TechYes! and Derek Plaslaiko Interview…

Derek Plaslaiko

Alright, the next installment of TechYes! is upon us with none other than Derek Plaslaiko! We’ve had a blast with this monthly so far and figured we’d amp things up a bit by bringing through one of our favorite DJs who, without question, knows a thing or two about moving a dance floor and raging til the sun comes up.

For those that have yet to hear of Derek Plaslaiko, here’s a compressed back story. He’s a product of the mid-90′s Detroit scene where he bore witness to, arguably, some of the best techno parties the world has ever seen. He cut his teeth as a DJ then and has since gone on to carry the techno torch far and wide. From Detroit he went to New York, further refining his sound and making a name for himself at the North American techno mecca known as The Bunker. After six years there he has now relocated to the epicenter of it all, Berlin, where we’re seeing Derek getting his production game going and playing gigs at household name clubs like Berghain, Tresor, and Club De Visionaire.

I conducted an interview with Derek in anticipation of this Friday’s event so you can hear it from the man himself about how Berlin’s treating him, projects he’s got in the works, and among other things, his thoughts on Seattle. So without further delay…..

You’ve got a reputation as a “last-man-standing” kind of guy, what keeps you going after all these years?

Heh, well…. it’s certainly gotten harder over the years. I think the key to it for me used to be just not thinking about it. Like, if I’m having fun, why even think about sleep. My Grandfather once told me a sort of joke involving 3 guys walking through the desert. 2 of them were talking about how thirsty they were, while the other one wasn’t. When they finally reached someplace that had water, the 3rd guy started drinking water like crazy. One of the other guys asked “hey, I thought you said you weren’t thirsty”. The 3rd guy just replied “was no use being thirsty back there. We didn’t have any water.” I guess I’ve sort of applied that story to certain aspects of my life.

How has the move to Berlin been treating you? Been playing a lot of shows? What are some of the regular clubs, parties, you’ve been hitting up?

The move has been great! Was totally the right thing for me. Been playing some shows, but not too much. Been focusing more on my own productions, plus a few trips back to N. America kinda got in the way of some booking requests here. I’ve got Tresor coming up in May, and then Berghain in July. Plus, I’m supposed to have a residency at Club Der Visionaere this summer.  As for going out, I go out to the things I find interesting. Berghain/Panorama pretty often (definitely as many Get Perlonized nights as I can), Horst, Farbfernseher or Chez Jacki.  I also really like Salon Zur Wilden Renate a lot! The summer is coming, so there will be a lot of outdoor places. The weather has been really good lately, so CDV has already opened. But, I haven’t quite made it there yet as I have just been swamped with work and obligations, but I will be hanging out there tons this summer, I’m sure!

Derek Live @ DEMF

Name the top three tracks you’ve been playing out lately.

1. David Durango – Mosaic

2. Inxec – Nightengale

3. Peter Van Hoesen – AxisMundi-01-R

You’re one of a handful of contemporary DJs that has built up an impressive resumé largely on DJing alone, what do you attribute that success to?

I honestly have no idea. I guess that’s one for you to interpret?  :)

Do you still play a lot of vinyl? How much of your record collection did you take with you to Berlin?

I have been trying to make the switch back completely to vinyl (and CD), but it’s not easy. So much of my music from the past 3 years is in digital format and I’m too lazy to write the CD tracklists by hand. Plus, my handwriting is terrible, so it makes it a bit too hard to read when you’re trying to DJ. I just need to buy a printer already. As for my records, every time I go back to Detroit, I bring 1 or 2 empty flight cases with me and fill them up, which is helpful. I’ll most likely be going back home for Memorial Day weekend, so I’ll be able to pack 2 more! I may actually bring 3 and pay the extra fees. Much better than shipping them myself.

Everything I’ve heard of your productions has been rock solid yet it seems like a relatively new thing for you in terms of your overall career. How long have you been producing for? What kind of tools are you using to create your music? Any new tracks on the horizon?

Thanks for the kind words! I guess I’ve been dabbling since 1999, though never really seriously. The past couple years, I have been spending much more time working at it. But it’s a difficult process because I’m not always feeling so inspired to do so. It comes in waves, and when I’m feeling it, I act on it and lock myself inside the studio. I think it’s extremely important to not push it too hard and make music “just to make it”. I want to have something to say, and if I’m not in the mood then it’s just not worth it. Theres plenty of stuff I’ve worked on that might not ever be finished enough for me to release it. But, that’s OK because I just chalk that up to learning.

Right now, I’m mainly using Maschine, Ableton and a ton of plugins. I’d love to use more hardware, but I just don’t have the means to get at it right now. BMG (of Ectomorph) and I did a record together that was all analog gear, and it was a much more exciting and rewarding experience. That should be out around the time of the festival in Detroit. Heartthrob & I were collaborating a bit using a setup that was about 50/50 analog to digital, and hopefully we can continue that. Timing has been pretty bad between our schedules. Not sure if we will release any of it, but it’s certainly been fun. As for releases, I’m working on my next EP for Perc Trax, and a remix of Ludovic Vendi for a label called Anozer. That has been quite a bit of a challenge because it’s one of those rare instances where I hear the original and feel it was done exactly how I would have wanted it done in the first place. But, I’m still taking a stab at it regardless. Learning experiences, right?

We had Mike Huckaby in Seattle recently and I remember you citing him as a major influence on you in that RA Exchange podcast. Any other big influences in your early Detroit days as a DJ?

This might be a cop-out answer, but everyone and everything about Detroit has had a huge influence on me. The DJ’s and producers, the parties and the people who went and danced and even the city itself. There was just so much richness there amongst that scene back then. It’s still pretty good, but in the mid 90′s, it was just insane.

You’ve played Decibel numerous times now, what do you think of Seattle, the crowd, and the festival. Any memorable moments you care to share? Can we expect another appearance this year?

I don’t think it’s any secret how much I love it out there. There was discussion on a possible move there last spring, but I ended up coming to Berlin instead. You guys have a nice lil community out there chock full of great people. And I always love Decibel. I guess a memorable story to share (if I had to pick just one) would be of Decibel last year. After playing Decibel 3 years in a row, Sean and I decided to take a year off from playing it (partly because the flight costs from Berlin decided it for us) and possibly come back this year, if it works out. Well, my long time friend Brandon Ivers just wasn’t having that. So, he and his roommates decided to fly me out and do an after hours at their house with basically me playing from like 1:30 til I dropped, or the cops came. They boarded up their windows, decorated the place with a ridiculous (in an amazing way) “Cypress Hill Theme”, invited a ton of people and packed the house in. It was pretty incredible in there. The cops eventually came (twice, if I recall) so they had to shut it down, but that was around 5:30 or 6. There were still plenty of people to keep going (Seattle legend Donte Parks was still dancing, so that’s enough reason to keep ANY party going right there), but it was a decent time to end it.

But, I have never had a bad time coming to Seattle, so I do have a some crazy stories spawned from experiences there. Even the first time I visited there in 2002 when my girlfriend at the time and I broke up while driving up the coast from Los Angeles, I still found something fun to do!

I’ve made some really great friends out there that I consider family, which is why I decided to come in a couple days early to hang out. Maybe on Thursday, we should all go bowling or something to pre-party!

***

There you have it. Really looking forward to this Friday’s party at Rebar and hope you can join us. After hours will be at ETG. Check the links for more info about Derek and the party.

TechYes! event page: here.

Derek Plaslaiko DJ set: 

Derek’s RA Exchange Podcast: here.

TechYes!

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Carl Craig, [a]pendics.shuffle, and Baltic Room…

The past weekend turned out to be a long, sleepless endeavor that offered a full range of techno and house indulgence. This was a double header for the Baltic Room starting off with Decibel’s Carl Craig show on Friday night. Craig proved once again why he is a straight-up veteran, dropping a three hour set that spanned several techno generations worth of music, ranging from deep house to banging, big room techno with a variety of nuance in between and tinged with that Detroit sound that he’s come to define. The show was well attended, yet comfortable (for those that fear the crowds) with a mix of local heads and newer faces out to check a living legend in the flesh. Thanks to Decibel for continually stepping up to the plate to bring these high caliber artists to Seattle. It is definitely appreciated.

Next up was Saturday’s Mindshift Records release party with [a]pendics.shuffle, also at Baltic Room. [a]pendics.shuffle reminded the audience precisely what party techno is all about, funky basslines, weird, tripped-out melodies, and enough high-energy stage presence and showmanship to propel even the most jaded partiers out to the floor with hands up. Ending with Willie Nelson’s “The Party’s Over” was a hilariously appropriate way to wrap-up a set like that. Thanks to Uniting Souls and Condiment for putting the show on, and congrats to Mindshift on a fine release. Also, a special shout out to Linger, Quiet, and the PDX posse for keeping the after hours going strong all weekend, deep house at its finest!

Now, a couple points of criticism after watching Seattle’s recently renovated and upgraded Baltic Room get put through a workout. There has been a fair bit of hype around the venue as of late with several local promoters setting up shop and a lot of quality acts being booked. After spending two nights in a row there and speaking with numerous attendees, two things need to happen to take this club, or any club for that matter, from mediocre to something special. First off, more bass! If there was one continual criticism on the tip of everybody’s tongue, this was it. People want to be all consumed by this kind of music and bass is a huge factor in providing that. The highs and mids already sound good in there, now we just need to round out that bottom end and things will be sounding much better.

The other thing that needs sorted out is the early closing time, which applies to any club taking this music seriously. This kind of musical experience naturally peaks at a later hour, with the 1:30-2 a.m. closing time putting an end to the night when any big event will just be starting to pop. It would be one thing if every club in town subscribed to this, but there are several clubs that buck this trend and go past the two a.m. bell with no problems and in the process provide a much better party for their crowd. I will give it up to Baltic for going later than two on Friday, because who really wants to tell Carl Craig to stop playing, but at Saturday’s show they began turning lights on at 1:40 (lights on = party over) and the music was off before two.

I look at it like this, if you want to become a respected electronic music club but choose to stop the music or turn the lights on before two on a weekend night, at a crackin party, this gets interpreted as, “we are in this to make money off of alcohol, we’ve gotten all the money we can from you, party’s over.” If you let your club stay open until three a.m. (or later) when you have a respected artist like Carl Craig or [a]pendics.shuffle in town, this says to patrons, “we understand how this music works and that it’s best enjoyed late. We realize that we can’t make that much more money off of you but we respect you and the general vitality of the scene enough to keep the party going for the party’s sake.”

I understand clubs are in it to make money and if, at the end of the day, it just isn’t financially viable to keep your doors open when you can’t sell drinks, then so be it, off to the after hours. But when I see several quality venues around town keeping the party going after they’ve closed the bar then clearly it’s a possibility. Perhaps opening at ten instead of nine to save money on staffing that early hour when nobody’s there anyways or demanding a slightly larger cut of the door? I know, as a promoter myself, that I have and will pay for the privilege of going late.

And for the record, this is in no way a knock to any promoter out there doing your thing. I’ve got nothing but respect for every crew that’s putting in the hard work and fighting the good fight to keep this city lively and more crackin’ than I’ve ever seen it before. This isn’t a knock on the Baltic Room either as I think that place has shaped up beautifully. This is more a respectful articulation of the grievances I’ve heard from many a party-goer and directed toward any club (not just the Baltic Room) who wants to cater to this scene and provide the optimal electronic music experience. We have a really good thing going with some serious party action happening, now if we can just fine tune it even more, that’s when things are really gonna pop off.

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Thanks from TechYes! and Mikael Stavöstrand Live Set…

TechYes! 1.14.11

Alright Seattle! That was one helluva weekend for Techno in this city. Between Stavöstrand on Friday and Saunderson on Saturday I definitely got a healthy dose of quality and diverse dance music and am now totally spent. Many thanks to all who came out to the first installment of TechYes!. We had a blast at both ReBar and the after hours and look forward to doing it again in February. Mikael played great, one of the best sets I’ve heard from him, and had a lot of fun while in Seattle. In case you missed out, we recorded the set which you can find here or at the bottom of the page. Give it a listen and come check us out on February 11th with Milkplant coming up from SF to take part in the From 0-1 Showcase and record release party for my “Pet the Ceiling” EP, out soon on From 0-1.

Mikael Stavöstrand Live

Go here to download.

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Mikael Stavöstrand Interview and the Launch of TechYes!

Welcome to my first post under the new blog title, “Beyond 1am.” I’ve been meaning to update this blog for awhile now, both aesthetically and with a name that rolls off the tongue a bit better. Beyond 1am speaks to my love of late night dance music, my belief that the party never really gets going until about 1am, and why I feel the after hours portion of the evening is so essential to this little scene of ours. Thanks for your continued perusing…

Mikael Stavöstrand

With many American producers heading off to “greener pastures” (i.e. Berlin) at a rapid pace, it’s great to see someone of Mikael Stavöstrand’s caliber settle down and call the West Coast his home. Originally from Sweden and now based in LA, Stavöstrand has garnered a lengthy techno resume over his substantial career that includes performances across the planet at the most prestigious clubs and festivals in the industry (Panorama Bar, Fabric, Fuse, to name but a few) and a catalogue of diverse and innovative music celebrated by DJs and producers the world over. His detailed and impeccably produced live sets run the gamut of nuance and intensity, centering around wildly percussive rhythms, meaty bass lines, and a lot of pure-weird synth and vocal work. Stavöstrand’s performances tend to work the head as much as the hips, so prepare for a trip into the outer reaches of modern day minimal dance music.

Mikael will be playing the inaugural installment of TechYes! this Friday at Re-Bar, a fresh monthly party brought to you by Condiment and Sweatbox every 2nd Friday of the month. In anticipation of the kickoff event I conducted an interview with the man himself so you can get a better sense of what he’s all about and what you can expect to hear at the party. So, without further ado….

Ctrl_Alt_Dlt: What brought you to LA and how has it treated you? How is the scene down there for techno?

Mikael: Well, I meet my soon to be wife here in LA so thats the main reason. LA has a pretty good scene for electronic music, is not that big but it’s lots going on.

C_A_D: How long have you been producing for and what do you use to produce your music?

Mikael: I been producing since I was 16 years old… so around 20 years now. I always been using electronics for my music, in the beginning cheap samplers and effects, now I mainly use my computer and sometimes live instruments.

C_A_D: What were some of the standout gigs you played over 2010?

Mikael: Oh.. tough question. I love playing gigs, so lots of them were outstanding… some memorable ones was my gig in DC, and Panorama Bar in Berlin.

Live in Berlin

C_A_D: What do you have in the works for 2011?

Mikael: I’m currently working on some collaborations, next month I have an EP out on Clink together with Cesare vs. Disorder, we’re very excited about that one .. working together with Anthony Collins on some more mellow tunes. Lots of remixes and a couple of other EP’s in progress too.

C_A_D: I’ve noticed you playing more DJ sets recently, have you DJed for a long time or is that a more recent thing for you?

Mikael: It’s a recent thing, don’t know why I did not start earlier. I love DJ’ing, it gives you a whole other freedom then playing live sets, so I hope I will do more and more DJ gigs this year.

C_A_D: Who are some of your favorite producers and DJs?

Mikael: Is kinda diverse, Villalobos of course .. the french guys as Anthony Collins, Seuil etc .. [a]pendics.shuffle, but also producers as D’Angelo influence me a lot..

C_A_D: What kinds of music do you enjoy outside of electronic music?

Mikael: Almost all kinds of music, I listen mainly to Jazz at home. I adore Latin Jazz.

C_A_D: You’ve been up to Seattle a couple of times now, any thoughts on the city, crowd, scene? Any new or unreleased material you’ll be dropping on us at TechYes?

Mikael: Yeah, there will be lots of unreleased music in the set, I like to try stuff out and see how it works .. and I love going to Seattle, it’s such a beautiful town with an amazing vibe.

***

There you have it. Clearly, there will be no stopping for Mikael anytime soon and we hope you can join us for the opening party of TechYes!. After hours will be in full effect with premium KV2 sound at both events, get ready for a long night of quality dance music.

FB Event Page

Up next for TechYes!? A From 0-1 Showcase and record release party for my “Pet the Ceiling” EP featuring remixes from Derek Plaslaiko, Milkplant and Let’s Go Outside, Aaron Nesbit, and Sone. Do I even need to tell you how excited I am for that!? Til then….

Chris (Ctrl_Alt_Dlt)

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Suedmilch and his Various Presents for Xmas Mix…

I have long been a fan of R_co’s page on soundcloud.com, the melting pot of digital music that seems to be a never ending wealth of hidden gems and quality DJ mixes. R_co makes it his mission to provide one of the most on point and comprehensive pages on the internet for live/DJ sets the world over and from the most relevant artists in the game (truly a public service). This particular gold nugget I found today comes from Germany’s Suedmilch who dropped a two hour mix of pitched down and depth drenched house music today on kraftfuttermischwerk.de, a German blog that is providing us with a digital Adventskalendar or basically, a series of 23 mixes leading up to Christmas day, which in Germany officially starts on the 24th.

Here we are at day 13 and damn, if this isn’t one of the finer mixes I’ve heard lately. The beginning is subtle and sparse, with jazz and loungey samples splashed throughout. At about the half-hour mark it breaks down into an opaque and somber guitar tinged track before picking up steam and taking you back into some diverse, hypnotic, and funk laden 4/4 dance tracks. I could picture this mix easily fitting into a family get together while your sucking back the booze and putting up with your relatives. It’s more than groovy enough to make you bob your head, but not abrasive enough to get Grandma screaming for something more traditional. Check it out here, R_Co’s page, or if you want to keep track of who’s dropping what everyday until Christmas, (and don’t mind wading through this strictly German language blog) here.

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Cyanwave Drop “Escape What You Create” on From 0-1…

A Cyanwave is the fluctuating ring around the cap of the Cyanescen mushroom, a strong hallucinogenic fungi grown right here in the Pacific Northwest. A fitting name for one of Seattle’s most forward thinking and equally psychedelic techno duos. Comprised of long time producers Keith Kelley and Justin Byrnes, Cyanwave have been carving out a niche as the go to guys for after hours, druggy, and experimental techno. Their sound is about as big as dubby minimal music can get, with vast walls of droning reverb encapsulating precise and driving rhythms, the valleys breaking down just as fiercely as the peaks build up. With each member manning a different range of the sonic palette, Byrnes on kicks, hi-hats, and percussion, Kelley on the synths and effects, it’s never the same set twice and driven largely by the energy of the party.

Cyanwave live at The Monkey Loft 10-29-10

Cyanwave drop their first EP Escape What You Create on burgeoning local label From 0-1, November 19th. Comprised of three tracks and a couple of DJ tools, the two are showing us how far their range extends, from spacious and ambient with Deep Time, to late night and mind bending with Locust, to a good ol’ fashioned four to the floor workout on my personal favorite, Minotaurs. This EP is the Cyanwave sound in a nut shell and a stellar example of the various realms you can expect their live set to explore. This isn’t the kind of live act that you know when one song is over and the next begun, it’s just a continuous morphing and melting, ebbing and flowing of sound and rhythm, the aural equivalent of a strong mushroom trip. With heavy support from artists like Laurent Garnier (who described the album as “completely outta space…. Looove the atmosphere on this EP – will play a lot!”) Phil Kieran, Tim Xavier, and Drumcell, to name a few, Cyanwave is just beginning what is sure to be a healthy and mind expanding career.

Check out Escape What You Create here.

And a recent Cyanwave live set recorded deep within the Cascade Mountain Range in an abandoned train tunnel here.

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The Official Debut of Nastina…

Kristina Childs has been a fixture in the Seattle electronic music community for years now. She’s been a DJ, promoter, and designer, known best for her work with Decibel, her impeccable Plasmodium podcast, and her now defunct techno monthly, Krakt. It’s been a safe bet that if Kristina’s involved, it’s gonna be a party. Now she’s taking a break from the techno and embracing her love of Top 40 in the form of Nastina, a ghetto fabulous and crunked up alter ego that’s been simmering beneath the surface of her usual everyday exterior. Up to this point, Nastina was the result of little planning, a lot of drinks, and a Serato folder full of electro house, Dirty South hip hop, and Baltimore club hits. A noticeable reaction from the crowd to a quick top 40 remix sending an otherwise conventional techno set out the window. I saw it all come together firsthand on Sunday afternoon at this year’s Photosynthesis festival. As soon as Nastina got her stride, a massive dance floor emerged, eating up every moment of the mainstream faire.

Nastina makes her official debut at the Showbox Market tonight, holding down the headlining slot at Bump 2010, a fundraiser for Gay City. Expect big hair, lots of skin, and gilded everything. With an aim “to put the theatrics back into DJ culture,” we’re getting a more flamboyant Childs than we’ve ever seen before. In addition to the party jams, we can expect a little vocal work, as well as some of her own tracks and remixes, including one entitled “Nastina’s Ice Cream Nail Job Remix,” a rework of a Dorrough track which, from everything I’ve heard so far, embodies her sound well, whompy bass lines, gangsta vocals, and fist pumping grooves that remind you not to take any of this too seriously. With more production in the works and a vision that extends beyond the one show, this won’t be the last we hear out of Nastina.

Check the party deets here.

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