We took a moment to catch up with Pumpkin, as he gets ready for his two upcoming performances in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He was generous enough to offer up an exclusive free download for our readers. Be sure to get on the dance floor for his upcoming shows by getting your pre-sale tickets.
Get Pumpkin’s newest remix below and read the exclusive interview after the break.
Click to download Mna Mna (Pumpkin Remix) – The Muppets here.
Words By: Duke DuRock
With Halloween right around the corner, we’re excited to bring you not one but two performances by the incomparable DJ, Pumpkin. After playing one of the most talked about sets at Lightning in a Bottle (LIB) this year, and recently packing the King King for the debut of Woogie Nights, our new monthly event with Pocket Underground, this talented artist is quickly making a name for himself in the house music scene.
“The Woogie Stage has kind of become an awesome spectacle at Lightning in a Bottle,” said Nick Alvarado, best known by his production alias, Pumpkin, when we spoke recently. “I’m really happy that The Do LaB and Pocket Underground are taking that vibe and now making it so we can woogie all year long!”
Pumpkin added, “The first show at King King was unreal. The line was out the door, and the crowd was really receptive. It was an unbelievable experience. San Francisco does have a really good house music scene, but the guys in Pocket Underground are the best kind of music snobs. So, it’s going to be quality. There’s a lot of garbage in the dance music world, but I love all the talent they pull for the Woogie stage at LIB. I’m stoked to see who they will be getting for future Woogie Nights.”
Band Burnout Spawns Electronic Sounds
Having only started to DJ in 2004, originally by his underground alias “Nick the Neck,” Pumpkin embraced electronic music after getting burnt out from being in bands.
“I grew up playing live music in bands,” recalled Pumpkin. “The only electronic music that I was exposed to was the more mainstream stuff or very experimental material, like Aphex Twin. During Halloween of 2004, after my most recent band had broken up, I had become disillusioned with live music. A friend of mine took me to a loft party, and that’s when I finally understood house music. The next weekend, I went out and bought my first set of turntables. The fact that I could go up, do my thing and play music that I love really spoke to me.”
He added, “Pocket Underground has been some of my strongest supporters. They brought me into their DJ crew when I was just starting out and have been non-stop supportive ever since.”
While he was steadily making a name for himself in the underground electronic music scene, Pumpkin soon found that he missed the singer-songwriter aspect of the music he listened to while growing up. “When I really started to explore getting back into my roots and remembering how much I love good pop music, I thought I should pick a different moniker to separate the two,” Pumpkin recalled of his production aliases. “The name Pumpkin actually suits my style because a lot of the stuff I play is sweet and almost cute. So it really seemed to fit.”
Passion for Music Captivates Audiences
As we witnessed during his standout set at LIB this year, and more recently at Woogie Nights, Pumpkin’s ability to amp up the crowd with his on-stage enthusiasm and passion for the music he loves is infectious. “People feel better when they see me with my eyes closed singing along at the top of my lungs,” said Pumpkin. “I could be alone in the DJ booth and still be having the time of my life because these are all of my favorite songs. Most DJs are not that fortunate. They have to fit their set into a specific sub-genre or play the hottest tracks. I don’t ever pre-plan my sets. Sometimes I’ll have a bunch of songs I know I want to play, but I’m not sure where I’m going to put them. But whatever’s moving me that day, I can play it, so I’m the luckiest guy ever.”
Stemming from his live band background, Pumpkin prefers to play more song-orientated music. He also favors melody to the loud, aggressive sounds currently dominating the dance floor. “My sets are kind of electronic music for people who didn’t even really know they liked electronic music,” explained Pumpkin. “I already went through a metal-head phase in my life. I still really do like loud rock music, but I think I got most of the angst out of my system when I was younger. So now I want to dance when I’m on the dance floor. I don’t want to mosh.”
Pumpkin’s sets are heavy on vocal hooks and include plenty of his impressive bootleg remixes that he’s done – from classic artists like Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie, to most recently Tina Dico, Blind Melon and Florence and The Machine. While Pumpkin often plays with different styles and tempos, his DJ sets are perfect for a sunrise or sunset session, as evidenced by his unforgettable 2011 LIB performance.
“I love that I get booked for those,” Pumpkin shared. “I think the reason why I get put into those timeslots so often and really enjoy playing them is that when it comes to peak hour on the dance floor, people want to hear high energy music. But the stuff that I play, it can be a little more emotionally driven. So put me on at the end of the night, or when the night’s just getting started, and I think the music lends itself perfectly to that. With Lightning in a Bottle being an outdoor festival, it was just beautiful. The sky turned purple, and it was picture perfect.”
Pumpkin added, “That set is my number one DJ memory to date, hands down. Five of my friends brought their babies, so there were kids everywhere. People started to pair up on the dance floor, and I really had no idea that I had developed such a fan base. I think that was the most packed the Woogie Stage was all weekend. There were people pouring out on the sides of it, and it was completely unbelievable.”
Surprises in Store for Halloween Weekend
After playing the inaugural San Francisco Woogie Nights, Pumpkin will be coming back to Los Angeles for our special pre-Halloween show at Supperclub, alongside An-Ten-nae and DJ Laura’s new group LowRIDERz. “My Halloween weekend is completely bonkers, what with a DJ name like Pumpkin,” laughed the producer. “I have a lot of fun, Halloween-type songs and surprises to drop, too, most of which I haven’t played since last year. And I’ve got some new ones prepared, too. I like to be silly when I can and getting into Halloween when we can all dress up and act like kids again. It’s a really fun dance floor to play for.”
He added “Getting Halloween weekend started at The Supperclub, which is a great venue, with my Do LaB family, it’s going to be special. I always love working with The Do LaB and the fact that they asked me to be one of the headliners, I’m truly honored. Their events were my first introduction to the Burning Man/L.A. Arts scene, and I haven’t stopped going to their events since. The fact that I get to be on the bill, and there’s so much love…I’m really excited. It’s gonna be great.”
For those of you who live in the Bay Area, be sure to catch Pumpkin when he plays the San Francisco debut of Woogie Nights, this Saturday, October 22nd! Please plan to arrive early, and tickets can still be purchased here.
On Thursday, October 27th, we’re getting a jumpstart on Halloween weekend with a special party at the Supperclub in Los Angeles, where Pumpkin will be spinning a special set alongside LowRIDERz. Also featuring performances from Zen Arts and Symphonic Circles, this night is not to be missed! Please plan to arrive early, and wear a costume. Tickets are available here.