DJs are seemingly omnipresent in Chapel Hill-Carrboro nightlife, but the people behind the turntable aren’t as well known as their music. Staff writer Morgan Howard spoke to DJ Bo Fader, who will be playing B-Side Lounge tonight, about his career, his inspirations and future funk.
DAILY TAR HEEL: How did you get into DJing?
BO FADER: I’ve been doing this for about 20 years. I started in the ’80s. I grew up in a small town, and raves were really popular, so I spent a lot of time there. I decided to DJ because I can’t dance at all. I liked being involved with the scene, so I got into records and turntables. I learned how to scratch and started playing drum and bass, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
DTH: What is your music process like?
BF: I like all kinds of music. The music I love to play has a lot of different names: down-tempo, ambient, future funk — it’s hard to categorize. It’s very experimental. What I like about the music I play is that I hear things in pop music now that I heard in experimental music 10 years ago. It kind of bubbles up to the surface, and people take what they like from it, but at the core it’s coming from experimental music. It’s been around, but it was nerdy dudes in their bedroom making it.
DTH: What made you transition from rave music to ambient?
BF: I was always drawn to what they called chill rooms. It was always a place to relax, and the music was comforting. I like super warm ambient tones. It kind of reminds me of being a kid. It surrounds you in a warm blanket of ambience. It’s really comfortable, and everyone is kind of hanging out, and I liked that vibe. It’s kind of timeless to me, whereas dance music is kind of fleeting.
DTH: What inspired you to name your show tonight “Lost Stories”?
BF: “Lost Stories” is the name of the studio I have with my friends. The whole idea is that there are so many times in your life that you’ve had so many crazy experiences that you’ll never remember them all. They’ll eventually creep back up on you, and those are the lost stories. Those are the things that have shaped you invisibly.
DTH: What inspires your music?
BF: My friends. A lot of the experiences I was talking about have been made with them, and they have helped shape who I am. I also watch a ton of terrible old VHS tapes from the ’80s, and I collect those, and they inspire me and the soundtracks from that. Local DJs also inspire ... things like funk and soul and kinds of world music — things I’ve never heard before but amaze me.
DTH: What drew you to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area?
BF: I was living in Baltimore, and the city was kind of weighing heavy on me, and my friend was like, “You have to get out of there. Get back to where we’re from.” I’m not from this area, but I’m from North Carolina. I like this area because it’s relatively cosmopolitan and relatively urban in its own way. You can get good food, and you have great bars, and there are people that are open to things. That’s what’s attractive about this area: young people, creative people and people interested about making something in the town they’re in.