Li Beatport


Li was one of those kids that got yelled at for breaking the needles on his parents’ record player and scratching up his Dad’s collection of old 45s.

The youngest of three in a musical family, Li experimented early with the piano, guitar, bass and drums. The rap and pop music of the 80’s introduced a whole new class of sounds, and Li became frustrated with the limitations of conventional instruments. The rolling sustain of the bass notes and the scratching of the horn stabs just could not be reproduced by his brother’s bass guitar or his sister’s saxophone.

Li’s first exposure to electronic dance music took place in the San Francisco underground in the early 90’s. Hours were spent behind two belt-driven, mismatched turntables in his friend’s garage pulling from a collectively owned half-crate of records. With so many types of electronic music to explore, Li quickly decided it was time to sell his Fender Twin and electric guitar to fund his first set of 1200s.

The momentum started in 1996 when Li was asked to sit in for a sick DJ at Harmony Production’s “Freaky People” just three days prior to the event. In what seems like a blur today, Li delivered what he still regards one of his best sets of all time. That night Li wowed the audience and promoters, inspiring Harmony Productions (later one of San Francisco’s longest running undergrounds) to invite him to be their newest resident.

Through the late 90’s and into the early 2000’s, the newly acquired Harmony resident repeatedly packed the dance floor with his nonstop, peak-hour selection of house and techno, billed alongside such artists as: Angel Alanis, Christopher Lawrence, Terry Mullan, Hipp-e & Halo, John Selway, Adam Beyer, Cari Lekebush, and Laidback Luke. Li was also a featured guest DJ on local college radio stations KZSU (Stanford University) and KDVS (UC Davis).

Through a series of acquaintances, Li joined a collective of likeminded DJs, musicians, and video artists to form Viberation. This collective dedicated themselves to the seamless melding of audio and visual arts, some of which was featured in the independent movie, “Groove.” Viberation’s list of successful parties is too long to list, and due to full capacity they have been forced to turn people away from every event since their conception in 1997.

As a side project, three members of Viberation, AndyW, DJ Science and Li, founded Silicon Valley’s first Techno/House/Jungle weekly “Afterglo” which enjoyed huge success during it’s one year run in San Jose’s SOFA district.

In September 2002, Li was invited to perform one of his legendary 2×4 sets with AndyW for the SF Raves 10 Year Anniversary party, a celebration of the music and friendships established experienced during that unforgettable decade. The afternoon included other San Francisco DJs: Brian Behlendorf(founder, SF Raves), Ethan (FnF), Galen & Solar (Pacific), Amber & Drag’nfly (SisterSF) and DJ2 (Moksha Tribe).

In late 2003, Li found himself energized by the raw bass lines and the funky, malleable drum patterns of nu-skool breaks and UK Garage. Unlike many CDs which tend to blend from start to finish, Li’s latest demo CD “50/50” focuses on a mix heavy, fast paced, non-linear roller coaster ride and offers the listener a taste of the 8-year dance floor veteran’s utting, scratching and mixing techniques.

Today you will find Li playing the SF club circuit, and underground parties in the SF Bay Area, alongside fellow Tech-On residents Juan Segovia, Clarity, Forest Green and AndyW.

Notable venues:

  • 1015 Folsom, SF
  • Space 550, SF
  • The Phoenix Theatre, Petaluma CA
  • Maritime Hall, SF