Everybody wants something from Nobody. That is, DJ Nobody, or Elvin Estela. Following him around after an aborted soundcheck for his second ever gig with a live band, you might feel a bit like a groupie, a bit like an idiot, and a bit like an annoying gnat. Trying to pull him away from somebody who wants him to take care of the guest list, another person who wants him to get them a drink, and another person who needs power for their guitar, there is a sense of guilt for taking up any of his time, of which he has precious little.
By day Nobody works at Fingerprints, a record store in Long Beach, CA, three evenings a week he DJs around town, Saturday nights he does an obscure 60s rock show on KXLU, twice a month he does an hour long show for dublab.com, and once a month he does a residency in Los Angeles. In between, he has produced two albums, Soulmates, an alternative hip-hop/abstract beat style record, and most recently, Pacific Drift. The latter signifies a shift in Nobody’s musical direction, less beat-centric and more song-oriented. Featuring guest vocals from Beachwood Sparks and Postal Service, Pacific Drift’s quiet and understated vibe rests on hollow bass lines, chiming melodies, delicate strings and rounded beats.
“I wanted to focus all my energy into something completely different,” says Nobody of Pacific Drift. “What was happening with underground hip-hop was a certain purist mentality. Samples, loops, collecting breaks and being the guy knowing about it all, there has to be a point where we move on from that. After collecting all the records, what do we have to say? We have to write songs eventually.
“I’ve been working for emcees for a long time,” he continues. “[But] I’ve been into 60s rock music for a while. I wanted to do some covers and respects for stuff I like. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it. It’s the same style of making music where it’s all sample-based. None of it is looped. It’s all chopped up and reprogrammed. It was a challenge.”