SUPER EGO "I really don't know what I've gotten myself into," Skypes Jeremy Bispo, founder of the As You Like It techno party crew, into my twinkling Princess Phone app with a laugh.
"Well you better know, sweet thing, and quick!" I think, hopefully not too out loud. Bispo's about to embark on an odyssey of mythic blowout proportions, launching a series of seven huge parties (with attendant afterparties at smaller venues) in the next two months that will include a live showcase touchdown at Smart Bar in Chicago and a return to the crew's Midwestern roots at the Movement electronic music festival in Detroit, to coproduce the third installment of Shit Show, one of the fest's more scandalous satellite shindigs. (Check out www.ayli-sf.com for more info about it all.)
Featured at those parties will be some of the most revered names in contemporary techno production, including Kassem Mosse, Deetron, Kollectiv Turmstrasse, Dave Aju, Camea, Mark E, and Sandwell District, plus AYLI's wonderfully dedicated regulars Christina Chatfield, Rich Korach, Mossmoss, Tyrel Williams, and Brian Bejarano, a.k.a. Briski. The series kicks off Fri/11 at AYLI's monthly throwdown at Beatbox, this one themed "Coast to Coast," with deeply respected house DJ Jus-Ed from Connecticut and Detroit's Marcellus Pittman of the actually legendary 3 Chairs collective.
But if anyone can pull this gargantuan bender off it's Bispo who, along with AYLI head compañero Jeremy Linden, has not only hosted a rarely paralleled roster of the global techno circuit's leaders, but built a quality brand from the underground up (AYLI parties at various city locations in the past two years have been among the best on offer) with almost Machiavellian cunning — minus the maliciousness, of course, and with extra warm fuzzies on the Technicolor dance floor.
"Global leaders?" "Quality brand?" Why am I talking like Lindsey Naegle from The Simpsons? And how have techno crowds changed in San Francisco that hundreds of people will happily throw down $20–$30 to see bleeding-edge, non-pop DJs and live acts, many from Europe, that surely only the most ardent followers of sites like Resident Advisor or Little White Earbuds would recognize as genius (in my rapacious online forum estimation, there's about 56 of us)? And hardly one glow stick in sight?
"The movement I see is still nomadic in the classic sense," Bispo explains, referencing techno's border-hopping transmission, its rave-caravan past, and its universal appeal. "But now in San Francisco, the people who are moving here who are interested in this music are very educated, very sophisticated. They know what's out there. Many of them want to spend their money on something that has been curated for them with care, especially since there are so many people making this type of music now. And people like to be challenged, not just in the sound but in the feel. Our underground events have many times been more successful than our licensed ones.
"It's still about having a place to go party all night to some great music," he continues. "But now it's not just fellow DJs who are listening to the sets and making the connections. You might be surprised how many people passionately follow this music, especially in our tech-centric city."