Frankie Koeller is one of my favorite DJs in the bay area. He put together a sweet Spirit Jazz mix for Drops of Gold a few months back and I thought it was time to check back in on his Cold Burrito night every 3rd Thursday at Bar 355. Here's a playlist of a good hour and a half of his set from last Thursday. It's a good one.
It is pretty eclectic as you might expect, and a lot like what Pat and I do, in a way. There's Brit pop, jazz, soul, yacht rock, kraut rock, new wave, rare groove, indie and more here. Frankie and I recently got to talking about how many DJs like us there must be out there. Those folks that mostly just DJ a few nights a month in smaller bars where maybe no one ever dances, and that is OK. Call us "collector DJs" if you want. I imagine most of us are guys that grew up loving music and caught the bug for tracking down new (or new to us) and interesting music that most people wouldn't be interested in, even if they knew where to find it. And we definitely have too many records. This is quite a different thing compared to what most people these days think of when you say you're a DJ. It can be hard to explain that we aren't playing dancing music to hundreds or thousands of kids on drugs with lots of flashing lights, champagne, etc...
I got Frankie to chat about his style and how he got started. Enjoy!
G: Why Cold Burrito this year? and Harsh Toke last year? Will you change it every year as a marker of time?
F: I'm always changing DJ names and names for my "night', which is probably why my nights are sometimes ill attended. Cold Burrito is something that bay area people will understand, I think. You go out after drinking at the bar, order a giant burrito and eat half. The rest of it gets put in the fridge. When you wake up feeling funky and look in the fridge that forgotten burrito looks pretty comforting. There's never a good way to heat up a burrito so you usually just eat it cold. At least that's what I do...
G: Me too. You don't want to reheating avocado and sour cream if you went for the super...
What are some of the ways you find out about music? Has it changed in the last few years with the all the new technology?
F: I usually get most of my recommendations from friends, fellow DJ's etc. Sharing songs through Instant Messaging as you come across them during the day. Instagram has actually turned me on to a lot of new/old music lately. Certain accounts that focus on records and writing reviews. THEOKING3000 and SACRED_VINYL are 2 of my favorites.
G: Cool. I'm about the same. The old methods still work. How do you pull records to DJ? Is it always the same or do you feel like Cold Burrito has a theme?
F: I really try to play different stuff every week. I'm definitely guilty of having a ton of records that I don't know front to back. So sometimes I get stuck playing that 1 song from that 1 record but I'm trying to get better. I try to keep Cold Burrito pretty eclectic as my musical taste is pretty broad. Everything needs to have a good back beat. Whether it be a Johnny Hammond jazz-funk tune, an old 60's garage rocker or even an early Simple Minds song that has that post-punk-funk thing going.
G: Pat and I were talking about starting a list of things not to say to DJs, like:
Can you play something we can dance to?
Do you know where the bathroom is?
Can you just play this one song from my phone?
You have any to add, or any interesting stories from DJing?
F: The story that I always tell is one from DJing the Ruby Room in the early 2000's.
Young man: "Do you have the new Rage Against the Machine?"
Me: "No, sorry."
Young man: "Do you have ANY Rage Against the Machine?"
Me: "Um, no."
Young man: (pissed) "Well, what DO you have?!"
G: How and when did you start?
F: I was at the Ruby Room right after it opened in 1999 I think and i was sitting at the bar listening to the DJ playing something horrible and I thought, I can do this. I asked Molly behind the bar if I could DJ here, she said "Sure, how about next Monday?" That was it. I've been doing it pretty much consistently since then. Ugh.
Ha ha! So there you have it folks. Thanks Frankie! Stay tuned for more from Frankie, we're thinking of talking to some more collector DJs about their experiences to see if they are similar to ours...