Starkey blasts Philly street bass 

click to enlarge Producer, label manager and performer Starkey, who has a varied musical background, supports services such as Spotify. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Producer, label manager and performer Starkey, who has a varied musical background, supports services such as Spotify.

Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke started a major debate in July by pulling some of his recordings from Spotify, saying the popular music subscription service pays new artists "f*** all."

Among those in disagreement is Philadelphia grime, dubstep and hip-hop producer Starkey, who brings his custom blend of "street bass" to 1015 Folsom on Friday. It's part of a West Coast tour that includes stops in Santa Cruz, Portland, Ore., and Whistler, British Columbia.

Starkey, the definition of an up-and-coming artist, loves Spotify.

"As an artist and label manager, I think it's a good service," says the music recording, theory and business instructor. "Every time someone hits play and listens to a song, you make money."

Services like Spotify are the first legal competitors to online piracy, he notes. For example, pirates were the only ones easily streaming Starkey's Planet Mu label recordings until the U.K. imprint relented and licensed its music to Spotify.

"I was upset that a big chunk of my catalog wasn't available for people to stream," he says.

Today, fans checking out Starkey's back catalog on the $9.99-per-month service should be prepared to encounter a really omnivorous, well-trained artist who's pushing the boundaries.

"Renegade Starship" off "Orbits" starts with a long, operatic introduction before dropping into an earth-rattling bass beat. Branded street bass, it's "bass-heavy music with an urban feel," he says.

Friday in the South of Market, Starkey DJs a high-energy, Serato Scratch-based set culled from "Street Bass Anthems Vol. 6" which comes out Aug. 5 along with other jams.

He might play a Rick Ross track melded to a grime beat, a vestige of his time in college in London.

U.K. jungle, garage and grime offered the perfect format to practice lessons in compression and equalizing, says the former teenage hardcore rocker, 32, who is also classically trained on upright string bass, oboe, clarinet, sax and piano.

Today, Starkey plays to tents full of thousands at European festivals, plus he records, remixes, tours and releases other artists on his label, Seclusiasis.

You can also hear him on tracks by Living Legends' Eligh and Sway.

But Spotify isn't buying him a Maybach — yet.

"Running two labels, I've seen Spotify numbers go up significantly," he says. "Should the numbers be a little bit higher for artists? [Spotify is] still in the red. We can't get too upset with them."



Opening for Tycho, with Andreilien, Insightful, B Lewis, Dailon, Ryury, Ribotto, Bedrockk

Where: 1015 Folsom, 1015 Folsom St., S.F.

When: 10 p.m. Friday

Tickets: $10

Contact: (415) 431-1200,



Minimal Wave Fete: The rare two-day gathering of artists and record labels showcases different facets of the minimal synth and electronics movement and features Veronica Vasicka, Juan Mendez, Alessandro Adriani, Josh Cheon, Justin Anastasi and Streetwalker. 10 p.m., $13. Lab, 2948 16th St., S.F., (415) 864-8855,

Pat Mahoney (LCD Soundsystem): Mahoney performs a DJ set supported by DFA's Tim Sweeney, Terrence Dixon, Mike Simonetti, Shawn Reynaldo, Ghosts on Tape, Rollie Fingers and Eug presented by Face, Public Works and Icee Hot. 9:30 p.m., $10. Public Works, 161 Erie St., S.F., (415) 779-6757,

Night Moves w/Jimmy Edgar: Hot Flush, K7 and Warp Records' Edgar headlines, supported by Nikola Baytala, Deejay Theory and Papa Lu plus Nick Williams, Elz and Lisbona. 10 p.m., $10. Mighty, 119 Utah St., S.F., (415) 762-0151,

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David Downs

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