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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Seattle Nightlife Summit @ HG Lodge

 

We rolled through the HG Lodge on Capitol Hill last night to witness the coming together of various heads of government, law enforcement, and bar/club owners to engage the community in a discussion about the budding initiative to improve nightlife in the City of Seattle. Curated by The Stranger and headlined by none other than Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, the assembly was a reasonably well attended affair with dim lighting, soul music, and curious patrons comprised of neighborhood residents, industry folk, and a splash of late night heads like myself. The panel was prestigious and touched all the bases with the State Liquor Board Policy Director, Assistant Police Chief, City Attorney’s Office Government Affairs Director, Seattle Nightlife and Music Association President, and the owner of the 5 Point all in tow, each person bringing a different perspective on the best way to shape the initiative with a key emphasis on safety and the effect it would have on neighborhood residents and businesses. Much of the meat and bones of the forum had already been released to the public via The Stranger and other media outlets and basically aims to:

– Extend or eliminate bar closing times.

– Improve late night transit options.

– Improve safety on the streets.

All noble aims and something I can get behind tenfold. The logistics of actually working all of this out, however, is no easy task. Since the aims of this initiative are only city wide and not county or state wide, Liquor Board Policy Director Alan Rathbun brought up a good point that I had yet to think about. He explained his concern that Seattle could become an “island” to which residents of other cities in the metro area would now be driving to after the bars in their respective cities closed down. A strong point no doubt and one that he explained would need “a lot of data collected from other cities who have undergone a similar transition” to prove that this would not have the negative impact of more people on the road, already drunk and trying to keep the party going.

What was very encouraging though, was to hear the Assistant Police Chief, who is a total ham by the way and got more laughs out of that crowd than anyone else, extend his full support behind a comprehensive plan that would alleviate, what he says is “by far the most challenging law enforcement time in any given week,” speaking of course to the mad rush of inebriated folks from the bars to city streets at 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. He went on to ask, however, “would we just be pushing the rush from 2am to 4am?” A good question to consider but is a scenario that I don’t think will happen.

Pete Hanning, president of the Seattle Nightlife and Music Association, and Dave Meinart, owner of the 5 point, played the role of representatives for the citizens and venue owners of the city. They put forth many reasons as to why service hours should be extended that mostly revolved around the benefits it would offer residents to “live their lives as they see fit whenever they want” and make Seattle that much more vibrant and lively a place to call home. They also referenced the impact for the better it would have on neighborhoods like Belltown and Capitol Hill where a slow steady trickle out of the clubs and bars would replace the chaos there now. And most notably, a nod to the increase of money in their pockets that would in essence, extend out into the community.

Mayor Mike McGinn seemed to be open to anything, yet wanted to commit to little. He likes the idea of having longer service hours and the benefits it would bring to Seattle in terms of dollars and cents, continuing to bring new people in, and further expanding the already bustling late night scene. His vision revolved around making Seattle one of the greatest cities in the country and a music and nightlife destination. Sounds a little vague but great on paper and he’s using the right tactics to get at it. By publicly bringing together all these different heads of the community, and doing it right in the heart of the city, he’s making a good show of getting the right people involved and getting this thing in front of the citizens. He was lacking in any kind of actual commitment as to when this plan would roll out. When pressed as to when the initiative would be ready for review, he dodged the question a bit and it wasn’t until his assistant reminded him that January was the target date, that he could give any kind of timetable for moving forward. His demeanor overall, was that of eager civil servant ready to please and open to all suggestions but not willing to give much in the way of concrete answers or decisions.

The forum ended with a question and answer session from those in attendance including one from Sweatbox’s own Danny Smalls, who asked, in a nutshell, why can’t the party keep going after the drinks stop being poured. A great question and one that I think got a poor response. I’ve always been of the firm belief that if they are going to stop serving at 2am, the club should have to stay open for another hour or two to give people a chance to sober up. This alone could solve the problem of a mass of drunks on the street at 2am. The answer however was lack luster and exposed precisely why any venue owner is behind this initiative. The answer came from Dave Meinart who said, “There are places in town you can go after the bars close, See Sound Lounge for one.” (Hmm, afterhours at See Sound? That’s a new one to me) He then went on to explain that it would be logistically impossible to get everyone’s drinks out of their hands by two in the morning at a club with 500 people and that the best thing to do is get everyone out and call it a night. I suppose at a club with 500 it might not be the best idea but most clubs in Seattle aren’t that large and I’ve personally seen multiple bars/clubs clear out drinks well before the 2am bell, making it a viable option. The real reason clubs don’t stay open later is specifically because they can’t sell alcohol, the concern for the sobriety of the patron, the quality of the party, or any number of other things means nothing to the bottom line. I understand that these guys are in it to make money, but it’s always struck me as odd, the rapid pace in which people get ushered out of a club in this city.

So after hearing all sides of the debate I have come to my own conclusions about the whole thing. For one, the extended transit hours that we need so desperately in this city are more than likely not going to happen. The transit system is run by the county and not by the city, thus making it harder for the city to have as much influence in how dollars can be spent when an entire county has to get looked after and…. they’re broke. To extend bus service hours would cost a lot of what they don’t have. Given that I am exclusively at the mercy of Metro-Transit to get around town, this was perhaps the most discouraging reality brought up and one that wasn’t lost on the crowd. The other option is more cab service but this didn’t do much to sway me in thinking that transit would be improved by this initiative.

Secondly, we aren’t going to be partying legally, drink in hand, past 2am any time soon. From everything I could gather this thing is a long way off and is merely in the planning and refinement stages. It seems there is a lot of data to be considered and people to be convinced before any of this becomes a reality. Also, considering how absolutely strict and archaic the liquor laws are in this town, do we really think that the Liquor Control Board would ever sign on to something like this? I can only hope.

Lastly, and on a positive note, imagine for a second who has the most to gain from this. It’s not the average guy who goes out to the bar to get wasted, getting wasted can happen anywhere at anytime with the proper planning. The people who have the most to gain is us, the Electronic Music Community. We are, without question, the people that party the longest in this city, as going til 4am or later is generally the norm, not the exception. Consider the lack of late night spots we have now, all of a sudden the options would be endless, the cycle of finding a new late night venue and running it into the ground would cease to exist, and venues would once again be fresh and exciting for the patron, resulting in a higher caliber experience for everyone involved. Additionally, the city in general, would get used to partying later and I can only imagine the energy and enthusiasm for our scene increasing dramatically. I picture a total renaissance for Seattle Techno/House/Whatever if this thing goes through and I can only hope to be at the front of the line, scouting venues, throwing parties, and legally enjoying a drink whenever I want. I invite all of you promoters and patrons out there to get behind this thing in any way that you can, it can only improve an already great thing.

Chris

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Luna City Express…

Alright ya’ll after a haitus that can only be blamed on the non-stop party this summer has been, the blog is back! Between DEMF, Photosynthesis, gig after gig, and the non-stop two week bender that was E. Spleece’s stay in the NW, it’s safe to say that this summer has been one for the record books. So what now? I’m obviously looking forward to Decibel Festival, the lineup this year is stacked with techno talent and with a nod towards the celebration of 25 years of Detroit Techno, this years installment is chalked full of that 4/4 goodness that gets me through this never ending roll of the dice called life.

There are a couple things I want to touch on briefly. First, some music. More specifically, Luna City Express. Their bio starts of “Timelessness and Innovation – both poles can be united in House music,” and I can think of no better phrase to sum up their sound. The next word that comes to mind? Jackin. I don’t know how many of you have had this act come across your radar. I’ve been following their productions for a couple years now, but it wasn’t till I came across a two hour journey of a set hosted on the infamous R_co  soundcloud page (if you don’t know about R_co, check him out, ton’s of recent DJ mixes to keep you in the loop on what the world’s parties are sounding like) that I realized just what a powerhouse this group is. Comprised of Marco Resmann and Norman Weber, the two have been producing music as Luna City Express since 2004 and  found a home for their sound with one of my favorite labels, Moon Harbour, in 2005. Since then, things have only gotten bigger and better for the two. More releases, their first full length on Moon Harbour entitled, “Hello From Planet Earth,” (paging Mr. Jack…) and subsequent tours across Europe and Japan have seen their sound spreading far and wide.

These cats aren’t reinventing the wheel here, but rather polishing that wheel up and taking it on a funk induced trip through the deepest parts of Chicago, Berlin, and Detroit. This is an act that truly embraces that fine line between techno and house, and in the process creates a sound so much larger than the watered down label “tech-house” can exemplify. (I can’t stand that phrase as it seems to do such little justice to either genre and the power the two have together) Their sound is jackin and funky no doubt, but is filled with this persistent undertone of driving seriousness that says “you will dance to this.” 20+ years of dance music are behind their sound and is being compressed and squeezed into each and every hi-hat and bass line these guys play. Each track on the mix has loads of character and ingenuity and flies seamlessly into the next with many peaks and valleys throughout, yet with that ever present and pronounced drum line keeping the narrative all together. Refined, cultivated, tasteful, and here solely to make you lose your shit, Luna City Express: Dance music through and through.

Check out the mix here.

With that said, let’s move on to the next issue at hand, one not nearly as thrilling. Waid’s is in some hot water with the Washington Liquor Control Board and they are threatening to revoke their Liquor License and essentially take out yet another late night spot in our beloved city. Considering the limited amount of venues that keep the party going til a reasonable hour in this city, it’s never good to see any establishment get worked over by the authorities, especially one that is on the up and up.

Over the six months or so that I’ve been attending events at Waid’s there’s been nothing but good times and professionalism on the part of the owners, you can’t even get a beer past 1:30 at the place. From everything I’ve observed  they have their act together and upon reading Waid’s letter to city, it appears there may be more at play than the city “just doing their job.” Please take a moment to read and sign the petition. It might not be much but it’s better than sitting back and watching Seattle nightlife take a hit.

Waid’s petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/1212waids/

Thanks for reading, gonna try and keep up with this on the regular again. Till then…

Chris (Ctrl_Alt_Dlt)

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DEMF is upon us…

So, one of the best Techno festivals in the world is fast approaching, May 29-31 to be specific, held in my old stomping grounds of Detroit, MI. This will be the 11th installment of the Detroit Electronic Music Festival and my 7th time partaking in the non-stop intensity that spawns from this event. Held in Hart Plaza in the heart of Downtown Detroit, DEMF becomes the central meeting grounds for an overwhelming amount of national and international talent, with dream line-ups popping up all over town at the various afterhours shindigs, not to mention the festival lineup itself. With roughly 100 acts booked amongst five different stages, DEMF aims to please with such notable acts as, dOP, Cassy, DJ Koze, Italoboyz, Kyle Hall, Paco Osuna, Plastikman, Ryan Crosson, Secrets, Ricardo Villalobos, Barem, the list goes on and on.

Then there’s the afterhours….

As with every year, there are a lot of options for afterhours partying. With over 40 events at last count, decisions need to made and friends coordinated, not to mention a steady pacing of ones self during the day to ensure you make it. This year there are way too many good parties on Saturday and some undeniably solid events that go well into the next day, setting the pace for a long weekend of serious music indulgence. The afterhours scene is always my favorite part of the festival and is what I anticipate most with every trip back. My tentative afterhours schedule is leaving little time for sleep but should deliver the much needed onslaught of late-night Techno I’m looking for.

Friday night starts here….

Saturday is a toss up and hopefully involves a bit of party hopping between this:

Featuring:
Camea
Tim Xavier
Alexi Delano
Tony Rohr
Mark Henning LIVE
Elon
Insideout
Nikita
Jason Patrick

at
10 Critics
1400 Porter Street
Detroit, MI

and this:

with no doubt in my mind that I will be at this party shortly after….

Then it’s back to the festival to do it all over again. I’m opting out of the boat party this year and instead gonna try to check out the Vakant vs. Dumb Unit showcase going on @ T.V. Bar as well.

Sunday, May 30th (Night)
ReSolute Goes Detroit

Movement Festival 2010 After-Party

Vakant vs. Dumb Unit Showcase

Alex Smoke – Live /Vakant/
Jeremy P. Caulfield /Dumb Unit/
Dario Zenker /Vakant/
Elon /Dumb Unit/
Connie /ReSolute

ReSolute Favorites

Alexi Delano /Clink/
Camea /Clink/
+ more TBA

Two Areas with Music (Indoor and Outdoor)

TV Lounge
2548 Grand River Ave.
Detroit

Monday morning at the Old Miami? We’ll see if I make it that far this year. Clearly there is a lot going on in Detroit and we’ll see how much of this I can actually manage, considering that sleep does need to occur at some point. It sounds good on paper though, right?  See ya’ll in Michigan.

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