Local Scratch is an occasional series that profiles interesting DJs in Bend and Central Oregon.
Lucius Wheeler, 27, learned to spin from the DJs at The Grove – Mike Graham, Brian Swett, DJ Smoke. He likes to play dance music and he certainly knows how to get people riled up using a lot of quick, trippy beats and world music and hip-hop samples.
I saw the scene at First Friday earlier this month, when DJ Lucius – or his alter ego, Sky Beast – played at the PoetHouse, nearly inciting a rave. You might have seen him do the same thing at Astro Lounge or Bo Restobar.
But despite learning from some of the original gangsters of Bend’s DJ scene, Wheeler is working on something pretty new. For about a year, he’s been DJing for yoga classes – that’s right, the kind of yoga you might think of as being set to chanting, rain forest sounds and spacey new-age CDs.
photo by Kai Roche
Wheeler is a yoga instructor as well as massage therapist and group counselor. He was drumming at yoga classes at Mandala Yoga Community, or MYC, when another instructor suggested he take it to the next level and try DJing while the students stretched (apparently popular in L.A.). He had so much fun, it stuck. Now he DJs one class a month.
Check out “Pay What You Can DJ Yoga” with DJ Lucius tonight at MYC (55 NW Minnesota St. in Bend, above The Wine Shop) from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Find a free download at soundcloud.com/luciuswheeler, listen to more mixes at myspace.com/luciuswheeler and read about all Wheeler’s projects at luciuswheeler.wordpress.com.
What’s your setup?
I use Ableton Live on a Macbook Pro, and I use an M-Audio midi controller and then a little audio interface to crisp up the sound. I don’t use records for live shows anymore, made the full switch over to computers.
Plus you wear like, a wolf hat, right?
I actually call it the Sky Beast. It’s actually a custom headdress made by my friend Sarah up at the PoetHouse.
What music are you into lately?
I really enjoy club root, the atmospheric dub step stuff which is really good. Let’s see — on the world music side of things there’s a Nepalese woman singer who is just incredible, she collaborated with Steve Tibbetts… that’s really on repeat. Choying Drolma. One of their albums is called Selwa. Just like, really gorgeous acoustic and electric production mixed with these Nepalese vocals that are just incredible.
What kind of music do you spin at parties?
Definitely it tends to be more uptempo — house music, tech house, some like, disco-inspired stuff, and modern electronica as well.
What do you usually play for yoga classes?
It tends to be downtempo stuff, there’d be like anywhere from like 80 bpm up to under 100 bpm, so it’s kinda downtempo midtempo stuff. There’s kind of a flow to the classes. We usually start out with a warm up of some sorts, so there can be a meditation section without any rhythms. It’s more like atmospheres and textures for the beginning. Then moving into more of the movement stuff.
Having a consistent pulse is really helpful for the students and the yoga instuctor as well. You could liken it to breathing, to have the in-breath and to have the out-breath; times where intensity sort of rises, and you have to have times where the intensity releases. Sometimes that means sound goes away.
DJ Lucius with Kat Seltzer, the yoga instructor who encouraged him to DJ at MYC
How is it different DJing for yoga?
The focus for me has been how am I really crafting an atmosphere and crafting a space, like that sonic space, and DJing for yoga classes in particular really brings that to the forefront. Like a dance party, if something doesn’t jive with the people, it’s really going to show… (but it’s) more concentrated, more focused in a yoga class. It feels like there is less tolerance for messing up, less tolerance for a sound that is grating to the ears. You have to be smooth and good track selection is pretty essential.
Is there a DJ you’d like to know better? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “local DJ” in the subject line.