Some of you might remember Kevin Koga. One of the earlier DJs at the Wave and Hula’s when they were both pretty much rocking the face off this island, he was also one of the many musicians that needed to get the hell out of here and see what the rest of the world was all about. Since the mid-‘90s he’s been part of San Francisco’s music scene and an award-winning record buyer. I caught up with him to talk about his new party Keep it Upp! that’s already got people buzzing about the music.
HI! I read that your musical knowledge stems from your first love: The Silver Age of Hip Hop. The genre of music you’re into now, what’s the best way to describe it?
There really isn’t a genre that I’m not into. Well, trance I guess. Not into trance and gabber. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s more about a sound and a certain way certain types of records make you feel than it is about a genre. Everything from obscure disco records, krautrock records, house and techno of the deeper variety, African funk records, Brazilian records…
So this above-average determination to constantly find new music; do you know where that comes from? Like, were you extraordinarily gifted at collecting baseball cards?
No, haha. I wasn’t into collecting anything. Music was always my thing since I was a toddler. My older cousin was into disco when it was new and I remember sitting in his room for hours listening to his disco records by myself. I couldn’t have been older than three. When I was older, like ten, he showed me that there was a lot of great music out in the world that doesn’t get any play on the radio. So as I started buying records I always looked for different things. Always taking a chance on things I never heard before.
Well, people certainly seem to be responding to it. You are doing what 98.8% of the population needs to have done for them. What was it like playing at Jack Law’s clubs?
It was one of the most important experiences for me. I was under age so I had to get a work permit. I learned so much there. He made us work! We had to theme videos to songs we were playing on three different sets of screens while working lighting and DJ-ing for five to eight hours every night. I would leave drenched in sweat.
Speaking of that, can you tell me about the Keep it Upp! party? What sort of music should people expect to hear?
The party is myself, Gelareh, Timo and Davey Shindig. Gelareh is encouraging us to play things that we feel we normally don’t get to play. I like to keep it edgy, slightly dark and definitely funky. We all have our very own distinct tastes in music that compliments each other quite well. I kind of feel like it’s the defining party of what thirtyninehotel’s musical vision is. The party is every last Saturday of the month.
Sounds amazing. I’ll be there right at 8pm for the free food, see you then!
thirtyninehotel 7 Year Anniversary, Keep it Upp! Sat., 9/24, 8pm