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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.)

As is evident from my discussion of his exclusive “Everything Is Possible Mix” wednesday, I hold Textbeak in very high regard. He was part of the foundational movements of creativity busting out of the early Body Release parties and continued his own musical journey over the last two decades taking him all over the country. As I said Wednesday, I think it is vital to look into the beliefs and experiences of textbeak not only to keep a historical record, but to learn from his story so that we can continue to push our scene to the next level. Without further adieu, the friday interview begins:

Personal background & Opinion Questions:

LA: Just as a way of starting off, You put on a great set at What Next Ohio. What was it like spinning up on the historic Newport/Agora stage?

T:  Thanks James! It was a bit daunting to be on that stage as I was thinking back to seeing Skinny Puppy, Nitzer Ebb, and Tricky up there who are all huge musical influences of mine. I was extremely happy with the sound (too bad it didn’t come through on the video as the microphone on the camera just could not record those bass levels). I knew I was going to be playing a set that was unlike anything else that would be going on that night and I new my set would be shocking, so I just planned on doing what I do and flushing out the soundsystem with bass, delay, and that wonderful Merzbow vs Asap Rocky beast edit that Shisa made. I figured I had to just hit white noise in the middle of the set.  The whole night was a lot of fun and I’m super happy that it all came together so well.

LA: Now lets go back in time. Your approach to music really does exemplify what you term genre blasting. What made you a lover of such a broad base of so many musical styles? What has music provided for you that has kept you so interested in your different sonic explorations?

T: I think the big key to my interest in different musical styles is also what keeps me interested…to quote Nurse With Wound “A rock n roll session is a session where we can do what we want to do.” All music just breaks down to being a series of audio events and when you look at all music in this way, you start to see how it overlaps and connects. When I was young, my grandparents would buy me a lot of classical music, but I also really loved 80s pop (Duran Duran, The Human League, Eurythmics), and relatives were into classic rock (Genesis, Led Zeppelin, ELO). As a child I really liked Pink Floyd. I think I was always into music that incorporated sounds that were abstract, out of the ordinary, or shocking. This probably also tied in to my love of monster movies, documentaries, and sci-fi. Movies like Blade Runner, Alien, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and Dune shaped my artistic vision early on. This would explain why I would later fall in love with bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Einsturzende Neubauten, Public Image Ltd, and Skinny Puppy.  When I heard Beat Box Boys “Eat Em Up” for the first time I was stunned. I was in awe of the harshness of the drums and the use of voice samples and synth to make something truly alien. Around the same time, I heard Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” which gave me chills. I’ve always used that feeling as my musical barometer.

In my high school years I was into punk, but I found myself drawn to music that was more alien. PiL’s early period really shaped my understanding of what can be done with music. I loved College Radio back in the day when you could hear such an astounding array of sounds in one set. That open mindedness of the alternative scene back then I’m sure helped make me into what I am today.

LA: At what point did you realize as you said in short interview before What Next Ohio, “that most musical styles and genres are very similar and draw connections from each other.” What impact did this realization have on your artistic development? Was their a track or show that you can point to as starting it all and made you want to be a musician/DJ/Genre Blaster? What was that track or show, why was it important (You can list more than one if you want)?

T: Later in High School my mother moved back to Elyria where I was originally from. We moved in several doors down from Todd Sines and Todd and I hit it off immediately. During that time I was lucky to have the group of talented friends I had surrounding me. Todd and I would go record hunting and started making music. At first we were banging on cans and autoharps and making tape loops, but eventually Todd bought a bass. We started a band called Dirge that sounded like early Cab or PiL My friend Kasson (Symbion Project, Freezepop) helped me decide on a sampler to purchase. My grandfather bought me a Roland W-30 and I began experimenting with sampling, sequencing, and looping. I think that is the point where I started to realize that all musical styles are so connected as taking loops of different styles out of context can easily be misinterpreted as different styles. Music is an evolution just like any other form of language, so there are obvious connections. The only thing is that culture and society pushes to keep differences and rifts within culture to promote elitism, newness, and difference. When you really step back, all dresses are just pieces of fabric and all sound is music. I really got into looping samples of anything to produce grooves. I’d sample a snippet of a bassline out of something, turn it backwards and pitch it down. Run it into a lowpass filter, push down the cut off and push up the resonance until the off-time groove becomes unrecognizable and alien. Then use that to set up my kick drums of an initial loop. I’d take samples of room noise or wind or birds and look for accents to build from. I mean aren’t we all just searching reality, looking for the groove? DJ Spooky’s Necropolis mix was a great influence on me. The idea of illbient mixing through mad delays and effects is spot on. I also have to site Coldcut for truly setting the standard on how far out you can push a mix. Their use of everything from jazz to drum and bass to electro is absolutely mindblowing. Why not just look for similarities in different styles and then smear boundries til your heart’s content?

LA: You said in the last interview that you and your friends were very inspired by 10-Speed Guillotine’s Laptop Appetizers tape, why?

T: Initially, I would have to say that at first listen 10-Speed pretty much had all of the components that hooked my group of friends immediately. The album has some seriously menacing and visionary sound. It has crazy industrial beat programming, great synth work, awesome talking samples, tons of noise, and truly badass production. Another thing is that it’s not just a one dimensional release. For a mostly instrumental album, it feels emotionally resonant and the swells and depths on the release are outstanding, alien, and timeless.

LA: How did you get your start DJ’ing? What was it like?

T: Back in the early Body Release days, Charles was the DJ and none of the rest of us could spin very well. I remember putting on a set of headphones and just getting lost in the train wreck of mashing beats. It took me a while to get the hang of it. Later I got into mixing CDs. I found it easiest to envision queing like pitching breakbeats on a sampler. At that time, I was buying tech step like Dom and Roland on vinyl and trying to mix that stuff with more experimental tracks on CD. I was also into buying techno on vinyl still like Fred Gianelli, Chair Recordings, and Drumcode, but I was really into mixing all kinds of different tempo ranges. All my old CDs from then still have BPMs for all the tracks including the really mellow and ambient ones.

At the 1954 studio space, Jason Adams, Rob Nagy, and I would mix all kinds of madness together and started playing those sets out. We would just play as many different things at the same time as we could. It was all pretty crazy sounding.

LA: What does the act of DJ’ing mean to you? How does it make you feel?

T: I really love experimenting with sound. I just really love to combine sounds with each other and create something new. I also love to create that experience for an audience. It’s gotta be one of the best feelings to create something and then see the reaction in peoples’ eyes. Shock, horror, or pleasure, it’s always a wonderful experience. The thing is that I just don’t believe in spinning one mood or one mental place. I feel that my mixes should jar the listener, take the listener someplace they’ve never been.

LA: What about when you are producing/remixing/choppin’?

T: When I am producing music, I go about it in the same way. I try to create new feelings, to shock myself.

LA: Are the creative processes between DJ’ing and Production different or similar for you?

T: Very similar.

LA: How do you view the technological changes that have happened over the last 20 years in production and DJ software?

T: I really dig the amount of control that is available now with sound editing. I am just waiting for new sounds. I can’t wait til we reach the stage of full malleability and transformability with sounds. I also really wanna pull the sounds directly out of my head, sounds from dreams and nightmares. One day, I’m sure we will be able to mental beatbox by brainwaves and memories of sound.

LA: What musical projects did you move onto after Body Release? What sounds/artistic ideas were you exploring? I know very little about your artist development throughout the 2000’s except that you have made a name for yourself as one of the key innovators of what is loosely called “Witch House” and what you call genre blasting. What brought you to this method of musical expression and to the artist we see today?

T: I left Body Release in 1992 to pursue a darker more serious sound. I decided to move to Minneapolis and really get into some slow dark loops. I held up in an attic of an old house and organized parts that made up the first Bath cassette. I came back to Ohio and finished up that first Bath cassette. I was influenced by Coil, Autechre, Cabaret Voltaire, Tones on Tail, etc. to my own style of sludgy muddy pitched-down work even back in the early Bath days. It was just parallel evolution that a whole scene of wonderful slow darkness came along and I totally felt at home musically. I find it really great how this whole scene feels inclusive rather than exclusive and elitist.

LA: You are a prolific mixmaker. How are you able to churn out so much music while also actively promoting your friends work as well?

T: That is a very tough balancing act that I have been refining over the years, sometimes more successfully than others.

LA: You have been privileged enough to release music on the already classic Tundra Dubs label. What has that been like?

T: I’m super happy that my INDIGLO album got released on Tundra. I’m also happy that it did so well and just to be in the company of great artists like AIMON, Strange Powers, and Funerals. It was also great getting to play Tundra’s one year anniversary party in San Francisco with AIMON, The Ceremonial Dagger, Bobby Peru, and Nako.

LA: What are your goals for the next five years musically?

T: MORE FOCUS.

Scene-Specific Questions:

LA: Body Release is pointed to by many as being such an important part of Columbus Dance Music history. How did the group start? Why did you decide to move to Columbus in the 1990’s? What were you doing prior to coming to town?

T: Todd Sines and I decided to move to Columbus to attend school. He at OSU and I at CCAD. We were doing Wax Trax! influenced music up north and we were also both heavily into the Manchester and rave sound (808 State, A Guy Called Gerald). We started Body Release in Columbus and Todd brought Titonton into the group. Titonton has always been a majorly talented individual with his piano and beat sequencing and he really stepped up the project. Next we met up with Charles Noel (aka Archetype) at Mustard’s one night. I remember freaking out because he had a Revolting Cocks tour shirt on from the Cleveland show at The Empire which has got to be one of the most insane shows I have ever seen. Charles joined Body Release as a scratch DJ and added the next level to the sound. He had the coolest crate of records, from old ebm and industrial (Skinny Puppy, Front 242) to breakbeats, house, and hip hop.

LA: What was the scene like when you got here? What sounds/genres were dominant?

T: Well, back in 1991 the Columbus scene was in a major transition. There was a large industrial and punk scene that was totally being inundated by the rave sound. Bars like Crazy Mama’s, Purity’s and Nuke’s pretty much stuck to the industrial/goth/punk sound while at Mustard’s and 700 High you’d also hear DHS, The KLF, Lords of Acid, and Quadraphonia. Kevy Kev was playing 700 High and he’d definitely play a diverse selection back then of both industrial and rave. He and Mike G were two of the biggest names in town back then.

Columbus was also great for its electronic artists at the time like Mark Gunderson and The Evolution Control Committee, James Towning’s Fact 22 project, and 10-Speed Guillotine. I remember a time we played a show with 10-Speed on campus and they set up a dream machine on a turntable during their performance.

LA: What artistic ideas were you all trying to express with Body Release?

T: Body Release was specifically meant to be just that, a release. It was meant to be dance music and we took it in many directions mentally with that idea in mind. We had a lot of atmosphere and a lot of impact. I think that contrast was what made Body Release so distinct. I remember in the early days we were working around 150 bpms with breakbeats and a lot of bass, but we also worked with a lot of strings, piano, and just general atmospheric sounds.

LA: How did body release come to an end?

T: I actually left in early 1992 so they all continued for a while without me. I was not present for the end of Body Release.

LA: 1990’s Columbus dance music is always talked about as a mythical time in our scene’s history. What was it like back then? Why do you think we were so huge?

T: The scene really exploded. Ele_mental really set the pace for great events and really bridged that Columbus/Detroit connection. Todd, Titonton, and Charles all really became well known and the whole Columbus scene seemed to be bursting with talented producers and DJs. There seemed to be a different level of artistry going on in the Columbus electronic scene than in anywhere else in Ohio.

LA: Then it went into decline in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s. What happened? What led to the decline?

T: The scene started changing and I think it became alienating. Everyone went minimal techno/tech house then electro started moving in. These sounds in this time period were extremely daring and some of the coolest sounds created, but hard to follow for the uninitiated listener. Also, then the electroclash sound came in which was also alienating. I really liked this sound for being so closely aligned with darker earlier sounds and also for its inclusive qualities, but I don’t think Ohio was really ready for it back then. This evolved into the wonky bass electro-house, which became so mainstream and eventually paved the way for the distorted bass dubstep to come in and take over.

LA: You recognized in your previous interview that the factionalization of scenes is separating us too much. What does such factionalization do to a music scene in the long run?

T: Divided we fall.

LA: What has it been like to see dance music come back to prominence in Columbus and all over Ohio?

T: It’s a wonderful feeling to see the scene grow again. It seems to be that internet social networking is really bringing different scenes together. It will be definitely interesting to see how this all pans out in the long run.

LA: What is it about the emergence of Columbus’ strange new underground that has you so excited? How do you think our scene has changed over the last couple years?

T: I just love all the daring new ideas and open-minded people in this scene now. Columbus has always had a wonderful artistic community that has been visionary for years, but it seems that now this visionary scene is coming to the forefront and not just staying in the underground anymore.

LA: What would you deem the ideal future for the Columbus EDM community and Ohio more broadly?

T: I would like to see the Ohio scene become a forward thinking Mecca, to set the standard for what is possible in the Midwest. There is no reason this can’t happen. There has been a wonderful past that has paved the way for an even brighter tomorrow.

LA: What do you think has to happen for us to get there?

T: Hard work and understanding. Less competition. More sense of community. Communication. Open-mindedness. Vision. Love.

LA: Do you think it is possible for us to create one cohesive Columbus EDM community and Ohio community more broadly?

T: Yes, most definitely.

Keep your eyes peeled for next week, as I am going to be unearthing the infamous Ambiento Tapes with the help of Midislut and I got an interview with Jeff Pons to get you ready for quality.

Dedicated readers of this blog and its facebook page know that I have been voraciously consuming everything in sKewn’s catalogue. He has really captured my bass imagination with his innovative, smooth, and ever changing sets. He knows no genre boundaries and draws readily from both present and past bass movements to challenge your conceptions of how a dance music set is supposed to sound. One look to my more expansive discussion of his mixing work in the Our Scene | Our City | Our Sound Mix Series from Wednesday confirms and reinforces these statements easily.

sKewn is also no stranger to the historical story of Columbus Dance Music. He was with DJ Push and many members of our old guard in the early to mid 90s at rave events all over Ohio. He has witnessed our scene at the height of its underground and club success in the mid to late 90s and experienced our scene moving away from the downtown clubs in the early to mid 2000s before a new generation re-emerged. His experiences provide multiple lessons for understanding how we may approach pushing the current iteration of dance music we are experiencing in Columbus to the next level and provides us a new way to think about music collecting, DJ’ing, and scene building. SO the historical project continues today, as we let sKewn tell us about his experiences:

LA: Music has always been a constant in everything you have done. What role has music played in your life?

S: Music has played a huge role in my life. It has helped me form a stronger bond with my family and friends. It has been a teacher. Music has helped me through some tough times, and has been there to celebrate the good. It has given me a creative outlet. Sometimes music has even been my voice. There are times when I can’t quite find the words to describe how I feel about something, and often times there is a song that does it for me. I wouldn’t be the same person I am today if it wasn’t for music.

LA: I know you were around in the early to mid 1990s for the Ohio rave scene. How did you get into dance music? What was it about it that drew you in?

S: It’s difficult for me to say, because there isn’t a definitive line. I was exposed to all types of music growing up, because my parents have a very diverse taste in music.  I remember being young and hearing a lot of early jazz fusion and electronic bands such as Herbie Handcock and Alan Parsons. Herbie Handcock, Future Shock was released in 1983, shortly after I moved to Ohio.  I would have to say that Rockit (from the Future Shock album) was the song that made me obsessed with the turntable. Every kid on my block would be on their cheap plastic turntable trying to scratch away on any record they could.  About ten years later was when I first started to notice the Columbus rave culture emerging. I was still deeply rooted in Hip Hop at that time, but I knew a few kids that were going to raves. It was around 96 when Hip Hop and Jungle music were merging more and more. Jungle DJ’s/Producers were mashing up popular Hip Hop accapellas, that were widely available at the time, to Jungle/D&B beats.  It was the merging of something familiar with something new that initially sparked my interest in Jungle music and rave culture. A friend took me to my first rave in Cleveland.  I loved the vibe, and I was totally hooked from then on out.

LA: What were those raves in the early/mid 90’s like? Paint me a picture of the sounds, sights, and feelings that were percolating around that time?

S: I can’t just lump them all together.  Every party had it’s own unique qualities.  There were so many different venues I can’t even remember them all.  I went to some massive parties like Metamorphosis that were just huge, and I’ve also been to some that were really small, but the size of a party didn’t determine how fun it was.  I remember one party that was in a shoebox sized warehouse space near the Arena District, just packed to the gills with people. From the outside the venue looked like nothing, but inside the bass hit hard and everyone was dancing their ass off.

It wasn’t all good though.  Some parties flopped, others got shut down by the police, and there were several instances of people overdosing on drugs. All of these things had a negative impact on the underground party scene, and competition from the clubs didn’t help raves either.  I don’t think the clubs were ever a bad thing though.  It gave us a decent spot to party, grab a drink, and be with our peeps. It was still the same music and most of the same people. Besides, I’d much rather use a real bathroom in a club, than a port-o-potty in some warehouse anyday.

LA: What was the Columbus scene like back in those days? How did it compare to other cities in Ohio? Most of my time was spent at local raves, house parties, and clubs, so I can’t really draw much of a comparison to other cities in Ohio.  I’ve been to a few parties in Cleveland and Cincinatti, but for the most part the vibe was the same.

S: The scene back then was driven by the physical world.  You heard about a party by word of mouth, or by going to a party or record shop and getting a printed flyer.  DJ’s shared their mixes on tape cassette.  You had to press a dubplate to get your tune mixed, because DJ’s only played records.

LA: What were the dominant sounds that were being played in those days? Was there a difference in what was being played in the clubs and underground parties?

S: The dominant sounds at that time in my opinion were House, Techno, Breaks, and Jungle, and probably in that order. Speed Garage or 2-Step came later on.  I heard more Jungle at underground parties than I did at the clubs, but there were some clubs that had it.

LA: You talked about Fort Hayes high school being an incubator and key inspiration in your search to express yourself artistically. What was it about that alternative high school that inspired you so much?

S: The school had such a diverse student body, that made it so inspiring from a creative standpoint.  You had so many people, from so many different walks of life and sides of town all in one spot, it was a breeding ground for talented inividuals.  Not to mention the great programs they have for the arts, that encouraged us to explore our interests and hone our abilities.  One of the professors of the fine arts department opened up the spray booth room to us, so we could paint graffiti on school property.  He would critique our work just as any other art project and made us think about what we were doing with our work.  I still hold him in high regard and apply lessons I learned back then to what I do now.  I know high school was a pain in the ass when I was in it, but looking back I realize I had it pretty damn good.  I met some of the most talented people who live/lived in Columbus from Ft Hayes and CAHS (the other alternative high school in town).

LA: How did you get your start DJ’in?

S: I started out DJing house parties in middle school with my friend Jonathan. We didn’t mix records but we would play CD’s and tapes and just try to keep the party vibe going. It was a very primitive start to my life as a DJ. After high school I began playing around on decks over at my buddy Coreroc’s house, just doing some Hip Hop mash ups.  Those were pretty easy and all I could really do at first.  Then my boy Push (aka Swerve at the time) got a turntable setup and a crate of electronic records from a DJ that owed him some money.  I finally had access to play with some electronic music. Being that I was into Jungle and D&B, I tried my hand at those records first.  I must admit I was pretty awful to listen to back then.  I hadn’t developed the ear to match a beat properly and I generally just sucked.  I was so bad in fact that Push gave me a key to his house so I could practice when no one was home, just to spare them the torture.  Being that I love to learn new things and I’m always up for a challenge, I stuck with it and kept finding ways to acquire new records to play with. I remembered I would take a Techno record and leave it alone on the one turntable, then I would try to figure out weather the other record needed slowed down or sped up. I guess it was sort of a scientific approach, having a control and a variable. It took me a while to get the concept of beat matching down, and even longer to master the finesse.  I also spent time practicing with DJ Cheese, who is a beast at scratching, and we made some mix tapes together.  I also paired up with a crew of DJ’s called Digital Coalition (Boo, Payste, Q, and Dingo8).  They were the first ones to get me involved with digital production.  I really took to it and fell in love with producing. Even though I was a worse producer than I was a DJ, it was something I enjoyed to do and it was fun playing with beats in a new way other than just vinyl. Those guys were also the first ones I ever saw who mixed music with computers. They used two desktop PC’s and a mixer to DJ their own homegrown music.  This was well before Traktor and Serato were even a concept.  It was pretty inspiring to see someone make a tune in the basement one day and be able to play it out somewhere the next night.  I remember those guys getting a lot of guff from some of the more traditional DJ’s for using computers instead of wax, but now it seems like playing the computer is the norm.

LA: What was the first set you spun? How did you feel?

S: I can’t even remember the first time I played in public, but I do remember playing a small rave in Cincinatti and I was nervous as hell.  It was the first time I felt like I was playing for an audience that understood what I was doing and they knew what to expect from a DJ.  It was a little intimidating to say the least. I remember my hands were trembling when I put my first few records on, but after mixing the first few I became more relaxed. I remember being the one who was nervous about making a mistake, but it ended up being the sound guy who tripped on a cable and killed the sound right in the middle of my set.  He was a little embarassed, but we got things running again.  The people on the dance floor didn’t really seem to care too much and just went back to dancing.  I guess making a mistake in mix isn’t really a big deal.

LA: What does the act of DJ’in mean to you? Why do you do it?

S: The act of DJing for me is all about presenting music to people.  I do it because I love music and I love people.  I’m just a shepard of music really.  I bring what I find to peoples ears, who may not have heard it otherwise.

LA: You place a heavy emphasis on Vinyl and remaining true to spinning it. Why is Vinyl so vital for you as a DJ?

S: Vinyl is vital to every DJ weather they choose to use it or not.  It’s because of vinyl that the term and the function of “DJ” even exists.  The origins of what we all do as DJ’s stems from what happened with vinyl records. I guess it’s so vital to me because I’m heavily invested in it. About 80% of my music collection is on vinyl. I just love records, so I choose to use them as my medium to DJ.  

LA: You are a self-professed audiophile who collects music on the daily. What music do you collect, and how do you approach the act of collecting vinyl?Is any genre off limits?

S: I collect all kinds of music and there is absolutely no genre off limits to me.  I can find music I love and relate to in every genre I know of.  The way I approach collecting records is to listen to what’s out there every day, and buy what I can.  That’s about the only reason I would ever buy any type of music I guess.  I won’t purchase a tune just because I think other people will like it.  I don’t really care what they like if I’m the one who is paying for it. I’ve made a lot of mixes and played a lot of shows, but there is a vast amount of my collection I have never shared. Mostly because I haven’t found the right outlet for it, but that doesn’t keep me from buying what I like to listen to.

LA: You also have very specific ideas about the role a DJ is supposed to play in a music community. What is the function of a DJ to a music community in your eyes?

S: This is just my opinion, but a DJ should be the one who does the exploring for people.  You go out and listen to what’s going in the world of music, and then share what you find with your audience in a creative an entertaining way.

LA: Why do you believe it is important to almost never play the same track twice in a live set?

S: I don’t have time to play out every week, so when I do play I want people to have something brand new to listen to. Besides there are so many great tunes coming out it’s impossible for me to share them all.  If I played out everyday or week I would probably have to play the same tunes because I couldn’t afford to keep up.  Since I don’t play out a lot, I try to make up for it by always keeping it fresh for my listeners.

LA: You are of the opinion that a DJ should let a track shine and not do violence to it through effects. Why is such a practice so important?

S: I don’t feel like there’s anything a DJ should or shouldn’t do, but I tend to take a minimalistic approach to my mixes.  I don’t try to get too choppy with the faders and I barely touch effects.  I showcase the songs in a more unfiltered way.  I look for tunes that work well together in a mix without much help from me.  I don’t really feel there is a right and wrong way to DJ by any means. Everyone has their own way of mixing and there shouldn’t ever be any boundaries.

LA: You were foundational to starting Push Productions with Toby Tope. How didPush start? What was the idea behind putting this collective together?

S: Toby (DJ Push) and I were talking about what we could do to get more involved with parties in Columbus. He wanted to start a production/promotions group and asked for my help.  The idea for the name of PUSH was mine, but DJ Push was really the driving force behind the concept. He took the name on personally as DJ Push and really stood behind it. The basic idea of PUSH is that we would help push the scene to new levels, by pushing ourselves. It seemed to work pretty well for us, until DJ Push was relocated outside of Ohio for business and PUSH Productions went dormant. When DJ Push returned to Ohio some years later, he wanted to revive the PUSH Productions crew and make it even bigger and better. I was totally on board for that, and got to work designing a new logo for the crew and setting up all the web based elements for the group. We pooled our resources and got with friends, DJ’s, artists, and administrative people who wanted to be a part of it.  We put together a hell of a crew if you ask me and I’m pretty impressed with how far we’ve come.

LA: Why do you think is it important to push things to the next level for Columbus Dance Music?

S: If you don’t push things to new levels, people get bored, and when people get bored, they find other things to do.

LA: You are recognized as one of the first guys in Columbus to spin Dubstep back in 2007/08 at Bento Go G0. What was that first experience like? Why did you think it was important to start spinning dubstep in Columbus?

S: It was February 2008 when I first played Dubstep at Bento’s, and the experience was both good and bad.  On one hand it was kind of a disaster, but on the other hand it was good because it got some people talking.  I remember I had about an hour long set and I was spinning breaks and electro. A little more than half way through I switched up to Dubstep. I dropped a lot of old records from the label Tempa and some from Planet Mu. I remember seeing people stop dancing and they were looking at me like “what the hell are you doing?”  I didn’t let up and I finished out the set playing only Dubstep.  I ended my mix with a Kode 9 remix of Dabrye’s tune “Air”, featuring MF Doom, that just came out on Ghostly International.  I thought if I played something with some Doom in it, I might win back some listeners.  It didn’t end as bad as it seemed to start, but what I found after I finished was that other DJ’s were on the Dubstep tip already.  Fellow Junglists Hawstyle, Caedo, and Arkova were all gathering up Dubstep records and Hawstyle was planning on doing a Jungle/Dubstep night called Bus Bass. It was an important mix for me, because it broke the ice, got some people talking, and let DJ’s take this emerging style even further throughout Columbus.

LA: Where did dubstep go from there? How did it become so popular locally?

S: I can only speak for myself, but I went on to play Dubstep at shows for Bus Bass, Bristol Bar, Oldfeild’s and I began getting some attention from people outside of the US, on Myspace, Dubstep Forum, and Dubearth. I don’t really know why it got so popular locally, because I feel sort of detached from it’s sucess.  I think it just blew up on its own.  People just found it and liked it.

LA: Though you are most recognized for your works on the deck, you have some amazing production work you have done. What is your creative process? How do you go about creating a track?

S: My creative process varies from track to track. Sometimes it’s a beat that gets my ideas flowing, other times it may be a bassline or melody.  Some tracks seem to take forever to finish, others write themselves in a few hours, and some tracks die before they are even born.  I think my best work is when I have gone into the creative process without a particular idea.  Instead of going in there with an adjenda, I try to play with the sounds free from constraint, and let them influence my direction.  If I go into a track and say, I will make Jungle, or Techno, or Dubstep, or whatever, I’ll end up creating what I think those things should sound like.  When I go into it free from those constraints, the results sometimes end up surprising me and taking me down roads I didn’t try to go down.

LA: What about a Mix? What are you trying to achieve when you make a mix? Are you trying to tell a story?

S: I just want whatever I do to sound like it’s on purpose. Sometimes I pick one or two records I know I want to work into a mix, then I let the rest fall into place around them.  Other times I just pick up a record, throw it on and see how it makes me feel and think of what will sound good with it.  Sometimes I try to hint at a thought or feeling by using a song with lyrics.  I don’t think I really ever try to tell a story, but I do try to convey some different feelings throughout a mix. If it is always hard as hell, you lose the sense of the hardness until you put it next to something soft. Juxtipostion is important to my mixes, as it adds depth to the journey for my listeners.

LA: We talked a lot about your ideas of the pop and drop cycle. What is this cycle and how do you think it impacts the creation of music today?

S: Everyone seems to always be looking for the next best thing.  These artists get so hyped up, then just seem to drop off the face of the earth.  I think in one sense it may be because the niche that makes them popular outruns their abilty to sustain it.  I was talking to a friend of mine about how it seems many artists either die off, stay within their comfort zone, or experiment themselves into career suicide.  It’s very rare to find artists who can evolve and stay relevant at the same time.

LA: Today dance music seems to be endlessly classified into genres. Do you think such labels are useful? How do you approach thinking about music classifications?

S: The whole label thing is getting kind of annoying, but it does help when you are shopping for a particular type of music I guess.  When people ask me what I like, I just say everything.

LA: We talked explicitly about the importance of advancing the product not people in building the Columbus Scene. What does this mean to you and what historical examples from Columbus dance music history can guide us in how to do this?

S: I remember back in the 90’s when a lot of different crews were doing their thing, there came a point when we realized we could do much more as a unit than as individuals.  That didn’t necessarily mean we all worked together on every party, but we did open the doors of communication to make sure we weren’t stepping on each others toes.  Scheduling is a huge factor.  If you have three or four groups throwing big events on the same night, the turnout would be poor at all of the events because there are only so many people that go to these things.  When we would discuss plans in advance, then one group could do an event on a certain Friday, another would rock a Saturday and so on.  The events were more of a success because of planning. Even though every crew had a different way of doing their thing, we had a common respect for the scene as a whole and wanted to see it flourish.  Having support for one another is key at making our scene a success.

You need more sKewn? Well you are in luck, because I have compiled a list of mixes that he has created and provided a few words on Wednesday in the the Our Scene | Our City | Our Sound Mix Series where I featured his work.

For real, If you are not in the building for this show then I really just don’t know what to say to you. There is gonna be some serious bass experimentation going on as Burgle, Heady RuxpinNameless, Magua, Carma & Attak are all gonna  switch up sets the whole night. Not sure what this means? Well let me help you out.. it means utter bass chaos. It means a fractured, ever-changing sonic landscape where these bass heads will change up tempo, rhythm, and intensity faster than you can ever percieve the changes. Its all going down at the home base at Circus tonight at 9pm and runs till 2:30. Event Details HERE.

You curious what directions musically things may go? Well, expect massive deviations throughout the wide gamut of drum and bass, dubstep, juke, footwork, and maybe even some jungle as all the DJs present are well versed and wanting to change up the tenor and tempo of their track selections throughout the night. You may get one of magua’s syrupy hip-hop/dubstep mash ups, or one of Burgle’s trademark Juke throw downs. Expect the best selections in hard hitting dubstep from Heady Ruxpin, Carma, & Attak and continual bass change ups from Nameless. All in all, this event will radically reshape your idea of where bass music can go and show you the typical fun that can be had at a My Best Friends Party Show.

Need More Convincing? Listen to these tracks/mixes that highlight each artists sound to get you stoked for tonight

Magua:

“Winter Babymaking Jamz” — Magua

Wiz Khalifa & TC – Gangbang x Where’s My Money (Magua Mashup)

Burgle:

Eprom–Twerkul8 (Burgle Rework)

“Drug Dealin'” — Burgle (original)

Carma & Attak:

“Down For Whatever Mix” — Carma

“Future Mayhem” — Attak w/ the Dub Terrorists

If you haven’t figured it out yet Hawstyle‘s Bus Bass Show Guest Mixes have been so ON point. Each one highlights another artists in our scene that is well versed in the multiple forms bass music can take. Such exploration is essential to hear as we move forward as a scene. Luckily,  our love of dubstep has influenced artists all over our scene to explore juke, jungle footwork, DnB, Funky, and numerous other bass genres. We have begun to do what Ed Luna terms “Deep Sea Dive” to see where our beloved bass music has been in the past. Knowing these roots has allowed us to begin to think critically about where we can go from here. Go to any show around town and you can see that our love of Bass has spawned a lot of creativity in how best we can synthesize bass sounds from the past and present to create something new. Not many cats are just throwing down sets of one genre. Rather, they are switching up tempos and styles 2-4 times in one set.  I for one love this, as we are given the ability to see how genre blasting can best serve our interests as artists in presenting the sounds we hear throughout our days. Its not like the sounds anyone hears in their brain are confined to one genre.

This leads me to discuss the work of Single Action from his Bus Bass mix. Equal parts menacing DnB and atmospheric experimental, Single Action’s mix offers you the ability to see how bass music can take you in a totally different direction. I think the key to his approach is how he synthesizes atmospheric sections with amazing vocal samples that probe the nature of reality with hard hitting DnB that leaves you nodding your head in delight. Though this seems a seemingly difficult tight rope to walk, Single Action adroitly maneuvers you through these two extremes in a smooth and pleasurable listening experience. Life is after all composed of both introspective moments of timelessness and hectic, fast-passed moments of fear.

SIngle Action — Bus Bass Mix

I had heard in my travels that Columbus had a thriving Drum & Bass/jungle scene at one point, and I was curious and wanted to know what this genre was all about. Its one of the stories I am going to be exploring as I continue to interview people. Yet, before last week, I only had a vague idea of what these genres were. I just knew they were foundational steps in the evolution of bass in late 1990’s.

Luckily, we have seen a resurgence of jungle/drum & bass and the rise of juke in Columbus. We only need to look to the production/live shows of Burgle, the continual production and mix work of scene legend sKewn, Hawstyle‘s Bus Bass Show on WCRS  (Tuesdays at 10 pm), and the work of numerous others to see how these genres live on and continually mutate and evolve. Some of these people have been playing with the intersection of drum & Bass and techno (9star), and Drum & Bass/Jungle/ Trip-Hop (IDIOM/DJ Scooter), while others have sought applications to the dubstep genre.

Regardless of their treatment, there certainly has been a resurgence of these sounds in the old school and in the newer generation of DJs coming up, as both generations look to draw on these sounds to find new means of expression. Today, I would like to highlight this original sKewn has up’d on his bandcamp page called “Circling”, because it exemplifies how jungle can be taken in really interesting, melodic directions.

If the dark visuals and the other-worldly remixes present in this video don’t get you amped then I just don’t know what will. Well, maybe a few words from me will help. This video captures the world of roeVy incredibly well, but what is more interesting is these artists takes on the roeVy sound. Specifically, I am interested in Dunjinz track because he is one of OUR own. The other remixes are obviously choice, as they are from big hitters across the techno and electro landscape, but I would be going outside my core mission if I did not focus on the creative reinterpretation Dunjinz provides on this track.

Dunjinz points out that his remix of “Raum” is emblematic of his shift in music production. If this is the case then I am excited to see what this guy has in store for us. I love this sound, as it connects to his albion and anowara sound, but is continually connecting to the currents of newer Berlin techno. His use of silence, drops, and pulsing rhythm is so on point and makes this reinterpretation of the original distinctively Dunjinz in its sound. Yet, he is still true to the dark, etheral nature of the roeVy sound. In this way, I see a beautiful connection between the roeVy and dunjinz sound. You don’t believe me? Check out the original “Raum”

The same anarchy and chaos that exudes in the original is present in both of these tracks. The same devotion to holding down Columbus’ dark, driving techno roots through a new sonic pallette is expressed. In this way, I see natural connections between this newer generation of producers and the current techno production work of the Old School of Columbus techno Producers FBK, Plural, Todd Sines, Body Release, Archetype. Both are devoted to radical experimentation in the synthesis of diverse sounds, which I find incredibly refreshing.

Need this ep now? Well, here is your opportunity! Its Right HERE. Go Get it NOW! Don’t hesitate, Don’t think. The economy and roeVy need you to consume this album immediately.

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