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DJ Sage (Phylum Recordings, San Francisco / Belfast)

Laura Totten alias SAGE ist Teil der amerikanischen Breakbeatkeimzelle PHUNCKATECK, aus der seit Jahren ein kompromisslos-eigener Sound entwächst. SAGE profilierte sich nicht nur als weitgereiste Deejane - mit Residencies bei mehreren nordamerikanischen Clubnights und Raves - und Produzentin, sondern auch durch ihre Gesangseinlagen auf ”Breathe” von BAD COMPANY und ”I go” vom letztjährigen GREEN MAN Album. Zusammen mit UFO! und Kollegin ELEKTRA betreibt die 26jährige ihr eigenes Label PHYLUM und jettet einmal im Monat zu ihrer Belfaster Drum&Bass Nacht BALANCE, die sie quasi als europäische Club-Filiale zusammen mit CALIBRE (Creative Source) hostet. Und ganz nebenher modelt die in Irland aufgewachsene SAGE auch noch.
Sage war zu am 29.11.2002 zu Gast bei Basslastic und bot eine umwerfende Performance; -nicht nur musikalische Juwelen zauberte sie aus der Plattenkiste, sondern zog auch das Publikum durch ihre herzliche Freude am Auflegen in ihren Bann und erfreute die Residents mit ihrer überaus lockeren und freundlichen Art. Ich hatte das Vergnügen lange mit Laura auf der Fahrt zum Flughafen zu plaudern und das ganze mitzuschneiden. Hier nun der erste Teil eines Interviews, das mehr eine lockere Erzählung ist:

How did you get involved into the drumandbass scene and how did you become a DJ?

I moved to San Francisco when I was 19 from Ireland. I was mesmerized by San Francisco, `cause at that time in Ireland I used to play drums in bands. So a lot of bands and lots of punkrock labels I liked, were in San Francisco.
I was working for Our Prize music in Belfast and there are owned by Virgin and so I transfered to the Virgin Store to San Francisco
Just before that, I went to music college for 2 years, where I studied electronic music and percussion, -I played the violin and all this stuff. I went over there (nach S.F.) `cause I wanted to play in bands.

When I worked at the Virgin Megastore, they put my into the import section and so I was listing to all the new electronic stuff. This was in 1995. One day a week I worked in a store that was trading vinyl, `cause Virgin hadnt any vinyl and so I started listening and buying more and more dancefloor-oriented drumandbass. Previous to that, I was listing to more that kind of abstract stuff, like Squarepusher or Plug, -stuff that was always changing and more for the listening area. My friend Rosa I was living with, met up with UFO! and Noel and she was helping them getting gigs, so she was much more involved into the drumandbass-scene, which was veeeery small at that time, like soo minimal it was unbelieveable. We were going to all the events, so I became more and more involved, - helping the phunckateck guys out.

I have listened in my life to so many different musical styles, I was playing in jazz bands, studying irish traditional music, played punkrock and all of a sudden, all I wanted was drumandbass, - like I became obsessed. I was listening to the Bukem style, but liked the harder stuff..at that time jump up was getting big. What was getting me into this drumandbass beats, was 4 Hero; I heard a remix of them of a DJ Krush song..at that time I was listening to a lot of Trip Hop: DJ Shadow, DJ Krush, so with this jazzy elements I got to Bukem, which is really interesting because outside of that I was into really aggressive music, -indierock and punk. When I went out to dance I wanted techno, hard techno like german techno or detroit. When it came to listening I was more into the jazzy stuff, even hiphop like the jazzy eastcoast stuff, -laid back music.

So I was helping out with events and UFO! and Noel moved into the house. I never planned becoming a DJ, I always wanted to work on music and become a producer. So they brought turntables into the house and for the first time I could really play my records and because I was trained in music since I was six, I picked it up really easily, like beatmatching and hearing the difference between the record and my headphones, so I also learned to get into the flow of the music because I always put together my little compilations. So they heard me practise and said: oh what do you play? At that time there were literally no djs, so there was no competition…it wasn't like a big deal. So they asked me, why don`t you come down and play, so I played a Phunckateck.

After that night, within three months I had three different residencies, `cause at that time a lot of clubs were started and more people were coming out. I was fortunate to be one of the first djs over there in San Francisco along all the others Phunckateck guys. We all saw the UK guys coming over for their first appearances and we would play with them.

It just gradually progressed from there and so I got more and more heavily involved and started to get out-of-town-gigs. People wanted drum and bass but didn't wanted always to fly the UK guy over and so they looked for locals. At that time we all started making music too and our stuff didn't sound like the UK stuff, but people seemed to like it, so I think this always set us apart from the other djs. Djing was never anything I decided, -it just started happening and I just went with it. I have a good business sense and when I was in school I learned management and administration, so I knew how to prepare press packets and so on. I´m also a good communicator and keep in touch with people all over the states. It helped me out a lot personally that I can conduct my business.

Whats the special thing about DJing, - where do you get the kick out of it?

I have always been a performer, I really enjoy playing in front of people and seeing people react to songs I like and even my own songs whenever I play them. I also enjoy meeting new people, travelling around. I don`t think I would be able to have this kind of lifestyle in any other thing. See, within a few days, I was in Denver, Winnipeg, Pittsburg, London and like…Germany….the fact, that I got to see places I have never been before like playing in Alaska, in Puerto Rico, in Hawai…I did like three dates in japan not too long ago with Elektra and that was just great.
Of course it gets hard sometimes and its not all like fine and dandy but for the most part I don`t feel there is any room for complaint. People were the most happy at the club, having a good time, listening to music and that's what I am doing and be a part of. Who knows…maybe one day I don't wanna dj anymore, but I still fell like I always will be involved in the music scene in whatever way she performs.

Das Interview führte Valerian für Datababes.
17.04.2021, 02:07 h | 4 Junglists online