A few weeks back we were lucky enough to catch up with Zedd (aka Anton Zaslavski), who, after winning a pair of Beatport Play remix contests in 2010, has become one of dance music’s breakout stars, going from producing in a bedroom in a small German town to producing Lady Gaga and touring the world.
Roaming along the wood-stained shelves at City Lights Books in San Francisco’s infamous North Beach neighborhood, Guy Gerber, 39, is like a kid in a candy store. From an early age, the Israeli-born DJ/producer has been fascinated with mid-century American culture, particularly the ’50s Beat Generation of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and the rest. He’s standing at ground zero in the mecca of American literary counter-culture and loving every second. Delighted, smiling from ear to ear, he meanders up and down the overstuffed aisles of the extensive fiction section soaking it all in.
Back in September, we hitched a ride down to Chattahoochee Hills, GA, to catch TomorrowWorld in its inaugural US incarnation. Among many other highlights, we were psyched to get the chance to speak with Dim Mak head honcho, DJ, and producer Steve Aoki, who told us all about how his label rose to prominence in the electro-house underground and how Los Angeles’ club scene is constantly evolving. Peep the video interview below.
Even in notoriously “weird is wonderful” dance-music circles, Chicago’s Curtis Jones is quite a character. Over his 20-year career, the Windy City native has charted his own course across the dance-music galaxy while donning his signature day-glo green mohawk and cyberpunk sunglasses. Under his many monikers including Cajmere, Geo Vogt, Green Velvet, Half Pint, Curan Stone, and Gino Vittori, Jones, 46, has churned out quite a quiver of outside-the-box tracks like 1992’s “Percolator,” 2000’s “Answering Machine,” and 2001’s “La La Land.”
Now, steaming along on the momentum of this year’s notable single “Bigger Than Prince,” Jones is set to release a new full-length album entitled Unshakable on which he combines his well-defined clubland pedigree with some of dance music’s underground heroes including Boo Williams, Paul Johnson, DJ Sneak, Gene Farris, Nicky Romero, and Harvard Bass, among others.
There’s a line wrapped around the Hollywood Palladium on a Friday night for the opening the Hounds of Hell tour. Fans dressed in hues ranging from jet black to atrocious neon are ready to take on the night for the nationwide co-headlining event with electro mavens Tommy Trash and Wolfgang Gartner. Inside, dancers fill the ample space as lasers shuffle between the shadows. The energy from all the bodies is contagious and the feeling of connectivity among the crowd is undeniable. Glow-in-the-dark cups, which are a signature of the venue, are picked up off the floor and stacked high, with many people hurrying to finish their drinks just to add to the tier. If you were looking for a feeling of eclectic togetherness, this was the place.
“A Light That Never Comes” is the lead single from Linkin Park’s forthcoming remix album, Recharged, which also features remixes by various heavy hitters, including Rick Rubin, Killsonik, Datsik, Nick Catchdubs, and Money Mark, among others. The track was produced by Steve Aoki, in collaboration with Linkin Park’s own Mike Shinoda, over the course of six months. Despite the fact that both artists are based in Los Angeles, they met on Twitter, and constant touring meant that the workflow took place mainly online. The resulting track has a decidedly bass-heavy electro vibe—less with the live instrumentation and more with the moombahton. We spoke to Shinoda about the process of working with Aoki on the duo’s first-ever collaboration.
To take a lyric from his track “Work It Out,” perhaps the best advice we’ve been given to enjoy RJD2′s varied musical output is “Take it easy/Don’t worry ’bout it/I’ve got this/I’ve got this.” Yes, for the past 15 years, RJ Krohn has most certainly “got this” and the Philadelphia resident continues to “get this” as he evolves as a composer, producer, songwriter, singer, instrumentalist, and label boss. Seemingly well-versed in every type of musical genre (if you’re to take cues from the title of his latest long-player) it’d be harder to describe who RJD2 is than who he isn’t.
Since the release of his last album, Black Sands, in 2010, Bonobo has kept relatively quiet. You might call it the calm before the storm. His highly anticipated full-length, The North Borders, dropped this summer, and was followed up by a festival tour that saw Bonobo (real name Simon Green) hit everywhere from Pittsburgh to Croatia to Montreal. A native to rural England, Green has been an influential player in the world of experimental downtempo since the late ’90s. You can almost feel the consequence of those years in The North Borders: considered, spiritual, organic soundscapes punctuated by vocals from the likes of Erykah Badu, Cornelia Dahlgren, and Szjerdene. We caught up with Bonobo to talk about the making of The North Borders, the meditative nature of creation, and music as an escape.
Since taking the so-called post-dubstep scene by storm a few years ago, British composers, producers, and performers Mount Kimbie (who once counted James Blake as an occasional member) have been a force to reckon with. In the midst of the duo’s sizable world tour, and on the tail of May’s Cold Spring Fault Less Youth LP, we caught up with founding member Kai Campos at Seattle’s Decibel Festival to take stock of their current affairs.
Montreal native Tiga has made a name for himself over the years by always existing somewhere just between the underground and more commercial ends of dance music. Through his own productions and as the head of Canada’s renowned Turbo label, Tiga has helped push the sound of club music in a number of directions while always remaining focused on presenting full-bodied tunes with an emphasis on dancefloor power. Now, following the man’s busy summer schedule and while putting the final touches on a new solo album (co-produced by Matthew Dear under his Audion moniker), Tiga took some time to catch up with us about exactly why he enlisted Dear’s help on his upcoming LP (and the recent “Let’s Go Dancing” single) and what the veteran DJ/producer makes of the current state of dance music.