Volume 2 of my TURN IT UP series featuring the best in Future House tracks from around the globe.
The Flexican – Braxton
Don Diablo – Back To Life (Lucas Luck Remix)
Chocolate Puma, Firebeatz – I Can’t Understand
Robin S – Show Me Love (Calvo Bootleg)
Sam Smith – I’m Not The Only One (Armand Van Helden Remix)
EDX – Make Me Feel Good
Lady Bee ft. Rochelle-Return Of The Mack (Oliver Heldens Remix)
Code3000 – Everybody Get Up
Marshall Jefferson – Move Your Body (Tchami Tribute Bootleg)
Martin Solveig x GTA – Intoxicated
Funkin Matt – Elephant
Oliver $ & Jimi Jules – Pushing On (Tchami Remix)
The Voyagers feat. Haris – A Lot Like Love (Oliver Heldens Edit)
Sander Kleinenberg – Can You Feel It (Feat. Gwen McCrae)
Dragonette, Mike Mago – Outlines
Shift K3Y – I Know (AC Slater Remix)
Shelco Garcia – That’s My Jam (Deep Garage Mix)
Jack U – Take U There (Tchami Remix)
Tchami vs Rob Base – It Takes Two (Strobe Dip & Flip Bootleg)
Steve Aoki & Chris Lake & Tujamo – Delirious (Boneless) (Ferreck Dawn & Redondo Remix)
Borgeous & Shaun Frank feat. Delaney Jane – This Could Be Love
Higher Self – Ghosts
Trey Songz – Touchin’, Lovin’ (Strobe Remix)
Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk (Riggi & Piros Remix)
Ed Sheeran – Don’t (Don Diablo Remix)
Shift K3Y – Not Into It (Freejak Remix)
Shadow Child – Climbin’ (Piano Weapon) (Nicky Night Time Remix)
Croatia Squad – Touch Me
Pep & Rash – Rumors
Volume 1 is HERE
We started 2014 with animals and tsunamis, and ended it hiding away with geckos. House is all over mainstream radio and the Oliver Heldens aka Future House aka most recent records on Spinnin’ have taken over the charts. Actually, I would venture to say that Netherlands based Spinnin’ records accounts for half if not more of the biggest EDM hits in the past year if you look at the Beatport charts (which also made the statement that dubstep was dead).
At a time where everyone from the president to celebrities to girls in Lego sets are DJs the conversation over what’s real in 2015 is a big one. Towards the end of 2014, I played gigs where I used a controller and laptop, a controller and timecode vinyl, and for New Years at Hot Mass straight up classic vinyl. Unless you’re straight up playing a mix set and/or pretending to DJ it’s hard to not be a real DJ. Paris Hilton and celebrity DJ’s aside, being a DJ is about music selection and mixing. All this hating over excessive knob twisting and fist pumping is silly. With the rise in popularity of EDM and festivals, the need to have more presence has led to situations where as much if not more time is spent working the equipment and performing as actual time mixing music. But who doesn’t like free cake? Or a Diplo and Skrillex collaboration? Or a deadmau5 Twitter rant?
As EDM’s popularity rose this year to epic heights, so did the amounts of money being made by the top EDM DJ’s and that has created some hating between the mainstream and underground and plenty of opinion pieces (which I won’t rehash). The most recent came from old school trance artist BT dishing out a “what is wrong with EDM and electronic music in America,” piece which touched on a lot of points people already knew topped off with a bit of soapbox attention seeking now that he has a new project being released that doesn’t fit into any of the popular genres. If you’re one of those people that think EDM isn’t real music then you’re missing the point. Yes it is almost childishly easy to make certain styles of electronic music but the process is not what the fans love about it, it’s that feeling they get when they’re listening to it. And those feelings are real.
Another thing that is very real, is that Future House and “deep house” are aiming to take over in 2015. Why did I use quotes you ask? Because there is a big difference between deep house and “deep house”. Deep house has been around since the beginning of the genre but gained it’s own traction in the 90’s with artists like Kerri Chandler, Masters At Work, Tony Humphries, Frankie Knuckles, Dennis Ferrer and newer artists like Detroit Swindle, Black Coffee and Osunlaude.. Deep house is a much more soulful and underground vibe of house music. Once you add the quotes is where you get into music from artists like Disclosure, Low Steppa, Gorgon City, Duke Dumont, EDX, Tchami and Oliver Heldens. It’s an incarnation of house that is more easily digestible to the masses because it has catchy elements, usually has some soulful vocal part and is on the lower BPM side lumping it into the deep house category when in reality it IS house, but not deep house. You can thank Beatport for most of the common genre tagging mixups. In general “deep house” dominated the airwaves, clubs and festivals around the world. With songs like “Disclosures “Latch,” Kiesza’s “Hideaway,” Clean Bandit “Rather Be,” and Duke Dumont “I Got U,” and Oliver Heldens “Gecko” it was certainly an interesting year for house music however you want to categorize it. Even big name EDM artists like Laidback Luke, Sander Van Doorn and Steve Aoki are having a go at deeper sounds. Even Maya Jane Coles lent out her track “What They Say” to Nicki Minaj. Should we get into Tropical House? Make sure to keep an eye out for Kygo.
Speaking of Frankie Knuckles, 2014 was also the year that we lost the Godfather of House Music. I met Frankie in 1991 at a party for FFRR Records and he was the nicest and most genuine person I had met in the industry. I was fortunate to have been able to see him frequently at Sound Factory in NYC when I was living there. When he passed, people from around the world mourned and condolences came in from house and electronic music legends to newbies, disco divas to current hip hop and R&B artists. I actually compiled many of them into a picture HERE.
Now onto the banner year of Twitter trolling. It was an active year for EDM Twitter feuds and of course the king of all trolling deadmau5 did not disappoint. His feuds with Redfoo of LMFAO were expert level claiming Redfoo was “Pandering to The Stupid Masses Perpetuating Stupidity” and when Krewella’s Jahan Yousaf stated “Deadmau5 Saved Me From Going Into Porn” in a Billboard article the mau5 did not disappoint with the stingers like this one “so @krewella you can take your 1920’s smear ‘sex card’ campaign and shove it up your fuckin ass.” Tchami accused Oliver Heldens of biting his sound. The Chainsmokers versus Mat Zo, Laidback Luke, Carnage, Porter Robinson, Knife Party and countless others over “#selfie” and the idea of selling out. Other Twitter shots and beef came from the sandboxes of Wolfgang Gartner, 3Lau, David Guetta, and will.i.am.
Skrillex stated in a recent speech during a show in Canada “In 2015, let’s carry over this positivity. Let’s spread it and make it bigger and better, and more soulful, and more real than it ever has been before…This music is for everybody – it’s for the outcasts, it’s for the cool people, it’s for the fat kids, it’s for the skinny kids, it’s for the gay kids, the straight kids.” One thing that is prevalent now is while the world dishes out chaos and heaping helpings of this person versus that person and a seeming non stop war on culture misappropriation, the music is there to bring everyone together.
Peep my remix of the new Trey Songz feat Nicki Minaj “Touchin, Lovin”. Out now on Ultimix
I love the Temptations. And I love Jason Walker. I have remixed more then a handful of Jason’s tracks and they just keep getting better. When Jason sent me the vocals to his cover of the Temptations “Ball of Confusion” produced by the legendary Tony Moran I was beyond excited to get started. I like the opportunity to take Jason’s vocals out of the realm they were presented in, so without further ado here is the fruit of that labor!
Make sure to check out Jason Walker on FACEBOOK
Listen to the original 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!!!!!!
- New Stations Coming To 412 Live In September on
- From Just Can’t Get Enough to #selfie: My History In Electronic Music Part 1 on
- From Just Can’t Get Enough to #selfie: My History In Electronic Music Part 1 on
- Summertime Gladness// My Top Summer Vibes on
- Deep House Remixes and Mashups Of Popular Tracks Part 2 on
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