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Today N808 and Mike Kerrigan team up for a new collaboration 'Penguin Hit Squad', available now via Dirtybird. We have had the pleasure of speaking with him and this has been the result.

What was the first thing that attracted you to the world of electronic music?

Sex, drugs, and rock n roll right? Isn’t that what attracts everybody? Haha. My mom had this CD when I was little kid by a Mexican artist named Fey and there was a drum and bass track on it that blew my mind called “Popocatepetl” (say that five times fast) that I would just listen to over and over again. In high school I rediscovered electronic dance music by way of this duo from NY called Designer Drugs. They’d put out monthly mixes of everything from the popular electro of the era to dubstep and everything in between.

Do you remember any record or concert that made you see everything differently?

I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say that in college I was a few years older and from a different state. I think just the first year because I turned 21 my sophomore year. Anyways, my friend Lily took me to San Francisco to a $5 show with free vodka for the first hour. I think I downed 6 or 7 drinks in that first hour hosted bar. It was a Dirtybird Quarterly party and it changed my whole outlook on what constituted a good party… this crew obviously wasn’t concerned with looking cool or making outrageous sums of money on bottle service. This dancefloor was an egalitarian paradise. Money and status (both of which I was short on) meant nothing and the beats were off the chain. I felt right at home.

Since you got into this professionally, what did you miss nationally, internationally? And what helped you the most to grow, even to believe in yourself?

I think what’s helped me grow the most and believe in myself are my friends. Another set of ears, another set of eyes outside of your own brain can work wonders when you’ve been stuck in a loop for hours.

How did you decide to embark on your latest job?

This latest track? My dayjob isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world so I’ll spare you the details. Penguin Hit Squad however came together during a protracted studio session with Mike. We finished a chill track and decided to try our hand at something for peak hours. I think another session or two did it. I don’t want to give away all of my secrets at once but a lot of the nastiest sounds on that record are stock instruments with a lot of automation.

How are you living the music scene in your city with this murky pandemic situation?

I love San Francisco. I think there’s a residual energy that’s been building here since the 60s. I’ve always felt at home here in a way I really haven’t in other cities… it’s hard to explain, but the best example I can point at is years ago when I first moved here there was a big DJ we all loved who was down to play at the top of Twin Peaks at sunrise. Someone brought decks, someone brought a generator, someone brought speakers, and absolutely NO one took video. No selfies. No tags or social media. Just 30 or 40 people dancing above the clouds and the fog at dawn for the sake of it. It was a communal effort to better our experiences that weekend and it was absolutely wild.

What are your favorite places to hang out in the city?

In no particular order my 3 favorite nightclubs are F8, Temple, and 1015 Folsom. And of course Monarch. I love Monarch. Shoot that’s 4. It’s impossible to choose a favorite. As far as places to hang out during the daylight hours my neighborhood (SOMA) is awesome and I love biking down the embarcadero too.

Have you had time to focus on making music, spending time with your family, or planning future projects?

I’ve actually been working kinda non stop on music lately and testing stuff out live. Mike and I wrapped up a new one or two recently too. I got to see some family last weekend at a show I played in my hometown Sacramento. My mom, auntie, and one of my favorite cousins were there, so that was really special.

Do you have any final words of wisdom?

If I can offer up a mantra of sorts that’s gotten me through some dark times, if you’re ever feeling uninspired musically or looking at a seemingly insurmountable learning curve just remind yourself that you really can’t get any worse at it. Just doesn’t make sense at the end of the day. You spent an hour failing to glue a kick and bassline together? No you spent an hour learning how compressors work. Even if you think it was time wasted it really wasn’t. A lot of my biggest realizations in the studio came at the tail end of aimlessly messing around for hours and hours. If someone spends one hour learning to play the flute and someone else spends a thousand hours… even if there was no structure to their messing around, the person who spent a thousand hours is going to sound better. Ok rant over. Hope you guys like Penguin Hit Squad!

Buy / Stream ‘Penguin Hit Squad’


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