Biography, DJ Culture & Music, events, House Music, Movers & Shakers, Music, promoters, Reflections, theshineprjct, Toronto, women & entrepreneurship

DJ Heather – Apollo Records – (APT) Chicago’s – International – House Music – Summer Series 2018 – (Chicago) Pt.1

With DJ Colette doing a sound check, I sat with DJ Heather instead: Instead, Heather and I had a REAL good chat.We talked about soooo much- from coming of age,to transitioning into motherhood and remaining artistically inspired. I’m glad the interview was split,we had more of a ‘let’s meet for drinks’ kinda chat.She took control of the energy and convo as I’d expected from a DJ and we journeyed through each topic pretty much like her set later on that night at Second City Sessions. Her energy and style are undeniable.

At 20 years in-she’s reflective and is now finally feeling that she is progressing,thriving,comfortable and starting to feel good….she said ‘as an artist you do have moments where you ebb and flow continuously’ So where does this endless motivation come from? ‘There’s an engine inside of you that continues to drive and regardless of what people think about age,gender-all those social mores fall to the wayside’

On coming of age and being a DJ she says one of her greatest moves forward is when she started focusing on herself and all the other chatter just disappeared- it didn’t matter anymore. The people who usually bring up the age or gender thing are those wondering how long its gonna take to achieve a certain status OR they feel that you’re not inspiring as much as you think you are. But along with that-there’s a clichéd phrase that ‘if you’re not inspired you should retire…..’I don’t really feel like I’m at that stage now to do that and there’s been many times through my life as I’ve DJ ‘ed and I remembered that making music hadn’t really been a thing that I grew up with-I never said I’m going to be a DJ, it kinda just happened’

What role has music played for you? Music was always been something that ran parallel with what I was doing with my life. Working for record labels, I was still always in the music industry but not truly focused on the art of DJ’ing. And over time I really enjoyed the element of DJ’ing because of the ability to TRAVEL. There were numerous friends I met and even still today I continue to meet more people and still enjoy what I do. It can be a struggle at times now because I have an added family element to it (just ask Colette) but it still gives me life, it still gives me enjoyment-the literal act of playing music for people is so satisfying but it becomes more of a difficult thing trying to make a living from your art…and I think that doesn’t matter what age you are-whether in your 20s,30s,40s,50s,60s-whatever 70; but in my personal experience I’m a big fan of artists regardless of the medium they choose.

I admire the fact that she has continued with what she does cause you know, it ain’t a regular job. She explains as an artist that ‘the ones who continue to create probably do it because it’s an ever-present thing like a scratch’ and in this case she has to itch……..lol

We are very aware that in accordance to society, even with modernization and some changing values-regardless of what they do,women often take pause from their paths,careers or jobs. Heather re-iterates ‘we do struggle with stuff and even I took time off after he (her son) was born. I was off for five months give or take, maybe three months?…..And my first gig was New Years Eve the following year!’

About how IT (pregnancy) went: I played up until my seventh month- so yeah, I was at the club and my husband was leading me through the venue and I was playing and literally he helped me up onto this stool. But it was a part of my life that I wanted to experience. Being in a relationship with a person (knowing this is the person I’d love to have a child with) and with this  addition it made me change the way I operate in terms of the flexibility of working when I wanted to (that was gone.) Being regimented,being scheduled and disciplined came back-it was like being in college again. (In a strange way.) You still have all this time but you have to learn again how to make that time work for you because you don’t have a lot of it- and between trying to compartmentalize the childcare with everything else, it kind of dampened. I’ve come out of that little ‘baby-ness’ stage. He’s got his own schedule now-he’s got his own feet. He’s in school so that gives me the opportunity to drop him off and I can work as much as I can during the time that he’s at school.

Do you travel with your son yet? He’s yet to come with me on a trip but he’s seen me play at street festivals and stuff. So he feels at home.

Have you noticed his musicality? I see it- but it translates into the fact that he thinks the DJ stuff is cool and he likes to dance. He’s still kind of figuring out what he likes. He’ll pretend to play…We’re just letting him pursue what he wants to pursue and just kinda find his feet. He’s in the studio sometimes, other times he doesn’t want to be in there. Yesterday he came on his own and gave her a sticker installation with labels to be there for her in the room and she put it on a speaker. He left a piece of himself there with her.

How important is it to have a partner that understands what it takes? Has it been easy? It’s been helpful for sure-I wouldn’t say ideal; but it’s great. We’re in total opposite worlds. He’s in corporate construction and I’m in art and music so we’re not really perpetually talking about the same thing. We appreciate each other and we appreciate what we can offer. He’s more in the tactile side of corporate design so he works with colour and fabrics.He’s more on the art side of his business as well. So we still appreciate art in very different ways.

Mind if I ask how you met? He met me as a DJ, he arrived at my show early and met at the booth. And here we are quite a few years later….. 😉

DJ Heather on relationships: As any relationship goes whether it’s a friendship,marriage or partnership (it is work) but if you both know that your end goal is the same and you don’t want to bail and you’re ready to work through it- that’s half the battle and that’s what’s kept us going and it’s just that awareness. It’s difficult when you’re polar opposites.I wanna be able to do my thing and express myself but I’m also a Mommy and if I weren’t doing this I wouldn’t be the mother I am.Being myself means that I won’t ever have a sense of animosity-so there is a lot of freedom I’m given for sure- and I’m very lucky…..

It’s a powerful conversation to have at this time when women are making bold movements to balance work,purpose,entrepreneurship and identity-This had to have been the highlight of our discussion as the theme running globally is women’s empowerment. There’s no direct path…..I explained my level of concern at this juncture in my own life. She admits ‘I never thought I’d be married, I never thought I’d have a child. And both have happened and I’m still maintaining some sort of career that I’m happy with. I’m still always trying to find out methods that feel organic and natural and very honest. And I’m still trying to maintain that honesty, its very difficult to do. She still feels very fortunate to have people that she can still play records for and can share music with them for this long! And I said surprisingly WHY NOT! Fabric 21 and the House of OM Mix CD were stellar projects-Her insightful breaks from my questions had me looking at her role from many angles.

 

She explained this to me: As a DJ you know that the number of DJs-per-capita has grown. There’s the myth about what a DJ does and what a DJ actually does. Many of those who are discovering the art now are finding that there is no way to kind of ‘break in’ to the scene-unless you have a big record or a ‘team’ or unless you have ‘followers’. Now there are all these other things that you don’t have the luxury of cultivating over time. It’s more instantaneous (Where’s the lie? It’s true-this is one of the industry’s biggest changes!) 

Let’s humanize DJ Heather for a moment: She’s grateful for the opportunity to learn a lot of stuff through trial and error. Hopefully she says,’I’ve built a reputation of being a solid DJ but all the other stuff comes with it. The music stuff is great but hopefully being known as a decent human being and the other stuff falls in line. And of course your relationships should be great. I’ve always tried to make life ‘normal’ and not take it as seriously but only take things as serious because its important to me-this is where I’ve found more balance. It’s about balance. Balance is a good thing.’

It’s about the music: I asked her about new Apollo Records track ‘The Acid’ with Berlin based Detroit producer Lauren Flax (June 8). She’s a great producer,Lauren is one of  her fave persons and can produce her butt off. It dropped June 8th and this ‘Acid’ track Heather describes as raw, to the point and machine based. They collaborated on this track and there are remixes out on her label. (partnered with Dann X and Little Mark) At the time, (May 2018) teasers and promo packs had gone out-the single is now available on Traxsource and the acidity is fresh!

Is there a revival of the Acid sound? There’s a kind of revival but just like Nu Jazz it comes in waves. When people say Deep House is back or Acid Jazz is back-it doesn’t really leave. IT sort of appears in waves of consciousness and you hear these records and they’re kind of throwback but they are also sounds that people really love to hear. There’s warmth,grit and depth.

About Blackcherry Recordings, it says House and Downtempo…….is that something you prefer? Do you like that sound? Yeah, as it pertains to Black Cherry I try to have it perpetuate the Chicago sound-It’s more trackier (polished) stuff as well as Downtempo stuff so it’s a kind of homage to Classic House sounds-let’s say upfront tracky stuff (that’s what I tend to focus on with Blackcherry so I was happy to bring it back with that J-Fader EP and I’ve got something coming out with another artist she’s from Chicago T Mixwell….She’s fantastic and she produces lovely music……the track is currently untitled but its’ coming out before the end of the Summer/early Fall.

For artists on the label are you looking for something specific (sound?feel?) When you receive submissions?You know if I feel something, again-its an honesty thing. It’s like this is right..someone’ll send me a track and a few pieces. I might play it out to see or get a sense of where it could go, if it’s perfect or if I think it’s super hot. I play it and get a response and see the initial feeling about it. That helps me verify in that moment. Its like oh yeah…this is pretty dope. I decide if I’ll make some changes and that kinda thing-I kinda like to test run stuff. I do the same with Apollo Records music as well. I test it out at the club and how a room responds to it spatially. It’s not always in the spirit of House Music. For example Derek Dunbar submitted some stuff and I gave it the nod. It’s nice for people to have it (new stuff) so they can put it out because there’s a market for it.

Do you ever have people approach to ask you to help them out or hook them up? (a leg into the industry) Sometimes,but it’s not that blatant, the help now people are looking for are things like ‘could you say something about my track or could you chart it? could you tweet about it?..but again I do share stuff that I feel connected to. So if someone asks me and its kinda weird, I’m not sure but if I kinda know them and they need a little push I’ll do it, its no problem as I’d want anyone to do the same for me.  In the past I would usually reach out to people and tell them their track was awesome and because they were so enthused, they would literally help me out and PUT ME ON tour and let me open-but there’s plenty of that stuff that clubs don’t wanna do anymore.

She explains the way being PUT ON works today: They’ll have these tours where the headlining DJ picks their supporting cast…..unless you have a camp like Dirty Bird they’ve created a culture where everyone’s in-house and literally everyone who’s with the label throws their own events and showcases their own artists, that’s a  formula that has worked for them.So from top to bottom all night,you’re gonna see people who’ve put music on the label or down with their crew and it’s worked! And when they’ve put their people on they’ve added a particular flavour. People are trying to replicate that formula-sometimes it works other times it doesn’t. Or you’ve had stages that are set up at one event or big festival….and let’s say  for example you have Green Velvet, he’ll have a stage with people he really likes and it works.

I tried to do that at my Smartbar residency by kinda mixing it up with people who haven’t played at the club before. I want to get them in the rotation-so they can get used to the club setting…..(it helps them build confidence too!) Sometimes the club sees the new DJ’s potential and they might want to put that person on. By doing that-new people bring a network of friends OR FAMILY, that’s what it should be about! She’s passing the torch in a sense…..Having friends & family who come out to her events gave Heather confidence back in the day. In an encouraging way she says ‘they can put these on their resumes,get other gigs or put that flyer aside as part of their archival information’ It’s almost like passing the torch……

Imagine what kind of advice she’s going to offer which such an in-depth interview…..Must read. 

  • Don’t be limited with what you think you should be doing versus what you truly want to do. Take risks when you feel like you should. Even now- She still feels nervous before a show and (the fear factor is good.)
  • Never assume what’s going to happen at a venue-even with a sound check (you may have an idea of what to expect but you never know…..all those things are nice to know, but you won’t always know)
  • Make sure you have all your tools (part of your arsenal) to rock the crowd. There might be people at a club, festival or rave who have no clue who you are….its a reality. Don’t forget that you’re there to entertain, to bait and switch…. sometimes it’s okay to give people something that’s relatable. That’s where the balance is.(Starting out as a primarily HipHop DJ gave her another tool to use-because Hip Hop audiences usually only dance to shit they know (truth lol) and that’s the commercial aspect of it. But she was able to squeeze in stuff during sets back then- she really understood the art of DJ’ing, whether it was with Downtempo or Hip Hop

 

What about the way women connect on an emotional level with what they do musically and artistically (Production/DJ’ing/Music?)  I shared with Heather  recording artist Kelela’s Opinion piece from earlier this year at  Resident Advisor and it  then spurred a whole conversation on how to proceed beyond that context. She clearly has had different experiences but the future is here. She says, ‘All Women, Women of colour,Transwomen and LGBTQ groups- these are the voices in vogue now…how long will this platform be in place? Will it stay a trend? Being in the industry for as long as she has been-she doesn’t really feel that it’s no longer about the ‘shine’ on music or artists that has changed-it’s just something people are used to now. After all IT IS entertainment. But women have always been behind the scenes and contributing for a long time. From management, to artists, to DJ’ing, to production and just now we’re seeing women as par for the course. Her advice with these changes is to take advantage of this platform, the visibility, the people paying attention and to not be afraid to ask questions and speak out-especially within a learning capacity. If people think you’re being ridiculous it’s okay….don’t worry about the boys club. There are plenty of women,spaces and places where you can find help, get questions answered, obtain resources from blogs, online and printed media outlets and even platforms like YouTube tutorials for example to learn production, DJ’ing techniques and still maintain anonymity. Feel free to learn your craft the way you’d like.

Just like any other city in the world Toronto’s tempo has changed and what people enjoy has changed as well. DJ Heather from sister city Chicago is excited to still be able to play from a fresh spectrum and it sounds like that! Second City Sessions is a collaborative project that was born from their (DJ Colette and DJ Heather’s) House of OM CD release back in 2006 when they toured and traveled with Fred Everything and Andy Caldwell. Fans love to hear Colette and Heather spin together and they deliver the synergy that works between them whenever they play. DJ Heather will be playing alongside Gene Farris, Jason Hodges,Teeloo and Mike Gleeson on Saturday July 27, 2018 after the lunar eclipse at Toronto’s CODA-it’s gonna be an electric one!!!

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DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, promoters, Reflections, theshineprjct, Toronto, Travel

In the Land of Windmills and Dance Music: 11 Things a House Head Should do at #ADE2017

25 years in the making and it shows! I was looking at where to visit and I chose the Netherlands (Amsterdam Dance Event) mostly because of their emphasis on technology. Amsterdam has been known to be forward thinking and many steps ahead in the way they run their society among other things…….Amsterdam Dance Event describes itself as ‘the leading electronic music platform and the biggest club festival in the world for the whole spectrum of electronic sub-genres’.

I absolutely admired ADE’s strong support for all genres. They welcome all sorts of DJ culture-regardless of colour, gender and preference.What I loved the most is the way the city embraced  & all the artists,press,delegates that were participating! There were posters,stickers and promo EVERYWHERE!

I personally loved this scene so much and in several days I took in some DNB, Classic,Deep, Tech and Afro House-it was all-inclusive. It was crazy fun! I met all kinds of people-all music enthusiasts from all over the world in town for ONE thing: music! I met some of the same people at many events. Some enthusiasts from Belgium asked me where I was headed because they were so used to checking out the same artists everywhere.

Before and After a Music FestivalI truly wished I had gone a few years prior. I can’t wait until they expand even more. Jokes aside with memes depicting festival burnout, after the 6 hour flight from Toronto to Schipol Airport it was not tiring at first…… but after 48 hours………with all the excitement and party line-up-I crashed!

 

The one thing that really caught my attention was the Health and Wellness program dedicated to festival burnout and Dance Music/Club Culture. With all the networking events,panel discussions and parties-there were daily yoga and meditation sessions available for whoever needed it. Panel discussions like  [Protecting Mental & Physical Health for Fans & Professionals], and “Who is Responsible for the Mental Health of an Artist?” are very important discussions to be had in any industry.

I was floored by the holistic/health and wellness shops on every corner-shops all over the city carrying products I still have to order online lol! From sprinkles on buttered toast and fresh fruit and smoothies on Albert Cuyp Straat……the contrast was so refreshing. Everything was within walking distance-once you get the subway/streetcar line down pat-you can get anywhere within minutes. A sleek UBER from Schipol Airport takes you to the main city in a 15 min car ride!

The drivers, airport staff and city all expectedly ask you if you’re there for ADE and they have tons of information at their fingertips to help you navigate the city! (LOVE IT!) October is a bit chilly so bundle up with layers and your favourite walking shoes!

DRUGS and ADE! Everyone is aware ADE exists here and speak highly of the event. All drugs are tested before they are brought into venues to avoid injury and/or death! I highly respect this approach because Dance is often intertwined with hard drugs and this is a primary method to eradicate the misconception behind it.Total props!!!!!

Testlocaties-ADE-2017They push for body positive health awareness. I praise their drug education and push for ‘healthier’ usage instead of the ‘war on drugs’.

As drugs are often synonymous with club culture they do encourage safe usage and responsibility for fellow party-goers. It’s impressive.

All aspects of the scene are considered, and openly discussed. Room is made available to talk about the future of the industry. Panel discussions covering technology from equipment- to vinyl’s revival all had a space to showcase,teach and exchange ideas. ADE University teamed up with labels to discuss how they can improve websites, apps and ticket sales to boost revenue and allocate funds in an organized fashion.

I’m not sure if it’s organization is a Dutch thing or that it’s 25 years in the making, but whatever they are doing is beyond music for music’s sake.

I did find their app a little complicated to maneuver and also found it hard to navigate some of the workshops and networking locations around the city. However, all the flags and physical landmarks labelled everywhere made up for the app. I really wanted to attend more events but there are so many programs happening at the same time and back to back that by week’s end-I knew I’d be coming back! All these years I’d only stopped over at Schipol Airport and was finally able to visit and was  so grateful for!

The highlights of the week were the Detroit Love Party (Mirko Loko,Waajeed,Carl Craig,Kenny Larkin,Stacey Pullen,Kevin Saunderson and Moodyman) EPIC partay.

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Detroit Love 2

One of the final night parties at Paradiso (Louie Vega, Joey Negro, Francois K,Space Dimension Controller,Prins Thomas,Amine K,Beesmunt Soundsystem,Jan van Kampen) was memorable!

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Honourable mentions go to the guys over at Cuisine 020 (Bar Karakter)-DJ Migosy (Offering Recordings), DJ Andrew Foley (Deep Rooted Soul), and AMW Gill Charleston-it was a tight-knit LIVE joint! Had a great time! I’m sure by October this year………

11 things to do in Amsterdam (during ADE ) if you’re a House Head or purveyor of Dance Music

  • Go to the Amsterdam Dance Event, check out as many genres as you can……
  • Take naps in between events-you’ll wake up refreshed for your next workshop
  • Go to the artist panels/talks (they are so informative and inspirational)
  • Check out the good eats (so many amazing restaurants-if the locals are in it- it’s the shit!)
  • Buy some records, take in new music say hello to your fave and upcoming DJs (the environment is so chill out there!)
  • Club Hop, there are so MANY amazing events, all on the same night, check out all of them!
  • Purchase tickets in advance from home (they sell out FAST-months in advance), make sure you can actually attend all the events once you arrive!
  • Check out the Heineken Museum
  • Go to a local Coffee House and meet some interesting people, try out the green (if you feel like it!) It feels fabulous to be at a place where there are no issues with green treats-you’ll find many,many,many strains and flavoured paper 🙂
  • Don’t forget to browse in as many weed shops as you can-Many of the shops get most of their best strains from Canada (betcha didn’t know that!) *wink,wink
  • Link up with people who you’ll be able to work with later on-you just never know!!!!

Bravo #ADE2017 see you people at #ADE2018!

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

 

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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, Social Media, theshineprjct, Toronto

House Music Series Toronto LOCAL – Summer 2014 – Installment 1 – LetThereBeHouse.ca

This year’s House Music segment is gonna be off the charts! I’m looking forward to it! Just so you know….blog readers and viewers have visited the SHINE prjct from all over the world! shine2u gets the most hits and shares for its House music features….

Canadians are talented! 

Toronto’s got talent! The Toronto House/Dance/Electro Music scene is burgeoning. This year it’ll be local, ALL local……look out DJs, promoters, club owners….I might be at your doorstep! 🙂

See you on the dancefloor people! LMAO #dancenation #beatjunkies#vinyljunkies #flyers #promotion #interviews #toronto #nightlife

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soiree

Sometimes it’s a one person machine other times it’s a collaborative cipher. Let There Be House has truly made its mark on the small but tight-knit Toronto House scene. Let There Be House was a creative project designed as a go –to everyday-all day-what’s–going-on- in-the-Toronto-scene-one-stop-shop.

On that site you’ll find DJ listings, podcasts, interviews, events and more!

What brought this team together? Simply put, the collective love of music that emerged from the early 90s house catalogue. Front lady and promoter Tas felt the need to do things a little differently while embracing the challenge to jump into the existing “HOUSE” and make a noticeable difference!
This difference was attained with the use of more recent methods of promotion. Back in the day mainly flyers and sometimes email got the word out. A website, a Tumblr blog, a Twitter page and FB page allowed for a little more reach. The site (www.lettherebehouse.ca ) began by giving house music lovers the chance to self-inform. This is absolutely one of the main ways that the music and the culture has remained and stayed very much alive in Toronto. This seemed like a better alternative to pushing promo material both on and offline.
What started as online house music hub housing Jack Declared “@jackdeclared” (a play on the classic house song…… ‘In the beginning there was Jack … and Jack had a groove …And from this groove came the grooves of all grooves….And while one day viciously throwing down on his box, Jack boldly declared “Let There Be House” that is how Lettherebehouse.ca was born. (Pretty clever) 🙂
This site’s been around for almost 4 years this November and naturally there’s been a transition. With this transition comes ‘Soiree’-A night where ‘Let There Be House’ is VERY concerned about ambience. A night where the focus is on THIS city. A night where there’s a different line-up EVERY time, a night where people come out of the woodwork to dance their asses off….did I mention it’s a night where the goal is to grab DJs  from other dance scenes?
Soiree takes place on Sundays which for some time has been a rarity in Toronto. For a big city you’d think Sunday would be a weekend add-on but it’s hasn’t been until last year. Let There Be House took a risk that pays off and with Summer under way…it’s one of the few places you’ll wanna be at!
Here’s a little something about Toronto that LTBH wants the world to know: No matter what you like musically; it exists HERE. (in Toronto) There are a number of movements operating synonymously! All good quality music. Whatever your flavour of “dance” music, just like this city and its people-there’s a scene for it! At ‘Soiree’ DJs and dancers have the freedom to do what they want. It’s not genre specific. Let There Be House states that House is House is House. Whether it’s Deep, Techy, Soulful, Jazzy or Afro. Expect anything…..expect to DANCE.
For those from out-of-town coming to Toronto and you’re interested in the dance in this city…..you’ve got an extra day to take it all in there was a ‘Soiree’  last Sunday, this past Thursday for the Canada Day Long Weekend and there’s another one coming up for the Caribana Long Weekend- going LATE into the night (yay!) and just so you know……

Soiree’ locales are always a surprise!!! That’s the fun part. It could happen at its home ‘Bassline ’ (865 Bloor St. West) or it could be anywhere in the city! All you need to know is that it’s gonna be a good time, it’s gonna go late and you’ll be served some great music TORONTO underground style. Where can you find this info? www.lettherebehouse.ca!

 

Don’t forget!

 

-shine

I’m really excited to showcase Toronto’s scene. Hope you enjoy reading the series as much as I enjoy interviewing everyone!

There’s more for this Toronto Summer series…stayed tuned!

Biography, DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Japan, Knowledge, Movers & Shakers, Music, Osaka, promoters, Reflections, Toronto, Travel

END OF YEAR House Music Series – House of Pela – Afrobeta Bodega Boston

I got a flyer from the SecSeeTemp<3 ladies of house (Brigette,Denise) a few weeks back that read ‘House of Pela’.  It looked like the sticker label for a bottle of hot sauce. Hot sauce ain’t bad….. What’s a House of Pela? What’s an ‘Afrobeta Bodega’?  I asked proud Dominican DJ via Boston all that. So you buy House of Pela products at the Afrobeta Bodega….now I understand. You get a variety of beats, sounds and ideas at the Afrobeta Bodega on the corner all the way from Boston. Sooo…Afro sound, culture, vibe,essence+Beta (first test version)=Afrobeta.

What’s in Boston? I’d visited a few months back to visit a friend working there. I desperately checked all house outlets for shows, parties, events…..maybe it was Winter. Yes, that’s it. No house events happen in Boston because it’s too cold. I checked all my fave ‘selecta’ websites to see tour dates….NOTHING. I took to Twitter -my hub of information and asked a former BET VJ who happens to be a Boston native and she told me:

Free response on Twitter

Soooo to meet a Max Pela from Boston….I had some questions. Where’s the community? Where’s the underground? Who’s the audience? How did Afrobeta start? Why are you in Toronto? Boston seems VERY straight-laced is what I thought….I got schooled. NAGA  has a laid back vibe as a lounge, restaurant and club.  The home of House of Pela is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The home of MIT….the prestigious school. This is always where the underground thrives. Near the schools…the house community must be pretty awesome. Pela sites all kinds of musical influences that he enjoyed in phases- Afro Dominican roots music like Palo, Salve and Gaja from Haiti.

He grew up with rural Dominican cultural influences and he really emphasizes Haitian musical influences which is great to hear considering many of the sociopolitical cultural divides that’s rocked the Dominican Republic for many years. He transitioned from Rock to Old School Hip-Hop to 90s house (this is where it all begins), Tribal, Progressive overall he gravitated to anything with deeper content….

So what does Afrobeta do? Max describes on the site that he is constantly searching ‘ for a specific sound….and has a fondness for non-conventional producers’….what’s non-conventional? He answers ‘anyone can  make music, there many unknowns out there’d like to give them a platform to show what they have….show what makes them unique ; it could even be the old school music production’ I told him that I checked the roster of artists on the site:

All of them have a great body of work. But Marquez- Is the person who told him about US in Toronto! He gave Max the thumbs up and props to come to Toronto! (Shout out to all supporters and enthusiasts of the Toronto house scene!) At afrobetabodega you’ll find live sets, studio recordings, podcasts, news and general musings of  underground house. It’s a work in progress and he mentions that an international expansion is in order.

In 2014 Max wants to make House of Pela a household name and continue to throw successful events. He wants to continue putting Boston on the map. See: TRAXSOURCE. I always ask this because I do feel its important for anyone embarking down creative paths; What advice does House of Pela founder give? – Take risks. ‘If you’ve gotta leave the 9-5 makes sure it’s planned and calculated…..do what makes you happy. If it’s the energy of what you do that drives you, let it be the driving force…there will be times you want to quit…rest assured there will be that one person who will wake you up to keep you going’

House of Pela It’s been fun putting these blog posts out! Follow me in 2014 as I take @theshineprjct  in other directions…. -shine

Biography, DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Movers & Shakers, Music, New York, promoters, Reflections, Social Media, theshineprjct, Toronto, Travel

House Music Series – Jellybean Returns to Revival – International

Behind the Decks

Trust your instincts. These are the parting words of a talented artist whose career has spanned many decades.

Trusting his instincts has taken him to  places unimaginable. Literally. As a child from South Bronx, NY he says, ‘there were only two options amongst my friends…’ to be a drug dealer or a bouncer at a club…..I wasn’t gonna get into drugs and I was too short to be a bouncer’……that broke the ice! lol

Jellybean enthusiasts kept passing by; uttering comments, props and questions about when he was gonna  hit the stage. I’m not gonna lie-I knew about Jellybean as a kid because of Madonna.  I mentioned that to him-but what is fascinating is the kind of work he’s amassed in this many years, as well as the industries that he’s crossed. It is truly remarkable BUT also makes sense as he’s always ‘trusted his instincts’.

Another thing I noticed about what always came up while he responded to my questions was his need for CREATIVITY and his focus of wanting to simply MAKE MUSIC. Watching the crowd’s response on the dance floor Benitez said ‘is like GM testing cars…..as a creator of  sounds, tunes, records…..the dance floor allows you to see what works, what’s fresh and what’ll sell’

In his earlier years after Dj’ing for friends parties, his phone started ringing and requests to collaborate with big artists (Madonna, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson) to name a few- brought him into the studio. By working in the studio with recording artists,  it validated his production skills and allowed him to reach more people.  He left DJ‘ing for 10 years and produced music and soundtracks for films. This instinctual departure added more to his musical talents and skills.

Studio54 and Funhouse residencies allowed him to flaunt his production skills in the clubs and he would go on to produce (3-4 records a week???? Damn!) The music industry has definitely changed! The New York house scene is a very  different one than it was back in the day- in that it strictly thrived as an underground scene. This underground no longer exists. Perhaps this underground scene now thrives online?

I asked him about his XM Satellite Sirius Radio station that started in 2011. He was asked to program the station because of  his expertise, tenure and experience. This allowed him free reign over the design of the station’s music catalogue.  He plays FULL tracks when mixing on air  and that he mentions, has also lost its way with the new style of music mixing. He’s able to give back and educate new  listeners by introducing Disco and Classic House styles within the programming.  So every time, you tune in, and listen to Studio54 satellite radio, YOU learn something new! And just like that, our interview had to end……

Jellybean hit the decks at Revival  and  the  song he plays that draws me in is Louie Vega’s ‘Brand New Day’ feat Blaze. I almost forgot what I was gonna  write tonight.  LOL

I danced the night away 🙂

-shine

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