Fifteen years ago, at age 14, Eric Nagrampa was that self-described “annoying kid,” calling San Francisco studio DJs every day for advice. Thanks to his determination and persistence, luck was on E-Rock’s team as he learned his craft, as he became the youngest employee working in Bay Area radio stations, toured with and launched the hyphy-crunk craze alongside rapper E-40, and now in running the marketing and spins at San Fran’s Infusion Lounge. He is the official DJ for the San Francisco Giants, a post he’s held for the past three seasons, all while holding down Vegas residencies at the Palms and with Light Group for the past six years; you can rock steady with E-Rock every Thursday at Moon. During his recent visit, E-Rock talked with Vegas Seven about his Bay City roots and how his Vegas gigs are a home run.
You currently fly out to Las Vegas from San Francisco every week for your residencies, but at one point you almost moved out here. What changed?
Since the Giants won the World Series, San Fran’s been crazy—all this momentum started building up. For so long I envisioned me making the transition to move out here, I even had my girlfriend interview at jobs.
So the Giants’ win is what made you stay?
The impact that that had on the community, the mood, business; it raised the bar on everything. It’s weird that a sports team would influence me, and a lot of people were like, “It’s just a sports team,” but it’s not. There are millions of Giants fans back in San Francisco that were waiting for that moment for so long. When they won it had the biggest effect on the entire Bay Area, people were 10 times happier. Everyone became everyone’s best friend all of the sudden. Nightlife picked up dramatically, especially for me being associated with the team, my profile shot through the roof.
You wouldn’t think a baseball team’s win would impact nightlife so drastically.
At my club, Infusion, the numbers flourished after that. When the guys are home and they’re playing and win, numbers are affected big time. Plus the players hang out at our place all the time. When they’re there, they’re like hometown heroes, so everyone wants to be there.
That’s similar to when Vegas clubs pull celebrities in to host. How do you bring a little bit of Sin City back with you to San Francisco?
When people come to Vegas they’re trying to have the best 24 hours of their life and for us at Infusion Lounge that’s kind of our pitch, we want people to feel like they went to a Vegas nightclub. That’s why I book [DJs] Vice or Five. I follow a lot of things from out here and bring it back home. It doesn’t take that much to impress someone in the Bay Area.
And when you play Las Vegas do you do the same? Do you share a piece of your Bay Area roots?
I think it’s more that I’m proud to be where I’m from, not having to leave San Francisco to be something. I try to make sure that people know where I’m from. It’s not like I only play music from the Bay Area and try to educate them; the way I play at Haze is the same way I play at Infusion Lounge.
Being an out-of-towner, was gaining a residency in the tight-knit Las Vegas scene difficult for you?
Being from the Bay Area, it’s kind of hard to get booked around the country, based on the fact that we’re not really an industrious part of the country. Breaking into Vegas was the hardest thing. I didn’t know anything about Vegas—nothing. Earning [the locals’] trust is by far the first thing everyone wants to do if they want something out here. I had the help of a lot of people I met along the way. But it took five or six years to get on somewhat of a healthy schedule.
Considering all of your residencies, Las Vegas certainly seems to be contributing to that. How do you keep it exciting?
When I walk into a venue I’m excited to play because I know I’m gonna party, I’m gonna have good people around me, and I’m all about the party, the fact that everyone’s here to have the best time of their lives, because I’m trying to do that, too. Its changed my life, being able to say that I’m a Las Vegas resident. It’s a big deal.