Shaun baby gone
DJ Shaun Slaughter talks to SN&R about leaving Sac for L.A., not doing drugs ever and, like, ‘totes’
When did you start shaving your head?
I think I was 19 or 20 when I noticed that my hair was receding and like the moment I saw that I just shaved it. I was not going to be that guy trying to hold on. My ex-girlfriend was always like, “You should grow it out and grow it long in the back.” I was like, “No way.” I shave every day, but if I’m lazy and I don’t do it for a day I can see where maybe there might be some issues. “Issues” meaning I would look ridiculous.
What’s your daily hair (or lack of hair) regimen?
I wake up and shave, that’s it. There’s no like moisturizer or oils or special potions I put on my head.
Why are you moving to L.A.?
I’m moving in with my friend Nate in Culver City. I would have never thought of moving to L.A. It was not an option. The East Coast has way more stuff that I’d be interested in. My friend Nate called me and was like, “I think you should move to L.A. for just a year. If you don’t like it you can move anywhere else, but you should try it because L.A. is blowing up musically right now. There’s a lot of club stuff going, but not any really, really good deejays. Just people who kind of half-ass it, people who do a lot of laptop stuff. All the parties cater to the $15 cover, really glossy L.A. There’s a lot of bars that aren’t being utilized for fun, cool parties down here.”
Do you already have a deejaying gig lined up?
I have graphic-design jobs lined up—that’s what I’m going to focus on. I got a job with the Viper Room, which is a pretty awesome thing. I’m going to do all their posters and flyer work. That can open up all kinds of stuff. Ideally, I want to get a job at a magazine. Deejaying-wise, I couldn’t just walk into it and start a club. I mean, I know a decent amount of people there, but not enough to just start a club and have everyone show up. It’s all about getting with the right people. I already have a lot of guest deejay stuff set up; I just don’t know the venues well enough and I don’t know what I’ll feel comfortable doing. I want to do another Lipstick-type thing and another Fuck Fridays-type thing.
Are Lipstick and Fuck Fridays going to continue here without you?
I always thought, what would happen if Roger [Carpio] moved or left Lipstick? I probably couldn’t do it without him. He’s indispensable. Sometimes he plays stuff that I’m not into, but he plays to a crowd. There are some people who come out for Roger and there are people who just come out for me. I think if he left, a lot of people wouldn’t come out and vice versa. There’s no one that we can think of to replace me. We’ve tried out people here and there and everyone’s really good—they’re just not what we’re looking for at Lipstick. Anyone can play what we play—once you hear it you just go and find it—but to have the initiative to go and pick out new stuff that makes sense with what we do already on Tuesdays is hard.
So, Roger’s going to fly solo?
And Fuck Fridays?
We’re going to bring in my friend who’s deejaying with us on my closing night, Chris Bond, whose name is Forever 21 when he deejays with us. He’s going to come in monthly and deejay. I think Omar from Popscene might come in monthly and deejay. Just to take my place. Other than that, Jon [Droll] is going to work on a lot more bookings and stuff and just try to keep it busy. It’s going to be weird moving, but it’s also going to be weird to see what happens. I was like, “Please keep it up so when I come back I have somewhere to play.” When I moved downtown I didn’t know a lot of people. When we started out, there was nothing going on. We were these new, young kids with all these new ideas. Since we had no crowd and no involvement, we could do whatever the fuck we wanted. It just happened to work. Now, I’ve wanted to move because I don’t want to be here when someone else is that kid who comes in with a better idea. No one wants that. I want to leave while things are on the up and up, but I want something to come back to.
Do you have reservations about moving?
Of course. Here we have a huge following and we do awesome stuff. In L.A., that’s not going to happen. I’m so used to living here. The idea of failing and coming back scares me, but I’m pretty confident in my deejaying and graphic design that I don’t think I’m going to have a huge problem. It’s just going to take me a while. I also want the dudes up here to succeed. I think what we have on Fridays and Tuesdays is a really good thing—there’s nothing like it. I just hope they continue with it.
Once you’re in L.A., are you going to look into becoming a Scientologist?
Oh, you know I am. I’ve already talked to Tom Cruise. I’ve got it all set up. No, I really don’t know enough to criticize it, but it seems scary as all hell. I do not understand it. It just seems bizarre.
Did your parents have a kick-ass record collection?
I grew up listening to James Brown, Booker T. and the MGs and a lot of soul and Motown stuff. My parents had Beatles records like everyone else’s parents—my mom was kind of a hippie, but my dad was into soul, only soul. When I was a kid we used to take the Booker T. and the MGs albums—I think all of their stuff was instrumental—and we would rap over them.
What music was playing when you lost your virginity?
I think it was Minor Threat or the Cure. I don’t know. Losing my virginity was gnarly. For a dude it’s like the most embarrassing, weird shit on the planet.
Around this time last year you were jumped. Do you have any words for those guys?
Oh, I don’t know … “Fuck you.”
That was a gnarly experience. Now I watch my back wherever I go. My words to everyone else would be, “Don’t walk by yourself.” Even in the daytime I’m paranoid I’m going to get jumped or something is going to happen. I guess your brain doesn’t realize that there are people out there that don’t care. They’ll just walk up to you and do whatever. Now, when someone makes a weird move, that runs through my head. I never thought of that before. So, fuck those guys!
What’s the secret to throwing a good party?
Jon and I always talk about this. I think what works for us is that we’re both total idiots. We have no problem putting ourselves on the same level, if not lower, than the people who come to our clubs. I don’t give a shit. I have no problem dressing like a fucking idiot and letting go and getting on the dance floor and having fun with everybody else. A lot of people create this line, “We’re the deejays, respect the deejays.” I think it’s just about having a good time. Once people see you letting go and not caring, they feel comfortable to do that, too.
Do you have any vices?
I just drink. I’ve never done any drugs, ever, ever, ever. I’ve never smoked pot, never smoked a cigarette. Never wanted to. I just drink. Lately, because I am conscious of my well-being, I’ve been trying to take it down and I drink a lot less whiskey, but whiskey is awesome. Also, I’m a dude, so, like, girls are cool.
What kind of drunk are you?
I know there have been times when I’ve been drunk and going to bed and I’ve refused to take off outfits that I’ve had on. Like, I’ve gone to bed in a shark outfit. I’m definitely crazy, not violent at all. I think I just get crazy and energetic and somehow I manage to keep it together with the mixing, but not so much with everything else. It’s bizarre.
What’s your favorite slang word? Can you use it in a sentence?
The one that I’ve been using a lot is “totes.” If you were to put it in sentence it’d be like, “Oh man, yeah, blah blah Fridays get hella gnarly.” I’d be like, “Totes.”
Any new music people should be listening to?
I ran into Tony King at Best Buy, and he told me about a guy named Cass McCombs. He has an album called Dropping the Writ, and it’s really good. It’s like Animal Collective, but more cohesive and really, really pretty and awesome. And, if anyone doesn’t know about ’em yet, the Black Kids are awesome. They have a really good track called “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance.”
What will you miss most about Sacramento
The crowd in Sacramento is the best ever. Everyone is so awesome. Everybody who comes here thinks the crowd is down to dance to whatever, they’re really fun and they dress awesome. They’re not too chi chi or too scenester. They’re so dependable and everyone just shows up and has a good time. They legitimately know the music and they request songs. You can’t really find that anywhere else. I’ve deejayed in New York and San Francisco and those places are really fun, but people don’t get as crazy.