Richie Hawtin’s pummeling techno will thrive for another summer residency at Space for ENTER, with a stacked lineup just released featuring some new faces, like Nina Kravitz, Claude VonStroke, Loco Dice and Hot Since 82. Of course some of the original friends of Richie will be returning again, including Magda, Maya Jane Coles, Damian Lazarus, Paco Osuna, Grimes and more. On Week 5 there will even be a Visionquest Thirteen Special performance from the collective of Seth Troxler, Lee Curtiss, Shaun Reeves, and Ryan Crosson.
After ENTER’s incredible debut in 2012, there’s no question where the party’s at on Thursdays this year, starting July 4th.
“Improvisation is my biggest artform … A loud life needs also a quiet part, but when the fire’s on, the fire’s on.”
A legend in his own time, a cultural leader and dark prince of the Techno underground, Sven Väth and his Cocoon parties metamorphosized Ibiza’s musical landscape. With an uncompromising passion for his art, the self-proclaimed “vinyl dinosaur” sticks by his setup; with “two decks and a mixer” he has no need for high tech frills and will never tire of going to record stores. For him the magic is in the tangibility of mixing, and with his singular ability to dive deep into epically mammoth sets, he transports the willing listener into strange universes of aural discovery.
Väth’s recent interview with Ben Turner at the International Music Summit in Ibiza is a fascinating peek inside his contemporary life and his early years as a free-spirited youth, starting from his first trip to the White Isle at 16. Once the unchained raver losing his mind on the dancefloor, Väth has spent decades there since, confessing, ”a 20-hour set in Ibiza for me is normal.”
Few performers can boast that kind of joyful stamina. Reaching his “granddaddy” of Techno status, he’s nearly 50 and more vital than ever. With Cocoon he became an institution of the afterhours underground, and bore witness to the moment when ”techno arrived in Ibiza.”
In the interview he touches on the island’s newer trend toward VIP club culture, waxing nostalgic for the purer days:
“Ibiza was never about VIPs… I love this hippie feeling here, this free spirit, no barriers between rich, middle class, no class… Cocoon somehow, we invented the afterhour culture… we don’t want to be Miami… the big business was never really our motivation here… it’s too much of everything… for me, the party is the dancefloor, and I make music, my music, is for the danceloor.”
On the topic of excess, he also speaks about America’s current EDM boom. He explains it by reflecting back on the irony of the Detroit and Chicago house heyday, which was bigger outside the US than within it: “That was always my big question, because I think, the main thing….in America they want to sell things… they need stars, they need hook lines, they need big themes…”
Despite the extreme changes in industry trends and advancements in equipment technology, he holds to his own special standard of excellence that will never be matched. With another Balearic summer is upon us, there will certainly be too much to see every night, and too many parties to choose from. But amidst everything, VIP or otherwise, there’s only one Cocoon, and only one Sven Väth.
In his remix of “Feel Real” Shadow Child strikes the perfect balance of depth and levity, as resounding bass and percussions intermingle with the stripped down but still prominent vocals of the emotive original. Sydney trio Movement brings a mature, seductive sound in their debut single, due out June 21 in Australia on Modular Recordings’ Club Mod project.
Hailing from the Canary Islands, Alfred Díaz has been in the production game since 2010 when he released his first EP Juramento, in collaboration with Frankawara on Berlin imprint Aufnahmen. With this upcoming release on the Ecuadorian Deepness Recordings, Diaz expresses the heart and soul of deep house with a touch of tech.
Opening with the sultry “Inside Of My Beat,” he reveals the darker, acid Berlin influence before lightening the mood with “Everything.” The third and final track, “Over There” is another example of his masterful vocal infusions, which add an extra dose of passionate richness to the EP as a whole.
Most of us have witnessed a favorite DJ struggle on an “off” night. Having the responsibility of creating the party for everyone else is no simple feat, and although the DJ lifestyle is extremely enviable, the pressure they’re up against must be impossibly stressful, too. Erick Morillo, long time house legend, is obviously not dealing well with that pressure, after a recent debacle in Boston ended abruptly with him being carried off the stage, completely wasted.
That ability to be “tuned on” as a performer isn’t always easily accessible — despite what people demand, it’s not an “on/off” switch, you can’t always expect the “press play” magic, because DJs are humans too. But the crowd’s demands are infinite, and as soon as you screw up, everybody’s ready to pounce.
Erick Morillo’s recent gaffe at Ocean Club in Boston is a reminder not only of the extreme elements in which many DJs exist, but also how cruel “fan” mentality can be. We saw recently how performers are held accountable for their level of inebriation with Skream’s SXSW Boiler Room incident, where he was admittedly “clearly smashed” and not up to par.
Erick Morillo’s situation is of course a bit more dire, especially since it’s a recurring issue that’s not only degrading his skills, but completely preventing him from fulfilling on gigs. The last time I personally saw him was at EDC Vegas in 2012, when he mysteriously disappeared from the decks after about 20 minutes of his set. At the time I never thought it could have been because he was too wasted to keep playing, but now I wonder…
The irony is obvious. People go to clubs and festivals to dance and, 9 times out of 10, engage in moderate to excessive drug use. DJs, however, are exposed to the party monster non-stop but must manage to be “above it all,” or at least that’s what we want from them. It feels like a bit of a double standard, but of course that’s why they’re getting paid/worshipped.
Just as the fan/performer dynamic can be a beautiful exchange of energy, it can also be an extremely greedy, selfish one. That’s what came to mind when perusing recent posts from fans on Morillo’s Facebook. I’m not saying this to excuse his irresponsible behavior, but reading through people’s comments made me think about how commodified artists can become, especially when they reach mega star status. The comments vacillate between harsh judgments like, “You’re a disappointment. Stop booking shows if you can’t fucking play them,” followed by praise like, “YOU ARE A ROCK STAR!!!!!!!!!” and well-wishing: “God be with you …. We’re praying for you ! Because your STRONGER than this.”
It’s unfortunate that someone like Erick Morillo can spend so much of his life cultivating his art and making people happy, only for many of them to quickly forget all of that as soon as he screws up. Hopefully he’ll win this battle, and in the meantime, let’s have some empathy. After all, we’re not robots.
The lyrics in “Criminal Love” might be a tad heavy-handed, but Yasmine Azaiez’s voice and that badass bassline hit the sweet spot. Released from Culprit LA, the Hollywood Hills imprint boasting names like Seth Troxler, Lee Foss and Jamie Jones, this track comes from Mexicali duo Climbers (Jay Blakk and Kiko Deal). The two came together as high school friends only recently to start making music, but in the past year they’ve put tracks out with OFF Recordings and Get Physical, including this epic little love song you’ve probably heard before, “Equal Responsibility.”
Recorded over 10 days at Red Bull Studios in London and curated by Rinse FM’s UDG tastemaker, Monki, the Monki & Friends EP features this slammin collaborative track from Melé & Salva, “Hollywood Noir.” Bringing their best game from LA to the UK, these youthful producers know how to lay down a proper bassline, complete with sexy vocals, horns and that oh-so-essential element of trap infused bass music — the pistol cock.
With support from Pete Tong, Skream, Toddla T, Annie Mac, Claude VonStroke, Jaymo & Andy George, this UK housemeister keeps the temperature on blast. Ever since his debut EP dropped last year on Uno Mas Records, followed by huge releases on Moda Black (like “Holdin’ On“), Celsius has been busting out his production guns with ferocity. Available for free download, “Homegirl” has a jazzy, bass-laden flavor that waxes Dirtybird, yet holds its own fresh, classy style.
From a producer epic enough to hold down 3 aliases, “Layers” has been dubbed this week’s Essential New Tune by Pete Tong. Pryda has a special knack for infusing his tracks with inspiring peaks meant for big rooms and massives, and in this one he really lets his playful musicality free. It’s high energy drama punctuated with fun scratchifications.
In a now extensively quoted interview with Music Week, the Prince of pop-infused dance music claims that he’s no longer interested in cranking out hit after hit. Scottish producer Calvin Harris has reached incredible fame since his debut artist album was released back in 2007. Harris transcended Michael Jackson’s record for the UK’s most chart-topping hits on a single release with his third studio album, 18 Months, boasting eight to MJ’s seven top ten hits. He also recently won the prestigious Ivor Novello Song Writer of the Year award, commenting, “This is easily the greatest achievement of my life.”
But now that Harris has reached the pinnacle of his career in terms of fame and accolades, he’s ready for something different. In an interview with Music Week he shared his urge to forge a new path: “‘I’m doing more dance music that probably won’t get into the charts…I just want to make good music; this award is like drawing a line under the past two years where I’ve just been intensely fucking working to try and make singles and hit records.”
While this is exciting news to hear for many, it’s hard to imagine how some of his fans will react to a style of music that isn’t created to please a mass audience. Either way, it’s nice to know that Calvin is taking the time to do what HE wants, rather than what might be expected of him, and it will be interesting to see what grows from his desire for new challenges. After all, as he admitted to NME last year, he’s mastered pop music: “It’s incredibly easy to do, but hard to do perfectly. I’d struggle to make a perfect ham sandwich because I never make them, whereas pop music comes naturally to me – it’s what I do every day.”
Reinvention is the key to survival for any artist, ultra-famous or not, and it seems as though Calvin Harris is ready to develop that fresh facet of his musical identity.