lee burridge

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

[Interview] Marbs weaves a musical story on a fine Atlanta evening.

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By Kristin Gray

Photos by Sara Vogt

Tonight at Sound TableMarbs of Desert Hearts is playing alongside Bobi Stevkovski (Project B.). I waltz into the venue before the DJs appear. The dinner crowd is wrapping up and a few music lovers come trickling in. They gather on the dance floor in anticipation of the evening ahead. Bobi and Marbs arrive and we sit down to enjoy some appetizers. I can instantly tell Marbs craves meaningful conversation and is excited to be in Atlanta. Ryan Orey (Deep Jesus) recently passed through with only good things to say about our growing little city. Undoubtedly setting an expectant energy for our newest visitor, Marbs.

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You just wrapped up your City Hearts Winter Tour. What made this tour so special for you?

It’s still a little surreal, traveling around the nation with my best friends. I mean, besides Lee Reynolds, I’ve known the rest of the boys since at least elementary school or high school. I grew up with Ryan Orey (Deep Jesus) since preschool. Traveling is easy and it’s been a really big pleasure to be able to experience that with people that I’ve grown up with. We get each other. Whereas, other situations with musical groups, if they meet each other later on in life that may be more difficult.

Something really special about going into different cities with different communities, all having their own vibe. But at the end of the day, they are connecting with us on the same level as if we were at home. Every time we get nervous about going into a new market, it's proven that we should just be going in with opens arms. Everyone has their own vibe but has accepted us. And we leave happy. We haven’t had a bad experience, yet. We feel really, really good about it. I’m blessed, I’m really blessed.

Is there one moment or memory during the tour that really sticks out for you?

That’s really hard. I think the first tour when we took the RV and drove to Colorado. That was a fun experience. That was the first time we did a really long road trip. It was the longest road trip of my life. It wasn’t this last winter tour, it was our first tour. But we put a QSC monitor in the middle of the RV and we were basically partying the whole way out. It was a really good bonding experience. We ended up doing a hike on the way home. It was amazing. This year it’s us just getting closer and closer. Getting to know each other more. Getting to meet all these people. It’s hard to pinpoint on one memory. It’s been really special.

You have a mix series, The Yin and Yang that explores the relationship of light and dark and its necessity for a balance in life. What was your headspace like while concepting Yin vs. Yang?

I felt like I was getting kind of pigeonholed into playing dark music. I love playing dark music because I think there is beauty in the dark. There would be no light without the dark. And that’s where the whole Yin and Yang concept comes from. But at the same time, as an artist and a DJ, I wanted to explore other things that I liked. I was playing a lot of 4 a.m. slots. Slots where techno, dark and hard music really fit. I started this podcast to explore other sounds that I love to play and to show people out there sounds that I would like to mix that I don’t get booked for. The first one was Yin, and that was more mellow, deep, melodic and emotional. Where the second one was my live mix from LA, which was very high energy, techno - very driving. The whole idea of the project is each one is not necessarily going to be one or the other. Eventually, there should be enough mixes in it that they should all blend together. That’s the whole idea of it, the Yin and the Yang. You’ll be able to see that there’s a way to connect the mellow, the deep, the dark, and the high energy. It will all flow.

 
 

Can you tell me about your first time really being immersed in electronic music and how that led you to where you are today?

I was always into electronic music growing up. As with a lot of people, you go through that initial growing pain of not hearing the greatest electronic music. You hear what’s mainstream and you get into that. I had this one experience where I went to a festival in San Francisco, Love Fest. It was back when they still had the Burning Man art cars and they would drive down the road that leads to the Civic Center. Then the art cars would all circle around the Civic Center after the parade. And this was before I went to Burning Man. It was the first time I candy flipped. I took some acid and ecstasy and had an amazing time. I ended up at this art car with Lee Burridge playing. He was all painted up and in this crazy suit. I didn’t know who he was but some of my friends did and I just couldn’t keep track of a track. It was all just instruments layering on top of each other. It just was good music. I couldn’t put a genre to it. That’s kind of the point where everything changed. I realized I wanted to surround myself with this type of music because I could hear influences from jazz, rock, hip-hop, and dance music. Growing up I had been a multi-genre music person. I loved Pink Floyd and Tool, Immortal Technique and Hieroglyphics, the whole hip-hop scene, as well as reggae. To come to a place and basically hear this music getting layered, it was an eye-opening experience. I remember when I got home I couldn’t find any of the music and it was a frustrating period. But once I started finding it, it got more exciting.

You seem to be a deep thinker who likes to spend a lot of time in your head. Does this affect the way you create music, and has music affected the way you view the world?

It’s funny you pick up on that. I’m glad you are able to. I am naturally an introvert and I have been an artist my entire life. I draw and paint. Music came later. Music has been a way for me to speak to a lot of people without actually having the conversation. That’s what I love about music. It’s a universal language that everyone can connect with. Even if speaking to people isn’t exactly your strongest point. Me and the people in the crew, we all play different styles. I think my style can be very emotional and dark. It can take you places that you weren’t expecting. It’s not always happy and I like that. Music should take you everywhere. It should be a journey. And maybe where you start in a mix, or where you start in life, isn’t where you’re going to end. That’s what I want to express through my music and art. To get a little glimpse into my mind. It’s been a growing pain for me. One of my biggest growing pains as a DJ was breaking out of my shell. Ryan Orey really helped me with that. I remember this one time we were back home from college, he was just out of the Marine Corps and we went to Voyeur, we were on the second balcony and there was a bunch of art around. I created art but I had never put myself out there. We looked at each other and were like ‘why don’t we do this at home in North County?’ That’s when we started doing bar parties with art, house and techno in North County.

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What was it like, taking the plunge of quitting your day job to commit to music and art full-time?

It was scary for sure. Being that kind of person, I liked the security of a job. I knew what kind of money I was getting. The process of doing that job while also trying to build my career as an artist and DJ was very hard. I was working from 8-5 then going to DJ jobs whenever they came. There was this transition period where I was running myself into the ground to save up money in order to have this cushion to quit my job. Once I did it was like a puppy chasing a car but once you catch the car you don’t know what to do with it. I’d heard that analogy somewhere. Once I didn’t have a job I was like, oh wait, now I get to focus on what makes me happy and what drives me. I was able to focus on goals and what I wanted to do for the community. As a group, I think our intentions have been so pure that we attracted that ‘life is a mirror’ vibe. Once I quit my job and put my full thought towards it, it kind of came back to me. While there was a period of transition, it was the right choice and it felt like it was timed right.

I used to work for my dad. He's had a construction business since he was sixteen that he built from the ground up. He lived in an apartment complex and helped his neighbors fix things until the word spread. He was able to build a construction company out of nothing. I helped him with his company. When I quit and told him I was going to DJ and do parties he was encouraging but you could tell in his face and expressions that he was like, ‘what the hell are you doing,’ and kind of hesitant. I took him and my mom out to Desert Hearts, and they saw me and Ryan. When we DJ'ed together it was a very eye-opening experience for them. After leaving Desert Hearts, they never questioned me again. They have been the most supportive thing to me ever. It was just reassurance that I was on the right path and I have been better with my family than ever.

You have mentioned an upcoming release with Desert Hearts Records, "Love Ish." Can you tell us what went into the creation of the new production?

I’m new to production. I’ve been getting into it the past couple of years. I grew up on a lot of classic rock, blues, hip-hop and jazz. I have been trying to sample a lot of my old favorite music. The "Love Ish" vocal comes from a Ray Charles interview where he’s talking about love and how music should move people and be for the people. It’s him talking and then an acoustic sample I found off a sample pack, and just went from there. I’m working on a track right now that has some Doors samples. And another one that has a bunch of Pink Floyd samples. I’m trying to get back to my roots and see where it takes me. I don’t have any musical background besides DJing so I’m just having fun with it and seeing where it goes. I don’t know when the EP will come out. As an introvert, I’m a little self-conscious about the music. When the time is right I’ll let it out.

Marbs' music seeks to tell us a story and lead us through all ranges of emotion. Both joyous and dark. His set proves this as dark techno is intermixed with moments of melody and house, leaving you wondering whether you are happy or sad and creating an angst that can only be danced to.

 
 

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] Hoj keeps us on our toes with a night of mischief and genre melting mastery.

By Kristin Gray

Photos by Teddy Williams

The Alley Cat I had known up to this point has transformed since their grand opening with Simon Baker. Now their headliners perform upstairs. It’s dark, minimal and sweaty. It is exactly the underground venue you go to if you want to just absorb the music and dance your cares away. The sound reverberates off the exposed brick walls as Vince Lin and Ian James start us off with chill vibes that smoothly escalate to a late night house set. An industrial fan is set up for those of us a bit more vigorous in our dancing or faint of heart in the heat.

Hoj takes to the decks and I swear watching him was almost as mesmerizing as listening to his music. It's as if the relationship he has with his music will forever remain in the sweet honeymoon phase of love and never-ending excitement. Each new track he seems completely enthralled by, and even though he knows the upcoming selection, his face lights up with each new phase in. Then there was the music. His style I would describe as both figuratively and literally keeping us on our toes. Switching from house to techno and back again, the energy was an ever changing flow that kept up an air of intrigue and seduction. Prior to his set we were able to weave our way onto the outdoor patio where we sat, relaxed, enjoyed the fresh air and chatted about Burning Man, his musical journey and ice cream.

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You recently finished a stint in Miami and Playa Del Carmen, where you got to play alongside some great talent, including a few long time fellow collaborators. Can you tell us about that?

Everywhere I go to play, I am surrounded by friends in one way or another. Whether I’m playing with Lee {Burridge} or any of the All Day I Dream guys, or Behrouz...or anybody, it’s always kind of amazing to go play when you know the other DJ’s. You’ve hung out with them, you’ve been to their houses and they’ve been to your house, and you know you have similar sensibilities. It’s always nice musically too because you know what they’re gonna do and they know what you’re gonna do.

What is the story of you becoming one of the founders of Opulent Temple at Burning Man?

Oh, that’s a long time ago. The story is that I had never been to Burning Man, and I was a resident for Opel Productions at the time in San Francisco. We threw parties in San Francisco and Opel was run by Syd Gris. Syd had been to Burning Man a bunch and had done some sound camps, and wanted to start his own. He had a meeting at his house with me and a guy called Rich who did metal art installations. Basically, Syd told us he wanted to go to Burning Man and start Opulent Temple, and {asked} did we want to come help out? So I said, "Yeah, I’d never been before." We brought a bunch of wood and Rich built what we called the “O-Pod,” that shot fire out of the top of the roof. It was small, it just had one DJ booth, but we worked our asses off so over the years it grew and each year they would add stuff. And now it’s a pretty big sound camp. This started about thirteen or fourteen years ago.

What inspired your creation of the deep and mischievous music you are so well known for?

I just want to play something that’s true to my personality, and I like to cause a little trouble when I can. Also, I started going to raves in San Francisco when I was really young, like fourteen or fifteen years old. Back then, they were playing funky house and deep house and there were guys like DJ Dan. Those were the cats I grew up with and we would just go to dance. I was in a break dancing crew, we’d go in with cardboard and duct tape and we’d do a dance in a circle all night. I always wanted to keep it danceable when I moved on to make music of my own. And that’s where it partly comes from. And the mischievous part comes from my personality. I like to get into a little trouble. Not too much, but a little bit.

Can you describe what your journey has been like, from your discovery of your love for music to where you are now?

The best way to describe it is to talk to anybody that’s close to me. If I don’t listen to music pretty much on a daily basis, or I am away from it for a while, I kinda turn into a grumpy ass hole. And people will tell me ‘you need to go listen to some music’. For me, the journey has always been that music is a really huge part of my life, and without it I turn into a grumpy old guy. The journey has been feeding that beast as much as I can. Now it’s grown with All Day I Dream and we’re getting to play a lot of the music we love to play. It’s really been a pleasure.

Last year you were on tour with fellow Listed Productions DJ and long time friend, Atish. What were some of your fondest memories along your European tour?

Oh, so many! We had fun everywhere we went. I called him my DJ wife, and he called me his DJ husband. We will still text or call if we’re traveling a lot just to check in to see what we’re doing. But the tour, man, Beirut was amazing. There is a lot of down time when you’re touring, you’re playing Friday and Saturday so then you’re in a random place from Sunday to Thursday. You’re lucky enough to have really good locals to hang out with and show you around. Everywhere we were… Istanbul and Beirut… we got to really learn a lot about the culture and see how they lived and partied. You’re really comfortable when you’re there with one of your closest friends. And we ate a lot of ice cream.

(So then I had to ask as a fellow ice cream lover) What’s your favorite flavor?

That’s a really good question. Persian ice cream is the best ice cream that there is. It’s saffron and rose flavored. It’s the only flavor they have, if you go to get Persian ice cream in Tehran, there is that one flavor. And we actually did a photo shoot with DJ's dressed all in black but with ice cream cones. Then every city we went to we got an ice cream and posted it to Instagram. People still come up to me at clubs and ask me if I want an ice cream.

 

We just got to see Lee Burridge for his set in Atlanta, can you tell us the experiences of getting to play alongside such a masterful DJ?

Lee Burridge is my favorite DJ. And over the years we’ve become close. I’ve gotten to play with him and before him and after him, all of those. It’s always effortless. He brings the best out of you and you’re also standing next to your favorite DJ. You kind of elevate your game but without the pressure. And he’s so open and very much believes in you and wants you to play whatever it is you want. I never got a sense that he was uncomfortable, and it’s a very warm, open experience. I consider myself one of the luckiest guys alive.

What was involved in your latest mix Alpha, and the process that went into it’s creation?

I always try to do mixes as kind of a whatever I’m feeling at the time. Sometimes they come together, but there’s a lot of mixes that don’t, and I’ll just scrap them after a while and you tell yourself that this mix isn’t happening today. Alpha was one of those where I was touring quite a bit, and after you’re touring and playing every week you get to learn of a lot of good music. Alpha was literally, I was in a hotel room and had just gotten back from a gig, and instead of sleeping I just started to program the mix, and it kind of put itself together in a very quick amount of time. I barely even thought about it. It was what I was feeling, and they were the tracks that if I were to play a set at the moment, those were the ones I would have played.

Any upcoming projects or releases we can be expecting from you?

I like to do the mixes a lot, so I think in the next few weeks after the Winter Music Conference I’ll probably put out a new mix. And there’s some original productions that I’ve been working on, so we’ll see what happens with those.

Underground Sessions presents an evening of Lee Burridge

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By Frank Duke

Photos by Kayode Lowo

Lee Burridge is more than just a music trendsetter, he is a conceptualizer. He knows how to capture an idea, communicate it seamlessly to an audience, and create an atmosphere that is bar none.

I say "thank you" to the tenants at the entryway of Halo Lounge, go through a sleek metal door, and then begin to create focus on the suave maroon design of the venue. A dull orange glow from a marble slab that surfaces the bar draws my attention. I grab a few drinks and begin to socialize with some friends.

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We stand around the black cocktail tables in front the bar where people gravitate to for shots, laughter, and chatter. It feels like an upscale watering hole. Savages standing around, blabbering on and on, looking for a mate, and exercising their livers and lungs.

The venue is still filling up with people, but there is an already established movement of shadows in every pocket of the venue.

Some have already occupied the VIP areas with perspective bottles and hookahs. Others are upstairs with Bobi Stevkovski, the opening DJ, getting the dance floor warm together. The rest of the people are checking out the venue or relaxing on the lounge furniture.

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Beginning to make my way up to the dance floor to see some rearrangements to the space, I walk the platformed staircase. The staircases in the venue can be difficult after some shots at Apres Diem and a beer in hand. Just as long as you watch your step, your equilibrium, and the people around you, it’s certainly a manageable journey to the dance floor.

I get to the top of the summit, say "hello" to friends, begin grooving, and check out the rearrangements. The DJ booth has been moved from prior occasions. Some speakers have been shifted around. The atmosphere of room feels very different. All of these new rearrangements brought a more comfortable experience. I liked it a lot. It’s a unique layout that will stand out in Atlanta.

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You can’t see the DJ booth very well from all spots on the dance floor, but that is what makes this very unique. It quickly becomes more about hearing the music, rather than watching a DJ. The minimal and dim lighting shines mostly from the bar areas creating a nice glow over the dance floor.

Fast forward to a packed venue with the diorama bouncing big time, watering hole full of laughter and joy, and socializing in every corner.

The music Bobi is playing felt as though my ears were dehydrated and I just got some fresh water from the well. Fresher than a loaf of sourdough bread that was just pulled out of the oven.

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Bobi has really been making waves recently. Every set I feel his innovation pushing forward, his passion for a first-rate vibe, and his magnificent personality on spotlight the whole time. He has recently been focusing on a low-end groove that is very tough to accomplish. There is a need to have a track selection that communicates along with an idea that coincides with the headlining artist. It was apparent that Bobi knew what he was doing and where he wanted the vibe to go. It clearly went.

Lee Burridge, the mastermind behind All Day I Dream, is more than just a trendsetter. He is a visionary. He developed the concept for All Day I Dream on a rooftop in Brooklyn NYC. Throwing consistently successful Sunday afternoon parties with an Eastern Asian inspired decor, artistically forward thinking music, drawing a most diverse fan base.

 

He takes the reigns behind the booth on the diorama. The transition between Bobi and Lee initiates with an atmospheric bliss contrasted with strong melodies and staccato baselines. It was almost if they were having a conversation musically about how they are doing this lovely evening, about the space, and sound system.

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After some time goes by, there is a strong yearning for this style of music from the crowd. It was not at all what most people were expecting and overall, it was a pleasant surprise. The music was in a realm that was beyond unique, it was Lee. Anyone could understand that this guy has an established dance floor aesthetic for any occasion.

The feeling of surprise musically comes from the fact that the sound of All Day I Dream is known to be a bit, well, dreamy. It’s as if the guys that run the label and party want to make sure when you come to an All Day I Dreamevent; it will be far different than experiencing an artist that is just one part of the imprint. Which I why find Lee to be cohesive with a visionary, ever forward thinking, mastermind of music.