Pablo Rocha, 32, was born in Palm Springs, and the automotive technician (it’s a “fancy way to say mechanic,” he says) has lived in the Coachella Valley his entire life. Local-music fans know Rocha as DJ Odysey, and they can catch him in action at 10 p.m., Friday, March 22, at Bar, 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in downtown Palm Springs. Admission is free (and the cocktails, while obviously not free, are fantastic, by the way). For more information on Bar, visit www.barwastaken.com; for more on DJ Odysey, visit soundcloud.com/DJ-ODYSEY.
What was the first concert you attended?
I’m a bit embarrassed to say … it was a Beach Boys concert, ha ha, with my dad while I was in middle school. The first event I attended by choice, on my own, was B-Boy Summit ’96. It wasn’t really a concert, but more of a hip-hop conference. Break-dancers, DJs, graffiti artists, rappers and hip-hop fans from all over the world would attend these—and they used to be free. I got to see some of the most well-known “underground” DJs play and stood onstage with them. Pretty exciting stuff for a 16-year-old kid.
What was the first album you owned?
The first album I can remember having is DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper. I was a big fan of them as a kid, and I got into DJing because of this album. One side was all songs, and Side B was more Jazzy Jeff doing his own thing, scratching over beats. I still listen to this album from time to time. It’s a classic to me, and it played a huge part in what I do now.
What bands are you listening to right now?
I listen to all kinds of groups, and different genres of music. I’m a big People Under the Stairs fan, so a lot of times, I find myself listening to their catalog, old and new. I’m feeling Kendrick Lamar; I like his Section.80 album. His new one is also good. But I like more of a boom bap, golden-era hip-hop-type of sound. So I listen to more of ’90s hip hop or anything that sounds like it. I’ve also found myself listening to Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear album a lot lately. Very very, deep album.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?
The one genre of music that everyone loved but that I didn’t get was dubstep. It just never rubbed me the right way—but to each his own.
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?
Like I said, I’m a big golden era (late ’80s-late ’90s) hip-hop fan. I’ve had the chance to see many of my heros from that era such as A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, KRS-One, Nas, Cypress Hill, Ice Cube, Xzibit, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, etc. The one person I have yet to see perform live would have to be Rakim.
What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?
I’ll get down to some ’80s freestyle music: Exposé, Trinere, Debbie Deb, Pretty Poison, Starpoint, etc.
What’s your favorite music venue?
I saw a really good show at Club Nokia at L.A. Live. The sound was great, and you get a good look at the stage wherever you stand.
What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?
“Thinkin’ of a master plan / Cuz ain’t nuthin but sweat inside my hand / So I dig into my pocket, all my money is spent / So I dig deeper but still comin’ up with lint,” Eric B. and Rakim, “Paid in Full.”
What band or artist changed your life? How?
I can’t name a single band or artist who changed my life, but I can tell you that hip-hop “culture” itself changed my life: everything that revolves around the music—of course, not what you see on TV now, but what it once was. Every genre of music, I think, there is a lifestyle that stands behind it. Hip-hop locked me in at the age of 6 or 7. I was always into break-dancing, and at age 9, I decided I wanted to be a DJ, not to mix, but to scratch! That’s all I wanted to do when I first started at 14. It can be compared to a guitarist or drummer jamming out and improvising. Same with the break-dancing, graffiti and emceeing. It all goes together: Hip hop is like Voltron! Ha ha. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without it.
You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?
I would ask J Dilla: “What was going through your head as you were in the hospital, on your death bed, creating your last album?” R.I.P. J Dilla.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
A Spanish Tex-Mex song by Ramon Ayala, “Entierrenme Cantando,” which translates to “Bury Me Singing.”
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
It would have to be The Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde.
What song should everyone listen to right now?
Everybody should listen to my remix of Eric B. and Rakim’s classic “I Know You Got Soul.” Ha ha, I had to give my self a plug. (Scroll down to hear it.)