Baby, It’s Cold Outside

February 15th, 2013

On February 1 and 2, Toronto’s EDM community set out to take back winter, braving frigid temperatures at the inaugural Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival, an outdoor electronic dance spectacle featuring live performances by Moby, Osunlade, Dubfire, Deniz Koyu and many more.

Check out a sampling of Brrrrr! Festival images below, courtesy of photographer Jason Hanns Kwan and Electronic Nation. (Special Thanks to bpm:tv blogger Gosia Mrugala.) CLICK HERE to see the complete photo gallery.



 

The Stafford Brothers: The bpm:tv Interview

January 29th, 2013

Posted by Gosia Mrugala

bpm:tv blogger Gosia Mrugala gets two for the price of one when she connects with Matt and Chris Stafford, a.k.a. THE STAFFORD BROTHERS. Not only are the Staffords Australia’s number one DJ duo — they’re also the stars of their own hit reality series, The Stafford Brothers airing right here on bpm:tv. CLICK HERE for info and airtimes.

EDM fans in Toronto can catch Matt and Chris live at The Guvernment, along with headliners Eric Prydz and Sander van Doorn, on Sunday February 17. CLICK HERE for details!


GOSIA MRUGALA: Hey guys! What have you been up to lately?

STAFFORD BROTHERS: Touring Australia for the summer. We’ve done 40 shows in 60 days here in Australia, which has been crazy. Then we’re back in LA on Monday to film our new video clip with Lil Wayne and Christina Milian.

GOSIA: So what’s it like working as a sibling duo? What are the pros and cons?

CHRIS: Pros – I always find two is better than one. Traveling with someone makes it more fun and I think it would be quite lonely by yourself on the road. Cons – We have to split the money!

MATT: It’s great because you know you have each other’s back. The pros are we know when to step back and not annoy each other, as we’re both trying for the same goal.


GOSIA: What is the best advice you’ve ever received — and who did you get it from?

CHRIS: I think it would be that our parents instilled the thought when we were young that you should never give up and always have a go.

MATT: “Green light,” from our father. He basically means go for it, have a go. We’re always having a go! I guess it would also be “Believe in yourself.” Our family are extremely supportive of us, which is great.

GOSIA: You guys have really built a strong following on the EDM scene. How would you describe the journey you’ve taken to get to this point in your career?

STAFFORD BROTHERS: It’s definitely been a long journey. We started playing every gig we could, self-funding lots of tours and “having a go.” The journey has been really fun, though, and we wouldn’t change it! It’s definitely a crazy/fun lifestyle, and something we want to continue to do for years.


GOSIA: What’s the biggest kind of “Oh shit” moment you’ve experienced during a set?

STAFFORD BROTHERS: With the new Pioneer CD players, they can be linked by a cable. So if the cable is pulled out, the music that’s not on that CD player can cut out. You can expect people to starting booing — that’s a nice “Oh shit” moment.

GOSIA: Can you tell me how your  360 Agency got started? How it is trying to balance producing, DJing and running an artist management agency?

STAFFORD BROTHERS: We were managing our own careers and bookings, and then started to do it for some others. Slowly that began to need more staff, and then another agency wanted to join forces. That’s what made 360 happen. We have a great team there, and that makes it easier for us to focus on the DJing, touring and performing.


GOSIA: What are the pros and cons of having your own reality TV show?

STAFFORD BROTHERS: There are so many pros, but it’s mostly the awareness of the Stafford Brothers that TV makes happen. Of course, this could also be seen as a con! But we love having the show, and it’s definitely an amazing thing for us.

GOSIA: Your top 3 tracks at the moment?

STAFFORD BROTHERS: 1) Stafford Brothers feat. Lil Wayne & Christian MilianHello  |  2) Swedish House MafiaDon’t You Worry Child vs EMP (Stafford Brothers Bootleg)  |  3) Stafford BrothersPressure

GOSIA: Back in December, 93 people were arrested during a drug sweep at the Stereosonic festival in Melbourne. What kind of impact do you think drugs have on the music scene and on you as an artist — and what kind of message would you send out to your fans about drugs?

STAFFORD BROTHERS: Drugs are in all parts of life — from the music world to elite athletes and all the way to the other end of the scale. Staying away from drugs is the smarter move if you want a long and healthy lifestyle — although Keith Richards might disagree.


GOSIA: How do you feel social media outlets have influenced the EDM scene?

STAFFORD BROTHERS: MASSIVELY! Social media is the way that music is being pushed and seen. It’s also a way for fans to get to know their favourite artists, and join the journey they are taking.

GOSIA: You employ multiple companies to work in separate areas of your business. Why do you guys choose to have different handlers for different aspects of your career instead of one head honcho to take care of everything?

STAFFORD BROTHERS: It’s about getting the best person for the job. At the end of the day we oversee what’s happening, but we have particular people who are specialists in their fields to fulfill those different roles. Good at artwork? You do art. Good at PR? You do PR. I would say we are the “head honcho” who takes care of the delegating, but one person alone couldn’t do everything that is required.


GOSIA: Where do you see yourself in five years?

STAFFORD BROTHERS: Hopefully at the top of the DJ/production world. We’re now living in L.A., which has been a big change for us — but one we are loving. We hope to be more successful, but definitely still working hard and enjoying ourselves in the industry. At the top.




Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.

 

Sharam @ Cobra

March 5th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

 

Okay, maybe this weekend wasn’t a big one for shows in the Greater Toronto Area — but there was at least one event during the previous week that more than compensated. Washington, DC’s Sharam was the featured artist on the bill Wednesday at Cobra on King Street West, as Emergency and Provoke Media outdid themselves with a stellar show.

The crowd was primed, proper and packed, to say the least, and the location fit the occasion. All that was needed was for the Iranian-born DJ to deliver the goods. And no fear on that count: Sharam sensed what the crowd was in the mood to hear and scratched that itch with by serving up some of his classic hits.

His name may mean “modesty” in Persian, but a DJ of this calibre has no need to play it humble. The songs flowed seamlessly, and the vibe stayed dialed up to its highest setting throughout the night. Best of all was the choice of tracks. Sharam doesn’t stick religiously to his own stuff; just as in his acclaimed podcasts — or Wildcasts, as he calls them — he plays whatever he knows will get the party hype and keep it going to the small hours. Check out his latest Wildcast (below) and you’ll see exactly what Sharam aims to do whenever he’s behind the Pioneers.

While you’re at it, scope out the pics from the event HERE – and take a stroll around the Provoke Web Site: as you can see, they’re doing big things. With Pleasurekraft, Nic Fanculli, Stefano Noferini and, of course, The Martinez Brothers all on deck, Provoke and Extravaganza are burnishing their reputation for bringing the hottest EDM acts to the Toronto — and soon to the rest of Canada.

I’ll talk abut my Steve Aoki interview in tomorrow’s post. The living legend opened up about his new album Wonderland, the current state of EDM, and much more.

Sharam’s Wildcast #56: LISTEN TO IT HERE



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Live Review: Markus Schulz @ The Guvernment

February 29th, 2012

Posted by Gosia Mrugala

MARKUS SCHULZ @ THE GUVERNMENT, TORONTO – FEBRUARY 25, 2012

 

The renovations to The Guvernment look impressive — especially the new LED wall, which brings a hypnotizing feel to the performances. All in all, the new Chroma room is great addition to the legendary “house of EDM” — the new DJ booth looks fantastic, with a real Deadmau5 “cube” feel to it. The sound system superlative, too, lending real power to the basslines. The mannequins that populate this new “lights and sounds” room recall the feeling you used to get walking through Circa, surrounded by mannequins, rabbits and other fantastical gewgaws. On Saturday I felt like I was in an scene from Star Wars, with people wearing stormtrooper masks and wielding lightsabers left and right. Partying in Chroma really gives you the sensation of slipping into an otherworldly fantasy realm — quite a different experience, to say the least.

“Markus… Markus…. Markus.” The chant kept booming until the headliner, renowned German DJ/producer Markus Scuhlz stepped onto the main stage, and could be heard throughout his performance. This is a true DJ — one who doesn’t let anything hold him back from his music and his crowd. Not even The Guvernment’s faulty hydraulics, which left the stage stuck in the upright position. (“#theshowmustgoon,” he tweeted.) He delivered an amazing show that lasted until 7:30 am.

The first half of his set was dominated by crowd-pleasing vocal trance. Then, as the dancefloor loosened up — with the crush of bodies giving way to those who came for the music and only the music — Schulz began to explore more adventurous territory, delivering a raw, underground sound with a dirty bass line that had an absolutely orgasmic effect on the ears and the body. After more than 20 years on the scene, Schulz definitely knows the ins and outs of creating  a performance that pleases every constituency in the EDM crowd.

Photos by Gosia Mrugala (IAMMUZYKA)


Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.

Dennis Ferrer @ Maison Mercer

February 15th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

Last Friday I was lucky enough to catch Dennis Ferrer‘s show at Maison Mercer in Toronto. Dennis is an icon in the underground world — some might even say he is the underground world. Whatever your opinion may be, one thing is indisputable when it comes to Dennis Ferrer: you get your money’s worth. While most DJs are in an out in a two-hour set, Dennis plays tracks for a good four hours before even breaking a sweat. And his fans are similarly tireless. It doesn’t matter if the bar closed at 2 am, they aren’t leaving until Dennis leaves — which on this night was 4:30!

Here are some video highlights of the night, and a quick chat with Dennis about his favourite underground DJs. Enjoy!


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Thrillin’ Dillon

February 15th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

 

Yesterday being Valentine’s Day, all my thoughts were focused on a very special someone. Oh Dillon Francis, I sighed. When, oh when, is this EP going to drop? Like Juliet on her balcony, I sat staring blankly at his Soundcloud, Facebook and Beatport pages, refreshing every 10 minutes or so minutes in the hope I’d be able to post in the afternoon. Oh Dillon, where art thou? Sadly, I was left spurned and heartbroken. And as you can see on you could see on his Facebook wall, a lot of other people were waiting impatiently too. Dillon’s EP with Cory Enemy had been such a success that it left us all salivating for the new one. But it seemed our hopes were to be dashed for another day …

… until around 7 pm when, in the midst of a wonderful Valentine’s Day dinner, my BlackBerry informed me that the EP had finally dropped. And it was on like Donkey Kong.

I immediately asked permission to slip on my earphones give a listen. My date rolled her eyes, but graciously gave her blessing. And what I heard was exactly what I ‘d expected: high temp electro, with precisely timed build-ups, all at a relaxed yet amped pace. Dillon oh Dillon, you bless us.

However! Only three tracks, one of which had been previously released — it left me wanting … scratch that, craving more. There’s an ongoing debate out there about the death of the album, and as EDM fans I think we have to acknowledge that it’s our genre leading the massacre. Long gone are the Tuesdays when your favourite artist would drop off 14 tracks on a bright, shiny new CD. Now it’s all little bits and little nibbles throughout the year. Does that suit you better? Would you rather hear one or two new tracks every month, or get a lump sum of 14 new bangers all on one day, once a year?

It’s definitely something to be discussed. Dillon kinda gets a pass, because everything he seems to drop is, as Dylan would say, “hot fiiiire.” Check it out and send me your comments here or @SAWStruck.


DILLON FRANCIS – SOMETHING, SOMETHING, AWESOME: BUY ON BEATPORT

Download Dillon Francis Now Hear This (Original Mix)

Download Dillon Francis Falling Up (Original Mix)

Dillon Francis & Kill The Noise – Dill The Noise: LISTEN TO IT HERE



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Dennis Ferrer and Sweets of The Week

February 10th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

The end of what can only be considered a slow week in terms of new releases.  Hey, they can’t all be winners, right?  Sometimes you have to wait a week or two — and in the end, that new track you uncover is all the more Sweet.

I am, however, running into Dennis Ferrer tonight, which I am super stoked about. So I figured this would be the perfect time to reminisce on some of the goodies he’s delivered over the span of his career. This is the man who became the face of EDM in 2009.  While the mass audience was going crazy for David Guetta‘s “Sexy Bitch,” Dennis Ferrer had the night owls on the floor till the sun came up in the red room baby!  He created a cult following, and that cult is still alive and kicking. We’ve been  aching … no, dying  for some brand new DF.  Tonight, with luck, we’ll hear some new joints.

So let’s take a look at the man of the moment, and then enjoy the sweets.

We’re going to get to the anthems eventually, but it’s these first two tracks that really define Dennis.  He’ll take a simple looped melody and make it darker, balanced against other elements that brighten it up.  The best part is that he keeps the rhythm at such a level of anticipation that you don’t even know it’s happening.

Dennis Ferrer – Sinfonia Della Notte (Original Mix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


If you liked that, you’re going to love this one.  It can either sound to you like a huge clash of percussion, or the perfect underground symphony. Obviously, I choose the latter.  Released in 2007, “Destination” is one of those tracks that the Ferrer cult adores, but that wins over non-believers as well. It’s like Tango on E

Dennis Ferrer – Destination: LISTEN TO IT HERE


My two favourite Dennis Ferrer songs are up next.  Nothing else need be said — if you don’t have them, get them!

Touched the Sky – Dennis Ferrer: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Dennis Ferrer- The Red Room: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Just an ordinary day…

If you’re in Toronto  tonight, be sure to check Dennis Ferrer out at Maison! CLICK HERE FOR INFO & TICKETS


SWEETS 

Speaking of kings of underground house, Nic Fanculli is worthy bearer of the title. A track that Dennis Ferrer has been bumping for a minute now has surfaced for me and you online.  Enjoy this one!

Subb-an – This Place (Nic Fanciulli Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Yeah, I already dropped a post about Feed Me earlier in the week. But this, my friend, is a chuuuune!

Feed Me – Relocation: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Otto Knows this and Otto Knows that….Otto Knows what the masses want

Otto Knows – Million Voices: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Sound Remedy don’t seem capable of making bad songs.  Took a dubstep track I didn’t care for (hold the spit and vinegar, please) and turned it into an electro banger.

Crush On You (Sound Remedy Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Can’t have a week without grime, right? Right? Right Right!

Imogen Heap – Headlock (JCRNDA Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


My boy ZHU is on a rampage right now.  There’s a quick teaser out for his documentary, and if the minute-long trailer is any indication of what to expect, it will be a treat.  On the production side, he’s still plugging away at the 52  to ZHU project, and he’s not slowing down.

I can’t speak for ZHU, but I have a feeling the two of us share the same respect for Wolfgang Gartner‘s music.  As I have posted earlier, I’m in love with Gartner’s newest, “There and Back” — and guess who decided to put his own spin on it? Playing off the right elements and adding his own special Mace Windu-style Jedi touch (much as he did on “Spacejunk”) ZHU takes us There and Back and There again with his remix. Cop it!!!!!

Wolfgang Gartner – There and Back (ZHU Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


VISUAL SWEET

What’s hotter than Dubstep in a 40-degree-plus club? Dubstep girls in a 40-degree-plus club. Name: Scott W. Sex: Yes please…. had to bring it out.


That’s it. Dillon Francis EP dropping next week. You know I got that covered!

 


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Artist Profile: A-Trak

February 9th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

To those who live elsewhere in our beautiful country, I owe an apology for continuing to focus on Toronto shows. I appreciate that not all parts of the country are lucky enough to get the best in EDM on a weekly basis. For that reason, I try to give you something fresh and unheard in my Friday and Monday posts. But when an artist of the calibre of A-Trak comes to town, there’s no hiding my pure, unadulterated enthusiasm! After all, this man and his brother are among the best electronic artists we Canucks have ever produced.

Tonight at The Hoxton, Toronto gets an up-close look at the prodigal son — a man who’s been a crucial part of our EDM culture and a pioneer in every sense of the word. Possibly Quebec’s finest export since Patrick Roy, Alain Macklovitch is primed to drop one of his unforgettable sets for those lucky enough to be in attendance.

So who is A-Trak? First off, play this …

Sébastien Tellier – Kilometer (A-Trak Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


All right, background music in place? Perfect. Now, back to the question.

Who is A-Trak. Well, for starters, he is half of the ever stylish and trendy Duck Sauce, in partnership with Armand Van Helden. They’ve taken the EDM world by storm, mixing disco, house, electro and hip-hop sounds — all in the same four bars. But funky, always funky.

A-Trak is also founder and CEO of Fool’s Gold Records, a label whose roster includes names like Kid Sister, Kid Cudi, Jokers of the Scene, LA Riots, Donnis, Lil B and so, so many more. Fools Gold also has one of the best websites for finding everything fly. Fresh is what this label is all about. With a singular ability to keep reinventing itself, it stands to become a name that will live in infamy.

Oh, and A-Trak is also is the younger brother of Chromeo vocalist David Macklovitch. So it’s eveident that music .. excuse me, good music, runs through this man’s veins.

To put it in a nutshell: A-Trak is a perfect example of Canada’s dominance in EDM. Loved by all his peers, with an impeccable ear that serves as a window into the sounds of the future. More than just a producer, more than just a DJ, A-Trak is an icon. Before he was making smash hits and touring the world, he was winning DJ competitions (Vestax, DMC and ITF). Not just winning them — absolutely killing them. And doing it at the tender age of 15. A-Trak is, simply put, ahead of his time.


Sure, we all love “Barbara Streisand,” and “Big Bad Wolf” has a cult following. But it’s the remixes that have won the hearts of the purists. Check out this Boys Noize remix — you can hear him taking elements from the track and make them his own, while keeping it all fresh and unique.

Boys Noize – Oh! (A-Trak Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Then, of course, there are those remixes where he touches up the song ever so slightly, yet somehow turns it into a club banger. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs already had a killer track in “Heads will Roll,” but it’s A-Trak’s re-work that has kept it in the clubs right up to this moment. The track is perfect.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Then, of course, there are his Fool’s Gold Radio mixes, which are a must-have every month for fans of any music.

Fool’s Gold Radio – January 2012 Mix: LISTEN TO IT HERE


I won’t sit here and write endless praise for A-Trak — I really don’t think I could fit all he deserves in the time allocated to finish this article. But I will say that this Montreal born, New York (BROOKLYN!!) based DJ is going to be be a major presence in the genre for a very, very long time. And here’s an important reason why: when he was touring as Kanye’s DJ, he could easilyhave put on his ego cape and snuffed the small crowds. He didn’t. After dropping hits with Duck Sauce, he could have shut down the radio mixes and started to charge people for them. He didn’t. Not his style. He remains behind the scenes, always listening for that next new sound.

Of course it doesn’t hurt to pop his head out occasionally — say, to grace the cover of Billboard alongside Mad Decent owner Diplo and DJ-in-demand Skrillex.

The other great thing about A-Trak, after all of that? He’s a Canadian, just like you and me. So what’s up?!?!

Dennis Ferrer tomorrow…………….c’mon son!

 


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Live Review: Cosmic Gate @ The Guvernment

February 7th, 2012

Posted by Gosia Mrugala

COSMIC GATE @ THE GUVERNMENT, TORONTO – FEBRUARY 4, 2012

 

The Guvernment dance floor was swarmed with bodies eagerly awaiting the embrace of Cosmic Gate‘s alluring sound. And the German duo definitely dominated the “renovated” Guvernment main room.

They’ve come a long way from their 1999 debut single “Exploration of Space.” Their sound has evolved quite nicely through the years — from the solid trance style of their origins to the more progressive house/trance feel of their most recent album, Wake Your Mind. Tonight the crowd was most definitely pleased, and I must applaud Claus Terhoeven (aka Nic Changall) and Stefan Bossems (aka DJ Bossi) for their admirable interaction with the audience. Watching them play off the crowd’s vibe was quite pleasant to witness.

Although I did very much enjoy the music Cosmic Gate bestowed upon us on this night, I do wish they had played more “raw” tracks with an underground, strong trance vibe. It’s intimidating to see the trance/underground scene slowly edging toward the mainstream and commercial. One big hope I have is that DJs and producers won’t lose that great raw, underground sound on their productions and mixes.

Here’s one of my videos from the show:


Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.