Since Dave Segal has been to the Decibel Festival approximately one million times since its inception in 2003, and no one else on staff ever has, he took some time to answer our dumb questions about it.
What is the "Stairway to Heaven" of electronic music?
DAVE SEGAL: This is endlessly debatable, but I'll go with "Trans-Europe Express" by Kraftwerk or "Strings of Life" by Rhythim Is Rhythim (aka Derrick May).
What might I say to an electronic-music devotee to get him/her into bed?
DS: "I have Warp Records' entire catalog on this hard drive." "Let me show you how to beat-match."
Is it cool to like Moby again, or what?
DS: No. It was only cool to like Moby for a few months back in 1992.
Are you supposed to watch a DJ or just ignore them?
DS: The only DJs you should really watch are turntablists, who typically have a dazzling repertoire of deck tricks. The best compliment you can pay a DJ is to shake your ass in his/her face... or to ask about the catalog numbers of the records he/she's spinning.
Why do people want to listen to music that sounds like getting an MRI?
DS: Because those noises are inherently fascinating—and they sound a million light years away from the Head and the Heart.
Let's talk clichéd stereotypes that will totally date me: Are glow sticks/pacifiers/really big pants still a thing?
Like tie-dyed shirts and mohawks, these fashions and accessories still periodically appear on people who don't know any better, but at Decibel you likely won't find glow sticks, pacifiers, and fat pants in significant numbers—except maybe at Moby's gig.
Which three shows would you pick for a dilettante to attend?
The Decibel Opening Party on Wednesday at Re-bar with Jon McMillion, Atom™, and Zomby (next-level techno and post-dubstep); Amon Tobin's ISAM audiovisual spectacular at the Paramount on Thursday (reportedly the most ambitious and surreal electronic live show ever); and the Optical 1 showcase on Friday at Benaroya Hall with Mountains, Simon Scott, and Ulrich Schnauss (soul-soothing, nature-evoking ambient music).
What's the weirdest thing that's ever happened to you at Decibel?
One night at the 2007 fest, I took too much acid and spent several hours standing on the corner of 10th and Pike, unable to process anything, let alone electronic music.