Friend of Disposable, Visiting Europe
Randy Ellis is a record label owner, DJ, and producer based in Los Angeles. He's the founder of Hobo Camp and co-founder of Voltaire Records. He frequently hosts shows and events including musicians heavy in the current funk scene like Egyptian Lover, Brian Ellis, Zackey Force Funk, and XL Middleton. Recently, he went on a 3-week European DJ tour visiting Stockholm, Helsinki, Nantes, Montreuil, and Barcelona. When he's not producing and recording music or prepping for his monthly NTS radio show Mint Condition, he finds time to go skating at various skateparks in the Los Angeles area.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Randy “Hotthobo” Ellis, and I am a DJ, producer and record label owner. I’ve been associated with groups like Loose Shus and Chautauqua, and manage and run the labels Hobo Camp and Voltaire Records. I guess lately I am known for DJing boogie-funk and disco records, but I also play house, hip-hop, techno, jazz, etc...and I currently try to showcase all this on my radio show “Mint Condition” on NTS.
On your roll we see lots of people, parties, and boats. Where were you?
I was on a DJ tour of a few cities in Europe. The trip started in Barcelona, and went to Stockholm, Helsinki, Nantes, Bucharest, and ended in Montreuil for a two day Funk Festival (Atomik Funk Fest 4), and I was mostly staying with DJs and promoters at their apartments or houses.
How would you compare and contrast the music scenes in California to the different scenes in the European cities you were in?
I feel like the music scene in Europe is generally more appreciative of what you as a DJ or selector have to offer. I felt that people who were at the shows were more open to hearing new things or tracks that they were unfamiliar with as part of the overall experience; they were generally open to taking a figurative journey. That being said, it was a different vibe everywhere I went. Here in California I feel that the public generally wants to be entertained, which revolves more around what they want than what you have to offer. Also, I found the European clubs to be more accommodating to DJs and artists, and in better condition, which was highly appreciated.
What was your most memorable moment on the trip?
I got to DJ the 20th anniversary of a party called “Funky Saturday” in Nantes, France at a club called Le Rond Point Cafe, which is right on the river. I had been told by a friend that I would be blown away by the vibe and music of the party, and the DJ that runs the night, DJ Pharoah, and so I guess I was somewhat prepared for great things to happen. Anyways, just before the gig, I met Perry Louis (host of the Jazzcotech Radio Show) and Manny Hameed, and a few others who were also staying where I was, and had driven down from the UK just to attend this party, and we instantly bonded over music and the vibes were high. The party was absolutely amazing, with perfect sound and lighting and with an insane crowd of dancers that went straight for it from the moment the doors opened until the end. I witnessed DJ Pharoah open the gig with one of the best boogie-funk and disco sets I’d ever seen (in terms of selection and skill) and I had to follow him when the place was completely packed. It felt surreal and slightly intimidating, but I had an epic time and played a set I was really juiced about, and later Perry threw down a set, and we all rotated to close out the party, until the very end when DJ Pharoah finished the night with the most epic of tracks to a full room of applause. I felt like I was part of something special that spoke directly to me, and to be there on the 20th anniversary of this legendary party (which was my first time), surrounded by folks that shared that same sentiment.
Musically, who/what were your early influences? Current influences?
My early influences vary greatly as I kinda jumped around genres a lot growing up. Honestly, because my father and grandfather are both professional musicians, and because I would watch them play and write music from a very early age, I’d have to reference both of them. Some of the groups that really spoke to me in my early years, and still do are The Stooges, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Aphex Twin, Minor Threat, DJ Shadow, Dr. Dre, Kool Keith and Mobb Deep...and honestly one of my biggest influences was watching skateboarding videos in general. The music in them was all over the map, in terms of era and genres, and were often dictated by the skaters style or what they were into personally, so I was introduced to a lot of music that way. Currently I’m pretty influenced by Drexciya, the Sweaterfunk Crew, Brian Ellis, BOY DUDE, Prince, Egyptian Lover, Roche, and Loose Dave (from Loose Shus), Social Lovers, Moon B, Tommy Wright III, and Harvey Sutherland, among many others.
Any upcoming trips, tours, or projects?
I’m putting together another European tour for 2019, and there is a going to be a Modern Funk Fest happening in LA on Dec 28th. Regarding projects, there are many that will be rolling out on the Hobo Camp label in the next few months from Social Lovers, Brian Ellis, M5K, Moon B, and Roche.
Your idea of happiness?
having enough money to pay all my bills and rent (and records and sneakers and vacations, lol), while working for myself in the “arts”. I’ll let you know if I ever get there
Your idea of misery?
being burned alive
If not yourself, who would you be?
a house cat
Frank Zappa, Mark Gonzalez, Richard D. James,
What is your present state of mind?
Bedside table books?
How To Wreck A Nice Beach
What do you do if you can’t sleep at night?
Do you collect?
What is the best dish you can cook?
Seared tuna over fennel salad
What is your middle name?
What do you do in your free time?
music and skateboarding
What inspires you?
What do you do for money?
sell records, DJ, sell random stuff
What do you do for pleasure?
drink, jerk off, smoke weed, listen to music and skateboard
What do you usually eat for breakfast?
gf granola and almond milk
If you could live in a different era?
Favorite fictional character?
Skirts or pants?
Tea or coffee?
What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?
that I had siblings somewhere, that were separated from me for no apparent reason
SF in the 90s
What are your plans for this weekend?
We Like To Party (The Venga Bus)
Right or left handed?