I am proud to announce a few big things coming up!
First off, as I posted previously we are launching 8, yes 8 NEW stations on 412 Live this month! Read about them HERE.
Second, I am starting a new residency on Saturdays bringing the Firehouse/Ibiza vibe back to the Strip District with a night partnering with 412 Live called “DEEP BOUTIQUE“.
Located in Pittsburgh’s hottest area, Deep Boutique downstairs at Ivy with resident DJ Strobe is the newest addition to Pittsburgh’s nightlife. We have created a music format specializing in house music from around the globe. Differentiating itself from current EDM trends, Deep Boutique is a place for nightlife in a more upscale intimate setting with the focus on music and dancing and not separating people into VIP. Everyone at Deep Boutique is treated equally with security that is respectful and non intrusive and great service and some of the best music on the planet.
Join us Sept 20 for the launch of what will become THE BEST Saturday Night Pittsburgh has to offer! Hope you come enjoy this night with us!
This is also the official launch party for the new 412 Live stations! So even more reasons to celebrate!
Check out the event HERE!
Servers have been upgraded and with all that extra space, we felt some new stations would be a great idea! So in September we will be rolling out 8, yes EIGHT new stations for you dancing and listening pleasure! Here’s a breakdown of what we will be rolling out:
1. Euphoria: Uplifting progressive house and trance.
2. Future Retro: Remixes and remakes of classic and retro hits!
3. The Red Room: New and classic soulful vibes. Kerri Chandler, Dennis Ferrer, Black Coffee, Hercules & love Affair, Joey Negro, Detroit Swindle, Reel People, Kevin Yost, Gene Ferris, Atjazz, Copyright, Soul Clap, etc…
4. Maverick Radio: Good ol’ house curated by the funkiest of the bunch Corduroy Mavericks!. Todd Terry, Corduroy Maverics, Ron Carroll, Kings OF Tomorrow, Chocolate Puma, Sonny Fodera, DJ Sneak, My Digital Enemy, etc…
5. Tech house Radio. Claude vonStroke, UMEK, Jay Lumen, Stefano Noferini, DJ PP, Nice7, Groovebox, &Me, David Jones, etc..
6. Synthetic:Yes, were going to be pushing a straight up 80′s New Wave dance station. From Depeche Mode to Yaz, to Heaven 17, Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, Berlin, Eurythmics, New Order, Magazine 60, etc…
7. Discotheque: Perfect for the coffee house, lounge or living room. Chromeo, Calvin Harris (older), Holy Ghost, Daft Punk, DJ T, Kraak & Smaak, Solidisco, Sharam Jey, Hot Since 82, etc…
8. Lotus Lounge: Downtempo chillout & lounge for the yoga class or just hanging out!
You can check out the current lineup at http://412live.com
What started out as a period piece for what’s happening now, has turned into a much larger article about electronic music dating back to when I began producing and DJing, in 1987. This is not a history of genres or a debate about technology or underground vs mainstream, nor a discussion on what era of music is the best. I started at a time when vinyl reigned supreme, and I embrace the new era of technology fully. What this IS however, is a look back to where the path to EDM in terms of the scene, music and production started for me and where it is today, and the contrasts between then and now 27 years later.
I started producing with the desire to be in a Depeche Mode synth pop type band and went through several different groups most notably Reverse. Electronic music and computers have always been an interest of mine. The DJ part came about by accident. I bought my first pair of 1200mkII’s in 1987 and still have them to this day. So that’s where my story begins.
Around 1988 after spending years in Chicago during the summer I was heavily into house music even though I had no idea what that even was. It was just music I was hearing at the clubs and buying at Gramophone. I went back to Pittsburgh and did my best to try and figure it all out on my rudimentary studio at the time. Around that time the rave scene was blowing up and I started spinning and throwing events and was also hearing all the rave tracks coming out like Moby, 808 State, Quadrophonia, Prodigy, 2 Unlimited, and artists like Underground Resistance from Detroit and I was intrigued by the energy and started trying to produce my own on nothing more then an Atari computer running Cubase version 1with an Emu Emax and SP1200, a Roland Juno 106 and a Casio CZ-101. I signed my first record as Euphoria to Quark Records in NYC in 1989. In 1990, I started touring the country performing as Strobe and Euphoria. Being an artist in the rave scene wasn’t about superstardom or fanfare. You couldn’t hope to get gigs based on “likes” or “plays” because the only social media at that time was passing out flyers by hand and write-ups in magazines. You earned spots and respect based on the merit of your releases, skills, and perseverance. You lugged records and gear around for yourself and other DJs. You weren’t entitled to anything. You paid dues.
The landscape of electronic music in the late 80s and early 90s was very different. For starters, if you were a DJ you were spinning vinyl because that was all there was. No CDs, no laptops, no controllers, no sync, and the Internet and MP3s weren’t even a thing yet. You dug for hours and bought records, expensive records, and you carried those records in crates to the point your back hurt for days. Airlines would lose them, they would warp and get scratched but each one was a little piece of a puzzle that when put together formed the overall picture of your sets. Even the initial investment and requirements to be a DJ in 1990 versus today is significantly different. In 1990, you had to buy a pair of Technics 1200′s for about $500 a piece and a mixer and headphones. You had to buy some records, enough for a full gig or two at around $5-$20 a piece then learn how to mix them. In 2014 all you need is a laptop and Internet connection to download a torrent of whichever DJ software you choose and a blog to download the music for free (I am not advocating this). You don’t even need headphones since the software can mix and sync the tracks for you. Then you just need a friend that’s a promoter or hype up your social media and grab yourself a gig. I know people who don’t even own DJ equipment, just a thumb drive full of music and headphones. While those are extreme examples and you can go any route from controllers to CDJs and timecode vinyl, and many legitimately pay for their music all of which add to the cost, the difference is you now have a choice. There is no longer a base commitment required to begin your journey towards superstar DJ status. Finding a way to stay relevant and have longevity in a culture swimming in entitlement and immediate gratification is a task I have seen many OG DJs struggle with both locally and around the globe.
Back then there was no Beatport, Traxsource or iTunes, you had brick and mortar stores that sold physical product. MP3s didn’t debut publicly nor become popular until the mid to late 90′s with Winamp which debuted in 1997 and Napster in 1999. The first mp3 DJ setups such as Final Scratch didn’t arrive until 2001 and weren’t a perfect or stable solution for some time after and still required turntables and timecode vinyl. There were no blogs to post your latest production, bootleg or mix to. If you wanted to put something out yourself you had to have an acetate or dubplate cut. There was no such thing as Soundcloud in 1991 (and from the looks of it there may not be a Soundcloud in 2021) so if you wanted someone to hear your mix you made a mixtape on cassette and chucked it in the mail. Speaking of production, regardless of the style of music you made which was likely either house, techno or breaks (notice no sub genres) you did it with hardware. Every sound, sample, drums, FX and step of the mix process required dedicated gear to achieve whatever you were going for. The concept of downloading Ableton via bit torrent was decade away (the first versions of both didn’t come out until 2001).
Gear wasn’t cheap and thus was something you were pretty dedicated to doing, and that is why labels were more likely to pay good money for tracks because they were taking the risk and well as paying a sizable chunk of money for buying the track, producing the product, marketing, promotion and design. There was a process from the start of the tracks production to the moment it goes on sale that took many people from the artist to the studio, labels to manufacturing plants to distribution centers (anyone remember Watts?). That is why it was pretty standard to spend a few days in the studio, and then do the rounds shopping the tracks to any number of independent dance labels where one could easily get a few grand minimum for the tracks. Today that whole process can all be done by one person in their pajamas anywhere in the world with an Internet connection making the value of content decrease sharply. Since tracks can be made start to finish with nothing more then a laptop and a DAW and are now sold digitally for a dollar or two (if not downloaded illegally for free), multiplied by the sheer amount of music released, the return on investment per track is minimal barring a major hit. Labels are then less likely to spend money on content so advances are small (if any) leading to more people releasing their own music through digital stores. If you look at the majority of bedroom producers with labels, one can see it is true.
Take a second and catch your breath…
I moved to NYC in 1993 and left the rave scene for good. To me the 90′s we’re some of the best times for electronic music in terms of it maturing as a whole and the way it exploded into so many different things, including the creation of many of the sub-genres that led to the sub sub-genres we have to today. Even though in the 90′s being a DJ or producer didn’t come with the fame or fanfare it does today, it did give rise to some of the DJ legends many of which are still playing out today. Many of the legends of house music were forging their sound. Independent dance labels around the globe were becoming the hubs for whatever particular style they were representing, and DJs clamored to have their tracks released by their favorite labels. While there are many successful and prominent independent dance labels around the world, as stated above the process is very different with the exception of the labels that still release music on physical media.
With any advance in technology comes a period of trial by fire and the music that embraces that technology is usually reflected in that. When technology is basic and/or harder to get your hands on you tend to do more with what you have. Early house music in the 80′s was a combination of Roland drum machines and synthesizers and rudimentary samplers. The music that came out of them was raw but it was beautiful. From Chicago to New York the majority of the music was chopped up samples, robotic rhythms and pulsating basslines. It was the spark that fueled the flame that would burn until this day. Early pioneers like Adonis, Frankie Knuckles, Farley Jackmaster Funk, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley and Todd Terry were the ones that got me excited about house music, where technology was used to tell a story, not be the reason for it. Fast forward 24 years and technology allows anyone to sound like anyone. In 2014 it is hard to tell one producer from another in EDM. Popular software synthesizers like Sylenth, Nexus and Massive have characterized genres and artists for years. Signature sounds are used, recycled, and used again by anyone looking to adopt a particular style. From the FM Pluck Bass to the Massive Wobbles, Sylenth and Nexus leads to the 303 acid lines any sound you hear, or any genre you want to produce is just a YouTube tutorial away. The days of figuring things out for yourself with a new piece of gear are lost on much of the newer generation of producers who have no attachment to hardware.
To be continued…
Seafarer Entertainment Presents:
LIGHTWAVE LASER SHOW!!!!
CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE FACEBOOK EVENT
Wednesday, August 13th
at The Rex Theater
$22 // $25
Doors at 9
Music at 10
Tickets @ www.seafarerentertainment.com
THIS WILL SELL OUT!!!!!!
I am no longer the resident DJ at Static Nightclub. I am entertaining several other offers now and will keep everyone updated.
For the past 3 years, it has been a pleasure DJing with and for the people here who share the love of the music, Will Sparks, Disco Fries, David Puentez, Green Velvet, my idol Todd Terry, etc. but most importantly all of you.
Thanks for your continued support. Stay connected with my social media below…
I have entered my Chromeo “Jealous” remix in the XBOX Remix Contest! So if you would PLEASE do me the honor of VOTING for it by clicking the VOTE NOW button below, it will only take a moment!
Listen and download the mix below:
Artists are always evolving and devolving. It’s the natural cycle of life for an artist. In the beginning it’s easy to be creative and experiment when you are at the cusp of a new style or genre and the expectations are lower. Over time if success is achieved the pressure to keep cranking out successful releases (notice I didn’t say hits or mainstream) rises exponentially. That creates a situation where an artist can get caught up in their own self created bubble where once they have a track hit, the expectation is to continue releasing content to appeal to the majority. This scenario will ultimately leave people who were fans from the beginning clamoring for the days when they were the openers playing small clubs and side stages at festivals.
I have been playing an “EDM” format for the better part of the last 10 years or so and have seen the evolution of the scene and sound as it grew from a club sound to a festival sound as well as the rise of the “superstar DJ”. You would be hard pressed to find anyone under 20 that doesn’t have a friend who isn’t a “DJ” these days. Besides my house sets, the sets I would play for the more European crowd was a combination of early electro, progressive house, retro remixes and early proto-EDM tunes. In the 2006-ish on era, I was playing all the early deadmau5, Guetta, Fedde Le Grand, Bob Sinclar, Axwell, Afrojack, Chuckie, Kaskade, Calvin Harris and so on The house scene wasn’t having any of it, and the rave scene wasn’t having any of it, and the mixed format DJs weren’t touching most of it. Fast forward to 2014 where you can hear any of these artists newer tracks on the radio, on jukeboxes in bars and in pretty much any DJs sets from small clubs to major festivals and raves.
There are plenty of people who count themselves among the scene “elite” who go up to DJs asking for tracks that they heard fifteen minutes ago on Hardwell’s radio show without so much as an ID yet and pride themselves for stumping the DJ. To me, good music doesn’t have an expiration date. Brand new doesn’t make it better, and more often then not, the newer tracks lose relevance much faster then older tracks. Sure, tracks get dated and played out and maybe get moved to the “oldie but goody” playlist, but lately I have been hearing more people complaining and wishing that the artists they hear at festivals would sound more like, well, themselves.
It has become nearly impossible to tell the difference between artists like W&W, Showtek, DVBBS, Dmitri Vegas & Like Mike and Martin Garrix. Between DVBBS and teen EDM sensation Martin Garrix, they single handedly turned turned 1 out of every 1 release into a flurry of ping pong ball leads and Tsunami style keys for the better part of 6 months. Spinnin’ Records pretty much has a lock on anything with THAT sound, and THAT drop, by THOSE artists. You know, pretty much the “Beatport Top 100″ sound everyone loves to poke jabs at. The problem is they all end up playing THOSE records that they made, at the same festivals and it ends up sounding like the same DJ over and over and over, and over. And then because of the popularity of said tracks, other DJ’s who could be playing a plethora of other records, get aught up in the hype and end up playing THOSE records as well. Plenty of MEME’s have popped up with major headliners crouched down with he words “ARE YOU PLAYING ANIMALS OR AM I?” or whatever was hot that week on it. Most likely, they both played “Animals”.
So what’s next? Plenty of people from deadmau5 on down have predicted the future of EDM and the eventual bubble bursting. Nothing that burns this hot this fast can sustain itself at the level it is currently. I don’t think the whole EDM culture is on life support yet. I have seen a massive transition from festival bangers to more deeper house, or as I like to call it EDeepM. If you look at the top 10 of a lot of these big DJs you will see deep house cropping up in them. Especially from people like Oliver Heldens and Tchami. The airwaves and satellite around the globe are currently populated with massive amounts of house vibes from Disclosure, Duke Dumont, Route 94, Kiesza, EDX and more. Is that the future? It’s one possibility even though that sound has been around for decades. Sounds mutate, evolve, go underground, hibernate but they rarely completely disappear.
Enjoy what you love, not all music is meant to be a classic. Music is something that should make you feel, and if it does that it really doesn’t matter if it’s hot or not.
You can read my recent post on my new summertime faves HERE.
- The Evolution and Deveolution of EDM Artists « DJ Strobe – Pittsburgh House DJ – Producer – Remixer on Summertime Gladness// My Top Summer Vibes
- Dede on Deep House Remixes and Mashups Of Popular Tracks Part 2
- David on Soundcloud, We Need To Talk….
- Chris Tibb Miller on Soundcloud, We Need To Talk….
- Matt on UNLEASH THE F**KING DADA
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