DJ Forest Green started digging for records when she was 13 years old.
When her mother needed to go to the grocery store, she'd drop Green off on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, where she would peruse the offerings of local record stores. "I was hunting for music every chance I would get," Green says. "I even got in trouble for hiding records under my shirt coming home, as I wasn't supposed to be buying records that day."
In her later teen years, Green got into the rave scene where she discovered the healing powers of electronic dance music, or EDM.
"I've always found it really helpful to go out and release that way through movement and letting it all out on the dance floor," Green says. "It was a way I had to work out rough moments in my life."
Twelve years ago, Green decided she would help people experience the same catharsis she cherished by becoming a DJ. "I wanted to give people that same opportunity to release through motion," Green explains. "That's one of the main reasons I got into DJing."
Green primarily spins techno (gritty, with a 4/4 beat), breaks (varying time signatures frequently encased in a candy shell) and house (soulful, organic and hook-heavy). When she first started DJing, Green combed the crates at record shops, but now, most of her shopping is done through the Internet. "I would guess that many of the younger DJs may have not done much, if any, collecting of music in record stores," Green says. "This shift from collecting music in record stores to collecting music online has been quite a change."
Green says she doesn't subscribe to the philosophy that a DJ should never arrive at a gig with their set lined up. She toils in her studio figuring out which songs flow together best. "I've put a lot of time into planning and making sets that really are going to take you on a journey and pump you up," she says. "I don't want to give myself too much credit, but it's a similar experience to writing a symphony."
Green posits that she could write a book about the misconceptions about raves. Since her earliest days as an electronic DJ, Green has supported the culture. "It's OK for you to be who you are," Green asserts. "You are supported in opening up and expressing, and you know that other people will be expressing themselves and letting the creative energy flow."
"Music cycles much like its carrier, the sine wave."
Green's sonic spewings aren't confined to the United States. She's played sets in Berlin, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Vienna, among other cultural epicenters. Overseas, she says the crowd is receptive. But some nights the audience just doesn't dig it. “Sometimes you totally eat shit, and it can be really hard to get back up," Green admits. "But you have to, so you pull it together, brush yourself off and keep on with the journey."
The number of electronic music fans is probably larger in Europe than in the States, Green says. But she suspects the number of supporters in America will climb. "I do believe that the U.S.A. is on the brink of another EDM upswing as we speak," Green predicts. "Music cycles much like its carrier, the sine wave."
Green will leave the friendly confines of San Francisco's electronic music scene and try to convert a few Albuquerque ears when she spins at Exhale. What can you expect? "Some of the most booty-shaking, ground-quaking beats and bass I have the pleasure of bringing you," Green says. "Gotta love that bass."