Night a DJ Saved My Life
647 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 Map
As founder of Dub Mission,
one of the most successful and long-running Sunday night parties in San Francisco,
DJ Sep has truly blazed the way for women DJs here in the Bay Area and nationwide.
Spinning all forms of reggae, dancehall and the like, she has truly raised awareness
culturally and musically about dub music. With a list of accomplishments, it’s
no wonder she has gained the respect and love of many DJs. Taking time to speak
with SF Station, the humble and gracious DJ Sep shares her thoughts.
Station (SFS): What got you into DJing?
DJ Sep (S):
I’ve always been into music. A friend of mine was a DJ at a local college
station KUSF so I started volunteering there. Sometime later I got my own show,
and a few years after that, I started DJing in clubs. It continues to be great
fun and an education.
SFS: You spin all forms of music,
but are most recognized for dub music. Why dub?
because it’s the type of music I’m most passionate about and because
of how long Dub Mission has been around. I find it the most incredibly versatile
form of music. A dub song can be hard-charging or soulful, danceable or heady,
and still be a dub song. It can have memorable lyrics and be notable for its sound
and effects as well.
SFS: What do you think the cultural
significance is about the dub music style?
S: Dub has,
without a doubt, influenced all forms of electronic music. Hip hop, drum n’bass,
techno, house, trance -- to name a few -- all owe a debt to dub, whether the producer
working in a particular genre knows it or not. Dub is the mother of hip hop because
Jamaicans were the first to chant/rap over dubs of records at dances. Dub was
a studio production style so it has influenced almost anyone who has sat behind
a mixing desk to produce or reproduce/remix a song. To me, they invented the remix
as we know it today.
SFS: Tell us a little about Dub
Mission and what inspired you to start this successful Sunday night party.
S: I didn’t know anything about doing a club party
when I started Dub Mission. It grew out of love for this kind of music and a passion
for sharing it in a club setting because it hasn’t been heard much in Bay
Area clubs until then. Luckily I also had a group of people, my resident DJs:
Vinnie Esparza, J Boogie, Maneesh the Twister and Ludichris, who shared this passion
and were willing to help me spread the dub virus week after week, and a club owner,
¬Dennis Ring at Elbo Room,¬ who was willing to give us the opportunity to grow
the party. It took a long time to get it to this point.
Who are some of your influences?
S: Because I love and
spin different forms of music, I respect and admire a lot of artists, especially
those who continue to do their work despite how long they’ve been around,
and how hard it has sometimes been for them. In dub, I was very influenced by
Adrian Sherwood and his On-U label and I still admire him because he has never
stopped doing what he does. But I also think of Diamanda Galas, Iggy pop, Patti
Smith, The Clash, and Lee Perry to name only a few, not because I love everything
they’ve done, but because at their best, they put their heart and soul into
what they produced, and that’s a great gift to anyone who cares to listen.
SFS: Do you do this full time?
Yes. Finding and listening to songs, putting sets together, putting mixes together,
putting remixes together, booking, managing and promoting Dub Mission……it
all seems to take all day. I have no idea why!
How have you seen the dub scene change in San Francisco?
It has become more and more recognized over time, which is very gratifying. And
there are more local producers working in dub and dubstep and that’s great
SFS: And finally, do you live by any mantras
to keep you going day by day?
S: I remember why I started
doing it in the first place. I also have a lot more to learn and do, so it’s
not hard to keep going.
Come check out Dub Mission and the lovely
DJ Sep at Dub Mission this Sunday for J-boogie’s release party! For more
info on Sep and Dub Mission, check out www.myspace.com/djsepmusic and www.dubmissionsf.com.
credit: Kelly Edwards