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Some musical groups meet and instantly form a natural bond shaped by a shared interest in music and automatic synergy of personalities. For Bay Area’s Rock-it! Scientists, though, the initial hookup was less than auspicious. “DJ Guzie came to a bar I was spinning at one night and he was wearing a shirt that said ‘F**k the DJ.’,” recalls DJ Solarz of his current partner. “I found it very offensive and just thought he was cocky.”
Thankfully for music fans, the relationship quickly improved from there. Since that meeting, Guzie and Solarz have combined their talents to release four mix CDs (including the recently released The Blast Off II), countless remixes and DJ gigs nationwide. In stark contrast to most DJs that strictly stick to the work of other artists, Rock-it! Scientists have made a name for themselves as one of the most prolific production duos in music. “We remix the remix,” says Guzie. “There’s nothing that comes out of the speakers that doesn’t have ‘Rock-it! Scientists Edit’ on it.” With the amount of production credits they’ve amassed since 2005, chances are you’ve heard someone spinning their remixes even if they weren’t there. “We produce the stuff that other DJs get a lot of praise for,” admits Guzie.
It’s easy to get hooked on music when your family immerses you in it from birth. On a trip to Ecuador at age 12, the Los Angeles-bred Guzie walked into his aunt and uncle’s nightclub and was instantly transfixed by the DJ. “I was so fascinated by what was going on in the DJ booth,” says Guzie. “He’s pulling all these knobs and levers and it was just a huge question mark to me.” Upon his return home, Guzie began practicing for his own career behind the decks, spending his last dollars on equipment and records and letting the craft take over his life. When he eventually landed at UC Berkeley for college, local gigs began his job as a Professional DJ in earnest.
For Solarz, a lifelong Berkeley resident and classically trained violinist, the addiction started right after his initial brush with turntables. “I was at a co-worker’s apartment and he left me in the room with turntables,” says Solarz. “I was blown away. Once I stepped behind those tables, I was in that room for two hours trying to match beats together.” On his first day after moving to Boulder, CO to pursue professional cycling, a car accident left him with serious injuries, a dashed cycling dream and lots of free time. “I was out for a year and just constantly bought records and practiced deejaying,” says Solarz.
After moving back to the Bay Area from Boulder, Solarz would eventually meet Guzie through their girlfriends (who were friends at the time). Starting in 2005, the duo began spinning together while simultaneously creating remixes and mix CDs. While one of these tracks, “Ultimate Bay Break,” has become a West coast club anthem, the duo exploded onto the national scene when they caught the ear of the legendary Crooklyn Clan. After setting up shop on CrooklynClan.net, Rock-it! Scientists quickly became the #1 seller (where they remain in the Top 5 to this day.)
Now, with the release of The Blast Off 2, the duo has gathered together two years’ worth of remixes into one hour-long compilation, combining hip-hop, rock, 80s pop and dance into one cohesive whole. Any DJ can throw songs together. Not everyone can create so many creative remixes themselves, much less put them together in one mix. Not to say it was easy. “We argue a lot,” says Guzie with a grin. “Song selection, how it’s mixed, how long it’ll be in for, how many snares, you name it. We probably have scrutinized every second of that CD, but we’re both real happy with the result.”
Solarz agrees: “We want to play music we like. We’re not trying to educate people musically. People can get educated about the music on their own. I think there’s a lot of DJs that put out these CDs that are way over the top. We want to put out a CD that people listen to where every 10 seconds they’re like, ‘Oh, man, I haven’t heard this in forever.’”
While it’s hard to argue the life of a DJ/producer isn’t fun, Rock-It! Scientists have now reached that stage beyond simply stepping up on that riser and figuring it out as they go. For the duo, who currently split their time between production work and gigs, it’s far from a game. “We take DJing very seriously,” says Guzie. “This is what we do. We get up in the morning and say, ‘What’s gonna happen today that’s gonna make our sets sound better?’ It’s not a hobby anymore.”