On a staircase at a house show a couple Saturdays ago, my friend and I hustled down the second we heard the repetitive synths of Calvin Harris coming from the front room. It'd been a long time since either of us had heard the Scotman's brand of trippy electro anywhere other than our own iTunes, let alone being spun by a Portland DJ. Except instead of hearing Harris' monotone vocals deriding a colorless wardrobe there was rapping. Was it a remix or a rap track that just happened to be using the beat from "Colours?" I approached the dancing DJ to find out. The reply? A remix.
I went on to approach him quite a few times after that. When Top 40 tracks such as Usher's "Love in This Club" started floating into his playlist—which included a remix of TV on the Radio's "Staring at the Sun," I queried whether he had Beyoncé's "Single Ladies," figuring it'd be a shoe-in. No such luck. Later after Yo Majesty finished blasting from the speakers I asked if he had any Uffie tracks, thinking she'd slide into the mix quite well. However, the petite American-born, Paris-based, barely-legal rapper wasn't a resident of his catalog of CDs. Didn't matter though. In the least. A steady of stream of electro, pop and hip-hop continued to build into the most danceably consistent DJ set my ears and feet have been treated to. It was kinda like all my favorite blogs had just made the jump from Google Reader into the speakers except without any space-filling remixes that are only posted in an attempt to climb to the top of the The Hype Machine
. Every song from Cousin Cole's remix of "Crank Dat" to the Fat Joe/Ashanti single "What's Love?" had its place. Any wallflowers? Nope.
The DJ? DJ Invisiboy.
It seemed like a no-brainer to invite DJ Invisiboy—aka Abe Ingle—to chat about RSS feeds and such which is what we do below:
How did you decide on your DJ name?
I can't remember how I got my name... It probably has something to do with my powers of invisibility though. I think I just brainstormed it. I didn't want a "tough" name or a "sexy" name ('cause I am already tough and sexy), I just wanted a fun name [since] I think my sets are more "fun" than anything else. I'm never out to be too cool or whatever, I just want to have fun and throw a good dance party.
As the Rapture say, "People don't dance no more, they just stand there like this." Do you ever encounter this?
Never ever. I think the key to moving a crowd is showing that you're willing to move as well. Almost every time I play people tell me how glad they were that I was dancing too. I think it's important for artists to remember that they set the tone, and if they want people to dance, then they should demonstrate that by dancing themselves.
Good people! I like playing for people who like to party but don't have to be all coked out or throwing a chair through the wall to have a good time.
How do you feel about requests?
I'm down to hear 'em as long as people are down if I say no. I will rarely drop what I'm doing to play a request, but I'll usually get around to it sooner or later.
Do you have a story about a particular request or requester?
This one girl requested all this stuff I had never heard of at a party recently and I felt really old. It was the first time that ever happened to me, though I knew it someday would. Luckily, she was on point with "Since You Been Gone" and Big Pun!
Do you DJ full time? What do you do outside of DJing work and hobby-wise?
Nope. I used to do a regular gig with DJ Gregarious at the Fez, but now it's mainly just parties (with odd club gigs), and I'm pretty selective. I don't need the money, I just do it for fun. In real life I'm an artist (I just won a 5K RACC grant-and there's a piece in the WW's murmurs section about me
[last week] actually) at Hood Turkey
. DJing is my hobby, so the question is the other way around. When I meet people at parties, I never even mention that I'm a DJ. People have known me for months before they find out.
Do you have a current main/regular gig?
My art is my number one priority, so I haven't taken any regular gigs since the days of the Fez.
In terms of your sets: Do you plan them out ahead of time?
Never. You have to gauge the crowd and go off them.
Of the mashups you play, are they ones you've found or made yourself
Absolutely, that Fleetwood Mac one was mine, I do a mean Journey mashup and others.
Do you collect songs from blogs? Which ones are on your RSS feed?
Yup, I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours: Said the Gramophone
, Winnie Cooper
, Gorilla vs Bear
How long have you been spinning?
At least four years. Wow. That's weird, yes, four years.
What drew you to DJing originally?
Nothing actually. Scott from Holocene convinced me to do it in between bands and it was wicked fun, so I decided to learn how to do it properly. I was known as a guy who liked to dance and I think people who like to dance make the best DJs (dance party DJs at least).
Do you always spin with CDJs?
Yup, but I can use records too (or at least I used to). I just like the looping ability of digital with the tactile sense of the 800 mk2s (and the availability of weird digital only remixes, and not carrying 200 pounds of LPs).
What songs will we find ourselves dancing to with you?
I don't want to say what people will find, as that will change, [but] I will say that the other night I really enjoyed playing:
"Yeah Yeah" (Flosstrodomus remix) by Matt & Kim
"Since You Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson
The Twelve's Remix of "Dance With You"
"Still Not a Player" by Big Pun and
"Just Can't Get Club Action (DJ Paul V. Mix)" Yo Majesty
How would you describe yourself in five words or less, complete sentence or not:
I am good and fun.
How do you describe the genre(s) you play?
I usually tell people that I play remixes and stuff until everyone's drunk and then I play hip-hop and make people dance all naughty-like.
Who are your other favorite Portland DJs?
That's a lot of names, and I'd hate to leave anyone out. Obviously Beyonda—she makes me want to quit every time I see her. I like Linger and Quiet just because it's so cute when they bop their heads together and it makes me believe in love. DJ Anjali and the Incredible Kid for pulling off something outside of the mainstream and doing it well. And most importantly, all my friends who happen to be DJs, which is a lot of people and you know who you are and you know you have big hearts from me.
LocalCut Yacht on a Yacht LC Contest Winners
Fat Joe/Ashanti "What's Love?" music video
(the dancers are wearing Blazers jerseys!)
Photo care of MySpace