It’s 5:00 am beneath the city streets of San Francisco at one of the many late night underground venues in the City. The space is still packed wall to wall with club goers who have been caught in the rhythmic web being woven by San Francisco’s best-kept secret, DJ Nikola Baytala. For well over a decade, Nikola has built his reputation as a DJ the old fashion way: by playing the music he loves with a passion and skill that is unmatched. Even as morning approaches, no one at this party is going anywhere until San Francisco’s underground hero has played his last record. Originally from New York, Nikola got his start in Los Angeles in the 90s producing parties with the legendary Doc Martin. Upon his arrival in San Francisco, Nikola quickly developed a reputation both as a record connoisseur and a vinyl manipulator, playing kinetic sets that not only showcased his technical prowess behind the decks but also his fearlessness as a music selector by not conforming to any particular genre.
He is one of the rare DJs who can mix both records fresh off the vinyl cutter alongside rare and often obscure classics in a style that is distinctly his own. Nikola’s unique style and versatility as a music selector has allowed him to play headlining slots along side some of the world’s top DJs and artists: from Richie Hawtin and M.A.N.D.Y. to Roger Sanchez and Jane’s Addiction. Known as an obsessive vinyl record collector, Nikola’s extensive knowledge of music allows him to play sets comprised of the deepest house to the chunkiest techno and all the frequencies in between.
San Francisco’s own Claude Von Stroke, mastermind behind the internationally acclaimed Dirtybird label, hailed Nikola as one of the best techno DJs in San Francisco. His talents have also landed him gigs at every major venue in the City as well as residencies at some of San Francisco’s most internationally recognized venues, including The Endup and the now closed but always legendary club, The Top. Nikola is also one of the crucial components of San Francisco’s minimal-techno collective, Kontrol. Founded in 2005, Kontrol almost single-handedly revived the techno scene in San Francisco and is currently one of the most respected techno parties in North America, having brought in such legendary artists as Josh Wink and Dan Bell (DBX) along with current luminaries like Modeselektor and Matthew Dear.
In addition to his hectic DJing and promotional schedule, Nikola still finds time to work on production. With tracks on labels such as Robsoul, Junior Boy’s Own, Large Records and Nightshift, Nikola has a long list of critically-acclaimed productions to his credit both under his own name and along with his musical production collective, S.W.A.T. Through his extensive touring schedule, Nikola has begun to showcase his skills to crowds around the world. His recent set at the 2009 Movement festival in Detroit blew crowds away, and Resident Advisor proclaimed him one of the top underground DJs in the US. Track by track and city by city, Nikola is quickly moving towards taking his rightful place amongst the rarefied ranks of elite DJs in the world. The international electronic community is beginning to take notice of what San Franciscans have known for years: Nikola Baytala always brings it.
high profile gigs and festivals
Fabric – London
Panorama Bar – Berlin
Detroit Electronic Music Festival
Club Luxy – Taipei
Weekend Club – Berlin
Decibel Festival – Seattle
Love Parade – San Francisco
Yoshis Jazz Club – San Francisco
Avalon – Los Angeles
Made Events Sunday School For Degenerates – New York City
APT – New York City
Bunker – New york City
HAWT – Los Angeles
The Egg – London
Winter Music Festival – Miami
Electric Pickle – Miami
Mansion – Miami
Karu & Y Ultralounge – Miami
Snatch Tampa – Florida
Queen Club – Paris
Mezzanine – San Francisco
Ultra Festival- Miami
H20 – Belgium
Retox at Club Sosha – London
The End – London
Folies Pigalle – Paris
Club Fellini – Barcelona
Lollapalooza Festival – West Coast Tour
The Fillmore with Kraftwerk- San Francisco
The Warfield with The Prodigy – San Francsico
dave aju CIRCUS COMPANY / ACCIDENTAL
“Nik is the man, one of those rare breeds that manages to be aDJ’s DJ and
rock any crowd he’s playing for with ease. He’s got the roots, knowledge,
and record collection like some of dance music’s godfathers, but is incredibly
adaptable and always up to date…”
lee burridge GET WIERD
“Nikola is awesome. Full stop! The Best Dj in San Fracisco!”
elan ackerman MATTERFORM/CIELO
“The West Coasts Hidden Weapon, Nikola Baytala.
I am constantly blown away by his sets. He has an incredible way of
mixing techno and house, encouraging many a happy dancing foot.
Given that he is always being brought up by DJ’s as a great DJit is
one of the worlds many mysteries that this guy hasn’t exploded yet. He
will. You Listen!”
claude von stroke DIRTYBIRD/MOTHERSHIP
“Nikola Baytala is one of the best techno Djs in San Francisco. He is
always able to generate energy in the crowd with his natural feel for
the music. Mixing wise, I would put him up against anyone i have seen
on the road. It is also nice to see someone rocking all vinyl from the
nathan coles WIGGLE/FABRIC
“Nikola Baytala is one of those dj’s who always hits the mark for me.
And on top of that, he’s a very nice chap too!”
jb FABRIC/THE EGG
“One of the best DJs in San Fran always mixes tight, and rocked Retox
London too…… he’s also a top fella, luv him………….”
adultnapper aka francis harris MADE EVENTS/AUDIOMATIQUE
“Nikola is solid in every way a dj can be. Intelligent selection with
emotion and energy, all seamlessly mixed. I’m a fan. Looking forward
to hearing him more in the future.”
Pan Pot – MOBILLE
“We met Nikola two times now and always had fun with him, as a person
and for sure as a dj. He’s got big skills, probably because of his
You don’t often see energetic Djs like Nikola, getting the crowd
completely into his groove.”
mandy GET PHYSICAL
“nikola openend for us at the M.A.N.D.Y./Damian Lazarus show and he
build it up perfectly.
also thanx to him it was a great
derek plaslaiko SPECTRAL / BUNKER (NYC)
“When I think of Nikola, I only think of one thing: “The Truth”
I have heard him play about 6 times now, and everytime he consistantly
surprises me and needless to say, blows me the fuck away! The
highpoints being his versatility and the ability to to apply said
versatility to whatever crowd is in front of him. Seldomly does a Dj
impress me with his vast knowledge and impeccable programing, not to
mention flawless mixing. He is the very definition of “The Truth”. An
asset to any lineup he is added to. And thats WORD!"
chris mylo aka DJ Three HALLUCINATION LIMITED
“for my money nikola is by far one of the best “new” american
underground djs along with names like ryan elliot or derek plaslaiko.
he’s the genuine article."
production & releases on labels
Jr. Boys Own