters under the stars.
Overall, how was your Dirtybird Campout experience?
I had an incredible time at this year‘s dirty bird camp out and met so many people and a lot of the dirty Bird artists in person, and made so many friends. It’s an amazing experience and I will forever be grateful that I am in this time and location with the financial means to be able to enjoy what I think of is the ultimate experience available on the planet when it comes to Electronic Dance Music. If you know me, I am super high energy and never slow down, so my legs are still hurting from dancing nonstop and walking from renegade to renegade to see what was all out there.
To boot, I feel like I got in touch with some of the best people to have ever met due to the fact that you just end up having great taste in getting exposed to the DirtyBird Records Label. I plan on putting several of their artists into my future events in next year’s Love Generator parties. I’m thinking break dance competitions, comedians, drag queens, hip-hop, DMC DJ scratch battles, and a hot ass contest, all rolled up into one big Unity Party that brings together a whole bunch of different groups and cultures that have so much to bring to the table. That will be a chapter of my life that I will be extremely proud and happy to have brought to the world – Love Generator, keep your eyes out. I am also thinking of giving a greater purpose by involving the human rights campaign and environmental groups to change and save our planet from ecological disaster and preserve things for future generations so we can keep on dancing.
In your opinion, is there a moment where an artist realizes they’ve “made it”? Or is it more of a lifelong quest?
I’ve never been someone to think that one thing is going to make me, since someone will have another perspective. I try to keep an even keel and try to stay level headed, but I think I have some really fire hits on my LP “Love Powder” that are definite ear turners, like “Poppin Beats”, “She a Crazy Bit” and “Play Ball”, where I’m thinking, I really hit it out the park. If I pretended to not be so objective, I could tell you those are the dopest tracks written of 2018, but again I try to remain as level-headed as can be.
As a DJ, I’ve had many times playing where people just came up and told me I was the best mixing, selection, and then had all the turntable skills that shone out and really that made their night. It’s always great when you have everyone flee the main big room to smash into the 2nd room that you’re playing, which has happened on several occasion, that’s my secret hidden talent (dance floor displacement).
But I don’t think I’ve made it yet especially since I still don’t get a lot of time to hustle up gigs in San Francisco, and I’m moving towards that, as well as hunting talent for the label I just started up, Love Time Records. It’s a labor of love, and I’m sure it will grow and I’ll have a lot of appreciation, support, and love from friends and grow a family, that it what makes you as an artist. I’m already getting a lot of positive feedback online, which is vindication when any single person hits me up telling me they really got into a mix or an original track. The San Francisco family is very welcoming, so that’s a “made it already” feeling when you know there’s already an open-minded, supportive an accepting group here that work with you.
Do you feel like nowadays you can’t experience the music the same as you did when you were just a listener?
I always feel like my outlook is progressing and changing as a listener especially since I’ve started producing. I can enjoy and accept anything from very minimal while also enjoy something vibrant and mildly commercially-friendly breaks like Deekline or Bassbin Twins. I consider myself to be well-versed in genres and try not to let myself get stuck in one mentality where I only like a certain kind of music. I listen to all kinds of music to constantly push myself.
Music is my life and I always wanna be able to say, “heyyy. I hope that made your day, night, worth going out for and totally worth living. Aw shit, ‘Let me look that Love Tap character up.’ “
Favorite Artist or Favorite Track right now?
I really like Walker & Royce’s “Why Tho” , Uberzone’s “Punk Bitch”, and Weiss’ “Feel My Needs”. Also just about anything by Bassbin Twins, Jeremy Joshua, Steve Darko, Justin Martin, and anything off of Christian Martin’s label Trippy Ass Technologies. Be sure to peep the “Speaker Freaker” remixes. So many favorites right now. I think Worthy and Ardalan have got to be my favorites local on the performances so far, as well as the Funky Teknomics and Wicked crew on DJ’ing locally.
Any other upcoming Artists and/or new Tracks we should know?
I had an LP called Love Powder that dropped this past summer on July 27th, so check that out, and pass the love on with a repost or like. I’m on there with Mir Wave and Adri is killer on vocals. I put in a lot of hard work into that.
Any mixes/tracks of your we should check out?
For mixes, you can check out my Soundcloud or Mixcloud. One of my mixes titled “Spring Dream” is a really amazing vocal mix and if you’re in for a massive genre blend with turntablism, breaks, house, techno all rolled into one, then, check out the “I Feel Better” mix.
Do you have any cool shows or projects in the future?
As far as projects go, there’s an amazing DJ/Producer, Butthard Montroche, as well as more works with Mir Wave, Adri, and planning on throwing a quarterly sometime beginning next year with some great DJ’s in the lineup. I’m working on getting my record label, Love Time Records some new artists, as A & R, and also gigs for this DJ Love Tap. So I’ll be knocking down doors and working on getting out the studio and into the clubs and events in the next years here in the Bay Area. Thanks for all the love and support from everyone up in the scene so far.
Do you have any people in the scene you’d like to work with?
Actually, if you’re reading this and know any really great DJ/Producers that are interested after hearing the music on my LP and LTR label, feel free to connect with me!
Also, check out my YouTube page for event montage videos that are funny and sum up what I’ve been up to. Hit me up if you have a collaboration idea, and have the chops.
Any last words for all those out there?
Whether you believe in god or not, there’s a lot of beauty to show through music before you leave this place to the next realm. Most importantly, love yourself and enjoy as much of much of it as you can while you have your senses and are living in this finite body. Don’t limit yourself with limiting thoughts when it comes to music. The world already has too many barriers and dividing factors whereas, music unites people. Let it be a uniting factor, a way to love life and jam out through all your circumstances.
Stay tuned for my Dirtybird Campout recap writeup to come in the next week or so! I really want to let everything sink in and write the piece to the best of my ability.
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