electronic music

The Floozies: The Funk Soul Brothers Selling out Shows

The Floozies: The Funk Soul Brothers Selling out Shows

The Floozies brother, Matt and Mark Hill wowed the sold-out crowd at Variety Playhouse last Friday evening during the tour inamed after their latest EP, Funk Jesus - The Second Coming. 

SXMusic Festival: A top notch event, full of magic and enchantment.

By Pilar Alzate

SXMusic Festival, a brand new electronic music gathering, was held last week on the alluring island of Saint Martin. All five days were pure bliss.

St. Martin is a beautiful island in the Caribbean shared by France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and for a few days, it was transformed into techno and house paradise. In its first edition, the festival featured well-known artists such as Dubfire, Lee Burridge, Jamie Jones, Maceo Plex, M.A.N.D.Y., YokoO, Bedouin, Behrouz, and Apollonia. All of the DJs played masterful sets. They granted the festival goers serene moments of freedom where we danced euphorically until the last beat.

My ears are still buzzing from the formidable music presented in the multiple venues. A tropical stage at the beach, two night clubs, two lounges, and one hotel hosted thousands of people from all over the world. Despite the scattered rains, or the protests on the first day of the fest, the music lovers did not stop dancing. Here are my top five highlights:

1. Bus Rides: Although this may not sound glamorous, it made a huge difference in my experience. There were some complications with the shuttle service during the first day. However, the logistics team of the festival took care of it by adding additional shuttles that helped move people between all the venues.

2. VIP Jungle Party: This intimate party took place at a magical garden called Loterie Farm, one of the most visited places in the island. The farm sits in the middle of the mountains of Pic Paradise (French side of the Island). The mystic, fairy tale location housed an infinity pool, cabanas and a scenic view. Sets were performed by Behrouz, Chaim and The Doctors, who delivered mesmerizing oriental sounds, mixed with proper house and techno tunes. We all looked in wander to the DJ booth placed in a treehouse, accessed by a zip line.

 
 

3. Danny Daze: The techno DJ with Cyberfunk and OMNIDISC influences, exceeded the expectations of the crowd by playing a colorful set including a variety of genres. He definitely took us to another level on a different audio spectrum.

4. Friendliness of the People: Saint Martin is known as “the friendly island.” A Caribbean paradise full of warm people willing and able to help anyone. The motto is experienced from the moment the plane lands when one of the locals came on to the plane and gave a sincere and heartfelt welcome. Taxi drivers, restaurant servers, festival workers - everyone was so kind at all times.

5. Layla’s Beach Sunrise Party: Right after Apollonia finished a tremendous set at Le Shore Nightclub, Lee Burridge welcomed us with euphoric, deep house tunes on the beach at Layla's. The show blended the sounds of the music, the breeze and the sea. Burridge, founder of All Day I Dream, hosted us while we all watched the sun rise. Shortly afterwards, YokoO hit the decks around 10 a.m. and the party continued until past noon.

 
 

Expand showcases Mindshake Records with Paco Osuna & Ebgert (Live).

By Frank Duke

Photos by Teddy Williams

Mindshake perfectly describes what occurred Friday night at Jungle. That night, the Mindshake Records Tour pressed a memorable impact forever laid into the hearts of Atlanta.

After dodging several of the potholes that our city is so well-known for, we arrive safely to the industrial complex where Jungle Warehouse is located. My friend and I walk down the long, curtain enclosed hallway and enter the main room. The venue houses a few people standing around the bar sipping on some brews and mixed drinks. A few others are getting acclimated on the large dance floor grooving to Luis Valencia’s set. The rest are sitting down in the lounge areas, tired from the long work week, saving their energy for the night ahead.

Egbert prepares his live setup. He is using an Ableton Live in session mode with a MaxMSP programming modulation, hardware controllers to manipulate internal effects, and a DJ mixer to EQ separate parts of the configuration. He starts to bring in heavy Latin-infused percussion elements; wooden claves (pitch controlled to create a melodic structure), shimmering hi-hats, and a big, round kick drum.

There are a blend of tracks from many arenas and styles of tech house and techno music mixed in with elements unique to Egbert's style, as well as unique effect routings that glue everything together. He plays a sneaky, sneaky set. As I groove to the tracks, I anticipate the music being carried in one direction - but then, in a sudden rush, the music seamlessly flips upside down and does a 360.  

The venue packs out as the evening carries on. The Pure Groove Sound System makes a huge impact on everyone's mood. Hands are in the air, the music is infectious. Standing towards the back of the room, I see different types of people representing themselves. That’s one thing I truly love about the Expand events. There are so many kinds of people, all together, enjoying incredible music from world-renowned artists.

I see a man, with a lollipop stick hanging out of the side of his mouth, join Egbert on stage. Paco Osuna gets his Traktor setup in place and I begin to hear that bounce he's known for. He approaches the music with a mix of tech house, dark techno, modular experiments, and a touch of acid techno. The bass lines often counter the kick drum to coincide with the hi-hats. The percussion elements are the most prominent. There are rarely any tangible melodies. The breaks are often, short and driving to keep things moving forward.

I am loving every moment of this. Paco's Mindshake Records sound is very well-known and respected worldwide. The lights in the venue are more aggressive than ever with big flashes, spiraling colored tones, and contrasting darkness. Toward the end of the night, there are a few moments where the disco ball descends from the ceiling to the top of the crowd below. It changes the lighting aesthetic throughout the venue. You can see the glowing faces of smiling people and their energy raise as the disco ball makes its way back to the ceiling.

Paco plays his final statements. Dark and driving modular acid techno. The crowd is still standing strong, holding close to every note being played. He finishes his set and the lights over the dance floor shine brightly upon us. Half of the crowd begins to cheer, the other half let out cries of despair because the night is over. We make our way outside and a massive crowd is gathered discussing music and where to go next.

The Liquified project, Expand, is genuinely beginning to make an impact on Atlanta. Offering something different from their normal club approach. These parties bring a more underground, unique, and powerful experience to all kinds of electronic music fans. I have a strong feeling Expand will continue to stay at the forefront of the promoter pack.

DAVI and Project B. Deliver a Cozy Sunday Evening

By Kristin Gray

Photos by Teddy Williams

Today’s Sunday day party at Studio No. 7 was a bit different than the usual highly populated events put on by Project B. This was small, intimate, among good people, and downright lovely. It was like going to a private house party with some of your best friends and a rather good sound system in place. At the heart and center of this party was DAVI, who is featured on labels such as Anjunadeep, Bits and Pieces and Crosstown Rebels.

The tone was set in a more intimate style, the DJ booth set into the main room along the back wall. The lighting was lowered, the candles lit, and the infamous goat set at his customary place in front of the booth. For the most part people are casually standing around, chatting with friends. Fun house beats played from Christian Chotro, it was no wonder we couldn’t help but move.

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Having heard about the packed out night before at the Sound Table, this was a refreshing evening for folks. With no more than 30-40 people here at a time. We could enjoy the personal space to do our crazy dances or sit just sit and relax, immersing ourselves in the music. As Bobi and DAVI switch off throughout the night, our other guest, Angela Afifi also got her chance to shine. Stepping up for quite the set of deep house, jiggy vibes, our entire little crew had to come dance to this. The night was casual.

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I was able to talk to most of the people there, including the Stevkovski brothers, and the conversations we had were truly meaningful. We talked about the community behind this little underground scene, people coming from all walks of life and backgrounds. Nobody ever asks the generic “what do you do for a living” questions because, quite frankly, nobody cares. It doesn’t matter what life you lead when you walk through those doors or the day job you have. It is not what defines you. What we care about is the soul and heart you bring onto the dance floor, after all, everyone is here for one common cause. We love the music and what it inspires each of us to be for this world.

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While chatting with Goran (Bobi’s brother and fellow Project B. mastermind), he told me one thing that I hope is something that remains true for Atlanta as we continue growing. He told me that first and foremost, this is a passion for he and Bobi. That their biggest determination is to never let Project B. become a business before a passion. They do this for the love of the music and the love of their supportive community. It is about the people, the loyalty and encouragement they provide to this scene. After all, it is love and passion that create this type of music, or perhaps it is the other way around. I believe they are intrinsically connected, and whatever we as a community can do to influence each other for the better, well, dance on you wonderful people. Dance on.

[Interview] Zoogma Shares Their Spirit with ATL

By Clara GracePhotos by Kathryn Lasso

As I walk into the venue, Turbo Suit has already begun their show. To say the house was rocking out would be an understatement. With totally danceable beats and funky sax sounds, the trio creates a diverse and eclectic combination of electronic effects mixed with jam band energy and passion. Dark alien sound effects underlie beautiful minor sax melody that move seamlessly into a hip hop break, layered with a female rap vocals. Throughout their set, Turbo Suit sampled “What I Got” by Sublime as well as rap singles and EDM hits.

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An older man walks up to me all smiles and high fives me, nodding toward the stage. Laughing and bouncing on his toes to the music, “How awesome is this?” he says enthusiastically gesturing at the band. I grin in return. This enthusiasm is the vibe of the evening and is shared by everyone in the audience. There are all types here - hippy punk chicks, guys in button downs and slacks. Two women in Rasta colors receive a shout out by the band for their dance moves. Turbo Suit’s set draws to a close, among cheers from the crowd and as they walk off the set one of the band members upends the bottle he’s been drinking from all night inducing laughter. As I walk between the two rooms, I am struck again by how incredibly happy this crowd is. I don’t think there was a point during the whole evening where people weren’t smiling.

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Zoogma takes the stage and the crowd immediately fills the room again, restless with excitement. They are not disappointed. Zoogma’s performance is flawless from their zydeco influenced opening piece to their soulful blues finale. In the interview before the show, the band members spoke about their musical diversity as a group.

You just released a brand new EP. Tell me about the work that went into it.

Matt: We started work on it probably like a year ago and condensed it all over the fall of 2015. That’s when we spent the most time recording it and writing it.

Brock: {We} took a lot of the stuff that was going on and compiled it down. There’s four songs out of like a couple tracks we had. They all fit together conceptually.

Justin: It was a long process. We have a studio effort since our last record which is called “Anthems for Androids” which was {released} in August of 2013. What we do is a lot of live electronic stuff. So we do a lot of stuff remixed which we did over the last couple of years. Like he said, we started on it about a year or two ago. We had a couple of songs that we liked and we started building on that. It was a lot of work, just being like as an underground sort of artist and trying to make original music. That’s different and also appealing. It’s a lot of work, obviously.

Matt: This is the first record we did that was 100% independent without any outside source. We recorded, engineered and produced all of it on our own.

https://soundcloud.com/zoogma/sets/new-era-ep

Your album art is absolutely stunning, in a digital age this is becoming rare. What was the inspiration behind the art?

Brock: I actually found that guy, he’s a French graphic designer. I liked his stuff on DeviantArt for a long time. I reached out to him and asked if he would be interested in doing something. So that was cool - collaborating with someone halfway across the world to do album art for us.

Talk to me about your origins. How did the four of you come together to form Zoogma? What is the meaning behind the name?

Matt: We formed in college. Justin and I played in another band together and then we split off from that and formed Zoogma. We had two to three other members that were part of the original lineup. The first year it was a fun thing in college to do. Then Brock and Ryan came along and that’s been the lineup ever since.

Justin: The phone just keeps ringing, so I guess we just take this more seriously. The name actually was - I had this English teacher that I couldn’t stand in college but there was this one day where I remember going to class and he handed out a worksheet and it had the word Zoogma at the top. But it was in Greek. It was an old English literature class. We had just started playing and we’re trying to figured out band names and I saw that. We just took out the E U because it was spelled like “ZEUGMA”. Instead of the Greek spelling, we added O’s instead and went with that. Basically it means “to join.”

Your music has been called “refreshingly original.” Tell me what makes your sound so unique.

Justin: I think the biggest thing, honestly, is that we all come from very different backgrounds musically. A lot of times that can be a really good thing or a really bad thing. And obviously a lot of people, bands, probably break up a lot. Different creative inputs, you know, everybody’s kind of pulling different ways. It works with us for whatever reason.

Brock: {We} find stuff we like, and just try to make music that we like.

Matt: We’re taking old genres of music and mixing it with something new and then creating something new altogether.

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Tell me about your musical progression across the years. Did you always know the sound you were trying to create?

Brock: I think we knew how we wanted it to sound, but we didn’t know how to get there.

Justin: It took a long time. There’s not a destination.

Matt: There wasn’t anything we were taking super seriously. We knew we wanted to do an experimental electronic project but we didn’t know exactly where that would take us, or how to do it. Figured a lot of it out as we went. We’re still learning a lot. Our music is always evolving because it’s four people and we’re all always pulling in influences from what we listen to or are listening to. Trying to keep it within the relevance of our sound. It’s always evolving. Always has. It will continue to.

“Anthems 4 Androids” seemed to have some political tones with titles like “War and Other Natural Disasters” and “Classified." Are there specific ideas you are trying to get across with you music?

Matt: Like for “War and Other Natural Disasters” that one was kind of like we were writing it like it was a very kind of epic sounding song. It had these different vibes to it that just seemed fitting for it. It seemed like a battle song. Like someone picking themselves up by the bootstraps and going into battle. Like it’s kind of dark, then has like a happy epic ending. But yeah, I felt like a lot of the songs were kind of that way. In a lot of instrumentals the title kind of caters to the vibe of the song.

https://soundcloud.com/zoogma/sets/zoogma-anthems-4-androids

What do you think the future holds for you as a band?

Matt: With the industry changing so much, just how people are really seeing music and stuff. Now it’s to the point where you need to be doing more than one full length album in a year. I think what people can expect from us is, this was our second EP that we’ve done, and I think that just in the immediacy that people want new music now. We’re going to stick with the EP things and remixes and singles a lot more, and then do big albums once a year or maybe once every two years. It’s just much easier to get music out and have it sound cohesive when there’s only four or five songs. We just released “New Era” and we’re going to release a new EP some time over the summer. We’ll probably do a couple of remixes and then another EP in the fall and a full length album in 2017.

Justin: You can expect too, that a lot of the stuff that you heard on the “New Era” EP, a lot of that vibe continuing. Plus, we’ve also been working with some guest vocalists experimenting with lyrical content, original lyrical content. As well as another thing we’ve been experimenting with lately, being from the south, the Mississippi and Memphis area, experimenting with the blues influence. Taking that and incorporating it into our sound. You can expect to hear some of that coming soon.

Matt: I would also just say never expect to hear the same thing twice.

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The band uses experimental electronic with heavy rock and blues influences to create an energy that is full of passion and guitar riffs that have the crowd screaming for more. There is plenty of old school funky sound, but with a new interpretation. At one point, they sampled Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” playing their own sound over the classic hit.

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They play “Molasses” off of their new EP “New Era,” and the crowd loves it. It is heavier and has a more traditionally electronic sound while still maintaining a full bodied melody. Their sound reminds you of the infinite power of good music. My heart swells as I realize the musical revolution that is happening around us. Collaboration and creativity to an extent which was impossible before. They demonstrate the ability to reach across the globe in a millisecond and draw influence from every culture and generation that has come before us. Their energy makes your belly tickle and your heart laugh. You can’t help but feel the outpouring of passion not only for music, but for life.

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Zoogma’s closing piece (before the encore) is a culmination of the incredible energy that has been rising throughout the evening. A shout out to Mississippi, which is where the band originated, and is full of dirty delta blues riffs that drive the tiredness from your feet and the demons from your soul. Zoogma, and their opening act Turbo Suit, left me with such a profound feeling that I am certain it will have a lasting impact on how I listen to music. Thank you Zoogma for sharing your spirit with us. You are always welcome here.

[Interview] Landis LaPace Gets Funky at The Music Room

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By Taylor Casey  

Photo by Avery Newmark

Landis LaPace, an 18-year-old up-and-coming DJ from Lutz, FL meets with me at Bone Lick BBQ in Atlanta, GA. He's playing at The Music Room and I couldn't be more excited to chat it up with him. He started working on music in the 7th grade on his friend’s laptop and now he's on tour playing in cities across the US. We sit down after eating and get to talking.

What was your first show like?

It was honestly one of my favorite shows. I opened for Ardalan in Orlando. The crowd was awesome and there was really high energy in the room. All of my friends were there. It was perfect.

What does it feel like to see people dancing when you are playing?

It’s so weird. Kind of awkward at times because people look at you and just think that you’re just pressing buttons so it’s not like you are playing an instrument or anything. But it’s an unreal feeling just seeing everyone dancing. I’m thinking, "Wow, I get to make people dance for a living.”

Any groupies yet?

[laughs} Nah...

How do you describe your music to people?

I just tell them it’s just like weird house music.

Is that how you describe your music to your grandma?

Yeah. That’s exactly what I tell her. {laughing} “Just trust me grandma.”

If you could play with any other artist in the world, who would it be?

Realistically, probably like Billy Kenny in Denver but if I could pick any person in the world I would definitely choose Carl Cox.

Where would this epic show take place?

In space! It would be so sick.

What should we expect from you in 2016?

Honestly, I don’t know. I just want to keep making music and progressing and growing as an artist.

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Having never been to The Music Room before I arrived around 11:00 P.M. There are just enough people to surround the bar. It’s a good vibe all around. The sound quality over all really impressed me. It was the perfect Goldie Locks ending. Not too loud and not too soft. The next day it didn’t matter about all of the smoke I had inhaled from the dancing machines at the venue. I didn’t have to yell to talk to people so my voice was still intact in the morning.

I see Landis casing the joint making sure everything is just right before he comes on at midnight. Even at a young age you can tell he really wants everything to be perfect. Landis keeps the party going with his funky beats and the crowd is loving what they are hearing. He might not know what 2016 has in store for him but I can only imagine that it will be great things.

[Interview] Felix da Housecat Returns to Atlanta

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By Frank Duke

Photos by Teddy Williams

Felix da Housecat is a mastermind of house music and its development from the very beginning. He joined us in Atlanta to show us what he is all about.

I walk in the EQ nightclub and see they have made some changes for the evening. Afro Acid and Horrible Children teamed up for this night and brought in two projectors. They showed a Valentine’s Day themed visual loop on a big sheet with tears on the bottom creating a cool effect to the screen. The visual loop was provocative and sexual, which I didn’t mind at all. I thought it was an interesting, off the wall, and respectable approach.

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The music playing had a tonality of disco, funk, electro, and house. Comstock and Lunashift warmed the crowd up and had us all dancing, laughing, and socializing. With these two imprints working together, the mix of people was very unique. Everyone was representing themselves and their love for house music. Special shout out to the speedo boy, he was doing his own thing without a care in the world.

As the night progressed, more people arrived and everyone was nice and cozy with one another. Felix makes his way to the booth and starts off building anticipation with a dark and ambient opening statement. The grooves followed with long tailed kick drums, pianos, and open hats that were threaded together with a bit of funk. People were blown away with his tracks. Crowd favorites were when he played an edit of Michael Jackson's “Thriller” and an edit of “In the Beginning (Jacks House)”.

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His range was vast. He played everything from deep house, to techno, and even a bit of progressive house. He was joined by DJ Pierre in the booth throughout most of his set. They were socializing and catching up since it had been a while since they have seen each other. At the end of the set, Felix did something that I thought was very special. He got on his headphones and reversed the polarity of the magnets so that they could be a microphone. He stopped the music, and spoke to the crowd. He started off by thanking everyone for such a good evening. He spoke about how DJ Pierre “Put [him] on”, and about how Pierre truly gave him an avenue for his music. Pierre also talked about how "Felix is like [his] little brother” and about how proud he is of him and everything he is doing.

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Felix then spoke about Pierre’s track “Acid Tracks” and how it changed him holistically. He wrapped up speaking to the crowd a bit about how Felix the Housecat came to be via DJ Pierre. We all conglomerated around the booth and talked for a bit and took pictures with the man of the hour. Once most people made their way home or walked over to Odyssey, Felix and I stepped outside for a bit of an interesting fireside chat.

As we were walking out, Felix said to me, “This is so underground. I love it."

I knew that he was just getting back from Holy Ship, and when I brought it up, he immediately jumped and said, “Holy Ship! Man, Holy Ship changed my life. I met a lot of industry people, they said I was an influencer, and got an intimate experience with my fans. Lots of people from Ohio had some love for Felix the Housecat.”

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Then he changed gears and talked about how he spent some time with producer Dallas Austin here in Atlanta. “I used to live in Atlanta for about six years. Dallas convinced me to move here while I worked on my album. So I came to Atlanta, got on this little rocket ship, Dallas and Bee’s {takes a pause} let me give a shout out to Bee’s! They really helped me rework my life. Then I went to England from here, then Montreal after that, met my girl in Montreal, and now I'm back in the ATL."

I wanted to get a bit more insight into how him and DJ Pierre met, and he was more than happy to oblige. “When I was a freshman in high school, my mama bought me a drum machine. So I would walk around high school telling people ‘I’m the Housecat’. And I made a track called ‘House Beat’. No one knows this story. I gave it to a guy named Jeff and Emit. And they said ‘Yo, I know this guy named DJ Pierre and he made this track called ‘Acid Tracks’. Then Pierre listened to it, and gave me a call, and asked me if I wanted to get together in the studio.”

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He then walked over to Pierre’s car to bring him into the conversation. Pierre tells us, “You know, there’s a lot of people out there with talent. But this kid took it and ran with it. I put them in a place where he could flourish and some people do and some people don’t. You just really got to have the talent, and you have to be an artist. Felix had it.”

We stood around and talked a bit more about their early days in the industry and about all the people helped curate Acid House. You can tell these guys are full with pride of the work that they’ve done and are extremely excited to share it with the world.

 
 

BoomBox Delivers a Musical Mastery for Terminal West

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By Kristin Gray  

Photos by Sara Vogt

Have you ever wondered where the fun-loving festival goers party in the winter? The answer is Terminal West to see BoomBox. A different crowd than the norm (if there is such a thing for this venue), I walked in and instantly felt like I was at an outdoor summer fest. Chilling and dancing with the eccentric, happy folks that are regulars at these events. It even smelled like a festival.

The night kicked off with DJ Ramona Wouters, a pleasantly talented artist who has opened for some great talent and often tours with BoomBox. Her set started us off right, with a wonderful house mix that caught the audience’s sweet spot. When I arrived the dancing had already begun and only intensified as she continued weaving for us a rich array of sounds. I kid you not when I say that Ramona’s music was bumpin' enough to inspire someone’s mom to start break dancing on the floor.

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After a great set and the pleasure of witnessing a wickedly impressive dance session, BoomBox came to the stage. With a full DJ deck, guitar, drums and mic I fully expected guest artists to step up. But no, the duo was about to show us a musical mastery I have never seen before live. Growing up on various instruments, producing, and DJing, these guys could do it all. On the stage was vocalist/guitarist Zion Godchaux, whose parents happened to work and perform with The Grateful Dead, and Russ Randolph, DJ and drummer extraordinaire. Russ was donned in a pink polka dot hat and headgear that could have been stolen straight from Willy Wonka. I knew this was going to be a fun night.

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The talent these two exhibited was second to none. Sexy guitar riffs and seamless transitions between turntable and a drum set that filled the venue with a groovy, funky house beat. These guys are no freshman to the performance world, having been playing and producing together for over ten years. Known for their improvisation rather than playing a pre-decided upon track set, they tune their music to the mood of their beloved fans.

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There were brief interludes to their upbeat grooves when their music hit a darker turn, Russ kicking in deeper sounds that completely changed the movement of the crowd. It became more intense, but just as quickly as it came, they brought us back to their soulful vibes. But at no point did I think this was choppy or out of place. It was more like they were saying, “We know you love our groovy, psychedelic rock, but now come join us on the dark side for a moment.”

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We stayed strong till the end, nobody wanting to leave, as we were all caught up in the magic of their songs. Striking up the chords for an oldie but a goodie, Stereo, the crowd lost their minds, unable to stop cheering and relishing. From that point, they continuously brought back in snippets of the song throughout the night, mixing parts of the bass or guitar notes into other songs. It really showed their intuitiveness and creativity that gives them such a unique sound. It was an evening of musical diversity and harmony that none of us will soon forget.

 
 

[Interview] Angelo Ferreri: The New Kid on the Block

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By Frank Duke  

Photos by Teddy Williams

A new kid on the block, maybe, but Angelo Ferreri has established himself as a standout curator in the jacking house style. He is without a doubt someone to watch out for.

I get to EQ Nightclub a bit early after having dinner with my friends and family. Walk up to the bar, grab a drink, and catch up with the regulars and staff of EQ. It has been a while since I’ve been here but feels good to be back.

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When I arrived there was a driving, dark, rumbling techno coming from these guys. This sound system is not for the faint of heart. You feel every small detail in your stomach, and I love it. Raskal and Bri are a duo that I have not yet heard, but I was really digging them starting off with some darker techno grooves.

As the night progressed, they started warming up the sound, breaking open the atmosphere, to make room for the funk master himself. Brendon Rosenbaum makes his way onto the decks and starts playing grooves that I haven’t heard in Atlanta for a while. It was great to get something a bit different. People started dancing, laughing, hugging, high-fiving, and enjoying themselves.

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I was sitting on one of the sleek lounge couches they have pressed up a 20ft+ brick wall. I see a friend of mine walk in with Angelo. I heard they were spending time in the studio together all afternoon. We catch up momentarily, talk about how the studio was and make introductions between Angelo and ourselves.

Angelo and I stepped outside to talk about his new record label, his music, his travels and PlayStations. Click play below and take a listen for yourself.

 
 

We stepped back inside, got ourselves a few drinks, and I showed him around to the booth. The room was really grooving when we got back inside. I start feeling that indescribable feeling house music creates. Brendon Rosenbaum finalizes his closing statements with an upbeat, lush bass, shuffling high hat sound. Angelo makes his way onto the decks and starts off with some darker tracks that are a bit more driving. I make my way to the sweet spot on the dance floor.

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He begins to take us all on a house music journey from driving and soulful, to funky and upbeat, to hip hop infused grooves, to laid back, all while making seamless transitions between these styles. There was never a moment where I thought, “Hmm - that was a bit random.” I never felt like the tracks he played didn’t flow. It was Jacking House perfection. If you’re not familiar with jacking house, I suggest you take a listen to some of his stuff he’s pumping out of speakers.

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The night ended and we stayed around and talked a bit more with one another. I told him, "I can't wait to see you really rock it man. I truly hope you get to come back to Atlanta again soon.”

Until then, we just have the memories and the vibes to hold onto.

[Interview] Time Traveling with Clarian at Alley Cat

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By Kristin Gray

Photos by Sara Vogt

I return to Alley Cat after a stint of time, and the changes this venue has made in those few weeks are completely transformative. The DJ booth now sports their feline logo, giving it a legitimate, tasteful look. Ramzi opens up the night, his set begins with a transcendent mixture of desert vibes and instrumental tracks that set a beautiful scene for us early birds. As the set transitions, we begin to hear nice bassy notes that get our heads bobbing and feet tapping. The beat picks up, the bass drops. The enthusiastic little crowd swells, enjoying this wonderful beginning to such a fine night.

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Tocayo steps up to the decks, ready to keep the party going strong. He keeps up a steady beat and the crowd remains pumped. As the venue packs out, I escape the crowd for a bit to have a chat with Clarian, our headliner for the night. His intelligence, desire to find the deeper meaning in things, and love for sci-fi make this conversation a special experience.

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Welcome back to Atlanta! How do you tend to handle the cold winters of snowy Montreal versus your summer getaway city of Berlin?

I think I handle it pretty well (laughs). I’m actually going next week to Berlin. It depends on shows. I try to travel as much as I can to play shows. The world is a big place out there, so it’s hard to jump around all over the place randomly so you try to organize it a bit. But generally speaking, you’re right. I spend most of my summers in Berlin. I like the cold winters though, getting to wear my snow suits.

As a lover of sci-fi, would you say this is a big influence in your music, or is it the other way around?

I like that question. Techno music is like this future dystopian thought of machines, and the sounds of industrialization. I think that they’re intrinsically locked together. I’m really interested in finding the link between the future of sound communication that electronic music seems to have as a platform. Other forms don’t really have as much liberty or freedom to explore future sounds. In my view, and from my experiments, from what’s exciting me in finding the music that I’m finding, a musical sequence can actually open up a portal into another gateway that can create space travel. And as ridiculous and absurd as it sounds, looking for patterns of unlocking the universe, maybe there are connections that we haven't even discovered between music and sound. I like to think about stuff like that.

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What first got you into producing your own music, and how did that effect your life at the time?

I started producing music when I was a teenager. My brother had a studio and I used to steal myself into it when he wasn't around. He had a mixer and guitars, I grew up on instruments. I was just trying to figure it out, and I loved recording so I tried to write songs on the guitar and piano and then take it to the studio. Without formal training, I intuitively would notice that if I took a vocal take, and then I doubled it, and took another one, then I played with the timing, I could create interesting phasing. I was doing all these things not knowing that the hell that I was doing. That whole world of producing is its own universe. That’s generally where I'm most happy, when I'm in the studio.

There is an interesting story to your EP Mission to Bars involving an Astronaut, his voyages, and his longing for whiskey. Can you tell us what inspired it?

I was in South Korea for a week, I was touring in Asia. I was by myself and I was pretty broke. I couldn't afford whiskey at one point at this bar and I was trying to write, I write sci-fi stories as a hobby. I was writing this story and then I got into this idea about this space man, and he was in his space suit. He could be on some strange planet but he could also be a delusional regular schizophrenic dude walking around downtown with a space helmet on, you don’t know. But the whole thing with this character is, he's an alcoholic obviously, and he wants to have a whiskey but he can’t have it. He orders it but he can’t drink it, so he doesn't know what to do with it. He can’t take his helmet off because that’s what is keeping him alive in his mind. So he just pours whiskey over his helmet in this sad attempt. It was so ridiculous and pathetic and amazing. I was laughing about it to myself like an idiot in this bar in Korea. Since then, I have been writing more stories about this space man. I have another story I finished recently where he's in a hydrogen depository, or that could all be in his mind, he could just be at a gas station. He's thinking about whiskey and meanwhile holding up the line. He's just pissing off all these strange creatures because he's so lost. The tracks that go with it are very dreamy and trippy. It’s called Ankh.

 
 

You gifted us with a special mix, NOCTURAMA, a few months back. What was it like bringing to the surface unreleased productions and collaborations from the past eight years?

Oh yes. It was good (laughs). It’s like digging through your journals or diaries, going through old essays from school. I have tons of that stuff in hard drives and disks, on recorded tapes, on floppy disks. Weird recordings and experiments that I try my best to keep track of because I travel so much and things get lost. I think most producers have tons of music that are these gems but for whatever reason the pieces get lost. Maybe they resurface years later or people find the outtakes, or even the demos but the demos are so good that they become hits. So you're always treasure hunting and I was putting all these together to make a mix. It was kind of cool for me, it tells a story, like sketches. If someone wants to see where my heads at and what I’ve been up to and trying different things and ideas. The last track on there I wrote eight years ago, it’s a ballad I made on a synth in this studio. It was the first track I wrote after Utopia. Each track signifies a point in time, they’re like the shadows of my music.

 
 

Your music seeks to explore the edges of space and time in an imaginative way. What have been your biggest challenges and joy with this exploration?

I’m trying to find connections with music as I get older. You know you get into all these scenes when your younger to find yourself, when you have the liberty and freedom to exist in these communities that don't ask to invade upon who you are. That’s what I think is beautiful about electronic music, about the culture of it. This movement that we do, that we've created. It’s a revolution in itself. At my point now as I'm getting a bit older I'm wondering where I'm going with my whole life. If I want to try to keep doing music and traveling, which I like and am so thankful for. Either I have to take some time off and try to make more of a contribution to the world beyond just the fun stuff, or find a way to do something a bit more original that I can provide to this community. It’s a hard question, but it’s a fun question. It’s the shit. I love coming here!

What can we expect from you for 2016?

I made another synth pop album, it’s very spacey. It’s more of a celebration of the style of music that I've been very obsessed with over the past ten years. I've realized it’s kind of like NOCTURAMA. The sound kind of evolves in my mind so when I did this album I did it last summer in Berlin. It’s a lot of Footprintz stuff that I've been doing and it has a lot of newer sounds that I've been patching and working on and creating. It’s very celebratory. Like an ending. Hopefully, I can get it out in a presentable way. That’s what I've been working on to find the right label and find the right way to put it out and make it special. That hasn't been easy yet but hopefully that will come together. Then I have the other Ankh EPs and Tiga’s album, which drops in March. I had the honor and privilege to work for such an amazing legend. That was maybe the most challenging and rewarding experience in the past few years. Working with people on that level. It’s awesome to work with guys like him. His album is called No Fantasy Required and it’s really sick. It’s really amazing.

And as a fellow sci-fi lover, I have to ask - what is your favorite show or movie?

Recently I've been really into the Expanse. I particularly love it because the character’s name is James Holden. I also love Logan’s Run. I love the old classic ones.

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We return to the foray and Clarian takes his place behind the booth setting up his Mac and prepping. Tocayo finishes out his set and welcomes our guest of the night. As Clarian begins, the crowd pauses unsure at first what to do. This music is dark and heavy, a complete mind trip in all the good ways. The dancing becomes vigorous, the crowd is humming with energy - bouncing together in a frenzied wave of movement.

Clarian’s music sends us on a galactic journey through the darkest folds of space, time seems to stop. The sound from his deep notes and other worldly synth create a frenzy in the patrons as we seek to entrance ourselves in this exploration. For a moment I completely forget about the world outside. This is a type of music not often heard in Atlanta and I look around to smiling faces of glee and disbelief that music can have such a guttural affect.

This set was as much of a physical experience as it was a mind experience and we relished in it. Though more of an experimental sound. I witnessed tonight that Atlanta is more than ready for this addition of musical pleasure.

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[Interview] Project B. Wins Our Hearts with yokoO

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By Frank Duke & Kristin Gray

Photos by Kayode Lowo

Ah yes, to be back at the beloved Studio No. 7 on a lovely Sunday afternoon. The perfect place for a fun, day party fix. While this event is historically outdoors, today it was all indoors, it is winter after all.

Adam Hagen is warming the crowd with gentle house melodics that are contrasted with an ever-evolving opaque groove. There is a unique dub tonality in his set that is a standalone staple to Adam’s style.

The crowd is sitting around in the minimal and chic lounge couches, chairs, and ottomans. Having a lazy start to their warm and cloudy Sunday afternoon. We are discussing our experiences of whatever party we went to last night, what we are thinking for lunch, talking about artistic exploration, and sipping on a hangover induced mimosa.

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Once our headliner yokoO arrived, the crowd had already begun to stand and get their feet moving. Julien (yokoO) made his way behind the decks, and a lush projection of clouds is illuminated on the brick wall far behind him. The sun was beginning to fall behind the horizon of the earth. A table holding fragrant candles, lanterns, cloth, garlands, and a goat for good measure, brought the unique atmosphere of “All Day I Dream” together.

yokoO situated himself behind the CDJs and synced his iPad to his computer so that he could have control over multiple effect routings. He began his opening statement. The floors, walls, and speakers were already vibrating, one could not help but move with these grooves. His sound perfectly accentuated the exotic smooth sounds of the All Day I Dream imprint, but the music had evolved much beyond that. Mixed into these dreamy, lush tones, was a bouncy, yet darker energy that was yet to fully reveal itself.

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Then the kick dropped. This was the moment yokoO’s music swayed from energetic and smooth, to a nice night-time bounce. The transition was beautiful, exciting, and seamless. The whole crowd felt this moment, and responded with “woohoos” and “ali-li-lis” heard from every corner of the dance floor. The energy picked up in pace and everyone was found together as these majestic vibes took us all away.

yokoO stepped down from his 3-hour set as Bobi stepped up to continue elaborating the energy with his bass heavy, middle-eastern, ethic and funky tracks. I danced for a moment over by the booth. As I see Bobi and Julien cheers each other, I smile to myself, happy to see camaraderie between these two inspiring men.

After Julien (aka yokoO) finished his set, he took a short break to chat with us. We walked outside the venue, stood on the curb with a small group of friends, smoked cigarettes, laughed, and got to know one another.

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You just finished up on the decks for your show in Atlanta. What steps do you take for your pre-performance process? 

I just go through say about 500 tracks and put about 100 aside. Then I just go from there.

You have been releasing a lot of records recently. Tell us a bit about your newest release on Berlin based label, Save Us, and working with the vocalist Seabourne.

That was done a couple years ago actually. I met Larissa aka Seabourne at Kater Holzig in Berlin. She sent me some of her work and I completely fell in love with what she was doing. From there, we started collaborating. We’ve released two tracks on Musik Gewinnt Freunde, which is Kollektiv Turmstrasse’s label. This one on Save Us is our third single and will be released mid-February.

 
 

I recently heard that you have been working in the studio with Bedouin while stuck in NY during the snowstorm. How did cabin fever connect you three musically and what has the process been like?

We’re pretty good friends and we were staying together while I was New York. We had been talking about working in the studio for quite some time. I guess the fact that we were all stuck in the snowstorm made it easier. We started two tracks together, which are well on their way. I imagine we could work remotely from here on but am hoping to come back to NYC soon so we can continue jamming together.

You are known to have a producer first mindset. What inspires you to make such unique music? How does this mindset coincide with your DJing techniques?

Really?! That’s interesting. Life in general I suppose. My experiences and the emotions they trigger. I don’t ever have anything in mind when I write music. My feelings and emotions direct the way I compose. My music is a true expression of the way I feel at a given time. Some producers will write for the dance floor, I honestly never try to please anyone with my tracks. I only work for myself. As a result, it doesn’t coincide with the way I DJ at all.

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Tell us about the moment that you knew you wanted to make electronic music. Was it a party you went to? An artist you listened to? Or was it the technology that resonated with you?

The very first track I wrote was for my girlfriend at the time. We had just met, and she was going off for a three-week trip to the States. We had just got together, so everything was really fresh between us. I said to her, “Well what am I going to do?" And she said to me, “Well, why don’t you write a track for me.” And this is how it all begun. I wrote a track for her and it turned into an addiction.

What is your life mantra?

Accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be.

What can we expect from you in 2016?

Lots of touring! Besides that, I’ll be releasing a few remixes and EPs throughout the year. Oh, there’s a couple of albums in the making - not sure they will see the light of day in 2016 though. I started collaborating with a vocalist from Australia. We’re working on a side project that’s quite different to what I normally do - a lot less club oriented and more concert vibes. The idea is to maybe release on a major label and then work on a live performance for it. Then in addition to that an album on All Day I Dream as well. But honestly, it’s all a bit early to talk about it.

Thanks for spending time with us Julien, we are all very happy to have you in Atlanta and hearing you do your thing!

Actually, I was having so much fun, I’m going to jump back on the decks with Bobi for a bit!

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His love for the crowd shone through as Julien stepped back into the booth to finish the night B2B with the beloved Bobi. The intense, immense energy these two put together was indescribable. Dancing became more energetic, faces changed into gleeful expression seeking out every nook and cranny of these sounds.

The crowd drawn by Studio No. 7 is a special one. It’s made-up of those most loyal and dedicated to Project B. and the work they put into bringing us musical talent. We all know each other and revel in the time we have to catch up, share hugs, and dance together in shameless passion. It is a family reunion, this is what Project B.runch is all about…and we can’t wait for the next one.

 
 

[Interview] Randall M on producing, vinyl and his family.

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By Clara Goode

Photos by Sara Vogt

My initial impression of the Alley Cat Music Club was one of trepidation. It shares a well-lit street corner with several boarded up buildings and what appears to be a convenience store. I cross paths with a group of young people who are laughing and chatting animatedly and I follow them through the doors. An underlit bar with a green flow immediately to my right, while an open path to my left leads to an outdoor patio.

I walk straight back toward the main room I am struck by how cozy the space is. The room is filled with dry ice which envelopes everyone in a glowing haze and, at times, obscures the DJs themselves completely. There is no stage, which sets the tone for a more intimate show, decreasing the distance between the performer and their fans. The club is still under construction, the hall to the restrooms glows with an eerie red light that highlights the broken concrete and dingy bathrooms, but somehow the grunginess of the exposed beams and unpainted walls adds to the allure of tonight’s show.

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The crowd here is different than what I have previously experienced. The majority of conversations taking place around me are in Spanish and people are more interested in interacting with their companions than they are getting lost in the music. The openers are setting the scene however, with simple, catchy rhythms and people are definitely feeling the music.

There is a very strong sense of community among the patrons of this club. At other shows the crowd has consisted of numerous small groups who seem to isolate themselves and rarely interact through the course of the evening except to fumble past each other as they make their way around the venue. Tonight the place is filled with large groups of people who seem to interact freely and comfortably, even with complete strangers. Each person seems entirely at ease both with the crowd and with the artists playing.

I sat down with Randall M. before his set. A polite young man, very easy to talk to.

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You were classically trained in piano and violin. Was there one instrument you preferred over the other?

I took lessons (as a child), but was not classically trained. Probably piano. I stopped violin lessons when I was four. Really, I prefer drums over anything.

What kind of influence does that training have over the music you produce?

It definitely helps with my ear, mixing things in key and choosing certain songs to go with others, I think it all comes back to that.

Is your family proud of you and your accomplishments?

They’re very supportive of it. I’ve been DJing for twelve years. It’s really all I’ve done and in the beginning they were very supportive. Actually, they’ve been supportive the whole time. There came a point where, you know, they were kind of questioning if I was going to be able to make a sustainable career out of it, but the last three or four years I’ve been able to do that and they’re very proud and supportive of it. I feel really lucky about that.

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Your love for your pups on your IG page is pretty apparent. Tell us about your fur babies.

I have three dogs, two are ten and eleven that I’ve had since the beginning of college. They live with my ex-girlfriend, but I still see them when I come back home and stuff. Then I have like, not a puppy anymore cause she just turned two, but a Cocker Spaniel as well. I’ve always loved dogs. I’ve love animals. I grew up with a Labrador and I just really love dogs. I wish I could have at home in Berlin but with the touring schedule and stuff it's just not practical. But someday I would like to have a little farm and have like five or six dogs on it.

What are some of your favorite albums you own on vinyl?

Well I have to say it’s not an album, but my favorite records, one of my favorite tracks from The Rolling Stones “Miss You” they did like a disco extended edit. It’s quite rare and my dad had it growing up and he bought me a copy a few years ago. So that one is pretty special to me. It’s all pink, it’s like 12 minutes long, and it’s amazing. Then my original hip hop stuff like Tupac’s On Death Row, Outkast, stuff like that. I love my techno records but the others just stick out for me. Also, I guess I’d have to say Efdemin, Chicago as well, one of my favorites.

What are some upcoming projects you have planned for 2016?

I have my own vinyl label called Thirteen. It’s coming out, the first release is in March and it’s something I’ve been working on for about over a year now and it’s like my baby you know? It’s basically my way to really showcase the music I love from people who I’ve come in contact with. Not only making good music, but cool people. It’s kind of like a friend group and we all share music and now I’m finally releasing some.

 
 

As the evening progresses, more and more people are distracted from their socializing and make their way to the dance floor and as Randall takes the stage the main room is packed to overflowing. Randall M uses deep, syncopated rhythms to keep them bouncing then adds a softer, melodic overtone. His lifelong experience with music is made evident by the diversity of sound, multiple instruments can be heard dancing through the layers of percussion in patterns highlighted with timed silences. His underlying rhythm is at a constant tone, not too low to be uncomfortable and not too high to be harsh. The perfect sound for continuous listening.

The ease with which the crowd interacts is evidenced through their relationship with Randall. He is not simply leading them as many DJs do, they are openly connecting with him. Chants spring up during certain sequences, people sing along with repeating melodies, there is a constant interplay between artist and audience. This is an appreciated contrast to many shows in which the DJ seems very separate from the crowd, manipulating them, sometimes in an aggressive way, to feel what they want them to feel.

 
 

 

The number of people on the floor changes constantly. Even with fewer people on the dance floor the ones that are dancing are fully committed. Many stand to the sides, nodding to the music and chatting, but it is not out of boredom. None are eager to leave or disappointed, there is simply an equal desire to socialize as well as dance. He keeps their attention to the very end of the show.

Toward the end of the night, I venture out onto the patio. The air smells sweet with cigars and lighter flames flicker between the faces of those gathered for a cigarette break and small talk. The music is still loud and one must speak loudly to be heard over it. Tomorrow our voices will rasp, and our clothes will smell of smoke and sweat, and we will accept these as fond tokens of an excellent experience.

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