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Nick Monaco Does Naked Yoga (And We've Got Pics) (NSFW)

By David Garber

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Nick starts things off with a graceful Eka Pada Rajakapotasana posture. 

Nick Monaco's Facebook bio declares his personal credo: "the weirder, the funkier, the better." While many DJs and producers in the house and techno world bask in chin-stroking and solemnity, 
this San Francisco up-and-comer has been pressing records and playing DJ sets that reveal his quirkiness, innocence, and utter originality. It follows, then, that his productions have been snapped up by labels known for funky music and goofy personalities, like Soul Clap, Wolf + Lamb, and Dirtybird. 

He got his start in the Bay Area, where he grew up building beats in his bedroom for local MCs and throwing down sets at the most raucous house parties he could find. He scavenged for as much music as he could consume, which strengthened his eclectic taste and irreverent style. And it wasn't long before the Soul Clap guys took Nick under their wing and started releasing his music.

Among the Soul Clap gang, Nick is known as the "resident butterfly," because he's a beacon that exudes positive vibes and grooving beats. They also told us that he loves nudity and lipstick, and although we're not sure what that has to do with being a butterfly, we were certainly intrigued, so we jumped at the chance to chat with the budding star.

We probably should have known that the conversation would spiral into some weird territory, but we never guessed that we'd wind up posting pictures of Monaco's, er, unique interpretation of those crazy-hot naked yoga pictures that photographer Peter Heger posted on Reddit. 

And stay tuned tomorrow for an exclusive MIXED BY from Nick!

THUMP: How do you feel that you were influenced by San Francisco? 
Nick Monaco: I actually grew up a little north of the city in a place called Santa Rosa, so San Francisco was always an escape for me. I took the #80 bus, which took about three hours—two hours longer than it would take by car, and would usually make the trip to go record shopping at Amoeba Records and catch a hip-hop show at The Fillmore at night. Those day trips were the inspiration I took back to my suburban bubble and would channel that into my beats and DJ sets.

Local artists like Q-Bert and the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, DJ Shadow, Blackalicious, Zion-I, and Teeko really rubbed off on me in those days when I was scratching and making hip-hop. Later, when I got into house music, it was the Dirtybird BBQs in Golden Gate Park that really influenced me and inspired me to fuse the hip-hop stuff I was doing with house. Musical influences aside, the Bay Area is so culturally diverse and teeming with open-minded and innovative people, it's a place where rule-bending is the norm and fusion is everywhere—which as an artist is a really encouraging culture to be a part of. 


Nick pulls off a seated Pashchima Namaskarasana like a pro. 

If I only had 24 hours in the city what would you recommend me to do?  
Kick the day off with a coffee at Four Barrel or a bloody mary at Zeitgeist (they make the best ones in town) then cruise around the Mission—they have really cute little shops and it's a good place to get fitted with some funky vintage threads. When lunchtime comes around grab a sandwich and Anchor Steam at Ike's Place and have yourself a little picnic at the Dolores Park. From there you should take a bike through the wiggle to Golden Gate Park and chill in the Haight—a joint and some record shopping at Amoeba along with some wandering around the neighborhood is always pretty entertaining to me. For dinner I would have to go with Flour + Water, Nopa, or Shanghai Dumpling King if you want to go get down and dirty with some of the best dumplings I've ever tasted! Catching a show a The Fillmore is an important part of the San Franscisco experience, and when it's party time head down to Monarch, and if it's the 3rd Thursday of the month then you will most definitely see me playing records. Don't forget to go across the Bay Bridge and hang in Oakland and Berkeley. The East Bay needs love too!
 
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the Bay Area?
That we ghostride our whips all the time.The truth is that we only do it occasionally at the sideshow. Yee! 

Being part of the Wolf+Lamb/Soul Clap Family do you feel there is an added pressure to be a totally crazy of-the-wall individual? Tell me about your most ridiculous experience thus far with the crew. 
The sound of the crew is so unique and personal that I feel like it just attracts very strong personalities. I haven't felt any pressure to be off-the-wall per se, but hanging out with the crew has indeed caused freakier parts of me to have surfaced (i.e. wearing lipstick). The first things that pops in my mind when thinking of ridiculous crew love experiences was our Mixmag cover photo shoot last year in Barcelona. Thirteen men on a yacht stocked with booze, things got silly very quickly. Tanner Ross' bare ass was inches from my face, I had the makeup artist doll me up, and there was even a Monaco yacht parked next to ours. You can see glimpses of it here. The Crew Love party the next day was even more insane, over 5,000 people came to our party—it was unreal.



You put out the Naked Is My Nature EP on SCR a little while back…  and now we got a hold of rather racy nudies of yourself doing yoga. Is there a theme going on here? 
There's actually a story behind these nude pics of me. It all started when Gadi posted the link of that naked yogi chick posing in her favorite postures naked. We have this group email thread that the whole crew shares called The Wire' and everyone was posting their predictable "dude" reactions to naked pics, so I decided to shake things up and post my attempt to replicate each pose, while in the nude of course. Tanner [Ross] posted it on his Facebook and later took it down because he felt bad, then I figured why not let it all hang out. No pun intended?

I want to live out my last days in a nudist colony. Clothes are burdensome and hide our beautiful bodies. I don't have Ryan Gosling's body, but I'm comfortable in mine and I think that the difference in people's bodies should be celebrated. There's not a lot of differences between our bodies anyway. 

What about yoga? Is it something you do on a regular basis? What would you say is your favorite recreational activity? Besides producing and being a DJ. 
I try to do yoga as much as possible, it really helps me clear my mind and allows me to stretch out after long flights. I also always get really good ideas when I do yoga too. Aside from yoga, I LOVE playing basketball, cooking, and writing. I try to wake up and write three pages of free-write a day (it's part of this program called The Artist's Way). I'm really tight with my cousin Elliot—he's the closest person to me, so we are always hanging out and doing random things like starting aquariums, mountain biking, and fishing.


Nick ends his practice with a near flawless Natarajasana pose. 

Would you care to tell us about the meaning behind your track "The Stalker? Is this at all based on personal experience?
I wrote "The Stalker" around the time I was going through a prolonged breakup and was casually stalking my ex-girlfriend's Instagram. You know,  the usual jealous ex protocol. My friend Travie Bobby and I started a stalker song a long time ago, so I picked up the idea and finished it while becoming inspired by my e-stalking and this old woman next door who was always stalking me through her kitchen window. 



How would you describe yourself as an artist in five words?
Playful, personal, sex, feminine, breakfast-in-bed.

Can you tell me about your new residency at the Monarch in SF?
My two biggest projects this year are my album Mating Call and my monthly residency Hey Young World at Monarch in San Francisco. We kicked off the residency with Justin Martin last week and it was a sold out show. It was surreal for me. The first party I threw and it was a huge success. 

What surprises can your fans expect from you in the coming months? 
My album [on Soul Clap Records] should be out at the beginning of the summer and is a further evolution of me as a person and songwriter, it has so many of my influences in it and I can't wait til' the world hears it. There will be a bunch of singles leading up to it, so look out. I'm more confident as an artist and songwriter than I've ever been and I think that really shines through in the music. I just moved into a room at the Grateful Dead studios so I'm soaking all of that in too.  

Talk to us about this European tour? Will you have put your pants on by then?
It's The Stalker Tour, I'm playing London, Leeds, Amsterdam, Lyon, and Paris and I can't freaking wait! Some of my favorite sets have been in Europe. Pants? You'll have to come and see for yourself.

David was first turned on to yoga through his mother who he is sure will be very proud after reading this article.- @DLGarber

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