Why We Burn: Orion Keyser

(I really need to interview DJs I’ve booked more often. I’ve been┬álucky enough to have Orion spin at a couple of things I’ve done, and not even because he’s been one of the main selectros in the DISORIENT universe for years. His sonic sense impeccable, and I was honored to talk to him about how music at Burning Man has evolved over the years. Show him some love & if you’re in the city and need studio time, let me do you a favor. Interview by Terry Gotham)

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1. Favorite Burning Man memory?
I guess my favorite DJ memory from Burning Man is playing music for sunrise. It’s always amazing to DJ at the Burn, but sunrise is the most beautiful time of day out there and playing music for it is a rare and wonderful thing. I generally play something a little more sentimental than usual for a sunrise, in order to make the moment more meaningful and to bring a sense of pause into a sound world that is usually insistent or frenetic.

Most of my other favorite Burning Man memories come in the “stumble upon” variety. I usually do a bit of wandering about in deep playa at odd hours of the night, and the things or the people that you run into when you are away from everything are often the best. It used to be just some little lonesome temples and things like that, I remember one burn when there was a full moon I stumbled upon some wooden structure that had a mostly working telescope on it and I was able to focus it on details on the face of the full moon that I’ve only seen in pictures before. Another time I was far away from everything and hungry and confused and I stumbled on an open air Diner serving coffee and grilled cheese sandwiches that was serendipitously staffed by some friends from SF I hadn’t seen in four or five years. Surprises like that are always the best.

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