Posted by Scott Willats
And so the tournament begins.
Just to be clear, this is not a winner-take-all competition — just a celebration of the top producers from those 16 countries that will be competing in UEFA EURO 2012, starting this Friday in Poland and Ukraine.
One thing about us Canadians: we care passionately about our roots. Though we all proudly bear the maple leaf tattooed on our hearts, most of also feel a strong connection to the place our family tree sprouted — from the islands of the Caribbean to Africa and Asia. And so, for those Canadians with ties to the Continent, this tournament is a chance to show pride in where you come from. Hence the flags on cars, the packed bars, and the general camaraderie that will make this month a festive time indeed.
Now Europe, of course, is also home to some of some of the world’s best dance music. So it seems only fitting that we should hold our own little opening ceremonies, soundtracked by the finest dance sounds from each of the Euro 2012 countries. So let’s jump right into it, starting with the most underrated of the four groups …
Russia – Swanky Tunes
Just like their national football squad, the boys in Swanky Tunes are a highly skilled but often overlooked unit that has plugged away for more than a decade but has won wider recognition only in the last couple of years. The group started out, back in 1998, with a strong techno sound and have since reinvented themselves, only to come around full circle of late. A recent R3hab remix and a collaboration with Tiësto is proof that Swanky Tunes are finally starting to receive the recognition they’ve earned. This video takes you on a tour of Mother Russia.
Czech Republic – SHato & Paul Rockseek
They’re probably the least known of all DJs in this group, but make no mistake: SHato & Paul Rockseek put it down. The two have been regular guests on what was the Judge Jules show on BBC Radio 1, which should give you an idea of what time to expect their sets. They play late and they play the big room. Blessed with a distinctive musical touch, the pair find a way to offset that banging progressive sound with just the right touch of melody. The Czech squad are no pushovers, and this DJ double act embodies the spirit perfectly.
Poland – The Polish Ambassador
OK, The Polish Ambassador (a.k.a. Ample Mammal) was actually born in America — Oakland, to be exact. But David Sugalski is as Polish as they come. He seems years beyond his age, and light-years beyond our sound. Seriously, it’s like this guy takes round trips to Pluto and returns home with stuff we haven’t even thought of inventing yet, then plays it to a (lucky) few ravers who fall in love with it so much they resist sharing it with anyone. In short, he’s a DJ’s DJ. If you’re fortunate enough to see him play, expect the crowd to go apeshit — just like they will when co-host Poland kicks off the tourney this Friday.
Greece – Christian Cambas
Tournament winners in 2004, Greece will look to use some of that Athenian luck to reclaim top spot this year. Meanwhile, in the EDM Euro 2012 tourney, Greece can justly claim the biggest name in its grouping: Christian Cambas. Soundwise, he’s working the same side of the street as Sharam, PleasureKraft and Nicky Romero, and he does it just right. Embodying the essence of Greek culture (and not, fortunately, the Greek economy), Cambas makes mature, sexy tracks that sound perfect on a boat rocking in the crystal blue off Mykonos, but are also rugged enough to stand up to the wear-and-tear of play in sweat-drenched clubs. Cambas is a name you’ll be hearing for while — and you could be hearing it everywhere. I mean, nobody picked Greece to win in 2004, and look how that turned out. Could Cristian Cambas be the next Guetta?
Next up: Group 2, a.k.a. the group of death.