By: Marcos Blanco
I sat down with the dubstep duo of Hella Proper, Rod “DVS” Reyes and DJ “TKO” to discuss their beginnings with the group, dubstep and what they think about the current state of the electronic music scene in the south bay.
Marcos Blanco: How did Hella Proper come about? Av told me it was a spur of the moment deal. Would you agree with that?
Rod Reyes: It actually was. Av and I were always talking about how we wanted to bring electronic music to downtown San Jose because there was not much of a crowd that enjoyed that kind of music. There were always events that played drum & bass, dubstep, electro, but it was never a cracking thing. So, Av finally said that she talked to the owners of Motif Lounge and they gave her day. The rest is history right there.
MB: Did you expect this many people to show up to your events and what your thoughts and feelings about that?
RR: To be honest, no. I thought it was great. I was shocked to have all these people come out to our gigs. And it wasn’t only people that we knew there who came out to support us. There were all kinds of people there. It was good to see them come out.
DJ TKO: Oh, man I loved it. I’ve haven’t seen a crowd like that in a while. Definitely a different crowd compared to the top 40 clubs.
MB: What appealed to you about going into dubstep?
RR: It wasn’t until dubstep became really heavy and a little bit more drum & bass sounding that I got into it. When dubstep first came out, I thought it was really boring. Drum & bass did not turn into dubstep. Just to clarify.
DJ TKO: When I first heard dubstep, it kind of freaked me out (laughs). As I listened to it more, started doing my research, digging for music, I started to appreciate it more. The more shows you go to, you know what type of music you like.
MB: How do you both feel about the electronic dance music scene in the Silicon Valley area?
RR: As far as the south bay goes, it looks like it’s starting to get better which is good. I would’ve never expected San Jose to draw an electronic crowd. Only because I’ve lived the history of San Jose and the type of crowd that San Jose brings. It was always attracting a top 40, hip-hop and R&B crowd. I would drive all the way up to the city (San Francisco) if I wanted to hear this kind of music. I would drive 45 minutes away to hear the type of music I like which is electronic kind of stuff. I’m glad it’s starting to come around to San Jose and from the way it looks, it looks like it’s just going to get bigger. I think it’s the younger crowd who are a little bit more open-minded about the music. It’s a hit or miss when it comes to our generation I think, unless you were into the whole rave scene back then.
DJ TKO: Yeah, It’s progressing there. It’s kind of a familiar sound if you were into the rave scene back then. Now, these young crowds have an open mind. It’s not just top 40 now and it’s not just hip-hop. They reach out and see what else is out there. Since we started doing the show, we just noticed [the scene] is just getting bigger and bigger. Also, other clubs are starting to accept the whole electronic music scene, too. Before they were scared to book any electronic or dubstep DJs. Now, I’ve been looking at fliers lately and I’ve been seeing similar events that Hella Proper throws. It’s a good thing. We’re getting a crowd in San Jose surprisingly.
MB: You say the younger crowd has more of an open mind now. Why do you think that is?
RR: When things start to blow up, people start to hop on it. The younger generation is easily influenced by stuff. I hate to say it, but when people start to hop on it is when it becomes trendy.
MB: I’ve noticed people break dancing at your events which takes me back to middle school and high school days (laughs). How do you both feel when you see that?
RR: I think it’s awesome. It’s not foreign or anything because I’ve been going to raves since way back in the day. Since then, people were always break dancing in the drum & bass and house rooms. I think it’s good to see that. I think it’s weird seeing it in the dubstep room (laughs). It’s a totally different tempo, but it’s cool. I mean, whatever makes you happy, right? I’m just glad to see people enjoy it.
DJ TKO: Yeah, they’re having fun. I would rather have them dancing than standing there and not doing anything.
RR: And it’s not like dubstep is too boring that you can’t dance to it. We don’t play the ambient stuff. We play some really heavy hitters.
MB: Any final thoughts for people who want to look for something different other than top 40 music?
RR: Well now it’s a good opportunity for them to check it out. The dubstep and electronic scene is getting a lot bigger in San Jose. It gives them more of an option other than going to top 40 or R&B type of music.
DJ TKO: It’s all the same shit. But if you come to Motif, there’s electronic, dubstep, indie disco. It’s totally different. A lot of girls love it, too. I’m not going to lie (laughs). If you’re open to a lot of new things, it’s dope.
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