Inner Circle: Gucci Vuitton
You ever meet someone and walk away feeling like they've made an impact on your life almost instantaneously? Oliver is one of those people.
How did you get into spinning?
I spent my summers in Chinatown Manhattan and Queens, Sundays in Boston Chinatown. The street energy from those early 80’s hip hop days took hold of my imagination - I remember walking into Yellow Rat Bastard and staring at the TV screens showing early b-boy / DMC competitions. The entire culture of hip hop -5 elements, Zulu Nation - matured a couple years before I did. I played in bands in high school and when I moved into the city, I started working at the Middle East as a bouncer/doorman/bar back. Being an observer of the Boston Underground scene of Mr. Lif, Acrobatik, Edan, DJ Kon, 7L & Esoteric, Porn Theatre Ushers, Mighty Mi inspired me to buy my first turntables and start collecting vinyl. My first gig was probably at the Middle East or Zuzu sometime in 2002. My community has always been musicians.
How’d you come up with your name? and what happened to sumimasen oliver?!
First I was DJ Mako, then I came up with Gucci Vuitton after hearing DJ-Ztrip + DjP’s Uneasy listening mixtape. The musical diversity in their mixing blew my mind. I tried to emulate them by doing blends, bootlegs - the predecessor to the currently negative term mashups. In the UK they they called mashups bootlegs & the most bootleg thing I could think of was putting all the luxury brands together into an obvious non existent name. I wasn’t too concerned with building a following so I changed my name all the time like Kool Keith. Sometimes you’d see me as Porkchop Garcia on a flyer. Nowadays, I’ve come to realize that is pretty dumb so I just keep everything Gucci.
How important is utilizing vinyl to you?
Playing records is really enjoyable for me as a DJ. I can rock Serato sets, but the digging & preparation is fun with vinyl. Thinking of the event while going through the collection, flipping through liner notes really is something I cherish. The frequencies aren’t compressed like in a digital file so you can play it louder and it usually sounds better. We look at screens all day so I don’t want to do that when I’m having fun. Lastly, if someone comes up with a request, I can just say I didn’t bring it. Vinyl is a collection - everything you own has a story and memory to it. When you play vinyl you’re going through a scrap book & when you DJ with it, you add to the good and bad memories associated with that LP or 45. People always come up and express appreciation for the craft & heritage of DJ culture that can come from vinyl.
Do you think differently of other DJs that play vinyl only sets?
If you’re a good DJ you can rock on anything. Digging vinyl makes a good DJ better, but that doesn’t preclude DJs who never touched vinyl from being far superior in other aspects. When I talk to other DJs on vinyl, it's just another subculture of nerds. We geek out over the same things, and have the same trials and tribulations, all around the love of music & desire to share it.
What gives you greater joy the music or the clothes?
All of it is just different expressions of creativity. Music is rhythm for life. Fashion is armor. It’s just different facets for making this life as rich as possible.
I definitely enjoy music more since it is tied to my personal passion, whereas fashion is my job so much more stress and responsibility comes with that sphere. Music is also more immediate and communal. Sometimes when you’re deejaying and connecting with a crowd, you feel like you’re casting a spell of enchantment over everyone. That’s some wizard shit!
How does it feel to be part of a brand that is pushing the culture forward in so many facets?
I’m honored that people feel we push culture forward. We try to contribute to the artistic community through our actions and core ideals as a company and brand. Most [members] of our team are artists & creatives of some sort.
What's the craziest thing you've ever bought at a bodega?
I bought an Arizona Iced tea for $1.50 when everyone knows it’s only 99 cents.
I’m still kinda hurt over that.
What does BDGA mean to you?
Bodegas are minority owned small businesses that serve as a hub of commerce and communication for a neighborhood. We try to be that for our community of artists & if other people dig it, then cool.
Finally, where do you see yourself reading this interview 5 years from now, what’s a day in what your life will be like then :
Probably same as now, I’ll be less foolish, have grey hair, hopefully be better at guitar, and definitely be smiling.