Sunday, May 01, 2005

trevor matthews on decks

forward by Brent Crampton ~ photo by Todd Comer ~ Trevor Matthews and Troy Dillard began working together about two years ago, meshing live vocals with deep house. Both have been involved in the house music scene much longer, Trevor DJing at raves and clubs across the Midwest, and Troy doing vocals for the likes of Joeski and Onionz, “Hold on to Your Love,” as well as Don Tinsley, and most recently, Demarkus Lewis. Together, the two have connected with common interests in deep house music and have performed at local events including Sweet Spot, the hottest house music night in St. Louis, as well as larger events such as Fair St. Louis, one of the largest fourth of July celebrations in the country. Together they have not produced any original material, but all of Troy's lyrics are written from his own personal experiences or from those of someone close to him.

The following mix was recorded for promotional use at this year's Winter Music Conference in Miami. As with any live set, this was recorded "on-the-fly" with just a few tracks picked out ahead of time to steer the mix into one particular direction. Afterwards, Troy laid down the vocals in a studio and together they where mixed, careful as not to do anything that couldn't be done live. Below you will find a track by track breakdown of what was going on in the mix as well as a little background information on the lyrics written by Troy Dillard. All lyrics have been given a title of their own and are open for use in production. If interested please contact Troy Dillard or Trevor Matthews for a master copy of the vocals.

On a lighter note, sit back, light one up and enjoy the mix in its entirety as that is how this was designed to be listened to.





Track Listing

Morning Star ~ Jay J & Julius Papp as Shuffle Inc. ~ Court Square Recordings
Trevor - I like to start off each mix with something other than a solid 4/4 beat, and on this project Troy was wanting to do an accapella at the beginning, so this track was a perfect fit. It gives us a nice jazzy beginning and a lot of room to build up in the mix. Jay J & Julius have produced quite a bit of the tracks in my bag, so its no surprise that one of them was going to make it on this disk.
Troy - My Life - We couldn't have picked a better intro for this mix. It really sets the mood of the mix. The lyrics are about people who try to force their way into every aspect of my life; not really respecting any boundaries and how ridiculous it all seems because I don't feel that my life is all that great.

Let It Ride ~ JT Donaldson ~ Vista Recordings
Trevor - After such a busy intro track I really wanted the second to be a bit monotonous, yet still have the deepness we were trying to capture. I wanted something that lifted you up into dance mode, and the breakdown a little over halfway thru the track is a beautiful example of why JT is becoming one of the world's most sought after producers. Exposing the percussion and adding a single bass line or two, I can't help but to start jackin’ my body as the beat kicks back in.
Troy – “It's All About You” - It's a soft dubby vocal continuing the deep feel the first track set. The message is pretty simple: everything should be about love.

The Life (Dub Mix) ~ Rasoul ~ Siesta
Trevor - This track has been played countless times at the Sweet Spot and is still a favorite. The bass is what sticks out to me the most and is what defines the track, along with the small guitar snippet. A very deep, emotional track. It really speaks for itself.

Good Times ~ Kevin Yost ~ 64 Music
Trevor - This track is formatted slightly different from other house tracks which makes it a bit difficult to mix. All the instruments come in at different times on different counts as oppose to the normal 32/64 beat count, and with the repetitiveness, its not hard to get lost in the complexity of it all. The keyboard and xylophone seem to hold the identity to the track and are its most recognizable features. But that synth is one that will talk to you in the dark. I love me some deep hypnotic jazz.

Still Dancin ~ Phonique ~ Loungin' Recordings
Trevor - So smooth, so deep . . . one of my favorite tracks of the project for sure. It includes a perfect little jazz number right in the middle that I could listen to over and over again. The beat contains a bouncy like structure to it, and the bass line is strong and almost talks back to the synth that is present throughout the track. These last few tracks weren't "filler" tracks, but I was more or less just wanting to put on some good music. The journey has just begun and I was really enjoying where I was at with the style of house I was playing at that moment.
Troy – The vocals I performed here are titled, “After All This Time.” I think this track really changes the direction of the mix. The lyrics are about a vicious circle of love that ends up with the main character being alone over and over again.

Yokoona Skateboard 2 ~ Diz ~ ?
Trevor - After taking the listener up from where it all began, I felt it was time to chill out with something a bit monotonous, prior to taking the journey downward and traveling the emotional roller coaster that so much house music seems to be missing. This little number is only in there for a slight moment, for I was worried its simplicity would bore most who where listening, including myself. Not a track I'm very fond of, but a great DJ tool.

The Sad Piano (Charles Webster Remix) ~ Justin Martin ~ Buzzin' Fly
Trevor - The title says it all. To me, this track moves beyond where most house music leaves off and was a must for the project. Life isn't always happy. Its’s not always about love and peace, nor is it a jazz number you can play over and over again. This isn't a track that one will dance the night away to, but it can make you stop and think about the bigger picture. It became a focal point for the project in the way that it became the ultimate low for where we were going, & if not done just right, it would kill the entire thing. Justin Martin broke out with this track on Ben Watt's new label, and everything that has followed has been equally moving, just on a happier note.
Troy – The “Drowning” vocals I wrote go along with the depressing theme set by track five, but it's also a very exciting and busy track about how hopeless you can feel when the every day pains of life are dragging you down and you don't see any light at the end of the tunnel.

Blue Morning ~ Jetseb and AOS One ~ Nordic Traxx
Trevor - A perfect follow up for what we just experienced, I thought we needed something to get moving again, with a minimal but driven sound, minus any "happy-go-lucky.” I used it more as a DJ tool to get on to the next track.

Movin' Around ~ JT Donaldson ~ Amenti Music
Trevor - A great track on a great label. I usually play it when I want to make a transition onto another vocal track, but since Troy already had vocals, it worked out differently. The bass, the little guitar rift and the synth play off each other so well. It in fact keeps me bouncing around in my seat as I write this and listen to mix at the same time. I put the track here because I wanted the mix to move forward. It came out of a deep hole just two tracks ago and I didn't want to take the listener back down again.
Troy – The “Letting You Go” vocals are the last of the sad trio of vocals (tracks 5, 7 & 9). “Movin’ Around” is a floaty track with a soft vocal, and while it is depressing, it also begins to bring the energy back up. It's my take on the old saying that if you love someone, let them go, and how hard it is when they used to always be around.

Bole Bantu Beats ~ Julius Papp ~ Large Music
Trevor - I enjoy a good tribal breakdown, and have many tools to choose from to accomplish this, but this has been a recent favorite of mine. They're made relatively short and you need to kind of know what track your going to put on next or you can get into trouble (which is about what happened here). I like how the beat drops out completely and your left with this very raw, tribal gathering feel. It makes for an interesting mix as your left with this raw beat from the track coming in with tribal beats hammering away on top. At this point in the mix, I was trying to change it up as to not bore the listener. I didn't want to end it on a note as deep as its beginning and, this was a good record for that transition.

You + Me = We ~ Brett Johnson ~ Seasons Recordings
Trevor - Brett makes some of the most interesting tracks I've heard, and I was very surprised when Troy said he wanted to do some vocals over this. It has an eeriness to it that the rest of the tracks don't have, whether it’s in the sounds he choses or how he uses them - I really can't pin point.
Troy – The vocals I performed are titled, “Bitch.” I believe every one has a little bitch in them (some more than others), so this little humorous diddy is about accepting and embracing your inner bitch. The tracks tech-house sound and amusing message makes the flow and feel of the mix do a complete 180.

Welcome (Single Dub) ~ Brett Johnson ~ Seasons Recordings
Trevor - Putting two tracks back to back from the same artist on the same label is something I try not to do, but when it works, it works. I get off on the way that bass line comes in over the previous track and couldn't pass it up. Again, really good use of some unusual sounds. I especially enjoy the breakdown with all the bass staying in track and the spaced out sounds that are added. Very cool.

Zumas Revenge ~ Cpenn ~ Panhandle Records
Trevor - Panhandle put out some interesting tracks and this is no different. Funky bass and some nice synth stabs. It holds some eeriness to it as well, making it a good transition from Brett's tracks. At this point I've definitely picked up the pace in preparing for a big finish. The emotion one feels from the track selection has also changed at this point, lightening up a bit and moving away from the seriousness to the more standard selection of emotion in house music . . . happiness.
Troy – The song lyrics I wrote, “I Don't Get You” are about loving a person but not understanding them no matter how hard you try.

Happy ~ Spero Pagos, Paul Redman & David Polk ~Afterhours
Trevor - Well, we've come full circle now. I really wanted to end off the mix on a high note, so Troy and I planned ahead of time for this to be the last track. It brings back the jazzy feel we had going on the first track & just pushes it up a few notches. The vocal on the A-side of the record isn't to be messed with and I was hesitant on whether or not Troy should do vocals over the instrumental mix. I was in fear of taking a step down in comparison to the original mix, but Troy really came through and took it up quite a bit with the record.

Troy – The “Say Yeah” vocals end the mix. As the first track is the perfect intro, I think this is the perfect outro for the mix. It's one of the happiest classic house tracks I've ever heard. I think it's the perfect ending for the journey this mix takes you on. It's about love again, (imagine that) but not just wanting to feel love, but having it verbalized every once in while.

On the Decks is a column that gives the DJs themselves an opportunity to explain the feelings and progression behind the mix. If you are interested in being featured on the next On Decks, just eMail Todd or Brent and we'll add you to the lineup!

shadowrunner may 2005 trance

by DJ Shadowrunner ~ Welcome a new reviewer! DJ Shadowrunner out of Kansas City. It's taken a little while to find someone willing to do it, but he has graciously offered his time up to give us a bit of Trance. I'm still not quite sure about the connection with waffles though. Without further adieu, here's DJ Shadowrunner's picks for this month, in no particular order.

Siberian Sun - Frostbite (Fred Baker Remix) Dedicated, DED011 (EPIC TRANCE)
Driving arpeggiated synths, beautiful sweeping pads, and dreamy echoed piano makes this a double a side to be had. Call Synth-aholics anonymous, and tell them I fell off the wagon.

Trentemoller - Polar Shift b/w Chameleon, Poker Flat, PFR56 (Prog House / Trance)
This one is hard to categorize, but easy to choose. In an era of overworked busy tracks, it is nice to hear someone take it back to the old school. This neo-electro minimal tech composition drives it deep and DIRRRRRRTY, and no simple shower can clean off the layers of funk left behind.

Stryke - Everything Is You, Solar, SOLAR008 (Prog House / Trance)
Mix one part deep percussive tribal, one part sweeping and ascending pads, and one part dark melodic stabs. Then, add a dark room, pulsating strobes, sweaty dancers, and wait 8 to 16 measures for VERY SEXY results.

Captain Tinrib & Max Alien - Acid Gate Scandal (Paul Glazby Remix), Vicious Circle, VCR037 (Acid Trance / Techno)
Hard stabbing 303's tweaked over relentless beats. Let me put it this way, Just imagine Captain Tinrib and Max Alien as the local bullies kicking all the kiddies’ asses on the playground. What is left over is a lot of kids that can respect a good pounding.

Armind Van Buren - Shivers (Rising Star Remix) b/w Birth of an Angel, Armind, ARMD1013, (Epic Trance)
This is to be used in case of an epic peak in a set. Common side effects: raised hands, swaying bodies, spontaneous lighter usage, and compulsive singing along. Vocals and hooks may be addictive. Please use with caution.

Art of Trance - Mongoose (Tek^Tonik Remix), Platipus, PLAT121, (Epic / Prog Trance)
This one is a great example of the great atmospheric trance Platipus is known for. The use of soft moving pads, emotional synths, oscillating sweeps, and echoed vocals create an experience that is to be shared with many.

Jan Johnston & Serge Deviant - Transparent (Outback + Benz & MD Remixes), Captivating Sounds, CVSA018, (Prog Trance)
You might recognize the voice from all of the Anomaly and Libra "CALLING YOUR NAME", remixes. This one is destine to hit in the clubs for a while. However, it will be in a slightly more progressive fashion. Trust me; Jan's voice will lure the ladies to the dance floor. Sincerely, The Pied Piper of Trance

Girl Nobody - Why Am I Alone (Delikate Imposters + Wrecked Angle Remixes), Release Elements, ELE009, (Prog Breaks)
This one is too good to pass up. Trancey breaks with a haunting female vocal. I urge you to check this one out. It’s such an addictive groove with emotion and warmth. This is a recipe for sexy without all of the nasty fillers.

Soul of Man - The Drum b/w Acid Punch, Finger Lickin, 037, (Prog Breaks / House / Trance)
When they said, "Stay within the lines, the lines are our friends." Soul of Man did not listen. THANK THE POWERS THAT BE!! A double A-side that delivers a perfect percussive progressive pickle on one side, as well as, flips and dips to a funk inspired guitar and bass groove on the B-side

Hydroid - Burn Proof b/w Sativa, Somatic Sense Future Sounds, SOMATICFUTURE003, (Prog / Epic Trance)
The stuff that comes out of Belgium these days amazes me. These are two deep and sensual tracks that hook you in and mesmerize all. I have to respect a country that produces great music and is known for their waffles.

LONG LIVE WAFFLES AND TRANCE

solaris may 2005 techno

by DJ Solaris ~ 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.

Recharge - Mark Maitland - RECHARGE029
This is a lot like Guy Mcaffers RAW label. Seems a bit more of a booty house influence on the front while keeping a techno flavor. The flip gives a nice driver that any RAW lover can be proud of.

Headline - Jeff Fernandes & Klitzing - HEAD041
Lovely driver here! The flip is a bit more on the tech house tip, but the breakdown is to die for! This label never fails to impress! As the oriental kid said in Indiana Jones, “Hold on Indy, we are going for a ride!”

Superconductor - Dave the Drummer & DDR - SCON001
What can I say about these two? Nothing but good things! These two have been my idols since I discovered techno. I have never been failed to be surprised by them, just when I think I got an idea what they are about they dig in and pull out all the stops again and tweak the music just a bit more! If only I had a few pages to describe this wax to you and why I believe if you don’t get it you’ll be stabbing yourself in the jugular later because the world just wont mean anything anymore…its ok…really…at least for me, I got this one!

Big Booty White - Unknown - BIGBOOTY002
Don’t let the label distract you. It always seems that the good ones are hard to find. This is defiantly one of them. Hard as nails driver. Great for that time the kids think you just can’t get harder…then well they fall over dead, but they love exhaustion and dancing to death don’t they?

Platform - Splinter Cell feat. Fergie - Moods Vol 2 EP - PLATFORM08
Real nice piece of work here. Just the thing you need to round out your set. Reminds me of a lot of Drumcode’s work. You can never have enough of these in your bag, great for those builds and those nice moments where you want your crowd to coast for a bit. But not too much.

Glitch - Alex Calver - GLITCH008
How can I let a list go by without adding the one of the new line of motivators. Alex drives it home here. You have it all, drivers and a bit of that acid feel, then there is the non mistakable Alex style that infiltrates everything he does. Don’t worry that is a good thing… a real good thing.

Cluster - EZ Riders - CLUSTER71
I think the energizer bunny is supplying this label with crack! I can’t believe the amount of rockers these guys have put out! They just keep going! Let me tell you they never get old either! I have a feeling ill still be buying this label when I turn 90. Who needs a walker anyway?

Noteworthy:
Cluster is coming out with “Clusterfuck Volume 2”! You know the label and their cd’s don’t fail to impress either. Keep your ears out and your eyes open…!

Tronic - Valentino Kanzyani - TR029
A great groove here! This is a bit more on the Tech-House tip. Nice for that dance floor mayhem. The breakdown is top notch. Builds to get that floor moving, even if you are stuck in a traffic jam.

Definition of Mayhem - Andreas Kremer - DOM04
This man has got to have battery acid in his veins, and razors in his head to make things this bangin’. I think that in all my time the only way to describe this is the time I was outside in a field ½ mile from a tornado touchdown. To bad I didn’t find out till morning…but the storm was about as nuts!

Epoch Worx - Jamie Bissmire, Ben Long - EPOCHWORX002
Great all around wax! Something for every techno head here! From that drum track you have to have, to the nice grooves. Don’t be distracted, I always save the best one for last. That way those of you who read the whole list can find the gold. ‘Nuff said’

crampton may 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. And with the Winter Music Conference just behind us, so many great choons are now on the market.

Urban Jazz Naturals – Urban Jazz Naturals EP – Vista
About time they had another slamming release come out! After their famed ‘How Can I,” there have been high expectations for St. Louis-based house band, Urban Jazz Naturals. This time they teamed up with Demarkus Lewis for this three-tracker that should be on vinyl in May 6th (if not, it’s available for download at www.traxsource.com). Starting out with “Can’t Get Me Down,” this playful true-swing style track (not the repetitive sampled stuff) slams a four-to-the-floor beat and chunky percussion. I just wish I could be in St. Louis at the Wednesday weekly, Sweet Spot at the Pepper Lounge to see the crowd go mad when Don Tinsley throws down this track. “Take Me Away” reminds me of the way Johnny Fiasco takes an otherwise deep melody, throws a slammin’ beat and heavy percussion on the top, and turns it into a peak-time houser. While Demarkus and UJN accomplish this task successfully, they’ve done so in their own finesse and style.

Jaime Principle remix by Mark Grant – Waiting on my Angel – D’Lectable (CD-R)
“ Waiting on my Angel” has long been one of Jaime Principle’s call to fames in the world of male vocalists, circa 1985. Grant, being a true purveyor of the spirit of house, dug through the crates and pulled out this classic to relive it one more time. While the original holds that garage oriented 80’s sound, Grant takes things on the Blackstone-soulful tip, adding what Lady D relayed to me, “the hardest kick drum Grant has ever produced.” Look for this release on D’Lectable in late summer.

Kaskade – Everything – OM
Having amassed himself to superstar status in world of house, everyone wants to know what Kaskade’s up to, and his newest endeavor in the world of releases comes with this smooth four-tracker. I must say, in the past I haven’t bought the hype Kaskade’s received and have been reserved in playing his, often times, poppy-style-vocal tracks. But coming from an unbiased critic on Kaskade, I can say this release is worth picking up. For those Kaskade fans that have come to appreciate his pop-style, you’ll enjoy the “Everything” tracks, but for me (who passed those up and went straight for the side-B), “I Like the Way” is where it’s at. With vocals by Colette, the original paints a dreamy landscape, dripped with Rhodes similar to the “Be There” Kaskade release on Jamayka The pick of the release comes with Troydon’s remix of “Everything.” Using the ever-popular chopped up and sample-based techniques akin to the underground house heads, this track has a deep touch with a subtle energy (and let’s not forget sex appeal ala Colette’s vocals).

Olivier Desmet, Chuck Diesel – Murdered – Amenti
If you recall Mark Farina’s “Seasons One” mix on Domestic records that came out in 1996, you may still have Mike Delgado’s, “Murder Track” running through your mind (I know I do). If you find the track on E-Bay these days, it’s usually going for a pretty penny since it’s reached the status of classic within deep house. That’s why Olivier and Desmet took a risk when they remixed the track. Well . . . shall I say they killed it (in a good way of course)? Adding a West Coast breezy feel to it, this nostalgic track is getting lots of play up in O-town.

DJ Freestyle – NY Nights – Safe In Sound
Jonene, originator of www.stompy.com, is still supporting vinyl with his label, Safe In Sound. And he’s still supporting quality house producers, many of which he crammed onto this four-tracker. Freestyle’s “NY Movement Mix” starts things off with the sound and vibe that is remixed throughout the rest of the mixes. With simple percussion, a smooth Rhodes key and an African voice mimicking a drum, Freestyle has been on a roll lately with quality releases. Yann Fontain’s “Brooklyn Bridge Mix” takes things a bit more deep, and a bit more New York. Floating flutes, airy melodies and real-time percussion make this track sound as if it fit right in with the post Body and Soul patrons at Shelter. Mes, Slater and Mr. Kaboom team up to pick up the pace and pack the chunk, which will please the Frisky sort of crowd. And my personal favorite comes with Mic’s “Queensboro Bridge Mix.” Simple, cool vibe with a wicked drum selection put this track right under the category of “tunes to listen to while late-night driving.”

Fetish Sampler – Volume 1 – Fetish
Another track proving that if you aren’t from Texas, your only option is to move there. After relocating to Austin, Texas from California, Joey Youngman is located in the new mecca for house music in the states. Subsequently he teamed up with Texas-born (oh we are so jealous of you for that) Jake Childs and Mario Fabriani for a four-tracker. In typical Youngman fashion, this release beats through what might as well be called Youngman-house (yes I am now declaring a new genre of house). I’ll be honest, there have been better releases on Fetish, but for those that can’t get enough of that chunky-funky stuff, this release will hold you over.

transplant part 2

Pat Nice ~ by Brent Crampton ~ photo by Todd Comer ~ From acres of farmland to miles of skyscrapers - the majority of our readers lay somewhere in between. And with magazines such as XLR8R and URB talking about all the rage in London, Chicago, Miami or Germany – it makes a DJ wonder, “What if I moved to these places?” And what would happen if you moved? Would you make a name for yourself or would you just become another DJ standing in line, waiting for the next crap gig?

The Transplant mini-series will explore those concerns by asking the people who have already done it. From rural areas to citified hysteria – this interview may answer your questions.

From releasing wax to throwing down tracks, Pat Nice is notorious for his producing and DJing skills. So it’s not surprise that this Chicago transplant is doing just fine. Continuing on with the transplant series, next up to plate is former-KC-hometown hero, Pat Nice. Having moved to Chicago, then back to KC, then back to Chicago, Pat is finally fitting in nicely with his house-laden surroundings. A trip I took up to Chicago over the winter found Pat lounging at Zentra amongst some of the who’s who of Chicago house music, so I thought he’d be a “grade A” candidate for imparting some advice on us . . .

Tell me a little about your story - where did you grow up, did you move around at all and where do you live now?

I was born in Brownsville, Texas. My father was in the Air Force, so we moved around a lot. I moved to Kansas City in 1991, just shy of my 21st birthday. KC is the longest time I've spent in any one particular place. I now live in Chicago. I actually moved here once before, but that didn't work out. I moved back here in the summer of 2004.

Where did you live when you first started DJing and what drove you to take DJing and producing to the next step?

I lived in Dallas when I first started toying around with records. There were several great shops there at the time. I moved to Wichita, KS when I was 16. I was into hip hop at that time, just playing at neighborhood gatherings and all that. I later met some kids from school who were from Chicago. They would let me copy mix tapes they had of Hot Mix 5, and I was feelin' it right away. I was buying house and disco records anywhere I could get my hands on them. I didn't really start taking it too seriously until 1990, when I played my first large-scale party. There were 1500 people in the spot just going nuts, and that single event is what inspired me to take the next steps. I didn't start producing until around 99. It's the next logical step for any DJ with a decent amount of dance floor experience, but I always told myself that I'd get around to it when I felt comfortable. For me that time came later rather than sooner.

So at one point you lived in a smaller metropolitan area with an electronic music scene. What motivated you to move to where you are?

Sure I could've moved to plenty of other cities, but this is the birthplace of the music that has changed my life. I love Chicago, honestly it's the best city I've ever lived in, and for a lot more reasons than House. It's an enormous city, yet the people here have a "Midwest friendliness" about them. No complaints. Kansas City is where I learned just about everything I know about DJ'ing and producing. And it will always be my Hometown! But I feel comfortable and quite at home in Chicago now that I've been here a while.

So when you moved, what was it like? Did people in the music industry take you seriously since you were from a smaller scene?

I think leaving people behind was the hardest part of all. I've made some lifelong friends in KC, people who will always have a special place in my heart. I didn't really have a hard time meeting people here, as I've been playing raves parties and other gigs in the Midwest for a while now and have a lot of friends here. Having records out helps a lot as far as people taking you seriously or whatever. If people have heard of your records, that lifts some weight off your shoulders. I feel pretty lucky that things are going smoothly. I am fully aware that's not so easy to come by here. Loads of people here spin records and make beats.

From a career standpoint - was it hard finding a job to sustain the higher cost of living?

It wasn't hard to find a job at all. It doesn't pay anything though (laughs). But it pays the rent. I don't have a car here, which rids me of a lot of extra expense. I love that. Plus my job is only about a 20-minute walk from my apartment. It's working out.

How is your music career now? Are things the way you envisioned them to be before you moved to Chicago?

Things are picking up nicely. I'm doing a lot of remixes and working on some new tunes. But not any more or less than I was doing back home. I do play on a pretty regular basis around the city, and have a new residency kicking off this spring. Nothing is ever the "way you envisioned it to be,” but it's close enough (laughs).

What advice would you give to people who are considering a transplant to pursue music more fully?

Basically just do your homework. Make as many trips there as you can before you decide. Try to have a job as soon as possible. That's pretty much it.

Alright, I think that's good. If you have anything else you would like to say, please do so.

Acid House makes the Baby Jesus Dance.

zero gold pole folder

by Betty Kang ~ "Pole Folder is one of the most consistent and talented producers I've heard over the years. As far as the first ever artist album on Bedrock goes, he was the natural choice as there's been a link since we signed 'Apollo Vibes' after opening my GU: Los Angeles album with it, right through 'Dust' on MMII to the outstanding production you’ll hear here. This album is a really broad soundscape of music with feeling; downbeat building records, driving, urgent breaking tracks and mind blowing cinematic scale and production…all with a thread running through it. He's a genuine talent with a passion and a vision behind everything he does. Zero Gold is a brilliant reflection of that talent.” -John Digweed

John Digweed is proud to introduce the first artist album ever on the revered dance music label Bedrock Records - Pole Folder ‘Zero Gold’. This album has been a long time in the coming and after two years in the studio, the wait is finally over. Pole Folder ‘Zero Gold’ straddles the line between a cinematic soundscape and the heady exploration of the sonic atmosphere. The melancholic lyrics are sung beautifully throughout by guest vocalists Kirsty Hawkshaw (who is well-known for her previous work with BT, Hybrid & Orbital), Shelley Harland (Junkie XL, Ferry Corsten) and Belgian songstress Sandra Ferretti.

Pole Folder is a true musician, having played the trumpet and guitar since the age of 5, before learning the art of composition and performing in a symphony orchestra. After playing in rock bands, writing songs & touring in his native Belgium, Pole Folder discovered electronic dance music and the sounds of John Digweed & Sasha. His first release ‘Apollo Vibe’ debuted on Bedrock Records in 2001. It was a track conceived around space echoes and a strange collaboration of sounds which was immediately included on John Digweed’s Global Underground 019 : Los Angeles. Since then Pole Folder has followed up with ‘Enter the Rhythm’, ‘Waxxx’ and ‘Dust’ subsequently included on John’s MMII album.

‘Zero Gold’ is not simply a dance album. It is a carefully crafted work, grounded in timeless musical concepts, stellar production and genuinely felt artistic presence. It acknowledges its influences (Massive Attack, Pink Floyd) without parodying them and is ultimately an expression of the artist’s endeavor played out through the use of modern technologies and musical techniques.

Over the last six years Bedrock Records has notched up over 50 quality releases and the label has quickly become one of the most influential on the house and breaks scenes. It has successfully established itself far beyond a single genre, its significance felt throughout the dance music industry and its independent status allowing huge artistic freedom and attachment to what remains an underground vibe.

For more information, be sure to check in with Bedrock's website, or go straight to the source at PoleFolder.com or just have a look at the promotional video.

3rd annual club world awards

by Betty Kang ~ New York - The Club World Awards, hosted by Club Systems International, is pleased to announce the 2005 “disco globe” winners, originally revealed in a star-studded ceremony during Miami’s Winter Music Conference that almost didn’t happen.

The call came in at noon on the day of the ceremony: After a series of unfortunate events, original host venue Nocturnal wouldn’t be ready to open in time. Club World organizers were hoping for the best but expected the worst: Nocturnal’s Monday and Tuesday events had also been cancelled. Nevertheless, Nocturnal management found the ceremony a surrogate venue – Pure, on the downtown Miami waterfront – and Club World staff spent ten harried hours burning through cell phone batteries to get the word out on the venue change. By 11 p.m., Pure was hopping with all the nominees and VIPs who had RSVP-ed for Nocturnal.

The ceremony, expertly helmed by master of ceremonies The Scumfrog, was representative of the decadence of dance music: Promoters mixed with porn stars, while tech-heads talked shop with super-DJs at the back bar and members of the press took notes. We’re talking about some high-level networking here: “Best Superclub” presenter and emerging dance music star Kelly Osbourne even requested face time with reigning trance princess Sandra Collins. The two eventually met under a series of dizzying flashes. All presenters received a gift bag packed with goodies from Armani Exchange, 5inch, Twelve Inch LP, Electric 7 and even new RBK DJ kicks from Reebok.

Among the winners, New York City reigned with a whopping eight (of a possible 11) awards, proving once again that the city still doesn’t sleep. Crobar took all four of its nominations, including Best Superclub, Best Lighting System (SJ Lighting), Best Video System (Artfag & V Squared Labs) and Best Interior Design (BigTime Design & ICRAVE Design Studio). Cielo was named Best Club, and its Deep Space resident Francois K took Best Resident DJ honors, proclaiming that Monday nights are as good as any to go out. Sullivan Room came away with the people’s choice NightStalker Award, voted on by the clubbing public – a clear testament to its popularity with the musically-minded clubbing set. And homegrown Sunday night favorite Asseteria won Best Party, showing that clubland still has a playfully deviant soul.

Winners were chosen by a panel of 12 industry-expert judges using a weighted ranking system. Full bios are available upon request.

Despite the last-minute location switch, The Club World Awards was a huge success, drawing over 400 crème de la crème attendees. We would like to applaud all the winners, and the year-round efforts by all the nominees toward the advancement of nightlife. The cycle begins again in September 2005, when submissions for 2006 nominations will start being accepted.

CLUB WORLD AWARD WINNERS 2005

Best Superclub ~ Crobar, New York ~ Crobar opened in December 2003 and has since become a global destination of internationally renowned superstar DJs such as Carl Cox, Erick Morillo and Paul van Dyk. The club plays host to ongoing monthly residencies for Sasha, Sander Kleinenberg, Murk, Boris and Roger Sanchez.

Best Club ~ Cielo, New York ~ Cielo beat out two-time winner The Church to take the Best Club crown, once again proving the effectiveness of its comparatively tiny size and adventurous music policy. The club continues to rack up similar honors, even when pinned against larger, longer-standing venues.

Best Lounge ~ Tabu, Las Vegas ~ Tabú started its own dynasty, winning the title for the second straight year. The MGM Grand property, widely credited with launching the ultra-lounge craze when it opened in 2003, is one of the only venues in Las Vegas that features house music exclusively.

Best New ~ Compound, Atlanta ~ Compound, a three-environment Atlanta club in the former site of an auto dealership, joins past winners Ice Las Vegas (2004) and Maze Miami (2003). It’s too early to tell if this “Best New” is cursed like the Grammys’: Ice has its own hit reality series, while Maze closed in early 2004.

Best Sound System ~ Mansion, Miami Phazon & Sound Investment; Rain, Las Vegas, Infinite Audio (Tie)

Best Lighting System ~ Crobar, SJ Lighting

Best Video System ~ Crobar, Artfag & V Squared Labs

Best Interior Design ~ Crobar, BigTime Design & ICRAVE Design Studio

Best Party ~ Asseteria, New York

Best Resident DJ ~ Francois K, Deep Space at Cielo ~ Francois K, Deep Space at Cielo. This ongoing weekly residency is celebrating its two-year anniversary with a two-day party featuring Rhythm & Sound in their exclusive NYC debut, joining Francois K in his adventures into future dub, spacey vibes and abstract grooves. K joins Danny Tenaglia (2004) and Oscar G (2003) in the distinguished Best Resident winners’ circle.

Best DJ Product ~ Denon DN-S1000

Best Sound Product Or Series ~ Turbosound Aspect Series

Best Lighting Product Or Series ~ High End Systems DL2

Best Video Product ~ Pioneer DVJ-X1 ~ Pioneer DVJ-X1. Pioneer took home its third consecutive disco globe this year, not for its popular CDJ series of pro CD players, but for its trailblazing video player that allows VJs to manipulate visuals just like DJs tweak music.

Best Effect Product ~ Jem Hydra

Best LED Product ~ Color Kinetics iColor Flex SL

NightStalker Award ~ Sullivan Room, New York ~ Sullivan Room. This small NYC boite packs a big punch with an underground ethos and top musical talent that rejects the VIP bottle service attitude with a music-first policy and hospitality to match. Top international talent include West Coast luminaries DJ Garth, Kaskade and East Coasters; plus Scumfrog, Hector Romero, Behrouz, DJ Three, Mazi, Jay Tripwire and D:FUSE. Sully celebrated its three-year anniversary this April 2005 with a full sound system upgrade and a fresh new interior design scheme.

For more information, visit Club World Awards or Club Systems International.

miami winter music conference week 2005

story & photos by bPositive ~ What is it about tropical locals that are so relaxing and rejuvenating? Whatever it is, South Miami Beach, sure has its share. It was the last week of March and I was returning there for my seventh visit to sample all the dance music offered during the annual Winter Music Conference electronic dance music conference.

The Winter Music Conference, a humble name, but an event that shapes the year of so many artists and fans of electronic dance music. During this one week in March nearly the entire dance music industry relocates to the small city of South Miami Beach, on Florida’s southeastern tip, jutting out into the Atlantic ocean. And, thousands of dance music enthusiasts from all over the US and around the world join them to hear the largest selection of national and international dance music stars to play in the US all year long. Many don’t even attend the WMC conference itself, finding plenty to attract them among the hundreds of music showcases going on during this special week. This year, the M3 Summit was upping the ante with additional events of its own.

Sun, surf, sand, palm trees and cool breezes, all wrapped up with some scorching dance music! What more could a girl want? After a two year hiatus that was not of my choice, I was going back and the week was going to be all the better because a group of 14 of my friends from St. Louis were joining me.

Tuesday, March 22

As soon as our taxi pulled up in front of our hotel, in the heart of the Washington Ave. club and restaurant district, I could feel that “Miami feeling” sweeping over me. It’s a feeling that makes you want to close your eyes and smile for no reason, or just let a little “Aaaaaaaaahhhhhh,“ escape from your lips.

Within an hour, my friend Lad and I, M3 Summit badges in hand, were making our way on foot down “hotel row” to the Delano hotel to check out the “5Beats party” (Hosted by Real Tone Records and Sole Channel Music, in association w/ Sounds-Up.net ) and new, French production sensation Frank Roger and an impressive lineup of other deep house DJs I’d always wanted to see: DJ Alix Alvarez, DJ Mr V, DJ Deep, and DJ Spinna. The Delano proved to be a spectacular venue to kick off our week. Somehow in my previous six trips to SoBe, I had never managed to see the stunning interior of this Art Deco inspired hotel.

The stunning, minimalist interior design was on a grand scale with what seemed like three-story-tall ceilings with floor-to-ceiling white filmy curtains dividing the lobby, bar and other spaces from each other. Glowing candle light and huge mirrors created magical lighting. The inside bar was an interesting freestanding affair with unusual metal filigree work on bar and bar stools. Elegant female patrons with long, flowing outfits mingled with well-dressed, olive-skinned gentlemen in a display seemingly staged for our benefit.

A gigantic, swimming pool stretched ahead of us as we glided down the stairs from the back patio restaurant to the large outdoor pool patio area. Four-story tall Palm trees marched along each side adding to the surreal quality of the view. Unusual lighting effects drew our eyes to the pool. There we could see some hotel guests casually seated at an elegant wrought-iron table and chairs situated smack in the middle of the pool’s shallow end enjoying their cocktails as if wet feet were standard fare with drinks in their normal life.

For a Tuesday night, the patio was crowded. It seemed to be mostly music industry people, which was what we were hoping to find. We met some really nice people from all over the US and even Canada. It was heavenly to dance outdoors where the temperature was pleasant for shorts and sandals and the sound level was conducive to socializing.

We were quickly pulled into the deep house groove that was playing. It turned out this was Frank Roger (pronounced frahnk row-jay) himself. His set proved to be sinfully, deliciously deep and sensual. The perfect accompaniment to the Mojitos we were sipping and the heady scent from this flowering tree we were standing next to. Roger got people dancing and bodies working, but not TOO hard. Just enough to feel that sexy house lovin’ feeling and cause total strangers to start dancing together and smiling at each other. DJ Deep came on next and we stayed through quite a bit of his set. I liked Frank Roger better. Though he didn’t have the headlining spot, I really liked his House style. With his current productions hot on a lot of turntables, no doubt he will be a force to be reckoned with at next year’s conference events.

So many hot events to choose from even for a Tuesday night! By 11:00 pm we were forced to tear ourselves away and attempt to pick from the tempting list of events too numerous to even comprehend.

My St. Louis friends tipped the scales in the favor of the Magic Sessions party at Crobar. This annual event with L’il Louie Vega and Tony Humphries, veteran icons of New York house, usually sells out, so I had never been able to attend before. As a bonus, Soulfuric was holding their "Friends of Ours" event in Crobar’s upstairs lounge, featuring Brian Tappert, John "Julius" Knight, Jask, Ron Carroll, Grant Nelson, and others.

Crobar, if you haven’t been, is one of the world’s best club venues. The main room is impressive with three-story high ceiling and a balcony running around the second floor looking out over the dance floor. The sound system and lighting have been tweaked to perfection. The only element missing from my previous heavenly visit to this club was the jets of nitrogen gas blasting out of the ceiling at peak moments to cool the dance floor down. Either they no longer use this feature or it was determined to be the “wrong vibe” for a House event. We may never know. But, the nitrogen blasts were not in evidence at this event anyway.

We worked up a sweat to Tony Humphries in the main room and then went to check out the Soulfuric crew in the upstairs lounge. The room was not very conducive to dancing, but the minute we crossed the threshold, we were feeling the groove in this room! It was so packed it was hard to find anywhere to move, let alone see who was DJing. We found a spot near the top of the room and went to town getting our dance on. The record selector, reportedly, was Soulfuric’s own, Jask. I got to see him later in the week and was really grabbed by his track selection then, too.

Pretty early on, I met a couple really fun guys whose names I now forget. These two brothers were bent on impressing me with how good Latin men can dance, and let me say, I WAS impressed. I couldn’t have asked for better partners to work out the house grooves with. Their smokin’ moves just captured the essence of the jazzy, slammin’ strains that Jask was dishing out. The whole dance floor was jacking, picking up on Jask’s high energy brand of house lovin’. We stayed and danced for most of his fantastic, groovin’ set.

When L’il Louie came on, we regretfully were lured back to the main room. Louie entranced us from the first track. This man can play any style of house, though he is known for his sultry Latin House grooves. When he plays the main room, he notches the BPMs up a little to create a really high energy level on the dance floor that can not be ignored. The floor was packed and people were really seriously into whatever dance step was getting their groove off.

Between Kim and Trevor, two of my friends from St. Louis’s who are great dancers, as well as fellow House aficionados, and my two Latin dancing companions, the night was a whirlwind of twisting torsos, bouncing booties, flashing feet and smiles all around. L’il Louie delivered three or four hours of music that grooved your body into a complete frenzy.

At some point, the last record played and we dragged ourselves back to the hotel after our first night, already completely exhausted. So much for pacing ourselves!!

Wednesday, March 23

Wednesday started our Miami ritual of sleeping late and arising just barely in time for the afternoon poolside events. First stop was the Rest, Relax, & Recover BBQ presented by Gourmet Recordings at the Fairwinds Café on Collins Avenue. The delicious lineup of Hipp-E, Troydon, Olivier Desmet, Uneaq, Eddie Richards, and Nic Fanciulli.and the menu of fresh-grilled burgers and hot dogs and all-you-can-drink Sangria sounded like just the antidote to too little sleep.

The afternoon quickly heated up as the live House band Uneaq dropped one funky song after another. St. Louis dancers Troy, Jen and Ian were rockin’ it out on the patio and I quickly joined them. We were sad to miss Troydon’s no-doubt excellent set. After hearing him here in Kansas City at Frisky, I was hoping to catch him again, but it was not to be. Raoul Belmans of the Swirl People (Belgium) dropped in to say “Hi,” and I got to visit with both him and Troydon.

An afternoon rain storm took the humidity through the roof and postponed some of the DJ’s sets, so we made our way a couple blocks down the street to The Marlin hotel for the free Smart Bar party featuring DJ Heather (Fabric, Aroma, 20:20 Vision, Chicago), Kaskade (Om Records, San Francisco), Jazzanova (Sonar Kollektiv, Berlin), Justin Long (No Assembly Firm, .dotbleep, Chicago), and some others. What a sick lineup! We were drooling in anticipation.

Unfortunately, everyone else thought so too. So many people were jammed in this tiny hotel lobby that it was almost impossible to get inside. The music was hot, but the physical heat and humidity inside was too hot for us. We couldn’t even stand it long enough to try to get a free drink at the bar.

Those of us with M3 Badges then headed over to the Raleigh hotel for the free drinks at the Buzzin' Fly Sunset Sessions, the opening night event of the M3 Summit, which started at 5:00 pm. With a lineup featuring Ben Watt and Ian Pooley this was one of the highly anticipated events on my list.

The Sunset Sessions did not disappoint. The Raleigh’s pool area is one of the best in Miami. Another Palm-enclosed enclave situated seconds from the ocean, the Raleigh’s pool is small but scenic with a waterfall and curving lines.

We arrived too late for the free drinks, but just in time to hear some really sweet soulful house from live band, Manoo. Then a DJ I was not familiar with came on and proceeded to play some really wicked progressive house. We were all asking who the DJ was and no on e seemed to know, but eventually, I was able to confirm that it was Justin Martin.

The dance floor at the Raleigh consists of a smallish cement patio surrounded by wooden decks and sand that normally accommodate what looked like a restaurant area. Trees were everywhere throughout the area facing the stage, all intertwined with little, white twinkling lights. As the sun went down it became quite magical to look at.

There was quite a good turnout for this event, just about right for what the space could accommodate. Myself and my friends from Kansas City and St. Louis situated ourselves on the wooden part of the patio near one of the speaker stacks. The St. Louis people were still feeling their oats and soon let loose with some St. Louis-style dance moves, much to the delight of the many people dancing near us. Soon there were quite a few people watching, if not outright dancing with us.

It was at this point that I met Trey and his friend from Orange County, California. They were totally digging the vibe from our group and came over to dance by us. They were so cool and personable that I ended up talking and dancing with these guys most of the rest of the evening.

Ian Pooley changed the groove to one more in line with the soulful, upbeat House style that he is known for. He kept a close eye on the dance floor and held that good balance between frenzy and exhaustion throughout his 1 – 1 ½ hour set.

I don’t think we took many breaks through out this time, not even to get a drink since drinks are spectacularly expensive in Miami. Lad and I did split a gourmet pizza as an excuse to rest our feet since we had not had time to get any dinner before rushing over to the Raleigh.

About 11:00 pm, the music took an even more soulful and deep turn, and we looked up to discover that Ben Watt (from alternative rock band Everything But the Girl) had finally taken the decks. The next hour or so were really the highlight of the night for me, though I was too exhausted to dance much. I had been hoping to see Ben ever since coming across several live mixes of his on the Internet which were really rocking my stereo lately. But, I didn’t know what to expect from him. We grabbed lounge chairs and bobbed our heads in unison with his smooth and sweet House tracks that just seemed to get better as the set went on.

You know the saying about all good things, and the Sunset Sessions did indeed come to an end, quite a bit later than the scheduled time of 11:00. My watch said 12:30 as we were dragging ourselves out of the Raleigh’s confines.

Once again, it was almost impossible to choose among the 50 different events that would take us to 5:00 am, so we decided to go for the AS ONE party at Empire (formerly Goddess). This event, presented by, among others, Amenti Music and Aroma Records, featured: Apple Rochez, DJ Heather, East Coast Boogiemen, Iz & Diz, LawnChair Generals, Miles Maeda, Olivier Desmet, and Swirl People.

Goddess was one of the clubs that really impressed me during past trips to Miami, but most of the eye-popping stone sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses seemed to have been taken down or covered up. A massive wall of speakers dominated the downstairs dance floor, but did not deliver on its promise of exceptional sound.

We came in at the tail end of a jumpin’ set by the Boogiemen. We saw Heather lurking around waiting for her turn but found ourselves drawn to the LawnChair Generals who were playing upstairs. I had been dying to see Heather since she blew it up at Frisky in Kansas City about 2 years ago. So, I bounced back and forth between rooms for a while. This is not a good way to really enjoy anyone’s set and possibly, consequently, I never really got into a groove with what Heather was playing. It seemed a lot more minimal and bangin’ than I remember her playing.

The upstairs room was small and resembled more of a lounge area than a dance area. But, this did not stop the LawnChair Generals from killing it up there to a packed crowd.

I made a point of being back upstairs when Raoul Belmans of the Swirl People (Belgium) went on, towards the end of the night. Raoul has played several times at Frisky in Kansas City. And, while I was making a conscious effort NOT to see artists this week that I had already seen before, Raoul’s style was too good to miss out on. So, upstairs I went and, I was not disappointed.

Raoul came out swingin’ with some seriously funky tracks that had everyone’s bodies jacking insanely hard. Despite having to work around a coffee table and people sitting on a couch along the back wall, I was able to find enough room to get some serious dance on. A packed room of serious house-heads egged him on with screams of joy at nearly every record that he played. He used his time well and took us on a journey from slammin’ to jazzy and funky and back up again.

I walked out at 5:00 am thinking that this would have to be one of the best sets of the conference for me, and I can’t say that anyone topped it, though several may have tied with it.

Trey from Orange Country stuck with me until the end, and graciously shared breakfast at the famous News Café on Ocean Drive followed by a sunrise walk on the beach. Between all the great people I met and the music, my good memories of that night will linger for a long time!

Thank God for cabs. It took one to get my tired self back to my hotel and into bed for some rest before the upcoming busiest two day s of WMC week.

Thursday, March 24

Thursday I awoke with sore muscles of epic proportions from all the dancing and walking. But, there was no time for self-pity. A group of my St. Louis friends and I had a hot date with the 2nd Annual Shipwrecked Sunset Boat Cruise leaving from the marina at Biscayne Bay across the causeway in downtown Miami. This event, presented by House Division and Lust4House in conjunction w/ the Viva Agency Group featured: Johnny Fiasco (Om, Viva, Doubledown), Jon Lemmon (Viva), Lego (Pootin, Soulfuric), and Mark Grant (Blackstone).

Tickets for this event went on sale February 1. Fortunately, I had been tipped off about this event months in advance by one of my St. Louis DJ friends. I set a reminder on my computer. Five of us got tickets before they sold out the same day. Between my constant yammering about how fun DJ boat cruises are and Trevor’s recommendation for this event, we were all pumped as we sat in the cab on the way there.

The weather could not have been any more perfect, being in the low ‘80s and sunny all day. The boat was smaller than others I had been on for DJ cruises, but the crew made up for it with their helpful and smiling demeanors.

We boarded the boat and were treated to a light buffet of appetizers and fresh fruit while we waited for the upper deck to be opened up. Soon, we had stationed ourselves at the back of the upper deck and the cruiser was heading out of the harbor.

John Lemmon played an understated, but perfectly deep set to get everyone mingling and loosed up as we cruised past mile after mile of downtown Miami shoreline and what I assume was the back side of the SoBe island.

Lego unexpectedly came out with turntables blazing and soon had everyone on board dancing full-on for all we were worth. The breeze from the boat’s movement was not enough to keep the sweat from running down our faces as we danced and sipped cocktail after cocktail under the sun’s rays.

We all had a lot of fun waving at all the other boaters who were passing us on the way into the bay. They could probably hear the loud music and see all of us having the time of our lives. I can only imagine what they thought. I was just glad I was on the right boat that day!

Mark Grant and Johnny Fiasco were my favorites. Johnny played some sick, Chicago-style house and his set kept my interest throughout. Mark’s set may have even topped that. He played a lot harder than I was expecting. Very pumping set. Possibly one of the best I was to hear at the conference. By this time it was full dark and cool enough to dance all we wanted. And, the interesting array of dance headz that were onboard made the most of it!

The people on the cruise were part of the attraction for me. On past cruises, I have met kindred spirits from all over the world. Usually, these cruises can be counted on to only attract people who are as serious about their music as I am, if not more so. This particular day, we knew we were going to have a lively group when a party of about six people showed up just before we pulled away from the dock. All of them were dressed as one of the cast of Gilligan’s Island. We recognized the Captain, Mary Ann, Gilligan and the others. Their entourage came complete with a large life-saver painted with the name of the event. This group turned out to be from Tampa, as were quite a few other people we met. Everyone was really outgoing and friendly and eager to talk to each other.

It was hard to say goodbye to the ocean breeze, slammin’ beats and good conversation when we finally docked about 9:30 pm, but more Miami madness awaited us on South Beach.

The cab ride back was long enough to realize how exhausted we all were. I don’t even remember if we ate or what, but somehow we dragged ourselves to the club called State for the Moulton Studios' Closing Party. This event was Miguel Migs only Miami appearance and the launch of Jay-J’s new label, Shifted. Other performers on the night lineup included Julius Papp, Live Pa's from Lisa Shaw and Latrice Barnett and a slammin’ second room hosted by Chez recordings, featuring: Neil Aline, Matthias "Matty" Heilbronn, and Darshan Jersani.

State is large, and well-designed with good air conditioning, sound and exceptional lighting. With it being one of the larger clubs, I expected there might be a lot of locals there this night, but it turned out to be an event strictly for house aficionados. I ran into several old friends, such as Harry Self from LA, and met some interesting new people. The Kinky Malinky crew was there in full force and their friendliness completely topped off this night of wicked music. Special shout outs to David from Kinky Malinky who kept me on my feet, dancing and smiling right to the end.

Jay-J and Miguel both dropped track after track of deep, melodic, funky house that kept us all dancing deep into the night. Just when I would start to think “I can’t do this anymore,” they would play a record that would have me screaming and jumping up and down with joy. Another WMC highlight event, this was! I will be sorry to see Moulton Studios go. I hope they don’t leave that particular brand of House behind as Miguel and Jay-J move forward into the future. There isn’t anyone else doing it quite the way they are in the House industry today.

Eventually, the clock struck 5:00 and we dragged our weary bodies back to our beds with rhythmic beats of deep house kept us dancing in our dreams all night long.

Friday, March 25

Friday my first stop was a good lunch at the restaurant outside our hotel. A substantial meal of fresh fish, rice and beans gave me some needed energy as I headed over to the Nikki Beach Club for another of my usual favorite events, BBC Radio 1 - Live in Miami, featuring Pete Tong and a “cast of thousands” of luminary guest DJs who each play for about 30 minutes.

Nikki beach is one of the most inviting venues on the island, with its large palm-shaded patio areas and plenty of wood-framed beds and padded beach chairs for lounging. I was looking forward to enjoying the vibe of a throng of party-goers from around the world gathered together to help Pete’s radio audience in Great Britain ring in Friday night with some great music and the off-the-hook yells of the pumped up audience in Miami.

Well, in the two years since I last went to Miami, this event has clearly grown exponentially. I arrived at 1:00 pm after a mile walk, due to the shortage of taxis, to find a line that wrapped around the large parking lot, with estimated time to get in at nearly two hours. I worked “the magic” and managed to get in in less than 30 minutes, but even then I was not prepared for the mob scene inside the venue. Thousands of drunk spring breakers were packed into every inch of the large patio areas. The area near the DJ booth was impossible. I managed to wiggle right up to the front, but did not have room to dance or even breathe in the exceedingly humid air held captive under the roof of palm fronds.

The crowd was going ape-shit over ever track of a good set by Behrouz (If my source was correct). But, from there the afternoon just went downhill. I finally left two hours later, covered in sweat, hair matted to my forehead and unable to get into a rest room for love nor money.

Fortunately, the Opium Garden club was right down the way. I arrived to find that they were hosting the Aquabooty .05 party which had originally been scheduled to take place at the brand new warehouse venue, Nocturnal, in downtown Miami. However, Nocturnal had failed to get its permits in time with construction of the space running right to the last minute, based on reports I heard. The Aquabooty lineup was one of the most stellar of the entire week including Halo, Julius Papp, Roy Davis Jr., and Kerri "Kaoz 6:23" Chandler, Jask, DJ Spinna, and live House band Osunlade.

I was psyched not to have to pay $25 for a cab ride across the causeway to hear this stellar lineup. I was also psyched to finally be able to go to the bathroom without waiting in a one-hour lineup. I arrived just in time to catch five songs by my hero, Roy Davis Jr – five songs that brought me back to life, only to be crushed when I realized he was already done spinning. Due to the much smaller venue, the organizers were apparently forced to compress the lineup and try to squeeze everyone in in much less time than originally planned.

After Roy was over, I needed a rest. I happened upon DJ Mark Grant in the air-conditioned upstairs lounge. Mark and I chatted for about an hour. He always has such positive energy and a motivated approach to his craft. I have no doubt he deserves the success he is getting for his productions and DJing.

The highlight of the afternoon was a surprise set by Jask from Soulfuric. That boy banged the deep, funky house up on side and down the other where he was playing in the second upstairs lounge. If anything, it was even better than his set at the Soulfuric party. This man is definitely someone I hope to see play in KC some day soon!

My only criticism of the afternoon was that the upstairs sound system was so ungodly loud and harsh sounding that it was almost unbearable even with my heaviest duty hearing protectors in.

The Aquabooty event was over by about 9:00. We wandered back to our hotel, grabbed some food, a nap, a second shower and some fresh clothes. Feeling refreshed we headed out again to see if we could top the previous nights.

We got off to a promising start back at the Delano Hotel for the Pure Party, featuring: King Britt (Five Six, USA), Danny Krivit (718 Sessions, NYC), and I think Victor Duplaix (France).

Friend Trey from California joined us again, and we warmed up to some serene, groovy deep house. I could have easily been happy to stay there all night, surrounded by a large and welcoming crowd of industry deep-house heads. But, we all agreed that we were getting deep-housed out.

Fortunately, the folks at Chicago’s Dusttraxx Records had the perfect event, Sweat, awaiting us with an amazing lineup of many of our favorite DJs, especially including Doc Martin. This event, however, was to end up being very disappointing after they lost their original hotel venue and were forced to forge ahead in a small dark club with only a single room. We stuck it out for a couple hours during which none of the DJs we’d come to hear got to play.

By this time it was so late that there were long lines at couple of the other events we had on our list, or a longer walk or cab ride than we were up to. Club Bash was just down the street with DJ Sneaks Miami Rub Down Party featuring: DJ Sneak, Jason Hodges, Dj Heather, Brett Johnson, East Coast Boogiemen, LawnChair Generals and Miles Maeda. And, though it had a long line, we decided to make that our final stopping point.

So, that is how we came to hear another of the best sets of the week, the Lawnchair Generals tearing it up to an absolutely packed crowd on the patio. I have only seen a dance floor this packed one other time, at the Ovum party when they still held it the Living Room.

The Bash patio was maybe 30’ x 30’ and every square inch of it was totally full of house lovers shoehorned in and dancing for all they were worth. Amazingly, with everyone dancing in unison, you could actually dance pretty hard without hurting anyone. And dance hard we did, with hands in the air and yells of approval at every track. I was even lucky enough to score one of the LCG’s special Miami mix CDs before the night was over. Watch out America, the Lawnchair Generals seemed to be everywhere at the conference week events this year, and they tore it up so completely each time, that I am sure they will be among the most sought after by next year.

DJ Sneak was dropping the science in the main room. I was really digging what he was playing, and he is always one of my favorite House spinnas. But, this time the LCG won out, as his set drifting towards a little too minimal and bleepy for my tastes.

The walk back to the hotel is a blur, as is falling into bed at last. But, the final day of the main conference week events awaited us. So, we dutifully vowed to get what rest we could.

Saturday March 26

Saturday the sore muscles were back, as was a craving for some really filling breakfast food. So, even though it was early afternoon by the time we showered and left the hotel, we decided to make a beeline to my favorite SoBe breakfast eatery, the Penguin Hotel and restaurant. The Penguin, situated on Ocean Drive just down the block from The News Café and other Versace hang outs, offers a large, breezy verandah with an ocean view and a killer all-day-long breakfast for under $7.00. I highly recommend the Mimosas made with some of SoBe’s best fresh-squeezed orange juice and a generous portion of champagne, too! I partake of the brunch at this place every year and am never disappointed.

This particular day, the weather was perfect to sit out side and enjoy a leisurely brunch as we contemplated the listing of the day’s music showcases. The daytime was packed with really good events. The Kinky Malinky party at the Marlin Hotel was one I particularly wanted to hit, especially after meeting some of the DJs and the promoter at the Foundation party earlier in the week. Kinky Malinky is a famous British promotion crew that hosts a regular night at Pacha in Ibiza. I was also eyeing the Stompy party at the Whitelaw Hotel and a pool party with some Canadian DJs. I was surprised to see so many good events competing with the Ultra Beach Fest in downtown Miami. But, that was good news for those of us not attending that massive dance music festival.

We were all in agreement that the early evening was reserved for the M3 Sunset Sessions, and after that who knew! The event list for the evening featured more large events with high price tags ($25.00+) and not as much music that appealed to our group. The Ovum party looked good, but I was afraid it would reach capacity long before we were out of the Sunset Sessions. Besides, I had my heart set on seeing some French House on this trip to Miami and time was running out. Bob Sinclair was, conveniently, playing at Mansion later in the evening at the FUCK ME, I’M FAMOUS Party (another Ibiza staple). I had downloaded a FUCK ME, I’M FAMOUS mix off the Internet some time ago, just for laughs at it’s hilarious, tongue-in-cheek name. But, the mix had turned out to be quite good and I had really enjoyed it. With a name like that, it has to be a fun event, right? So, I tucked that idea away for later.

We decided to squeeze in some beach time during the early afternoon. Most of our crew of 14 from St. Louis and Kansas City met in front of the appointed lifeguard station near 13th Street and staked out some sand for the afternoon. For some of us, this was the first time we had actually gotten to see each other the whole week. For others, it was some needed down time after a crazy week and a chance to visit when there was no loud music ringing in our ears. The sand and surf soon did their work and we went back to the hotel a little more bronze and a lot more relaxed.

Somehow we had whiled away so much time that there was no chance of making it to any of the afternoon parties after all. We didn’t want to miss the free drinks pool-side at this last M3 Sunset Session. We arrived at the Doubltetree Surfcomber hotel (site of the Sunset Sessions that night) with an hour to spare. It took the entire hour to get one free drink since everyone else had the same idea.

That was one dandy drink, though – vanilla vodka and cranberry juice. Yum! I am a convert. I ended up drinking those the rest of the night and they were the perfect flavor for the deep, groovy sounds to come.

The final M3 SUNSET SESSIONS promised to be an exciting night of entertainment with Los Amigos Invisibles (live), Tortured Soul (live), and a special teaser set from Digable Planets. But, we were especially excited about the exclusive live performance by Cirque Du Soleil Musique, and another chance to see Louie Vega, this time with his live Latin House band.

Tortured Soul was on while I was still standing in line for my free drink, followed by getting in a line for a hamburger dinner hot off the grill. But, I could see that they really got the crowd jazzed up and their music translated well to the beautiful setting. The stage faced the sandy area behind the Surfcomber’s pool that open out onto the beach. The music was greatly enhanced by the setting sun and the soft sand to dance on.

Los Amigos Invisbles (from Brazil, I believe?) put on a high-energy stage show complete with video footage featuring subliminal (or not so subliminal) shots of beautiful, scantily clad T & A straight off the Brazilian beaches. But, they played so long that after a while all their Latin-inspired House music started sounding the same to me. Nevertheless, we were not alone in feeling the tug of the dance floor. The entire dance area was filled with people working it out to the sounds of Los Amigos.

The Digable Planets came on next and dew a large crowd with their clever rhymes and infectious beats. They put on quite an infectious show, with some of their vocalists throwing down some break dancing moves.

It was full dark when the Cirque Du Soleil performance began. It started with some specially choreographed synchronized swimmers in the pool, and then was followed by a highly-charged troupe of dancers performing to some wicked progressive house tracks spun by a DJ whose name I didn’t catch. I was disappointed that they didn’t attempt to bring some of the aerial acrobats they are known for, but they projected footage of acrobats on screens around the perimeter of the pool area, and the dancers were superb.

At last it was time for L’il Louie, spinning on turntables with help from several live percussionists. From the first drum beat, it was clear that this was going to be some seriously funky, groovy Latin House music and the highlight of the entire night! My memory is that the group played for close to an hour and half. Meanwhile, the sandy back area was full of jacking bodies and people laughing and smiling. The sandy footing was great because your feet and legs really didn’t get tired.

Our group danced until we were all drenched with sweat. The Florida humidity didn’t help. But, we couldn’t stop dancing because Lil Louie held us in the palm of his hand until the very end. As his set peaked, some break dancers joined him on stage (perhaps some of the Digable Planets, again?) and began throwing down some really dope moves. That only added to the wicked, deep vibe projected by the crowd which was still jacking their bodies with a freshness that only some good House and a good DJ can inspire.

As we were finally making our way out at the end of his set, we found out that the Spy Lounge across the street had cancelled the RECORD PLAYER’S BALL event we had been hoping to check out. So, we all split up to go to various other events.

Lad and I decided we needed some additional sustenance before doing any more walking or dancing. So, we stopped in at Rustic Pizza and took some of their famous pie back to the hotel to dig into. Afterwards, the long, busy week was catching up with me. I wanted nothing more than to lay down and quietly drift off into sleep. But, with only one night left of my vacation, I decided to head down to Mansion for the FUCK ME I'M FAMOUS party, and hope to see French House icon Bob Sinclar.

The party info purported to have the “Finest French house, Parisian chic and Ibizan expression, co-presented by NY's most celebrated club, Lotus. . . . with Cathy Guetta's wizadry, this could be the most glamorous party to hit WMC yet.” But, when I arrived at Mansion, it looked more like the usual Miami club ginos who were waiting outside than any international crowd of suave partiers.

The line was about 10 people deep all around Mansion’s door area. They had police barricades in place to keep everyone far enough from the door. I managed to squeeze right up to the front, but stood there for over 30 minutes without so much as a glance from the bouncer. I could see that I was in for one of the rituals of life at the larger or more popular Miami clubs. This is the ritual where you must either be a smoking hot 20 year old chica or her very rich 22 year old boyfriend driving daddy’s car and flaunting daddy’s money, OR you must liberally grease the palm of the imperious bouncer in order to have a hope of getting in. Apparently, my level of hotness was not enough to gain me admittance ahead of those with younger bodies and more money.

I quickly became disgusted with the whole ridiculous affair. But, decided to stick around and watch the theater production that the mansion’s staff put on for our benefit. First, the club’s manager came outside. He had a terribly pained look on his face. He pretended to chew out the bouncer who has just let in some of the beautiful people (after they cut in line ahead of people who had probably been waiting for an hour, of course). His soliloquy centered around how the club was way beyond capacity and he didn’t want to get in trouble with the Fire Marshall.

The bouncer, an imperious looking gay man like you can imagine guarded the door of the famous Studio 54 in NYC many years ago, pretended to acquiesce and then as soon as the manager’s back was turned, he sidled over to one of the more persistent young men who is loaded down with the stereotypic gold jewelry. The velvet rope dropped and the 22 year old and his girlfriend are soon on their way into the club.

The manager turns back around, as if he doesn’t see the two young people quickly making their way in the club’s door, and resumes his tirade, at top volume. What are they afraid of, I wonder? All of us proletariats bum-rushing the bouncer out of anger at being made to wait? The pageant was almost comedic to watch, as the manager’s cheeks’ got purple with pretend rage and meanwhile the bouncer kept letting his chosen in anyway.

To my amazement, the panoply was not over yet. A waiflike young lady with long brown hair and unusually dilated pupils jammed up next to me at the barricade and, upon being told that she can’t get inside, began to have what I can only describe as a nervous breakdown. Her friends and boyfriend didn’t seem disgusted by her appallingly shallow display. On the contrary, as if they are merely pawns in an insipid soap opera, they merely played out their meaningless dialogue and try to pacify her. After she started crying, I couldn’t watch any more and left in disgust. If not getting in the club is the worst thing that happens to her, I thought, she really doesn’t know how lucky she is.

My bed beckoned, and at last I could give in to the sleep that had been so neglected for the past week.

Sunday. March 28

Sunday was technically outside the boundaries of WMC and M3 events, but several crews were hosting events Sunday afternoon and evening. Some of my friends managed to make it out to Blue for the Aftermath Easter Bash featuring Justin Long (No Assembly Firm, Smartbar, Chicago), Jon Lemmon (Viva Recordings, Seattle, Agave), and some other good DJs.

Lad and I stupidly decided to give the Nikki Beach club another try for the Mixology Closing Party with Danny Howells and Dave Ralph. I’m not sure why I was willing to take a chance on that club again after the debacle that was the Radio I party. I can only say in defense of our stupidity that we were in the mood for something besides House and thought we’d like to see Danny Howells for the first time.

We arrived at Nikki Beach, and paid the $25 cover charge only to find the large outdoor patio area, once again, very crowded, and with no music of any kind. The DJs seem to have been moved into the small indoor club that is inside Nikki Beach Club which could only hold a fraction of the people that were there.

We could hear that the music inside was pretty good. But, we could hardly hear the music from where we were about 50 feet from the door inside. With the crowd that was jammed in there, there was no hope of actually getting inside, even assuming we would want to with the humidity level so high. At one point, we heard them announce that Derrick May had just come over to spin. The music got even sicker after that, what little we could hear of it.

We wouldn’t have minded not getting to see the DJs, but we were mystified as to why there was no provision made to pipe the sound outside. $25 is alot of money for just standing around sipping a drink on a patio that’s too crowded to even find a seat on. Eventually, I figured out that the club was most likely prohibited from playing music late on a Sunday night due to the large number of condos and hotels immediately next door to their location on both sides. Oh well! We’ll know better than go there again next time!

Monday, March 29 -- Homeward Bound

Monday dawned cloudy and chilly. I walked down to the beach, but had to scrap my plans to work on my tan since the wind was blowing hard enough off the ocean for the sand to sting as it hit your skin and there was no sun in site. Lad and I checked out and did a little shopping to kill the time before leaving for the airport.

When it came time to get in the airport shuttle, I just couldn’t bear to take off the tank top, shorts and sandals. So, I left them on all the way to Atlanta. There it was chilly enough that I was regretting checking my leather coat with my luggage. I ended up getting an extra, unplanned day of vacation due to getting stranded in Atlanta because of bad weather and cancelled plane flights.

Now I am back home in Kansas City, but that Miami feeling lingers on. If I close my eyes, I can feel the ocean breeze and feel the sun on my skin. I can almost taste that cocktail and see those palm trees, too. But most of all, I can hear strains of some beautiful, deep house music the likes of which I rarely hear in my neck of the woods. Because of the music I heard there, I will never be the same again. The many DJs and artists I heard in Miami challenged my tastes, my knowledge of music and my physical limits. There is no going back, but going forward is going to be even better because of the memories of that one week of Miami paradise.

may 2005 editor note

I don't know about you, but I had a bit of fun this month and I'm even more ready for next month. I even managed to dig out of the whole move thing.

This issue is a little delayed mostly because of an eminent hard drive failure which forced me to move all my stuff off of one system on to another. Bah! What a mess. But, I'm back in action and seem to clean up pretty well in this month's photo of Sherri and I, taken at the National Kidney Foundation Gala. I donated a bit of photography for the evening.

The whole thing really was a lot of fun, starting out at The Webster House with a sort of Trivial Pursuit (w/ cocktails and h'orsedeurves) and ended up back at the Hyatt for dinner, an auction and some '80s dance music.

The cover this month is a a shot that Shaun took at Ultra Music Festival 7, while he was in Miami for the Winter Music Conference this year. bPositive wrote this month's accompanying article on her adventures through Miami for that week. I hope they do another DVD for that. Last year's was great, but then... maybe it was because I was there.

It seems that right after that, some really great talent started passing through the area and I hope it keeps up. The month started off with a great little double header at Kabal with DJ P, as well as a CD Release Party for a project that Kansas City's own Ebon and Pete Bones have been working on. Right after that, Cari Lekebusch made an appearance, followed the next day by The Crystal Method. Meanwhile, up in Lawrence, Dara & Terry Mullan were throwin it down.

I even made a trip out to St Louis for Judge Jules. That was a really fantastic event. I hope to see more like that. Velvet was packed, like it had been for Mark Farina, but it was full and the vibe was just right. To quote The Rooster, "This will be a show to remember." I agree. It most definitely was.

Trevor Matthews, who also played at that event, is this month's "on decks" artists. I love it. Those vocals are friggin awesome. Be sure to check it out and have a listen and if you like what you hear, drop by our little night, True Tuesdays at Balanca's. This is the same kinda groove we're stirrin up down there...

See you on the dance floor!

~phocas~

may 2005 issue