house music

The Stories of House Music in Atlanta: A Narrative History

The Stories of House Music in Atlanta: A Narrative History

Join us as we explore the history of the house music scene in Atlanta, drawing on memories and quotes from many of the DJs, promoters, and party-goers who were there as it changed over the years.

[09 BULLETCAST] Miyagi Guest Mix

[09 BULLETCAST] Miyagi Guest Mix

We present to you Miyagi for our 9th installment of BULLETCAST. Sit back and enjoy the melody of this exclusive mix.

Rivers, Tides, Miles & Memories: a New EP from Death on the Balcony

Rivers, Tides, Miles & Memories: a New EP from Death on the Balcony

With the onset of fall comes not only cooler temps and fun costumes, but also an eerie new sound in the form of the newly released EP, Rivers, Tides, Miles & Memories by Death on the Balcony

Topman, Boiler Room and CGI Records: Neighborhoods - Atlanta Represents the Underground

Topman, Boiler Room and CGI Records: Neighborhoods - Atlanta Represents the Underground

Atlanta hosted its own Boiler Room event at Soundtable with CGI Records. From post wave to soulful house this party kept the grooves coming all night long. 

[Interview] A Short Chat with M.A.N.D.Y.

The fortunate and rare opportunity presented itself to ask Philipp David Jung a few questions about the life and career of M.A.N.D.Y. Here's what he had to say.

What’s the story behind the acronym M.A.N.D.Y?

A very long one actually. Many different stories are floating around. But we think the very solution and explanation is Me AND You. Which stands for Patrick and me, or the party people and us, or the universe and us here.

Many describe your sound as minimalistic. What draws you to it?

You know as someone who creates music, you can’t really refer to something like this. But of course, the outside world has to label it to describe it and that is super fine. But you can call it anything you like, and it won’t change our approach in the studio. We don’t go and say today we’ll do a minimal song, or maximal, or this or that. You just sit there and you hope something nice will happen.

Outside of the world of dance music, who are your biggest influences?

There are so many. I am very lucky to have amazing friends who always give me shit in the right moment. {Like} when things get too loose, or you get lost in your DJ world. I talk to my Dad very regularly which is always very calming and soothing. And of course, there are so many artists out there in the world. Just listen to the new Radiohead album and this should give you inspiration for a couples of months. We do love art a lot as well, but sometimes it’s in the lil' things. You just walk around with open eyes every day, you listen to people talk, you sit in a bar and actually look at people, all this might be my biggest influence. Life as such.

You have worked intimately with Booka Shade. Tell us about the evolution of that relationship.

We are childhood friends, so it’s a very special relationship we have. We were, and are always in contact. It’s a friendship for life. And whenever we find some time, we’ll go in the studio together. But unfortunately due to our schedules, that happens only once a month.

How has the Get Physical Radio show been going? What is your ultimate goal with this project?

There is no ultimate goal in a way. We are based in the heart of Berlin. And there are so many talented artists passing through, so we just wanna capture their mood when they are over. The booth (we call it Glory Hole) is so tiny and right in our office, so its always funny to see the people squeezed into to this lil' shoe box.

You and Patrick Bodmer are childhood friends, how has your relationship evolved over the years? 

I think like anything in life, our relationship changes and changed a lot over the years. It’s an amazing journey and we learned a lot from each other. Through constant observation and communication we are doing quite well actually! Pretty proud of what we have achieved. And the main thing is really that you always and still can laugh about and with each other.

Where is your favorite place to play when you are back home in Germany?

Everywhere where my friends are I guess. If you have your loved ones around, you’ll always have a good time. There are millions of places I love or like. Sometimes it’s even the living room with two buddies. Back in Germany in June. Let’s see for how long.

Do you have any recently completed projects you can share with us?

We are finally working on the album for real. Looking pretty good so far. I guess we will even release the first stuff this year. Fingers and toes are crossed.

M.A.N.D.Y. is set to play in Atlanta on 5/14 at Jungle Warehouse. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. 

[01 BULLETCAST] DJ Pierre's Disco Snacks & Acid

Our first edition of BULLETCAST is brought to you by Acid House legend, DJ Pierre. This is the first of the many to come from our new series. 

"Music is spiritual, it unites and inspires. My goal with every mix is to inspire people to love outside the box. I try to create a happy medium between different styles so I'm always playing with extremes. Mixing disco and acid house is one of those blends for me. The idea came and I ran with it, disco snacks and acid trax. Hope you get inspired." - DJ Pierre

Atnarko brings Hypnotic House Music to Atlanta

Atnarko is a small locality in British, Columbia in the south of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park where you can see moose, coyotes, foxes, eagles, and bears. It is also a river in the same area in Canada where Atnarko Bear Ross was born. The now American-based DJ and producer mesmerized Atlanta on April 22 at Alley Cat Music Club.

His influences include the dirty south, Swamp house, George Clinton, Afrika Bambata, Freestyle - among others. Atnarko dropped proper house, funky, deep, and techno beats that made the ravers, including myself, dance all night long.

The night started with a set from Ernesto Cardenas, an Atlanta resident who has been working in the underground scene in Ibiza for the last few months. Cardenas was followed by the well-known local artist, Tocayo, who hopped into the booth a few minutes past midnight. Hernan Piraquive, aka Tocayo, set the grooves for a merry-go-round of house and techno rhythms. Meanwhile, Atnarko shared the vibes with the crowd, made new friends, and talked about life experiences before he treated us with what he does best, music.

Once on the decks, Atnarko delivered a groovy set with a very careful track selection that kept us dancing from beginning to end. During the three hour set, party goers experienced a bit of what he called “hypnotic house music,” a mix of deep house, underground and hypnotic sounds indeed.

This Feeling EP, his last work released under Viva Recordings, includes two original mixes, "Before Sleep" and "This Feeling." Atnarko Bear has also joined other recognized labels such as NoirLazy DaysRobsoul2020VisonFaceless, and Motek.

[Interview] Margot LOX talks chill vibes, dope scenes, and future escapades.

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By Clara Goode

Photos by Teddy Williams

I walk up the wooden stairs to the newly built second floor of Alley Cat and I'm greeted by a room glowing from the string lights hanging behind the gauze draped ceiling. At a high-top table near the bar two people are leaning, sipping on recently acquired beers and talking amiably. The young man with dark hair looks up, sees me and immediately  walks over to greet me with a hug, reintroducing himself as Ramzi, aka Ramouz. I met him for the first time at Alchemy, he is the front man of Exposed who is sharing the stage with tonight’s headliner, Margot LOX.

Margot walks around the table to hug me. Her energy is laid back and she is all smiles, wearing a green hoodie and sneakers. She asks me if I want to go outside and have a cigarette and do the interview.

You’ve played a lot of festivals. Is there one experience that stands out to you above the others?

I’ve played maybe four or five. The first festival I ever played was actually Belize Electronic Music Weekend. That was fucking amazing because it was my first festival and in paradise. I don’t play too many festivals, more in clubs. I’ve played at Burning Man and I’ve played Afrikaburn. I’ve played a couple of desert parties. I’m going to play another desert party coming up at the end of April.

Margot LOX 3

Tell us about the upcoming desert party you'll be playing, that sounds interesting. 

It's a super dope venue I played at for a friend's birthday at the border of Mexico in California, east of San Diego. Someone who was at that party decided to take over the venue and do his own party and asked me to play. He said I was one of his first choices when he started booking. Just good, like-minded people getting together to have a special experience. 

You travel all over the globe. What led to the decision and/or ability to move beyond simply playing in your home city of LA?

I was working full-time in my corporate job. I worked in the ad sales industry for seven years, and for about a year and half of that I was DJing, like two to four nights a week. I was really fucking tired so I decided to quit. I knew that I didn’t want to stay in LA, I wanted to travel. I wanted to take the money that I had saved all of those years and travel. I didn’t know where. At first, I wanted to move to Mexico and then I decided ‘why just one place?’ I want to see as much as I can. And then, obviously, I want to be DJing all the time so I just worked on talking to friends and just making friends wherever I went. When you have more friendships and more relationships then {you can} just play all over. I don’t call it networking, I call it making friends. Because if I don’t vibe with you on a friendship level, I’m not going to vibe with you in any other capacity. I do get along with most people. It's important to me, not networking but making friendships. Also, I have not been to Australia or Asia, yet...

What was it about house music that made you fall in love with it above other genres?

House is the reason that I started DJing. I was so obsessed with the music and always going to the club and seeing my favorite DJs and my friends perform. Going {to the parties} wasn’t fulfilling enough. I needed to actually be behind there, controlling that vibe, controlling the music, and connecting with everyone.

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Are you still making plans to produce in 2016?

Yes. I have a lot of friends who are talented producers and I want to work with them and learn from them. So as I travel around, I plan to be working with people and learning from them. This year the goal is definitely to release music.

You mention your family quite often on social media. Are you very close to them? What do they think of your chosen path?

I have family spread all over the country - Tennessee, Florida, and I grew up in California. My mom and dad's family live in Tennessee. Yeah, I’m super close to my family, very much. Even though we don’t live in the same city and I’m always gone, I love them, a lot. They laugh and they are super impressed with my path. They think its amazing, no one else in our family has traveled that much, or, you know, quit their job. My grandfather always says that he admires me, that he doesn’t know many people that decided to quit their job and follow their dreams.

You mentioned in an article a couple of years ago that you prefer vinyl for your own collection, but play mainly off of CDs in performances. Is this still the case?

When I DJ in clubs its always on a USB. All my tracks are on USBs. I have a vinyl collection, but because I’m traveling, I don’t get to play with it, which sucks. My vinyl collection is a lot of old school techno and house, but mostly old school hip-hop, like from the 90s. That's my heart right there. I can throw down on the old school hip-hop.

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You have eight shows coming up in the next month. Talk to me about the amount of work it takes to have such a stringent schedule. Do you enjoy it?

I’m super fucking excited. This is the first time I’ve played in two weeks, I’m already antsy {about playing} and have been bored not playing. This next set of gigs are probably going to be the most grueling. I’m going city to city in Mexico, which will be an adventure in itself. I’m so excited. The more I work the better because even if I’m tired, even if I feel like shit, this is what I want to do.

In terms of preparing, it's just an everyday journey of listening to promos. I listen to Soundcloud, pick out tracks on Beatport, and some days I won’t find anything. Some days I’ll find 20 tracks, then I’ll leave it there go back and listen to them again. After I listen again, I may hate all of the tracks except for maybe three, but those are going to be the magic. Then sometimes, if I play the track in the club it may sound terrible and then I never play it again. It's all trial and error and constant music discovery, it's a never-ending job.

 

After we chatted, we walked back upstairs to dance to the hypnotic melodies of Bullet Music's own, Frank Duke. Throughout the night, Margot showed the connectivity she talks about. She is a vibrant woman who is kind and open with the people around her. You can see she is genuinely invested in sharing positive energy with all who cross her path, not just through her music, but through her life as well.

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.

 
 

[Interview] Simon Baker chats about techno and where he draws his inspiration from.

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By James McDaniel Photos by Kayode Lowo

March 10, 2016

When I arrived at the Alley Cat Music Club’s Grand Opening, I was hoping for something a little different. I had been to a number of its Beta events, and I had grown accustomed to the vibe. The unassuming façade, the sheik front bar which leads to a space donned with antique lamps suspended from the walls – this is where the place starts to really feel like something. In this spot, I remember mad nights of dancing to syncopated rhythms and deep bass grooves. It is a good place, but the unfinished, upward leading staircase tells of something more gritty and raw.

tito mazzetta
tito mazzetta

Upstairs, Tito Mazzetta’s set begins with deep house, moves into a more tech sound, and ends exploring the minimal side of things. I start to notice the way this new room feels. It’s dark, and sketchy. I imagine that it looks pretty rough in broad daylight, but at night, it’s perfect. The sound in the room is phenomenal.

This becomes even more evident when Simon Baker starts his set. His unique approach to techno and tech house, infused with soulful vocal samples, and dark grimy effects, stirs the party into a frenzy of dance. At one point, people are jacking on the walls, reminiscent of the old warehouse days. I definitely got what I was hoping for. I got together with Simon the next afternoon in the lobby of his hotel to talk about his music.

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simon baker 2

Since the beginning of your career, your sound has swung like a pendulum from techno, to house, and back. What’s the reason for this fluctuation in style?

When I was living in Leeds in 2006-2007 it was very house oriented. Well, it was minimal house at the time. In fact, I’ll go back even further. It was kind of electro house, when that was big and then it moved into the more minimal sort of era, and I came to find myself sort of being quite suited to that sort of music. I guess you could call it minimal techno at the time, and that’s kind of where my roots are from. I made this track called “Plastik,” which was a hit, basically. It was like number two on the RA {Resident Advisor} biggest tunes of the year, and it did really well. It got me onto the ladder. I started making other sounds similar to this, but then the minimal era kind of disappeared. So I either disappeared with it, or I carried on. You know, going with the flow and trying to develop new sounds. I headed into a more classic, deep house kind of sound. Which at the time, I had been signed to 2020 Vision in Leeds, and it suited them pretty well. Which led me up to the album. I was doing a classic house to deep house kind of thing – Obviously, a bit of tech house mixed in.

I’ve never been the kind of producer to make the same sound every day. I was always making harder bits, bigger room, you know, deeper Detroit, and a bit of broken beat kind of stuff. It was only recently that I was plodding away, ticking along thinking, I’ve done a deep house album with 2020 and I’ve done the minimal thing. I just want to focus on one thing, so I bought a load of new studio kit – new drum machines, and other things which in a natural and organic way triggered some nice techno kind of grooves. I just got really into them and started busting them out every day. I was thinking, well, I’ll just focus on this now rather than rushing around doing everything. I’m just going to focus on the techno sound, this is where I am now eight or nine years later.

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simon baker 1

I understand you studied classical guitar in your youth. How has that training, especially the study of music theory and form, influenced your artistic approach as a producer?

Without sounding cliché, it was in my blood. I found it quite easy to make music after doing that. I played the classical guitar for about eight years and I did the whole theory thing and all the rest of it. In my teens, I dropped out of that. I found other things, girls, skateboarding… a load of other things. I just lost interest with the guitar. I always had it in me that I wanted to do something. I found hip-house when was around 16-17. Then I got decks in my bedroom, buying records, doing that kind of thing. It was a natural feeling inside me that I needed to play, not necessarily an instrument, but to make music. I went out and bought a drum machine. I used to tap beats all the time in my head or on my leg. I started playing the drums, but when I started playing synths and everything in the studio, it all became quite easy. It just gelled because I knew keys and I knew how things should fit together.

https://soundcloud.com/sbaker

What have been your most daunting challenges in starting your own production label, 2020 Vision? How has its creation impacted your musical style and output?

Before this most recent one, I started a label a long time ago called Infant Records, which was my first label. When I was involved in 2020, just before I did my album, I actually went into one of its sub-labels {Infant Records}. It was like house/ techno. There were a lot of good artists on there, actually. People that have made it big now - Paul Woolford, a load of people who are really big now were on it. So I’d already done the label thing but, what I didn’t know about was all the back-end of running a label, so that was really the most daunting thing to learn. I’ve been in the industry long enough to know how it should work and how the music that I want to put out and all the rest of it works. But, it was the back-end that I didn’t really understand, because I had someone doing it for me before. It was just the ins and outs, royalties and all the rest of it. Again it was a natural, organic process that I was ready to do.

Describe the process of creating your LP, Traces, and do you have any plans for a follow up?

That was, when you look back, 2011, which was quite a few years ago. If I’m honest with you, because I’m really proud of that album and how it got a lot of respect with the press, I was listening back to it the other day. I don’t mind telling you this, I was thinking I might do a BKR remake of the tracks with more of a techno vibe. I had this little idea the other day, and I don’t know how Ralph Lawson, who runs 2020, would feel. Obviously, I’d need to run it past him because he’s publishing and all. I’d like to do something similar, but maybe remixes. I’m so proud of that album, and there were some good remixes that got done. But I’d like to redo them in a new style.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w_YZ2vAz6M&feature=youtu.be

Which recent collaborative efforts have excited you the most?

I’ve not done that many. The last one I was working on was with Lee Curtiss {Visionquest}. My problem is with collabs, and I love doing them with the right people. For example, I loved doing one with Lee. I’ve done them in the past with Jamie Jones before, which worked really well many moons ago, before he was absolutely huge. I’ve done quite a few of them, but I struggle because I’m such a fast worker. Somebody comes into my studio for one day and then I don’t see them again for six months. And it’s just like, you need that person to be there, nearby with you in the same mindset, wanting to work as quickly as you do to get things done. It’s rough. I struggle with collaborations. I’ll be honest with you. Not that I don’t want to do them, but the person has to be banging on it as much as I am, rather than just dipping in every few months. 

simon baker 5
simon baker 5

Your musical career involves DJing, producing, and collaborating. In which environment do you find yourself most artistically expressive, challenged, and rewarded?

100% in the studio over DJing in the club. Producing is my number one love. I can get up in the morning and sit there for twelve hours, quite happily, and make tunes and be really happy with them. Don’t get me wrong, I do really like the DJing thing, but that kind of follows on from producing. If I could make a living just from producing in the studio, then I would. Obviously, these days with the music I do, that’s not how it works. It’s creating a track. Getting the idea up and running is my number one buzz. That’s what gets my blood going.

Where do you find your inspiration, and how has that changed over the course of your career?

Yeah, it’s changed. I do listen to a lot of music out there. I listen to a lot of classics. I listen to older mixes – more Detroit sounding stuff, and that kind of thing. I do a lot of running, actually. I do half marathons. I’ll occasionally listen to old classic Detroit or Chicago house, and I get inspired by them. I’m into more the classic sound than I’m into the sound of today. I guess I get it from there but I can’t put my finger on it. Some days I’m really weird in the studio. Sometimes I won’t make a track for two weeks because I don’t have anything inside me bubbling away. Then all of a sudden, I’ll make three or four tracks a week. I don’t know where it comes from. Once I get on a roll, I’ll get a good idea and think, right, I’ll do another one of these tomorrow. I’ll make an EP in a week. I can’t quite explain it. It just comes and goes. I think its frame of mind. You’re maybe stressing about something else in your life, or whatever, and you have this moment, and you are like, right. Since my studio is in my flat now, I sometimes will jot my ideas down at one or two in the morning, and then finish them the next day.

Chicago's own, Green Velvet, takes the stage in Atlanta

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By Kristin Gray

Photos by Teddy Williams

This was an event that had been in the bookings for almost a year, and the night had finally arrived. Not only was this a legendary DJ from the infamous city of Chicago, but Green Velvet was named the #6 charting artist on Beatport’s top artists for 2015. We were in for a night of experimental tech house that was about to have the entire venue vibrating.

Arriving at Halo Lounge, I knew immediately this was no underground venue like Music Room or Sound Table, my usual haunts. Halo is an upscale bar and lounge, and though the space is not large by any means, their use of multilevel VIP sections and dance floor have been implemented to capitalize on square footage. When you first walk in, you immediately notice the large lit up marble bar and swanky fashion videos being projected on the wall. The place tends to pack out quickly, so it’s best to head upstairs to the dance floor to claim your spot.

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The sound system this evening was turned up, heavily so on the bass. Even lighter, jungle house tracks were causing the entire floor to vibrate with the deep bass line emitting from the speakers. Bobi Stevkovski’s opening set started out with his signature choice of intricate house tracks, quickly evolving to a tech house set. His energy, though always bouncy, was especially jazzed up tonight. With a smile constantly on his face, his attention to detail and track selection was on point tonight.

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As I look around to observe the crowd’s energy, I notice this is not the usual crowd I often see along my more frequented venues. The crowd is interesting. A mixture of a candy club scene and techno junkies, you can tell who is here for the DJ and who the regulars are that come strictly for the venue. The dance floor is located on the top floor, with a low ceiling and modest lighting. Red strobes unobtrusively scan the floor as free open space becomes a thing of the past. As the man of the hour, Green Velvet, steps up to the booth the crowd fills up the remaining dance floor, leaving no room for stragglers. His set immediately starts out fast and hard, true to his signature experimental reputation. Now the bass amplification really becomes apparent. I can feel it vibrating my entire body, creating what felt like a layer of static electricity over all of us.

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If you listen to Green Velvet’s monthly podcasts with the label "Relief," you can get an idea of the intensity and innovation of his set. His look matched his sound, with his trademark green mohawk and futuristic shades, his set was equally as vibrant and modern. There were no soft, easy points to the set as there often are with house sets, this guy kept up a mind blasting pace that kept his patrons moving non-stop up until the very last note. Though he has been in the production and performance business for quite some time now, his new release of "So What" remixes alongside Carl Craig and a busy touring schedule only prove he still has more to give the world. Green Velvet seems to always be seeking unsought avenues of sound. With DJs like him coming in, Atlanta is only further proving that we are earning ourselves a spot of this underground map.