bob five's roots run deep within the san francisco bay area underground house/techno world. A constant presence in the scene since the mid 90s, bob's performed both near and far, from the rough desert of Black Rock City to the post futuristic landscape..
Bob Vasilauskas, aka Bob Five, began DJing around 1998 to 1999, though he’d been creating mixtapes for friends long before that.
“Pausing and slicing,” he says. “I didn't get into house and techno until about late 1999 to early 2000 . I got into house to learn how to beat-match—it was easier to start there. At this point, I needed to learn how to not only beat-match, or paint individual pictures so to speak, but to program and tell a story between those pictures. So, I started buying records and studying how to mix properly, which led to me trying to figure out my sound.”
Bob ventured out to discover his sonic interests, aided by his family’s influences.
“I've been to parties, concerts, raves and festivals spanning all genres of music, so I knew my reach would be wide when mixing and programming. But my sister was the first person to show me “non-radio,” things off the airwaves, all the darker, more underground styles. Those styles led me to early electric and punk music. Then metal, punk and ska in high school.”
While working at Daddy’s Records in Berkeley, he threw and played his first gigs in Berkeley, eventually bringing his sounds to San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area during the past few years. Cities or places and events he has played so far include opening for Heiko Laux and closing for Steve Rachmad as well as DJ Sneak at undergrounds in Oakland, playing alongside Konrad Black at Housepitality, one of the most renowned weekly parties in San Francisco, opening for Mind Against, Clarian North and Ambivalent at Monarch in SF, playing at Forward SF which has been running for 10+ years solid, opening for Adriatique at the legendary End Up club in SF, The Works in Detroit, Los Angeles, the annual Burning Man Festival, Raindance Festival and Symbiosis Festival northern California, Boise and Jacksonville. Bob’s upcoming parties include his own Black Magic Disko, an underground party in San Francisco, Electric Poncho festival in Mexico, opening for Phil Weeks at Housepitality and various club nights in Oakland and San Francisco, while still on his desired places to play: Berlin and Tokyo.
One of Bob's strengths is being able to play with other dj's seamlessly. He currently plays in a multitude of DJ duos and groups including Star Kommand, which consists of 4 di's playing b2b (Bob Five, Yaseum, Considerate and Pouria K), Bob Campbell (Bob Five b2b Trev Campbell), these or these (Bob Five b2b NDK) and tigers and lions (Bob Five b2b Darrell Tenaglia).
With Oakland/San Francisco based Direct to Earth, Bob has found an outlet for techno. Normally playing more deep house and tech house on his own but diving head first into the world of techno when playing with the always fun DtE boys. They are dedicated to bringing future sounds and classic beats to San Francisco and Oakland through underground events and edgy club nights that tend to be on the dark minimal side, although the techno can be anywhere from minimal to crazy hard pulsating rhythms.
He uses a Rane MP2016 mixer and 3 pioneer CDJ 2000 nexus preferring to use a .WAV music format, which simplifies the DJing experience in a way that allows him to connect with the crowd, as well as focus on the overall blend of a set.
His style is decidedly stalwart yet euphoric, balancing deeply bass-driven textures with ribbons of high-frequency sonics, all with the mixing attention of a pilot manning aerial controls. Guiding levitating melodies that orbit steadily around certain beats, Bob’s style is flexibly holistic, zooming in on micro details that play in rounds, then panning outward to legato landscapes. His buoyancy with the beats is apparent, always allowing a bit of his frolicsome nature to permeate more serious sets.
Bob studies and applies the lessons of historically prodigal mixing perfectionists like Doc Martin and DJ Dan, using focus and balance as companions to allow tracks to trade places without a shred of interruption or imbalance. It is a style that surpasses purely party focused tech-house and uses its accuracy undetected to guide dancers through long, lush, robust and melodic sets, loading tracks that ride and change together.
“Mixing is a philosophy to me,” says Bob. “I don’t think many artists view it like that, but it’s all basic philosophy. For every change you make, you must correct something on the other side. Also my mixes are like presentations: First, I tell people what I’m going to tell them, then I tell them, then I tell them what I told them.”
But aesthetics in programming are where he finds his gifts.
“Programming is everything, as in where you start the next track,” he says. “I can teach you how to match tempo using pitch control, but I can’t teach you song selection and programming. I can give you an idea, but that’s what makes each DJ have his or her own individual style.”