DJ Idlhdns ("Idle Hands") = Gabriel Ghirardini
The Bad Tenants hip-hop group is like a tripod.
There's Good Matters who brings blues vocals, rapping and the saxophone. Casey G. brings a Beastie-Boys-esque flair as an emcee, plus the trombone. But then there's the member of the group who lays the foundation for the rich, full sound of instruments, beats and vocals. Without the group's "DJ Idlhnds," Gabriel Ghirardini, it would just be several rappers on stage spittin' rhymes. In addition to providing vocals for the group, the charismatic and dance-inducing deejay provides something magical with those turntables. Whether it's on the recorded track, or on stage, the group wouldn't be the same rising talent in the Northwest without this handsome red-haired gentleman.
Watch DJ Idlhnds spin and perform with The Bad Tenants in Relay Dance Collective's upcoming show, Music + Motion at Dance Fremont! this weekend. Shows are at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 24 and Sunday August 25. Tickets are still available and ONLINE ONLY! Seating is limited, so get yours now. To purchase, go to rdcpremiere.brownpapertickets.com.
Q. Have you ever worked with dancers before?
A. As a DJ, usually I'm the one trying to get people to dance! Never have I worked with trained dancers. The only thing that really comes close is spinning for a hip-hop dance class taught by my friend and badass b-girl, Brie Boogie.
Q. What other types of collaboration have you done with the bad tenants?
A. Most of our process is collaborative to some degree: working with producers, guest artists, engineers, and of course each other. Stepping outside of our medium, or blending two styles of art and creativity, is pretty new for us.
Q. What are you looking forward to about this performance?
A. The whole thing, and that's not a total cop-out answer either. I really don't know quite what to expect from the other performances and I'm stoked to see what the members of RDC have in store.
Q. Describe the collaborative process to create the medley of music used in this show.
A. There was a back and forth between Gabrielle and I as far as a selection of different songs by The Bad Tenants to include. She had an idea of a rough outline, and it was my job to take up the technical side, blending short segments from a few of our songs, making the transitions clean, and creating instrumental and vocal versions of the mix.
Q. Are you nervous about the upcoming show for any reason?
A. Right at this moment, no! I have a feeling nerves will set in the day of the first performance though.
Q. Describe yourself as an artist.
A. Music lover. Hip-hop oriented. Emcee. Deejay. Party rocker. I try to remain humble, inspired, open-minded, and forward-thinking. Oh, and it's crucial to have fun.
Q. The Bad Tenants started in Bellingham and are in the process of transitioning to Seattle. How is the arts scene different in the 206-area code versus the 360?
A. Bellingham has a thriving scene that supports live music, theatre, dance, and visual arts, but in a town of about 80,000 people, limitations do exist. There's such a breadth of opportunity and creative energy in a town as large as Seattle. In Bellingham, The Bad Tenants have played in literally every venue, and we're fortunate to have developed quite a following. In Seattle (and beyond), we are still looking to make our mark.
Q. How is this performance different from the shows you guys normally do?
A. Entirely different! We will be performing a couple songs, but at a dance studio with a bevy of talented dancers.
Q. What's your impression of Relay Dance Collective?
A. This is a group that seems excited, motivated, and eager to build and share their craft.
Q. What's next on the horizon for you as an artist? What's next for your group?
A. I'm anticipating a move to Seattle in the next few months to start taking over! It will be great to be in the same city as my other Tenants and to branch out as a performing DJ.
Q. Your friend, choreographer Gabrielle Nomura, choreographed pieces in the show based on her admiration for your music. Will it be weird sharing the stage with someone who is normally in the crowd?
A. We love that Gabrielle loves our music. It won't be weird, not in this case. After all, it's Gabriel, and Gabrielle; Gabrielle, and Gabriel.
Q. What's the benefit of working with different types of artists such as dancers?
A. Cross-pollinating within the artistic community is fantastic; you never know who might take interest in your craft or product that wouldn't normally be exposed. The opportunities to create are truly endless.