A couple months ago we asked our Facebook followers who they'd like to see profiled next and it was pretty much unanimous- the people demanded OWEN!
Owen hosts The Hanging Garden Radio Show, where lovers of dark music can expect to hear an unusually diverse selection, ranging from Ethereal, to Aggrotech & EBM, to Deathrock, to 80's & 90's Industrial, current & classic Post-Punk, and much more. Owen's passion for music itself, and sharing the feeling of experiencing its transcendence with others has made him one of the most popular DJs on BFF.fm. So, it's time to learn a little more about this fan favorite.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
Well, I currently live here in the San Francisco Bay Area but I like to move around so I have lived in cities all over the US. I live in Oakland, which has the best climate in the world, and is just beautiful to look at. My favorite thing about it is that people are really nice and it often feels like everyone wants to have a conversation with you.
Even now, I often travel regularly around the country to DJ, which is convenient because I'd want to be on the move anyway. haha My musical background is fairly diverse. I performed classical music when I was young and have a love for music in all its forms, across genres and cultures. If something makes me feel something, I just become totally taken by it. I wanted other people to feel like I do with music so I became a DJ.
One thing that is very striking about you as a DJ is that when you come in to do your show you roll in a huge suitcase stuffed with CDs, whereas more and more DJs are using digital media. Do you consider yourself a Luddite?
I do have a particular dislike for computer-based technologies. I don't enjoy it, I'm certainly not good with it, and I'm not impressed by it so I try to keep as much a limit on it in my life as reasonable. Not only do I DJ from hard media instead of a laptop, I often use paper maps. I understand computer technology is a part of most things in 21st century day to day life, but let's just say I won't be first in line for the next new phone model.
Of the CDs you drag in here each week, are there any favorites that stand out?
That answer changes every day. Today I'm obsessing pretty hard on the band, Thief. I'd say some of my all-time favorites include Kate Bush, Claude Debussy, Frances Faye, TR/ST, Danzig, Maurice Ravel, Coil, Ella Fitzgerald, Cop Shoot Cop, Crass, Milt Jackson/John Lewis/The Modern Jazz Quartet, Christian Death + related. I could go on forever. Also, there are innumerable artists who only made one or two albums (or one or two albums of a specific type) that should be on a list like this but aren't a "favorite" because they don't have enough work.
You also probably have one of the more unique origin stories on BFF.fm...you took the back way onto the webwaves and into our hearts, starting as a listener first, right?
I have been a fan of The Hanging Garden Radio Show since its founder, Davey Bones, created it. Early in its run on BFF.fm he asked me to come on the show as a guest. I was honored. When he asked me to become a partner and co-host on it soon after, I couldn't believe it! He has since left the show, which is bittersweet for me because I get to do this incredible thing in our community but Davey leaves a space no one else can fill.
The community you're talking about is, of course, the dark music scene. I have to be honest, if someone had told me that one day BFF.fm would have a Goth show and it would consistently be one of the top 3 programs on the station, I wouldn't have believed it! Why do you think Goth music and BFF.fm work so well together?
The dark music scene here in Northern California is something truly special. Not only is it one of the biggest on earth in terms of quantity, but also quality- the music and production of events is generally excellent. And it's more than a place to go out. It is a genuine community that's fun, friendly and supportive.
As for the station, I cannot imagine a better home for The Hanging Garden Radio Show. BFF.fm is a force for good in the Bay Area. The station and its people seem to never stop looking for ways to make the world a better place, and radio is a uniquely potent tool for that.
Personally, it's the people and the community that I value most about the dark music scene so it's a perfect match. And, because BFF.fm is streamable on the Internet, being on the station makes it possible to bring us all together no matter how far apart we may be on the map.
A club is a place to feel good where like minded people can find each other. BFF.fm takes that idea and transmits it over a distance of, not just a building, not just a city, but the whole world!
Outside of DJ life, what do you enjoy doing?
My life mainly revolves around music. I spend a lot of time collecting and enjoying records, playing and composing music, dancing, and finding things in life that make me laugh. Aside from that, I am an armchair geographer, historian, and astrophysicist. But, aren't we all?
Since much of who you are seems to be expressed through dark music, are there things about your personality that come as a surprise to others when they meet you in person?
People definitely seem to think I'm pretty strange but that just makes me laugh, which probably only makes me appear even stranger. Maybe that's to be expected when you're a gothic DJ, though. One of the first things people probably notice is how friendly I am. I spend a lot of time talking with strangers. I suppose another thing that surprises people is that I don't drink, smoke anything, etc. Obviously, I don't care what others do-- If it's their body, it's their business, and I just want everyone to have a good time-- but personally I choose not to partake. An unusual position for someone who makes money from alcohol sales and would get free drinks.