Anybody who’s been to a South Bay house music event in the past seven years has probably danced to the beat of Jamie Lin on the decks or has at least seen one of the hundreds of event flyers that she designed. She’s been a staple in the Bay Area house scene since 2003, performing at hot spots in San Jose like Cardiff and Blowfish, the bigger clubs in San Francisco like 1015, Endup and Ruby Skye, and even the dusty Playa at Burning Man.
Lin describes her house music tastes as “everything from funky to deep house, electro and harder styles, some tribal elements and some of that chunky New York sound. My mixes are usually a bit harder when I’m playing in San Francisco than in San Jose, more tech house and fidget house, but I always like drawing people to the dance floors with something groovy.”
Though she started playing violin when she was seven and guitar in high school, an unfortunate, early onset of carpal tunnel syndrome turned Lin onto electronic music. “I just couldn’t keep playing guitar with the wrist pain. I thought it would be great for me to have an outlet to express my creativity again.” So, she woke up one day with a modest budget of $800 and started shopping through craigslist ads for her first DJ setup.
Initially, Lin performed for an audience of only herself and by choice. “I didn’t want to play out at first, I was just doing it for myself; I actually turned down the first three people who tried booking me.” Inspired by DJs like Roger Sanchez and DJ Dan, Lin eventually took the plunge. “I saw Fedde Le Grand play this afterparty at Ruby Skye, he just has so much energy on the dance floor, he knows his production and he knows how to get a crowd going.”
Over the past decade, Lin has seen the house scene in San Jose go through several iterations with venues coming and going. “There’s really only a handful of house clubs around here now, but I think people in San Jose are more open to listening to different kinds of house music today because you hear so much of it in the Top 40. Over the last six years, tastes have changed and people have grown to appreciate more electro and tech house.”
Silicon Valley has also infected Lin with an entrepreneurial streak. She went to school for 3D arts and animation and made art for video games for five years until she “fell out of love with it.” Utilizing her graphic design skills, she helped launch three clothing lines on the side and she’s getting ready to launch another line this winter.
What keeps Lin in San Jose? “I have to say I enjoy the summers around here versus the couple of days of summer up in San Francisco. San Jose’s outdoor music series like Music in the Park and the Jazz Fest are always great. Of course there’s stuff like that in San Francisco but you have to wear a fur coat. I froze my ass up there last night but when I got home I’m back in my shorts.”
Jamie Lin celebrates her 29th birthday with a special performance on the decks at Cardiff for the Get Down Tuesdays party on Tuesday, Nov. 23.