Reno EDM – G.A.M.M.A. – Throwback
When did you get into electronic music and what made you decide to become a Dj?
My sister is 7 Years older than me so when I was growing up as a kid I used to sit and listen to my sister and her friends while they would hang out and listen to music. I was introduced to the sounds of Michael Jackson, Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode, Flock of Seagals and the list could go on and on. I loved that New Wave Sound. So in terms of synthy pop electronic music itself you could say since I was very little.
During the late 80’s and early 90’s early hip hop was where it was at. The music was so raw and unadulterated! 2 Live Crew, Too Short, Eazy E, Ice T, Ice Cube, NWA, Run DMC, Young MC, Slick Rick, Dougie Fresh, Digital Underground you name it! These guys’ beats made me move. I loved the sound of beats and bass!
Fast forward to 1996 I was listening to lots of Punk and Rap. Skateboarding, drinking, smoking but I was always on the hunt for weird unheard music. Sometimes I’d buy just random Acid Jazz compilations, or some Steel Band that I’d heard on Pier 39. I just never knew what I wanted to hear next. Then I saw the movie Hackers. I really liked the sound track but there was one song that for some reason just resounded with me. I had to buy the soundtrack because of it. The track was “Halcyon + on + on” by Orbital. One day while playing some video games, waiting for friends to show up I listened to it on repeat for 7 hours.
Time flowed by like never before. One moment it was 1PM thought I’d kill some time, play some video games and the next moment it was 8pm and my friends were showing up wondering what the hell I was listening to.
After that experience I was hooked! I had to get more music-Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Crystal Method, Keoki and DJ Dan. I couldn’t get enough. It was at my second bay area massive called “Area 51: Journey Home” in August of 1997 that I realized I wanted to start DJing. There I was standing in the main room watching a sea of thousands of white shirts glowing in the black light all moving as one group to the music. I looked down at my feet and realized I too was dancing like I never had before. I couldn’t believe it. It was an epiphany. I looked up at the main stage where there were three very large visual screens staked next to each other, 2 on the outsides had 3D alien heads spinning on them and the one in the middle had a full alien dancing, lights were flashing and I noticed the DJ underneath the screens. The light would flash on him on every 16th beat for a second. It was a spectacle! I thought to myself, “This is the best moment of my life”, then I realized that everyone who was there was resonating that same sentiment, I was connected to everyone. I couldn’t believe it. Then I started thinking if I’m having this good of time here dancing with everyone, I wonder how it must feel to be the one channeling all of this energy to everyone.
You used to DJ under the name of Ganymede, what happened to that name, why did you change it? What other names to you Dj under and why?
Well when I first started DJing in 1997-98 for about a little over a year while I was trying to figure out what my name should be, I was going by the moniker Paul-E-Moral but honestly that was just never me. I never really liked the ‘E’ reference of it and I wasn’t really immoral so I knew it had to go.
My entire life I’ve been a sci-fi nerd. If it has outer space, futuristic stuff or aliens I’m into it! Also a big science guy too, love it all, Think I was taking an Astronomy class and we were talking about the Moons of Jupiter, I’ve been really into Jupiter since I first saw 2010: The year we make Contact in the theaters when I was 5 or 6, the moons most noted in that movie were Europa and IO but I hadn’t really heard of the other 2 big ones, Callisto and Ganymede. Not sure what it was about Ganymede but it just kinda gravitated towards me.
At a certain point I was mainly playing Acid Trance and Cyber Trance but it really just seemed like there wasn’t at much good music coming out in
those genres and in searching out for more music similar I stumbled across the sounds of the Stay up forever crew out of England. The more and more I got into Techno the less and less Ganymede seemed to fit me. At a certain point I just knew that a transformation was coming. Haha, add to that, that no one seemed like could spell Ganymede so that didn’t make things any easier.
One day I was watching a PBS documentary on Nova called, “Death Stars” (www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/gamma/) and they kept referring to Gamma-Ray Bursts and how they believe it to be the most powerful force in the universe. Then it all started really clicking. I started seeing it and hearing about Gamma this and Gamma that all over the place. I suddenly knew what my new name would be. I also figured it wasn’t a huge change both names started with G, both were celestially orientated (at least in my mind), Ganymede transformed into G.A.M.M.A.
I also now was really playing acid techno / tribal techno and very little trance anymore. It all kind of made sense at the time. My dreads were in full swing and growing, I had just moved to SF, transferred in to SFSU. A lot of change and growth was going on in my life at this point. The last flier and show that I played at as Ganymede was Thunderbox 11-23-01 in Sacramento, CA for Lite Brite Productions.
2003 the sound of breaks had been revived by Adam Freeland and this new progressive / tribal / breaks sound was chalked full of awesome. Originally when I first started playing in 97 all I ever listened to was Acid Breaks and house but later when introduced to SF bay area trance scene and breaks seemed to kind of disappear. Now back to 2003-2004 I was really hearing some seriously ground breaking production in this genre and wanted to play something that was a little more friendly with clubs and older people who weren’t just looking to rave all night. I didn’t want people to get confused about what I was playing at certain gigs so thought that I would don the nick name I recently received at Burning Man 2003 of “The Predator” by my camp mates.
Used “The Predator” name for many years but now I mix all the music together, breaks, techno, house, you name it, why have more names then you need. So I’ve just decided to use G.A.M.M.A from now on.
Where did you come up with G.A.M.M.A. and what does it mean? It’s time to reveal the truth Paul..let’s hear it, TELL US NOW!
Haha, not going to probably happen in this interview, but here’s some fun and awesome guess’ at what it is, provided by Nvraves and some friends over the years.
- Got Any Minni Me’s Around
- Go and Make More Androids
- Girls Always Make Me Angry
- Ganymede Always Makes Music Awesome
- Great At Mixing Music Awesomely
- Guillitines Are Magical Mystical Artifcacts
- Ganymede And My Many Adventures
- Gizmo Ate My Marvolous Art
- Gods Are Mearly My Ancestors
- Ghb, Alcohol, Marijuana, Mushrooms, Acid
- Good And MightyMega Apple
- Golly Are My Meds Awesome
- Globular Astronomical Mystical Mythical Afro
- Great Ass Mom, Merely Astounding
- Giant Anacondas Made Mother Ache
- Girls Asses. Medicated? MORE ACTION
- Going Apeshit Merely Means Absolution
- Grab A Mixed Mimosa Again
- Going Against My Minds Advice
- Girls Are My Major Addiction
- Gonna Arrange My Music Alphabetically
- Grouping Antichrists Medieval Milkweeds Abroad
- Gestating Alpha Mental Marmot Accordions
- Galaxy Aging Metatarsals Melting Amulets
- Get Away Methadone Minions Abracadbra!
- Greeks Advocating The Mature Management Of Alcohol
- Got Any More Magical Altoids
What genres do you play and what others do you have an interest in? Also which is your preferred style to play out?
I play tribal, electro, spacey, funky, breaky, progressive, housey, technoey, bass music. I really try to focus more on elements instead of genres. At one point I used to play Techno sets and breaks sets, different crowd, different vibes all require different music, but music production has come so far that you really can mix from one genre to another much easier these days. Keeping the listener / dancer “guessing”. In terms of “guessing” I think you could also say interested.
At a point the question just became, “Why stick to one genre”? I like to keep people dancing and with today’s crowds it just seems that if you stick to one beat structure it can get rather dull. Does it work all the time for every crowd? No, but that’s when being versatile and knowing how to read a crowd comes in to play.
What are your latest accomplishments as a DJ?
Kind of a tough question to answer but I guess the things I’m most proud of lately is that I’ve been playing a lot more out of state lately, Oregon, Utah and Illinois have been really good to me. July 2010 is looking to be my best month, I’m out of town every weekend. The first weekend I’m playing at the “Boom is Back” in Portland, then the following weekend is the “Stilldream 10 Year Anniversary” in Laytonville, CA, then off for “Dude where’s my Tent” in Grand Rapids, Michigan, following weekend I’m in Seattle for the “Day Out of Time” Festival and the last weekend of July into the first weekend of August will be in Salt Lake City for Temptation Island. I like playing new places, meeting new people and exposing more people to the mixture of music that I play.
You’ve been playing, throwing parties and have been an important part of the Reno scene for as long as I can remember. What was your first party playing in Reno and what was the experience like?
Well I thought I knew what it was but I went to double check my records and I was wrong. The first time I played in Reno was for Annihilation Productions at Club Insomnia on March 13th, 2002. Went pretty good, Club Insomnia was kind of a follow up for Annihilation Productions’ Mission 2 Mars and I think they were trying to carry over the amazing turnout they had at M2M, but I think people just didn’t want to party in a club. Turnout was a little low for what they were hoping I think.
What was the first party you threw in Reno and how did that go? Who was on the bill, who did the sound and what venue etc?
The First party I helped throw in Reno was “Empire: Red” June 14th, 2002. It was a conglomeration of several different groups being Techno Truth (Myself, Mek and Dirt), Annihilation Productions (Jeremy, David Aaron, Steve-O, Dustin and Ryan aka Poindexter) and lastly Nutron Records (Tycho, Phokus, Psylence, Saturn Theory and Refugee – All Live PA’s). The idea was we would have a party that bridged three different cities, Empire Red in Reno, Empire Green in Sacramento and Empire Blue for San Francisco. It would feature some of the best talent in California as well as some of the best techno from the UK.
For Empire Red we brought over Julian Liberator. We had him play at Survival in San Francisco and been buying the guys productions. He’s really out of the box and we thought this would be a great time to showcase such a great producer and DJ. We did the event at The Ramada / Speakeasy convention Center, We had Tim Duffin do the sound in the main room and Annihilation do sound in the second room. We had Russian Alex do lasers in the main Room and Jason from Eye Lusions do the visuals and Live cameras on the vid screens. Show was pretty epic!
Unfortunately we only pulled about 600-700 people and were really hoping for closer to 1000 much like M2M which pulled 1300+. It seemed that we were in the beginning of a quite time for Reno. Annihilation soon disbanded maybe 6 months later after Hope Decay 2. David Aaron, D6, John Moon and Corporal Punishment were the only people doing Rave type events for the next year or two.
Stilldream is coming up on it’s 10 year anniversary. How did it start, where did the name come from, who was involved and how has it evolved since the first Stilldream?
Stilldream started in 2000 at my Dad’s house in Shingle Springs, CA in a small barn / extra garage. I used to throw some serious events at my Dads house while I was in High School and every summer my Dad would go back to visit his family in Latvia so I was left at home for 2-4 weeks to take care of the place. The idea came to me that we could clean out the barn and fit probably 30-40 people dancing in there along with a cool outdoor area for smoking and lots of room for people to run around and get crazy on the property. I threw the first party there with help from a lot of friends and we called it Area 48: We’re 3 Blocks Down, (a fun jesture since we had Dutch playing who was infamous for his large massive bay area massive’s called Area 51). It was such a success that we decided to do it again the next year. In looking for a production company name we knew it had to be more than just a name but representative of us and our goals. I remember being at this party in SF with Pat (Mek) and we were watching a DJ play not sure who it was. Wishing we could be given the chance to rock the decks Pat looked at me and said, “We can Stilldream”. Not sure when or where but somewhere after or maybe it was before that Pat brought up the idea that we should call the events Stilldream. It all seemed to fit into place and Stilldream was born, in a barn, out in the Foothills of the Sierra nevadas not 10 miles from where Gold was discovered. For the first couple years it was mainly myself and Pat, with a ton of help of our good friend Kristin. In 2003 we were running out of steam by diverting out attentions between Stilldream and another group we had formed with friend Dirt aka Dustin Denega called Techno Truth. We had to make the decision to either end Stilldream and go solely forward with Techno Truth or we were going to need some new blood to help out.
We never liked the idea of Crews, don’t know what it was but it always seemed like some sort of gang or something so we searched for another avenue and found that we could open it up as a Collective. What you put in, is what you get out. We had a ton of friends who were awesome DJ’s, and helped out a lot at our events but weren’t that involved in the decision making process. So we asked our good friends, Cantos, Jyant, Hoth, Ohm and our buddy Felix who was not a DJ but was always there to help run the event if they would be part of Stilldream. So the collective was born.
Today the Collective is made up of many parts: the main council, the residents, the artistists, the décor and prop builders, tons of friends and family who help make the event happen and all of our loyal friends, patrons and believers who attend our events. We wouldn’t be able to do any of it without them!
Stilldream has had a large Reno presence for many years now, why do you think that is?
I think it has to do with that I spent so many years in Reno DJing, helping with events, throwing events, Stilldream Fundraisers especially at a time when there wasn’t a whole lot of choices in Reno for stuff to do for people under 21. It was with the help of people like David Aaron who pretty much introduced me to the most of the founding fathers of Reno in the Reno Scene, from the club scene to the rave scene. Once I started coming to Reno I got hooked. I hadn’t seen such energy from crowds in years. I was living in the bay area but sometimes school wasn’t always my highest priority and I would end up staying in Reno for weeks at a time.
I started helping out with Dave’s parties because he needed an extra hand, Annihilation Productions was pretty much done and I saw a lot of opportunity in Reno, lots of room for growth, so I started sticking around as much as I could. I think it’s only natural that as I grew, Stilldream grew and Reno grew…. Well we all kind of grew together. Reno has been a corner stone for our events since then.
Any strange requests, odd happenings or just weird things ever happen while you were playing? Or your most memorable gig?
Well I wrote this March 11, 2009 when a friend of mine asked me a similar question. So I’m going to give you the link and my number 1 most memorable gig of all time.
“1. Tropicana – If there was one that would take the cake this would be it. I argued with the venue owners for an hour to let the party go til 2. They were lied to, so was Andy by Toney from Stoney’s skate park. After all the deliberation they agreed to let it go til 2. Luckily my set was from 1-2. I got on and premiered Phokus’ and my first track together “Blackhole Burnout”. The vibe couldn’t have been better. That was a truly definining set musically. I really felt like I hammered the crowd, our track almost tore the roof of the building and on top of all this girl that I was crushing on Pebbles tore of all of her clothes during the peak while dancing on the subs right in front of me during the last 15 mins of my set. We ended up kissing over the decks in front of the whole crowd while the whole place was screaming their heads of. It was truly epic. I’m not usually into girls getting naked at events, djs doing this or that blah blah blah, but it all happened perfectly. “
What’s the one track that never leaves your record bag or CD case?
It’s a toss-up between Uberzone – The Botz Ep and / or Josh Winks – Don’t Laugh. Those two tracks are timeless and still get the crowd whipped up into a frenzy when you drop them.
How long are those dreads now? Ever had any offers to cut them and how close have you come to cutting them off?
Last and honestly the first time I checked about two months ago most of my dreads are nearing or at 36 inches. I’ve definitely had many offers to cut them or for when I cut them there are people out there who have dibs on one of my dreads.
One of my old friends who used to cut my hair all the time back in high school has been promised that when and if I do cut them off he will be the person to do so. LOL kind of a running joke but I guess if it gets to it he’ll be first in line.
Who are your favorite Producers and or DJs that you listen to, play or have been influenced by and why?
Orbital, Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, Sasha, Digweed, Adam Freeland, Tipper, DJ Dan, Doc Martin, X-Dream, Bassnectar, Dave Seaman, Chris Liberator, Geezer, Dave The Drummer, Z-Listers, Uberzone, Bassbin Twins, Beats Antique, Glitch Mob, Dragn’fly, Santos, Nick Nyquil, Mek, Phokus, Richie Hawtin, Mars, Mystre, Thomas Trouble, Supa DJ Dimitri, John Aquaviva, Joel Mull, Frankie Bones, Danny the WildChild, the list could go on forever! Anybody who pretty much does something different, rocks out and does what they love. Some of that list is more current then others but you did say “have been influenced” so I think they deserve some credit.
If you didn’t become a DJ what else do you think you would be doing when you’re not at your day job?
Fuck man who knows. I could still be teaching Martial Arts, Skateboarding, Snowboarding, Boating, maybe I would be a family man? Its really hard to imagine my life without DJing or events.
Have you noticed a decline in attendance at events or clubs you play, and do you think it can be attributed to a possible loss of interest in the music?
Not recently, definitely feels like we are on the up-swing again. I think it just cycles through. I remember in 2001-2003 it was so hard to do events. Only the die hards came out unless it was the really big shows. Now… I think there is more interest than ever. Electronic music has finally been incorporated into mainstream music, Rap has really embraced it, the Emo / electro Rock scene has come into something like Nu Disco. Its growing! More and more people are finally embracing the sounds. Hell even Dub Step pulls thousands of people to LA Massives now. Who would have ever thought that electronic music would really get this big? I always thought it would but… I didn’t think it would become this integrated with other types of music. I think a lot of it has to do with computers, production of music now and a lot of the live pa cross over from bringing your whole studio out to now being able to do it on a laptop. Its changed everything for everybody who does music production.
What would you say are the best and worst things about being a DJ?
Well the best thing about being a is the joy you can bring to people’s lives. I’m constantly amazed at the level you can reach people through music, mixing and production. It is what keeps me doing, what I’m doing.
The Bad thing about DJing is sometimes you have to deal with Shitty promoters, who don’t respect anyone but themselves, bad sound systems, which put extra miles on your ears and the occasional bad gig which is the culmination of the two above usually. At that point you’re just bummed, spent sometimes hours or days traveling only to find yourself at a gig with no décor, weak sound, and promoters who think your time isn’t worth as much as theirs. Luckily those are far and few between.
I know you have released a track on your own label. Share with us the information behind the label, track, artists and anything you may be working on in the near future we can look forward to hearing.
Well I got the idea that through the events we were doing, bringing some awesome talent over from places like England, making friendships and connections by doing so, why not take those connections and do something a little longer lived then just an event. I have a ton of friends who are fucking bad ass producers why not get another avenue to express ourselves and what we do. Left Coast Techno was geared towards being a focal point for Techno on the West Coast of the United States.
I Released LCST No. 1 just as the whole Vinyl market dumped. Was kind of a rough time but I’m happy that I did it anyways. If I had had more structure and help with the selling of the tracks I think it still would have been successful but alas I just lack enough time to do everything I want. No. 2 was remixed by Ant from Stay Up Forever Records even had the remix done by Jak up in Portland but just didn’t have the money to put it out.
Right now the idea is to go all digital but I’m still having a hard time finding the time to get it all put together.
The next big things I’m working on is releasing the Stilldream and Chilldream Labels. Have a lot of help with these ones and so many artists who want to help contribute that I just know it’s going to be something magical.
My goal over the next year is to play less gigs, throw fewer shows and put more time and energy into the labels, both Left Coast Techno and Stilldream.
If you had a chance to play anywhere, anytime and with anyone of your choice what would you choose?
On top of the Pyramid of the Sun on December 21st, 2012 with Orbital, Tipper, Adam Freeland, Carl Cox and all of my closest friends and family….
Well you did say anytime anywhere. ?
What are your thoughts on file sharing websites and blogs vs. file purchasing websites?
My thoughts and feelings of this subject are constantly changing as does the medium of delivery of music to its listeners and players. At first I was totally opposed to blogging any of your music, but what really bugged me was the people who bit torrent hundreds or sometimes thousands of songs.
Now Blogs have become useful tools for artists to promote themselves, by releasing older tracks and promoting their new stuff. It seems to be finding a happy medium, but I’m not in favor of just anybody going out and stealing all their music. Use the blogs to find artists then go buy their shit! Seriously Records used to cost 11 dollars for 2-4 songs, sometimes only having 1 song on the record that you liked. Now you can buy a track that you want for $3 most of the time. Buy that shit and support the people who are bringing you such great music that you’d want to steal it.
Any suggestions for other artists or promoters, either up and coming or just in general?
Have a message behind what you do. Believe in it, and make it happen.
Anything you would like to add or get off your chest?
One never knows what lies in tomorrow, So I’d like to thank anybody and everybody that I’ve had a chance to know, interact with, shared good and / or bad times with, who’s supported me in what I’ve been working on all these years. All of these moments, good and bad, make us who we are. Thank you for everything! Much love!