'nohup' is the most well-known alias for Seattle-based Bobby Azarbayejani. However, whether it's 'nohup', 'sighup', or DJ Kaaba Emoji, they've established themselves in Seattle's scene as a diverse selector, with dates behind the decks in the Emerald city since 2017.
Beyond DJing, Bobby's label, Illegal Afters Tracks, has released three incredibly forward thinking EPs in just as many years, featuring among them Eve Defy. On top of that, the past two years Bobby played a key role in organizing Seattle's Ground Hum, an event focused on live electronic music, installation art, and dance.
Most recently however, Bobby released a tool called Bandcamp Tempo Adjust, allowing users to change the speed and pitch of tracks within their web browser. Working like a turntable, the tool's ingenious design gives DJs the opportunity to test drive potential tracks online.
Additionally, Bobby has led their community in supporting those who need it most through mutual aid, and by diverting proceeds from Illegal Afters to Real Rent Duwamish and Loveland Therapy Fund for Black Women and Girls.
Peace Portal first caught wind of 'nohup' through their release on Apt E Vol. 1, and since, Bobby has continued to reveal themselves as a singular member of the PNW music community. With that, it is a pleasure to share some of their thoughts.
I'm curious how you distinguish your aliases?
Ever since I had access to a computer and the internet I’ve always had multiple screen names, websites, and identities that I played with, and I think my usage of different aliases is just an outgrowth of that desire for more ways to express (or hide) my identity.
The names themselves are often jokes about my other names. In UNIX-like operating systems, SIGHUP is a command that will generally kill a parent process and all of its children. The program `nohup` is a command to ignore SIGHUP.
Tell us what inspired your concepts behind Ground Hum. What were the intentions set forth by you, Cameron, and the others involved?
Ground Hum is organized by Hans Anderson, me, Nick Carroll, Phil Kampf, Cameron Kelley, Madi Levine, Alex Markey, Max McDermott, Simone Pierson, Gia Valente, Kayla Waldorf, and Maxwell Washburn. I’ve known all of these people for years and love working with them so much!
All of us in Ground Hum know each other primarily through the dance music scene, but we wanted to work on a project that would give people an accessible and fun viewpoint into more experimental music. Inspired by a music festival that ran from 2016-2018 called Corridor, we wanted to bring a cozy vibe to the dark winter months providing a place where people could eat some soup and relax with their friends.
Beyond being “a label for party people everywhere, whether they're keeping the party going...or going home", what drives the forward thinking sounds on Illegal Afters?
I’m sure a lot of people assume that “illegal afters tracks” is in reference to an “illegal afters”, but in fact the idea is to release music “illegal for the afters”: too odd for the dancefloor and too turned up for the afters. I think that template gives a lot of room for artists to experiment - it kind of frees you from the constraints of any single space.
I started the label mainly because I just really wanted to release Sketch Artist’s music. I heard one track and thought “well, I guess I have to start a label now”. I really love the music my friends make and it’s amazing to be able to share it with more people. Keep an eye out for some more `illegal afters tracks` coming later this year ;)
Can you describe the personal importance in giving the proceeds from the releases on Illegal Afters to Real Rent Duwamish and Loveland Therapy Fund?
Donating to Loveland Therapy Fund is important to me because therapy helped me actualize a lot of the stuff you’re asking about in these questions. I think trauma can stop us from being who we actually want to be. Therapy really helped me with that and I hope that I can help other people access therapy so they can be their best self.
I think most businesses in the Seattle area should be donating to Real Rent Duwamish! We are on stolen land and a simple land acknowledgement means very little if it isn’t backed up by reparations.
What can you share about your process with creating the Bandcamp Tempo Adjust tool? Was there a 'eureka' moment leading to its creation?
I always like listening to music at different tempos. I had the idea for something like Bandcamp Tempo Adjust a while ago, but honestly just thought it was impossible. I built a script in 2020 that I used for a while, but it’s kind of unwieldy to use and I doubt anybody else used it.
Some weeknight in December, I was on deejay.de and I noticed that they have a (very snazzy) pitch adjust on their website. I looked at how that worked and realized it was super simple to build! I worked on it till 1am to come up with a very simple prototype. I put that on Twitter and it got a huge response, so I decided to actually tighten it up and release it. It’s been super awesome to see people enjoy using it!
I know from talking to friends and just paying attention on Twitter that people have a lot of complaints about Bandcamp’s UX. Just this past week in early April, I released a change to allow DJs to export their purchase history in local currency for accounting purposes.
As someone who has been involved over the last several years, what is your insight on Seattle's dance music scene?
Seattle really has something pretty special. We have a really talented community who really cares about music and stops at nothing to make sure that we keep the music going. At the same time, we’re squeezed. Even before COVID, the city was expensive and had very few spaces for dance music and now the situation is even more dire. That said, I’m still hopeful for music in this city. People are always going to find a way to share music with each other, no matter how hard it is.
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