"Bap-bap, bap-bap ... bap!" Tight snare drum and thin cymbal reverberate in the custom recording studio of sound engineer, record producer and dub master Prince Fatty. The skinny white dude steps away from the ruckus, apologizing, via Skype: "It's a bit crazy. I just didn't realize the time, man."
Mike "Prince Fatty" Pelanconi of Brighton, England, is busy. He's recording all-analog exclusives to tape, including remixes for his upcoming three-date California tour with stops at the Sierra Nevada Music Festival on Friday and Elbo Room on Sunday.
The specials include a remix of Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre's "California Love."
"It sounds crazy," says the veteran reggae producer and mainstream hitmaker of "Milk and Honey" (featured on "Grey's Anatomy" and BBC Radio), who can play to crowds as big as 60,000 at places like the Glastonbury Festival.
On Sunday, he debuts before a few hundred lucky heads in the Bay Area with his new Prince Fatty Soundsystem.
Pelanconi will spin an all-vinyl set of specials that were recorded live on tape, with live vocals by Hollie Cook of The Slits and MC Horseman.
It's a straight-up vintage Jamaican sound system, "very much inspired by the old '70s sound system tapes," he says. "We don't play off CD or MP3 Pro Serato or whatever ... it's crazy, the difference in quality. People get into it, it's nice."
"We just run rhythms and versions galore all night long. We just run for hours, like ... we do it rub-a-dub-style — strict."
Fatty began remixing, writing and producing reggae in Brixton in 1996 as a teen, and has worked with reggae legends such as Gregory Isaacs, Adrian Sherwood and "Yellowman" Winston Foster, plus mainstream acts like Lily Allen.
In 2005, he dubbed himself Prince Fatty as an homage to King Tubby, releasing five masterful reggae records featuring covers of Snoop Dogg's "Gin & Juice" and Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya."
Hip-hop, rap and even Kraftwerk can be found in his sets. "I still do it with respect, like, the ingredients are all organic, but we're definitely doing some hybrids."
Reggae and the more experimental dub are now a global phenomenon, and California is America's dub hub, he says.
"There's a massive movement everywhere. Brighton is like a mini-San Francisco ... and I love San Francisco. It's just a dream to come out."IF YOU GO
Prince Fatty Soundsystem
With Dub Mission's DJ Sep
Where: Elbo Room, 647 Valencia St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $6 to $8
Contact: (415) 552-7788, www.elbo.com
Boys Noize: Among the top 10 DJs currently ruling the world, according to Rolling Stone, is Alex Ridha (Boys Noize), who brings the heat. 9 p.m., $25. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie St., S.F., (415) 625-8880, www.mezzaninesf.com
Dmitri from Paris: The Euro-house veteran headlines "Mighty Real" at the Potrero district club, with resident DJ David Harness. 10 p.m., $15. Mighty, 119 Utah St., S.F., (415) 762-0151, www.mighty119.com
Club 1994: Hip-hop from the '90s, "TRL" classics, slap bracelets, "Clueless" — the all-'90s party at a downtown dance spot has DJ Jeffrey Paradise, Vin Sol and Ave Berlin plus The Club 1994 dancers — those girls are poison. 10 p.m., $10. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F., (415) 861-2011, www.rickshawstop.com