My new obsession is NYC electro-pop duo The Knocks. Though they’ve been around since 2007, putting out substantial remixes and originals, it’s only in the past six months that, for me, they have really started to shine. The distinctive way they blend electro with pop-funk gives you a sound that’s been missing from today’s general noise. And their remixes offer clear proof of musical knowledge well above the norm. They know how to preserve what you love about the original song while adding something that feels like it should have been there from the beginning. Right? Right!
What I didn’t know about B-Roc and JPatt — and shame on me! — is their mixing ability. They’ve just released a 15-minute mix that features no less than 46(!) different songs. For those of you who constantly flip radio channels in your car or skip tracks on your iPod faster than Usain Bolt on race day, this mix will be right up your alley. As for those of you who appreciate tracks from start to finish … well, I urge you to do just that: listen to this mix all the way through. It doesn’t feel at all like a clusterf**k of pop tracks; it’s a perfectly balanced blend of familiar tunes and hidden gems that you probably overlooked in the past.
Atlanta, Georgia isn’t exactly known as hotbed for electronic music, but LE CASTLE VANIA (a.k.a. Dylan Eiland) is doing his bit to change that. He burst on the scene in 2006 with a buzz-worthy remix of “Black Eyes” by fellow Atlantans Snowden, and quickly earned a rep as an artist to watch. Part of the new wave of American DJ/producers who’ve shifted EDM’s centre of gravity Stateside, he’s earning rave reviews this summer as one of the stars of the Identity Festival tour (alongside the likes of Eric Prydz, Nero, Wolfgang Gartner and Madeon), while busily prepping his debut album. Here, he chats with Toronto’s DJ Soundbwoy (a.k.a. Chris Wilson).
DJ SOUNDBWOY: Where did the name Le Castle Vania come from?
LE CASTLE VANIA: Umm, it’s a boring story. There’s nothing really interesting about it — I just basically made it up.
DJS: What made you get into DJing?
LCV: Well, first thing, I just really loved music and electronic music. The thing that inspired me, though, to really start DJing was when I was 16: I tried to sneak into this club to see some DJs, but it was an 18 and up club. I had a fake ID, but got totally rejected at the door. A bunch of my homies were with me and they had all gotten in, so I had to go sit in the car and wait for them. The car happened to be parked behind the club, and as I was chilling there, bummed that I didn’t get in, I just stared seeing all the DJs coming and going out the back door. Something just clicked in my head and I was, like, if I was a DJ I could get in wherever I wanted, see the DJs I wanted to see, and be a part of that crew and lifestyle. So that was kind of thing that inspired me to start producing and DJing.
DJS: Was it always your main goal to start producing music?
LCV: I was always more inspired by writing and creating music, ’cause that’s where my passion is. DJing, though, is kind of like the reward for creating music, ’cause that’s when you get to unleash it on the audience and see people go off to it.
DJS: You don’t hear of many electronic music artists from Atlanta. That being said, what were your musical influences and how do you try to incorporate that into your sound?
LCV: Atlanta is kind of known for being more of a hip-hop city as far as music goes. But there’s actually a lot more going on in Atlanta — there’s an electronic scene that has grown there, and there’s always been a cool indie rock scene there as well. But you know, my whole sound and vibe is very inspired by the fusion of electronic music and rock music. I sometimes deviate from it and do a lot of different things, such as the Cee-Lo remix, which had a lot more disco influences. I try to take influences from all over and from all the different music that I like.
DJS: How did the “Fuck Yess” monthly party come about?
LCV: Fuck Yess was a party I started in Atlanta because at the time there was no club or venue that you could go to and hear the type of music I was producing — like that indie electro, more aggressive dance music with an indie rock influence. So basically the vibe of the party is buck wild-ass people and music.
DJS: What’s the weirdest or coolest thing you’ve experienced playing a venue or festival?
LCV: The coolest thing is always connecting with the people like when you play at a big festival and you’ve got thousands of people with all that energy coming back at you. As for the weird stuff, I’ve experienced so much — but what happens on the road stays on the road.
LCV: I’m not going to go into any comments about other artists and their opinions. What matters to me is that I came up learning to DJ on vinyl, and learned the ropes the right way and the real way. But at the end of the day, these kids are coming out to part — so if someone is screening a presentation that sets it off, and those kids have a fun time or it heightens the experience to a level they couldn’t do otherwise, then I ain’t mad at them. Everyone just needs to just chill the f**k out and let everybody do their hustle. If that’s not how you want to do things, then you don’t do things that way — you know what I’m saying? We just got to let everybody do their thing. Nobody needs to be trying call anybody out or trying to hate on everyone. The scene is growing and let’s just be happy about that. Every act in electronic music that gets bigger creates more opportunity for every other act in electronic music, and that’s the reality of it. I respect everyone’s hustle. Let’s just let them do their shit the way they want to do it.
As if summer didn’t give us enough to look forward to already (as for example, Robbie Rivera @ Maison in Toronto this Friday) — the good people at Provoke have launched a contest offering Toronto EDM fans the chance to meet a group of stellar DJs this Saturday at the unveiling of the promoter’s newest endeavour.
It’s no secret: if it’s a Thursday in Toronto and you want to hear proper house, you go to Cobra. If it’s a Friday and you need to see the hottest DJs in the company of beautiful people, you go to Maison. Now, Provoke is aiming to own Saturday nights with the introduction of Xsessiveat Club XS.
To mark the occasion, Provoke is throwing a contest. Not only are they offering a full V.I.P. package (and when I say V.I.P., I mean Cedric-Gervais-in-Miami-type V.I.P..), they’re also giving the winner a chance to meet the DJs performing at the Xsessive inaugural.
Count me in! Except, alas, I’m not eligible — but I would be supremely pleased if an EDM addict like you were there to rep bpm:tv.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the DJs on the bill, here’s a quick primer to get you acquainted. Make no mistake, these guys put in work.
MANUEL DE LA MARE
This Italian will have you reppin’ Florence so hard you’ll be draped in a Fiorentina jersey by the end of the night.
If you’re anything like me, you probably think Sound Remedy is kinda like Deadmau5 circa 2009. I mean, this guy is making next-level shit, challenging himself constantly to come up with material that’s creative and different. His basic template seems to stay the same, but that’s as close as he comes to formulaic. Otherwise, he’s constantly leaping the barriers between genres, taking rock tunes, R&B songs, house tracks and everything in between, and flipping them like Mike Holmes trying to re-sell a house.
The other day he dropped off a brand new original, and it’s everything you would expect — and more. For an artist to make my “Sweets of the Week” twice in one month is pretty insane, but SR has made the cut a whopping seven times in 2012. That’s some serious consistency. Btw, did I mention all of his tracks are FREE?! My boooooooooooooy!
Well, if you didn’t already know, it is GOING DOWN tonight at Sound Academy, as Embrace Presents brings Porter Robinson to the stage with guests The M Machine. Porter is a very busy man, so take full advantage of this opportunity and get your ass down to Polson Pier.
Of course, Porter isn’t the only one who’s been rocking the sh*t out of crowds over the past couple of weeks. Which brings us to this week’s Sweets of the Week. With the Digital Dreams fest just around the corner, the heat is on for DJs to find that elusive key to a killer set. Don’t be surprised if you hear a few of these heavy-duty tracks from your fave DJ this coming Canada Day weekend.
No need to go into detail about them — the sounds speak for themselves. Enjoy! I’ll see you tonight at Sound Academy!
So this week I focused on the UEFA EURO 2012, a tournament many say is harder to win than the World Cup. A good chance to take a look at some of the powerhouse nations in the EDM game and see just how many A-list artists they’ve got on the roster.
With all that said, though, it bears pointing out that North American is making a pretty convincing bid for EDM supremacy, too. This week, in fact, we have one of the year’s biggest fests taking place down in Vegas. Electric Daisy Carnival is finally here — and this year’s looks to be one for the ages. The set lists are incredible, and too numerous to list here, so I’ll just pass on the images I’ve been drooling over for the past two months. If can’t make it, don’t worry — I’ll have you covered next week with info all the best sets.
Until then, some sweets to turn your weekend into a Vegas vacation. Let’s get to it!
From one side of the country to the other: Felix Cartal lends his touch to Autoerotique‘s “Roll the Drums.” An absolute banger.
A little tardy with this one, but whenever you come across a new Pleasurekraft track you wait until the full version is released. We were teased with a preview a few weeks back, but it didn’t do the tune justice. It’s truly out of this world — particularly once it hits the four minute mark. (PS, Pleasurekraft are in Toronto tomorrrrrrrrrow night at SPACE IBIZA at Sound Academy. BE THERE!!!!!!!!!)
Speaking of previews, Tits & Clits have given us a glimpse of their latest track — and this one can’t wait. It’s a remix of Demon Superior‘s “Creepy Little Doll.” Something about T&C in the studio: they know how to pick just the right chord for every part of a remix. This will be a definite download when the full track becomes available; until then, this two-minute snippet should hold you.
Mau5trap is well represented this week with the latest from Moguai: a remix of a track he released back in February. He must of heard something in the past four months that he wanted to incorporate, because this version is miles away from the original. Both are good — but this one’s better.
One of my favourite acts, T.E.E.D., remixed by none other than Miguel Campbell. Huge!
On the football pitch, Group 4 is not the most formidable of the UEFA EURO 2012 tournament. Behind the decks, however, this is by far the most talented foursome in bpm:tv’s Euro Cup of EDM. England, the birthplace of so many A-list DJs, is the true capital of the EDM world. France has long been the place you go to find fresh new sounds, while Sweden has emerged in recent years as a contender for global dance music domination. Ukraine may be the underdog of this group, whether we’re talking soccer or music, they are definitely in the fight. Allons-y!
Ukraine – DJ Marika Rossa
She might not yet be a household name, but Marika Rossa is well supported throughout the world. Drawing on the deep roots of techno and blending it with most popular contemporary sounds, she has a knack staying ahead of the curve. For those of you who looooove techno (and speak Ukrainian), her podcasts are definitely worth checking out HERE.
Here’s a prime example of Marika going haaaaaaaaaard!
With so many big name talents to choose from — David Guetta, Daft Punk, Brodinski, Busy P, Mehdi, SebastiAn, Martin Solveig, Bob Sinclar, Laurent Wolf, Justice (whew!) — it may come as a surprise that I’m nominating Madeon to rep France. But when you look at the facts, this really is a no-brainer. Hugo Leclercq was only 11 years old when he started producing music. Not learning music, producing music. He broke into the scene when he won a competition for remixing Pendulum‘s “The Island,” and the rest, comme on dit, is history. Madeon is quickly becoming a favourite worldwide. When he drops a new track you’ll quickly find it being bumped on BBC Radio 1 and circulating around the blogs. The kid has what it takes — will he take what he has?
You thought I was gonna pick Fake Blood, didn’t you? Psych! He was, admittedly, a close finisher, along with such big-name UK dubstep producers as Flux Pavilion, Rusko, Benga and Skream. Likewise such pillars of the scene as veterans Pete Tong and Judge Jules. But in the end I had to go with Erol Alkan. A pioneer and an influencer, Alkan is a G. He’s been pumping out records for close to 20 years, and never seems to tire or grow stale. He just keeps reinventing himself. And then there’s his Web site, an absolutely definitive resource when it comes to the music we like; if you don’t already have it bookmarked, go there now. I’ll wait right here.
Way too many great tracks to choose a favourite; I’ll just give you this.
Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Which came first: Swedish House Mafia or Sweden’s dominance in EDM? A valid question. Sure, Eric Prydz and Axwell have been mainstays for a decade or more — but in the last three to five years the Swedish scene has hit some kind of critical mass, with its DJs turning out banger after banger after banger. Look at Otto Knows. A little known figure, until suddenly his track “Million Voices” goes massive, grabbing all the headlines and all the good spots in your set — until, I dunno, a new Dada Life track surfaces. It’s pretty incredible.
Just at the roster: SHM of course. AN21, Avicii, Cazzette, The Knife, Style of Eye, Albin Meyers and so many many more. But once again, I go with the young gunner. Alesso embodies everything that comes to mind when you think Swedish house. Big room, attention to detail, tunes that make your mom go “Ooooh, I like this one.” Of course you do, mom. Of course you do. Not just insanely talented — the kid is nice, nuff said. And just like Sweden’s star striker, Ibrahimovic, he doesn’t look like your “typical” Swede.
And that wraps up our EDM Euro Cup 2012. Hope you enjoyed it — and I hope you enjoy the tournament as well. Even people who hate soccer tend to come around start liking these games. Just hope I gave you the perfect soundtrack for those post-match victory parties!
In the UEFA EURO 2012 tournament, the group that includes the reigning world champion and a four-time world champ is one to watch. Ditto for our EDM Euro cup. In dance music as in football, the Irish are the most fun to watch, with fans as crazy as they are dedicated. Spain has the EDM culture down to a T, as you’ll see when you check out the scenes in Madrid and Barcelona. Italy, of course, is home to some of the biggest names in house and the coolest kids in electro. And then there’s Croatia, known for crazy, and I mean absolutely off-the-hook, recover-for-a-month boat cruises and beach festivals. These teams may be relatively unknown, but they’re massively experienced — a group worth watching, indeed.
Spain – Sak Noel
For so long the Spanish were perennial underachievers. They couldn’t win the tournament if the earth opened up and swallowed the other 15 teams. They always had a strong team, always looked to finish strong, and always choked. Or they did until 2008, when they finally wrapped it up with the help of a strong core of Barcelona players. Now they can’t lose, and are bidding to become the first country to win three major international tournaments in a row. EDM-wise, Espana has always been a hotbed for house music, and Ibiza is basically global ground zero for electronic music — EDM is practically woven into the very stones of the island. Ibiza is home to some of the best clubs in the world — and those clubs play host to every A-list DJ on the planet.
Yet for all that, Spain isn’t known for producing a spectacular bumper crop of homegrown DJs. So I made the sexy pick: Sak Noel. He may be the most inexperienced DJ in bpm:tv’s Euro 2012 tourney, but he also boasts the biggest song. This is what Ibiza feels like. WTF!?
A double dose!
Italy – Crookers
When it comes to soccer, few do it better than the Italians. When it comes to Italians DJs, few do it better than Crookers. It seems like only yesterday that this duo was breaking onto the scene with their smash hit remix of “Day ‘N’ Night.” This song was more than music — its effortless mix of rap and electro was something new and special. Electro had always been big in Europe, but this track made it big in North America. It was the snowball that started the avalanche we’re seeing today. Crookers faces some stiff competition from Benny Benassi and Bloody Beetroots, as well as from up-and-comers like The S and Stefano Noferini – but I think it’s Andrea “Bot” Fratangelo and Francesco “Phra” Barbaglia who best rep team Italia.
Ireland may not have an oversupply of great producers, but there are definitely a few worth checking out: Johnny O’Callaghan and Timmy & Tommy stand out in my mind. But let’s be honest: when you think Irish DJs, you think Annie Mac. Miss Macca has been a pillar of the EDM community for close to a decade now. Loved by many for her easygoing, happy-go-lucky persona, this Dubliner knows her tunes. You want to hear something new and fresh, something you’ve never heard before? Two places to go: bpmtv.com or BBC Radio 1 on Fridays. True Say Annie Mac is Killing it!
One of the smaller countries in the tournament but by no means the weakest, Croatia is always well represented and well supported and well played. Behind the decks, their musical representative, Miss Sunshine, exhibits the same beauty the Croatian national squad displays on the pitch. Her live sets are meant to be seen and felt in a dark cave somewhere in Zagreb, where the mixture of liquor, sweat and drums put you in a trance. Her original tracks start slow and slowly began to grip at your soul, until you realize you’ve been dancing to the same beat for the past 15 minutes and don’t ever want to stop. She may not be as well known as the other artists in this group, but she can hold it down with the best of them.
In football terms, Group 2 is the UEFA EURO 2012 tournament’s “group of death,” home to global powerhouses Holland, Germany, Portugal and Denmark. In EDM terms, too, this is an impressive stable — but not quite so evenly balanced. While Portugal has a lively, up-and-coming scene and Copenhagen is known to throw down some of the best dubstep concerts, neither can match the firepower of the Dutch and German camps. Let’s break it down.
Netherlands – Nicky Romero
The Oranje. Total Football. Clockwork Orange. The Dutch have, by far, the greatest collection of offensive players in the tournament — the kind of goal-scoring talents that bring the masses to the stadiums. In the EDM arena, meanwhile, the country fields a similarly formidable team. Just think on these names: Sander van Doorn, Laidback Luke,Afrojack, Sidney Samson, Fedde Le Grand, Hardwell, R3hab, Bingo Players — not to mention the former DJ Mag Top 100 winners Tiësto and Armin van Buuren. That’s one hell of a starting squad. Still, for my money it’s the kid from Amerongen, Nicky Romero, who’s the talent to watch right now. Blending the familiar Dutch and Swedish sounds, he seems to have found a foolproof way to make hits. Heavily respected in the game, as evidenced by his collaborations with David Guetta and most of the DJs on the list above, Nicky Romero is the Robin Van Persie of this tournament: coming off his best year yet, hungry and embarrassingly talented.
Germany is stacked: ATB, Paul van Dyk, Moguai, Cosmic Gate, Digitalism and Kris Menace — all household names in the EDM world. But there’s one young man from Hamburg who stands out from the pack. Alex Ridha, a.k.a. Boys Noize, has redefined techno — not just with his own innovation in the studio, but through his label Boysnoize Records (BNR), which can boast some of the biggest releases of the past five years. The one thing always synonomous with the German team is clinical finishing; the same can be justly said for this man.
Quick shout-out to Donna Summer: here’s an amazing tribute Boys Noize did for the late, great disco queen!
Style and flair. The Portuguese, much like their Brazilian brethren, are admired not just for their talent and skill, but for the elegance of their play. Fitting, then, that we should choose Buraka Som Sistema to carry the flag for Portugal in bpm:tv’s EDM Euro Cup. The group that messed with African kuduro so thoroughly that they ended up creating “progressive kudoro” is an act you don’t want to miss. While the Portuguese squad boasts boasts Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the best player in the tournament, BSS boasts “Up All Night,” arguably the best song out there right now. Never underestimate the Portuguese. Por-Tu-GAL!
It may not be known as a hotbed for house music, but Denmark still boasts an impressive lineup of performers. Trentemoller, Daniel Kandi, Kid Massive and Noir are all the kind of big names you’re likely to see at any festival as an opening act on the main stage. But it’s Medina I’ve chosen to represent the Danes. Maybe, as a Canadian, I’m swayed by her Deadmau5 connection. But there’s just something about this woman’s angelic voice over progressive house chords that gets me every time. It’s always a treat to hear a brand new Medina track, and to look forward to what creative remixers will do once they get their hands on those vocals. Some forget that the Danes have been winners of the Euro tournament before. They may well be poised to strike gold once again — just as Medina did with “You and I.”
Last week Vegas got to me. There was no time to get to my computer, let alone sleep. But with great privilege comes great responsibility. The good news about my adventure last week is that I got to see some sick DJs play brand new tunez. And therein lies my responsibility: to relay these hot tracks to you while they’re still poppin’ fresh. Let the baton passing begin.
This week brought a double dose from Montreal hit men Adventure Club. One track takes the vocals from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ “Maps” and chops it up quite nice, while the other is the background sound for the new Krewella track. Both go hard. Both are free.
The next comes from Ado. Part of the Blood Music stable, he has switched teams to Twin Turbo for the release of Pressure. This new EP is full of raunchy electro techno that will keep you up all night — but it’s the track “Right On” that has me on the edge of my seat. Worth the purchase all on its own. You can get it on Beatport HERE.
The latest Boysnoize Records release is exactly what you’d expect from BNR: innovative, different and completely mental. Les Petits Pilous always seem to find a sound nobody is messing with. You might not like it at first, but like a fine wine…
And speaking of Boys Noize, I have an absolute gem from him right hurrrr. He has created a four-minute tribute to Donna Summer, in a style I could only describe as: washy flossy techno. I think it’s absolute fire. Perfect for your next party!
Shook, possibly the coolest cat in the game, has released a track that lives up to his reputation as one smooth hustler. If you got the one you’re crushing on in the car, this is the tune your mojo is dying for you to play.
Sticking with that sexy vibe, we got something here from two of the most soulful artists in the game. Ellie Goulding takes on The Weeknd‘s humungous banger “High for This” and puts her own adorable touch on it, while Xaphoon Jones from Chiddy Bang gives her a different beat to play with. Together, they come up with something simply breathtaking.
Get used to this one. Avicii gives away a brand new track as a thank you to his fans for hitting 2 million likes. Hate if you want, but there’s a good reason Avicii is maybe the second or third biggest name in EDM — and this song is living proof.
Speaking of big name DJs: Afrojack has taken on a classic and given it his trademark electro touch. I’m always a little hesitant when I hear a Michael Jackson track remixed, and to be honest I’m not 100 percent on board with this one. But decide on your own — you may well find yourself giving it more than one listen.
This song has been remixed, like … what? A million times? Hip-hop, rock, dance — it doesn’t matter, the strings in Phantom of the Opera have been tried and tested. Many times the result have been indifferent, but this time it’s done right. It feels like Ryan Enzed makes music every second of his existence. And why not, right?
Aaaaaaaand … I’ll stop there. Be sure to check in next week. In honor of UEFA EURO 2012 kicking off in Ukraine and Poland on June 8, I’ll be breaking down group by group, country by country. Soccer, you say?!? No, amigo … we’re going EDM with this. We’re going to take a look not at the footballing ability of the competing countries, but their music-making ability. Sweden, Spain, Italy, England, France, Germany, Netherlands — all home to heavy-hitting, world renowned DJs. To say nothing of Ireland, Portugal, Croatia, Denmark, Russia, Greece, Czech Rep, and Poland — all with hidden gems of their own, all capable of competing with the big boys.
So grab your flag and lift it high — cuz bpm:tv presents The real Euro 2012!