My Pride: San Francisco’s DJ Lee Decker
Lee Decker is quickly becoming one of the most in-demand DJs in San Francisco. His high-energy mix of progressive house, vocal house and tribal sounds have kept many a dance floor raging into the early morning hours. In addition to a weekly spot on Saturday nights at Lookout’s Social Club (one of the hottest events in the Castro), you can catch him at events like Adonis, Underworld and Colossus and this weekend’s San Francisco Pride. GayCities editor Dan Tracer caught up with Lee to get his take on music, San Francisco and Pride ’09.
Lets be honest – with so many parties in one weekend, you can be sure there will be a hell of a lot of pre-partying across the city. What kind of music puts you in the right mood when you’re getting ready for an event? Any summer anthem prospects?
Pride definitely has a special vibe surrounding it and there are certain songs I bring out just for that. But to get me in the mood before an event, I usually just listen to my feel-good songs of the moment. Right now, I’m really into the Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feelin’” and “When Love Takes Over” by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland. They’ve definitely got that Pride feel to them. And the latter has my vote for the song of the summer.
Where are you spinning this Pride?
You’ll find me on Friday night playing along side another great SF DJ and buddy Kevin Lee at Underworld, a Gus Presents party where you don’t just check your coat, but basically as many layers as you want. So make sure your skivvies are cute! And then on Saturday, I get to play from 11:30pm-2am in the heart of the Pink Saturday party in the Castro at Social Club @ Lookout. DJs Luke Fry and Derek Monteiro will be there too, so it’s going to be a hot night.
How would you describe your sound?
It varies depending on what sort of event I play, but whatever I do, I like it to be high energy. At a party like Social Club, the music will be dancy, poppy and fun. And at a club like Underworld or Adonis (also Gus Presents), you’ll hear a lot of tribal and progressive sounds.
Does any one memory either as a DJ or a spectator stand out as a perfect mesh of sound and a crowd’s energy?
Such a hard question, because there are so many great memories! On New Years Day this year, I got to work at Mass, a legendary SF party with Phil B. and it was a huge rush. When I was done playing, they were yelling for more. That’s what I like! I was on the other end of that in Miami when Manny Lehman played at Cameo for Winter Party. When the club closed at 5am, it was still completely packed and they were screaming for Manny to keep playing. As a DJ, having that crowd go crazy for you, especially when you’re a part of something so iconic, is pretty amazing.
Who are the DJs or artists you look to for inspiration?
I love a lot of the club music coming out of Brazil, Mexico and Central America. They really know how to party down there. And DJs like Luis Erre, Ana Paula, Allan Natal, and Filipe Guerra are where it’s at. I’ve also been really lucky to have some great inspiration around me, too. Phil B. has really been a great mentor and friend. And DJs like Joe Gauthreaux, Twisted Dee, and Manny Lehman make me excited to do what I do every time I hear them. I see someone like Joe who has had such an amazing career at such a young age, and I can only hope I achieve that level of success someday.
When you’re not behind the tables, where do you like to go to dance?
I love Fresh at Ruby Skye. That space is just amazing and they not only get some of the best gay DJs for Fresh, but Ruby Skye has world-class DJs other nights of the month, too. I dance around the house a lot, too. Does that count?
Absolutely. How about just to hang out with some friends over drinks?
I live in the Castro, so it’s pretty easy for me to just walk down to Trigger, Lookout or QBar and grab a quick drink. One of my best friends works at Trigger, so that seems to be where we end up these days when I’m not hiding away in the house to prep for a gig.
Any tips for SF Pride? What is on your must-see list for a first timer?
Everybody knows about the Civic Center event and parade; that’s a given. But I’m really excited about Juanita More’s pool party at Bambuddha Lounge. It’s just a nice change from the regular daytime events.
Anything at Pride to avoid like the plague?
If anything, just avoid staying in. There’s so much to do. And if you’re at Underworld, definitely avoid pants.
After Pride is over and we can’t get that amazing song you played out of our heads, where can we find you?
Steamworks…kidding! I play every Saturday night from 12-2 for Social Club at Lookout, so you can always catch me there when I’m in town. Also, there’s a great event coming up in August called Sundance. It takes place up at the Russian River and it’s basically just a big weekend of gays getting out of town. I’ll be playing with Jason G. at a pool party.
Photos by Lee Decker