In anticipation of the newest Wes Smith endeavor, I sat down with the curator of the famous RIPEcast, Keith Deckard (aka DJ Deckard) to talk about the show. He is a member of the Space Cowboys, a San Francisco based Burner music and art collective.
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Tell me who or what are the Space Cowboys?
There is a really long history surrounding the Space Cowboys, I have been a part of them for 6 years now. It is a collective in the true sense of the word that was born from a fusion of two different Burning Man camps. They found themselves at Burning Man in a "coming together" moment. They had the same temperament and needs/skills/equipment that complimented each other ... and the camp was born. Today we have about 17 active members, builders, sound guys, maintenance, etc and each has their expertise that is used during the year for our activities, shows and at Burning Man itself.
Explain to those who have not been to Burning Man what the Space Cowboys do at the burn:
At Burning Man we have MOG which is an art car and last year we built a saloon. The MOG is a mobile party that is always on the move. We would rather be mobile and a bit harder to find than have a huge party that people plan on going to during the week. It’s part of the experience, you have to make an effort to find us. It’s almost a metaphor for breakbeat, a little off the beaten path. We want the people who love it to come find the art car or if you stumble upon it and have a great time listening to it and we gain new people, that’s great too.
I know we ended up in deep playa one early morning at the MOG. We were the first ones there but a whole bunch of people showed up and we danced for hours. That was a great Burning Man memory for me, thank you Space Cowboys!
Who are the Space Cowboys outside of the burn?
Different parties we throw thoughout the year have different purposes. From specific Burning Man fundraisers to smaller shows that give our vibe and music but are most likely less of a production. We are a not-for-profit and we really try to back art projects. For example we backed the Bay Bridge lights project [https://thebaylights.org] where a local artist Leo Villareal did a LED light installation on San Fran’s Bay Bridge. We also throw Ghost Ship which is a Burning Man type party but it also supports local artists. As we have been more successful with each show, we are able hire people/artists from other camps like Dusty Rhino (for example) and they are able to gain something from being there, helping their camp for the year.
What is RIPEcast?
Zach Moore championed the RIPEcast effort and spent a lot of time and effort getting RIPEcast to where it is now. It was born out of love and belief in the music from those with a love of breakbeats and ability to promote what we love. The sound has evolved a bit more from exclusively breakbeat, we play more house styles now as well. I’m even hearing more of that organic electro sound that we were hearing 6-7 years ago. We talked about it as a collective to widen the range of what is played and it has worked out really well- I feel like we have something pretty rare. Now Zach does the Armory Podcast exclusively and all of us involved in RIPEcast are figuring out how to get the word out on social media and in our communities.
How do you choose your artists/mixes for RIPEcast?
We are trying to record as many live sets as possible that we do during the year like our happy hours on Pier 70. Josh (8_Ball), a camp elder/leader, manages 1 mix a month plus a mixture of Space Cowboys DJS live, video or pre set mixes as well as other guest DJs. I am trying to curate producers/DJs that I follow and like to get more content. Even though I have a 9-5 job and limited time - it’s like being a radio programmer, I get to bring music I am really passionate about to people who really like it and what we do as well.
How did the July 24th San Francisco "The Space Cowboys present ShOONanigans with Wes Smith" show come about?
This is a really good example of how we have different people who take on different parts and roles. Jenny (ShOOey) has a relationship with Jeff (GM) of Public Works in San Francisco and she is a huge fan of Wes Smith. It’s her birthday and she was able to choose who she wanted to play. It’s very organic, we have the infrastructure and level of expertise/knowledge to propose a plan and throw a great, successful party. We also have a good track record so it feels good when you have everyone's backing going into it. [Facebook Event]
How can we hear the RIPEcast?
It is available on Mixcloud, Soundcloud and for download on iTunes. Wes Smith's RIPEcast drops today at 11am pst.
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Keith is a Space Cowboy and is known as DJ Deckard. His “Definition of Chill” RIPEcasts are available on the links below (I’m listening to one now and it’s great). I thank him for his time with me today, it was a awesome and interesting conversation that helps bridge the gap for me on music and what others are doing across the country for the love of music. I look forward finding the Space Cowboys and dancing with you all in Black Rock City in 2015. Giddy up!