Well, it’s that time. The anticipation has come to a hilt and preparations have begun. Mojostock is here! While this may be the last Dj showcase you may read before you set foot on Sleepybear Campground, it is most certainly not the least. You can consider me extremely bias, quite frankly because Brian Scavo aka. Dj What the Bleep spins my favorite genre; ragga jungle. He is on the forefront of the battle to resurrect a “forgotten” genre in the states. What the Bleep is battle ready and he’s got Zion on his side.
…What was your first exposure to the electronic world, and what made you want to be a DJ?
“I was first exposed to electronic music in 2003. My sister had just moved back to Bowling Green, OH from Vancouver, B.C. where there is a very strong and diverse rave scene and she brought along an extensive music collection as a result. I got into it on my own and became interested in the culture over the next year or so. Then it all blew up when on May 28th, 2004 I got my dreadlocks put in and then I went to my first party, a happy hardcore Detroit Electronic Music Festival after party.”
“It was actually at that party that I met some of the most influential people in all of my rave experiences. Most notably, I was introduced to Corey aka Coleco aka foi oi oi at that party; that night happened to be his first gig. I ended up hanging out with him and a lot of the Columbus ravers, instantly surrounded by DJs in this new social experience. I can definitely attribute a lot of my interest and passion for DJing at the start to Corey, and I continue to be inspired by him when we work together. I loved many things about rave culture as soon as I walked through the doors of the venue for my first party, and so it isn’t too much of a stretch to say it was inevitable I was going to become a DJ, and eventually, a promoter.”
“I may have become a DJ because it was in my nature, but what’s more interesting is why I remain a DJ. Though I usually don’t hear people openly admit it, I know that way too many DJs love being DJs because of the perks (status, fame, attention, access, etc.). We are all human and it feels great to be treated well, but there’s a lot of responsibility doing what we do. I believe there is a very important sense of purpose we have to carry with us whenever we perform. In one way or another, we’re responsible for people’s emotions when they hear our music, so we have to maintain our integrity and to be very humble about our role. I embrace the responsibility of DJing as a way to better myself. The truth is, it’s not about me in the least bit. It’s about inspiring others, delivering a positive message, creating a sense of community, and taking people to new places. I have maintained my passion for mixing over all these years because I know that what I do behind the decks is an opportunity to providing an uplifting musical experience for others to enjoy.”
…What are some of the things you’re doing in your scene?
“My involvement in electronic music culture has almost never been just limited to DJing. Within a year of playing out for the first time I was experimenting with production with the likes of Reason 3.0. By that time I had also formed a crew (Electronic Enlightenment) with fellow DJs and good friends in the scene. Within two years I was already learning the ropes of event promotion and had begun networking heavily via forums and Internet radio. After several years, my focus has turned to hosting events and promoting (which now is on par with my passion for DJing).”
“Electronic Enlightenment has made a presence for itself as our DJs travel, but most importantly we have hosted numerous events over the last few years. Most notably, I started a monthly event last August at the beautiful Clazel Theater in Bowling Green. It launched as Beatday 5, my birthday bash, but it wasn’t so much a celebration of my birthday as it was the beginning of something of serious caliber in Bowling Green. The events immediately took on the Konkrete Jungle name, becoming the newest chapter of the international brand of bass culture events (started in NYC, still carrying the title of “longest running drum & bass weekly in the world”). We’ve since done 8 events and the monthly has taken off as Konkrete Jungle Bowling Green. I am the event host and also a resident DJ (playing once a semester).”
“Most of the remainder of my DJ bookings varies from gig to gig, so I wouldn’t call anything else I do a residency, with one exception: my show on jungletrain.net. I’ve been playing a show on that station for over four and a half years. I broadcast it from my home, but my audience hails from the US to Europe and beyond, bringing in hundreds of listeners each show. Right now I play weekly on Sunday from 5 to 7pm.”
…Why have you chosen ragga jungle, or did it pick you?
“The original collection of electronic music that I listened to had all sorts of genres in it, everything from Scooter to Basement Jaxx to Groove Armada. I soaked it all up like a sponge and was very open-minded, but there were indeed certain sounds that caught my attention. There was the “Downbeat in the Jungle” compilation CD that began with Shy FX feat. UK Apache – Original Nuttah. Then there was Aphrodite’s mix CD “Urban Jungle”. There was Soundmurderer’s famous “Wired for Sound” mixes. Those, among others, drove me to start listening to drum & bass internet radio, so I quickly start learning more and more about dnb and jungle of all types. And once I could afford turntables I went searching for records to buy. And lo’ and behold, what did I find? A drum & bass record lot with a bunch of early 2000s techstep being sold by hardcore legend, Cloudskipper (oddly enough). So, I grabbed those first 30 or so records on the cheap, and my junglist adventure began. Over time, my taste was refined and I started leaning more towards the ragga vocalism and raw jungle drums.”
“I’ve said it before: there really is something unique about jungle, ragga vocalists and MCs, and the spirit of Jamaica that attracts me. There’s the suffering, suppression, and corrupt governments. And there’s the path of rastafari and the positive messages it spreads about humanity. These things are fuel for a brilliant musical fire. And it all lends towards a very emotional style of music. Add in the infectious danceable beats, and you’ve really got something. It has sophistication and yet can have wide appeal. It can be very energetic and yet very soothing. It often carries very meaningful messages. There’s really not much more I can say: I love jungle music.”
…Do you feel that ragga jungle has a decent following or presence in electronic venues?
“Ragga Jungle has influenced many corners of electronic music. You’ll hear ragga remixes or samples from reggae. And then, of course, there’s the terminology and techniques that have carried over from the DJs at soundclashes in Jamaica and the junglist culture in England. You can’t really ignore how far-reaching the culture and music is. However, ragga jungle in itself isn’t always the most known genre. Because of the BPM and the complicated drum patterns, jungle can be an acquired taste for some, so the genre as a whole doesn’t always reach the broader audience that some genres do.”
“In some places in Europe ragga jungle is like bread and butter, but around the Midwest I only know a small handful of exclusively ragga jungle DJs. It’s a somewhat esoteric culture when you get down to it; I find that all of the producers and specialized DJs know each other online, but no single geographic location has a huge presence of it. It’s also pretty interesting how ragga jungle is in the grey area between rave culture and reggae culture, but that’s a whole different topic. Ragga jungle is definitely known to some who are knowledgeable of the different sides of dnb/jungle, but I’m very fortunate to be one of the few DJs in the area that can provide a complete snapshot of the many sides of the genre.”
…What are your expectations for Mojostock?
“I keep telling everyone: I expect Mojostock to be the highlight of my summer (out of many gigs, mind you). I first bumped into some of the G-9 Collective and IndyMojo in Muncie, IN last year and I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of character and talent, as well as the professionalism and high quality production. Indianapolis should feel very lucky to have such crews pushing their scene along. Mojostock is, without a doubt, going to be a very cozy festival. We all enjoy those large-scale festivals, but there is a *lot* to appreciate in a “just right”-sized experience like Mojostock. The lineup in itself is quite the collection of styles and backgrounds, so I’m very excited to just be hearing so many different things alongside so many friends (old friends and friends yet-to-be-made). This will be my second Indianapolis experience (the first was at the Mousetrap for Thursdaze last year), and I can’t wait.”
After you hear Brian’s set, I can guarantee you one of two things. First, you will have heard something that is entirely new to your ears or has changed your musical soul. Second, if you like drum n bass/jungle, you just became a fan of What the Bleep!
I’ll leave you with this:
“We all know that DJing as a performance technique has evolved tremendously in the last 5 to 10 years: time-encoded equipment and CDs, digital track distribution, etc. Alas, I haven’t been swept up by its instant-gratification and economical glory. I’m one of the rare (dying?) breed of vinyl enthusiasts, still laying down wax cut after wax cut. This isn’t to say that when Serato or CDJs are available at a show I won’t throw in some unreleased material, but my rule of thumb is simple: if it’s found on vinyl then I won’t play it digitally. This means that beyond my own vinyl collection, the only tracks you’ll hear me play are some of the exclusive digital “dubplates” given to me by producers worldwide or exclusively digital releases that I only wish were pressed into the vinyl grooves I could hold in my hand.”
Native of Ohio, Mark Naegel (aka: Bit Flip), is one of the “newbie’s” to Mojostock this year. Anxiously he is waiting to unleash his brand of electro-breaks on the masses of this year’s festival. Being a “gear head” of sorts he knows the ins and outs of most equipment, allowing him to play any medium.
“Whether it’s DJing, making music or coming up with new ideas for pieces of gear, audio is in my head 99% off the time”
…What is your background as far as electronic music is concerned?
“I first got into electronic music early on in high school, but never really experienced the scene until I was 18. From my first party in Columbus called “Afterlife” I was hooked. I decided that night that I was going to be a DJ no matter what it took. After getting my first setup, practicing, and playing my first show out I realized it wasn’t just some half-hearted dream, it was a part of me. I’ve been at it ever since and haven’t looked back.”
…Why breaks/electro house?
“When I first started DJing I got into breaks because I really liked a lot of the Florida breaks sound of early-mid 2000s. Over time I started playing more breaks with an old school funk feel because I just got caught up in the slap bass and filtered guitars and it was really danceable and straight up groovy. Now I’ve shifted into electro breaks since they have a gritty edge to them that is perfect for the b-boys and b-girls to break to. As for Electro House, I always loved the pounding of a 4/4 kick and with similar sound choice to electro breaks. It’s a no brainer. What really makes the two meld so well is being able to swap basslines in and out from 4/4 to a broken beat and back again.”
…What separates you from other Dj’s?
“I bring a unique blend to the tables both musically and in stage presence. I specifically try to play new music that not many people are hip to yet to try to get new artists out there. Every set is fresh, and every time it’s got a new twist to it.”
…How did you come up with Bit Flip?
“When I started DJing I was in school for computer engineering and wanted to come up with a name that really represented who I was. I’m a techie who loves music and we’re well into the digital era with DJing and everything else. Seeing as this was the case I was throwing a few nerdy names around and Bit Flip came up. I thought this was perfect since it had a ring to it, and all things digital are represented by 1’s and 0’s. It’s all about flippin’ bits!”
…What medium do you use/prefer, and why?
“I’ve always been a fan of turntables whether playing on vinyl or using a DVS. I really like the connection between myself and wax. I’ve played on midi controllers and CDJs plenty of times, but just don’t get the same experience, especially when scratching.”
…What experiences have you had with Indy scene and how do they differ with Ohio scene?
“I’ve played in Indy a few times over the years, but the most recent was still a couple years back. I always have a great time when I come to Indy though, everyone is really nice and I have quite a few friends there so that’s always a plus. As far as the difference between the two, I can’t really say since it’s been a while from the DJing standpoint, but I can say that I’ve heard Indy kids are much more critical than Ohio kids so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
…What do YOU expect from Mojostock?
“I’m really open to see what Mojostock is all about since I didn’t get to attend last year. I’m expecting to hear a variety of sounds some of which I’ve never heard play live before, meet a bunch of cool new people, and get a bit tighter knit with the Indy scene in general.”
…What do you want the Mojostock crowd to take away from your set?
“Number one is knowledge of some new tunes; if you have a question on who did what song, ASK! I want the crowd to walk away with an exhausted look on their face from dancing so hard they can barely stand.”
Someone new, bring his brand of electro breaks to the stages of Mojostock for his first time. Im ready, are you? While your writing your list and checking twice, check out his fan page and schedule some time for Bit Flip.
Make sure you pick up your MOJOSTOCK tickets and don’t miss out on something very special!
It’s finally time to start preparing yourself for another edition of Mojostock. For anybody that decided that it wasn’t that important last year… you missed out! That’s all I can say. This year you have a grand opportunity to redeem yourself… and I suggest you take it!!
It’s a “G” Thang!
Speaking about redemption, I give you George Adrian. For someone that just started to establish himself and then “disappear” for a spell… He has definitely caught my attention on his way back into the thick of things. He has appeared back at the Melody Inn and if you had the chance to catch his first appearance at Thurzdaze (Mousetrap), you can understand the he is all business. If you haven’t already done so, I would take the time to introduce yourself to his intelligent brand of eardrum thunder at Mojostock 2011.
…When were you first introduced to Djing?
G: “First time I ever… ever saw a DJ, or knew of “turntablizm”, was when I was five. My mom’s coworker’s son went to the same grade school so it was convenient for me to get off the bus at his house then get picked up after the adults were done working. I grew up with this kid and he was obsessed with rap… All I wanted to be was the B-boy, graffiti artist. It was something I gravitated toward, you know? My parents didn’t listen to it… it wasn’t the “new wave” that my sister listened to. It was something I wanted to do, before I even KNEW what I wanted to do! It may sound cliché, but back then the DJ’s were so cool. I just wanted to be that guy…”
… So, when did you get gear and decide to go about it your way?
G: “I didn’t start buying records until around 2003, copped some gear but then it got stolen. Upon moving back to Indy I hooked up with Arsenic Jimmy who had a set up in his basement and I started focusing on purchasing more vinyl to try and get a handle on mixing. He taught me a lot considering his ear for production so I give him a lot of credit for opening a lot of doors in that respect. I owe a lot to Jimmy for giving me the opportunity to learn the ropes on his gear…without him i don’t know if I would’ve stuck with it.”
… Has it always been drum n bass for you?
G: “…as far as DJing?”
G: “Well, I wouldn’t classify myself as a ‘turntablist’ because then you’re a human sampler. It’s a lot of cutting, transforming… it’s about mixing and blending tastes. With drum n bass, it was just the tempo…that snare. I’m not a musician and I don’t feel like I’m that musically inclined. I just feel that I’ve always had good internal rhythm and if I were to ever play an instrument, it would be percussion. I’ve been referred to as a “mixologist” which even though I don’t really know what it means, I guess it seems an accurate definition of what I’m trying to do as a “DJ”. One of these days when i can find the time, I’ll definitely try to expand my horizons by adding a few tricks to my bag other than the various genres I know I can play.”
… What is it about DJ’s that draws people in?
G: “We’re just a beacon; The DJ is the flame that has the ability to attract crowds like moths. You go to a place and there’s music; you’re like, “what’s that sound is, who is that… I have to go check it out.” When you’re good, you have a following so there will always be someone that wants to hear you play out. As a DJ you have this interesting role in music/performance, you’re not just a musician. It’s just based more on your knowledge of the music you’re manipulating at that given time, technical skill, and charisma.”
…When you first played out, what stands out in your mind?
G: “That I wasn’t prepared, I was a guy that wanted to get his foot in the door and just because I got this opportunity (@ tha Melody Inn) doesn’t mean that things are going to go right. You have to understand all the parts, the setup, quality of equipment and what frame of mind you’re in. Not surprisingly, I think I have only had maybe 2 or 3 solid sets at the Mel over the past 6 years or so which I walked away from satisfied as far as accomplishing what I set out to do.”
… What’s the hardest lesson you’ve ever had as a DJ?
G: “Records, mp3, or equipment a DJ does not make. A DJ is a creative individual that has to be doing something special. I don’t care how well you can beatmach, how many dubs you have in your “crate”, or what kind of turntablist tricks you have up your sleeve. At the end of the day, it’s how you put all those pieces of the puzzle together in your mind, using the decks and mixer as a means to an end in order to translate your idea to the dance floor. You have to find that special connection…you have to move yourself before you can move the dance floor. Personally, I like to conceptualize my sets as an hour long progression of one idea through several emotions represented by the tracks themselves. When you have a story to tell, it’s a much more intimate experience between the DJ and the dancefloor, ya know? Trying to manage that relationship, especially in Indy where something like minimal drum and bass and/or UK bass music aren’t embraced as much in a live setting, has been something I’ve battled with the past few years. I play a lot of different genres in an effort to keep it fresh; however, much of it isn’t too dancefloor friendly so the audience either just doesn’t get it or isn’t there at all. All in all, DJ’ing for me is a challenge that I love…almost like a mental fetish with the focus it requires to do so many things at once and not train wreck. Once I began to get a handle on how intense a gig can be, the lessons became embraceable as opposed to obstacles.”
… Do you believe it’s important for DJ’s to have general table etiquette?
G: “I think that if you’re not in the right mindset, like jaded or misanthropic or always a ‘debbie downer’, it’s going to translate into what you’re trying to do. If you’re in a negative spot and you go up on the decks, it will translate into; ‘I don’t give a fuck’. That spot is wasted on that bad attitude instead of going to someone that really had something to say or prove.”
… Who in the local scene has influenced you, back in the day and now?
G: “There are really good DJ’s in this city. In no particular order… Shiva, Slater, John Larner, Sea Monkey, Top Speed. It’s hard to turn back the clock because there has been so many thru the years. It’s hard to pick a single influence. In my opinion, there are two DJ’s in this city that are making an honest living plying the craft and that is Slater Hogan and Top Speed.”
“Now a days, Cody (Kodama) and Chris (Hollowpoint) have their fans and Jim Laughner ‘Dubstep Jesus’,(which I will take credit in coining) is making moves, too. As far as Drum N Bass is concerned, if I was to pick one DJ that has helped me hone my skills and inspired me to sharpen my tools in the shed, it’s Sea Monkey. His musical palette is probably the most comparable to mine so it’s logical that I would gravitate towards his “ethic” as a DJ.”
…What changes have you noticed in the scene?
G: “Obvious example would be Juxtapoze. All the Drum N Bass DJ’s that were taking part in Konkrete Jungle got tired of the promoter not putting back into the night. We had a coup d’etat once we were fed up with the way we were being represented. We felt like everything was closed source so we wanted to open the source to every DJ or genre. Let’s show everybody all the great DJ’s this city has to offer, ya know? It was a lot of hard work and we wanted to be diverse as possible which worked for a while. After my ‘situation’ happened, the crew carried the torch for a while. Over time, without the solidarity, passion, and vision it’s drifted back into that “us vs. them” feel that plagued Konkrete Jungle. We put everyone on for a common cause but now it seems like everything’s gone back to the way it was before. Majority of shows are in bars or night clubs where you have to be 21 to enter, which leaves younger people in the dark unlike the mid to late 90’s and early 2000’s. It’s the big problem since the rave culture was basically shut down in this city. I feel like we are starting to lose our customer base. As musicians, DJ’s and performers we’re ambassadors to the music that we love and to continue the singular “tradition” of exposure to new sounds those raves had.”
… What’s in your future, anything big coming up?
G: “A lot of school. I’m an art school dropout and here I am 13 years after my first attempt at college. I think I’m on the right path now. As far as DJing is concerned, I feel that I’ve taken the next step in my progression as a DJ where I’m more attached to the music. When I played at the Mousetrap in late January, I was dead set at playing my heart out and I just had this experience with the crowd that night. I got compliments from random people and it has motivated me to continue on this path and step my game up to be a better DJ. I’m just concentrating on being in a better place now. Easier said than done, I know…but with the Zaptown articles, the online dnbradio.com show, various gigs, working on the orchard and other miscellaneous projects you can rest assured I’m always trying to make something happen, ya know? Can’t knock my hustle…”
As you can see, “G” is on the up and up and doesn’t plan on stopping there. You can catch him every Sunday on dnbradio.com for his weekly cast of FMRL radio from 9-11pm. Enjoy his latest mix while you prepare for Mojostock 2011.
Cameron Reel is best known for his face melting bass playing for Indy’s number one jam band the ‘Twin Cats’. On February 10th, he will step away from his bass guitar and debut his solo electronic project ‘Bad Dagger’ at the Vogue for IndyMojo’s BoomBox show. Cameron has been quietly producing electronic music since late 90’s early 2000’s, and has decided to finally unleash his brand of flavor onto the masses.
Q: Where did your obsession for music come from, or what is some of the background that got you to this point today?
Cam: “What really started my passion for music was electronic. My first big influence was ‘Boards of Canada’ out of Warp Records. To me, the stuff they played was way ahead of its time. I also liked ‘Aphex Twin’ and like artists, this was around 1995 when electronic music really blew up. The thing about it was by and large, no one really knew how they were doing it. Turntables, OK but how? It really sparked my curiosity, I started digging around, reading trade papers and magazines doing research trying to figure out what was going on and how it was produced.”
“It wasn’t just about electronic music. At the same time I had a guitar, which I was horrible with in the beginning but would still play. Couple of years later, I was at a buddy’s house that had gotten a bass (guitar) for Christmas. We would play around with our guitars and I fell in love with the bass guitar immediately. The tones were so low and thick; I started to make the correlation to the bass lines that I was drawn to in electronic music. So I started to play bass and that was pretty much all I did while in high school, play the bass.”
“After about a year and a half when I was comfortable playing, I was in a Grateful Dead cover band with some friends that did some gigs at the Emerson Theatre for little while until we broke up. Which was ok because I got tired of playing covers. I had then found an instructor by the name of Josh Brunner who is quite possibly the best bass player on earth, but he taught me how to slap bass and just about everything else I know about playing the bass. Around this time I was attending IUPUI where I majored in new media, a program that I am still involved with today. This teacher was talking about electronic music production, and it kind of clicked with me and kicked me back into where I was when I had first found electronic music. At the time some new production programs had come out like ‘Fruity Loops’ and ‘Reason’. Because of that teacher, I absolutely fell in love with the Reason production program.”
“Ironically, I was playing in a band called ‘MadCap’ at the time and one night I invited the lead singer, Brandon Wright over to hang out and play around with ‘Reason’ and we decided to do this side project called ‘San Zion’. This was the very first time I was actually involved in producing electronic tracks. We went through several different incarnations with that and did an EP for a label called ‘Reap and Sow’ out of San Francisco. Brandon eventually moved out to California, and I went out there for a little while and was in a band called ‘The Fuse’ but ended up coming back to Indy and kind of got back into playing the bass, and then obviously ‘The Twin Cats’. Playing bass is a lot of fun. Holding an instrument and the interaction with the crowd is great, but there is something to be said about the virtual instruments like ‘Reason’ and ‘Ableton’.”
Q: Why do solo projects now?
Cam: “Part of it is because I really wanted to exercise those electronic muscles more. Technically, I have been producing electronic music longer than I have been playing live. I really needed a kind of outlet and I think now is a good time because there is an explosion of electronic artists and lots of new listeners out there. I’ve been producing electronic long enough for what, so my tracks can sit on a shelf. I want to put myself out there, and try and get my piece of the electronic pie.”
Q: What’s behind the name ‘Bad Dagger’?
Cam: “Was a half joke name that Brandon and I use to play under back in California. We had a gig at this coffee/art bar out there. My manager Lade was putting the pressure on me to shit or get off the pot for the ‘BoomBox’ show and we were throwing out names and ‘Bad Dagger’ just seemed right.”
Q: What kind of sound can we expect from ‘Bad Dagger’?
Cam: “I would rather talk about what influences the sound, I don’t really subscribe to naming what I play. So, there is definitely a house element to it, little big beat and crunk element as well. There will be kind of an ethereal sound-scape type wash in the background that came from my influences from ‘Boards of Canada’. You will hear some driving grinding bass and I do use some ‘Dubstep’ wobble every once in a while cause I really love that sound. Some of my big influences are ‘Deadmau5’, ‘Pretty Lights’, ‘Daft Punk’, and ‘Archnemesis’.”
Q: What are your thoughts on the comparison between live jam scene and electronic scene here in Indy?
Cam: “They are starting to bleed together quick. It’s because of the festival scenes that have been happening. People are looking for something new and the jam scene wasn’t really involving as it use to be. At these festivals the electronic scene started to creep in and you had all these jam fans that would wander over to the electronic tent and be blown away. Then you started seeing live bands using ‘Ableton’ in their acts, like ‘Papadosio’ and ‘The Coop’. Live musicians started to realize that there is room for everything, the two should just marry and get the best of both worlds. Dancing is dancing and feeling good, is feeling good and that’s why I feel that they are bleeding together.”
Q: Where do you think the Indy scene is right now, not just electronic or jam but in general?
Cam: “I think it has come a long, long way in the last decade. I remember when the only music that was getting any press, was punk music. There was a huge punk scene here, not that I was ever a big punk fan but I do take elements from it time to time when getting creative. I think that now the population has grown, the culture has grown up a lot and so all of the scenes are mixing and people’s tastes are changing. I remember (Twin Cats) doing Q95’s battle of the bands. We’re like a progressive jam funk band with electronic tendencies, and the band that was right before us was serious hard rock and both crowds liked eachother. We got compliments from both crowds saying we came here for this band but now were fans of yours. Everyone is starting to realize you don’t necessarily have to lock down your identity depending on what you listen to, you are who you are. It takes fore runners to give you the opportunity to listen to different types of music in the same venue to push the envelope for this scene or culture. People like Jason King and Matt Ramsey have been those fore runners lately. I personally want to thank them for pushing me and giving such a great opportunity to showcase my electronic project.”
If you are unfamiliar with Cameron’s work on the bass guitar, check out the website for the
Twin Cats for a taste of some face melting funk. Cameron is posed to become a double threat artist, and is ready to finally introduce his production talents in the electronic ring. Only a few have heard his brand of electronic, and I have an exclusive tidbit for you to listen and prepare your ears for a new taste of Bad Dagger. Check out the BoomBox page and get ready to shake what your mama gave ya. See you at the Vogue February 10th for a chance to hear something a little different.
For more info on the show, or to get pre-sales, click here…
James Millward truly lives the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” type of life. By day he is a Neuropharmacologist, by night he becomes DJ Jamestown. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Jamestown is quickly taking his own chunk out of the EDM scene in Indy. He will definitely impress you with his intelligent electro house mixes and is becoming a must hear in the electronic scene. I caught up with Jamestown to see what makes this DJ tick…
Q: What is a little history that got you to where you are now and your electronic roots?
Jamestown: “I have a pretty heavy music background and got into music when I was real young. My parents started me into piano lessons when I was eight and they also played music and sang, so I was always around it. When I was in elementary, you know they make play an instrument so I started to play the drums. There was something about making the beats, just being the beat of the music that was enticing to me. For me it was all about the beats in music.
Later, in the mid 90’s when the “rave” scene really exploded in the U.S., I was listening to a lot of the Chemical Brothers (Dig You’re Own Hole) and The Crystal Method (Vegas) and just loving that music. At that time their sound was so raw, so new. I heard those CD’s and thought that their style was sick and I just wanted to do that, do what they were doing. There was an energy and feeling to music that I had never heard before. I started to see the differences in electronic music and realized it wasn’t all just “techno music,” but that there are all these different genres of like electro, house, breaks, drum n’ bass, psy, trance, etc.”
Q: When did you start Djing?
Jamestown: “It was late 90’s to early 2000’s when I had bought my first gear. I bought two tables, a pretty ‘beat’ mixer, and a crate of vinyl that was all trance. I had gotten into trance listening to Paul Van Dyk’s album 45 RPM, at the time he was being remixed by Tiesto and Oakenfold and a ton of other DJs because he was the shit, or top DJ then. I played trance for about 6 months to a year just learning how to beat match and mix, getting use to the actual build up and breakdown of songs and sets. It took a while because I didn’t have any friends that were in to DJing, I was like the only kid I knew that had tables at that point. I would go to school and say I was playing electronic and they would say ‘Oh, that techno stuff!!!’ I guess I started to DJ because I liked the idea of controlling the beats and taking a crowd on a journey. I wanted to be the one to give the feeling that I got from the music to other people.
After about a year of trance, I started getting into break beat artists and heavier basslines, Adam Freeland was doing some pretty heavy breakbeats back then and Annie Nightingale’s broadcasts on Radio One; they are unreal still to this day. I would listen online and download mixes. I would constantly listen to all these different DJ’s, how their playing, how their mixing and what type of music their playing. Later on DJ Icey was personally one of my most influential DJ’s. Hearing his music changed my way of DJing, and I started using more the bass heavy breaks and powerful synth lines.”
Q: Coming from a trance, breakbeat type background, why transition into electro and mash-ups?
Jamestown: “Firstly, because it’s new and I’m just feelin it right now but also because of the marketability. You have to play what your scene is ready for. I would say ‘Ripple’ is more hip-hopish than anything else, if you go to any of the clubs there everyone is playing kind of the same stuff. To me that’s understandable because when people are hearing electro for the first time, you can’t just throw down a ‘banger’ John Dahlback or like, Herve type set on them. You have to play to the crowd; it’s about the journey you take them on, getting people to move and not scaring them away.”
Q: How did you become involved with “Blend”?
Jamestown: “I moved out here in May 2010 from Salt Lake City, UT for work. I had been DJing a lot back in Salt Lake for house parties and a couple of local clubs. I came here and wanted to keep playing, so I just went to pretty much every club to get a feel for the scene. I first started talking to the DJ’s, like Ben Action-Jackson, Slater Hogan, Neighbz, Kodama, and Jackola and quickly realized there wasn’t much of an electro scene here, or at least compared to what I was used to. Then I met Matt Welp, Matt Allen (FM Radio), at TRU one night. I’d was impressed by that club during the Daedalus show where there was a good mix of genres; dubstep, a good electro set and a solid PA. So I started to message and talk to him and he gave me a shot to play for his night “Blend”. The response was good and our styles worked well together, so a little later he asked me to be a resident for Blend where I DJ every Friday night.”
Q: How do you feel about the electronic scene here in Indy?
Jamestown: “Growing…in its growing stages. Huge Dubstep following, Chicago house influences are prevalent at Keepin it Deep. At Blu they get some really good electro artist, but sometimes they don’t get people coming out for those artists like they should. I think it’s because people are afraid to go to something they don’t know yet. For me, DJing here is about getting more people into what electronic dance music should be. Some promoters are scared to take a risk and bring a banger act that will charge you a bit more because they’re afraid people aren’t going to show up. That tends to slow a scene down a bit.”
Q: Where do you go from here?
Jamestown: “I want to help the electronic dance scene here in Indy blow up, that’s why I try to push the envelope a little bit every time I DJ, I like to challenge my audience and give them something new. I want to get it away from feeling like the straight hip-hop/rap scene rules all and try to get bigger crowds and clubs into some proper electronic dance music.”
During the day James works in a medical lab studying the effects of various drugs on the human mind or psyche. At night he weaves mixes that will definitely affect your mind as well as your ass shaking ability. You can check his brand of electro house out every Friday at TRU for Blend. He will also be making his first appearance at Bartini’s alongside John Larner this Saturday the 18th. Until then have a listen to his latest mix on Soundcloud or become a fan on Facebook. Prepare your dancin’ shoes and pack lightly for your visit to Jamestown.
Taylor Norris is no stranger to the electronic scene, not only in Indy, but Chicago and Detroit as well. He is a member of the Indiana branch of Bang Tech 12 and was a regular on LFORadios’ Collective Sessions with Seth Nichols. Make sure you clear your schedule and catch him as he lights up the electronic tent at this years MojoStock.
Q: What is some history that made you want to be a Dj?
With July 17th fast approaching, the momentum and anticipation of MojoStock is growing. This is also true for the
Being one of Indy’s veteran DJ’s, Rudy Kizer has been a witness to the rise and fall of electronic music. Not only being part of the scene for over 20 years but mostly as a megaphone type voice through his radio show “Hit the Decks” on X103 as well as communicating to the masses through Nuvo’s music blogs. Rudy will bring his extensive track knowledge and classic mixing abilities to the electronic tent for MojoStock and is sure to inject some flavor into even the skeptical listener of EDM.
Q: What were your early music influences?
Jim Laughner, aka Psynapse has been an intricate part of the Indy underground scene. If you caught him at the Bassnectar after party at the Red Room, you know he spins heaters like a true pro. He has been coined ‘Dubstep Jesus’ by his peers and will be bringing his brand of wobble to Mojostock to exercise your eardrums.
Q: What were you listening to before you got into electronic music?
Another heavy hitter of the EDM scene here in Indianapolis, Seth will also be blowing up the electronic tent at MojoStock this year. Not only did I get the chance to speak with one of Indy’s elite vinyl DJ’s, I was also blessed with the opportunity to visit the headquarters of love vinyl records.com and experience the volume that has become Seth Nichols. I was surprised to find not only a connoisseur of records but a selfless entrepreneur. He has been one of the major players in supplying records to the Indy scene for over 8 years. This DJ lives and breathes vinyl. It is his job, his passion, his life.
Upon walking down into his lair, you are literally smacked in the face by a self-built shelf system that houses thousands of records, THOUSANDS of records. Not to mention a private stash that would make any vinyl DJs’ brain melt. After walking me around on a little tour of his facility, I noticed the set up in the corner where he broadcasts Collective Sessions, for LFORadio.com every Wednesday night. It became apparent that I was in for some beat matching later that evening…
Q: What were your early influences musically?
Seth: “I guess being an only child I found a home in music. I would just listen to music all the time. I’d be in my headphones or playing with stereo equipment, setting up speakers different ways. I used to have this end-table that I would throw a speaker in and climb in there just because it would be so ‘boomie’ and loud.”
“I started listening to all the old R&B and early hip hop, and then around ’93 or so, I started to pick up these random club hits dance compilations. It was all vocal euro trance and euro house music. From there, a cd that really opened my mind was ‘Tangerine Dream’, they did this album called ‘Dream Mixes’. It really turned me on to electronic music.”
Q: When did you start DJing?
Seth: “Well, I found electronic music in ’93, although I never went to any function with it until ’99. That’s when I went to my first rave. I had always been a closet dancer and as soon as I walked in there, I just busted out like crazy and started letting myself go and feeling it. It was pretty instant at that point. I saw the DJ and what they were doing. I thought it was all so interesting. After that I went about getting my first set of turntables in my Freshman year of college.”
Q: Why do you continue to spin vinyl?
Seth: “When I first started there was no choice, because it was all vinyl. The reason I stick with it now is primarily because of the sound reproduction. I feel like producers spend so much time perfecting sounds to the littlest degree. I think it should be produced to the masses in the same way, you know, so all those minuscule details can be heard. I also appreciate the collect ability of it, the value involved in the record. I can’t just spend my money on a file and feel like I’m getting my moneys worth. Vinyl just has that authenticity, So it’s definitely sound, the packaging, the collect ability and the hands on or visual aspect of DJing with vinyl just seems more involved.”
Q: Did you have any digital influences or has it always been records?
Seth: “I dabbled with Serato for about a year. I was in the Balance Record Pool which was an all digital advanced releases, everything was unreleased that I could get ahead of time. It was all digital. so I played with Serato then, but I kept hearing the stereophonic differences. That got annoying and I was tired of spending money on these digital files from an advanced promo company. Often times I would end up hunting down the vinyl of the releases I liked, so I bought them twice. I ended up dumping the promo pool and from there I didn’t need to do digital anymore so I went back to vinyl. That was about ’07.”
Q:What are your thoughts on the digital age pushing DJ’s away from vinyl?
Seth: “It’s just art of it, a personal choice,as well as the technological innovations of making things we do easier but not always better. I think the day will come when some people will look back and say that they shouldn’t have stopped collecting and DJing with records, some obviously won’t. Some go as far as stripping away the basic skills of DJing and letting a computer program do it for them, this has no value to me as a performance. No room for error. I also think when there’s an over abundance of tracks to pick from, it’s often easier to take them for granted, as well as be overwhelmed with choices. There is something to be said about the retained and heightened value of a track when you have more of yourself (time and money)invested in it. In turn, you may enjoy and cherish it more than if it’s acquired cheaply or even free (digitally).”
“On the other hand, along with being cheaper, there are many edgy and advanced methods available to digital DJing. Live remixing, sampling, looping, etc. So it really comes down to what you want to do, how you want to do it, and what you can afford. I personally enjoy the challenge of vinyl mixing, and I’ve yet to feel like I can’t do more with it than I already have. So I push onward with this archaic format, haha.”
Q: What are the difficulties of playing a vinyl DJ set?
Seth: “You have factors such as the floor being shaky, the table not being sturdy, basically the needles bouncing around. Vinyl just has a lot more room for error, but the most difficult part are the environmental factors, also, the finesse of dealing with vinyl. Grabbing and changing records, again the physical or environmental factors.”
Q: Talk about your decision to start a record store and how it came about?
Seth: “I was in college and had bought my turntables and then we (Johnny Mack and I) basically started buying collections, or lots of records off of EBay. Go through and pick the records we wanted and then re-sell the rest back on EBay. A lot of the times we would end up making more money off the records than what we bought them for. It was weird but very cool and got us thinking about a record store. In my Junior year of college, I was still DJing, but decided to concentrate on the buying and selling of the records. We were looking between Columbus, OH and Indianapolis to start the store. Indy seemed more sustainable and underground verses Columbus where it’s all about Ohio State and the student turnaround didn’t seem to favor any type of scene. Finally, we decided on Indy just because of the scene we saw here.”
Q: What are the challenges of owning a record store?
Seth: “Most of the challenges surrounded the balance of online verses the physical store. The online demand kept building while the physical store hit a plateau and then started to dip off a bit as digital started to be more prominent around ’05. Vinyl probably hit it’s lowest around ’08 in america when digital really grabbed a foot hold in electronic music. I believe vinyl has been on a come back ever since. Altogether the store has been able to sustain itself and has been a great entrepreneurial adventure. I don’t think I could sell anything I didn’t love.”
Q: Have you ever tried your hand at producing?
Seth: “Yeah, I produce, but I concentrate on it in spurts. I’ve been producing for about 6 years but haven’t really put anything out officially. I have many tracks started, and only a little over a dozen finished, but their tracks I feel are not the stuff I want to put out there.I’m still working at it and hope to have something I can be totally happy with by next year. Some of the reason for lack of focus is the record store itself. The amount of time and energy it takes to run the online store can dominate my schedule, but I still find time to produce music.”
Q: In your mind, what has been one of your greatest accomplishments?
Seth: “Probably the record store, keeping it running and building it up to this point. There’s also everything that comes with it, my own collection and the way it has broadened my musical tastes. The music knowledge that I have gained is priceless. As far as accomplishments as a DJ, it’s as simple as making people dance, smile and enjoy themselves. Just the thought of giving a person a higher moment in life is a great accomplishment to me. That’s really what it’s all about, connecting with people through music.”
Q: In what direction do you think the Indy EDM scene is headed?
Seth: “I think it’s a good direction right now. I like the consistency of events, and promotion. It seems like promoters are starting to work together for the most part. We have the potential to bring new people to it, unlike before, there was astigmatism that has kept people from opening up. The more the culture builds up and the more consistently events happen with better promotion, the more people will get involved with it. I think there is a definite younger generation coming up that will broaden it further, as long as the consistency and quality remains.”
You can expect some funky, bouncing, tribal goodies from Seth this year to go with the fun in the sun at Mojostock. If you cant wait till then, you can also check out some of his production as alter ego, Pax Amo . Seth also broadcasts Collective Sessions on LFORadio every Wednesday night from 7-9pm. So have a listen and prepare your feet for dancing when he shows some vinyl love. Check out one of my favorite mixes.