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.
Behrouz is the guy that when he tells you about the message he wishes to spread, you listen. His numerous times at events like Burning Man has opened his mind and soul to a point that he has realized the true human desire to receiving humility and acceptance. And that is exactly what he strives to achieve through the sets he shares with anyone willing to listen.
His heart and soul is poured into his music, and in our conversation, he shares these intimate details.
You had a birthday recently and got to play in Miami at Do Not Sit On The Furniture. Happy Birthday! Any special memories from that night?
Thank you. This was probably one of the best birthday parties I've had. We transformed Do Not Sit into a Moroccan Oasis with a Moroccan tent outside in our garden which was decked out and designed by my wife. We also decorated the club, and people came dressed up. Just having all my close friends around, and having me play from open to close, and building up the night properly was fantastic. I do a once a month residency at Do Not Sit where I play from open to close and everyone gets to go on a special Behrouz journey!
Having spent a lot of time traveling, DJing and meeting so many people, what do relationships with friends and family mean to you? How do you maintain these friendships with such a busy schedule?
Well, traveling over 20 years around the world has allowed me to develop great friendships with people all over. I've kept in contact with many of my friends. And those who know me know how much friendship means to me. At the same time, traveling does take a toll on my private family life. Having gigs every weekend out of town and sometimes during the summer for weeks or months at a time is stressful. As a husband and father, you have to get creative. I like to take my wife and daughter on trips with me during the summer or when I play in NY or San Francisco. I take them with me, it's like little mini trips for us. It's part of my life and we have to learn to balance things as a traveling DJ.
There are many artists that make their way to Burning Man, but it seems to hold a special place in your heart. What does it mean to you?
What makes Burning Man so special is the environment. You are in the middle of the desert. Us humans, we hardly spend any time in nature. What makes it so special is the fact that you are without your cell phone, your computer, and you are going back to basics. People become nice because they don't have to protect themselves. At Burning Man everyone is the same. You respect nature, you respect people and show them your love and respect. It's one of those places in the world that could change the attitude of people. It made me become better and I am always trying to learn more. It's a magical place. Whatever you ask the universe you shall get.
At the same time DJs like Lee Burridge and myself have helped jump start this big movement in the US and abroad with this sound that's referred to as 'desert music,' and it's grown like crazy. It's beautiful music that you can dance to and touches your soul.
Pure BEHROUZ nights are known throughout the world for being multi-genre, masterful sets unmatched in the industry. Can you tell us about the evolution of Pure BEHROUZ and what led to it?
It started as a night I did at one of my long running residencies back in San Francisco where I would play from open to close and I would take my listeners on a journey of different genres of music. I don't like to pigeonhole myself to one sound, and it's a reflection of my history of playing in one of the best cities in the U.S., San Francisco, for over 20 years. I grew up listening to disco, acid house, garage, drum & base, techno, jazz and so much more. I feel like if you just play one sound, it becomes boring. You have to learn how to educate your crowd and take them on journeys of music. It's like being in class and opening your mind to something different and exciting.
Can you tell us about your time in San Francisco back in the day?
I lived in the best era of San Francisco, I believe. It was, and will always be, a city full of so much culture and art on so many levels. I grew up going to the best clubs, listening to legendary DJs at the time. I played two amazing residencies at the best clubs at the time. Eight years at DV8 and eight years at Release at 1015. It will always be my favorite city in the world!
As someone who has been in the music industry for some time, and experienced a lot, what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Just always be yourself and no need for an ego to get ahead in life. You go up and down in this industry, so always be humble and nice to everyone! Also, I've always played from my heart and with passion, and every day I wake up thanking God for allowing me do what I love the most. Spreading love through my music.
Event info and tickets here.
By Kristin Gray
Photos by Sara Vogt
Tonight at Sound Table, Marbs 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.
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.
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.
By Frank Duke
Patrice Baumel is known as a Kompakt Records front-runner. He is a humble, non-fussy guy, that shares his thoughts with the world musically, emotionally, and insightfully. M.E.N.U, who is a dear Macedonian friend of Bobi Stevkovski (Project B.), is an accomplished producer, genius DJ, and an all around lighthearted guy.
Earlier in the day, I had been talking with my sister, who has just moved to Atlanta from Chicago about Patrice Baumel, M.E.N.U, Bobi, Project B., and The Music Room. She has never been to anything like this. I thought to myself, “what better way for her to see what Atlanta is all about?!” She’s really into music, festivals, and dancing the night away. After discussing with her she agreed to join me for a bit of booze and dance moves.
We arrive to The Music Room a bit early so that I could have a chance to show her the fantastic Bone Lick BBQ, grab a fresh cocktail from the Edgewood Speakeasy, and get her acclimated to a venue that I spend a lot of time at. We walk down the staircase, underneath an old drum set on display, to make our way into The Music Room.
We grab a chair at the bar, a few drinks, and make conversation amongst the bartenders.
We sit back, relax, and listen to Bobi Stevkovski start warming up the room with an easy going, laid back, dark, and percussive track selection. Shortly after we sit down, I see a tall, bald-headed, smiling man, walk down the staircase. I thought to myself, “this has to be Patrice.” I turn to my sister telling her I’d be back in a moment, and go up to introduce myself. We walk back up the staircase out to the street side curb, sit down on a broken plastic power supply, make some homeless friends, and begin discussing his music career.
You’re on your Balance Series tour right now. Tell us a bit about how the touring has been so far.
It has just started actually. I love the work I do and am grateful for every gig I get to play, regardless whether it’s just one person dancing in front of me or 1,000. I want to bring people together and give them a great time.
Getting to work on the Balance Series compilation has got to be an exciting project to be presented. How did you approach your track selection, mixing, and the concept you wanted to convey?
Printing something on CD is kind of permanent, so I had to put together music that would stand the test of time. It took me a while to figure out the whole concept. I compiled a list of 100 of my all-time favorite tracks, then tried to find interesting combinations between them. I just went with the flow of what worked and felt right to me. Then 70 minutes later, I kind of came out at the other end of the tunnel. I had my mix CD. With anything creative that I do, it never really feels like it’s coming from me personally. I’m just a conductor or a medium for the music. It just happens.
Your record label EX is known to give artistic freedom, a level playing field, while all being distributed for free. It seems as though your focus has been shifted to other projects. Can you tell us a bit about the current state of EX - past and future?
EX is an experiment. EX meaning outside of the ordinary. I just wanted to learn how the music industry really works with a couple releases just to test the waters. I realized that If I used labels that are more established and have a larger following I would be able reach a lot more people. I put EX on the ice for a while to focus on my upcoming releases on Kompakt, other select releases on some labels I believe in, and some remixes of artist that I like as well.
You’re currently living in Amsterdam after growing up in Dresden, Germany. You have discussed prior that the first year of this move was a difficult one for you. What inspired this move in the first place? What about Holland was calling you from Germany?
East Germany, at the time, felt to me a bit like a hopeless place. After the wall came down in ’89, things really changed in a lot of ways. There was a lot of frustration and a hardcore right-wing movement going on. Being a son of a white mother and African-American father, it wasn’t the safest place to be. I wanted to get rid of that feeling of discomfort and unsafe atmosphere of just walking down the street. Dresden and East Germany, really didn’t feel like a town that was going anywhere. There was no opportunity. It felt like a dead end. I wanted to go somewhere that was growing, booming, bustling, and that was international. Amsterdam was the perfect mix of these things. It’s one of those places that feels extremely connected to the world geographically. Almost every culture and nationality is represented in Amsterdam. It felt like a happy place. People were smiling, enjoying life, greeting you, and there was a feeling of community. There was an air of optimism that really attracted me. It was the obvious choice.
You are well known for a live rendition of Steve Reich’s “Drumming." I grew up listening to a lot of minimalistic classical music. I would love to hear about what inspired your live rendition of that track?
At the time, Trouw Club was looking to expand it’s horizons and work with other cultural institutions in Amsterdam. One of them was Stedelijk, which is a modern art museum of Amsterdam. There was another institution that Trouw worked with called The Concertgebouw, which is the equivalent of Carnegie Hall in NYC or Royal Webster Hall in London. Concertgebouw approached Trouw in 2013 to do something together for the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE).
The team at Trouw thought this would be something good for me, since I had already been DJing at this concept called “Yellow Lounge” , which is an event where the worlds of classical and electronic music would come together for an evening. They would have the classical musicians do a performance for half an hour or so, then I would do half an hour, and then keep repeating this process. Once this collaboration between Trouw and Concertgebouw was presented to me, I was asked to do something bigger. I thought, “what could I do?” Steve Reich was the perfect crossroad between classical music and electronic music.
I searched for a musician that could actually play Steve Reich live. I found Dominique Vleeshouwers, who is a world class marimba player. Then we just started working on the show. He would play rudimentary Steve Reich patterns from “Drumming”, and I would loop them, sample them, re-loop them, improvise on top of them into infinity. Then we would keep playing new loops and repeat this process. It was a free and open format translation of an original Steve Reich piece.
How were you introduced to Steve Reich’s music and what was going on in your life when you got that first connection with his music.
My uncle gave me a Steve Reich CD many years before the ADE experience with Trouw and Concertgebouw. I immediately liked the repetitive, stripped down nature of Reich's compositions. Many years later, when I was asked to do the “Yellow Lounge” concept, and DJ at a classical music event, I was forced to acquaint myself with classical music better, and I rediscovered Steve Reich. I thought to myself, “If I were to DJ classical music, what would I play? What would my voice be?” Steve Reich and minimalist music was the obvious answer because it shares the same DNA with techno music. I properly listened through Reich's whole repertoire. It was extremely rich and close to my own musical understanding. It was the starting point to building a bridge between electronic music and classical music.
What are your plans for the rest of 2016 in the studio and on the road?
For the studio, the big next step is to make an album for Kompakt Records. It’s still in the early stages. I’m defining a sound for the album currently. Once I have it locked down, I can roll out different variations. Through this method the album will have a consistent feel to it. Other than that, there will be plenty of touring ahead.
We both walk back down into the basement, the club is fairly still empty. Everyone must have still been sleeping. Patrice and I continue to discuss music, Amsterdam, Miami Music Week, and life in general as we get acclimated with Bobi’s musical selection. The venue was very dark light all night. No gimmicks for this event. Just the Artist, the crowd, the dance floor, and the extra immense speaker setup the Project B. team brought into the venue.
The DJ booth was different this time. It was an makeshift work horse table, with a piece of plywood and two blue construction style stands. The artwork on the walls were covered with black sheets to ensure that the room had no distractions from the music. Patrice tells me that he would like to go sift through some music to ensure great vibes for us the rest of the evening.
M.E.N.U played briefly, at least I think. Maybe they were playing back to back. It was honestly hard to see with how dark the space was. Either way, the music being played portrayed a more driving and dark tech house selection. Not too long after, the dance floor was quite full, and Patrice made his way to the stage.
He came in seamlessly carrying on what was said musically between Bobi and Marco. Patrice Baumel played to the dark space and the crowd was loving it. There wasn't much socializing going on at this point in the room, the music was too pristine and perfect to even think about trying to talk. He took the music a little darker, melodic, and heavy. I was lost in the space, the music he pieced together truly took me away. And no, this wasn't the booze, or anything else talking. I was completely there, but not at the same time. Bliss.
I walked up to the booth, made myself comfortable in a corner off to the side, and watched his technique a bit. Patrice was extremely focused on his track selection. He then played a track that I hold very dear to my heart. "The Fog (Cid Inc Remix)" by Quivver, is a melodic driving tech house masterpiece that will give you a brief glimpse of what this evening sounded like.
The crowd was all still there till the very end. Nobody wanted to leave. Patrice plays his final statements, and everyone begins to clear out of the venue. I walk in a foggy haze out of the venue, smiling from ear to ear, with my sister, co-journalist James McDaniel, and we were off unto our next adventure.
Project B.’s vision is always coming more and more to light. Bobi and his team are running with full force to offer something unique, forward thinking, and constantly evolving. I am looking forward watching his vision, passion, and work continually shine in the city of Atlanta and beyond.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
By Frank Duke
Photos by Teddy Williams
Anticipation, hunger, timelessness, power, and restraint. Carlo Lio is known to shred dance floors and bring heat to any city. I have been waiting for this unforgettable moment ever since his last appearance in Atlanta.
I walk down the wooden staircase of The Music Room. Christian Chotro is bringing a warm driving groove that pumps through the speakers. In Atlanta, there is no question that the community of underground electronic music has any unfamiliar faces. We are family. As the crowd socializes, Christian opens up the atmosphere. Showcasing the vastness that is capable for the evening with lush melodics accompanied by ethnic percussions.
The music evolves into a dense texture. Laughter fills that air. The crowd begins to adhere into one another. Bobi ready’s himself to warm up the room for Carlo. I sense an endearment of passion, culture, and an understanding of the crowd from Bobi. He keeps the groove flowing through the speakers. He begins to warp the tonality and the atmosphere of the music. The bass-lines become more aggressive, the melodies are not so tangible, and the breaks have a strong structure of movement.
The night progresses, the crowd prepares themselves for the man of the hour. Feet are tapping, heads are bobbing, bodies are moving, the music has engulfed the dance floor. Carlo arrives and the crowd awakens with even more excitement. This man carries himself with a humble and sincere demeanor. They start cheering and clapping for him as he sets up. Carlo Lio is no stranger to techno fans from all over the world. He has played some of the most prolific venues, and frequents festivals to the likes of OFFSonar, Lovefest, BPM, Get Wet, and ADE.
I spoke with Carlo Lio briefly before his set. When he arrived to the venue, I greeted him outside with some friends of mine. We walked to an undisclosed location and start talking a bit about his career, music, travels, and personal life.
How has everything been with the New Year, recent travels, new releases, and with you?
The New Year's been great, I've had a bit of time off. I always take some time off after BPM because it’s just ten days of madness. For the New Year, I just had the release on Suara which is Coyu’s label. I also have an EP release on This and That, which is Davide Squillace's label. Then later, around March, I’ll have an EP on Art Department’s label, No.19. And yeah, that’s it for now.
How is it living in Toronto during the winter and in Barcelona during the summer? What’s the best part about it, and the not so good stuff about it?
I mean, I kind of get best of both worlds. I love my city. I’m going to live and die there. People always ask why it’s not the opposite. Obviously, in Europe the parties are always in the summer, so I need to be there. But I travel so much that I kind of boycott the winter. During the winters in Toronto is when I do South America, so that way I get to escape it.
How do you balance making music throughout your touring?
When I first started touring, I used to never make music on the road, I had to be in the studio. Lately as its been getting more busy, I had no choice but to figure out how to feel comfortable on a laptop and headphones, and now the tables are turned. It’s kind of hard for me to get comfortable in the studio now that I’m used to the laptop. It’s good, because you get some inspiration, and then you’re instantly banging out some beats. I like it.
You’re known to have a soft spot for kitties. Tell us a bit about your cats and the part they play in your life.
My first pet was a cat. My parents wouldn’t ever let us have pets. When we first got a cat, it was something very special. I found a huge love for them. Now with all the traveling I do; having cats is very convenient. I have two cats. One is named Treble and the other one is Clefy. Treble is the oldest one, and he's kind of psycho, a bit of a Jykell and Hyde personality. The other one, Celfy, is just the nicest cat in the world.
You started Rawthentic Music back in 2005, last year was your ten year anniversary! How was the journey of building up the imprint, what does the future hold for it?
Rawthentic has been a staple in my life. It actually wasn’t started by me. It was started by Nathan Barato. We’re best friends and we were a DJ duo at one point. He started it in 2005 and I jumped on board in 2006. Rawthentic is now kind of on the back burner. It’s been ten years and I feel like it's kind of ran its course. I have started a new label called On Edge Society. It's only four releases in, and it’s catered to more stripped down, chunky techno. It was vinyl only and then we moved into digital four or five months later after launching. Check it out when you get a chance.
Can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to make music, and what steps you took to get to where you are now?
It all stemmed from the Toronto rave scene. I was just a partier. Toronto raves were so big and in a blink of an eye they just shut down. DJing and production were just my way to fill that void. I started messing around with them both at the same time. Playing around with vinyl and messing around with any music software I could find. I kept doing that and I wasn’t really releasing anything. I was just making tracks. My friends were telling me “Oh this is good! You should do something with this." If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have thought to send it out. I was super nervous, and in my head it wasn't good enough. It definitely worked out.
So you like sneakers a lot. What are some of your favorite brands? How many pairs do you have?
I stick to Jordan’s. I’m a Jordan guy. I would probably say I have about 100 pairs of shoes. In terms of other brands, I like what Adidas has recently been putting out. They are on point and have turned a new leaf. But I stick to the Jordans mostly.
What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions for yourself and career? What can we expect from you in 2016?
This year I have all those releases that I told you that I have coming up. I want to show another side. In this industry. You’re put into a box very fast, there is more to me than just techno. I love all styles of electronic music. I’m planning to show that with certain labels that I’m releasing on, venture into new styles, and keep attacking new labels that I haven’t been on.
Carlo begins his journey and I make myself comfortable on the dance floor. I am ready to be swept away. I quickly become lost in the finest driving techno known to man. The room sounds pristine and powerful, a perfect match for Carlo’s style. He begins to elaborate on the dark, tech house vibe filling the air. He showcases Latin percussion elements, pounding basslines and saturated techno elements.
His set pays tribute to the theories of first wave techno with a new age flair. Sequenced melodies with atonal qualities that are contrasted with a vibrant low-end. The crowd is filled with joy as his unique and fresh style takes over. I watch his technique from a far as he utilizes Traktor and corresponding controllers. He has such an original use of effects, mixing, and track manipulation. You rarely see his hands stop moving. He is always working to bring in new track elements, while simultaneously using effects in a subtle but prominent fashion.
As the night begins to close, the crowd stays strong, soaking up as much music as they can. Carlo closes out his final statement and thanks the crowd for such a great time. We all cheer and shout for giving us an indescribable and timeless evening. After his set I thanked him for everything. He replied, “Frank, this city is really starting to catch on.” I couldn’t agree more with him more. Atlanta is my home, and watching it become on the international map for underground electronic music makes me damn proud.
What can I possibly say about the magic that happened at Sound Table Saturday night? Bobi Stevkovski warmed up the crowd with his energetic vibes. Winding my way to the front of the dance floor, I staked my claim for the coming night full of promise and excitement. As we get into the groove and start to feel the music, Bobi’s set took several intoxicating turns throughout the night. From smooth jazzy tracks with a deep, thumping bass, evolving into a desert tempo with a bit of a jungle undertone that put us in a land far away. The sounds emanating from the speakers rooted me to my spot, nobody dared move away from the floor as we danced there, completely and utterly lost in the music.
Though there was a slight delay in bringing up our headliner due to some technical difficulties, the fine people of Atlanta lent their support as Bobi continued seducing the crowd. You could actually feel the excitement from the people around me as we patiently awaited Matthew Dekay’s debut.
Matthew Dekay’s infectious smile and joyous energy instantly set the mood for what was to be one of the most beautiful sets I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. Based in Berlin, Dekay’s sound was tinted with a German grunginess that mixed in perfectly with the ethereal sound that is characteristic of the All Day I Dream label.
I can speak for all the patrons of Sound Table when I say that we were taken on a beautiful journey words cannot possibly describe. As I turn to friends and strangers alike, I can see the emotions playing across their faces. There were many times when all you could do was close your eyes and let his music take you with it on the adventure he was weaving for us. For lack of better words, Dekay’s music hit us right in the feels.
Talking briefly to Dekay after his set, he expressed to have been able to play longer for us, but was genuinely happy to be in Atlanta and experience the rapidly growing underground scene. This was a man with happy energy and a sweet personality that only added to the already obvious talent and music prowess. We will await your return Mr. Dekay and cherish the magic created that night.
Photos by Kayode Lowo.
By Autumn Coleman
I was excited before I even walked into the party. As a two-time burner who knows the Desert Hearts crew from the Burning Man community, I knew I was walking into nothing but positive vibes and hugs. I spotted my friend, Shayna, wearing her sparkly sequin kimono and looking every bit like the Desert Heart friend that she is. Appropriate attire for a night dancing with Deep Jesus!
The dance floor was already warmed up with the Project B team, Christian Chotro and Bobi, curating the tone for the night. Ryan Orey, aka Deep Jesus, gets behind the decks at 6pm. The room is dark and intimate; full but not too crowded. Everyone is taking in the moment and moving to sexy deep house tunes. I can sense that Deep Jesus felt the love from the Atlanta underground scene and said as much to the crowd. In the middle of his B2B set with Bobi he says, “You guys in Atlanta have really surprised me with your warm welcome and love. You are the best city that I’ve visited on this tour!” It’s clear there was a bond created with Project B and the Atlanta underground music scene. The Atlanta scene has heart and passion for the music. Deep Jesus experienced who we are and embraced our vibe and culture.
We danced non-stop for several hours. No one wanted the intimate Sunday party to stop. 9 p.m. came and went and finally Studio No. 7 shut the music down around 10 p.m. It was a magical night of hugs and family. I met new people on the dance floor, too. Our scene is growing as more and more people are embracing the music scene and starting to understand the love that comes from it.
We left the night buzzed on good vibes and love. I knew that we’d made a new friend in Ryan Orey. When Ryan left Atlanta to travel home to kick-off the New Year at the Maya Hearts festival in Tulum, Mexico, he posted this in his departure from Atlanta post:
“Wow... my heart is so full... as an artist it's very intimidating going into a new market. It's a hope for the best plan for the worse kind of situation... Coming to Atlanta I had absolutely no idea what to expect... but the second I was picked up I was more welcomed and loved then anywhere else I've ever been. I was instantly comfortable, instantly knew that I was with good people who share very similar desires. Once I showed up for my first gig I knew I was in for an amazing experience... everyone I met and connected with was so loving, kind, generous, and true die hards to the underground vibe... I can whole heartedly say that I now have a family here... thank you Bobi Steve for bringing me out and exposing me to your movement and community... absolutely top notch... can not wait to be back! CHEERS ATLANTA!”
Atlanta underground friends, let me say how proud I am of the community that we have built. We’re doing it right. I wish everyone a happy new year filled with magical dance floor moments!
By Kristin Gray
I arrive to Sound Table around midnight, and already the venue is packed. I squeeze through the dancing crowd ready to experience the already energetic groove being gifted to us by Bobi Stevkovski of Project B. It’s so crowded that finding a spot to dance proves far more difficult than I originally thought. I opt to head outside on the spacious outdoor patio. The freakishly warm weather makes this the prime spot to get some fresh air and share good conversation with friends.
Though the wait at the bar was almost painfully long despite the full bar staff, this didn’t stop anyone from feeling the good vibes. At this point the music has transformed into a beautiful flow as Deep Jesus steps up to the booth. Bobi’s undeniable energy and smooth sound already has the crowd bouncing. Deep Jesus of Desert Hearts takes over and the crowd begins to move with his beats. You can see people turning to each other and smiling, we can all feel the passion being poured into this set.
3 a.m. comes and goes, Soundtable is still as crowded as I have ever seen it. From my recently acquired vantage point in the DJ booth I get a fresh new perspective of how wonderfully excited this crowd is. No one is ready to leave, we are all still in love with the music and this night.
We begin our next adventure to the after party at Alley Cat, a fairly new venue with a lot of potential. As we are walking there, I am talking with Ryan (aka Deep Jesus) about his experience here. He expresses how comfortable he feels here from the kindness and welcome he has received from the city of the South. We talk about this underground scene and the people that make it possible. Down here, anyone who shows up is here for the pure love of the music. We love our DJ’s and the magic they bring to this city.
This time, Bobi and Deep Jesus continue the night in this intimate party of maybe thirty techno lovers unwilling to give into the coming morning. Finally, we all have enough room to really move our feet and get lost in the sound. The two artists work splendidly together as the sound reverberates through the floor. You can feel the passion and joy these men put into their music, can hear the soul that goes into producing such intoxicating sounds.
As the night, er, morning finally came to a close, I look around at us survivors and see a bouncing energy that feels like it could last forever. We share stories of the night, as well as the future. Great things and incredible talent is coming to Atlanta in 2016, and the folks that call this city home are waiting with bated breath and open arms.
Photo credit: twitter.com/deepjesus