Interview and Mix by the LA based producer and promoter for club music events Cooper Saver.

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Hey Cooper, thank you for your mix. I am very much interested in your background. I know you’re living in LA, did you grow up there and from which background are you coming from?

Thanks for having me! I grew up in LA, although I moved to Vancouver with my family around age 11, and then moved back to LA right after finishing highschool. So my background is really a mix of mountain life and city life. I developed a strong passion for the outdoors while living up north, and I brought that back down with me when I returned to LA. 

From you Instagram I could see you’re into skateboarding too. Back in the days skateboard videos had a very big musical impact on me, introducing me to a lot of different styles. What influence did it have on you?

Same here. I probably wouldn’t be so into music if it weren’t for skateboarding – it changed my life in many ways. The music in skateboard videos blew my mind from a very young age. Punk and hardcore were the first genres that I identified with and are still big parts of my life today. The most formative skate video for me was Flip’s “Sorry” back in 2002, particularly Geoff Rowley’s part. He skated to a band called Gray Matter – they were signed to legendary DC punk label Dischord Records, which was home to a lot of other classic bands like Fugazi, Minor Threat, Rites of Spring, Jawbox, etc. Much like the skate world, this music taught me about the importance of DIY communities, challenging structures of society, giving everyone a voice, inclusion, and maintaining an open mind. All of these ideas and messages are also applied to dance music, which is why it made sense to dive into electronic music too. And in today’s context it makes more sense than ever. 

Are there certain spots / spaces / places / clubs that had an early impact on you?

I owe it all to the various warehouse spaces that have came and went over the years, and all of the promoters in this city who have put in huge amounts of work to create something despite the circumstances regarding a lack of real venues and 2am cutoff laws. Discovering the LA underground was extremely eye opening for me. Each and every one of those events I attended back when I first started going out left an impact for sure – just seeing and experiencing what was possible beneath the surface. I will say Spotlight, which is run by LA hero Chris Cruse, always blew me away and still does today – I’ve seen so many next level DJs at that party, truly in their element, and the environment Spotlight creates is unlike anything else. 

How’s organizing events in LA like? What obstacles do you need to overcome? Is the city supporting promoters or do you need to fly under their radar?

Like I briefly mentioned above, LA lacks legit legal venues that accomodate our scene and vibe. It’s basically commercial / bottle service mega clubs vs illegal DIY raves. There’s not really anything in between. There’s also a 2am curfew for alcohol, which obviously means most places don’t bother staying open any later. So yeah, we have to fly under the radar as much as possible to make things work around here. There are lots of important conversations happening at the moment seeking out ways to change this and create more sustainability in the underground music scene, the LA Nightlife Alliance, for example, has been putting in a lot of work to take the right steps. Many local DJs and promoters are coming together these days and tackling these issues downtown at city hall, meeting with local officials and approaching different solutions. A new state bill pushing for a 4am extension is currently underway, so progress is definitely being made.  

Are you part of a crew and how do you transform the sub culture you’re being part of?

I’d say everyone here is equally part of a crew, which is just the LA scene as a whole. All the DJs, artists, promoters, dancers – we are all in this subculture together. Dublab, home of my radio show and many others, does an amazing job of bringing everyone together as family and serves as a hub for local and international culture. In terms of contributing to the transformation, I feel that I’ve made a positive mark with my party, Far Away, which has been running for the past 7 years now. 

Who are the people you’re working with?

Apart from the local community in general that I very much feel works together, I have a handful of friends that help out with Far Away whenever duty calls. I started it alone and later began bringing close friends on board over the years, like Sage Caswell and Jen Ferrer. Jen in particular has been involved for a while now as a resident DJ and booker alongside myself. I’m not sure it would still exist without her. We’re starting to do more collaborative events with other local crews, such as Moony Habits, which is run by our friend Alex Ho

What’s the spirit of electronic music crews in LA like (politically)? Do you feel it’s a competition or is it in solidarity?

Solidarity for sure. We rely on each other heavily for all kinds of sources such as venue opportunities, contacts, sound, staff etc. Everything is shared. I think when everyone was new and just figuring this stuff out, there might have been an element of competition regarding bookings and dates, but these days it’s very much a team effort all around. 

How’s the current political climate influencing the local music and (underground) event scene in LA?

Now is not a time for escapism and keeping politics separated – the current climate means it’s time to take action and stand for something to believe in. From fundraisers to community meetings and discussions, taking action within our scene has become a priority. While progress isn’t always an immediate thing of course, I do feel like the right conversations are being had and efforts to think outside of simply partying are being made. Local parties like Directory and Spotlight have definitely made a difference over the years in terms of much needed activism through music, for example. I’ve seen a big difference over the last couple years and it’s inspiring to see people making statements with their art and events as a reaction to the political climate locally, nationally, and across the world. 

Tracklist

Toby Tobias – Synchro Surfer

Dorisburg & Efraim Kent – Techen III 

Mathew Jonson – Magic Through Music 

Adonis – Spacejam (Valentino Mora Deep Blue Rephase)  

Neel & Natural/Electronic.System – Mira  

Gal Tsadok-Hai – Dad’s Machines 

Oceanic – Drum Texture 

Cleveland – Noord

R-Zone – Desert Schematics 

Konduku – Gunes (Forest Drive West remix) 

TSC – Escape Rhythm 

ANF – ANF Dub (D. Tiff’s Milano remix) 

Konrad Wehrmesiter – Gel 

Da Kine – Samoa 

Melchior Communications – The Call