Niko Zografos, an up and coming trance DJ and producer who plays regularly at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco, CA, is a man of many words when it comes to talking about his craft. I sat down with him in Palo Alto to talk about his beginnings, 1015, his influences and experiences in the trance community and why he loves the genre so much.
Marcos Blanco: When did you decide you wanted to be a trance DJ/producer?
Niko Zografos: Probably about two years ago was when I wanted to start. I really liked the music. A buddy of mine who was really into trance showed me a lot of artists I didn’t know about. I’ve been listening to electronic music for about four years now.
MB: What attracted you to 1015 Folsom? What was the vibe you got from it?
NZ: As soon as I turned 21, I wanted to go there because I saw some of my favorite artists playing there. It’s the music that really draws me in. I also liked seeing the lesser known artists at 1015.
MB: So being a mainstay DJ at 1015, would you say that playing at 1015 would be a good way for an up and coming DJ such as yourself to get a good start?
NZ: I wouldn’t say a start because you have to get experience elsewhere first. To be able to play on the main stage at 1015, you have to know what you’re doing, you have to be doing it for a while and you have to prove the promoters and bookers of 1015 that you have the pull. Unless you’re the headliner then obviously you have the pull, but if you’re opening, you have to be able to promote, show that you’re bringing people to the club and to show that you’re making the club money. Even for headliners, you may have good productions, but if they don’t think that you’re going to bring anybody into the club, they’re not going to bring you out. Draw is very important.
I’ve gotten gigs in San Jose, Berkeley, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco. I’ve been able to show the promoters at 1015 that I have pulled and that I do promote. I also have my podcasts so that I can keep it fresh in people’s mind. If you’re trying to take it to the next level, it is a good start. You need to do a lot of things to prove yourself to be able to play on a stage like that first. They’re not just going to let anybody open up for someone who is on the DJ Mag Top 100.
MB: You played on the main stage at 1015 recently. How did that make you feel?
NZ: It was awesome. It went really well. The thing about opening is you have to make sure you give enough room to the headliner. For the opener, you may have people come to see you, but the show is about the headliner.
MB: Were you nervous going up on the main stage?
NZ: Yeah, definitely. When you’re playing in front of a lot of people, you don’t want to mess up.
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