Sydney-based Wave Racer levels up at SoMa debut 

click to enlarge Wave Racer
  • Courtesy photo
  • Australian producer Wave Racer brings his video-game-themed music to The City Thursday.
Video game-inspired dance music producer Wave Racer is doing a barrel roll into 1015 Folsom.

A set of sunny, chip-tuned bangers tonight marks the Sydney, Australia-based electronic producer’s debut in The City. It’s part of the 21-year-old breaking artist’s first North American tour.

Wave Racer (born Tom Purcell) will play “halfway between a live set and a DJ set” using a laptop, midi controller and DJ mixer, he says. “It’s a lot of my own songs and remixes and a lot of other music I love to hear and want to play in a club.”

Geared toward a young, ADHD crowd, Purcell’s latest single, “Streamers,” conjures the opening menu of a 1990s Nintendo racing game: fast handclaps, up-tuned chipmunk harmonies, techno-synth riffs and digital sparkles.

Arpeggiated synth melodies twinkle. Crunk and trap tropes — like a big-bass knock and vocal stabs of “Hey!” and “What?!?” — add bite.

“I wanted to write a song with a happy, colorful vibe that I was feeling at the time,” says Purcell, who appears on the Australian label Future Classic. “The whole video gamer thing is part of it, but it’s more the feeling of nostalgia when I hear video game music. I grew up in the ’90s and seeing that imagery and hearing those sounds brings feelings of nostalgia.”

“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,” “Super Smash Brothers” and “Diddy Kong Racing” soundtracked his childhood in Sydney, he says.

“The one that did it was [open-world game] ‘Spiderman 2’ on PlayStation 2,” he says. “I played that for hours on end.”

Purcell went from playing classical and electric guitar in high school to synths and sound design. His first big break came when Future Classic gave him a chance to remix Panama’s “Always.”

Next up is Purcell’s collaboration with Ryan Hemsworth, ‘Destroyed,’ a superlimited seven-inch with each artist remixing the other’s track, to be released soon by Last Gang and Future Classic.

Zooming around the U.S. on a 26-show tour, Wave Racer has been partying with Cashmere Cat, and he is pumped about his reception so far. (Tonight’s lineup at 1015 also includes Yellow Claw, Trippy Turtle, BOGL+Dials, The Pirate and Chad Salty.)

“I’m really stoked to be coming to San Francisco. I love that city,” he says.


Wave Racer

With Yellow Claw, Trippy Turtle, BOGL+Dials, The Pirate and Chad Salty

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

When: 9 p.m. Thursday

Tickets: $20

Contact: (415) 431-1200,


Faultline: The all-breakbeat monthly party continues at Lounge 3411 in the East Bay, with residents Justin Johnson, DJ Infinitee, Eric Riggsbee and DJ-138. 9 p.m., free. Lounge 3411, 3411 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, (510) 531-3411,


Conscious Session for DJ Josh: The Monarch celebrates the life of Josh Ezelle, a San Francisco native and DJ who died in a motorcycle crash in Thailand in February. All proceeds benefit Ezelle’s 4-year-old son. 9 p.m., $20. Monarch, 101 Sixth St. S.F., (415) 284-9774,


Trentemøller: The Copenhagen, Denmark-based experimental-indie-emo electronic artist bruises your heart — live. Also: T.O.M. and his Computer. 8:30 p.m., $25. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie St., (415) 625-8880,

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