DJ Dossier

World Famous Rani "g" Talks Cyprus, Lofty Monikers and Straying From the Mainstream

DJ Name: World Famous Rani "g."

Real name: Rani Gharfeh

Genres spun: House, global soul, afrobeat, ancestral soul, jazz, hip-hop, rap, R&B, funk, worldbeat, disco, indie dance, UK garage and whatever else feels right at the moment.

Current residencies: Mabel's On Main on Friday and Saturday, Retro Hi-Fi [at] Sidebar with fellow residents/co-founders Dk.Strickler and Dr.Drea Strickler and more recently, Charlie Meyer, who is now part of the team. I'm also a Relentless Beats resident for select events.
Tell me about the first time you decided that you wanted to be a DJ. I will say I began to consider it on few bus rides home from school in Cyprus circa 1989 when a school mate, who was a grade or two higher, told me he was DJing on the radio. If I remember correctly he wasn't "beat matching," but more selecting songs. His name is Marios Takoushis. He was helpful, inspiring, encouraging and always answered my questions to the best of his ability. I remember listening to a few shows and just getting excited about having that ability to broadcast and share music. I looked up Marios recently and proud to know that he's an accomplished pianist and composer for film, TV and video games. 

How did you get your start as a DJ? I've always been captivated by music from an early age. My first time DJing is when I dove head first and offered to DJ a middle school dance with my best friend. The year I believe was 1990 or 91. At that time we had two cassette tape decks to work with. It was tough but somehow we managed to make the best of it and everyone had fun. As time progressed I started getting into electronic dance music, hip-hop and around 1994, when I started going to clubs and seeing DJs actually mix and use turntables, it really struck me and I wanted to learn more. I befriended one of the best DJs in Cyprus (Dinos Assiotis) and began going to his studio for lessons and to observe him, learn and practice on Technics turntables and Pioneer CDJs. Gradually he would let me open up as well as play prime time with him at one of the best clubs in Nicosia at the time. 

How did you come up with your DJ name? I used to go by DJ Ron in Cyprus, circa 1997. Some of my friends in high school would call me "G", so gradually I just started using my real name and abbreviated my last name, keeping the "g" in lower case with quotes. My reasoning back then was since I couldn't think of some fancy name, I would keep mine and the lower case G. Quotes kind of separate it from my last name and makes it its own music entity and the music in me. When I moved to Phoenix in 2000 and after having lived here for a few years, meeting more people, and getting more familiar with the music scene and eventually starting to DJ more, I built my own nights as well get acquainted with the scene and support other nights. My favorite was Batucada, a Wednesday night sanctuary for house music. When I was introduced to it for the first time it was hosted at SoHo, in Scottsdale. It was Joe DiPadova who put "World Famous" in front of my name on flyer when I was performing for him at his weekly party, ONE. He did it for fun and somehow it stuck. Some people gave me a hard time, others thought it was great. Will I change it in the future? Who knows? Possibly. I'm happy with and still use Rani "g" solo.

What artists are you currently listening to? Boddhi Satva, Jose Marquez, Yotam Avni, Victor Simonelli, Nickodemus, Osunlade, Dean Zepherin, MKTL (Master Kev & Tony Loreto), Atjazz, Karizma, Jay Tripwire, Booker T, Kenny Dope, Mark Ronson, Toro Y Moi, Little Dragon, Sabo, Pickster One, Melo, Riot Earp, Gigamesh, Miracle Fortress, Sage Monk, Captain Planet, Class Actress, Chico Mann, Jeff Service, Sonny Fedora, Wattie Green, Lemon and Herb, The Juan Maclean, Kerri Chandler, Dry River Yacht Club, Santos, The Roots, Kanye West, D.A. and The Supa Dups, Tune-Yards and much more.

You tend to stray away from the mainstream stuff you typically hear in clubs. Where do you find your music? Yes, I try to find a good balance where I play some mainstream mixed in with various genres. I also like to play with live musicians whenever possible. I buy most of my music from and iTunes, but also peruse, and occasionally. I go on and other blogs. I also get e-mails from other labels and artist promos. I am lucky to have built relationships through networking with DJs/producers from around the world who send me their music. I'm grateful for always being introduced to new music from many local DJ's, friends, musicians and shows around town. And of course the wonderful internet and all its sources. 

Who or what are your greatest influences as a DJ? Life, Music, diversity, love, live performance and collaboration. Seeing someone in their zone and passionate about what they're doing. As far as DJs, there are many, but off the top of my head: DJ EZ, Joe Claussell, Louie Vega, Danny Krivit, Francois K, Boddhi Satva, Master Kev, jojoflores, Christian Pronovost, Victor Simonelli, Karizma, Dean Zepherin, DJ Senbad, Pete Salaz, Maji, Raul Riena, Kasey Kauakahi, DJ FLX, Dehga.

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