Biography, DJ Culture & Music, House Music, Movers & Shakers, Music, promoters, Toronto

House Music Series – Lars Behrenroth – Deeper Shades of House – International- Don’t Let Your Friends Listen to Bad Music

 

DontLet_BlueFull

Don’t Let Your Friends Listen to Bad Music (Quite explanatory, but still explained)

‘I pick music that I want others to hear. I consider the people that tune in like friends. I want to supply them with what I call good music . The connotation can offend people but if its good it doesn’t matter the time, place or format its in. I have a hard time keeping myself to one sound so I like to share it with friends.’

I was pretty stoked to interview THEE Lars Behrenroth (the don’t-let-your-friends-listen-to-bad-music DJ,the hardest working DJ in show business) You know the Lars I’m talking about!! We open Skype screens both seated with shelves full of vinyl but his collection continues and continues on. My almost empty shelf of vinyl starts and ends with the span of the camera shot. This shows how long he’s been in the music game.

On the day of our interview he mentioned he was editing sets from a huge festival he played  in South Africa a few days prior….As we speak he is editing material from his recent set in Africa…Check it out here! http://www.deepershades.net/dsoh-shows/deeper-shades-of-house-502-guest-mix-by-paskal-urban-absolutes.html

Some really cool facts about Lars from back in the day…

  • As a young man he first found out about slip mats on TV prior to that he was using plastic mats
  • He’d been around music for some time-In 1984 he started breaking, he remarks about a scene he saw in Flashdance…watching a Breaking sequence. He tried it out and had no idea what he was doing …but loved it.
  • The acronym TALK is a collaboration by Lars Behrenroth, Kolai & Taha from T-Kolai featuring the lyrical stylings of Mustafa Akbar and collectively they produced the single ‘Touching You’ and released it on vinyl
  • 70-75% of the buzz and publicity for this single came from South Africa.

Production/The Art of Dj’ing: Where it all began….

He’d been around music for some time. I think it’s incredible that a musical revolution/wave influenced a whole generation that set another trend for a whole other generation how cool is that? He came from a very small town of 60,000 people in Germany. This musical phenomenon changed the game for him. He was enrolled for organ lessons by his grandparents, he was signed up for a musical program at 3 or 4 years old. As a teen he had no idea how to mix. He says, ‘I would play out songs by Kraftwerk and Frankie Goes To Hollywood at the time.The kids (ages 8-13) were always too shy to dance so I’d dim the lights at the school dances to create a night club feel.’

Much later he purchased a Commodore 64 computer and created his 1st SD6 computer sounds. The finished product was nothing musical. He says, ‘It was very ambient-ish, broken kind of beats and sounds. Almost experimental. He later bought a keyboard and recorded a 4 hour VHS set. He had an AMIGA and used his first sequencer software. It was only much later that he studied audio engineering to learn exactly what to do in the studio.

Speaking of experimental….I talked to him about CDR Toronto and he felt it was a great idea. He was aware of CDR Berlin and admitted he was ‘too self-critical to put music out so quickly’ (this is kinda how it is in Toronto.) He did mention that something like CDR would be a great platform to put out remixes.(Big ups Gavin  and Koray!)

You’ve been dj’ing officially since 1986. And you moved to LA in 2004. How’s LA been for you?I enjoy living in LA, I try to spin in the area as often as possible. I started a radio segment ‘Global House Connection’ with my then roommate when I first lived in LA (first a 4 hour and years later a 2 hour show.) When I first arrived to LA I was purely motivated by the music and was playing music for the ‘Nu Jazz and Broken Beat scenes’. I noticed that the scenes were VERY separate. (Sound familiar in your city?) I used to collaborate with LA DJ Veteran Wayne Lyons, we did a night BOTANICA in 2007 and played out 4-5 times a year. The great part about being a travelling DJ is that you get to experience different scenes and vibes in various cities.

You bring a slight Euro-Tech sound to productions that are clearly very Afro…how does the fusion occur? Do you intend for tracks to come out this way?  I like to pay respect the original as much as possible. Often times remixes are completely different than the original. I like the challenge. I’ve taken the shuffle sound from Techno and used it on many tracks.I never know what I’m gonna end up with. I’m somebody that makes, music one way or another. I’ve been a fan of bringing sounds that don’t necessarily go together.

I (shine)personally enjoy guest features…I noticed you started using guest features on DSOH. (How did that come about?) Lars was one of the first and few  to broadcast music online. He always like to share the space when possible. Some of the DJs don’t get the exposure they deserve except for their 10 friends. He was trying to attract a different crowds. ‘I figured I couldn’t record 3 hrs every week-so why not share the space with others. It’s more interesting too!’

Speaking of internet radio:  ‘There are only a few internet radio stations that have a full listenership. Even with a small audience radio stations still fuel music discovery. Especially in South Africa! House music fans are getting younger and younger…Just like Rap-House Music gets kids out of shit. You see this with success stories like Black Coffee’

What is it about SA that keeps you going back? Honestly, they (South Afrikans) party like it’s the last party on Earth. It’s the only country I get the recognition, they embrace the music the way in which it is intended to be reached. The musical education is so much higher than the rest of the world. North America used to be like that. EDM is popping up here and there and you know as production people, DJs, House Heads, Musicians you know what we do in a place like SA. We gravitate there. 70-75% of the buzz and publicity for this single (Touching You) came from SA. This is why Lars contributes to the scene there. The single was re-played/re-introduced in 2010 and VERY WELL received. The original for ‘Touching You’ came out on label ‘Perfect Toy’ NU Jazz (which was big in the early 2000s) 2003 was the first release and again re-released in 2010. I thought it was new “originally released on vinyl in 2003 and licensed by DJ Mbuso for Soul Candi Sessions Two, this remix marked the beginning of Lars Behrenroth’s growing exposure in South Africa.

What is the European/German sound in 2015? What do you enjoy about it then and now? The Euro sound is very much connected to real House Music. It’s true to the feeling we connect to. (Early House music era). It’s the music that people gravitate to and are nostalgic about….Old Skool Larry Heard, emotional deepness. You know stoned. Str8 to the heart. Deep Sound. It’s not over produced. It’s raw. The feeling is modest and pure. ‘I envy the people who after a studio session say, the track is done, that’s it’

With the amount of recordings you’ve worked on or re-worked and released over a 20 year span, what is it about production you enjoy?  What’s your creative process? Every song has it’s own approach. I’ve re-visited a song after 8 years and I’ve just finished it now. Collaborations with old material sounds like new. I’m working with labels…I never know what I will receive either vocals or beats….. With remixes you have no deadline and its easier to create hits and re-visit the tracks even to see if you can enhance them.

Casamena used to always say on his radio hour that you are ‘one of the hardest working in the biz’. You’ve built a SOLID brand. What was the vision you had, years ago? Did you foresee this taking shape the way it did today? I started a label to expose people to music. It should be about the exposure of the music and artist. Tools to move music forward to a broader audience. Starting yesterday and every week will be Download Tuesdays. Fans are bound to download a fresh new track instead of going for full albums. (He loves online number and analytics, I would argue that this is why he has also seen tremendous success in other areas of his business.) He questions how someone can buy 1000s of tracks when trends are rapidly changing.

Vinyl or Digital?Everything I do, I like to get multiple use of it. A new fan base is always emerging it’s always re-introducing new ways of music consumption. If you don’t point out that a track was old, many wouldn’t know that it was. Digital is always timeless and vinyl has a shelf life.You don’t need to play hits unless you DJ for weddings <True, true Mr. Lars.

Where are you headed next?Any more trips to SA in 2016? One more time to SA. I play where I’m needed. I’m really pushing the label approach. I’m into the digital side of things. I predict for Indie labels that DJ sale downloads will disappear in 2016 i.e. Fileshare, Youtube etc. I’m looking at maybe going on tour more often and if time permits-the promotion of my DSOH parties when I visit cities worldwide.

https://www.facebook.com/larsbehrenroth

https://twitter.com/LarsLB

https://twitter.com/DeeperShades

lars

DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Movers & Shakers, Music, promoters, Reflections, Social Media, Toronto

House Music Series – Toronto LOCAL – Summer 2014 – Installment 3 – Joonya T: The Youngest in the Biz!

Upon returning to Toronto from Japan in 06-07, I didn’t know where to go. I’d been going to events and show all over Kansai (Japan) and got used to the likes of Danny Krivit, Tim Regisford, DJ Spinna and Louie Vega-respectively. I arrived here (Toronto) thinking that elsewhere could be the only way I’d be hearing great music of this genre.

For months I panicked and felt a little depressed until I discovered the mix CDs and podcast downloads. The best part is discovering the local artists that made up the Toronto scene and immediately occupied myself with the weekly/monthly fixes. One of them was Joonya T.

Currently, you can catch him every first Friday of the month at Toronto’s Andy Poolhall along the College St. Little Italy hub in Toronto! He’s got a unique event scheduled this Caribana Weekend (tonight) in collaboration with Moonraiser Ent (the African house pull) at Mojo Lounge (1305 Dundas St.W.)…and for all of you locals-Mojo’s new home is the former Pacha. This show will be demonstrating something a little different from what we normally get during Caribana here in Toronto. This event features a whole roster of DJs from Africa including female Djs! Toronto and tourists; don’t miss it this weekend!

 

Shejay ZandyYou’ll always find Joonya T spinning in the house music corridor at College or Dundas-he’s never off the grid! You can visit him at http://www.joonyat.com/ to see what’s up, current and happening! Check out this Toronto House Music Mix he just put out to showcase the Toronto flavour! Joonya says about the inspiration for the mix that, “Toronto is very specific about what they take in terms of house music…you rarely  see Toronto people pushing Toronto things…..this is why I started doing the Toronto mixes”.
Check out the mix here! http://www.joonyat.com/2014/07/joonya-t-presents-the-toronto-mix-volume-7/

 

Shine: Where does the name Joonya T come from? In 2007…all the same cover and just a different colour……his name is from his reggae DJ name!

Joonya T: From the Reggae DJ name I had in highschool. It stayed with me up until now!

Shine: I’m not sure if this is how you wanted to project the “JoonyaT” brand but I’ve noticed that you’ve transferred a hip-hop DJ esthetic to your DJ set style……it’s quite good and has a crossover appeal…what I mean by this is non-house music listeners are pulled in and become fans. What is it about the Joonya T style that’s a little more unique than the next guy? (It’s okay to brag here!!)

Joonya T: Prior to getting into the house scene I was definitely influenced by hip-hop. I enjoyed DJ Clue’s stuff and DJ Kid Capri’s stuff. And as most have noticed;  through my podcasts with Karizma’s material!

Shine: Explain Back Corner Radio’s concept…Where can viewers locate all this info?

JoonyaT: Back Corner Radio comes from the group of friends “The Back Corner Crew”. Myself and friends all into the house music scene would go to parties and enjoy the back corner of the party hollering people in the back corner. Everyone has moved on…everyone has gone through some life changes. The name is truly a way to pay homage to the crew.

Shine: You’ve got your monthly mixes and then you’ve got Back Corner Radio sets…..why the two different ‘projects’?

Joonya T: I started with a podcast and then followed a whole slew of other podcasts…The first one was Dennis Ferrer…..he came in 2007 and I created a mix to help promote the party at the time. I wasn’t affiliated with the event but I put the word out. It got a lot of play……. And I made more mega mixes to focus on specific productions.

Shine: You attended the ADE Festival last year what was that like for you? Anything you took away from that? So so curious. 🙂 Are you attending again this year?

Joonya T: ADE is something I’ll always remember. It was crazy to be in a city with all these people who are truly into the music! Places like Amsterdam and Japan take in the various music scenes in a whole different way. Places in Europe, Asia and specifically Africa promote house and Electronic Music the same way we promote Pop Music. Billboards at the bus stop with celebrities and promotional flyers are places all over places like the airport……this was a very different experience for me!

Shine: I like the examples you mentioned it shows a little more than what we think we’d notice and understand about a country’s relationship to house/dance music in other cities in the world.

Shine: Making international rounds must be amazing! (Travelling being the best part)- What’s it like explaining to the people you meet (fans and industry heads) that you’re from Toronto? How do you explain the Toronto (house/tech/dance scene)?

Joonya T: First of all this was made possible by my good friend and confidante in the industry (Pascal Morais). He had been talking about it and encouraged me to head over there. I’m not very much in people’s faces….I’m sociable but I don’t go around to chat with people….I sort of observe and feel my environment. It was little nerve-wracking but once I met everyone I had an amazing time!

When I speak of Toronto, I always catch myself talking about a vibe…..certain tracks set things off….in Toronto. There isn’t a young scene coming up to replace the older heads. The vibe or feel is what we still have and it’s celebrated in a specific way here in (Toronto).

Shine: What’s changed for you in Toronto? i.e. promotion, DJ’ing, creativity

Joonya T: In the beginning, (2007) when I started all this, there wasn’t really a Facebook.  Everything is social. You get the people who go out based on whose promoting. I used to burn CDs . Word-of-mouth reigned and flyers were part of the promotion. Right now…people are not only on Facebook but on other outlets. Technology has afforded me the extra memory to extend a mix past the usual 80 mins! House music runs differently than other musical genres….producers are trying to make the same kind of money they used to make….. Everything was still underground pre-2007 and even still I always hear good music and wanna know what tracks are being played. I used to wonder….Does anyone else know about this?… The underground was truly underground. Often, you do hear House heads talk about ‘back in the day’…..those heads are now getting older. Trends are slowly starting to change! It’s rare to have a 200+ sold out party but small events that collaborate seem to work now in Toronto. A lot of the bigger events are happening on the Tech side…DJs come to Toronto two times a year instead of once. Ask anyone in the soulful scenes We laugh about it. They don’t drink….usually I think it’s because they are older. When I started I was always doing parties on my own, now I collaborate with other DJs… My philosophy now: You gotta make your way or knit your own piece of sweater…..its okay to always push brands at the same time!

Shine: I’ve noticed you’ve concentrated on your online media presence and I’d have to say its VERY good! Who’s your audience?

Joonya T: I’ve got a background in Marketing and want to grow the brand so I’ve remained consistent with my name, image and podcasts. I’m trying to pull in a younger crowd.  Frankly speaking, South African supporters and listeners have always been my audience. Next up are supporters in Europe and following that are fans in the U.S.! They consume more dance music than the average music lover!

Shine: What are some parting words you’d like to leave us with today?

Joonya T: Just like at the end of every show, I’d say to them…Love what you do what you love… that’s a mantra I live by and hopefully my listeners can grab a little something to add to their day when they tune in to Back Corner Radio!

We had so much to discuss it was pretty awesome to talk about his expansive projects!

 

For all you socially savvy people you can follow Joonya T’s digital footprints here:

Social links

www.youtube.com/joonyat

www.Soundcloud.com/joonyat

www.twitter.com/joonyat

www.bit.ly/joonyat (iTunes short link)

www.instagram.com/joonyat

Stay tuned for more LOCAL House showcases at shine!