Sunday, February 9, 2014

Clusterfunk Collective presents Take Five: DJ Enki [Interview]

East Coast raised and West Coast made, DJ Enki is one of the Bay Area's finest - pushing the production envelope and crafting comical cuts. We chopped it up with the empyreal expressionist about beginnings, blends, and burritos.

"Take Five" to tap into the talent beyond the surface.

1.) Why Enki?

I first heard the name in a mythology class I took sophomore year of college, and I thought it was pretty cool. Enki's one of the three main gods in Sumerian mythology, and the myths about him/involving him are good stories that I really took to. Plus, I thought the name sounded dope, and I was reasonably sure that nobody else was using it. For a while, that was true, but over the past several years, several other Enki's have popped up around the world. Biters!

So hopefully this will dispel a couple common myths (ha!) about my name:
1: I didn't get it from the book Snow Crash, which I have never read
2: I didn't get it from Enkei wheels

2.) The range of genres in your sets is quite extensive. Do you prefer to play with tracks that you love or push the experimental envelope?

Ideally, I do both (and I guess some of the tracks I love also push the envelope, depending on your perspective). As a DJ, your job is to get people moving, which of course means playing hits and big songs everybody loves, but I also feel like your job is to push the envelope and introduce people to new things--play them music they didn't know they liked. If all you do is play hits and take the easy way out, you're not doing your job, straight up. So I do try to mix it up as much as I can. But it depends on the crowd; some are more adventurous than others. It's all about figuring out how much you can push a crowd without losing them. I like to walk that edge if I can, and I for sure like to genre-hop. It keeps things funky and interesting for both me and the crowd. Staying in one lane is boring.

3.) What inspired "Bacon The Funk" - fat with titles like "Ham Hocks Espanol" and "Hoggin' Ain't EZ"?

That started out as a joke, to be frank, not something I ever planned on actually making. It's like a bit of record nerd humor, a game that DJs play--"How many songs can you think of that fit Theme X?" and you see how obscure or funny you can get with your responses. I've been a lover of bacon since way back, so the genesis of the whole thing was Platurn and I joking around about "how many songs about ham/bacon/pork can you think of?" But at some point--I think shortly after I came up with the title (which combines my love of bacon with my love of Main Source)--I decided I should actually make the mix for real. And once I heard that Jim Gaffigan standup routine about bacon that you hear in various parts of the mix, that sealed it. So I just started pulling together a bunch of those songs that came out of that bit of joking around and put it all together. I had a lot of fun making that one, and I got a lot of really positive response from all over the place, which was dope.

4.) Blending seems to be becoming a lost art. Do you and Platurn plan to continue the "Blend-A-Pella" series?

We don't have any plans to right now, but we also didn't have plans to do a Part 2, and we ended up making one. And between the OG and Part 2, we certainly left enough on the cutting room floor to do a Part 3, so maybe a trilogy is in order. I'd certainly be into it because like you say, blending really is becoming a lost art--Serato and pre-made blends have really sucked the life out of it. That was part of the point we were trying to make: Instead of relying on all these shortcuts, dig into your actual vinyl collection and make these things work. And big ups to the DJs out there who still do live blends!

5.) What is your favorite "Flying Burrito" of choice at Juan's in New Orleans and why?

Oh, most definitely the jambalaya burrito (which I think they call the jamburrito). I live in the Bay Area. It's super-easy to find an excellent burrito around here. But a jambalaya burrito? Haven't seen it. That was some serious New Orleans stuff to me. And it was really good--I pretty much inhaled it! Whoever came up with that one deserves big props.

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