Fiction Labcast 02 - David Scuba

by Dorian Goldman

Fiction Lab is very pleased to introduce David Scuba who is a co-founder of the label Superfreq with Noel Jackson and the legendary Mr. C. He’s also had releases on Desert Hearts, Family Grooves, Design Forms and much more. From Philly but currently residing in LA, he’s an up and rising star to keep an eye on.

You’ve been around in the scene for a while now since the Twilo days in NYC - where are you originally from and how did you get into the scene?

I’m actually originally from the south side of Philly and moved to South Jersey in my 20s. The first time I went to a rave was Buzz DC, but it was actually my girlfriend at the time who really got me into the scene - she knew a lot of people and, in particular, was good friends with Mike D who was the lighting guy at Twilo, where we started going every weekend. We would be in the booth the whole time and I was able to meet all of the legends such as Sasha, Carl Cox, Sven Vath, John Digweed, etc and watch them spin - it was really exciting to be able to hear the next track mixing in before anyone else. After that I bought my first pair of turntables, started spinning and have been obsessed with music ever since.  

We both had a hard time scheduling this interview as you still keep down a day job - tell me about your day job and how you find the balancing act.  All I know is that in trying to schedule this interview you were in a meeting where you got a pair of free jeans. 

Haha yes, they were giving out free jeans - I was like ‘oh shit ! free jeans! - nice ones too’. I actually am an executive at an insurance company and we happened to be meeting with a denim company who is selling denim to all of the major jeans companies. 
It’s time-consuming but I try my best to manage my time. Because of my strong preference for music I’ve found the only way to achieve the balancing act is to separate my music related emails from my work emails and simply avoid reading my music emails while at work. If I didn’t do this, I would focus all my time on music and neglect my day job - so I had to draw a line. Outside of work hours I follow up on music related stuff like gigs, calls, interviews, etc and on the weekends when I don’t have any shows, I focus my time on producing music. 

When did you make the move to LA and how would you say the scene over there compares to the scene here?

I originally moved to LA in 2007 to follow a job promotion and was pretty shocked at how things were at that time. Downtown LA literally looked like a ghost town surrounded by office buildings and zombie-like people roaming around the streets - it was really scary actually. A few years ago that really changed and I think right now there is an incredible vibe in LA - there are 3 to 4 big events every weekend now. Big festivals like Insomniac, Daisy, Desert Hearts, and other events like Dialogue have been pushing the underground vibes and and have been bringing in a huge influx of younger people into the city. The people have really become much more musically educated as well, which I’m really surprised and pleased by. I feel like I can play what I want and there will be a crowd to appreciate it - no need to play a particular style. 

Right - you recently played the Lightning in a Bottle festival - how did you find that? 

It was amazing. It was quite Burning-man-esque in the sense that it was way up north in the desert with a somewhat ‘hippy’ crowd. I was really impressed by the attention to detail with regards to all aspects of the event. As far as the crowd being into the music, it was way above and beyond what I had expected. I played a particularly early opening set and already had 400-500 people dancing with great energy. 

What was the production quality overall? How would you say it compares to something like Further Future (FF)?

Again, the attention to detail was amazing. Compared to FF ( I didn’t go), it was way larger in production - there were at least 30k people there and hundreds of DJs. They even had these miniature villages everywhere, and it looked like the Wild West in some sections - it was really like a whole other world. 

Speaking of balance we talked about earlier, not only have I been playing for over 10 years, but also have been selling event insurance to the organizers! 

So you really there to sell event insurance then? :)

Hah for me I’m combining both my corporate and artist jobs into one. I think the fact that the organizers have known me for around 15 years and also know that I’m a serious professional helps them take advice from me a lot more seriously than they would from someone else. It’s a great opportunity to take advantage of both of my skill sets while practicing my passion (music). 

Tell me how you got Superfreq started and about your collaborations with Mr. C and Noel Jackson. Where do you see the label going and what sound are you trying to curate?

I was originally helping to organize HEAR events. Then Richard West (Mr. C) moved here and we started talking about doing events together. I started off helping manage events and was a resident DJ, and eventually became a partner of the label a few years ago. 

How did responsibilities change when you became a partner? 

Financially they became different that’s for sure! But mostly I would say I’m more ‘globally’ involved and responsible for more of the A&R with Richard. We’ve brought in artists such as Corey Baker (Pattern Drama),Dance Spirit, Jonra & E Machinery, Kate Simko, and soon to be Nitin
-  all of these artists are people who we reached out to to be part of the label. We want to focus on up and coming artists but also those with an established reputation who want to be part of something different. There is just so much time you can focus on new artists with no reputation if you’re trying to build a label. 

You’re good friends with Charnis? Did you guys meet in LA?

We met through mutual friends. I actually find most of my friends on the West Coast are from the East Coast - personality style just clicks. Charnis and I click in particular - he has a very dry sense of a humor and so do I.

Yeah, I learned that the hard way. I asked Charnis about you and he immediately started telling me a story about you trying to hit on his mom and how he had to tell you that his mom was married . After 5 minutes of me trying to figure out how I would conduct the interview with you he finally told me that he was joking…

Hahah yes that’s hilarious. That sounds like him. He told me that and I couldn’t stop laughing. 

Tell us about your new EP?

I’m super stoked about it. I think the tracks are great, there’s a lot of press covering it - we got a really nice review on XL8R along with a bunch of other great promos. 
Josh Finley has a bunch of great releases and I’ve been wanting to collaborate with him for quite a while. Before he went back to NYC we finally managed to get one session in to start something; it just took forever to finish. However, we’re both really happy with the end result and looking forward to the release. 

Link to sample of EP: https://soundcloud.com/musicis4lovers/david-scuba-finley-scoofin-kate-simko-remix

9) When are your upcoming gigs? 

June 11: New York, Fiction TBA
June 18: San Diego, Distrik Fundraiser
July 3: San Diego, Kontact Festival
July 31: Los Angeles, LeJardin
Aug 8: Tijuana, MX, Wear House
Sept 16: Europe, TBC
Sept 17: London, Superfreq

Awesome, well please see David Scuba this Saturday at the Fiction Sideshow at TBA Brooklyn !