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“And when he came to the place where the wild things are they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws….”

“Till max said BE STILL and tamed them with the magic trick of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all and made him king of all wild things”

Is this weekend really just about raging? If not, what other meaning could our attendance at shows have? Taken at surface value, it would be easy to accept that dance music culture exists as a diversion of frivolous fun. Many have made this argument in dance music literature. Yet, social scientists are very skeptical of anyone who says that any act which requires such a heavy investment of time, money, and energy is inconsequential to the larger ways they live their lives or make communities.

True to this point, Clifford Gertz coined the concept deep play to make sense of such events and actions that may seem to be unimportant at first glance, but in fact are essential to people and communities sense of identity and connectedness. One look to the religious devotion of fans associated with OSU athletics offers a perfect alternative case to see how this works in other places. I argue that when we go to shows together it is true that we are all there to have fun, but there is something much deeper at stake in our play. Discussing the deeper significance of Sendak’s “Where the Wild things Are” offers a way to understand what happens on these magical nights When we all come together.

Reading the above passage from Sendak’s famous Illustrated story, “Where the Wild Things Are” it is evident that lead character Max is confronted with terrifying demons on his journey (Interview). How often in our lives are we brow beaten by larger forces, people, or ideas that act as demons continually haunting our every step. Wild eyed and hungry, these demons push and prod us to stay in the box of what is socially acceptable.  They ROAR, terrorize, and trample on our dreams and hopes and tell us to be reasonable, responsible, and above all normal. Never receding into the distance, we carry these demons with us at all times.

You are probably asking yourself: what demons? Well, just think for a moment how difficult it is to take the less beaten path with your career, lifestyle, eating habits, fashion, who you love, etc etc.  For most of you, I do not need to explain much farther, because those very demons are the ones telling you to stay in line and not to deviate. They could be people. They could be institutions. They could be you.

How difficult it must have been for Max to stare those Demons in the eye without blinking and tell them they had no place in his life.  Are we able to stare at these demons in the face and become master of them? Maybe not alone, but when we get together for these shows we are able to look all those demons squarely in the eye without hesitation. For a few short hours, we have the courage as a community to do and be better than we ever knew was possible. This is the deeper significance I see in our shows. Sure, we say its about scene building and reppin’ our city. No doubt, its about artistic expression of all sorts as well. Underlying it all, these shows are a sign that we are still living and breathing human beings and we want to feel something. Its a shining beacon relying a simple message over and over to the rest of society: We refuse to be calmer, happier, more efficient, productive, and to settle for the cage of mediocrity. It is at this point that, like Max, we feel like the kings and queens of the world.  There is no doubt that others look on at us as Kings and Queens as they are envious of our ability to soak the true marrow out of life through our dancing, playing, and living free from the confines of the norm.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain (via Ed Luna)

Luckily, you have three amazing opportunities to explore, dream, and discover with everyone else in your community. No doubt, it is vital to go to Where the Wild Things Rage at the Bluestone on Friday Night for three stages of all local talent, but also make sure to check out DOAP tomorrow night at Rumba Cafe to revel in all the glories the dark night can bring. Then end your weekend by checking out Juicy: Time to Get ill at Circus where scene mainstays Kevy Kev and Kingpin will curate a night of their favorites in dance music. Event Details for each show are available by clicking the link on the show name.

There are a handful of people in the Columbus dance music scene that have been around since the days of Mean Mr. Mustards in the early 80s that are still involved in the scene. These individuals have been indispensable in shaping the terrain of where we dance, what we listen to, and the types of parties we hold (Thats a whole other story I suppose that I will save for another day). Kevy Kev was there in those beginning days and has stayed intimately connected to our scene since. Whether it was playing DJ sets, promoting his Juicy or Church parties, creating event flyers or stickers with Hot Cards Columbus, running Melt magazine, or starting Spin Cycle DJ Academy, Kevy Kev has been always been in some way involved in the artistic conversation in our city through its many ebs and flows. This makes an interview with him an extremely worthwhile endeavor. We certainly can learn a lot about where we have been and where we are going by drawing on his insights. Hope you enjoy.

LA: You have been involved in the Columbus Dance Music Scene and dance music in general since 1984. Was there a track, show, or experience that started it all for you?
KK: Hmmmmm, probably the first time I stepped foot into Mean Mr Mustard’s (one of the ORIGINAL campus bars where the Gateway lives now). I’d always been into ALL kinds of music (Progressive/Alternative, Disco, Rock/Metal, Rap, Pop and pretty much ANYthing/band/song that used a synth). MTV was THE source for new music back then and did NOT differentiate genres at the time. Mean Mr Mustard’s was the first place on campus the open it’s doors playing MTV on the screens inside (which seems like no big deal today, but was HUGE back then), then they made the transition into a REAL nightclub playing stuff you couldnt hear ANYwhere else. The first time i walked the the doors I was hooked.

LA: Having such a depth of year after year commitment to the scene is truly commendable. What is it about this music and this community that keeps you coming back and wanting to put your time and energy into it?
KK: Truthfully it’s the energy that a well-tuned crowd gives back when you’ve really got a hold on them. It’s VERY addictive. Further truth is – it doesn’t really matter WHAT kind of music you’re playing (I mean as long as it’s not making you personally MISERABLE to play it), the feeling is the same when you control the feeling in the room. ‚that being said, it doesn’t hurt if you’re getting off on what you’re playing just as much as the crowd, and they’ll CAN tell if you’re bullshitting or not. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been allowed to play music I love (which is A LOT) for people that dig it as much as I do. Doing this for a JOB can work, but anyone that stays in the game long enough will tell you that it’s the love of rocking a floor, like the FIRST time it ever happens, that keeps them in it.

LA: You discussed the importance of that first phase of DJs that arose in the mid to late 70s to Columbus Dance Music History to teach you and your contemporaries. What is the importance of people Like Mike Swaggerty and the rest of the members of that first school of DJing to the development of dance music in Columbus?
KK: Welp, As far as the FIRST school of DJs on Columbus, and the people that I’ve known personally, Mike was IT. He dj’ed at a place called Streamers back in the day (like late-70s back-in-the-day) that I never even WENT to, but had MAJOR influence in club culture around here. Seems like when I was starting out almost every club owner (straight, gay, campus, downtown, suburban, whatEVER) I became involved with used to hang out there. I didn’t actually meet Mike until a couple of years after I got started (mostly because I was living in the campus/Mean Mr Mustard’s bubble). I’d heard of him and his name was always orbiting around me, but it wasn’t until he threw the first ever Columbus DJ competition, around 1989-90 or so that I met him. You’d never meet a cooler, more-supportive and less-egotistical guy in your life, and his musical knowledge was BIBLICAL. He dj’ed all over the place and was ALWAYS an influential presence on me just because of how all-around awesome he was. But his having started the FIRST on-air radio show of dance music (All Mixed Up on the original CD101), truly cemented him as a legend. There was no internet radio, no do-it-yourself podcasts and streaming soundcloud pages, he did it ALL himself. He busted his butt to strike a deal that had him on the airwaves, doing what we do in the clubs, EVERY week. VERY Sadly, Mike got ill and passed a few months back, but he’s kept his showing going this WHOLE time – and it carries on today on WCBE, now headed up by my buddy James Brown. Not the Godfather of soul, but just as funktastic 😉

LA: What about clubs like Mean Mr. Mustards and Maxwells? What was there importance in the development of dance music in Columbus?
KK: Well like I said before, Mustard’s was the place that started it all for me. Earl “Skully” Webb (yeah THAT Skully) was the head DJ and Music Director there and really SHAPED the dance club sound that everyone around us tried to emulate. Mustard’s was the club that leaned a little more alternative playing everything from Prince and Madonna to New Order and Depeche Mode. But Skully kept things constantly fresh you never knew when he’d drop in an AC/DC track or Run DMC or something darker like Sisters Of Mercy or something straight from the NYC dancefloors like Magazine 60. “Nobody EVER complained about “oh god, this music doesn’t fit the night” or “This doesnt go together” because it ALL went together. The club was TRULY a melting pot of musical styles and a complete cross-section of people.” The only thing we really DIDN’T play there was totally poppy bubblegum stuff like Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. Skully was REALLY on top of what was going on GLOBALLY on the dancefloor, not an easy task in an age of no internet and being landlocked in the midwest – think about it. Maxwells’ was also important because we really started showcasing the NEXT groups of jocks that came up after us there. It was owned by the same guys as Mustard’s, and my old roomie and Mustard’s co-DJ Chuck Fay (DJ Chuckstar – the guy that DJs for Skully at Ladies 80s to this day) and myself headed up some Sunday night showcases of rotating local/regional DJ talent that usually included several of the ele_mental crew (ie Titonton, Todd Sines, Charles Noel (aka Monochrome), Doughboy and others). It was the beginning of things like that taking place in Columbus.

LA: The more I learn about the development of Columbus Dance Music the more I see how the Underground and Club Scenes speak to one another. How would you define “the underground” and “the club” scenes and how have they interacted with one another?
KK: Well, in MY experience they’re really one and the same. I worked at the “underground” club and everything started THERE for me. I suppose if you look at the history of another campus-club DJ from that time it might be a different story though. For instance – Mike Gallicchio (aka Mike G), now an owner of the Park Street and Long Street Complex group of clubs ALSO came from those same bars on High St back-in-the-day. His history was firmly rooted in the New York house music and early hip-hop scene and the club he played at back then had a different vibe AND group of people that went to it, albeit STILL underground in it’s own right. He and I BOTH went on to play the major Columbus clubs in the 90s, and then he eventually took the ownership route – but it’s the similar passion for what made music you couldn’t hear ANYwhere else but the clubs that shaped where we’ve both gone. Ya know it’s funny, back then (and when we were all competing in that first DJ competition that Mike Swaggerty threw), we made up shirts that said “No Weak Beats” on one side and “Fuck You We’re From DOWNTOWN” on the back‚ partially because we were smug motherfuckers, but MOSTLY because we KNEW everyone Djing on the outskirts WANTED to be US. Truthfully – we we’re the ONLY ones keepin’ it real.

LA: You are firm believer in teaching aspiring djs the importance of programming in your Spin Cycle DJ Academy. What is programming and why do you think it is the most important skill for a DJ to have?
KK: The first Dj lesson I ever got was from Skully. I bugged the CRAP out of him until he invited me into the booth at Mustard’s at like 8pm on a Tuesday night and showed me the BASICS of cueing, volume control, track-end anticipation and how to work the lights (LOL) He was a master. But it wasn’t until the 2nd-in-command-DJ at Mustard’s, a guy name Bryant Johnson let me sit in the booth ALL NIGHT and allowed me to learn – if by no other means than osmosis, HOW TO CONTROL A CROWD, that things REALLY started to become more clear to me. When you get in front of a crowd, and I mean ANY crowd, you’d better know what to play. Mixing, scratching, looping, effects, mashing and whatever other trick you want to learn will ALWAYS be secondary to programming (WHAT you play). It’s soooo much easier today than it was back then because by-and-large you don’t have to really pay a bunch for music. It’s easier (and cheaper) to try stuff out. But remember when (I) learned, 12″ singles were $5.99/piece and imports were $12.99/piece. I’ve got the wasted student loans and a sky-high stack of vinyl to prove it. So mastering your craft meant FIRST being able to afford your own copies of the records to play with at home. If you were a bedroom DJ that learned how to mix these 20-50 records that you owned and couldn’t vary from those selections if you started clearing a dancefloor you were SUNK. You needed to make SURE you owned what was going to rock the crowd. After THAT point blending different styles and sounds becomes more important. You have to have skills (and the playlist) to recover in case the crowd isn’t in tune with what you’re doing.

LA: You are a firm believer in “Violent Format Shifts” in mix work and live sets. What is it about presenting an expansive, diverse sonic palette that is so important to you?
KK: Hmmm, well it’s partially because of the initial environment (Mustard’s) that I learned to love dance music being so cross-genre oriented and partially because I suffer from a pretty vicious case of musical ADHD I guess. I’ve always LIKED so many different things that I get up in front of people and want to play them ALL at once. But thankfully I’m not alone. There are plenty of DJs and music-makers out there that have always done a great job of mixing genres. Take BT or Celdweller and you have guys doing SUCH a great job of integrating awesome electronics with a sometime heavy rock vibe. That stuff is incredible! But I’ve always loved shaking up the crowd a bit. Whether is dropping in some industrial on an electro crowd, or old-school hip-hop in the middle of a jungle set, it just FEELS right to throw ’em a curve ball every once in a while‚ My partner in my industrial night Travis Boggs (aka broken boy) drops in a dubsteppy version of Katy Perry’s E.T. on the goth kids every once in a while, and at FIRST they used to stare at the booth like, “huh?!”‚ now they just keep on goin’ – i love that.

LA: You have played the role of promoter and DJ in our scene. Over the last few years, you have increasingly played the role of promoting shows like Juicy and Church. What are some of the lessons you have learned over the last few years as you been doing more of the behind the scenes work to put on a show?
KK: Biggest thing I’ve learned is that if the promoters cant coordinate and cooperate with each that you’re starting off in a sinking ship. Anytime ANYone sees something successful going off they ALWAYS think they can do it and it’d be easy to pull it off. Because of that you end up having WAAAAAY too many events (some of them fully professional and some of them half-assed) trying to pop off at the same time. it ends up splitting the crowds and hurting all the events involved. I’ve ALWAYS been a champion of trying to make things gel TOGETHER.

LA: We spoke about the differences in dance music crowds and goth/industrial crowds. What are the differences between the two crowds and how does that impact how you play or who you choose to play your shows?
KK: It’s not really JUST the goth/industrial crowd vs the EDM crowd. It’s actually almost ANY other crowd vs. the EDM crowd when it comes down to it. Basically, the dance music/dj culture explosion has created a new subsection of club patrons that get off on a sound more than they do being able to sing-along to their favorite tracks. This probably started around the time of disco, but has been constantly evolving ever since. This is HEAVILY where my placing an extra importance on programming comes into play. I mean unless you’re Skrillex or Rusko or Paul Van Dyk, if you’re approaching a crowd you MUST do your homework on what goes down in that club. The thing is that indigenously, people like to dance to stuff that they know. There are ways of getting them to go to stuff that they don’t, but they STILL need to be sprinkled with the dust of familiarity or they’ll loose interest. That is EXCEPT for the EDM crowd. As long as you’re dropping something that SOUNDS like they want it to, is produced well enough to push the system to the limits, and can be manipulated in a way to which they are accustomed , you’re golden. So much of that music doesn’t have lyrics anyway that the familiarity-factor doesn’t hold as much weight.

LA: We discussed your desire to stay alternative and always connect with the younger generation. What drives you to embrace the alternative and new in dance music?
KK: I’d like to steal a line as quoted recently in Columbus Alive by my buddy Adrain “X” Spillman, “I like bad music”. I mean – that’s kinda true I guess. I’ve always been kind of an “alt” kid, I like punk-rock, metal, industrial, heavy beats, almost all rap music pre-DMX, electroclash, mash-ups, wearing black, being juvenile and stupid‚ Anything dirty is always good – what did Blank 182 say in their liner notes from Dude Ranch?‚ “masturbate everyday and anything with poop is funny”. I’m all in. Once club kids reach the age of say 27 (they magic age where ALL the coolest people have died ya know), they still go to clubs‚ but they’re, enh‚ more “adult”. it’s hard to describe but jazzy-house? – not a fan. I’d rather bathe in the insanity of a raging room of dubstep ANY day over that crap. Once you’ve hung up the Adidas in favor of some “Fluevogs for men” and start hanging out at Eleven – I just see it as you’ve cashed in. I live in the dark.

LA: You are instrumental in putting out a free music publication called MELT that has released 72 editions and running HotCards Columbus. I feel it harkens back to an age when flyers and printed zines were incredibly important for show promotion. In our age of social media, what is the importance of the printed press, stickers, and show flyers to scene building?
KK: Still super important. Let’s answer that in 2 parts‚ 1) Event flyer printing: A few years back when Facebook really blew up and Myspace staring feeling like a deflated balloon, if your party wasn’t online, it’s likely it was going to be empty. The social media sites changed party promotion FORever, and the good ‘ol print standbys sat idly by waiting to return. We’re seeing more and more back out there now, mostly because there are so many event invites online that people almost see them as white-noise. And where a passive-aggressive invite to a stockpile of Facebook friends worked for like a few months, to get the job done now you got to sew it ALL together. It’s like you STILL have to keep up the online presence, and in some cases almost to an annoying level to really stand out at all. But you’ve GOT to back it up with the old school methods of not JUST getting flyers made, but being OUT, being SOCIAL (like in-person social) and glad handing (genuinely) your potential attendees. With my Juicy parties it’s a MAJOR reason I teamed up with James Castrillo (DJ Kingpin). On top of being a MAJOR dude, he’s completely amped-into the current EDM social scene which is AWESOME. I still try and make it out in-person as often as possible for the stuff all through the week that goes on, but with having to be up at the buttcrack of dawn to get to HotcardsColumbus coupled with the fact I’m old and crusty plus have a DVR full of Storage Wars episodes, it can be tough. He is almost completely the in-person promotional arm of our night, an AWESOME DJ in his own right, and a super-suave dresser ‚and I love him VERY dearly for all of those things. AND‚ 2) As far as Melt goes, welp – people just seem to like it. I’m not sure if it’s the compact size, or the massive graphic feel, the over-the-top opinionated writing or the never-ending typos we leave in the copy, but we never get ANY back. We produced the magazine EVERY month for seven years straight and people just dig it. But it’s a HUGE undertaking, make no mistake. From rounding up writers to getting ad space filled to punching out mind-blowing layouts, the entire staff has never been more than 4-5 people strong at a time including interns, and usually just 2-3. THAT being said, in November 2011 The mag went on temporary hiatus as I’ve committed fully to my business-partner that I’d focus completely on getting the hotcardscolumbus.com website updated and redesigned before I’d TOUCH the keyboard for Melt again. But don’t despair! We’re coming out of the weeds here soon and we should return to full production later this summer/autumn sometime, and Melt will be back to annoy and amuse everyone once again.

LA: You are in a unique position to offer a retrospective on the ebs and flows of the scene historically. How would you assess the impact you and your contemporaries have had on the dance music scene in scene over the last almost thirty years?
KK: Hmmmm‚ well as we’ve gone along each DJ has effected the next, and hopefully in a positive way. I mean as long has you’re staying in touch with what’s going on DJing is something you can do as long as it still holds your interest. I found early inspiration in what Skully and BJ were doing at Mustard’s, then new inspiration the first time I walked into Nine Of Clubs in Cleveland and heard Angela play there and then later at Aquilon with Rob Sherwood. Hearing Pat Finn at the old Garage downtown for the first time blew me away‚ and I never stop having new heroes. I believe thoroughly as soon as you think you’re the shit, you stop developing your craft. Each of us has been inspired by another at one time or another and I for one still find inspiration in the guys coming up today. Matt and Bryan from networkEDM BLOW IT UP – there might not be more bangin BANGERS out here. Basillio Santiago (DJ Egotronic) freaks me out with his diversity (sometimes daily as he constantly drops new stuff on my Facebook inbox). Watching Greg and Zach from Digiraatii work the mixer and decks is like watching some open heart surgery show on the Discovery Channel!‚ and roeVy?!‚ it’s almost like they are not even in the same category as all of us! Their shows are a meticulously woven web of sound and visuals that EASILY rival the biggest production rock tours I’ve EVER seen. These ARE the music makers‚ These are the dreamers of dreams 😉

LA: We discussed our common belief in the specialness of Columbus. Do you think Columbus could be the austin, TX or Seattle Washington of DJ’ing?
KK: I think without question that we kind of already are. There is such a massive pool of performing talent here in Columbus that it’s easy to take it for granted, but all you’ve got to do is look around. And I think that part of it is the city itself – the fact that Columbus is kind of like a large “SMALL city”. Because we have such an enormous school here, everything that goes on is kind of centralized in and around the campus area, and goes out in concentric waves from there (Campus, Short North, Downtown, Clintonville, Grandview, Old Town, etc). Sure there are things going on out on the perimeter of the city, but by-and-large our enormous pool of talent, and the events that they all carry are right on top of each other. It forces us to all KNOW each other, be aware of one another, and be inspired by one another. Sometimes it gets a little incestuous and sparks some uncomfortable competition – but it leaves us with an open create environment we can all draw from – and it shows. You can go to other bigger cities that also have great DJs and electronic producers, but you’ll find the bigger the place, the more fragmented the scene(s). It’s almost like we’re living in a hippy commune for DJs, it’s REALLY cool and I think SIGNIFICANTLY important to our place in the advancement of dance music culture. You can find guys that play ANYthing here – Hip Hop, Electro, Goth, Disco, 80s, Techno, Breaks, Minimal, Funk – you name it. It’s awesome and I’d put us up against ANYwhere else that thinks they do it better.

I am back with an exclusive transmission from sKewn this week for the Our Scene | Our Sound | Our City Mix Series. You all know much about sKewn due to his interview with me a month or two ago. (READ THAT HERE). Yet, I don’t think you have heard this version of sKewn. He can throw down a hard mix like the best of them with smatterings of jungle, drum n’ bass, and other bass sounds, but have you been listening to his recent mix work? It certainly goes in a very patient, somber direction with some very beautiful moments and careful track selection that makes for wonderful listening. I could make this out to be some big shift that marks the dawning of a new epoch in his work, but that wouldn’t make any sense. sKewn has been listening to the wide gamut of tracks coming from all styles of music since he was young. It just so happens that now he wants to play it in his mix work more.

Isn’t that true for all of us? I mean its not like we were born and then our parents had us listening to Detroit techno, Chicago House, etc. No, we all had a distinct musical trajectory that brought us to this place we are at now. We all had to discover electronic music. On sKewn’s recent mixtape done for the Push Productions Just For Me Mix Project he adroitly fused techno and dub sounds to achieve a smooth, subtly mutating mix that slowly washes over you. (Download that Mix HERE). Like that mix, The sounds in the Transmission mix aren’t usually spun on dance floors, but nonetheless still hold much power to take you to a different place.

Yet, I cannot do justice to the sounds in this mix with words. To do so would only be to force my opinion on you, which I already do on a regular basis. I would rather you just take my word that this is a pretty amazing piece of mix work. I have listened to it over 25 times (not an exaggeration) since sKewn placed it in my possession. Why not just press play and listen with an open mind.

sKewn – “Transmissions”

Dusk is starting to set in and high street is bustling as people move about Columbus’ main thoroughfare. The optimism and hope of the daytime is cast in shadow, and the creatures, thoughts, and sounds of the night begin to emerge from their hiding.  Streetlights and the marquee at the Newport Music Hall are the only discernible lights lending any illumination to the encroaching darkness. The marquee broadcasts the evenings dance music event: Kingpin, Dunjinz, Wazabi, Fat and Ugly, and roeVy: ONE NIGHT ONLY. This gentle electric glow offers those passing by a brief reprieve from the overwhelming darkness that surrounds them. The barely discernible humming from these fluorescent lights offers an omen, a promise of what is to come in the depths of the night just beyond those two weathered doors..

Inside the Newport, there is little noise and the house lights are set low. A stark juxtaposition to the active streetscape located just beyond the doors. Its truly the calm before the storm. That moment when an erie silence permeates the entirety of the venue. This will all change in a very short time once the sound system gets cranked up and the nights activities begin. There really is no telling what will become of the event goers when they come into this world. It truly is a separate universe crafted with a whole different set of values, imagery, sounds, and beliefs.

The nights host, two demons clad in all black, have a twisted consciousness and only wish to lay bare the roots of your reality through a careful curation of images and sounds taken from the depths of the inferno they call home. Are you prepared to confront these demons? Are you prepared to enter their world? Are you prepared to consider the game-like nature of your reality and see the endless cycles you caught up in?

Their truly is no resistance once you step through those doors. The searing red eyes stand poised to hypnotize you into compliance and take you down their rabbit hole. The mystery that surrounds such a confrontation is surely a worthy endeavor to emabark upon in Columbus on a Friday night. A glimpse into that universe is offered on roeVy’s Demons EP:

I entered their world earlier this week attempting to learn more of their agenda for the evening and how their efforts to bring their message to people around the country had been going. I brought an offering and they obliged me with an interview:

LA: This show comes on the heels of you all playing an increasing number of shows outside of Columbus. How has it been for you to begin to expand outside of Columbus?

R: The energy in the other cities we’ve played has been incredible and positive, it’s always great to get a sense of how our image translates to those who have only seen our promo videos. people have been going so hard and it is really great to see! Also, our setup has a lot of items to carry on the road which we thought would be problematic but all the out of town venues we’ve played at so far have been greatly helpful and accommodating to our needs.

LA: This will be your second headlining show at the Newport in as many months. What is it about the Newport, as a venue, that you really love? Is there something about that space that appeals to you?

R: The Newport is an amazing place to play with an incredible and talented staff. The size and depth of the stage allows for us to completely curate the look and we have not even peaked the potential of what can be done with the space there. We plan on consistently making the act more interactive and insane to look at while people are dancing.

LA: Obviously, your music endears you to an international audience of fans and musicians working within the confines of what is vaguely classified as Techno, House, and Electro. What were your thoughts behind bringing in artists from Germany like Wazabi & Fat & Ugly who were working on the same musical endeavors as you all?

R: Both Wazabi and Fat & Ugly are amazing producers and getting bigger and better every day. We’d played their stuff out long before we met them and they are now good friends of ours and amazing people. The more acts we can get on stage with us that wouldn’t normally be coming through the midwest the better. We are honored to play this show and have to hand it to Dunjinz, being the initial contact for hooking up with them.

LA: Do you have any goals for what your event will acheieve for our local dance music community?

R: It’s time to go hard with some dark banging techno.

LA: Do you have any surprises in store for us on the 30th?

R: You can count on tons of new material by us.

Yet, roeVy will not be alone this Friday. They have enlisted the assistance of their local and international allies Kingpin, Dunjinz, Wazabi, and Fat and Ugly. All waving the banger of aggressive confrontation to the mundanity of the established patterns of life, these artists wish to further roeVy’s agenda of challenging your conceptions of normal in their own unique ways. They have signed the official oaths of allegiance to these demons and will be coming at you with the full force of their artistic power.

Kingpin will begin the evening with his enticing and alluring sound that synthesizes sound from the entire spectrum of the musical universe to propel your feet into movement. I need to do little in the way of introducing this local musical force. He has proven himself time and time again to throw down amazing works of art every time he steps up to the decks. It is a true treat that we get to see him in his most exploratory in the opening spot. Some of my favorite sets I have seen him spin have been in these slots. Check out his Dance Bromance Mix from his disco house side project with Sybling Q called Disco Disco:

Dunjinz too really needs no introduction to local audiences. This guy is fresh off a classification smashing set at LeBoom 2.4 where he quickly taught everyone in the crowd not to try and pigeon hole him to one sound. I was left goose-bumped and wrecked from the diversity of sounds he explored. This performance friday proves to be no different, as he has the green light to go in ANY direction that he wants. What also makes this performance increasingly interesting is the first track called “Tuner” from his Silverwave Label has just been released and it is a wonderful artistic effort:

And thats not all,  German based artists Wazabi and Fat and Ugly that will grace the Newport stage for the first time and bring their distinctive blend of menacing music to the dance floor for all of you to enjoy. This is doubtless a special aspect of the show, as some of our scenes artists are forging connections all over the world and beginning to bring those artists here for us to see.

One listen to Wazabi’s tracks Shogun or Ripper and it is quite obvious that these guys are in a long running artistic conversation with the likes of roeVy and Dunjinz:

Shogun:

Ripper:

Fat & Ugly is no different. This guy creates and reworks tracks and sifts them through his artistic imagination to create hard, threatening tracks that stand pressed to compel you into movement. Take his track Elephant Attack for instance:

Luckily, I was able to catch up with him to ask him a few questions about his work and the show on friday:

LA: How did you get into dance music? Was there a track or show that started it all for you?
F&U: I always been a big hip hop fan, but the first time I heard tracks from artists like Justice, Alter Ego, Boys Noize or MSTRKRFT, I was really fascinated from all the energy that was going on in their tracks. If I had to choose one track that made me decide to produce electronic dance music I might choose Alter Ego – Rocker, but there are so many tracks I could mention.

LA: When did you start producing? What drove you to start creating your own sounds?
F&U: I bought a program called Music Maker for my Playstation One in 1997. It was a really shitty program but from that moment on I spended every free minute in making music. I started to buy more and more professional gear and tried to improve my sound. I think I mainly started producing music because I was bored of 90% of the music that I heard on the radio.

LA: What is you artistic approach to creating a new track or a remix?
F&U: I mostly make sounds when I’m in the studio, I just love to tweak the knobs and see what happens. When I finally made the sounds I like I usually finish a track within a couple of days.

LA: How would you describe your sound to those who have yet to hear your excellent Elephant Attack EP?
F&U: Thank you! I always try to give my tracks some extra madness while keeping them danceable at the same time. But it’s not easy to describe your own music in words.

LA:What do you have in store for us for your show at the Newport?
F&U: I got a lot of tracks coming up and I will play some of them for the first time during my tour in the US. So I’m very excited! First of all there are the new tracks from my upcoming EP, a collaboration track with TAI which is going to be released on Dim Mak Records and my new remixes for Acid Jack or Gosteffects. I’m really looking forward to the show in Newport. It’s going to be blast!

Gosteffects — Slave to Sweat (Fat and Ugly Remix)

Acid Jacks — The Sword (Fat and Ugly Remix)

No matter what brings you to the show Friday, we all will be searching for something in the darkness of the newport. Whether its a new idea, a new friend, or just a fun time, we will all be looking for an experience that will change our lives. This line up and these demons are the perfect guides through the world we know. Don’t fight their sounds or imagery. Embrace it and see where the rabbit hole ends.

Get there early to get immersed in the entire curated experience. Event Details Here

Section 1.1: Exploring the Nu-School of Techno

Life is very cyclical. Events, like music scenes, seem to ebb and flow through periods of intense popularity and participation and periods of abeyance (A state of suspension; a holding pattern) with devoted, loyal underground following. As you all can tell from my recent discussions, our Columbus dance music scene is coming out of a period of abeyance and ampin’ up to a period of widescale participation and growth. Such an outward focus and movement to grow the scene has not been seen since the 90s in Columbus. We definitely have something percolating, but there are still strong links to the past.

The funny thing is I don’t even know if these links were explicit or intentional. For instance, I see a strong link between the strength of the techno movement in Columbus historically with the cats of ele_mental and the pushing of nu-techno today. Yet, were our contemporary guys listening to Titonton Duvante, FBK, Plural, Todd Sines,  or Archtyp? I just don’t know whether there was this explicit connection or not between the past and today. Regardless, the people of the past paved the way for the exploration of menacing, dark creative currents in Columbus dance floors. This Saturday we are carrying on that tradition when My Best Friends Party curates a fine selection of DJs to help us explore this nu-techno terrain at LeBoom 2.3 at Skully’s. Most notably, this promotion outfit has called on the talents of Italian heavyweights Blatta and Inesha to highlight the strengths of this newer approach to techno music.

Yet, it is not as if we are not familiar with the sounds of this new school of techno. Our scene is deeply interested in the developments and creation of this music. Dunjinz, roeVy, FUNERALS, Dirty Current, and countless others are all pushing the boundaries of what you can do with techno and other electronic music. Whether we are interested explicitly in the merging of electro and techno (as the nu-techno movement is), is not that primary matter. The integral fact to take away from this is that we too are pushing the boundaries of these sounds along with the interational heavyweights and people are starting to see that. When we all converge on Skully’s this weekend it will not be just to see a world renowned act like Blatta & Inesha. This is certainly one of the benefits of the show. Yet, no doubt it will also be possible to see our artists enter into a 5-6 hour musical conversation with one another and one of the leaders in the production and spinning of this musical genre. This is why I get so excited for this show, because I know artistically that it is something special. I know that it will also be a crazy party as well, but the art. Seriously, the musical exploration that will happen will be as artistic as any event you have seen.

Section 1.2: The Run Down

For those of you not familiar with the Blatta & Inesha or the other local cats on the bill, I got your run down right here.  All the Interview and streaming audio you need to wrap your head around this show and get you amp’d to throw down. I start with Blatta & Inesha who were kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions for me.

I. Blatta & Inesha

LA: How did each of you get into dance music when you were both working with different genres of music in the 90s?

B & I: I guess it was just the natural evolution of the music we were playing and making in the 90’s…we both have a strong funk background which in a way brought us to listen and produce new school breaks in early 2000, but also we already had Kraftwerk, Chemical Brothers and Prodigy in our music background, not to mention the early 90’s italian dance music…producers like Digital Boy and that early 90’s rave sound have always been a huge influence for us…
Even if i started as a hip hop dj and Blatta played in many different bands (from experimental jazz to noise rock) i like to think that it’s all part of one big picture…at the end of the day it has been and it’s still today all about the groove and the bass.

LA: How did you decide to collaborate together? Was it love at first sight? What was the story?

B & I: It was pretty random, when i bought my first sampler i was looking for some musicians to make some weird music with, which in my mind was a combination of all the genres i mentioned before and Dario and I immediately had a great musical feeling in the studio and we kept going…

LA: What were the elements of the techno and electro sound that inspired you to try and synthesize the two genres?

B & I: I think the idea is to bring a new drive and groove into the techno sound almost as it was in its early days before the minimal techno wave a few years back. Also when minimal techno came out we kinda liked elements of that sound or at least we were looking at it as an intelligent inspiration but it didn’t have enough “balls” to fit into our sets…so basically what we are trying to do today is to combine that awesome old school techno feeling, intelligent swing elements of minimal, “balls” of electro with B&I bassline and articulate beats.

LA: What do you hope to achieve by pushing the Techno Nouveau sound in your mix and production work?

B & I: Make ladies sweat and becoming billionaires! LOL

LA: What do you have in store for us at LeBoom 2.3? What can we expect from your set?

B & I: We are actually working on our album right now, so the next American tour will be a good testing field for our new tracks…For now in general we love to play our unreleased tunes and unknown joints from other producers in our set, we like to surprise the crowd and see the reaction to something that they might not know…i can’t stand when djs play 2 hours of hits, it’s pointless and anyone can do it, it’s a challenge to keep people dancing to your own creative productions and the story you are telling…it’s taking a risk instead of playing the “go to” standard hits that everyone has heard a million times.

This nu-techno sound is exemplified in their The Sound of Techno Nouveau Mix Tape:

Yet, there originals are so on point too. Take their preview of their track “Anatomy”:

Or their work on the Track “Senegal”:

No doubt, these titans of techno will rock the party.

II.The Locals

a. roeVy

I scarcely need to introduce these guys to my readers. Dark, exploratory music that will grip you from the first drop. Just listen to their Demons EP. It speaks for itself.

Demons EP

b. Dunjinz

Glitchy, innovative approach to what can broadly be conceived as techno. Guy Is poppin’ off with remix and original releases. Check these Tracks for an introduction:

First, his works in progress, which really highlight where his sound is going:

Now, his tracks Anowara and Albion just for a little taste of what he has released in the past:

He is even starting a record label called Silver Wave, so go like his facebook page for this new project for all the up-to-date details.

c. Attak & Carma

The lead men behind My Best Friends Party would leave their event with something missing if they did not lay down their catastrophic skills on the LeBoom 2.3 crowd. No doubt, they have been leave Columbus dance floors in sweat and shambles for some time now. Saturday will be no different.

Check this mix work out if you don’t believe me:

Attak’s mix with his Project Dub Terrorists-Future Mayhem

Carma’s “Down For Whatever Mix”

d. NetworkEDM

Now, these guys are gonna come at you with some tech house. This is a set not to be missed. For real, when these two lay down a tech house set you best be there to here it. This DJ duo has definitely been on the rise for some time and stands pressed to lay down something special for us saturday.

Don’t believe me? Check out this exclusive mixtape these Push Productions crew members made for me:

Section 1.3 Event Details

If this didn’t get you excited for the event then nothing short of a video from Mike Harmon Ent. from the 1 year anniversary show of LeBoom! may be able to induce excitement.

Now you are definitely coming. I know you are. I can see you texting, tweeting, tumblr, facebooking your friends now. Well, I am glad I could help you make your decisions. Here are the vitals:

Where: Skully’s (Short North, CBUS)
When: 9pm-2am

Click here for more details or to RSVP on Facebook 

Do you like what I am doing? Do you want to collaborate or talk about Columbus Dance Music? Let me know by going over to my Local Autonomy Facebook Page and letting me know or Like my page. You could also follow me on Twitter.

You remember me talking about the importance of Midisluts “Ambiento” Tape during my interview with him a few weeks back? (READ THAT HERE) From that discussion, It was pretty obvious that I was obsessed with the 90 minute mix. Back in ’95 when Quality Crew member Midislut released this tape, he was obssesed with the dark side of dub with groups like The Orb and the intricate textures of Brian Eno. Though these sound come from artists you don’t normally hear on dancefloors, this tape highlights a whole universe of sound that is waited to be opened by you. It would be a crime for me to just let that tape sit in a vault somewhere and not let people listen to it.  With the help and blessing of Midislut himself, we are bring back this tape first release on cassette back in 1995 so you can hear some of the more experimental sounds that were circulating in the mid 1990’s.

Ambiento Side A

Ambiento Side B

You may ask, well why would you want to do that? The past is the past right?. Well, not necessarily. I think its important to bring back this tape, because it highlights how there have always been members of our scene that have gone out to the edges of the sonic universe to test the limits of the sounds around them. For them, it was about pushing the artistic dialogue in our scene in different directions than those highlighted in the clubs. Today, this is still the case, as we have numerous people still pushing those boundaries. One need only look to the artistic energy being put into the monthly Frequency Friday shows put on by The Fuse Factory Electronic and Digital Arts Lab at Wild Goose Creative. Frequency Fridays have been an incubator for such experimentation and have highlight the work of foundational experimental electronic music artists like Evolutionary Control Committee, Tactil Vision, Doctah X, Jeff Central, and many more. The line ups they put together for shows on the first friday of every month are the who’s who of dabblers, knob turners, and experimenters in Central Ohio and beyond. Or you could look at the amazing experimental programming being laid down by the radio shows Beat Oracle  or Doctah X’s Prescriptions on WCRS. Finally, you could look at the unique genre bending creations of Textbeak or FUNERALS to see how people still very interested in moving dancefloors have brought in elements of subtlety, darkness, and controlled aggression in their tracks. There is no doubt that we still have people willing to absorb what they hear around them and spit out whatever their twisted vision of sound is for our enjoyment. Often times, these cats are just in bedroom studios creating music that gives meaning to their everyday lives. They got no support other than their dream and the noises that surround them. Just look to the work of OHIOAN, who is pushing his characteristic sound and looking to break out and share with everyone in the scene. Got a lot of respect for his work and the musical influences that drove him to create.

OHIOAN–“Microscopist”

True to this energy, I believe that Midislut’s “Ambiento” tape was a relic of this same type of experimentation and dedication to pushing boundaries we continue to see today. I mean just think what Midislut had to do just to complete this mix back in the day:

This meant gathering extraneous samples, running sound effects records, using signal processing, the whole process. All of these mixes were recorded in one take with 4 turntables, cassette decks, CD players, effects processors, all in real time. It was like a dance to put it all together for a 90 minute mix.” (Excerpt from Midislut’s Exclusive Interview with L.A.)

Though it may be easier to complete such a task today, Midislut’s mix continues to hold up to extended listening and shows what a mix can do to expand our mind to new sounds. There’s no doubt in my mind that the “Ambiento” mix opened up people minds to what dense layers and wide listening could do for a mix back in the day. What can it do for us today? My hope is that we can appreciate the artistic merit in its creation and look to the people in our scene that are continuing to push these boundaries. As I say over and over, each genre and form electronic music takes can provide us key tools to use in listening and creating music in a richer fashion. The more we open ourselves up to the wide gamut of diversity our scene provides the most dynamic and amazing our listening, producing, and mixing will be.

This was obvious the thrust behind the show What Next Ohio. I mean just think about the first three hours of that show. It was absolute chaos genre-wise. Once fixed sound boundaries were completely torn down and recreated. I think Midislut’s “Ambiento” tape pushes us in that same direction as the main lessons from this show and calls us to think radically about what genre deconstruction and expansive listening can do for us as memebers of the Columbus dance music community. The more we connect the sounds coming from the fringes with the sounds in the club the more we will find ways to make our scene one of the best in the world. We won’t just be playing and dancing to the hottest tracks. Rather, we will be charting the paths to find new ways to chop and screw those hits into something that is distinctively COLUMBUS. Yet, I digress. I get utopian and hope you can share in the dizzying intoxication that is that dream. But I am sure you want some more insight on the Ambiento Tape from Midislut himself? I know I do. Check out Midislut’s illuminating interview responses on the ambiento mix below:

LA: Why was it important to you to: “share ambient music with the masses” in the Ambiento Tapes?
MS: Ambient atmospheres, dub, etc. was really where my head was at in the early 90’s. I made numerous trips from OU to World Record to visit Poppa Hop and he always had an impeccable selection of vinyl for me to listen to. These tapes pre-date my affinity for house music, but you can hear the beats start to creep in as I move through the mix. I wanted to share these mixes with everyone to spread the word that electronic music could move in multiple directions all at once.

LA: What lessons/tools does Ambient Music provide electronic music more generally?
MS: Ambient music proves that no matter what the genre there are always artists pushing the envelope. Since there’s no set formula that an ambient track has to follow it opens the possibilities for sonic exploration to an infinite level. No constraints means no two projects sound the same or even similar.

LA: Do you think that such translate over to getting dance floors moving? In what ways?
MS: The concept of textures and layers incorporated in electronic music serve to convey a mood, build tension, release, and guide a listener. Whether or not there’s a beat associated with it seems inconsequential. Any well constructed song can do all of the above with a minimum amount of beats and percussion. It’s the spaces in between that moves the floor.

If this doesn’t get you amped about seeing the rest of the Quality Crew this saturday at Basil I don’t know what will. Though Midislut will not be performing, you can expect Jason Lyman and Jeff Pons to come correct with all the best in underground techno and house. They are even bringing in a secret weapon: Dustin Knell. What’s that? your not hip to Dustin Knell’s game? You don’t know what he brings to the table? I give my word that this guy is as focused and exciting an artist that I have heard spin in Columbus. He is set to blow the top off Basil with the rest of the Quality crew this Saturday after the Gallery hop. Event Details: CLICK HERE.

Unsatisfied with charging the barricades of the techno establishment alone, Columbus based artists FBK and Plural have merged into a musical juggernaut called The Fallen. Their collective assault on our eardrums and dance floors worldwide begins today with the release of their first EP Abrasive Technology on E8P Records. The Fallen was created out of the common ambition both these artist share to constantly push the envelope in their music. Abrasive Technology may be just the first release of this new techno leviathan, but this group already shows the development of a distinctive sound that features driving, aggressive rhythms pulsating over densely layered atmospheres. As such, this release sees The Fallen building tracks that give new life to normally sharp, discordant sounds by synthesizing them into new sonorous melodies. Such a task shows that these two production veterans have already reached a very evolved state in their collaborations and stand poised to make a significant contribution to the development of dance music in 2012. A closer look at this partnership reveals the uniqueness of this artistic project and the aspirations these two DJs have in their music.

Many dance music artists would be content with the achievements that FBK and Plural have compiled in the last year, and would not dare push the envelope by trying something new. FBK is fresh of the release of his Abandonmental EP on his taste-expanding Absoloop label and his track “Nanomal” was recently included in Marcel Dettmann’s seminal Conducted compilation.

“Nanomal”

Plural too has been pumping out release after release. He just put out his Lost In Thought EP on Orange82 Records and is slated to release his System Corrupt EP on Audio Textures Recordings March 20th.

“Destroying Anger”

Despite this prolific output, FBK & Plural are never ones to just rest on their laurels and be content status quo. Rather than continue their artistic journey alone, the two DJs merged their strengths and went out in a new direction to see what their collaboration could yield. This speaks volumes about both of these artists. It would have been easier to just keep going down this road alone. It obviously had been working for them, as they are both getting increasing attention from all over the globe on their releases. Yet, these two artists took the road less traveled, and decided to see what experimentation and collaboration could produce for them. This type of maverick activity is exactly what put Midwest Techno on the map. Whether it’s the founders in Detroit or the foundational members of Columbus’ ele_mental crew, techno artists in the Midwest have always pushed the boundaries of techno to find new means of expression.  The Fallen is just the most recent manifestation of such an ethos, and their Abrasive Technology EP is a verification of the fruits that come from taking a chance.

Not only is the Abrasive Technology EP evidence of artistic ethos, but also presents the technical skill of these two DJs. Lush, swirling walls of noise bombard your speakers, as the beginning swells of bass lunge forward at you with the first track “Focused Intensity”. With such intricate detail presented in the track, it is difficult to even begin to understand how these seemingly cacophonous noises could work as one harmonious melody. Yet, track after track on the Abrasive Technology EP reaffirms The Fallen’s unique talent at creating beautiful techno out of noise easily discarded by other artists. The highlight of this approach comes through on their track “Turning Back To Me” where The Fallen showcase their ability to build a melodic anthem that grips the strings of your heart and makes you understand how enriching music is to daily life. Such a track makes me so excited for what is too come from The Fallen in the future. No doubt, the Abrasive Technology EP showcases this technical skill, but also shows these producers are adept in merging sounds that evoke equal doses of aggression, futurism, and sentimentality in techno tracks that will destroy clubs and underground parties everywhere. Don’t take my word for it! Check out the tracks “Without Wires” and the video for Focused Intesnity from the EP and decide for yourself! EP IS HUGE!!! Cannot Stress this enough!

“Focused Intesnity”

“Without Wires”

Buy the album at this fine outlet:

Beatport

If it isn’t obvious yet then it is worth reminding you that the Abrasive Technology EP was just the beginning. The Fallen aim to continue their collective assault of dance floors everywhere in future releases, as they use their dense, deep style to decimate your notion of what dance music is. Both as a unit and individually, Plural and FBK are going continue to put Columbus and Midwest techno on the map through innovative releases. So you best be on the look out in the next few months for future releases from The Fallen, as these two techno heavy weights continue to push the agenda of what directions techno should go in.

The Fallen on Soundcloud

FBK on Soundcloud

Plural on Soundcloud

(Note: This was the official promotional copy I wrote to accompany the release for The Fallen.)

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