For this week’s 15 Cents, we reached out to Gang$ign$, a local dj whose trap beats are as hot as his weekly Wednesday shows at Whiskey Bar. Because he was jet-setting between Austin and LA for shows, we couldn’t find time to sit down, but we talked about how he got into dj’ing, what exactly “Trap” is and where you can find the hottest party in Portland.
The Incorporated: How long have you been dj'ing? How did you get into it?Gang$ign$: I’ve been dj’ing for about 2 years now. When I was younger, I always wanted to learn how to DJ. I lied to my school friends when I was like 10 years old about knowing how to DJ, I totally didn’t know shit about it. I remember going to guitar center and seeing a Virtual DJ starter kit and I wanted it so bad. I asked for it for Christmas but my parents never got it for me. Fast forward to 2011, my band just broke up and I was kind of lost without music. I threw a house party and I remember playing songs off my phone using YouTube, like old 90’s/early 00’s bangers and Daft Punk and Justice. Everyone was complimenting on my track selection and I had a blast doing it. So I decide to look into actually dj’ing at my next house party. I did my research, bought some gear, and a few weeks later, I was dj’ing in my living room to 50 people. From that point on, I decided to pursue dj’ing a little more seriously. I wanted to get booked in clubs and I figured the only way that I would get booked is if I made my own music. Next thing you know it, people out of state are hitting me up to book me.TI: How would you describe your sound/ genre? Have you always played electronic/dance?G: Well, I don’t like to associate myself to one specific genre but I guess kids call it "Trap”. I love southern rap music and I love rave/electronic music. It’s as simple as that. I was already making electronic music and I made beats for my rapper friends. Next thing I knew it, I was on my lunch break at work listening to a Diplo mix and I heard Flosstradamus’s remix of “Original Don”. I thought to myself, is this a thing now? So I decided to chop up a Skrillex song on my MPD and then it just took off from there.
Growing up, I was big into hip hop/rap music and anything that had to do with it. Electronic/dance music is still very new to me. In middle school I was obsessed with Daft Punk’s Discovery album. Kid’s use to make fun of me for listening to “techno”. I didn’t give a fuck. I take pride in how open-minded I am with music. I’ll listen and like any genre of music. I just love music in general. Now a days, I make/play whatever I want. Shit, if you can party to it and have a good time, it could be any genre.TI: What equipment do you use?G: For DJ’ing, I have a unorthodox way that I do things live. I use Ableton in the same way as a DJ, with two decks going through a mixer. Its pretty minimal but it works for me.Live Setup:
2011 MacBook Pro 15-inchAbleton Live 9Novation LaunchpadSennheiser HD-280 PRONative Instruments Audio 2 DJ
Studio Set Up:
2011 27-inch iMacAbleton Live 9Akai MPD26M-Audio O2
TI: What is your favorite song you have made? Your "Mona Lisa”?G: This one is a tough one to say. I fall in love with every new song I work on. I just seem to impress myself with each track I come out with. I try new techniques and sounds every time. But If I had to pick one, I’d probably say my song “ROYALTY” is my favorite. As far as the music, It’s completely original material. The only thing I sampled was from Childish Gambino’s first track off his R O Y A L T Y mixtape and it was just a vocal sample. The horns sound like something a band would play for their king when he enters the room. And at the time, I was really struggling for a song name. It just worked out so well, I’m really happy how it turned out.
TI: How did you get involved with your label? How did you get involved with Bad Chemistry?G: One day, I was trying to figure out how to get involved with the local scene. I did some research and found some local producers. I sent music to them and next thing I knew it, I met Cory Haynes aka QUARRY aka CEO/Founder of STYLSS. I spoke on Facebook and I went to one of his shows (which was a STYLSS release party) the following weekend and officially introduced myself. Later, Cory invited me to STYLSS, I finally felt like I involved with something. In between the time I started getting involved with STYLSS and now, We’ve done a lot. We ran a monthly called TRAP FUNERAL and hustled online releases. It’s been a lot of fun.
Bad Chemistry is kind of a funny story. One day this chick messaged me on Soundcloud and she told me she loved my music and how much it was to book me. Then I get a friend request from her on Facebook. We talked here and there on FB chat. I figured, “rad, fans are going out of their way to interact with me”. At the beginning of summer, she asked for my phone number and told me that she would like to talk to me about an awesome opportunity. I kind of blew it off until she said to me “Look, I’m not some crazy fan. I work for a booking agency now and we’re interested in signing you to the agency”. My manager and I talked it over and decided to sign to them.
TI: What is your favorite show you have played? Do you get to travel for shows often?G: I’ve played in some pretty rad cities. This year I’ve done two mini tours. I got the opportunity to play in Austin, Dallas, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, and even a small ass town in Arkansas called Hot Springs. I’d like to travel more next year; I really want go to the East Coast. My favorite show has got to be the first time I played in LA. It was this crazy warehouse party with Heroes x Villains, Gangsta Boo, Speakerfoxxx, Frankie Chan, BRRRANG-A-DANG and Pyramid Juke. It was my biggest party I’ve ever played at the time and EVERYONE was going wild. They had the best visuals I’ve ever seen at a party. It was a very surreal experience for me. Big ups to IHEARTCOMIX and HAM ON EVERYTHING.
TI: Do you prefer playing live or recording in the studio?G:I actually love doing both. Sometimes I prefer staying at home in my “studio”(aka my bedroom) and make beats all day. When I’m tired of being at home and get cabin fever, I’m really thankful for playing live. I grew up playing in bands all my life and nothing beats playing your own music to a crowd of people. You get see how people react to your music and it gives me an opportunity to wild out to my music that I made in my bedroom.
TI: Your shows look pretty wild, any wild concert stories?G: Man, there’s so many stories. At the same warehouse party I played in LA. This chick got up on stage and started twerking. She was wearing a skirt then she lifted up her skirt and boom, there was just full on ass. She didn’t give a fuck and everyone was going wild. My homie was on stage MC’ing and he straight motor boated her ass cheeks. Shit was so funny. In Portland, Every time I play this party called FAK Wednesdays at Whiskey Bar, it’s FUCKING wild. It’s always at full capacity and the crowd always goes off for me. For my birthday, I went buck wild on this hype towel. That shit was live.