Recently DJing opening sets for La Roux, Danger, DJ Omar of Popscene fame has been keeping San Francisco on its dancing feet for the past decade. A DJ with an eclectic array of musical tastes and cultures, there’s no predicting what comes next — anything from disco electro to goth. Taking time from a jam-packed week of bookings, Omar gives SF Station some insight on his successful DJ career. Don’t forget to catch his set at Live 105’s Subsonic Spookfest on October 30th and Triple Cobra on Halloween!
SF Station (SFS): Are you originally from San Francisco?
DJ Omar (O): I grew up in Washington D.C, but did not start DJing until I moved to SF in the 90’s. D.C. provided me with a diverse musical education via Punk, Hip Hop, House and GoGo. It set the stage for the genre-mixing slant of my later DJ sets.
SFS: How long have you been DJing, and what got you started?
O: I started Djing when we started Popscene. I was collecting Britpop and Mod records at the time and there wasn’t any place to dance to that type of music so we started a night that focused on that. The more I started spinning one type of music, the more I wanted to try my hand at playing other kinds. Things just sort off took off from there.
SFS: Popscene is a great party. How do you manage to keep it always excellent?
O: Popscene has been around for over a decade and it has always been about creating an exciting environment in which to celebrate the passion and diversity of new music and new people. The combination of the amazing talent that has graced our stage throughout the years, along with a passionate and exuberant audience, hungry to discover and dance to new music, is what keeps us going for so long.
SFS: Any fun or crazy stories to share?
O: When Kasabian performed at Popscene, they brought so much sound and lighting equipment that we had to rent generators to accommodate all the juice they were using in fear that they would blow up the building. Muse also had so much equipment that we had to set up the DJ booth in the kitchen. When The Horrors played, their singer Faris climbed across our ceiling, smashed our disco ball into two pieces, gave it to the crowd and then wore a piñata as a hat. Amy Winehouse’s only performance in SF was at Popscene, and I can’t even begin to describe all the memorable moments from that night.
SFS: Since you are a local staple, who are some of your favorite local acts?
O: Tamaryn, Hottub, Veil Veil Vanish, Girls, Zion I, The Limousines, Tenderlions, Rykarda Parasol, The Pack, Murder Of Lillies, anything on Tricycle records. There are many more amazing bands in the Bay Area but, sadly, I’m drawing a blank right now.
SFS: What do you like most about DJing in San Francisco?
O: The diversity and vitality of the people is unparalleled.
SFS: What keeps you inspired and motivated?
O: My friends, family and colleagues from around the world.
SFS: Who are some of your favorite artists to spin currently?
O: If there is an artist I like, I see what label they are on and check out the label’s roster. Currently, my favorite labels are: Italians Do It Better, This Is Not An Exit Records, Wierd, Eskimo Recordings and Southern Lord.
SFS: What do you like to sing along to in the car?
O: Mostly soft rock from the 70’s, all types of metal and Blondie.
SFS: Lastly, what are you dressing up as for Halloween?
O: I have four Halloween events so I have a couple of options planned for each night out: Edgar Allen Poe, Ned Flanders and a Smurf will likely be represented,
the other option will have to be a surprise!
Catch DJ Omar at various gigs around San Francisco, visit Popscene (http://www.popscene-sf.com) and DJ Omar’s Myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/clubmouthwash).