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A Nightcap with DJ M3

For this week’s Nightcap exclusive we’re in San Francisco with DJ M3 from Monarch, the reigning king of San Francisco’s nightlife. DJ M3 pulls triple duty as an owner, manager, and resident DJ at the SOMA spot known for its aerialists, live music, and beautiful decor. Kick back and get “burnified” while this jack of all trades spins his tale.

NightOwl: How did you get your start in the nightlife scene?

DJ M3DJ M3: I started going out in the late 80’s in San Jose and San Francisco, sneaking out of the house to go dancing when I was 18. Soon after that I started working at a club called FX in San Jose, where I did my first party on my 21st birthday with DJ Spun and a punk band called Diesel Queens. DJ Spun and I promoted a hip hop night that went on for several years and turned into a house night called DEEP SPACE. Then I booked and created a few clubs, and started a weekly show called the Velvet Shop with Mark John, which went on for 15 years. That’s when the DJ thing took off for me and I started a label called the Green Gorilla Lounge. I moved up to San Francisco in 1996 and did GGL parties, and Anthony Mansfield and I still do our parties to this day. My partners and I founded Monarch, which now is one of the best underground clubs in San Francisco 5 years running, and we just opened another club called the Great Northern. We also have two other projects opening this year – Pawn Shop and 200 Channels live venue.

NightOwl: Tell us about your role at Monarch?

DJ M3: I’m the Director of Marketing and talent Buying at Monarch and Great Northern. Plus, I’m one of the resident DJs. I like to foster young, up-and-coming DJs and talent that come through the doors. Along with that, I re-launched my record label after a five-year hiatus and we just did a remix of Nervous Lovers, a local band.  

NightOwl: What does a typical day look like for you?

DJ M3: Waking up and being on my computer for 10 hours a day, walking the dog, and playing basketball twice a week. Once a week I go to the studio where I’m also putting out a lot of stuff under Slight Of Hands. I recently released the first DJ M3 EP in a while, and it was a lot of work getting it all together.  

NightOwl: Seems like you’re going to have your hands full with the new venue.

DJ M3: We’ve kinda grown out of Monarch with our capacity at 300. As our DJs have gotten more popular, we needed a bigger space. We did a complete overhaul for The Great Northern with a capacity of 800.

NightOwl: You’re also one of the resident DJs at Monarch. How many days a week are you spinning?  

DJ M3: I play three to four times a month at Monarch. I do special parties, and I’ll split my time between upstairs and downstairs. I like to play disco, soul, house, and dirty techno.  

NightOwl: What’s your perspective on the nightlife scene in San Francisco, and what sets it apart from other cities?

DJ M3: San Francisco is a city beyond a lot of cities, as it’s only seven by seven miles. It has the most clubs I’ve seen in a city that actually play deep house music, disco, and techno on the weekends. When you go to other cities, it doesn’t feel like a festival every weekend like here in San Francisco. There are always eight or nine DJs in for the weekend playing all these clubs. You can come to San Francisco and see top talent every night. The crowd here supports it.

NightOwl: Have you ever spun at Burning Man?

DJ M3: Oh yeah, I’ve been going to Burning Man since 1994, when there were no sound camps up there. Wicked was the first DJ thing I could remember just for a night, and that’s when Burning Man was only 3 days. I joined a few friends and helped start Space Lounge,  then we did Green Gorilla Lounge which became came Disco Knights. Even though I don’t really get all “burnified” at home and, don’t go to every burner event, it’s definitely an interesting place for creative people.

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