It’s 2012 and my friends and I are at San Francisco’s DNA Lounge, amidst a cloud of marijuana smoke and over-privileged delinquent teenagers, hyped to see xxyyxx, whose About You video just hit the Internet by storm. But I hardly remember xxyyxx’s performance. Instead, I remember losing it to NanosauR’s fire remix of Broken Social Scene’s “Anthem’s for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl,” a track that defined our angsty teenage years, a reference that was likely lost on 90% of the youthful audience.
Three years later, 27-year-old Michael Solorzano, who spins and produces as NanosauR, is still slaying the Bay Area DJ scene, having opened for the likes of Gold Panda, Tokimonsta, Teams, Salva, and touring as Kitty Pryde’s official DJ on Danny Brown’s Old & Reckless tour. You can see him this May when he tours with Dev (of “Bass Down Low” fame), whose last two EPs he produced – Bittersweet July and Bittersweet July Pt. 2. See our conversation below, and don’t miss the following tracks:
How and when did you start making music? I started making music when I was around 16 or 17. I was going to a continuation high school at the time and all the kids that went there were pretty bad and would install Fruity Loops on the classroom computers. Naturally I would mess around with that instead of doing my work. Suddenly I figured out how to structure songs by listening to groups like The Pack. I would make beats and sell them to rappers at my school for like $10. I just stuck with it.
You've shared stages with a lot of big names. Who is your favorite person/group you've played with? I think one of my favorite shows was being on the same bill as Gold Panda. That was the very first time I had ever played such a big venue so I was really nervous, but it turned out great. What was it like touring with Danny Brown? (I'm a huge fan.) I imagine a lot of blunts. Haha, yeah definitely a lot of blunts. I had the best time on that tour; it was the very first time I had ever gone on the road and it was awesome being able to see how everything goes down and to be able to learn so much from Danny and Skywlkr and Kitty. What's your favorite venue in SF to play? My favorite venue in SF has probably got to be Elbo Room. It's so small but it's always been the best as far as the staff and the people that go there. Shouts out to Marco De La Vega and 120 Minutes crew for always having me as a guest there. Who are your influences? I get influenced by literally everything, but a strong reoccurring theme in my solo music and production has been 80s new wave and synth pop music. I love rap also and especially when it's Bay Area rap. I grew up during the Hyphy Movement so that has a lot to do with my eclectic styles also. Do you have a favorite song/remix of yours? I think my favorite song that I've ever produced has probably got to be "Everything I Do" by Dev. We made that song when we were both in high school and it was just really perfect for that time and has always stuck with me. Who are your favorite DJs? Neto & So What out of Oakland, they also go by the name SWERVE when they DJ together. As long as I've been hanging in Oakland they have always been the ones to get the parties crackin’. Dream collaboration? I would love to work with Lykke Li or Joanna Newsom. They have these extraordinary voices and it would be a huge achievement to be able to work on music with them or for them. Favorite restaurant in SF?
Taqueria Los Coyotes is usually my go to spot because it's so close to 16th at BART where my usual stop is at, plus it's open late, which is great for nights when your leaving the bar around last call time. Hobbies? Besides producing music I like to hang with my pet rabbit and sometimes I get in the mood to paint or draw. I'm always trying to stay creative through various outlets just to keep my mind sharp. Vices? I like to party so I guess everything that goes along with that is a vice, haha. What inspires you? My parents and my family really inspire me, as does my upbringing. I want to be able to provide for my fam the same way that they have for me all these years so it really pushes me to work hard. First concert you attended? The first concert I ever attended was Rooney and Straylight Run at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz. I remember being so excited for it. I was killing time before the show started so I was walking around Pacific Ave. I went into the Salvation Army store and Straylight Run was in there goofing around and taking photos. It was awesome because no one knew who they were except for me. Best show you've attended? One of the best shows I ever attended was the Daft Punk Alive Tour in 2007 at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. That was so unreal to me at the time because I had just gotten into electronic music that year and was lucky enough to be able and get a ticket at the very last minute.
What music is on heavy rotation for you right now? I've been listening to a lot of New Order and The Cure lately. They've always been on heavy rotation for me but I always associate them with Spring, so that's why I've been in the mood for them so much recently. Favorite song of 2015 so far? My favorite song this year has probably got to be Trap Queen by Fetty Wap. It's literally infectious how catchy it is. By Anna Dorn
Photograph courtesy of futureclassics.ca