Bootie SF, the popular, long-running San Francisco all-mashup dance party finds continued success both at home and on the road in cities including New York, Paris, and LA, where the party (appropriately retitled "Bootie LA") returns tonight (Sat, June 2nd) to Safari Sam's at 5214 W. Sunset. Working the wheels of steel tonight in Hollywood will be resident DJs Adrian & the Mysterious D, and Paul V (Indie 103.1) plus a special guest, the mashup pioneers The Evolution Control Committee. "Bootie," which takes its name from "bootleg," started out half a decade ago in San Francisco -- a time when the mash-up craze was in full tilt with mostly UK produced bootlegs or mashups, such as the wildly popular 2Many DJs' Nirvana vs Destiny's Child hybrid "Smells Like Booty" being passed around in MP3 form on the internet. Since then the genre has continued to grow, albeit below the radar due to many factors, including its illegal status.
Recently I caught up with Adrian & the Mysterious D -- the two ever-busy founding members of the mobile club, who two weeks ago were in the Big Apple with "Bootie NYC" at downtown club Element. Last weekend they were back home with a big Memorial Day party in San Francisco. Next weekend (June 9th) they'll throw another Bootie SF with the two founders spinning alongside Live 105 DJ Party Ben and guests DJ Matt Hite and Canada's Lock3down plus a performance from their "mash up band" Smash Up Derby featuring Miss Trixxie Carr. At a Bootie SF party about a month ago they had some pioneering guest DJs who world-premiered their groundbreaking WiiJing techniques (they hacked a Nintendo Wii and turned it into a unique new DJ controller). I asked Adrian and the Mysterious D about their club and the history of mashups, their Top FIve Mashups, and the genre's place as they see it in pop music culture.
jameoeblog: What do you say to critics who say that the mashup has passed its peak?
Adrian: Oh sure, mashups are just a fad -- you know, just like hip-hop was a fad in the early '80s. Remember hip-hop? Oh wait, it's still around. In fact, it never went away.
Mysterious D: Yeah, mashups are not going away any time soon. Sure, the media might not view it as "trendy" anymore -- but as long as there is new music and ideas, producers and DJs are gonna mash it up.
Adrian: The thing most people don't realize is that mashups aren't really a musical "genre" -- it's more like a production technique. Therefore, it's not ever going to sound dated, because producers will always be using new music and new technology to create new mashups.
Mysterious D: It's been funny, because every year someone says mashups were "so last year," but that's been being said since 2002! It all depends on each person's frame of reference. As popular a buzz word as mashup is, it's still an underground art form due to the inherent legalities. We get emails and see blog posts every single day from people who've just discovered mashups somewhere in the world (from next door to across the planet). There are still so many people who have no idea about what we're doing. I'm still shocked and amazed when we play a gig (especially in SF, LA or NYC), and people come up to us exclaiming that they've never heard anything like this before.
jameoblog: You had mentioned to me when I first talked with you about the diverse 'culture' surrounding mashups. Care to expand/explain?
Mysterious D: Mashup music naturally lends itself to diversity because of the genres and eras used. Are you a hip hop fan? Do you love 80s music? Or do you dig classic rock? Mainstream pop? Indie hipster? Or do you just LOVE Madonna? Mashups use it all; no one group can really "own" mashups because of that. This creates a nice cultural exchange, as mashups often expose listeners to music they may not have heard before, or music they may not have thought they even liked -- but when combined with familiar or beloved artists, many times they hear different genres in a new way...understanding both the music better, and the scenes and cultures surrounding each genre, which can include age, race, sexuality, style, class, etc. Mashups bridge all these gaps.
BOOTIE'S TOP FIVE MASHUPS: (ARTISTS, TITLE, PRODUCER)
1) The Doors vs. Blondie - "Rapture Riders" - Go Home Productions
2) Jay-Z vs. Nena - "99 Luft Problems" - Jay-Zeezer
3) Nelly vs. Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Sweet Home Country Grammar" - DJ Mei-Lwun
4) Beatles vs. Scissor Sisters vs. George Michael vs. Aretha Franklin - "No One Takes Your Freedom" - Earworm
5) Green Day vs. Oasis vs. Travis vs. Aerosmith - "Boulevard of Broken Songs" - Party Ben
jameoblog: I understand that you guys are constantly searching online for good new mashup mixes to play. How exactly does that work?
Adrian: Our starting point for finding new mashups is an internet message board called Get Your Bootleg On. This is sort of the nexus point for the international bootleg community, and sooner or later, most mashup producers find their way to GYBO (as it's affectionately known) to post their tracks. We also keep an eye on various music blogs, and many producers hand us CDs or email us tracks directly.
Mysterious D: Each week, we download dozens of mashups that are posted on GYBO, as well as surf other mashup-related web sites, such as one of our favorites -- Mashuptown.com. Then we load up the iPods and listen to them, and every week or so, we choose our favorites and burn a CD, so we can play them out at that weekend's party, for personal enjoyment, or to possibly use in the Bootie Top Ten. The "Bootie Top Ten" is our ten hand picked mashup favorites that we post for free download once a month, usually around the 15th. But for every one mashup that makes it to one of our CDs, there's probably about 25 (or more) that we throw out. Some weeks are better than others -- but it's our job to separate the good mashups from the bad.
Adrian: One of the reasons mashups get a bad rap is because so many poor ones are posted all over the net. Because of the legality issue, they aren't in stores so you can't find the "top sellers" and there aren't many music reviews on the individual tracks... so if you don't know where to look, and have heard a few crappy ones, you might assume that they all are crap. Our job with Bootie is to help change that misperception by using our experience, time and energy finding the good stuff and highlighting it for the listeners.
Mysterious D: A good mashup takes preexisting music and combines two (or more) songs to make one new song -- hopefully a track greater than the sum of its parts. It's about the new song that has been constructed, not about live mixing or "mixterbation," as Adrian loves to jokingly say. It's about songcraft, not necessarily about mixing or "mad DJ skillz." It's about "mad producer skillz". Many of our favorite mashup producers -- if we had to choose -- would be Dangermouse, not Z-Trip.
jameoblog: In your opinion, how far back does the history of mashups date?
Adrian: Certainly, you can trace the lineage of mashup culture back to the early days of sampling and hip-hop -- but this is taking it to a different level -- not just sampling a loop or a break, or dropping in some vocals in the mix, but sampling an entire song...There is a lot of debate over what the first mashup was. In my opinion, the flashpoint of the current mashup movement -- which we consider to be when a producer takes two or more completely different songs and combines them into one seamless hybrid song -- was when the Evolution Control Committee released "Rebel Without A Pause" in 1993, which mashed up Public Enemy with Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. It was one of the first times someone had created such an extreme genre clash made into one singular song.
Mysterious D: I would also cite Freelance Hellraiser's "A Stroke of Genie-us" (The Strokes vs Christina Aguilara, 2002) as one of the kick-starters of the modern mashup bootleg movement. The genres used and production of that track really got people's attention. Also, 2 Many DJ's "Smells Like Booty" (Nirvana vs Destiny's Child, 2002) is often cited by many as the first mashup they'd ever heard, and one of the most popular earlier tracks.
jamoeblog: How central to mashups is the Internet?
Adrian: The current mashup bootleg scene would almost certainly not exist if it weren't for the internet. Although the mashup scene is still relatively small, it's truly a global community, with mashup producers from all over the world posting their MP3s to web sites and blogs, and sharing their tunes with others. We often say that mashups are "music for the A.D.D. Generation" -- and it's true that we're living in an age of information saturation. Mashups fit in with that perfectly -- you can listen to twice as much music in half the time!