Sunday, August 01, 2004

august 2004 on decks

Here's what I have received this month on CD. Get me a copy of yours and we will have a listen and post a thought or three up here. Eventually, we may even create some sort of rating system or somthing. Until then, this is what's on the street this month!

AC - Muladhara (DownTempo)
contact: 666 Records

This is quite possibly the best DownTempo I have received, ever. Get your hands on this! It is the first of seven mixes from this internationally known DJ.
DSM - Alien Invasion (Hard Trance)
contact: Subterrania.nu

Good Stuff! I think he said that we was down for the party Essence from Minnesota or something.
Lunatik - Space Docker (Hard House)
contact: 519am.com

After having read Brent's Interview with him, I was anxious to hear him play. (Sorry if I'm wrong about the Hard House thing Lunatik, but.... it's definitely Bangin!)
Offtrack - Learn Your Lesson (Techno)
contact: Tamper Resistant Groove

In your face! Never a dissappointing beat with Offtrack. Of course... I'm kind of partial to Techno anyway.

solaris august 2004 techno

photo by todd ~ Since Brent was rather busy this month and thought it was more important to let a dentist gouge out his wisdom teeth, I thought it might be appropriate for me to pick up the slack a little and honor his column idea with some good bangin Techno tracks. Needing some quick answers, I turned to one of our sponsored DJs, Solaris to see if he could throw a few tracks our way. Without further adieu, here's some tracks to take to the dentist chair with you.

CORACHI - PANIC ATTACK - CORACHI7 Something for everyone here, The Rage is definitely bangin’ for the true headz, while the B side has more of a trancy / downtempo and a minimal track. Very versatile and all round good fun.

ORION - DANILO VIGORITTO & D SQUILLACE - ORION005 Very good builder here, some nice sweeps, something we all need to help pick up the pace, or slow it to a chill night on the town.

HYDRAULIX - D.A.V.E. THE DRUMMER & PATTRIX - HYDRAULIX25 Nice mix of techno with the old school flavor. Leave it to D.A.V.E. to pull this one out for a flashback. Definitely worth the trip down memory lane.

HYDRAULIX – VARIOUS - HYDRAULIX24 Here is a nice filler for you, keep an eye out for the B side. Alex has some wicked tricks up his sleeves. Keeps you guessing, your ears perky, and your head bobbing.

GLITCH - ALEX CALVER - GLITCH004 Keep your ears open, alex has brought it back to the days of the early RAW label. This gritty and dirty driver would leave any mom quivering.

HIGHBALL - DJ TOCADISCO - HIGHBALL021 This one sounds like I like to feel when dancing all out. Who needs anything else when you have drivers like this?

CARNAGE - SVEN WITTEKIND - CARNAGE001 Nothing hits home like putting on a track and feeling you teeth clench and your stomach turn for more of this gut wrenching sound. Whatever this guy killed to dig this out his head let me know I need some.

RACETRAX - STERLING MOSS & GUY MCAFFER - RACETRAX003 Guy does it again. It never fails to surprise me how one man can make things like this work so well. The surprise always comes when I think to myself that I would have never thought of placing this together. The bigger surprise is the fact that he made it work so well.

CARNAGE RECORDS - ANDREAS KREMER - CARNAGE04 Andreas is by far the king of the punchy bass. This is meant to kill the floor prime time. Be aware the crowd will be begging for more after you lay this one down.

CLUSTER RECORDS - SANDY WAREZ - CLUSTER64 Another stomper by Cluster. This has got it all! Funky and driving all at once. Its like Santa came by with a gift wrapped box off whoopass for all the bad little DJ’s.

rob lee

interview & photos by todd ~ Having not heard from my friend in a while, I thought that it might be time to sit down and chat with him about where he's been hiding and what he's been up to. I first heard Rob play quite a while back at some unremembered party at a time when he was playing more trancier, progressive house stuff, but recognized an innovator as soon as I heard him. He has progressed musically quite a bit since that time and is now exploring the depths of Tribal House.

You were born and raised in Albuquerque, NM. Is that where you first became involved in Electronic Music?

Yea, it was just that underground scene. Back then it was basically the same group of people. Everybody went to the same punk shows, hiphop shows, concerts... you know. I was real big in to Punk Rock as far as NoFX, Bad Religion and Pennywise, those types of bands and I was also real big into HipHop, like A Tribe Called Quest, mostly that East Coast sort of Underground HipHop sound. I really like that, along with FarSide and you know... just that feeling. It was the typical stuff every 14-15 year old was listening to growing up at that time.

I'm sure you've heard of DeepSky, well they were coming up then and there was a couple of places offering Electronic music and well... people invited you and you went and I was real big in to Break Dancing from the HipHop scene and so that's why we went. We went to go dance and have a good time and it was just about the party. Back then it really wasn't about "raves", or going out and getting trashed. It was just parties and you went and you had a good time and Electronic music was coming up, but it wasn't really ever seperated at that time into different scenes, like now. At least in Albuquerque it wasn't, because everything is so tight knit down.

I ended up meeting some DJs through all of this. This guy named Eric Holland. Him and his wife ended up working for my mom at their furniture shop and I met him at this this business casual dinner thing and we were talking and he told me he was a DJ and I got real interested in that and ended up hangin out with him and talking to him a lot more and going over to his house and he got me real in to playing records.

What did you start off playing out there?

I wasn't playing yet, but Eric, the guy that introduced me to a lot of this was into Goa, Trance and House. He played a little bit of DnB. He was an older guy with kids and he and everyone else were mostly just in to playing records. They just liked to play records. They weren't involved in any of the politcs or anything. They just like to have a good time. Like I said, it really wasn't a big issue for him, he just like to hear good music and have a good time and he turned me on to a lot of really good music, not just electronica.

What was the first rave that you played?

I think it would be A Momentary Lapse of Time in Springfield, in March of 2000 and I helped throw the party with some friends. I played, though it was like real late in the night sometime. I didn't do very good at all. I look back on that and think... Oh God how embarrassing to think about to talk about.

But after that, I started getting gigs and I played a party named Violated up here in KC and got in with this group of people. I met SVS, who wasn't SVS at the time, but yea... I met Mike and came up here and lived with him for quite a while and just started getting involved. I worked for 180 Records when they were open, for DJ True. He worked there and just become more and more involved. From there it kind of took off. It happened pretty rapidly too.

Where did you pull the name from, DJ RobLee?

Well, when you're young and your mom yells at you, it's almost always by your first and second name. You know, like, "Robert Lee, Go Clean Your Room." I've never been one to have a nickname. I just wanted to be myself and my last name is kind of a weird last name and Rob Lee kind of fit, so it's just what I used coming up. It's just my name. A lot of people change their names or change their style, but I know a lot about branding or marketing and it's almost always better to keep your same name. You don't change. I've seen DJs change their name and then end up having to start all over again because nobody knows who they are. People recognize your name, but don't know you personally, they look for your name.

Let's get to the real reason I wanted to sit down and talk with you for a minute though... We haven't seen that much of you in the DJ booth this year, what have you been up to? Let's start with style. What would you call your style now?

I play Tribal House, or Iberican house.

Iberican?

Yea.. It's a style derived the area of the Iberican pennisula, south of California. There's some super clubs down there and it's a great tourist attraction.

Do you mean, like the Baja area?

Yea, but there's a sound that comes from there and it's also based in South America. Tons of percussion, tons of horns. Not so much a latin feel, but definitely something different. It's not your typical house. I like house music, but... I used to play a lot of Trance and a lot of Progressive and there's a lot of Progressive Tribal that I'll play. There's a lot of deep chunky grungy dirty house that is really kind of chuggy and that's what I like about it. There's not a lot of cheese involved in it, there's not a lot of super epic breakdowns or anything. It's just straightforward and it's just house music.

One of my goals is to really bring different sounds to this area and bring differnt sounds to people's ears because I feel that not a lot of people in the midwest know what tribal house is. It's real big on the coast. It's big overseas, but it's not big in the midwest at all because not a lot of people play it out here. I think that's half the reason I like it so much is because not everyone is doing it out here.

One of my big influences for playing tribal house and going this direction was meeting up with Josh C. I met up with him two years ago. I met him at this huge outdoor party in South Dakota and we started talking records and he pulled out his box and I started digging through and I recognized all the producers. I recognized all the labels, but had never heard any of the tracks that he had and it was so different than anything that I had been playing, but it was all still in that same vein. We talked and I asked where he lived and it happens that he lived like 5 blocks down the street from me and I told him that we needed to hook up. He asked me about playing records and getting gigs and I told him Ok cool... I want to tag team with you and we did.

Do you have one mix on your web site that is The Prime Example of what your style is?

Sure... Actaully, it's a mix that I recently did for a radio show. You can download it from MoreDrums.com . It's a mix of Tech House, Deep House, Tribal House and Progressive House, but it's all got this dub feeling to it and that's where I'm at now. That's not where I was six months ago and that's not where I'll be six months from now, but it's following a path and I've never really jumped around, but always followed one steady path and I'm always searching for the farthest, weirdest record that just fucking bangs, that nobody else has.

Didn't you tell me something about a radio show?

Well, since I've started producing and since I've started kind of being a hermit and sitting in my basement a lot, I've met a lot of people online. I wanted to find people like Josh that like music like I do. I met some people out on the west coast, just through file-sharing and swapping tracks. I met a record label, Fiberline Audio, and they really liked what I had to offer and they wanted to hear some of my production and they picked up a track that I had written, a Progressive BreakBeat type of track and they really enjoyed it. I plan to continue to put out tracks through them, but they are a digital label, they don't press vinyl and they picked me up and put me on their roster and the A&R rep from there got me in contact with a guy from Brazil who recently moved to Florida to finish up college and start his DJ career and in this he wanted to start a radio show. He owns TunExposure.com and they do radio shows every night of the week and I sent him a mix and he said, "Great dude! When do you want to start?"

What else have you got going on?

I've got several tracks coming out, though I can't say any label names at this point. I have some thing that are ready to be pressed to vinyl and a lot of stuff that I've been passing around that people are really interested in. Josh is very much a part of that and a part of what I do and it's a little weird. I don't know where it's going, but it's going somewhere. You hit a roadblock and you just have to change perspective. There was a bit of frustartion for a couple of monhts and I didn't know how to handle not playing locally anymore, but I decided to take that focus and say screw it and go national. There's a so much wider audience and at this point, I"m back to square one where I'm going to play and make the music that I like and if other people like it, good. It's not about money. It's just about getting my music out there. In the end, yes... I would like to be doing this for a living...

That's kind of my take as well. From a different angle, it is about the money, because this is what you want to do and in order to do it and continue to do it successfully, you have to be compensated for it.

Sure, Sure.. but you can't make it about just the money because then you're back to that whole corporate monster thing and I just want to do what I want to do, not what somebody else wants me to do. There are many other producers out there that are a lot better than me that give me hints and tips and suggestions and that's all good, as long as I keep myself focused on what I want to do and not sacrifice what I am playing or what I am playing to please somebody else just to make a buck. I just want to be able to produce it and if people want it, they'll buy it. It's not the easiest route, or the best way to do it, in terms of trying to make a living at it, but I want to have a foundation. I want to have a solid foundation to set my own sound on. I think that will get me a lot farther in the long run than just trying to make a quick buck, turn it over and rise real fast. I want to take this slow. Three or four years on the local scene is good, but now I want to take the next 5 or 10 and build on it rather than just sitting in KC waiting for the next gig. I, as well as Josh have a lot of gigs lined up nationally that I really can't talk too much about now, as well as maybe an International gig or two.

I've never been outside of the country and I think it will be good. There are a lot of people that are interested, but I feel like I need to be putting out more and producing more. I'm still in the very early stages of what I'm trying to accomplish.

I do have a lot of big things are coming up though. I'm finally on a record label, doing my own radio show. I think those are just the beginning stage of bigger things. I'm finally starting to meet some of the people who's records I play, meet the lable owners. I'm finding my niche, but it takes time. It doesn't just happen in one day and I feel like I got a shot. I feel like I have something special and I can do what I want to do and I'm not scared to find out. I've put in 10 years and it's what I do. I still listen to everything, HipHOp, Punk and all that, but DJing isn't just a hobby for me anymore.

cquence

Interview by Phelyne ~ Photos by Phelyne & todd ~ It's time to bring to the table one of Kansas City's most beloved female djs, cQuence. This woman has been a key element in the local Kansas City underground scene and has continued to be an influence for the past 3+ years. She has been one of the people responsible for providing a free weekly DnB night (Wednesday Perk at The Cup and Saucer) for more than two years. On top of a successful weekly Dnb night, she has performed for hundreds of partygoers at several memorable events hosted in Kansas City and all across the Midwest. There is no denying cQuence has made a positive mark on Kansas City. Knowing she has a lot of great things to say about our culture, I decided to sit down and talk with her for a moment.

What musical influences have steered you in the direction of drum and bass?

I have been involved with music since I was 7. I started playing the school orchestra (violin) in elementary school. When I was 12, I started playing the guitar on my own. My Grandpa gave me this old raggedy acoustic guitar and I started buying tablature of my favorite bands, to teach myself. In Junior high school I joined the band and took on three instruments; drums, trombone, and clarinet (I love that teacher for letting me do that). In highschool I was listening to a lot of band's and underground hip hop. I think raves were my biggest influence that steered me in the direction of playing DnB. I used to go to all these parties and dance. Then one day it dawned on me that I would like to make that music.

It wasn't until I was 20 that I bought my first record. It was Dj Icey's : Drive/Disco Wavelength # 19. My passion didn't come for DnB until I was about 22. I started buying up all DnB I could get my hands on. My first influences back then were Peshay, Rob Playford, Aphrodite, 1.8.7., anything Hospital, anything on EZ Rollers. All the classics. At this point, as far as DnB goes, I'm really feeling the whole brazillian influences like Marky & XRS new CD, In Rotation. Oh yea and Makoto! That guy is amazing to me. His production by far has impressed me more than any other Dj / Producer. I think he's really inovative and clever in putting together trax that are inspirational, smart, and just all around good dance music. Now, my biggest influences are my hommies. You know, in Kansas City we have a lot of raw, unbridled talent. I am consistently amazed at what my friends are doing right now. Phelyne, Edw!n, Negro Sco, Mike Conway, Alaska, & DeepConnections. They have all been doing their own thing for quite sometime now and are coming out with some of the hottest production, lyrics, & music oriented concepts in KC! Cyantific is really inspirational. He's only 22 and makes trax for one of the most reputible Electronic Music Label, Hospital Recordings. I love Punk, Indie, HipHop and ElectroClash music! The Pixies are going to be here (Kansas City) in October 2004. I definitely plan on checking that show out. I still listen to a lot of music from my past like Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, RHCP, Smiths, Cure, Missy Elliot, My Bloddy Valentine, Thrill Kill Kult, FreeStylers, Beastie Boys, Tribe Called Quest, Wutang Clan, Dr. Dre, Tricky, Portishead, Tortise, Nirvana, Sublime, Fugees, Phish, Grateful Dead, Le Tigre, Bikini Kill, Digable Planets, Huggy Bear, BratMobile, Decendents, NOFX, Da Brat, Cranberries, N.W.A, Eazy E., Dj SwamP, Dj SHADOW, GWAR, Gun N Roses and a lot of 80's. I could go on forever. Other than that, I grab a lot of inspiration from mother earth and all the other balancing energies within our universe.

You have lived in many different areas in the country througout your life. What have you gained musically from being in so many different places?

Hmmm. Tough one. I don't know. I have been involved in a variety of different musical scene's growing up all over the states. I suppose if I have gained anything, it's that diversity is key in what I want to do as an arstist. I've never been able to pin down my taste in music. And I don't want to have to, either. It's more fun to just go with the flow and play whatever. As a Dj I tend to stick with breakbeats of some sort. Usually geared towards DnB. But even then I would'nt want to play just hardcore, or atmospheric, or ragga, or jazzy. I want to play it all, if I can figure it out. That's why I play so many instrument's. I need variety. Lately I have been buying up alot of 80's record's.

Being a major influence in the Kansas City and the midwest region, what positive things do you have to say about this region that is unique from other areas you have been?

Well one, that you dont have to live in some huge metropolis to survive as an artist. I mean, I dont think I am making a living off of Djing at this point, but I am compensated enough to keep on doing with what I am doing. I've lived in Dallas, TX for 4 years and though the parties out there are bigger as far as headliners go, and of course head count, I enjoy the KC scene much better. It is smaller and I think that allows the average Dj to be able to network a lot better. Whereas in bigger cities, if you don't already know peeps, you're a nobody a lot longer. The Midwest has a lot to offer anyone who's hungry enough to go get it. As a consumer of the music/culture and as an artist. There really is a little bit of everything you could want. From electronic to punk to rock to ganstah rap to emo to folk to country to indie to tejano to whatever!! I mean, I have never been starved for good music out here. It is here. Now whether or not it's always appreciated is another subject, but yeah, I love being a part of a scene that has room to grow. That means I can be a part of helping this scene grow. And so can anyone who really wants to be involved.

What do you currently feel is the state of the entire underground community in Kansas City and what do you feel the immediate future will bring to the forefront?

I cant speak for the entire scene. I do feel good energy within the KC underground scene. I have been a part of a lot of really good events here in KC, in the last 2 yrs. The Cup & Saucer will always be a resource to anyone who wants to take advantage of that platform. Just get eMail me (cquence808@yahoo.com) and forward me a demo and I will get you a spot . I know SpinStyles has some aspiring ideas about moving the KC scene towards a more educated consumer. DeepFix Records does their thing every Friday night at KabaL with regional and national House headliners. Joe Jackson is doing great thing's for underground hip hop and has been for the last few year's, very succesfully. There are a lot of promoters out here with great ideas and are currently working very hard to bring the KC electronic/underground music scene to a massively consumed level. More than anything, I can only hope that KC takes advantage of it. If your into this music then stand behind it. Dont build fences. Build doors. That can be achieved simply by supporting the scene we actually do have here.

Where do you see yourself musically in 5 years?

Hopefully TRL : )

jason buss

interview by Brent Crampton ~ What’s the most overlooked aspect when a promoter throws an event? Is it the lights? Sound? Air Conditioning? Well, while we have all been to our fair show of sweaty parties, the most often overlooked aspect of a party is the dj booth! How often have you walked into a party with lasers flashing all across the room with thick smoke highlighting their presence and a thick wall of bass thumping your chest? As you make your way to the source of the esoteric beat, you find thousand dollar equipment resting on a fold out table! Is there something wrong with this?

Well Jason Buss, a humble dj out of Mason City, Iowa, thinks so. While he’s not dj’ing deep house and messing around on his coveted macintosh computer, you can find him in his basement perfecting his craftmanship in building the perfect deckstand. Buss has began the company, Foundation Deckstand (http://www.foundationdeckstands.com), to fill in the need for dj’s and promoters to have a quality piece of furniture to set their much appreciated dj equipment onto.

What is this company and what service do you provide?

The company name is Foundation Deckstands. It is a startup that is concentrating on custom designed DJ Tables, or better known as Deckstands. I am pretty much the sole person behind this right now. The service idea behind my company is to work with the promoter, the club owner and/or the DJ to create a custom designed deckstand that will suit their needs in terms of equipment, strength and portability.

Where did you get the idea and motivation to do this company?

The idea came to me a few years ago in the many apartments I lived in in San Diego. I was tired of trading eating space for table space, or the similar places we all have been known to setup our gear on. I was limited in the aspects of places to build my ideas in those small apartments, so the idea was put on the backburner for future consideration. After moving to Iowa and gaining the added space of a basement and being able to build a full fledged workshop, I now have the space needed to get these designs out of my head, and into actual working pieces. My motivation and energy behind this idea and company is the fact this is one of the most neglected aspects surrounding our gear and DJs at events. Slap a few cinderblocks and a sheet of plywood together and your good... NOT. My Thinking is why not move forward with that, why not invest in a secure housing that can not only provide a custom solution for keeping your gear stable and more organized, but also more presentable and reusable.

Why should someone buy your product?

I try to set my mission in a different direction than those companies I previously mentioned. I think the reason someone should, and would entertain the idea of getting a deckstand through me is the complete customization available. I am pretty much limited by the creativity of my customers ideas along with the limits of the materials being used. For instance, I am now entertaining designs for a production company on the east coast that is made entirely out of acrylic materials. The end results are pretty much up to the design creativity and the requirements for the Deckstand.

When will the company be fully operational?

Im pretty much in the holding status ready to hit the tarmac and turn up the engines and fly away with this company. Foundation sponsored a pre-party for the Coachella Valley Music Festival in Palm Desert, CA earlier this year, which was great promotions for the idea on the west coast. And I am working on building a few more designs to take to WMC next year to showcase in front of the majority what I can offer. The next 12 months are going to be hard on my router and table saw...

So what's your story in a few sentences? You grew up where, moved to cali, started djing, ect.

The cliff-noted version of me... Here goes, mind the run-on sentences. Highschool in Clearwater, FL. Introduced to the Rave sounds in the underground spots of Tampa, Ybor and Orlando in the early 90's. The Navy brought me to San Diego in '93 where I quickly fell into the up and coming spots in that beautifull city, like the RomperRoom and Hedonisim. The same old "got decks and got records" story as many, cause of the love, the ability to share. Ended my relationship with the Navy, but stayed out in Southern California for a few more years experiencing the highlight of the late 90's and early 2k parties that set the tone for this millenium. Iowa called me to it with a chance to slow down my life, reboot and restart, get closer to family that I had missed and more importantly, persue interests like these on a more controllable scale. I thought I was coming here to slow down... But I have yet to hit a speed bump, just a few snow banks...

Now you have a weekly at Lorado's Bar every thursday night in Mason City.

Yeah, the weekly pretty much saves me of my daily grind job during the week here. Almost 2 years ago my partner Adam Tyler and I landed a weekly at a long time favorite bar/resturaunt here in town. They never had the chance to listen to anything other than radio played electronica until we started. We ended up having a good following and actually some regulars requesting songs they had heard us play before. It was a great feeling. the weekly had to stop for a little bit a year ago due to the request of the owner. Recently she came into contact with me and invited me back to continue what we had started so long ago. Its a great way to get DJs and Live PA's up from all over the state and regional locations to this weekly to show those interested in this type of musical style, that there is alot of different ways for it to be presented and a whole quiver full of people like them, interested in it as well.

Anything else the people should know?

Foundation is going to be supporting a local event in the midwest in the next month. Blueshift in WI the weekend of August 6th. Make sure to stop by the Ubersonic (Iowa) tent and check out my latest design which you can see a picture of on the site as soon as I get pictures of the build up. This design in almost complete and is being made for the winner of a drawing held late last year.

datasphere kings

by Brent Crampton ~ photos by John Daminato & Curt King ~ As I sat in a Chicago apartment listening to Derrick Carter in a DVD describe his experience being a dj, it caught my attention. All dj’s, whether big or small, had to start from the same point. Here the pop-star of the underground house scene, Derrick Carter, was describing his first gigs with empty rooms and shoddy sound systems.

Then opening up the entertainment section in “Newcity” mad and seeing Vikter Duplaix, Colette, Jazzanova, D:Fuse, Johnny Fiasco and Diz all playing in the same week, I realized that Chicago will have more talent play in one week than what Omaha will see in two years! “John, I’m loving it up here in Chicago - I wanna move up here” I exclaim. John replies, “the last thing Chicago needs is one more house dj.” “But John, you have so much talent up here it’s amazing.” He looks over at me as the draining voice of Little Louie Vega is in the background from the tv - “yeah Brent, there is allot of talent here - but they are also your competition.”

John turns back in the direction of the tv, but his glance is more along the lines of a blank stare that occurs when one’s mind is lost in his own thoughts.

It’s the struggle of a dj. John Daminato’s story is about his passion as an upcoming producer, and his love for the music expressed through dj’ing. It’s a story about how to set apart one self from the rest and “make it” in the dog eat dog world of the music industry in Chicago.

Curt King, aka Datasphere - John’s roommate and production partner said, “There are hundreds of dj’s and producers here, so the competition is fierce. Most high profile producers and/or dj’s travel overseas and abroad just to ‘make it.’”

When I first met Datasphere, I was dj’ing at one of John’s weeklies at the spanish tapas bar, La Taberna, on 3358 N. Ashland Ave. Without knowing who Datasphere was, he walked up to me and told me to play track 4 from the cd he just handed me. From my experience with that kind of thing in the past, I was pretty reluctant to grant his request figuring that the song was some 80’s throwback. I guess I should have known better because I was in Chicago, and instead of some nostalgic anthem, I got a bumpin’ house track produced by none other than Datasphere himself. Needless to say I bounced the other tracks on the cd that night too.

Together these two aspiring producers “bounce ideas off one another and generally ‘police’ each other’s work” according to Datasphere. From John’s over zealous ambition to make a name in the industry, and Datasphere’s history as being a drummer in various rock bands, the two work well together to bring a perspective on each other’s tracks.

For John, tech house is his main passion which stems from his roots in the Chicago rave scene. “I was just about to make it in the rave scene, and then it all fell apart.” His tracks have tribal, dark, heavy baseline element to it. Often times his production is different than the deeper toned music you’ll hear him play out.

With John’s musical influence in punk, house never really caught his ear until his first party in 96’. He became captivated by the rave scene and all its endeavors “and it changed my whole life . . . I started to dance allot . . . I never could do that before.” Two years later he moved into the city with roommates Brandon Hacker and Mark Gvero, aka Dj Napalm. They had a full on studio and were throwing after hour parties back in the infamous days when they were legal. John was roommates with Brandon Hacker at the time who was a “vip clubber.” Together, they would throw countless after hours parties and made some money while doing it. In one occasion, “these two people met at my after hours and later got married.”

With his first club experience, “I went to Crobar, I said to myself ‘whoa’, a rave with strippers!” Being 22 at the time, he was going by Dj Bunny, and his first club gig was at Voyeur. Soon after, he moved out of the loft, broke off all music connections to the industry and invested his money in trading downtown. “At the age of 22, I was way ahead of my time. Playing clubs, trading, throwing successful after hours, and within 8 months it all crashed. . . I went from the top to the bottom, and I’m slowly building my way back up to here.”

At this point John drowned himself in trading bonds while music took a backseat. With the hectic lifestyle of working for the Chicago Board of Trade, John soon longed for the pursuit of house music once more and eventually saved up his money, quit his job, and is now dj’ing and producing full time.

Since then he has refined his website, visited the Miami Winter Music Conference, signed an ep with the record label Esntion coming out sometime in the next 6 months, and most of all, John has been learning the tricks of the trade to the vast and complicated world of producing.

John essentially takes on the philosophy of being a producer with a paintbrush. “I’m all about getting ideas that I want to communicate through sound. . . If you make tracks, you’re just using sound as color.” When asked what gives him motivation to continue music after pursuing and distinguishing a successful career in the Chicago Board of Trade, John replies “I want to be able to control my own destiny versus having a corporation decide my future.”

While John was seduced by house music from the Chicago rave scene, his production partner, Datasphere, was fortunate enough to have grown up with music. “I have always been around music my whole life” says Datasphere. “Starting at a young age listening to all my father’s records to being around musicians in the family that would have ‘jam sessions’ at the family get togethers and holidays.” From playing acoustic guitar, saxophone and finally settling on a drum set while playing in hard rock and heavy metal bands. His motivation came to peruse a career in music when he “worked on a local fanzine . . . and got to meet all sorts of rock stars and people in the music industry. This is what made the light bulb go off inside that I would like to be involved in the music business somehow.”

Having grown up in Southern Indiana, in 96’ Datasphere moved to Chicago and was introduced to the world of electronic music. He first connected with the sounds of drum and bass because of the “heavy drumming I was accustomed to with speed metal.” But considering that Chicago is the house capitol of the world, his musical tastes soon turned towards the thumpin’ four-to-the-floor beat. “Even though I like all styles of original/quality music, when you go out to a club or event in Chitown, it’s all house music!” According to Datasphere, the Chicago scene has changed drastically since he has moved. “There used to be actual raves and underground parties and the famous afterhours parties. These are all pretty much a thing of the past and the scene has been pushed into the modern club.”

With his history in drumming, Datasphere has a unique advantage over the competition in producing. “Most producers use loops . . . and focus their attention on synths, vocals or other aspects of production. I can dig deep in there and add all those little nuances a real drummer might do while playing live.” Datasphere comments on the vast amount “stale” music being put out on labels these days with the availability of cheap equipment.

With talks going on with Datasphere and John to start a digital-only label, things look good for these two aspiring producers. “We are currently shopping a handful of tracks around that will soon make a debut EP or several 12” singles.”

For more information on these two aspiring producers, please visit JDaminato.com and BroadJam.com.

return of the rave festival

by BPositive ~ Photos by Kourtney Anderson ~ Since time immemorial, high summer has been the time when the tribe gathers, usually at a different cave every year. We hunt and store up extra supplies throughout the spring so that we can afford the long trip to the gathering and all the time missed from providing for our food and shelter for the next winter. This year’s gathering is only seven hours journey from our cave in an area that is full of forests, bountiful wildlife and is near the mighty Mother of all rivers. Many of our tribe are making the journey. There should be a large turnout and many new faces. First, however, we must assemble our supplies, cross the wide prairie and somehow cross the Mother river.

When we get there, our tribe will participate in the many dances celebrating the great Earth Mother. Many great musicians will come from far-flung places playing strange and scintillating music that will hypnotize and enrapture the dancers. We will wander among the campsites and exchange news with people from other tribes and other places. It will be a gathering to remember. . . .

I shake my head to clear this vision of our prehistoric past from my mind as my SUV turns into the gravel drive in front of the Shawnee Cave Amphitheater, the setting of this year’s Caveman Experience outdoor rave festival. Our group from Kansas City has arrived. It has been a long drive spanning the “great prairies” of Missouri, passing through St. Louis and crossing the mighty Mississippi. We endured unquenchable sun and heat, hunger and an unrelenting rainstorm to get here. Our provisions would barely fit inside the rented SUV. The list of items we forgot is weighing heavily on us. But, we are here and eager to meet the other members of our tribe . . . errr, long lost friends and people from other cities.

Outdoor rave festivals used to be a popular and highly anticipated element of summer. We used to look forward all year to Family Affair over the Fourth of July weekend, Interstellar Outback/Dreamfest over Labor Day (if I remember right), and dozens of other, smaller outdoor camping events all summer long. But, since the collapse of the Midwestern rave scene several years ago, there haven’t been any with a lineup that would attract people from a multi-state area -- until Caveman.

Evidently, Caveman had been held last year, too, but not many people heard of it outside of the St. Louis area. This year, as I understand it, international Techno producer Woody McBride got involved and gathered together what appears to be a consortium of rave promotion crews from across the central Midwest -- listed as Intergrüv Networks, Middle School Productions & The Genius of Fun -- to provide musical talent and manpower enough to pull off a larger event.

These events are usually far away from any single city at some large outdoor venue like a ski resort, or outdoor amphitheater that normally caters to the biker crowd and Blues festivals. Most people come prepared to camp, though you can’t always be assured of any modern camping amenities like running water or electricity. The Caveman event offered no running water for either washing or drinking, and no car camping. But, if you’re an experienced camper, or even a thinking member of society, how hard is it to buy a couple two-gallon jugs of water at the store and come prepared for a safe and fun time?

The beauty of these outdoor festivals is how the experience of getting back to nature creates a completely different experience from the raves and club nights you can go to back at home. By the nature of being so far from home, everyone is from out of town. There are no cliques; everyone is a potential new friend. The spirit of adventure and act of having to live in primitive conditions apparently brings out the best in people. Everyone is generous to a fault in sharing their food, drink and news from their part of the world. With multiple stages and multiple promoters participating, you can expect to be exposed to a lot of really good up-and-coming regional level talent. Not to mention getting to learn other styles of dancing from the many good dancers representing cities as far away as 8-10 hours (sometimes more!). It is all so reminiscent of the tribal gatherings our prehistoric ancestors attended that I have to think there might be something instinctual that compels people to organize and attend these events.

Despite our best efforts to arrive before dark, we did not. It is full dark and the venue is covered in dense trees with little electric light. Woody McBride and a tribe of his co-organizers and staff are manning the entrance. We check in, get our wristbands and marvel at the sight of hundreds of cars and people who are already there. With no official music line-up advertised for Friday night, I expected maybe a couple hundred other people and a few quiet camp sites where we could meet up with our St. Louis friends and have a few drinks before quietly drifting off to a restful night’s sleep.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. There had to be well over 1,000 people on site already. The front parking lot was full and they were already parking people in a further lot that was a much longer walk to the front gate.

When we got inside the venue, we could see that all the good campsites were already taken, too. And, finding our friends was going to be next to impossible. Still, we persevered. In the name of finding a porta-pottie and wanting to see the revered cave after which the event had been named, we headed down the long gravel road towards the main stage. As we got closer, we could hear there was full-on music coming from down there. It sounded really good, but the road got steeper and steeper and pretty soon we were dreading the climb back up!

As we turned one last corner, we could see spread out in front of us a huge seven- or eight-story tall limestone cliff. Underneath it, the gaping mouth of the cave was large enough to fit multiple semi-trucks into it parked end-to-end. Above it was the dark edge of trees and forest clinging to the cliff, and the dark canopy of velvety sky with a thousand glittering stars sparkling like diamonds.

A couple hundred souls were already dancing to the strains of a DJ whose name escapes me. Just then, by some miracle, we spied one of our friends and fellow campers from St. Louis who guided us back up the steep climb to the top and on to where our friends had saved us enough room to pitch our tents.

Fortunately, we had been warned in advance that there would be no driving in to your campsite. We had a cooler with wheels and a luggage dolly with which to haul our gear. Just as the dolly had tipped over for the second time, along came some enterprising soul on a golf cart and for $5, he hauled our stuff right to our “doorstep.”

The camp ground was quieting down by the time we finished setting up, so we decided to make it an easy night and just had a few beers to relax and caught up on the news from St. Louis with our friends. But, all around us were the lights from hundreds of campsites and the rustles and murmurs of many people doing the same.

The weather is always a factor in how enjoyable these types of events are. The weather for Caveman was much cooler than could rightly be expected in mid-July. However, Saturday the sun got going early and it felt awfully hot in the humid air. We spent most of our energy moving our chairs every few minutes in order to stay in what little shade our friend’s portable awning provided. The rest of the afternoon was spent napping, mixing vodka/tonics with lime and walking around checking out the music at the various stages. Some progressive trance and house on one of the side stages in the afternoon had me dancing for a couple hours despite the sweat that was running down my back and soaking my hair.

While on one of these walks around the venue, a face materialized in the crowd and proved to be my friend Darian from Iowa whom I hadn’t seen since another camping rave several summers ago and had lost touch with. The look on her face as she recognized me too was priceless! A later reunion with the rest of her Iowa crew was one of the highlights of the whole weekend.

A steady stream of new arrivals was carrying camping gear down the gravel road all afternoon. Lord knows where they found a place to pitch their tents. By morning, there wasn’t a four-foot strip of grass anywhere. People had squeezed tents in every nook and cranny. A great way to make new friends!

It was great to see so many people from Kansas City and parts of western Kansas. I also met people from about six other states. Being only about two hours from St. Louis, there was quite a large turnout from that fine city, as well as a surprising number of locals.

As the sun set, I ran into a chef friend of mine from St. Louis and was treated to a free gourmet dinner cooked on his little portable grill. Everyone else seemed to be cooking and preparing for the night ahead, too. A little nap took me to 10:00 pm and the night had begun! The one cloud on the horizon was the unfortunate placement of the two House headliners, Terry Mullan and Trevor Lamont, at the end of the lineup, well after sunrise. I could pretty much guarantee that even with a nap, I wasn’t going to be awake when those two came on.

We spent most of the early night at the main stage. Words can hardly describe the unearthly vision that was that cave when it was covered with the flickering lights and trippy visuals provided by the Electric Lantern light show. This proved to be the same hippy guy who used to do the visuals for all the raves in Des Moines, Iowa, back in the early ’90s. It was good to see him still doing his thing! And, those were the perfect visuals for projecting onto a rock wall and cave. Nigel Richards came on about this time and played what proved to be the hardest, most banging set I’ve ever heard him play. It wasn’t grabbing us much, so we headed back up the hill to check out the music at the other six stages.

Some good tech house at the stage at the top of the hill caught our attention. It turned out to be a DJ called Nnothing from Iowa. He served up some of the most interesting and slamming house and techno I’ve heard in ages. Definitely book this guy if you are looking for someone with impeccable taste in music and who will challenge your mind as well as your dance moves.

Somehow we ended up at the main stage again for the end of Diesel Boy and the beginning of Grooverider. If you liked Drum and Bass it was your night. Two international DJs playing your music in a spectacular cave setting. Unfortunately, to my uneducated DnB ears, they both seemed to play a very similar style of Drum and Bass. About an hour of that was enough for me. I was wishing that the organizers would have separated the two jungle sets with some other set to give us non-junglists some time entertainment during the main hours of the night

Astroboy played a truly memorable set around midnight and then the tag-team House set by St. Louis DJs Trevor Matthews and Don Tinsley later just blew my mind. Trevor and Don play some sick, deep melodic house that combines the best of Chicago and West Coast House. All three of these guys are easily some of the best House DJs I’ve ever heard in the region, if not nationally. Trevor and Don’s set had me dancing so hard, it almost made the seven-hour drive worth it all by itself.

I will never know whether Terry Mullan showed up or Trevor Lamont played one of his famous morning House sets that used to keep us all jacking until well after sunrise at Midwestern parties in days gone by. Maybe one of you readers can post something in the forums and fill us in. The worst thing was pooping out just as Christopher Lawrence was about to go on. I can imagine how sweet his brand of trance must have sounded coming out of that cave.

The next morning people were packing up pretty early to beat the heat. We pulled out before noon and beat a quick path back to our A/C in KC before the lack of sleep caught up with us and made driving too hard.

Overall, the party was well organized. There were a couple hours of consternation when all of the porta-potties were literally full to overflowing and we pictured what the woods were going to look like in the morning after thousands of raver kids used them for a toilet. But, then, magically, there was the truck to empty them and all was well. More porta-potties would definitely be a must if this event is held again.

The venue was incredible. I would definitely go back. Even the daunting hill to the main stage couldn’t keep me away. The cave does indeed make a natural amphitheater and the sound quality was exceptional. Hard to know whether it was hard for the sound people to EQ, but the sound was some of the best I have heard in years. One suggestion for any future events there, consider renting a large water truck and providing running water to at least wash in even if it‘s not drinkable.

I mightily wished there could have been more House or at least that the lineup could have offered a progression from slower and less hard music to the harder and darker stuff as the night wore on. House is just what I think of when I think of summer camping events. But, I have to remember other people think of hard techno events like Further and Even Further when they think of camping raves. If you are one of those people, you probably loved the music at Caveman.

All in all, a great party! I’m glad I got to dance outdoors under the velvet sky at Caveman and I’m glad I got to see that incredible cave and meet all the cool people I met from all over the Midwest. I’m especially glad that two of my friends from St. Louis who have never been to a rave before could experience a real outdoor rave in all its glory. Hopefully, this is only the start of more outdoor rave festivals to come and not the last gasp of a lost art form and culture!

august 2004 editor note

The cover this month is a photo that Kourtney took while at the Caveman Experience 2. Now that's a real caveman... hehe. The photo to the right, Sherri took while we were on vacation in the Rockies at the end of July. It was friggin cold camping up there. I think it got down to 40 one night. I was wearing my stocking cap on my head like that kid on Fat Albert, down over my eyes and nose. Ahhh, but Colorado Rocky Mountain High. It doesn't get much better. I did go through and put those photos up in a gallery onhere, for a little while, so have a look, post a comment or three and let me know what you think. The Rocky Mountains really are fabulous and if Teddy Roosevelt were still alive I'd give him a big ole' kiss for preserving these lands. If you ever get a chance, definitely go see. It's something you'll never forget.

Anyhow... This month was kind of slim. I have been rather busy with other projects, but I did get out here and there. I played out again at Chakra, which was a lot of fun and I will be returning there in mid-August sometime for a Thursday night. I think the 13th? Speaking of playing. I'll be playing out again at Digital Playground on Aug 6th too. It should be a really fun time!

I need to rant just for a minute though. I stuck around KC for their 4th of July this year and was utterly disappointed. The organizers of that event should be ashamed of theirselves. Those fireworks on the the night of the 4th were PATHETIC! What a waste of my time and OUR tax dollars. I could have stayed in Gladstone and got a better show than that! Just pathetic. I would really be interested in knowing exactly how much they paid for that crap. Kay Barnes really needs to be asking some questions about where and how money was spent on this whole thing. I think somebody went home with some of it in their pocket. And charging to get in to the Air Show? Ugh... whatever... The Air Show the week before at Whiteman AFB was FREE! Just about every Air Show in the area for this month was FREE! The funny part. They don't pay for the venue. They own it. However, they do charge the vendors and now they charge the patrons. Where's all this money going? More questions for Kay to be asking, but she won't.
</end rant>

Back to what's relevant though. Kabal finally re-opened their basement and the dance floor is definteily bigger and looks really great. It's not completely done. They still have some final touches to add, but things are bangin along down there again and the basement at Kabal is now better than ever.

This month's issue is a little slim though. It's vacation month. Everybody is taking that last deep breath before going back to school and work and all the other things that keep our lives entertaining. There is a lot of good shows coming up though. Keep your eyes on the calendar. There are definitely some good times ahead for those that want to really party outside of the Club, as well as some interesting things planned for the clubs around town.

Until Next Time!
PEACE!
& carrots please...

~phocas~

august 2004 issue