Jon Hopkins balances brains, beats 

click to enlarge Jon Hopkins
  • Jon Hopkins has had a hit with his 2013 album “Immunity.”
U.K. melodic electronic musician Jon Hopkins returns to San Francisco this evening for a show at Mezzanine that promises to be one of the smartest, most improvisational and emotional musical engagements of the weekend.

But don’t worry, you’ll dance your butt off, too.

“I want [crowds] to forget where they are and be lost in it,” Hopkins says during a Skype interview from Manhattan, N.Y., while on tour. “There’s sort of a balance there of providing a lot to listen to and a lot to dance to.”

Hopkins is touring North America promoting his critically acclaimed, fourth solo album “Immunity,” which came out in June 2013. Nominated for a U.K. Mercury Prize, it hit No. 13 on Billboard’s electronic-music charts.

On the album, the Royal College of Music-trained, classical concert pianist embraced his more dance-y side.

A producer for Brian Eno and Coldplay known for being cinematic and emotional, his typical ambient style became more propulsive on “Immunity.” He chalks it up to techno.

“When I was touring [prior album] ‘Insides,’ I would get put on lineups with more techno guys or guys who had more of that four-to-the-floor rhythm in their set,” he says. “I’d be on early and they’d be on late and it started to sink in a bit that I could apply my existing aesthetic — this melodic atmospheric stuff which hopefully has some emotional character — combined with this rhythmic element.”

Although it’s intricate, synthetic and heavily processed, “Immunity” is very affecting. In making the title track, Hopkins rushed out of the studio to record a passing ice cream truck blaring a shrill melody in the same key he was working in.

“I slowed it down to half speed and it made this amazing, warm tone,” he says. “I like to be open to things like that happening.”

The recording’s success has unlocked new, first-time gigs in Asia for Hopkins, who is on the road most of this year.

But the hit EDM artist has yet to buy his first boat or jet.

“Of course, instrumental electronic music from the U.K. — it’s a big money-maker,” he jokes. “I haven’t got any of that, but I think if you can afford to live just doing music then you’re one of the luckiest people.”

Look for a more ambient EP of “Immunity” remixes and a new album in 2015.


Jon Hopkins

With Teebs

Where: Mezzanine, 444 Jessie St., S.F.

When: 8:30 p.m. today

Tickets: $20

Contact: (415) 625-8880,



Kastle: The sexy, smart house producer returns to SoMa with Eliot Lipp, Lindsay Lowend, Falcons, D33J, Penthouse Penthouse, Bleep Bloop, Blapdeli and Chiller Whale. 10 p.m., $15. 1015 Folsom, 1015 Folsom St., S.F., (415) 431-1200,


Lee Burridge: DJing since 1984, Burridge — a global mega-force for quality dance music — helped build the Hong Kong EDM scene before adding bass to the full moon parties of Thailand and fronting London’s Tyrant. 9 p.m., $15-$25. Public Works, 161 Erie St., S.F., (415) 779-6757,


SUNIGHT: Manitous, Snuise, Andrew Weathers and Spaceghost headline this chill night of ambisonic sound, special drinks and snacks in the Mission District — meet and recharge. 7 p.m., $5-$7. Public Works, 161 Erie, St., S.F., (415) 779-6757,

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