Tuesday, February 01, 2005

glenn okada on decks

forward by brent crampton ~ photo by george meyer ~ With his set taking a progressive house feel, it starts out deep and melodic while gradually taking the listener on a climax of emotion and sophistication. Overall, the mix is ideal for car listening and it has been getting rave reviews all the way from London to Tokyo.

Ask those in the know, and you will be so advised: Glenn Okada is one of the most technically sound DJ's in the Midwest region. Superior mixing skills, creative transitions, and top-flight track selection have placed him among the Midwestern region's elite, and lent themselves to the rise of area's progressive house movement. A transplant from Orlando, Florida, Glenn's 1993 immersion into the dance scene brought him to the filled floors of The Edge, and the now legendary Club at Firestone, then ranked amongst the world's best. There, Glenn fell in love with a music that he himself now twists and presents along the front lines of the genre. Glenn has been spotted performing alongside a portion of the upper echelon of world talent, such as Carl Craig, Keoki, Richard "Humpty" Vision, Christopher Lawrence, Bad Boy Bill, DJ Dan, Andy Hughes, Ed Real, Lange, and Pulser.

Glenn took a minute to list his track selection below and explain his philosophy behind the mix. Read on and take a leap inside his criteria of track selection!




Distance – Desire [Blaq Velvet]

I decided to start the set off with this particular track for obvious reasons. I believe a set should have an effective introduction. “Desire” starts off with some beautifully sexy sounds that really sets the mood. It’s a bit mysterious….

Osamu M. – Smokey Forest (Submerge Mix) [Womb]

“Smokey Forest” is produced by one of my favorite artists at the moment, Osamu M. I wanted to find a track that not only mixed well with the previous track, but also carried the same mysterious vibe. I’m not one for erratic changes going from one track to another. This track fit perfectly….

Hawaii – Improvize Your Rhythm [Unsigned]

This next track elevated the mood of the set just a touch while adding a bit of seriousness to it. In my view, it’s a bit more dance oriented but still more of a “listening” track. I think the male spoken word vocals really added to the track…

Darkama – Focal Point Blur (Chris Micali Mix) [Blueprint Recordings]

When I record a set, I believe that the flow is very important. I enjoy mixing in key for two or three tracks, then I’ll change it up. This really makes for seamless mixing while progressing the set into new territory. “Focal Point Blur” had a long introduction and I was able to mix for about three and a half minutes or so. This track also kept the same feeling as the previous one, which is why I used it…

Subsky – First Day [Deep Focus]

“First Day” is still of the progressive genre, but it has some trancey elements to it. I decided to use it since I feel that it added a happier, more epic vibe to the set with a gorgeous horn, not something normally heard in this type of music…

Space Manouevers – Quadrant 4 (Dousk Remix) [Lost Language]

Space Manouevers is also known as John Graham & Quivver. He made a great choice by having Dousk do the remix. At present, Dousk is my favorite producer. He hails from Greece and it seems that just about everything he does is absolutely perfect. This track definitely stepped it up a bit. I wanted to use a track that did just that. “Quadrant 4” features some very spacey sounds that really redirected the set into a different direction. I was lucky to score this track before it was even released…

Tilt – 12 (Dousk Remix) [Lost Language]

I’ve been a huge Tilt fan since 1994. They’ve always been at the forefront of the scene. I’ve been around long enough to witness their evolution and I find it exciting. “12” was long anticipated and I was once again able to obtain this before its official release. Remixed by Dousk, this track continued that spacey vibe that “Quadrant 4” had unleashed…

Dominic Plaza – Sounds Rushing (David West Mix) [Unknown]

I absolutely love this track. It blended perfectly with “12” while adding some intensity to the set. The female vocals are lush and pretty. It definitely has a trancey feel to it without being over the top or cheesy. I liked the “electronic xylophone” sound used in this track…

Madoka – Afterburner (Max Graham Remix) [Private Reality]

In my opinion, “Afterburner” is the track that really brought the set to a climax with its tough bassline and piercing synths. To me, it’s very introspective and futuristic. It has a great combination of melody and energy…

Critical 7 – Lost (Descent Remix) [Lost Language]

It seems that Lost Language can’t go wrong. The third track from this label on the set, “Lost” elevates the set one final time, but does away with any melody. It’s a serious track that doesn’t play around. I used it because I wanted the listener to want more once the set was over. Also, it’s in stark contrast to how the set actually started off. Where you end up has nothing to do with where you began.

x-pansion tour

premier artists group ~ These world renowned turntablists, formerly known as the X-Men, officially became the X-ecutioners when they made the leap from battle-DJs to recording artists in their own right. The NYC natives started and have led a revolution in DJ precision, showing the world that the turntable is indeed a musical instrument. Possibly the first all DJ band ever, they have continuously dazzled listeners and viewers alike with their unbelievable hand prowess. These New York natives, featured in the underground cult movie "Scratch" (Doug Prey/Scratch Worldwide Media) can count themselves among a select handful of DJs (including their west coast peers the now defunct Invisibl Skratch Piklz) who spearheaded the turntablist movement, by taking the classic hip-hop techniques of mixing and cutting into a whole new realm of musical improvisation.

Founded in 1989 with the intention of dethroning the reigning battle-DJs of the moment, Clark Kent's Supermen, the crew has seen several changes of membership since its inception. With the departure of Rob Swift in 2004 Roc Raida, the only remaining founding member of the original X-Men and Total Eclipse welcomed virtuoso turntablists DJ Boogie Blind (Pharoahe Monch/2000 Vestax World Champ) and DJ Precision (Beatdown World Champ 2002) as official members of the touring group. With its latest members, The X-ecutioners now restructure as a four-man DJ band again for the first time since the departure of Mista Sinista. Watch out for the X-ecutioners new stage show which will bring much needed excitement to the turntable genre touring in support of their "Revolutions" release and their upcoming "Xpansion" mix cd.

Over the years the X-ecutioner's have toured the world many times over and have opened up for Linkin Park and most recently toured with and opened up for Eminem on the "Anger Management" World Tour with Eminem, Ludicris, Xibit and Papa Roach.

solaris february 2005 techno

intro & photo by todd ~ Local KC Techno DJ, Solaris is back once again with his picks for some of the hardest and rawest Techno beats for the new year. Always looking for ways to push the limit of your Techno experience, check out these tracks and, courtesy of DJ Solaris.

OPEN SOURCE - JEFF AMADEUS & DIRTY BASS - OS002
Nice groove of the A side with a bit of grit that we all need from time to time. Nice and hard with that got to keep chugging down the tracks feel. The b side is a bit more obscure and odd, but definitely worth a listen. You might even be akin to keeping your faith a bit longer. If not I suggest you call the 800 number.

LK REC - LARS KLEIN - LK05
Hard and bangin'. Nothing unusual there from the likes of these masters. How hard can you get? Well if I was going to shoot for 88 miles per hour I would fuel the old Delorian with this piece of wax. You can never have enough good drivers when you want to get the crowd to 1.21 jigawatts.

AUDIO ASSAULT - SKOOG, JOHANSSON, FRIDELL - AAR010
Who ever said that you need to explore new avenues in a new year, when ones like these are just too good? These tracks have it all from bangin’ A sides to groovin’ B sides. It’s like Christmas all over again.

ELP - DK8 - ELPLTD001
not my usual flavor of late, but if I was to find a rare gem in a pile of gold this would be it. This record has a very old school feel and tech-house vibe. We got a winner that you might even find your house Nazi bangin’ their head too.

CROWBAR – VARIOUS - CROWBAR05
get a mouthpiece, this is going to hurt. A beating with this crowbar will certainly land you in ICU. These guys have got to be my top pick for banging in your face tracks of the New Year. Start it off right, just make sure your insurance is up to date first.

ARTILLERY - DJ AMOK - ARTILLERY008
Tanks may be shattered, the lives of millions laid to waste, but the artillery will still be rained down upon you. Killing the masses with an onslaught of the senses, this man has come out of his fox hole and is fighting back. May God have mercy on your soul… this record wont.

ARTILLERY – SEEMA - ARTILLERY007
I try not to place two side by side in my top ten but this is another of those that make me love playing techno. I can hear the teeth breaking from the stress of grinding right now. I think I just got touched in a bad place because I feel so dirty…and good.

CROWBAR – WEICHENTECHNIKK - CROWBAR06
I think I just got my two new favorite labels of the year. This banger is as good as the first. I guess it’s not only a super club now. Call home it’s going to be a long night. We’ll just have to wait and see how we will fare from this experience.

POUNDING GROOVES – UNKNOWN - PGV35
Time for a breather. Ok so I lied a bit. Not so much as the next guy. While not so driving I still think my heart skipped a beat. True to its name, these guys break the mold every time. Who can expect less and why would you want to?

ARMS – VARIOUS - ARMS04
End on a light note? Never. We should only hope that at the end of the day we find ourselves holding on to a bag of records like this one. This has everything you need and more. Leave me be I feel like I have been thru the machine they stonewash jeans in, only with crushed glass.

crampton february 2005 house

by brent crampton ~ Whether it be funky and deep, bompty and quirky, or just click-click beepy – this is your monthly house music source for what’s hot and churning on the dance floors at the moment, as well as what you can expect to find in the record stores a few months down the line.

Blaze
Found Love: The Remixes
West End

At a recent trip to Smart Bar in Chicago to see Halo, the end-of-the-night peak came when he threw down the Kiko Navarro Remix. As the fellow Jacker’s on the dance floor sang, “I found love, a higher love,” life seemed good. And life seems much better now that I have the record in my case. If you missed the first release of Found Love, these remixes are a must for any soulful house collection.

The sedated and inspirational voice proclaiming a higher love is back again with diverse remixes. From the climax rhythm of Kiko Navarro’s Remix to the broken beat Original Shrine DJ Vocal Mix, this “Giant Single,” as the record sleeve proclaims, has a bit of everything for the soulful house connoisseur.

Having multiple remixes of a song gives the DJ a tool. For example, the Fanatix Dub mix gives hints of the chorus line, making any educated dancer recognize what may be coming up. At this point, the DJ can throw down the other record and drop another version of the song and tease the crowd or just drop the new base line with the full chorus on them.

Various Artists
Guns & Butter EP
D’lectable

With the fifth release from Lady D’s music boutique, D’lectable has quickly risen as a label known for putting out varied and quality house music. The Guns & Butter EP, set to come out possibly around April, is carrying on the tradition.

A Chicago-Jackin’ style track, Stacy Kidd’s Bad Accident has a thumping bass. The tracky horn drives the jam away from police sirens in the background as the cowbell percussion provides the perfect get away.

Backspace by Deep Code has a clicky-beep deep tech house feel, which sounds as if it took samples from the House of Mouths EP. An acid line creeps up in the break down and leaves to highlight the emotional keys.

Tonight by Justin Robertson featuring Hub brings a strong female vocal with a dark and melodic sound.

Triple Conack by Monkey Nuts has a straight-up jazz appeal with a house beat on top. Keys, trumpet, bass and drums make this an instrumental track for those early night warm-ups. Disco strings linger on later in the track to bring a classic old school feel giving this EP a well rounded package that will appeal to nearly all house heads.

Don Tinsley & Ben Armstrong
Finger Funkin Good
Uniform

While the full EP is set to come out on Jake Child’s record label, Uniform, sometime in April, I was slipped a preview of the Jason Hodges remix. Bringing in a cleaner base line than the original cut, Hodges lays down the funky guitar sample to lead the track. Half way through, he drops a minty fresh key that sent a chill down my spine. In the spirit of contemporary house producers, Hodges wastes no time in moving on to the electro-tinged voice and back to the funky guitar riff to end this quick-mix track.

To catch the original yet-to-be released Finger Funkin Good track, download my Musique Mix 03 (http://djcrampton.technomaha.com/brentfull.mp3) set (it’s the third to the last track on the mp3). After all, a remix can only be fully appreciated in light of the original.

Spettro
All Good Funk Alliance
White

Texas icon Spettro dishes out a promo with an original and eerie sound, complemented by a thick and pulsating bass line akin to a Joey Youngman track on side A with Fever. Chopping claps carry the track until a stabbing synth screaming you onto the dance floor erupts. The melody gives the perfect rhythm for the body to mimic.

On the B side with the Fever Remix, the heavy percussion with an emphasis on reverb gives a proper bounce. With almost a break beat appeal, the spacey funk lightly sampling the stabbing synth will accommodate well with house heads. The outbreak of the cowbell on the last frame before the track ends makes you wanna say, “I gotta have more cowbell!”

Demarkus Lewis
Light The Flame EP
Blue Iguana Music
Light the flame

Trevor Lamont and Ben Armstrong have started up a new deep house label, Blue Iguana Music. With artists such as Halo, Matthew Bandy and remixes by Jay-J set in the catalogue, this gem by Demarkus Lewis is set to come out sometime within the next few months. So keep your eye out for quality house music on this label.

As if Texas was on the tip of everyone’s tongue, Demarkus Lewis has been there since the beginning before the band wagon began. After bringing in a rolling base line in Clowin’, the track picks up with a one-bar bouncing acid line as a chorus orchestra rises and falls driving the energy up the wall. Blasts of melody and a repetitive line make this a driving track. And as if signaling that it’s time to move on, the acid line bounces back in and leaves room for the next track to mix in.

Keeping with an energetic chorus line, the Light The Flame track breaks out with techish synth and flat ‘n’ round base line. There is plenty of percussion to make this track a peak hour extravaganza. But just when you think this deep house label has gone a bit too housey, a swirling melody kicks in, bringing a balance of peak and deep to fit everyone’s taste in house music.

John Larner & Slater Hogan
Movin’ Our Way
Odds and Ends Music

This EP has a peak hour groove with a sampled 80’s funky-good-time sound (minus any electro influence). The A side has a movin’ vocal line with enough horns to make you keep on. The Q Burns remix on the B side is a stripped down funk with a light acid line in the background towards the end of the track. With plenty of breakdowns, this track is ideal for the fun and funky atmosphere that teases your crowd into submission. The Z-Mix is a samplin’-click-click-beep track that bounces the beat back and forth.

The A side original is definitely worth keeping around in your record box. The two remixes were a bit uneventful, but with the proper education of your crowd, they could be the perfect tools to layer over other tracks.

DJ Sneak
Funky Rhythm
Magnetic

As if everything DJ Sneak touches turns gold, this soon-to-be-considered-classic is being played all over the states by the bompty-bomp culture. The original DJ Sneak mix has an easy riding groove with the filtered spoken word, “this funky rhythm, you can’t control it, the more you hear it, the more you want it.”

Bringing in the high hat stompers themselves, Jason Hodges and Chuck Daniels churn out a more rhythmic choon with the choppy samples and funky guitar riffs. Which leaves Armand Van Helden to take things to the next step. Helden does some damage with a peak feel, turning the track into a mass-appealing 80’s electric guitar sampling rocker. Pick this track up before it sells on E-Bay five years from now for $50.

White Collar Criminals
Delirious EP
Fetish Recordings
Broken Hearted

You gotta love music with a message! And with the flooded market of bompty house, the new generation of housers often think “that feeling” of house only refers to the buzz you get from alcohol. The back-dropped vocals of Broken Hearted sings: “You broke his heart, and made him cry, and he’s been bruised since then. Now he’s found somebody new and you want him back again.” A perfect track to play out when your trying to get a message across to an ex-mate.

Novocain samples the kick from the classic Downtime Paper records. This is an easily overlooked track, but a second glance will reveal a cool and quirky melody worth playing out.

The flip side starts with hip-housey funky track Misunderstood driven by the base line. The undisputed highlight of the EP comes with No Hablo Espanol which pans out to be a south of the border light and smooth sounding jam. With a catchy Spanish vocal sample, the track is set over the top with a Latin guitar riff. This track is sure to catch the ear of any aficionado as well as the passer-by, beckoning them to the dance floor.

Morgan Page
County Line
Lowdown

With the original having a spacey funk and quirky feel, the real gem is Lance Desardi’s remix of County Line. It’s an excellent meld of different styles bringing in a Spanish guitar laced track having its fuse lit by the dirty base line.

Joshua & Karl Injex
The Sun, The Moon, The Stars
OM

This EP has a little bit for everyone – downtempo, funky house, and a tech house remix by Johnny Fiasco (his name alone should sell you on the record). Throughout all the mixes is an original sounding synth stab layering on top of each other. The original mix takes on a deep and funky feel. Johnny Fiasco brings a big-floor approach to his remix, making it the peak version of the EP.

timid interview

forward and photos by joe hensen ~ Kansas City has been known to produce a lot of local DJ's who spin an assortment of styles. But only one has the courage to spin Happy Hardcore and do it well. His name? Tim Skalland aka DJ Timid. An upbeat, happy going guy, Timid loves it best when the beats going fast and hard making the kids jump and dance. Recently, I had an opportunity to chat with him online about a few things. Here's what he had to say.

Have you always lived in KC?

Yes, born and raised. I live in Liberty now at school, but not too far out, ya know?

What first got you into spinning?

My first party was Paul Oakenfold at the Uptown in Feb 2002...I had been interested in electronic music since I was 13-14 (I was 16 at the time of Oakenfold), and admired Oakenfold...and once I saw him on stage, and the crowds reaction, I knew that is what I wanted to do.

Everyone knows you spin happy hardcore...but its actually something else right? UK Hardcore?

Yeah, I like to define it as UK hardcore, because not all of what I play is considered "Happy Hardcore." I mix in a lot of trancecore, freeform, nu-skool gabber, and so on. Most of which is produced in the UK.

I've heard some jungle in your sets before.

I don't have many jungle tracks, but some of my hardcore tracks have a junglish sound to them, or a jungle beat in the middle. I like variety, it keeps people on their toes. It's the same reason I have some gabber sounding tracks. I don't want it all to sound like that, but a little switch here and there is nice.

Now I know you have 3 demos: Hardcore Heaven, It's On Like Donkey Kong, and Hardcore for the People and one coming out soon. I own the first three and noticed your skills improving. Are you happy with the way your last demo sounded?

The only thing I would change about Hardcore for the People is the opening few tracks. I have had a problem, it seems to me and others, of grabbing people early on with great tracks. I always end on a great note, which all DJ's should, but I am satisfied with the product, but if I had to change something that would be it. And yes, even I listen to my old demos and can tell an improvement in myself as far as technical mixing goes.

What's the name of the most powerful track? "We'll be strong forever" I think...

Brisk & Trixxy- "Eyeopener"-Slammin Vinyl release number 15. Classic.

Yeah, it gets me moving.

Definitely, one of my top tunes of all time.

I actually walked in during your set at Digital Playground and the vibe that was flowing when you were spinning that track was awe inspiring, i mean you had the kids jumping like i haven't seen in long time.

Yeah, it was crazy. I had the time of my life, I never expected to have that many people there going that crazy, it was insane.

I think you stole all the people from the main room!

That's what I hear.

How does that make you feel?

Man...for that being my first time playing out, it was a great feeling. Actually ... there was a kid there with "I <3 Timid" shirt on... Kinda weird, but really cool. Haha.

Now I know your name is Tim and your DJ name is Timid... but is there another reason why you are known as Timid?

I started off as DJ Skalland(last name), but decided I needed a better name. Timid comes from my name, but also my personality most of the time...or at least back when I adopted the name. I think I'm become more outgoing in the past year and half.

I've seen you bloom, I can tell you that much.

Thank ya... Yeah, all in high school I was the little kid in the corner. I guess I decided I don't want to be like that ever again. I've noticed most people are really nice, but you gotta be assertive and approach them, go after what you want. I wanted more friends and I got them.

You do have a following.

Yea, I hope that grows...actually, I have a small following in California because of some internet friends passing out some demos.

Do you have any gigs lined up?

Possibly a party in Joplin, MO in February...not yet confirmed

So we know you spin happy core...but do you have any other favorites as far as genres and DJ's go?

Genres: Hard Trance, Trance, Techno, Funky House or some kind of filter house, ya know? As far as DJ's: Cloudskipper (check this happycore DJ out!), Kid Icarus, Harddrive (from Phlashback, yea!), Lisa Lashes, Paul Oakenfold (pre-2001).

Any thoughts to any wannabe djs out there?

Its an addiction, beware. Haha. No, seriously, just be yourself and find your music, and play it with intensity.

superstar dj lee interview

by brent crampton ~ photos by jackoline lawrence & misha Superstar DJ Lee has been rocking the dance floor since early ‘95. Over the years he has performed with the likes of Bad Boy Bill, Joey Beltram, DJ Icey, Angel Alanis and countless other world renown DJ's. His five-year stint as the DJ in the band, George Zip, gave him the chance to play alongside such national acts as The Kottonmouth Kings, 2SkinneeJ's and Ziggy Marley.

Considered one of the main players in the introduction to dance music culture in Omaha, Lee has continued to be on top of his game while keeping modest about his experience in music. Lee currently holds a residency at Omaha's premiere electronic music bar, 415, as well as a residency in Sioux Falls, South Dakota at Touchez.

With his long and varied history in Omaha’s scene, I probed at him to get this thoughts on times past and what’s ahead for the future.

Recently you have been focusing quite a bit on producing. What are you working with and what direction in your music are you going? Do you have any musicianship experience (i.e. played an instrument, learned music theory)? Have you tried shopping your tracks to any labels as of yet?

I've been working mostly with sample-based programs. Most of what I make is house, and house is pretty sample heavy, so it works out well for me. As far as the direction of my music, it just kind of goes where I feel it going at the time. I've got almost 30 tracks done to date, with most of them being deep, jazzy and fairly tracky. I do have a few bangers though. Most of my stuff is very percussive with organic melodies.

I have been playing the guitar for almost 15 years. I think the that background has helped me quite a bit in both DJing and producing.

As far as shopping my tracks, I have not. I do, however, give my stuff to the locals to play out and play a lot of them myself as well. I am finally getting to the point where I think some of my tracks are good enough to get pressed, so I will probably start soon.

Since you have been booking DJs at Omaha's foremost electronic music bar, 415, what has been your experience there? Being a resident DJ, do you enjoy playing for the crowds?

The 415 has its good days and its not so good days. I love it there though. Dmitri (the owner) supports the music and supports the scene. It's a nice environment to be heard in. Through the four years I have been there, I have seen quite a change. The crowds seem to be there more for the music now, when four years ago they were there because it was trendy to be there. Being able to book the DJs gives me a chance to let Omaha hear the DJs they need to hear. I'm glad 415 has given Omaha DJs a place to express themselves.

What keeps you motivated to DJ? I mean, you're a married guy, going to school, working full time and have been playing out for nine years. In that time you have witnessed a peak in rave culture (which you were very much a part of) and then the spill-over-splash of the club culture. The after taste that we refer to as club culture (given the context of electronic music in Omaha) can sometimes seem a bit sour and past its expiration date. The industry around here doesn't seem promising that the music will get big again – and doesn't show any signs of going away. Why keep doing what you do?

The music keeps me motivated. I love the music, and not just house, but all kinds of EDM. I think there is a place for every style. I can spend hours on a track, or hours in the DJ booth and time seems to just fly by. I think that enjoying something, no matter what your surroundings are, is key in keeping yourself motivated, whatever it is you are doing. I think if we keep playing, they will keep coming to hear us.

The peak was great, who doesn't like parties with thousands of people at them? I loved it at the time, but everything has to evolve. The shift to clubs legitimized the music. I think EDM is much more acceptable in the public eye than it was during the time of the mega-raves. The people involved in the scene are getting older, and want to be able to enjoy the music in a more stable environment. I really don't mind if it gets big again, I'll love it either way. Making the scene smaller makes it more about the music and less about the negative perception society has had about EDM.

Back when you were regularly DJing with names such as Halo, Bad Boy Bill and Joey Beltram in the hay-day-rave-days, did you ever think you were going to "make it" in the industry? And now that those times are gone, what is your outlook on your participation in music?

I never thought I was going to make it like those guys did (the DJs he opened for). I'm from Omaha. It's not that Omaha doesn't have the talent, there are some fabulous DJs here. DJs like Plan 9 (formerly DJ Kaoss), Glenn Okada, Brent Crampton, Lunatik, and a host of others are just as good technically and have just as good of track selection as some of these thousand dollar DJs. It's the location that is hindering us. No one wants to bring a DJ from Omaha out to London or New York, it just doesn't look good on a flyer.

I'm not doing this to get big or get rich. I wouldn't turn down flying out of town every weekend to play halfway across the country or globe, or having some of the premier DJs playing my tracks, but my life is not going to be over if it doesn't happen, nor am I expecting it to ever happen. I'm going to keep playing out when I can and keep making tracks until absolutely no one wants to hear them. Then I'll just make my cats listen.

Sorry, not trying to seem so depressing about the music scene. It just seems that some old school DJs are riding on a high that is well past its prime. One can't live on memories of the past. What's your hope for the future?

To keep on doing what I do and to keep on making people enjoy what I and others are doing with EDM. I'd like to see Omaha open up a bit to the idea of EDM in more of its clubs. I went out to Denver over Christmas and there were dozens of venues out there where you could hear EDM on the weekends. Omaha has one place to hear underground DJs on a Friday or Saturday night. I think that once people get a little more accustomed to the idea of underground dance music in clubs, and not top 40 and hip-hop every where you go, they will start to appreciate the difference and appreciate the music.

Given the above questions, tell us a little bit about where you have been. I know you used to be in a band?

I was in this rock band, George Zip. I DJed and did some vocals in the band. We wrote hip-hop influenced rock songs about playing kickball and shooting horse on the basketball court. We weren't too serious about ourselves. The other musicians were some of the best in Omaha. The other DJ involved, and mostly stage prop, was the infamous DJ “.com.” Some of our other members have gone on to bands that have been featured in Rolling Stone. We did, however, open for Ziggy Marley, 2skineej's and Kottonmouth Kings. The band was great and really helped me develop into a true musician.

You have been a few other places other than house in your DJ selections in the past. Tell us about your experience with DJing jungle and techno?

I played Drum and Bass for a couple years. I wasn't really into the attitude that most drum and bass DJs had at the time. I guess I kind of grew out of it. I decided to separate myself from it. I do enjoy some good jungle every once and a while. As far as the techno, I still love it too. Nothing is better than an hour of pounding techno, given the right environment. I don't own any Drum and Bass, but still own almost 500 techno records and probably won't ever get rid of them.

When buying music - vinyl or CD? And what elements do you look for?

I look for mostly the feel of the music. I buy exclusively vinyl. If the music makes me feel good, if it is fluid and well produced, and catches my ear right away - I buy it. Most of what I buy is funky disco house and occasionally some breaks. I'm into more of the groovy, deep disco. I think as I've gotten older, I've gotten into the more musical tracks and away from the mindless bangin' house.

Where, outside of Nebraska, have you DJed?

I've DJed in Souix Falls, where I have a residency now, and Rapid City in South Dakota. I've also played KC, St. Louis, Des Moines, Ames and Denver.

inhale some texas static

an interview with Inhale Music Texas Static ~ by todd

So, tell me a little bit about what your business is.

The name of my business' are Inhale Music TexasStatic. I started Inhale Music in the spring of 2003 to release house music that I love. For now it can be bought at Stompy, but a vinyl release is scheduled in 2005.

TexasStatic is a web site I created in January 2005 to showcase everything that is texas house music. We have mixes, bio's, dj of the month and live dj mix sets from myself and random live set from 'big' name dj's including John Walker, Don Tinsley and John Hawley.

Wow... 2 businesses? I have trouble just being freelance. So, tell me... is Inhale Music dedicated solely to House, or is that just your primary focus?

Primarily house, but I am interested in DownTempo, Jazz and Hip-Hop in a pure form... meaning no GangstaRap. It's not that I am against rap, but that is not what Inhale Music is about. I am hoping to get music from all the above mentioned genres. I would like to release a Jazz LP, but as of right now I am still looking for the time to focus on such big project.

So, tell me about some of the DJs artists that you have listed on your site. I know a few of them, but there's a couple that I have not heard of. Are they Texas locals?

Well, actually the artists on Inhale are not Texans. RoseRoice is a duo from france, and DJ Dragon is from Phoenix. Just Jason is from Florida he has releases on Blockhead and other more established labels coming out soon. Jimmy C is from Springfield, Mo! (in your back yard up there), Dope producer, has stuff on Headset Recordings.

Kewl! Do you have any new releases coming out in the next couple of months that you can tell us about?

Well, I will be releasing a couple projects with another producer on Inhale soon. Other than that, I am organizing the second UndergroundHouse.net meet up party. It is in Austin, TX again and I along with an awesome group of guys in San Antonio, Choice Sound, are throwing this event, but it couldn't happen without all the DJ's throwing in. A collaborative effort for House music in Texas, February 12th at Sake on 6th street in Austin, TX. The Headliners are Jonene (Safe in Sound), Joey Youngman (Fetish Recordings), Spettro, Steve Balance, Ken Lui, Kelle Marie (Grin Music) and John Walker (Fair Park). This show will be bad ass!

I am starting to focus more on DJing. I haven't really DJ'd seriously in over a year and half. I am back in the saddle now and have a couple gigs in February, three in March, with gig swaps in Dallas and St Louis coming up this spring so my DJ schedule is going to be popping again soon.

Well, you will definitely have to keep us up to date! So, tell us... is House really that big in Texas. I know the Electronica has definitely carved itself a niche in popular radio, so there is obviously a following, but how are the events down there? How do they contrast with those you remember in Kansas City?

House is that big in Texas, if you do just a little research, you can see, when house was making it's first waves in Chicago, Dallas was right there behind it. Since then, Dallas, Austin and now San Antonio is making defintitive step is the future of house music all over the world. Places like Austin and Dallas are definitely at the forefront of the Texas house music scene.

As far as Kansas City goes, well, I made my bones there, I found propper house music there and the heads there are true. I am not going to mention names but there is THAT group of guys that has really, really put Kansas City on the map globally. No way I would be able to what I am doing without having been a part of the K.C. scene and my best homie Xan Lucero, period. The main difference is K.C. is only one city, with a small scene for proper house music. St.Louis is great too, but as far as comparisons between K.C. house scene and the house scene in Texas is, down here, all the promoters in all the major cities work together, no one group of people decides what is good house music or who is worthy of being booked. We have big shows here, we have small weekly events with global DJ's and producers visiting every week, but the great thing is, the cats in Dallas are booking that same person too, so we work together, that is what house is about, not cornering the market and cutting everyone else out of the pic......that is the main difference between scenes. Nothing really to do with the heads, more to do with promoters in more than one place making big things happen.

It sounds as if Texas if keeping the faith alive. Let's step away from that for just a moment and talk about Texas Static. I noticed that it's still mostly under development. How's that coming along? Even though you are already "live"... when do you expect to have the site fully functional?

Actually, it is up now. I have the DJ of the month page ready. You can get a mix there. I have also added more info to my personal page as well as the flyer page for the meetup in austin Feb 12th. The page with links to mixes is being complied still, there will be a few to choose from real soon.

Very cool. We will definitely have to stay up to date with all of that. Is there anything else you want to let our readers know about?

Just our web sites! Check 'em out!

Inhale Music, Texas Static, Stompy & SakeonSixth

hear ye! hear ye!

by bpositive ~ Today's high-end sound systems pump out an amazing amount of sound. My own ears tell me that often sound levels in public locations such as night clubs are no longer safe for the unprotected ear. If you have spent any time at all in the average night club or rave, you have almost certainly accrued some damaging effects.

According to an organization called H.E.A.R, "a non-profit information source for musicians and music lovers," if you have to raise your voice to be heard by someone less than three feet away you should be wearing hearing protectors (ear plugs). Now, tell me the last time you DIDN’T have to raise your voice at almost any club or bar in Kansas City? These damaging levels of sound have been going on in most clubs and bars every weekend, a trend that has been steadily increasing over the past year. And, if you go out to a club or concert two nights in a row, you are dramatically increasing the risk of damage to your hearing.

How many of us think about what our hearing will be like when we are 70? Or, even when we are 50? Have you ever pictured your life without music? I sure can't. When I am 80 I want to be still rocking out to my favorite music, whatever it is. I want to grow old experiencing the joy of music in all it's wide range of tones and sounds and damaged hearing is not a part of that picture. I am sure it is not in yours either.

But, as I mentioned in a previous article on this site, protecting your hearing doesn't have to compromise your comfort or listening enjoyment. Nor, does it have to cost alot. It used to be that custom fit musician's ear plugs for upwards of $150 were the only real alternative to stuffing foam plugs in your ear canal and suffering through muffled music and hearing yourself talk overly loudly.

I take my hearing and my nightlife pretty seriously, so I spent the money and bought professional musician's ear plugs. But, the place that made mine didn't get the shape just right, so one of them hurts my ear and I rarely wear them. Plus, I found they actually block out more sound than is needed on a regular basis.

But, I know alot of us don't have that kind of money to spend. So, I have been researching other options out there and putting some ear plugs through my own, informal testing process. And, I have come across some excellent, comfortable, low-cost hearing protectors that can be easily carried around and don't muffle sound at all.

The best options I have found are listed here:

ER-20s made by Etymotic Research

These little plugs attenuate (reduce) the sound by a critical 16-20 db that H.E.A.R.'s research shows is often enough to prevent damage in today's average music environments. They are also pretty cool looking and, based on my own testing, really work. They have a specially engineered sound filter on the end that keeps the full range of sound frequencies. These are my top pick for the average night club and party. You can wear them in a night club and hear conversations clearly and not get that annoying muffling sensation. Depending on which color you choose, no one need even know that you have them in. The white ones with clear tips camoflauge pretty good. Cost: $10-12.00 pr. depending on where you order them (see below).

Mack's Hear Plug

When you are going to be in a louder environment, or be exposed to loud sound longer than just one night (research shows that exposure on multiple days is when damage can happen more easily), these are a good choice. They don't look quite as stylish sticking out of your ears (they are green and black), but they do cut the sound down even more than the ER-20s (21-21+ db, according to the manufacturer). They are also smaller in diameter and so are even more comfortable to insert deeply and wear for long periods. The one drawback is that in less-loud night club settings, you might notice some muffling of conversation. But, the music still comes through crystal clear and without muffling. Cost: $6.00/pr.

You can order both here on HearNet.com:
You can also order the ER-20s at Etymotic, which is also a good site for info on hearing protection:

I really hope all of you who go out regularly will treat yourself to a set to ring in the New Year, and then wear them whenever you get around loud music. Consider ordering a couple sets for friends since you only have to pay shipping once for an order of multiple sets. I ordered a set of the ER-20s for all of my friends this year for Christmas. If protecting our hearing is as easy and cheap as these options, why wouldn't we take advantage of it?

A Quick Hearing Test 
courtesty of hearnet.com

Before the show, set the volume of your car radio to a level where you can barely hear the words. A talk show works best, as sometimes it is hard to understand lyrics in music. After the concert, turn on the radio to the same setting. Can you still hear and understand the words? If not, you're experiencing a form of short term hearing loss called temporary threshold shift. When this happens too many times, the damage can become permanent.

a velvet st louis

story & photos by todd ~ It started as a good enough little road trip to St Louis, aside from the fact that it snowed the entire way. It had just started in Kansas City and we knew that things in St Louis would not be much different. In fact, we were all to aware that St Louis typically gets it worse than we do.

Despite all of this, we pressed on, sometimes through what appeared to be snowballs falling from the sky and, after a pit stop for food and another for a wiper blade, we arrived at our destination after a mere four and a half hours.

Our friends (and gracious host) were just finishing their poker game when we arrived and offered us some Jaegermeister to warm our cold souls. We gladly accepted it and finished the rest of the night (as well as the Jaeger), had some great conversation and accompanying beats courtesy of Trevor Matthews. It had definitely been a good idea to come out on Friday after all and we even managed to get to sleep by 3 am... or was it 4?

Saturday afternoon came and went without too much of note. A trip to the Mall and then O'Charley's for dinner. Most of our days discussion was centered around the evenings upcoming event. We were definitely looking forward to a good night of partying to Mark Farina.

To avoid the line we knew that there would be, we got there about 10 pm. Fortunately, the line had not yet started forming and inside there was already a small crowd shakin it in the lounge. I don't recall who was playing, but he was taggin back and forth with Don Tinsley and they were definitely laying down some motivational tracks.

At 11 pm the main room opened up, but for most of those in the lounge it didn't really matter. Don Tinsley was giving them a good solid warm up in the lounge. After a few minutes though, curiosity got the best of me and I had to go get the lay of the land in the main room before it got too crowded.

At first, there was really nobody there, and folks were sort of randomly drifting in. Trevor was warming up the decks and we were enjoying a couple of cocktails from the rear bar where the shots were not so carefully measured as they had been in the front.

Almost suddenly, thirty minutes after the main room opened, hordes of people began to show up. There was a fairly steady flow of people in to the main room and the lounge was still holding it's own personal crowd, but the transformation in the main room was almost like magic. I returned to the main room after only 10 minutes in the lounge and what had been a fairly empty dance floor was now getting rather full of people dancing to the solid House that Trevor was pounding out.

When Mark Farina finally took the decks, the dance floor was near capacity and the strange sort of excitement that had been building over the last hour peaked. It was hard to find people that weren't dancing, nodding or tapping their foot, anywhere in that room. He was off to a really good start, playing some of his older, more signature works.

Everyone was dancing. It was hard not to. The beat demanded that you did and everyone's feet followed the orders without question. Flawlessly progressing towards his new works, there were only a few that were disappointed, echoing what some in Kansas City had said of at his last appearance there... "playing to the crowd".

Overall thoughl, the entire night at Velvet seemed to be a huge success. By the time we left, the place was packed front to back. Everyone really seemed to be enjoying the themselves and the vibe.

I suppose that Mark did play to this crowd, just as he did in Kansas City. Isn't that what a DJ is supposed to do? Regardless, there were no complaints from those that packed the dance floor that night, though and at 1 am, it seemed that the club had reached capacity.

It seemed to me that the promoters of this event took special care to make sure that things went off the way that they were supposed to. They even added a little treat by hosting a performance by The Celestial Theatre called "15 minutes of fame" that made for some interesting lighting effects in the room.

I'm not quite sure what became of the rest of the night. We departed sometime after that because it was almost impossible to move in there, on top of facing the long drive back to KC in the morning. The previous night had also taken a little steam out of us as well, so after a brief stop by White Castle, we headed back to crash and burn. Yes, White Castle. They still have those in St Louis and we love them for it!

Be sure to drop in on the gallery and check out all of the photos from the night. They tell a good story of a packed night with a fine vibe at Velvet in St Louis! And keep your eye on the calendar for more great events from these guys!

february 2005 editor note

by todd ~ January was a weird month. That's all I can say. There were a few disappointments, but overall, it did yield some rather interesting entertainment. In fact, this month's cover comes from one of those interesting little entertainment excursions. I took that before anyone had really entered the main room at Velvet in St Louis, just this past weekend. We had a really great time, despite a few minor technical difficulties. You can read all about it in the main story for this month.

Before I get any further though, this month's On Decks is friggin awesome! Be sure to check it out! I just finished listening to it before I started writing this and am on my way through it again!

On with the news of the day!

The above photo was taken by JonBoy at RJ's 31st Birthday Bash. You're gettin old RJ, and I think you're hair is nearly as long as Karin's. Get a haircut, hippie! hehe... But Seriously, Happy Birthday!

I did a couple more "off the wall" sort of things this month. Of special note was Neon at Kabal. That was a fun little 80s night. DJ Konsept kept me saying, "I haven't heard that in forver." nearly all night long, while downstairs had more of a 80s House feel to the tracks. Peanut Butter Wolf rocked it Lawrence too. Next time he's in town, check it out. He plays all kinds of wacky stuff on 45s! It was good time.

We got some footage in Springfield this month, thanks to our new photographer, Shaun aka radesix. He was down for the XLR8 party, Work Your Body that was running the same night as When Worlds Collide.

That party (WWC) turned out pretty good, despite the fact that Trevor Lamont & Hipp-e ended up stranded at airports because of crappy weather. Props to Monkey & Chrissy for the Kandy table & lovely stars all around.

Overall, there seems to be an anticipation building in the air for February. There was even a new weekly that just kicked off. Jon NuSkool started a night at The News Room, in Kansas City, MO. It's a perfect little chill Monday night, much like the Perk on Wednesday. I don't know what it is, but The News Room just has a nice little groove all on it's own, but add some turntables and a few unpredictable DJs, shaken, not stirred... and you have quite a fun little night. If you haven't checked it out, do it! Tunes start at 11 pm, barring the invasion of a 4-piece hippie band. Well... in all honesty, they really weren't too bad and it gave us a chance to get nice and saucy before we played records that night.... down in Fraggle Rock!

see ya on the dance floor

~phocas~

february 2005 issue