Listen: Katie Day's anti-tech bro jam "San Francisco (Before the West Falls)"

Katie Day plays this Sat/7 at Amnesia.

Between POW!'s "Hi-Tech Boom," the schticky "Google Bus Song" from Cachebox, and Violent Vickie's "Fuck You!!!!!", it's safe to say San Francisco musicians — the ones that are left here, haha! sorry — are currently leading the nation in anti-gentrification music.

This is a good thing, of course. It means the city still has a pulse. You know what we've been sorely lacking, however? As Emma Goldman basically said, give the people a summery, socially conscious anthem we can fucking dance to.

Enter Katie Day, who self-released her new EP, Burn It to the Ground, yesterday. There's a lot to like here, including a love song for the Lower Haight, but the instant earworm is a semi-tongue-in-cheek indie-electro-pop jam called "San Francisco (Before the West Falls)," with shimmery, bubble-gum synths and keys layered with lyrics that lament the bygone days when coffee was 80 cents, and give serious side-eye to the tech bros moving into her neighborhood: "Someone told me about the boys next door/They put the boards on the window of the record store/And now the kids don't get to play no more..."

"The extreme wealth disparity we're experiencing in SF as a result of tech can make living here as an artist straight-up oppressive, but I think having a song that speaks to that oppression and makes you want to get up and dance anyway can negate any feeling of self-pity, even if you're living under constant threat of eviction while there's trained German Shepherd acting as an elevator operator at the Google office," Day wrote me when I asked about her inspirations. "It's something they can't take away from you."

Get your un-gentrifiable dance on when she plays with Stages of Sleep, New Spell, and Memory Motel this Sat/7, 8pm at Amnesia.



Which software and hardware did she use to make that music?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 5:10 pm

A combination of Reason and Pro Tools, an Oxygen 49 keyboard, MicroKorg, real drums and quality mics.

Posted by Katie Day on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

I didn't get your comment about a German Shepherd in an elevator. Does Google really use a dog as an elevator operator?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 7:45 pm

Yes, from what I've heard, this is an actual thing.

Posted by Katie Day on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 8:11 pm

Does it feel at all weird for you to criticize tech people in San Francisco when you've been here a far shorter time than many of them? Do you ever wonder if the person you displaced in the Lower Haight sees you with your fancy private school education the way you see tech bros?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 9:13 pm

Actually, the hypergentrification that’s taking place in the city has definitely forced me to take a step back and look at my own privilege. Any white skinned transplant living in this city (or country, for that matter) who blindly criticizes an incoming population without experiencing some element of cognitive dissonance is in the wrong. I think what pisses people off so much about tech bros is their blatant refusal to pay mind to every other population around them. While the rest of us, particularly writers, artists, and musicians, consistently and willingly intermingle with all levels of society, major tech companies have created an elite bubble which techies would rather not step outside. People feel that they’d rather stamp out the rest of us than feel the discomfort of coexisting with plebeians. Or at least, this is the general sentiment I’ve picked up on. So no, it does not feel weird for me to make this criticism despite the fact that I am also relatively new to the city. I do appreciate your comment, however. If no one disagreed with me, that would mean no one is listening.

Posted by Katie Day on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:33 pm

Really? My experience is that it's hard to match a young artist or wanna-be, semi-working musician for arrogance and dismissive towards others. That's the old fashioned rock and roll attitude? Hot shit rock star, right?

Not only arrogant, but most have a chip on their shoulder because they aren't appreciated and supported by society for their extraordinary talent. Really, spoiled brats who's parents gave them everything and never broke the news that life has responsibilities and who think playtime never ended.

And then to look down on people and use your platform to criticize people who worked their asses off to get where they are. That's just astronomical level of arrogance and self-righteous judgmentalism. Really, it must be unnerving to feel like you're in a city where maybe you're not the cool one anymore, in a field that's stagnating compared to what's going on around you.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 5:57 am

Music will never stagnate, my friend.

Posted by Katie Day on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 9:54 am

It's ok to displace someone, as you have, and criticize others who do the same?

This is how gentrification works:

Bohemians move into an undesirable neighborhood and make it cool and safe. Professionals follow in droves.
Bohemians get mad that their hip neighborhood is being ruined by uncool professionals who don't care about the bohemians' bad art.

You're playing your role perfectly.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 9:08 am

PLOT TWIST! This guy is actually the german shepherd and is afraid of losing his job now that this has come to light!

Posted by Devon on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 10:49 am

Google fired me. I'm reduced to begging for handouts again. Spare a treat?

Posted by Former German Shepherd Elevator Operator on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 11:07 am

Sounds like things have been a little....Ruff for you.

Posted by Devon on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

So much negativism, so much hatred, Katie. This is not healthy :(

Actually I would love to mingle with you. I gladly step out of my "elite bubble" and enjoy the company of non-techies. I invite you for a coffee to show you that we don't bite or would "stomp you out" :) I assume such an open artist like you should be happy to intermingle with all levels of society, including a techie like me!

And I would like to hear your story about the dog in the elevator. This sounds like an interesting piece of fiction?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 10:53 am

To reply in anonymity under the name "GUEST" to a person who places her full name behind her music and comments takes a cowardice or sense of irony that is truly incredible.

Posted by Evan on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 10:29 pm

I would have agreed with you, 6 months ago.

However, the anti-gentrification crowd (and I'm not referring to Katie her) to out and shame people they don't agree with has been demonstrated time and time again.

Preventing us from getting to work is one thing, but when they start protesting in front of individuals' houses and leafletting neighbors, trying to get your company involved (as the anti-eviction crowd likes to do), and otherwise being "activists" is a whole separate matter.

Sure, it'd carry more weight if Guest listed his/her full name and address and phone number (which I'm sure the activists would end up publishing anyways), but I can't fault Guest for not doing that.

Posted by James on Jun. 05, 2014 @ 8:32 am

This is not an actual thing. I've been there.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 10:27 am

Yeah I work at Google and that's not a thing. I think Katie got trolled.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2014 @ 8:46 am

Lol what?! I work at Google and this is not a thing. Sounds like someone was messing with you.

PS Lived in SF for 7 years.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2014 @ 8:43 am

That's just actually false. Maybe if you spent time educating yourself and thinking about the issue instead of reacting with the tribal sentiment that is sadly still ingrained into human biology, you'd be writing a very different song.

This is why I'm tired of people in general. We're facing a real affordability crisis, and all people do is create boogeyman after boogeyman to hate, because they can't stand the idea of not being an "us" fighting a "them".

Two days ago San Francisco voted to further restrict development of new housing stock in the city because god forbid, it might benefit "them". Never mind that people are living in closets and garages because we're running out of housing units. Those same people then go around spreading hatred of the "them" because it's the only way they know how, the only they can feel like they're doing something, because they're hating the right people.

But can you really solve a problem by hating the right people?

Posted by Actual Googler on Jun. 05, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

It doesn't help when you have elected officials like David Campos fanning the flames and hate in order to win an election.

If you don't want this tide of hate to boil over, tell your tech friends to read up on Campos and make sure you vote for Chiu in November. That way the tech crowd can become an actual voting bloc.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2014 @ 9:33 pm

What does having a trained German Shepherd who can operate an elevator have to do with gentrification??? The dog operating the elevator has what correlation to people facing the threat of eviction? Just because it works at Google? I saw a video of someone who made a Rube Goldberg-type seesaw that allowed the dog to play fetch by itself (the dog would retrieve a big rock, put it onto a slide, the rock would roll down onto a seesaw, and the dog would pull down on the other side and it would launch the rock). Are that person's neighbors "living under constant threat of eviction"?

If your friend came up to you and said: "Check this out. My friend who's an artist trained her German Shepherd to push the buttons on her elevator!", would you be saying the same thing? No... you'd be saying how cool that is and how that symbolizes the creativity of artists.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:02 pm

To me, the German Shepherd elevator operator is a symbol of the extreme opulence so commonly and casually tossed around in Silicon Valley. It’s just another expensive and unnecessary show. And while there’s no direct connection between a dog and an epidemic of evictions, there is certainly a message in there about our priorities. Also, for the record, I would never see a trained dog as a symbol of an artist's creativity, only as a symbol of how dogs are super rad. I hope we can at least agree on that.

Posted by Katie Day on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 11:05 pm

my hounds, Noble and Gentry, have their own pied-à-terre above dolores park. top that you hippie

Posted by ChristianPatriotLandowner on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 11:34 pm

Again, how is that any different than that dog that could play fetch with itself other than one is with Google? Sorry but that doesn't fly to me. Both are equally cool tricks. Both were trained. One owner took the time to train it. The other owner took that time and made money so it could pay someone else to train it. Both took resources (time and or money).

People who have more money have nicer things. Just like how artists have more creative talent can make more artistic things. Or how people who are stronger can lift bigger things. Let's say for example that you drive a 2000 Accord. Why do you get a pass if a person can't even afford a car at all? Do you go to a nice restaurant even once in a while? If you do, why don't you eat in and donate the difference to a homeless shelter?

Yeah dogs are super rad. That's why I think it's neat that there is a dog that can operate an elevator and another that can play fetch with itself. I just don't care who owns either.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 12:04 am

Actually, you’re right. My logic about the whole German Shepherd thing doesn’t really add up. Why shouldn’t disproportionately rich people spend their money on whatever the fuck they want? I honestly can’t think of one reason. I don’t know what I was thinking. I must be tired or high. Actually, I AM high, which is why I’m SO GLAD you introduced me to this video of a dog playing fetch with itself. HOLY SHIT. THANK YOU. For the rest of you reading this, come see me play at Amnesia this Saturday, June 7th at 8. I can promise you at least one White Snake cover.

Posted by Katie Day on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 12:48 am

Couldn't most art also be called "just another expensive and unnecessary show"?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 10:51 am

Over produced auto tune music complaining about techies being out of touch.

Self appointed artists.

So good as a bundle.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 2:34 am

Perhaps this song better suits you, then? It's from the same EP.

Posted by Katie Day on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 3:23 am

If the music thing doesn't work out, we can always fast-track you for an adjunct professorship of White Privilege and Anti-White Studies at the San Francisco School of Tolerance and Diversity School.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 9:07 am

Still denying that they're oblivious to the community/culture around them. Or acting like they deserve to be here, and acknowledging the culture that they're dissolving. Oh techies. Can't understand why a large portion of San Francisco despises you.

Posted by Blexxxxcccchhh on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 9:33 am

"I like how bent out of shape illegal immigrants get...
Still denying that they're oblivious to the community/culture around them. Or acting like they deserve to be here, and acknowledging the culture that they're dissolving. Oh illegal immigrants. Can't understand why a large portion of San Francisco despises you."

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 9:41 am

how a "techie" is supposed to be not oblivious to the community/culture around them?

should they kneel before every mural in the Mission?
is eating a burrito from El Faralito enough?

and who, may I ask, "deserves to be here." You? what have you done to deserve this priviledge? Have I done enough to be here? Has Katie?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 10:02 am

Kick ass song!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 10:17 am

As a native, born and raised San Franciscan, the changes that have happened are incredibly noticeable, not just physically to the city itself, but in the attitudes and consciousness to an already aware city. Now I'm 25 years and to some in no position to come off as jaded, and I wouldn't blame you, but having noticed the social and economical changes of note, changes have happened in nearly every facet a city is blessed to call their own: music, arts, architecture, even the weather. As a local musician who's played continuously in SF for a long time now, it's people like Katie who are also part of a greater "problem" for lack of a better term. To me, the city has always drawn fringe-worthy individuals with something to say, but it's the way transplants are going about. It's the seeming lack of humility that really irks me. However, if someone who only moved here a couple of years ago has noticed changes, doesn't that speak as many volumes as someone who's lived here all their life and both seem to fighting for the same reasons?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 10:36 am

The artist wrote this song, expressing her personal opinion.
If she were alone in that opinion, would the SFBG have picked it up and written about it? Said that it captures the way many people feel here in SF?

Because that's what good artists do: they express feelings a lot of people have but don't know how to articulate. Which is why this song has struck a nerve.

Everyone leans on someone else's work to create something. Making the "person X used technology to complain about tech-gentrification" argument is so tired. Get over it. To quote Elizabeth Warren:

"There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory... Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea - God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

Posted by Dando on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 10:53 am

Let's fix the Liz Warren quote for you: "you're successful, so you owe people free stuff." She heap big lib squaw. Cheek bone like angry bear.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 11:11 am

It was a Google employee who shifted her shape.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 11:00 am

what does she know about changes that have happened here? she moved from indiana two years ago, went to berklee school of music (incredibly expensive) and now is complaining about "bygone days of 80 cent coffee"? i grew up in the city, seen the changes, seen people come and go, been a longtime, local musician having played most major venues, and it's people like this that are giving the city a bad name. no longer is it just the techies, but anyone speaking so out of line.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 11:11 am

Her anti-gentrification routine is really a marketing strategy.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 12:09 pm


Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2014 @ 3:17 pm

I might want to listen to the chick's music, even if she is young. I sure as hell don't need a political lecture from a chick who is young enough to be my daughter.

Keep the music; lose the lecture.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

I apologize for attacking your hometown. I know if someone moved to Chicago and was quick to pass a very public judgement on the city, I would be upset as well. I don't know that I'd take to the internet and make an anonymous personal attack on them (I have no prior experience with this), but I would certainly be justifiably upset. It's amazing that you've made a living in SF as a musician for so long. As we both know, it's not easy to get by as a working musician in any city, but we're both doing it, so props to us. As a fellow musician, I'd hope you'd understand that we can only write songs from our limited experience and perspective. We do it all the time. To make a terrible and borderline sacrilegious analogy, Neil Young wasn't present at Kent State, but he still wrote a song about it. Yes, I have only been here for four years, but I feel that someone who has never even been to SF, but has read about our current situation, could have easily written the same song. I'm sure you and I both write songs about all kinds of things. This was just something that was on my mind, so I put it on paper. That is our liberty as writers and as people. I begin and end every verse with the words "someone told me" because that's a fact. I wasn't present in San Francisco ten years ago. I wrote what I heard, what I read, what every person on both sides of the fence here has been bombarded with every fucking day. I had no idea this song would be so inflammatory, or that anyone would even give a shit about it. But I guess that's what I get for touching on this subject. And I'm grateful that people do give a shit, however mean and nasty they may be. Again, I apologize for being down on your city. Since you have been here so much longer than I have, I'd love to hear about your experience as a musician here. Perhaps some knowledge of your perspective could broaden mine.

Posted by Katie Day on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 6:43 pm

Hey Guest, I was born in SF and I co-produced this track with Katie at Hyde Street Studios (which is where many SF’s most iconic recordings have been made). Katie wrote a song on topic with what every musician and artist left in this town seems to be talking about every time I go out to a show. Not only that, she made it hella fun and danceable. Sure the situation is tough right now, but rather than just complain she put her time and energy into her craft. I don’t care when she moved here, I’m proud to live in the same city as folks like Katie.

Posted by Scott McDowell on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 9:30 pm

What is your name? You clearly know Katie and have no problem putting her personal business out in the open. But, you forgot to leave your name. What do you perform under?

Posted by Evan on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 10:41 pm

As a "techie" or whatever you want to label me, I must say that to try tearing down a person based on their background is pretty snotty.

She wrote relevant, timely and reflective music. It sounds good. And she is even a good enough sport to respond to the judgmental, haterish comments with resolve.

At the end of the day, she made the music, and you listened. Take the stick out of your ass that Muni put there.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 11:50 am

".... to try tearing down a person based on their background is pretty snotty"

I gotcha. Try not to be like Katie, in other words, is what I think you're saying, or all the other negative stereotypers. Good point.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 2:16 pm

Vilified for attracting techie scum to Valencia. I guess since that was before Katie's time, her hands are clean.

Posted by German Shepherd In Search of Elevator Operator Job on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 11:50 am

The Chameleon was epic.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

Meth is what killed the Chameleon, not gentrification.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

Meth killed the Chatterbox.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 1:52 pm

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