When Solar Langevin (a.k.a Solar) began DJing in the early '90s, San Francisco’s clubs and raves were places where musically anything could happen. To be a DJ in this time and place meant having a fierce dedication to the craft of creating electrifying music for people to dance all night. A deep record collection and bold creativity were valued above all else, the basic requirement to have any chance of success on local turf.
In 1994, Solar and a couple of other DJs began bringing a sound system and a generator to the Berkeley Marina for free gatherings to dance and watch the sun set behind the San Francisco skyline. As these Sunset Sound System parties grew from dozens to hundreds of attendees, Solar became one San Francisco’s best-loved DJs, a musical pioneer of the local region with a reputation just beginning to transcend the state of California. Behind all this lay a deep dedication to his craft, shaping him into a fearless, passionate DJ with a sound that blends techno, disco, house, and electro with the raw energy of punk and psychedelic rock.
The Sunset Sound System series has now become one of the West Coast's most talked about events, and Solar is now an artist who ignites tremendous interest on European soil and beyond, but one with a reasonably small but intensely loyal fanbase of dedicated music fans rather than one with a large but fickle clan of "followers" who prioritise name over substance. Those in the former category share an appreciation for his originality in track selection, one that evidences little regard for ephemeral fashion, trends, or fads; and patience and maturity that comes only with 20 years behind the decks.
Ahead of an upcoming European tour, including stops at Lighthouse Festival, Neopop, Houghton, and Dekmantel Selectors, the San Francisco man offered to compose a mix for our series. We've been after him for some time, and so it was something we were quick to accept.
His mix, at just over an hour in length, is a condensed version of what you're likely to hear in a club set, building slowly with an intense mid-section, before winding down with an electro number by E.R.P. Although shorter and put together on the fly, it's draped in all the qualities that have made Solar such a revered name among those who've been fortunate enough to discover his work. Grab it now via the WeTransfer button below.
What have you been filling your time with recently?
Preparing for our annual Sunset Sound System Campout in July and our 25th anniversary of throwing parties. Keeping up with our We Are Monsters events and running the label Squirrels on Film and getting our last release out.
Where was this particular mix recorded?
At my house with my setup of two Techniques and a Pioneer 600 mixer.
How did you choose the tracks that you included?
I was super crunched on time, so had to do it in one take. I was hoping to have a bunch of unreleased stuff from the label and friends, but I did not have enough time to track down a good CDJ, so everything is all from my records. I basically just did a quick pick through some of the records that were on my floor that I had been listening to or played recently and a few from the shelves, and tried to make some sense out of it.
How does the podcast compare to one of your club sets?
I would say the middle part of the mix might be close to what I would play in a club. It’s definitely one of the faster mixes I have recorded.
How much of the material that you make do you release?
Not much. I find it a bit hard juggling DJing, traveling, throwing events, and running the label, and then finding the time to get in the studio. So quite a lot of unfinished tracks.
What’s next on the horizon?
Quite a busy summer, but a little break soon. Hoping to get some real camping in with my girlfriend, and get in the studio.
Due to temporary issues regarding the GDPR, EU readers can download the mix here.
01. Igor Wakhevitch "Love Song To Ekalavya" (Transversales Disques)
02. Craig Leon "The Respondent in Dipute" (Rvng. Intl)
03. Black Merlin "Spirit House" (Berceuse Heroique)
04. ARC# "Grey" (Deep Sound Channel)
05. Eden Transmission "Transmission Maya" (Exist Dance)
06. House Hallucinates "Prisoners of Ecstasy" (IT)
07. Johnny Dangerous "Father in Heaven" (Mr. Marvin Aquatic Dub) (Downtown)
08. Sheila Fleurator "Minimal Hypnosis" (Neubau)
09. Al Shark "Kalbata" (Fortuna Records)
10. Etienne Jaumet "Satori" (Versatile)
11. Zombi "Sapphire" (Static Caravan)
12. Das Geschwader "Himmelfahrt 89" (M.W. Cut) (Arma Records)
13. Can "Vitamin C" (U.N.K.L.E. remix) (Mute)
14. E.R.P. "Afterimage "Noetic" (Forgotten Future)