Wednesday, March 31, 2004

event photos mar.04

Flyers for events photographed in March 2004 appear below.

A link to the associated photo album appears beneath that.

DJ Solaris
The Womb Broadcast Studio
Miami Beach, FL

The Chemical Brothers, Rabbit in the Moon, Paul Oakenfold, Paul van Dyk, Tiƫsto, Sasha, John Digweed, Erick Morillo, The Rapture, Richie Hawtin aka Plastikman, Boy George, a Tommy Lee live drum & DJ set, Pete Tong, Perry Farrell aka Peretz, Way Out West, Junke XL, LCD Soundstream, Ferry Corsten, Goldie, Fabio, Miss Kittin, Swayzak, Infusion, Jackal & Hyde, Deepsky, Adult, Uberzone, Kevens, Planet B, Cirrus, Chromio, Avenue D, Motorcycle, Galaxy Girl, Hialeah.Sound.System., Sensei, Salim Rafiq, Silence Repellent, Junior Vasquez, Satoshi Tomiie, Peter Rauhofer, 2 Many DJs, Sister Bliss, Gabriel & Dresden, Smokin Jo, DMP, Johan Gielen, Keoki, PHotex, James Holden, Chus & Ceballos, D:Fuse, Tom Stephan aka Superchumbo, Marco V, Corvin Dalek, Ambulance LTD, Tommie Sunshine, DJ Unknown, Avenue D, Clayton Steel aka Fello, and a bunch of others on 12 stages, 2 oceanfornt main stages
Bayfront Park,
Miami, FL

Kazell, Chris & Kai, Three, Steve Porter, Dirty Gringos, & James Zabiela
Creek Hotel
Miami Beach, FL

unknown lineup
hotel unknown
Miami Beach, FL

Rap, John Graham, Richard Humpty Vision, Dean Coleman, Palahs
Nikki Beach Club
Miami Beach, FL

Biz Markie, Doug E Fresh, and Slick Rick
Pearl @ Nikki Beach
Miami Beach, FL

Christian Smith, Mistress Barbara, Marco Bailey, Christian Varela, Alan Simms, Phil Kieran, Justin Robertson, John Selway, Filterheadz, Jamie Anderson, Matthew Dear, Vladislav Delay (aka Luomo), T-1000, Derek Plaslaiko, Dennis Rogers Bill Patrick, Punisher, Traxx, Mirko Loco, and DJ Alexa
Privilege Club
Miami Beach, FL

Peretz, Monk, Ming & FS, Hyper, Alex Graham, Cameron Douglas, Matt-e Love Syrup Girls, Hollertronix, DJ SS & MC Armanini
Shelbourne South Beach Hotel
Miami Beach, FL

Armour Road
North Kansas City, MO

ESP/Woody McBride, Spree w/ MC ADB, Mike Scott vs Spinstylez, Nolo, Bobby Duracel, Brent Crampton, Gaia w/ MC Carbon, Synnister, Frooky, Will Fitzroger, Paul Knox, Bucho, & Clandestine
The 411 Club - Uptown Theater
Kansas City, MO
photos by kourtney

Tortured Soul, Pat Nice, Tyrone Blea
Grand Emporium
Kansas City, MO

Grand Boulevard
Kansas City, MO

Mill Creek Park
Kansas City, MO

Wally Callerio & Joc-Max
Kabal Restaurant & Nightclub
Kansas City, MO

DJ Two Heavy
Empire Room
Kansas City, MO

~ that's it for this month ~

Monday, March 01, 2004

now playing march 2004

by Ben Ramsey

Brian Eno - Taking tiger Mountain (by Strategy) (1974, EG) / Discreet Music (1975, EG) / Before and After Science (1977, Island) / Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978, EG)

These four albums, released over the course of 4 years from 1974 and 1978, show different aspects of the man we in the modern day know as the penultimate producer. If the drumming sounds famliar, that's because it's Phil Collins. These albums don't quite yet feature Jah Wobble, David Bowie, or even Robert Fripp.

The first here, Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy), was released just a year after leaving glam-rockers roxy music, and is reminiscent of that band's high-concept, pre-progressive rock -- but there's more there, even though it's not fully fleshed out. small synth lines and studio manipulations creep up in the mix and many of the arrangements are kind of difficult to get your ears around, while the vocals, which center largely around a double-agent scheme involving communist china, are at times ridiculous, Thankfully they aren't asking to be taken too seriously in the first place. Eno's later production work on David Bowie's albums is predictable here.

Discreet music, on the other hand, is Eno in his ambient master phase we most closely identify him with. With the Music for Airports album still being 3 years off, Discreet Music shows that Eno was well ahead of his time when dealing with sound on a purely sonic level. Dense yet melodic and quite beautifully arranged, this is the prototype of ambient music as it's come to be known today. 4 tracks over 55 minutes, the first track being just over 30 minutes long . . . great stuff.

Before and After Science is a combination of these two albums, almost reminescent at times of a 1977 version of Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden album. There are vocals, and they at times sound more at home in early 90's Manchester Acid House, but then the music they are laid on is entirely ethereal.

Ambient 1: Music for Airports is exactly that, total background muzak music. period. while discreet music intended to create sonic pastorals, music for airports was meant to disappear.

DJ Spooky - Optometry (2002, Thirsty Ear)

I admit, I bought "Songs of a Dead Dreamer" back when it came out and i hated it, with the exception of galactic funk. My respect for Spooky didn't diminish, it just wasn't my thing at the time, and I haven't really given Paul Miller much room since then.

This Optometry disc, at least 3 tracks in, is a good reason to go back and re-examine some of his other work. The only other thing I've listened to from him was the "Under the Influence" mix disc, which has 3.7.8. from ebn on it, and then a few tracks here and there.

I will say that at this point, 8 years on from 96 when Dead Dreamer came out, I've got a much greater grasp of Jazz, and I mean that in many senses of the word. This disc has had a few moments of "wonky" jazz which is hard for me to stomach, unless the wonkiness is immediately turned on its ear into something interesting and i guess "melodic" or at least pretty. Beauty out of chaos. I don't like contrived chaos but controlled chaos at the hands of a master isn't a bad thing at all.

Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (1968, Warner Bros.)

For a long time, I hated van morrison. I had a college roommate that i wish i could apologize to now in regards to Van Morrison. I still contend that The Pixies are over-rated though. This album doesn't have the hits that Moondance did, it didn't even have "Brown-Eyed Girl" on it, but there is a reason why this album is easily in the upper echelons of most greatest hits lists, and I will say it is there on mine. I listened to this and the Miles Davis album "Kind of Blue" at the same time, and the pure improvisational style of both is incredible.

Mercury Rev - Deserter's Songs (1998, V2)

Mercury Rev was, to me, "the private psychadelic reel" from the Chemical Brothers' otherwise terrible Dig Your Own Hole Album. The Flaming Lips were, to me, a horrible one-hit wonder band which I'd dismissed entirely. The band was always just Bob Dylan's backing band, except for when Robbie Robertson, Neil Young, and Rick James were in a band together and made some demos for motown, which were rejected.
This album prominently features the bowed saw, and i appreciate that.

Various Artists - Gimmie Indie Rock (K-Tel, 2000)

Yes, K-Tel. If you don't get that joke, then there's no problem, because this is worth getting anyway. This is a nice two disc set of what are ultimately essential classics and if you do get the K-Tel joke then basically, it's just as good.

Much like Rykodisc Releasing Bob Mould Records, this set is worth checking out. Of course, who should be on here is an easy argument, but who shouldn't isn't quite so simple. Never heard the original Vaselines' version of "Molly's Lips" (turned around entirely and made oh so famous on nirvana's bleach album)? Current GBV guitarist Doug Gillard is in Death of Samantha. Yes, Black Flag, Husker Du, Minutemen, Flaming Lips, Meat Puppets, Spaceman Three and this band called Giant Sand that keeps popping up everywhere.

Various Artists - Beyond Nashville: Into the Twisted Heart of Country (2001, Manteca)

This is easily the best thing I've heard in quite a while. Two discs again, the first classic roots country songs ranging for Jimmie Rodgers to the band doing "Long Black VeiL.". This disc shines the most on the older tracks, the Hank Williams, or Hearing Bill Monroe do "Blue Moon of Kentucky" for the first time, or the best track arguably on the whole set, Johnny Cash with the Carter Family's "Where you There". The harmonies on that are absolutely stunning.

The second disc is newer, with Lambchop, Smog, Sparklehorse, Gillian Welch, who is awesome on "Orphan Girl", Willard Grant Conspiracy, and the incredible Emmylou Harris as well. Tthe older tracks provided a welcome, familiar new sound to me.

Grateful Dead - So Many Roads (5 CD Set)

I hated the Grateful Dead more than I hated Van Morrison. As of this 5 disc set, there's a lot going towards making that permanently past tense. These largely live, by a vast majority rare even by Grateful Dead standard, songs are awesome. Some of these cds only have 5 or 6 songs on them and some have 8 or so. The level of craftmanship in these songs which range from the early Warlock days to the very end of the Jerry Garcia years, is never questionable, and that ultimately, leads me to why I all of a sudden find myself loving this band.

the bench intro to sequencing part 1

by J. Phoenix ~ Things have busy in the Phoenix Lab lately, getting ready for an mp3 release of tracks called :Beats:. They'll be available this month. They're what I spent this winter recording, and are low tempo, chill-out grooves. Hope you'll check them out, and let me know what you think of them.

March was supposed to have been on the subject of synthesis, however, that will have to be delayed until next month. Instead, we're going to cover the basics of Sequencing, one of the most important and useful things a producer can learn.

Essentially sequencing is using a piece of hardware or software to "write" music to be played back, just like composers of old would write the music for an orchestra to play. The difference is that they were restricted to pen and paper, where we have graphic interfaces, visual cues, and the ability to instantly listen to our musical thoughts being played back. Sequencing can also be looked at as arranging notes, bits of recorded sound, or drum hits in sequence to create music.

There are several types of sequencers that exist, but the basics remain the same throughout. A sequencer will be concerned with the pitch of the note it is playing, and the duration of those notes. All sequencers will allow you to arrange notes and when and how long those notes will be played. There are two primary types of sequencers that most of us will have to deal with.

The first is primarily used for drum sequencing first being seen with the classic Roland 808. It is a sixteen step sequencer, with each step representing a 16th note, and all 16 steps representing one bar or measure of music.

The picture shows you what Propellerhead's Reason Redrum's 16 step sequencer looks like to give you an idea. Using the sequencer, you can create a drum beat easily. For example, to create the ever-present four to the floor thump, you simply lay down notes on 1, 5, 7, and 13.

Sequencers often have a means to control velocity, or how hard/loud a note will play. Reason uses a 3 step system for their Redrum drum machine, soft, medium, and hard. So, for example, we could take the same four to the floor, but make the bass hit like thump, Thump, THUMP, Thump.

A sixteen step sequencer is great for laying out rhythm sequences, as it gives you a quick visual response for what you are creating in step. However, it isn't necessarily the best way to sequence things with pitch, like sequencing a melody on a synthesizer. For that we run into the second type of sequencer, usually referred to as Piano Roll, Keyboard, or Grid. Reason's Matrix Pattern Sequencer controller is a good representation of a Piano Roll sequencer.

Like the Redrum 16-step sequencer, the Matrix sequencer is concerned with when a note plays, and how long it plays, but it goes one step further, allowing you to control what pitch the note will play and allows you to sustain notes longer. It also has a more detailed velocity section for fine-tuning how hard a note is played. I've highlighted specific sections on the Matrix to explain them better. The Green highlight shows you the set up for pitches of notes.

You can see an octave keyboard on its side, and connected to that is a switch. Where the keyboard touches the black and red grid shows you which pitch is playing. The switch goes between 5 octaves of notes, allowing you to sequence upper and lower registers of pitch. The red marks in the black grid are the notes themselves in time. Each note is a 16th note normally, but you can tie notes together to make them longer.

This highlights the velocity/duration part of the sequencer. Below the notes, there is a wave pattern. That pattern shows you the velocity of the notes being played. The higher the line, the harder/louder the note will be played. The velocity graph also lets you tie notes together, allowing you to make notes last longer than 16th notes. You could make a note sustain the entire measure if you wanted. The Matrix can also be made longer up to 32 steps, allowing you to sequence a two-measure pattern.

To get the best understanding of sequencing, my suggestion would be to start looking into music theory, if you haven't been exposed to it. It will teach you the most about what you need to know on rhythm, melody, notes, and pitch and their relationship to each other. In this article for space's sake, I really didn't want to go into details on the music theory behind sequencing, Tune in next month for Sequencers, guest-columned with TJ of d33p thou9ht and Two J's and some T. TJ once read The Beginner's Guide To Electronic Music (all 900 pages) and we haven't been able to get him to stop talking about sine waves, side-band frequencies, and resonant filters since then. Dictionary not included.

One last note: You might have noticed the screen shots in this article are from the Propellerhead's program Reason. From here on out I will be utilizing screen shots of Reason and will be using screen shots from Sonic Foundry's Soundforge to demonstrate ideas. This allows a common ground between readers familiar with Reason, and Soundforge; it also makes things simpler to demonstrate. To anyone looking for software to begin producing with, I recommend Reason to start with. Props to Propellerheads, you can find their software at

around the kcmetro

by todd ~

Evolution, at Davey's Uptown is probably the best place to be on a Monday night. I've really found nothing better going on with as much variety. On any given Monday night, you could hear just about any local or regional DJ, as well as some national and international acts. No longer just Goth night, there's no telling what you'll get yourself into there!

This is kind of strange day with no definite crowd at any specific place. Most people tend to stick to the places they know or are close by their homes. Mike's Tavern is probably one of the most homey places to hang, have a beer and shoot some pool to the sounds of various Electronic DJs. If you're clear out South though, stop in at Hannah's Bistro on Metcalf. Steve Thorell just started a weekly there that already has some dedicated fans.

Hands down, the Wednesday Perk at The Cup & Saucer is probably best place to be on a Wednesday Night in KC, spinning up some of the finest in Down Tempo and Drum and Bass. Be sure to get there early though, because if it's "one of those nights", you may find yourself sitting outside if you show up after 11.

DeepFix Records have put together Frisky, decidedly one the Best Nights in Kansas City every Thursday at Kabal Restaurant & Nightclub. More times than not, you will have the opportunity to dance to some of the finest headliners from around the continent, and even the globe.

For the end of the work week, I highly recommend stopping by The Point for a good solid dose of House from a couple of the best DJs in Kansas City, Steve Thorell and Bill Pile. Laying it down smooth and sexy in the basement, you are sure to have a good time and get a little sweaty shakin your thang. If you're not nearly old enough for this, and still have a need to get your groove on, be sure to check out The Place every Friday for some of the best local DJ talent.

This is kind of a strange day in KC for Electronic Music. Typically, Saturday is a day reserved for "The Event", though there has been a scarcity of such things as of late. Regardless, on the club front, there are so many places to go, it's really difficult to nail down The One Best Place, though Chakra is definitely doing it's best to fill that void and become the hottest place to be.

Is there anything going on Sundays anymore?

For more of what's going on in Kansas City and surrounding areas, drop in to our calendar. It's always updated with the latest and greatest events.


Syde-sho 3 year Anniversary ~ interview by Kourtney Anderson ~ photos by todd ~ On the verge of its third birthday it was only proper to have a chat with the founder of, DJ Sydeburnz. At the most recent get together, speakers blaring and the liquor consumption rising, we stepped into the back room. There I got the low down on this birthday bash and just how far Syde-sho had come in the past three years.

phocas: I was under the impression that Syde-sho began after SyQuil went down. If this is the case how is it already Syde-sho’s three year anniversary?

Sydeburnz: It was originally for my indie label I started when doing work for Effigy (a pop/punk Topeka band). Plus, I had a handful of bands I did bookings for. That was the true beginning of the site. Then, after attending Synergy in Omaha the summer of 2000, I decided to get back to my DJ roots. Although I helped out with some parties previously, I threw my first solo event on March 10, 2001. The party was Ravioshack and it marks the 3-year birthday of Syde-sho. As for the web site: It was up and running before SyQuil went down but really didn’t get any respect.

(Editor's Note: in it's current most recognized format was first released sometime around March of 2002 and quickly gained the support and respect of much of the community)

phocas: A couple years later some see the site as the hub of the scene. Do you agree?

Sydeburnz: To a point. I think there are still enough kids that miss the older sites as their primary source. They don’t want to admit it’s an influence. If you talk about how great SyQuil was, then you are ‘old school’. And everyone wants to be ‘old school’.

phocas: What is the most annoying thing about running a site like Syde-sho?

Sydeburnz: There is so much work put into to make it user controlled. Anyone can add information on their own. Yet I still have promoters calling my cell phone asking to submit their party to the site. As for parties; everyone wants to be on the guest list. They want their friendship to supersede the fact we have to pay the bills associated with throwing events. Plus, nobody writes good reviews of parties anymore. What’s up with that?

phocas: Synthesis, the three year anniversary for Syde-Sho, will be on March 13th. What is going to make this party different?

Sydeburnz: Look at the headliners. When has Spree been here in the past? Who besides Cicada Rhythms books Woody McBride? I am all about bringing the DJs people really want to hear, not some Moonshine DJ with the most press. It’s about the people most innovative in their genres. I also like to bring DJ’s that are good-natured, down to earth and love what they do. It shows when they are cool people that don’t mind hanging out; they want to come out and want to play.

phocas: Bringing Spree was a different choice. Weren’t you worried about the flack that comes with booking happy hardcore DJs?

Sydeburnz: Spree caters to the younger, newer people. People forget without that young crowd you have no future. You have to cater to them for the future of the scene.

phocas: Why did you choose Woody McBride?

Sydeburnz: Woody is on the opposite side of the spectrum. He is one of those DJs that attract the educated and intellectual ravers. He also has a great outlook on our scene and what it could become. One of the things we wanted to do with Synthesis is bring opposite ends of the spectrum together. Hence the name; Synthesis: a combination of two elements in a specific process whereby a new and higher level of truth is achieved.

phocas: The first time I saw the line-up for Synthesis I noticed a couple new faces to the Syde-sho roster. How do you decide which DJs are right for Syde-Sho?

Sydeburnz: The roster represents DJs that have great skills but also have great attitudes. I feel the DJ’s on our roster are really about the music and not so much about the business. I’ve played for free and they have too when the situation is right because in the end, it’s about the love of the music.

phocas: Now let’s talk about you, the man behind Syde-sho, DJ Sydeburnz. Would you ever shave those puppies off?

Sydeburnz: I don’t know, they are kind of my trademark now. Sydeburnz wasn’t really supposed to be my DJ name. It started off as my email and people just started calling me that. If you have ever noticed I sometimes put DJ Sydeburnz aka Jack Napier in an attempt to sway it back to what I intended. Back when I was a club DJ in Omaha, Nebraska I went by Joker. In Batman, Jack Napier was the joker’s name.

phocas: We have talked about Syde-sho’s influence on our scene, how about on you? What impact has this whole thing had on your life?

Sydeburnz: Before the site I had a hard time getting booked. It helped me get my foot in the door. The parties have been fun to push the envelope. When I first mentioned I wanted to throw a party in Topeka I was told I couldn’t; it wouldn’t be a success. This gave me the drive I needed to make it happen. After all that talk about nobody wanting to drive to Topeka, there were about 1000 that still showed up at Ravioshack. Not bad for my first solo party!

phocas: Well then, straight from the threads of, my question for you is chicken, beef or turkey?

Sydeburnz: Chicken, and I don’t mean underage boys.

phocas: So when you look into your crystal ball what do you see for Syde-sho’s future?

Sydeburnz: I want to still retain a small promotion existence; one or two events a year. I also want to have a party that is exclusively Syde-sho talent with members getting in for half price. I would like the DJ database to grow. I don’t think people realize that any DJ can submit their information. So far we have about 100 in the database but I would like more. I know there are a lot of people on PureRave and it would be nice to see them join. PureRave is based in Canada so it isn’t focused on our scene the way Syde-sho, a regionally based site, is. We have all the options on PureRave and there’s no membership fee to use them.

phocas: Any closing thoughts?

Sydeburnz: Well, I really wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Mooncraft and Cicada. I learned a lot about the business from throwing events with those guys. I owe them both a great deal. There are always a few people that shine through all the crap that goes along events and promotion and I think it’s good to be recognized for that. I guess I’m just trying to pay it forward, so to speak.

For more information, visit!

After the party, check back for photos from this event!

cymbalism recordings launch

Interview by Brent Crampton ~ Images courtesy of Cymbalism Recordings ~ Imagine a DnB record label that consistently put out great material, whether it be dance floor stompers or heady chill material. But instead of the usual big-named producers, it was a label giving exposure to stateside producers who put out material just as worthy as the industries most wanted. Attach the name of Cymbalism Recordings to the figurative label, and consider it done. A group of talented and determined DnB advocates have started a bold and daring record label. Tommie Emmi, the owner and founder of Cymbalism, has been the main pioneering force for DnB in Omaha and the surrounding area for years. Having played all over the midwest and along side top names in the industry, he is undoubtedly taking his largest step forward as of yet with this record label. Shawn Patrick has also teamed up with Cymbalism to actualize Tommie’s dream in starting this label.

If truth be told, Cymbalism is taking risks in starting this label, as Shawn says, “Allot of people count our Drum and Bass out because we are Stateside. Not only that but we are from Nebraska.” According to Shawn, “Cymbalism Recordings will put Omaha on the map!” The excitement in the staff and their love for DnB is quite obvious.

I took some time to interview Tommie about his record label, and here is what he had to say -

phocas: What gave you motivation to start this record company?

Tommie: I've had a love of music since I was a child and I've always been interested in starting up a label myself - more so after working at Drastic Plastic (local record shop). Seeing all the independent labels doing their thing and doing it well without someone telling them what to do inspired me even more. Plus, the output of drum and bass lately hasn't been very impressive in my personal opinion and I wanted to put something back out in the scene to make up for what I've taken from it over the past 8+ years.

phocas: What's the outlook/ideology of the label?

Tommie: The outlook for Cymbalism is this: introduce new names with music as quality as the huge names. In the upcoming months and years (hopefully), I plan on putting together a quality line up of artists that show massive potential to become the next big thing. I'm not necessarily looking for one particular style either, just good drum and bass - be it dance floor material or chill out material or abstract tunes - as long as its good, its Cymbalism worthy.

phocas: How did you decide who you wanted to fill the positions on your staff and production crew?

Tommie: As far as production goes, we're using a company out of Philadelphia who I've used in the past for dub plate cutting and they do a superior job, sound wise. They actually do the pressing up in Canada so technically its going to be imported vinyl.

Staff wise, at first I wasn't looking to have anyone help me out in this venture, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought I could use some help from some friends who have a particular quality that will help us in the long run. Putting Shawn Patrick into the mix was due to his salesmanship. Shawn is very good at talking to people, in the business sense, as well. Shawn has also shown his loyalty to me over the years and his love of the music, and that his heart was in it and not his wallet. We're doing this as a team to better the scene, not to get rich off of other people. Not to make money or gain popularity - strictly for the love of drum and bass. And I think that will show in the upcoming time we'll be doing this label.

phocas: What was the process like in getting this record label together?

Tommie: It actually wasn't extremely hard to be honest. The only hard part was coming up with the name and logo which would be catchy and stick in people's heads. I already had connections in getting the name of the label out by inhabiting message boards and knowing some key figures in the scene - so that was easy. I just wrote up a plan and started posting and calling people. Next thing I knew, I had 20 some odd CDR's in my mailbox with tunes for submission. Getting the artists lined up was probably the most difficult in the sense of picking tunes - but that's about it. Well . . . other than the actual capital to get it going but that's obvious.

phocas: What advice do you have for someone who would want to start a record label?

Tommie: Make sure you know about the industry and plan out everything in advance. When I say "know about the industry" I mean things like record pressing plants, mastering houses, contracts, common business sense, copyright laws, etc. There's a lot more to it than sending out a CDR or DAT and having a quality product come back. It’s not as easy as it sounds. The master you send out has to be prepared properly or it can cause problems - i.e. bad final mastering, poor product (you know those records you have in your crate that sound muddy - poor mastering). As for planning out in advance, technically "Get Down"/"Opus" (CYMB000) should have seen the light of day last year (December), but things kept coming up causing us to push things back which is okay because now things will run absolutely perfect and we're not running around, freaking out at the last minute.

phocas: Are you guys taking submissions of original material from artists? Where could they send their work to?

Tommie: Everything on the label is original material. So far we have releases scheduled from New York, Florida, Hungary, Vancouver, Omaha and also a new set of tunes from the UK. We've also had submission inquiries from Russia, Germany, Japan, as well as all over the states, so our audience, even though we haven't dropped a single release yet, is pretty broad. Submissions can be directed to my studio at: Cymbalism Recordings, c/o T. Emmi, 5054 S. 86th Pkwy #1, Omaha, NE 68127. We do listen to everything we get and we do reply to everyone, so if anyone sends material to us, make sure to include a contact e-mail address.

phocas: When deciding what tracks to put out on your label, what do you look for? What would you define as the Cymbalism sound?

Tommie: Originality and good tunes. I'm not going to limit ourselves to one style of drum and bass. Back when I started getting into jungle/drum and bass, it was all labels like Metalheadz and Moving Shadow and Reinforced. These labels are by far my favorite and the reason for that is the broadness of their releases. With all these labels, you never knew what you were going to get - be it a dark stepper tune or an ambient masterpiece or a dance floor workout. That’s probably what I miss the most about the labels out there today. It’s pretty bad when you can buy every track off of one label without listening to them and pretty much know what you're getting. It’s getting to the point where things are predictable. That’s what I don't want Cymbalism to be - I want to be able to put out tunes that are going to reach out to everyone who is into drum and bass. It would be nice to see someone who plays strictly ambient or intelligent drum and bass in the LTJ Bukem vein pick up a Cymbalism release and then have another person who plays aggressive hard stepping drum and bass in the style of Ed Rush + Optical pick up a Cymbalism release too. No limits pretty much - drum and bass for everyone.

phocas: Tell me about your first release. You must have chosen it carefully considering it is your first release. Why this track and not another?

Tommie: Technically we're doing a negative release for the "first" release. CYMB000 is two remix tunes, "Get Down" and "Opus". I chose these two tracks because of the constant pushing I've had from various people telling me they need to be out for public sale, as well as my personal belief that the value of the tunes themselves will appeal to the crowds who will be tearing up the dance floors when they hear them. We're doing a limited edition run of only 300 white labels for CYMB000 and a full release with artwork for CYMB001 (Rawtee "Ghostwalk" / Kaoss + Extract "Surfer Rosa") which will be out shortly there after, probably within a month.

"Get Down" is a remix on the Paul Johnson house anthem and "Opus" is a take on Opus III's "Its a Fine Day" which was a trance anthem from the early 90s. "Get Down" was produced last year, about this time actually, and "Opus" was done in 2000 with a little help from Omaha's Nujack, who recently relocated to New York and has another release on a hardcore label currently on promo at the moment. "Opus" has been sitting around waiting for about three or four years now to see the light of day. Both tunes are heavy on the dance floor and seem to always get that "Who is this?" question when dropped in a set. I couldn't tell you how many times I've been approached from people wanting a copy of "Opus" when they hear it - someone in Kansas City actually wanted to purchase my dub plate of it from me! And the flow of e-mails about "Get Down" has been rather massive as well. I'm nearly positive we'll sell out within a month of receiving the vinyl back from Canada. Might even have to do a repress later on down the road for those who miss it.

Recently we've had reviews from a UK drum and bass eZine called on CYMB000. Here's what they had to say:

Track: Get Down
Artist: Plan 9 Vs Paul Johnson
Cat #: CYMB000
This is a funky, fast paced mover with a build of beats in the intro going from wet to dry and a catchy, filtered guitar sample in the background. Then at the break the catchy classic house "Get get down, down down down down" sample appears, immediately uplifting the mood. Further along in the breakdown the pulsating bass, bongo percussion and break are singled out
and take a over for a mellow 32 bars till the guitar sample reappears to build up & down into the 2nd break. Definitely some happy, summery vibes in this track and it’s likely to appeal to the wider audiences simply for its commercial value.

Track: Opus
Artist: Plan 9
Cat #: CYMB000
Electronic sounds, very simple yet compelling and hypnotic draw your ear into a soundscape of epic proportions. Wait for the beat, then feel yourself swing to the melody… more tasteful synths and some unfussy edits adds allow for a peaceful break only interrupted by a buzz saw bass then a disjointed amen with a much more sparse break fitted over it.

phocas: What djs have you sent your tracks to and what has been your response?

Tommie: So far the buzz has been pretty large for "Get Down"/"Opus" (CYMB000) - from overseas to here in the states the inquiries have been steady. We've had reviews written up overseas and loads of exposure stateside due to the web site and from myself playing it out at shows personally. Last year Dara heard it ("Get Down") and when I told him I needed to change a few things, his response was not to change anything. We've also sorted out Odi in New York and he reported back with people requesting it on his radio show. The owner of Offshore Recordings, DJ Clever (Brett) and also Psidream are currently playing tunes from oS ("808" and "Panama" - CYMB002 - and " Solaris" - CYMBEP01) as well as charting them. Robby T from Habit Recordings has also inquired on oS' information for future releases on their label as well (their first release has already gone through its first pressing - they are on their second pressing now and it only dropped maybe 2 months ago). Dara has also played CYMB001 (Kaoss + Extract "Surfer Rosa") at Konkrete in New York (actually 5 days after it was finished). He listened to it 3 times with me online and asked for a copy to play at the club that night - so there is attention out there from some major heads in
the scene stateside.

phocas: Where could I buy your records?

Tommie: Right now we're in the process of getting distribution through a couple east coast and west coast distribution companies as well as UK distribution and a few exclusive UK shops. So basically once that is sorted out, you should be able to order from any place who buys from these companies as long as the stores order our material. We'll also be selling them here locally at the Antiquarium and possibly Homers locations. Maybe also on Ebay and via our web site for a few bucks less than you would pay at a

phocas: Are you trying to get any big named djs to do remix work?

Tommie: Currently we have a remix in the works for oS' "808" from Psidream up in Vancouver, BC. Psidream (Jeff) and I go way back and when I played some of the tunes for him we have coming up, he picked one out and asked if he could do a remix for it and I said sure. Right now Psidream is blowing up on many different labels. So far he's been signed to Warm Communications, Breakbeat Science Recordings, Frequency, and a recent submission to Trace's DSCI4 label landed him a deal with them too. Extract and I are also going to be swapping tracks with Rawtee for a remix 12" of CYMB001 - where he'll remix our tune and we'll remix his - due out sometime in the summer. I'm sure more remix work will come up in the future, so expect big things to come.

phocas: How do you perceive this record company will effect Omaha's DnB scene?

Tommie: I'm not sure how it will effect the drum and bass scene here, but I'm hoping that it will put Omaha on the map as a place to be taken seriously for electronic music. Most of the time when you mention you're a DJ from Omaha, Nebraska, people look at you like you're crazy. But so far there has been no negativity from people submitting tunes or e-mailing me inquiring about releases. It’s all been positive. I think this venture will give Omaha some exposure as a budding electronic town. There's so much talent here in the DJ pool and upcoming producers that it’s just a matter of time before we're known for what we're doing and the jokes will cease.

phocas: Are you having a record release party?

Tommie: Actually yes we are - we have one lined up for April 16th at the Bricktop in Lincoln. I'm hoping to get 415 and Musique to help out with one also. Plus we'll have an all drum and bass night at Frolic sometime in April to support it. For the release of "Ghostwalk"/"Surfer Rosa" (CYMB001), we'll probably fly in Rawtee for a show sometime in May with him, Extract and myself for a show, depending on how well the sales go from CYMB000.

phocas: What are the plans for the future for this label?

Tommie: Right now everything is up in the air. What I'd like to do is get Cymbalism steady on its feet and then branch out to a down tempo label, a house label and a breaks label as well. I do plan on putting out a full length LP sometime in the future with a mix cd of the LP and maybe get more into the clothing line as we've already started it out and sold out of merchandise within 2 weeks. But that’s not as important as getting the music out first.

phocas: What's the most common mistake made when producing DnB?

Tommie: I don't think you can make a mistake when producing your own music because it is an expression of yourself. There shouldn't be any rule when making a tune other than the "dj friendly" rule.

phocas: What's the most common mistake when mixing DnB?

Tommie: I'd say it’s people not knowing their measures. I'm a real picky person when it comes to DJs and I know mistakes the second they happen (which sucks because most of the time it ruins the song for me when out at the club or parties). I just don't understand how people can't figure out when the measure changes or when the 1/4 is. This is probably my biggest quirk about this whole industry, yet people praise the DJs who suck and the ones hiding in their small cities go unnoticed because they haven't put out a record yet or played with someone important.

phocas: What equipment do you use for production?:

Tommie: Currently I'm just using Fruity Loops 4, Soundforge 6.0, and a Roland Juno 106 synth and various soft-synths and filters, effects, etc. I have other software like Reason and Acid and Cubase but so far I'm very happy with what the programs do that I'm currently using. It really doesn’t matter what you use now a days - it’s the end result of the track. There are a lot of producers out there that are using nothing but software instead of hardware now which only a few years ago was looked down on.

Be on the look out for lots of great releases from this label. To stay connected to what’s going on with Cymbalism, check out their web site at

stick it in your ear

an interview with Ming & FS by todd ~ photos by todd ~ In the small but rapidly growing college town of Lawrence, Kansas, Ming and FS came out on Valentine's day to rock our world at a place lovingly dubbed by many, The Granasty (aka The Granada). The duo, renowned for their live instrumental sound as well as the four turntable set up, set the crowd off. These two have shared the stage with performers Run DMC, Sting, Mix Master Mike, as well as many other artists. Shortly after sound check for this particular event, phocas had an opportunity to sit down and talk with them

phocas: How did you two get together?

Ming: We got together when we are playing in a rock band in New York called Millis. We were playing something that sounded like trip hop to me. I knew some people in the dance music industry, while we were playing in the band. We got together, worked out a few brief tracks and were signed.

FS: I didn’t know that there was an electronic music industry at that point. I was buried in jazz and hip hop.

phocas: Have you always implemented instrumentation into your shows?

Ming: In production yes, in our live shows, not until the last couple of years. We were pushing the boundaries of the dance music community with the four turntable set up. As it became a more recognized form of dj’ing and with the adapting and understanding of the four turntable deal, we started adding more elements.

phocas: I know that you play the guitar and the bass live in your performances, but what other instruments do you play?

Both: We play a whole bunch of other stuff including percussion.

Ming: We don’t take drums on the road though. It's just too much hassle. it is just easier to take a guitar, bass and turntables on the road.

FS: I think when we started off with instrumentation a long time ago it was accepted in your stuff. As music went on from 1996, it became a little devoid, now it is like… “You put real music in there?”. It wasn’t like that before.

Ming: Hip hop started out in a more musical place. To get it out on the streets faster, the music got a little more technical. Same with dance music. Drum and bass used to be very soulful. Music after that became very dark and technical.

FS: So when people hear a musical instrument they say “Oh my God, what is that? Is that a real guitar?”.

phocas: Is there any piece of equipment that you prefer to use?

Ming: I use an I pod and I hate it. I love it for the simplicity of it, but I hate it for the sound. It sounds like a laser box. It is one of those love-hate relationships. We also have both been into Reason. It is one of those things with the influx of software, like Band in a Box, Live and some of the other PC based stuff. At first I don’t think we took it seriously and then we got into it and we realized that Reason is one of those programs that was made just perfect for making music.

FS: Reason is a software thing. Like the MPC was a thing. The SR10 was a thing. Reason is definitely a thing. I know because I started on that stuff. I started on the MPC on non-computer based sequences, old school, and then he brought me into the computer thing. It is really intuitive. You wonder who designed this stuff?

Ming: The "Back To One" stuff is done in Reason except for the live stuff which we did in digital performer. All of the vocals and stuff are recorded in digital performer.

phocas: Have you ever thought about using Final Scratch?

Ming: No, because we use the CG1000 and it is digital turntables.

phocas: What do you think the Next Level is for Electronic Music? Currently, here in Kansas City, Electro-Clash seems to be slowly bleeding in to the scene. How does that relate to what you're up to?

Ming: (laughs) Really? Electro-Clash is already dead in New York and has been for at least a year.

FS: The 80’s are back, even in fashion. It is kind of weird. The music is dead. People want the feeling of what we had in the 80’s. That feeling of something going on.

Ming: I think overall, people are looking for that feeling that everything is OK. Unfortunately, things are not really OK out there. People are trying to make excuses for the situation that we (the US) are in. The country is being run poorly. Mostly, the things that are necessary to bringing about a musical revolution are just now starting to happen. Thing are going quite shitty. There’s not a lot of room for a lot of that to happen. The airwaves have been quite censored.

FS: The music industry is just so cramped.

Ming: We tried to figure out what was next. We played a lot of raves and then we tried to figure out what was next so before that started to fizzle out we hit the rock circuit and did that for a couple of years and then we hit the jam band seen. Since we have been able to expand our audience from the dance community, to the hip hop community, to the rock community, to the jam band community we were able to pull this eclectic group to our shows. We pull a more diversified crowd and are able to do a little more experimental stuff.

phocas: I remembered at your last show that you had said something about the war. Afterwards, I heard a few people comment that they didn't think it was right for you to use the stage as a platform to express your own political ideology. How do you feel about that?

Ming: What has happened to people is that they are really taught not to question the message. The message is constantly coming out through the television and through the radio. I think it’s the media and commercialism. Everything in your life is commercial. I don’t think I would feel this way if I thought the message was truer. But I know, being in New York when the world trade center happened, from the message that was sent out, to the rhetoric that came through, it was just a bunch of lies. We are from New York and we don’t want the war. Don’t blame the war on the twin towers. That is not what that was about. It was about oil. We didn’t want that oil war and now everybody is suffering for it.

FS: It is both a belief that is being expressed and an entertainment thing. I know I feel that way and on the other hand I know it is better to say something and let them know that something is going on and that is what our music is for me. Everything from political, to music, to everything is too safe for me. I mean everyday everybody is saying the same things. After a while it’s just everybody with their eyes rolled back and their head is safety’ed out. I think, me personally, I try to combat that as much as I can in any way. That is how our music is and has always been. I feel that music is at an all time high safety point. I mean everything that comes out is so safe. The chanciest thing is that metal band called The Darkness. At least it makes me think that these guys are out of their mind.

Ming: I think it is the constant barrage of media in commercialism. When we started we thought that we would offend everybody. Everybody told us that we couldn’t do what we wanted to do. We were just so pigheaded that we said "fuck it", we were going to do it anyway and we found that there was an audience. We were so surprised on our first record that people really liked what we did. We thought we would put out a record and everyone would say that we were making crazy people music. We thought "Hell's Kitchen" was going to fall on deaf ears. We had a great time really getting to know each other and learning musically. I learned a lot of production from him and he learned dance music stuff from me and we put our heads together and we just put this weird shit together and came up with this album. We decided we really liked it, it was received really well and all we could say was, "Wow, there are people out there that want something to think about."

phocas: What do you think about internet file-sharing, burning friends copies of CDs and whatnot?

Ming: I think cd burning is hurting record sales not necessarily the downloading of music. The quality of an entire CD is such that people just want a few songs. People are creating their own CDs. I do think it is stealing. What if somebody stole your photos, you would take it personal. If it is something that is sacred to you and someone came and took it, you would be a little pissed off too. It is kind of like somebody taking change out of your pocket.

FS: If you have 2 million, 5 million, 30 million people taking change out of your pocket your are going to be broke. People have to understand that those are not exaggerations. For us that make the music that is what it is like. You don't want to be militant about it, but you want to say this is what is special about me as an artist.

Ming: There is a value to it. It is not free. We give a lot of stuff away. We gave away 10,000 of our last mix cd's, we gave away 2,000 of our mix tapes before that. So it is not like you aren't getting something. We have 20 tracks on our site that anyone can download for free. Check our music out. You don't need to buy our music to know what we are about. If you like it go buy the record. If I have something that I have listened to and enjoy it, I will go buy the record. To me I want to support the act. It is not that much money to be able to listen to the CD 50, 60, 70 times.

FS: We buy all of the CDs that we use, we don't download them.

Ming: We buy everything that we use in the studio. We have one copy of everything, from Brittany Spears to whatever, just because we need to study it, as producers.

FS: We (internet users) are so behind the curve. It is like being told you were doing something wrong after you had done it for so long.

phocas: Though, when a band like Metallica starts whining about money it's hard to have much sympathy for them though.

Ming: It is hard to cry for Metallica, because they are making so much of it, but they are right. The guys spend 250 days on the road in a year for 10 years. They deserve to make the money that they are making. It is not up to me to decide how many millions they should make. We are not living in a socialist music industry. It is not that Metallica makes so many millions of dollars that we can just take millions of dollars from them. That is like eminem. He would have out sold the Beatles if there wasn't all of this bootlegging and burning. You have to look at that in perspective. It is not up to us where that money goes.

phocas: So, are you currently touring or working on anything in the studio?

Ming: We are not touring right now. We are going to be at the Winter Music Conference this year, playing at the Shelborne Hotel at sundown on March 9th and the State on March 10th. Also, we are currently in New York recording a bunch of new music with a hip hop group called Northern League. We have a new album that we just finished that is coming out on June 22 called Back To One. We will tour after that for our new CD.

phocas: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Ming: Watch for a new group called Northern League, Toby Lightman, and Tina Segan

FS: It is a one stop culture shock.

Ming: Oh yea... You asked about equipment. The most important piece of equipment is our ear plugs. Without ear plugs we could not make it through a tour. You will definitely go deaf. We use Westone. You go to a Ear Specialist and they will make a mold of your ear canal. That mold is sent off to a lab and they come back and fit in your ear perfectly. They also have several different filters, depending on how much you want to let in. Anyone that goes out at least once a week to clubs should definitely be wearing ear plugs, even though you always feel weird about it. Either you wear these now or you are wearing a hearing aid later. To be honest I use my ear plugs more than I use condoms.

You can keep up with these two at and check out the photos from the event, PhukLuv in the gallery section of this site.

james deep moving people

story by Brent Crampton ~ photos contributed by Various Sources ~ February 6th started out as a typical friday morning for me. I woke up and soon made my way over to my Mac to began checking email and the web. I was casually sorting through the usual junk on the forum when I came across something very stunning. I opened a thread written by Kirill, aka Comrade and my mouth dropped open and my eyes glared in disbelief as my consciousness internally read the line, “I’m sad to inform everyone, in case anyone didn’t know yet, I just found out that James Deep has passed away last night.” James Hein passed away on evening of February 5th at the age of 22 years. He was survived by his parents, Dennis and Margaret; sister, Jennifer R. Hein; fiancee Melissa Haver and the Omaha electronic community.

I soon found myself at the visitation. Amongst the crowd of friends and family mourning the death of James, along the side was a long red banner with white lettering that read, “JAMES DEEP MOVING PEOPLE.” I soon recalled that the banner was a few years old since James had released a cd back in 2001 entitled, “Moving People.” At the time of its conception, the banner was quite fitting. James Deep truly was a mover of people on the dance floor. But in his death, I found the banner to take on a new meaning. While he wasn’t moving people on the dance floor, the medium replaced itself to the hearts of those who where close to him. In his death, James is still moving people.

The Story Of James Hein

James was born in Council Bluff, Iowa in 1981 and moved around the country with his family for a number of years before settling in Omaha. Growing up, James was immersed in music. His mother, Margaret Hein, was an elementary school music teacher and she rubbed her love of classical music onto her children. At the age of two, James was learning how to play the Cello and by age 6, he was playing full-on concertos. At age 10, he bought a guitar and took up lessons, then eventually he made his way to becoming a DJ. As his sister Jen Hein said, “Anything that he ever touched came easy to him.”

He became introduced to electronic music while in 7th grade when living in El Paso, Texas. He would sneak out at night with his friends and attend raves. Then in his 8th grade year, his family made the move to Omaha where he was destined to leave his mark forever.

It was his freshman year in high school at Millard North High, and as the pimple-faced adolescent with baggy pants made his way into his Japanese language class, he noticed a kid with long hair wearing a Nirvana T-Shirt. Then in James’ Orchestra class while playing the Cello, he noticed the same kid. Because of their eclectic interests in choices of classes, James and Aaron Godbout, aka Lunatik, began their long held friendship. Aaron, a senior at the time, would be the one to open the floodgates unto the underground electronic world for James in Omaha, and in the process become his best friend.

Every DJ has their story as to how they took the massive “leap” from being a spectator to full-fledge taking on the art of DJing. James definitely has his own escapade. His newfound friend, Aaron, was doing a weekly at the Cyber Cafe on 108th in Center. Every friday night his crew would bring in a massive sound system and throw a free party. Aaron was spinning on CDJ’s back then. One day while Aaron was on vacation, he let James borrow his CDJ’s. This was the first time James had his hands on DJing equipment for an extended period of time. Aaron says that when he returned from vacation, “he had mastered how to mix.” Soon following this incident, in 1997 James bought turntables, and as Aaron said, “it was all over after that!” James made his first DJ performance at the Cyber Cafe.

Not long after, he was spinning jungle with Omaha old-schooler's - Patrick Everwood, Aaron Lee and Tommie Emmie, and according to Godbout, they “would look at him with sick envy in their eyes” when they saw him mix. His DJ name was Jump, and he formed the infamous Death Squad with Aaron. With the formation of this group, it was able to spark fierce competition in the Omaha jungle scene. It was the Death Squad vs. The Omaha Junglistic Society, which really translated into Aaron and James vs. Tommie, aka Kaoss. So the battle began between who could put on the best show and have the freshest track selections. In James’ effort to out do Tommie, he would call up record labels in the UK and ask to speak directly to the artists themselves. In developing relationships with the artists, he would talk them into sending over CDR’s of the newest material. The CD would arrive in the mail and Aaron and James would remark according to Aaron, “Tommie is gonna freak out!”

The Death Squad formed the perfect duo. In the quest to put on the better show, James began learning the scratching techniques that he would later become notorious for, while Aaron would display his MC abilities.If that wasn’t enough, James was known to bash records on the turntables and throw the pieces out into the audience. He would drop the volume while Aaron would scream at the crowd and tell them to stomp their feet and make some noise. They would even run out into the crowd and spray cans of silly string and throw handfuls of noise makers into the crowd. The Death Squad soon earned a reputation all over the midwest playing in Ohio, Colorado, Des Moines, and Minneapolis to name a few. At one particular show in St. Louis, Mo, the crowd was rather unresponsive. Aaron and James pulled their classic move of dropping the volume and trying to hype the crowd or else threatening to stop playing. Evidently the crowd must not have taken them seriously, because it wasn’t long before James had stopped the platter and the duo began to exit the stage. Needless to say, the promoters of that party weren’t too happy with them.

From James’ interest in scratching, and his natural talent to pick up onto anything, James took on another DJ moniker, Vision, to represent his battle-style DJing, and competed in the 1999 DMC Competition and placed in 2nd in the midwest division and beat DJ Illogic. Under the moniker of Vision, James began playing out to the hip-hop community in Omaha. He was soon a well-respected scratch DJ in Omaha. He competed in a local turntabilist competition, Fresh Fest, and controversially placed second to DJ Dynomite. According to Aaron, James was far superior in his DJing abilities, but lost because Dynomite scratched with his shoe and evidently the judges were in favor of originality rather than scratching ability.

In the meantime, James took a different outlook on his genre style in the electronic community and switched over from DnB to techno. From there James changed his DJ name to what he is most notable for, James Deep. With inspirations like Dave Clarke and Mauro Picotto, combined with his DMC scratching skills, James blew away crowds with his talent.

During the days of James Deep, James recorded a mix cd that he had planned on passing out at the next AM Productions event, “Gravity 2.” He was having a difficult time figuring out a name for the cd, so he went over to his friend Mark Cullinane’s house to brainstorm. They spent all day in front of the TV playing Tony Hawk on Play Station while listening to the cd to come up with a name. During the process, they would be continually moving their heads to the beat. Finally, while putting the game on pause, the two were on to something. Maybe it was the bobbing of the heads, or maybe it was the fast pace of the video game, but they came up with the name, “Moving People.” So Mark made a vinyl banner that read in bold lettering, “JAMES DEEP MOVING PEOPLE.” And the banner hung mid-stage during the cd release party, Gravity 2. I remember attending the party and while standing in the dark atmosphere amongst the party-goers, I could see this reflective banner lighting up as the lazers passed by. James Deep took to the stage that night and began to move people. He hasn’t stopped since. James was at the forefront of the electronic scene in Omaha. He played at most of the major parties to hit Omaha, such as the Delicious events and all of the Am Industries parties, as well as playing along side names such as Frankie Bones, H Foundation, Crystal Method, Nigel Richards with the list going on. In his last year, James met the love of his life, Melissa Haver. They were engaged during the last few months before he passed away. Aaron summed up the stunning event of his death by saying, “I really thought that I was going to be attending his wedding and not his funeral.” James was also working on a new record label, Wreckless Recordings, with his best friend, Aaron. Despite his sudden departure, the record label is set to launch during the Winter Music Conference, with one of the future releases produced by James entitled, “World Police.”

To put it simply, James had a lot going for him.

James’ most outspoken attribute was his socially adept personality. As Aaron said, “it was so easy for James to make friends.” He went on to say, “especially when it comes to the ladies.” James was notorious for his half smirk of a smile that seemed to indicate that there was some inside joke going on that you weren’t in on, or what Aaron said, that “ he knows more than you.” According to Mark Cullinane, “James was the guy that was laid back when he wanted to be, but was ready to go when it was on.” He was known for his intelligence, wittiness, honesty, ability to share and his concern for others. “He has a big heart” said his sister Jen. A good friend of James’ in the early days of the party scene, Tim Grasrick, commented that James never was one to complain about his own situation, but rather was always concerned with issues that his friends were going through.

Undisputedly, James’ passion in life was music. According to his friend, Shawn Patrick, James was “probably one of the most talented kids I know.” And he possessed his talent on the decks even at an early age. “He moved me because he was so young and talented.” In fact, James had a huge impact on the electronic community in Omaha. Because of his uncanny scratching abilities, reputation for having new material and staying on the fringe of change in the dance world, James raised the standard for the DJ in Omaha.

Even though James is no longer moving people on the dance floor, staring at that banner in the midst of pain of his absence, I realized that he is moving people’s hearts. Through the strife that many have gone through in the past month, much has been learned about life. Aaron summed up the feeling amongst friends and family when he said, “I hope that people realize that life can be very fragile and that you have to live life to its full potential.” The fact is, James’ music touched allot of people. As Tim said, “We met each other through music and our friendship took over from that.”

On the day of his funeral, James’ sister Jen, was standing outside reflecting on her brothers life. In her despair and grief, “all I could hear him say was . . . ‘keep moving.’”

back to the french quarter

story & photos by todd ~ Mardi Gras is such a strange time to be in the French Quarter in New Orleans. The sites and sounds of excess are everywhere, at every turn. It is a rare moment when you can really escape from the chaos that constantly swirls around you, no matter what day or time of night that you should happen to be out. It's funny and strange that so many people can gather in one place and let themselves go completely over the edge, while at the same time, maintaining their own bizarre level of dignity and order in this little section of New Orleans, and yet here it's somehow Ok. There's a general air of acceptance found here that can seldom matched anywhere else in the United States. Some call it excess. Some would say that it's the devils work, but really... what harm is there in letting people just cut loose a little and be themselves, or be something entirely different for that matter, without fear of judgement or scorn.

After the party Saturday night, I awoke the next day thinking, "and it's only Sunday". That's right, there were still three more days of partying and there wasn't a moment to be wasted, so off we went, back in to the chaos.

Going to meet some friends up St Charles, the parades were going strong. Mid-City was just passing through and it had quite a crowd, but you could tell that the real anticipation for the Parade-goers was the arrival of Bacchus, the first to break with tradition and stage night time parades, using the Flambeaux to light the way. It's always a fantastic parade and the night was just right for it.

It was really good to be up where we were on St Charles. It was a different perspective. The parade was great and moved rather more efficiently rather than sporadically as is sometimes the case.

Monday was a really fine sort of day, though it went rainy on us late as we were headed to our most gracious hosts for the evening, Michaul's on St Charles for the Orpheus parade. This is one of the best ways I have found do a parade. The last couple of times, we've gone there for Bacchus and it was always a good time. For a really cheap price, you get some really great food (all you wanna eat), some really cocktails (all you wanna drink) and a guaranteed bleacher spot on the parade route and when your cocktail runs dry while fending off the ariel bombardment of beads, all you have to do is step back inside and get another on their tab. Usually, I have to go get some more of that Bread Pudding too.

Orpheus, was a little lacking in attendance though because of all of the rain that been coming down, but during the parade itself it hardly rained at all. That's ok. More beads for us. The parade itself was nearly as good as Bacchus had been. Somebody mentioned that some of the bands had dropped out. That wasn't really too surprising since we had heard on the news earlier that some of the other parades that evening were being rescheduled for Tuesday.

Mardi Gras arrived for us sometime around Noon. After crossing the river and driving through some bizarre side streets to avoid parades, we finally scored a really sweet spot at the meter on Elysian Fields when some huge caddy pulled out leaving space for a little CRX or something, who was cool enough to cut me in on his find. After a brief stop at Buffa's, to visit one of our favorite bartenders, we headed off in to the Quarter.

There weren't a lot of costumes about. We had run into a few over on Frenchman, when we were walking in, but not in any significant number, mostly people just dancing in the street. As we crossed in to the Quarter, signs of costume started to appear. First, there was some sort of strange cross dressing hippie prostitute riding on a bicycle that was much too short for his / her stature. He provided just the distraction the wildlife needed though and while I was busy trying to get a shot of him, I didn't even notice the five 6-foot chimpanzees that soon encircled me, waving their arms madly, making the most strange noises. What could they want? I ducked between them and managed to squeeze off one shot of them before they scampered away.

Deeper in on Bourbon we ran into the usual traffic jam of people, near Lafitte's Black Smith Shop. People coming and going out of there, since it's the first bar you really hit going in from our side, unless you're like us and stop at Buffa's for cocktails first. So, while we were kind of stuck there for a moment, I snapped a few photos and then moved to the next Human Traffic Jam, St Anne. The costumes were everywhere it seemed all of a sudden. I got a few got shots there, even one of a girl that I photographed at Southern Decadence a few years ago.

Of course, the balconies were start to fill up as well, beads were flying in every direction. You have to keep on those balconies too. Because sometimes, people think you're looking at them and throw them at you. The next thing you know, you're getting a strand of beads upside your head.

You have to watch out for naked people too. They aren't always obvious. One woman walked right up in front of me, wearing nothing but a raincoat, and opened up for the balcony above. Even the poor guy on the opposite balcony wearing breasts on his shoulders and a football helmet on his head didn't seem quite sure what to think.

Abandoning this woman to her quest for more beads, we wandered further down Bourbon. It was warming a little and Sherri decided that she wanted to costume after all, so we stopped in at some random lingerie shop on Bourbon and she found something to her liking and was soon stripped of everything except the new costume and tennis shoes. This seemed to please quite a few people, but we couldn't linger. We needed to get back to the car so we could ditch her clothes.

We looped back the other direction, in a roaming sort of way. There were costumes, but not as many as usual. I think the rain had damped a lot of costuming spirits. It really hadn't rained that afternoon though. It was just a little misty sometimes. The funny thing about the costumes too was that it seemed to be mostly men that were costuming.

Walking back in to the Quarter, through Jackson Square where we found some guys doing a fire-eating thing, then headed for Bourbon as the sun was starting to sink, for one last walk down from Canal. At some point, I ran into Masa' Smoke, who gave me a copy of his latest cd "Institutionalized: Vol 1 / From Prison to the Pro's" being distributed by Blunt Wrap Records out of Mandeville. Pretty good HipHop.

Bourbon Street was starting to get fairly crowded at this point though and progress was beginning to be measured in hours per mile, so it was time to get moving. It was just then that we realized that the traffic jam had become 5 blocks long. Needless to say, it took an impossible amount of time to reach the other end.

Breaking free of the mass of people intent on being beaded or getting beads somewhere around Lafitte's, we headed to Buffa's to hang out for a little bit with some friends that were just off of work.

Around midnight, after a blessing from the Voodoo Prince, we decided to head over to the street party that's always going, but apparently not this year. That was completely disappointing. Having not had quite enough, we walked the block back to the car, dumped the camera off and everything else off and headed back to one of our favorite places to go dance, The Bourbon Pub & Parade Disco.

There, Mardi Gras night was no different than any other night there and we were soon dancing to some wonderfully banging House tracks for three or four hours. I don't really remember how long we were there. The whole day and evening had been a really great time and we had met some really strange and interesting people along the way. When it was all said and done, going to sleep at 6 am, seemed only natural really.

A special note of thanks to all of our friends in New Orleans. We miss You! And, we would also like to thank Michaul's on St Charles, the River Market, Lucky's, Buffa's, Checkpoint, Coop's, CC's, the "boutique" (sorry, lost your card) on Bourbon, The Dark Entry, the lady at the Toll gate on Wednesday morning, The Saturn Bar, Pascal's Manale, The Clover Grill, The Bourbon Parade & Disco and last but not least FreeBass Society and Disco Productions!

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