Identity Festival – Recap

July 24th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

I know what you’re thinking: “Why do I want to read a review of Identity Festival in Toronto last weekend when I haven’t even seen the bpm Spotlight episodes on Digital Dreams or Full Flex Express yet?” I completely understand how you feel — but with so many amazing shows happening this summer I feel like I need to give you feedback on ‘em while the experience is still fresh.

And fresh it was. Identity had a lot to live up to. Between the monumental scale of Digital Dreams and the all-star lineup of Full Flex — and factoring in the absence of tour headliner Wolfgang Gartner from the Toronto bill — Identity came into the picture as something of an underdog.

Still, Identity did have one secret weapon up its sleeve: Eric Prydz, who hasn’t played in Canada for more than a decade, was slated to close out the night — and for many people, that was more than enough on its own.

Interviewing Eric Prydz at Identity proved to be one of the highlights of my young career, and to discover how humble and down-to-earth he seems was inspiring and encouraging. As for his performance on stage well, no surprise there: it was the best of the night.

Praise should also go to Le Castle Vania, who threw down a wicked set for a crowd that didn’t seem as familiar with him as one might have expected. This guy does not make bad songs. And while he sticks pretty close to the North American brand of electro house, the young man from Atlanta has mad skills when it comes to mixing and making music. His remix of Kaskade’s “Turn it Down” (a favourite among all the songs I’ve blogged) sent the place mental. Madeon‘s set was incredible as well. He was well and truly representing, and you could see why the young Frenchman’s star has shot so high so fast.

My personal favorite set: Showtek. These guys are crazy. I’m not really a hardstyle fan, but they converted me. They’re an awesome bunch, both as artists and as people — but when the mic is on and the tables are turning, they morph into animals. I know hardstyle has its loyal fans, and I’m sure the genre gained a lot of new ones besides myself on Saturday. Can’t wait for you to see the footage our cameraman Middy captured. Epic!

So that’s the summer’s tally so far: Digital Dreams, Full Flex, Identity – all successes. Next up is the Mad Decent Block Party, which should make it four for four. This one’s free so be sure to get your ass down to Toronto’s Yonge & Dundas Square on Saturday July 28. Headlining: hometown heroes Zeds Dead! See you there.

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Moombah Madness

October 20th, 2011


Posted by Scott Willats

Let’s talk about Moombahton. Whenever a new genre pops its head into our iPods, there will always be skeptics, haters and posers. I’m not here to examine what types of people make up those three unique categories — that’s not my job. Truthfully, I don’t believe it’s any person’s job. What is my job is to present to you the various characters who have become influential in this genre, lay it on a plate for you, let you savour and digest it, and come to your own opinion about the outcome.

I’m not going to date myself and say I remember when dubstep started. I’m really not that old, and I don’t want to be. But I do remember when it first started to get big here in North America. It was 2007-2008 when the people who had their ears glued to London’s underground began picking up on this grungy, drum-influenced, bass-inspired music. What it had in common with moombahton was: it was very specific, and people either loved it or hated it.

Well, the tables have turned. This time around, it’s North Americans who are the creators of a new genre, and it’s everybody else who needs to decide whether they “feel it or not.” Now, I’m not expert on the subject of who invented the genre or how, but from what I understand, it all basically started with Dave Nada slowing down an Afrojack beat. The track was Moombah, and when he slowed it to 108 (107-111 is the bpm that all moombahton follows) he thought it sounded like reggaeton — so he named it Moombahton.

Whatever the story, this is definitely made for dancing. Sometimes electro just goes faster than you can manage on the dance floor. I mean, you’ve had a couple of brews and you’re a little bloated, right? Lol, no problem: we just slow that tempo down to 108 and it’s easy skankin’, ya dig me?

The one criticism that can be laid on Moombahton — and it’s the same one I’ve heard about dubstep — is that it’s too much like reggae. I’m a huge a dancehall fan, huuuuuge, and I respect what the likes of Vybz, Movado, Busy and Jahvinci are all doing right now. I do believe the genres sound similar (I mean, Major Lazer‘s Pon de Floor could as easily be placed in either category). But Moombahton has way more of a EDM feel, while reggae always seems closer to soul.

But enough of the dry stuff; let’s get into the tunes — starting with the track where it all began.

Dave Nada – Moombahton: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Mad Decent seem to be the nation of Moombahton, and Diplo is their Prime Minister …

Diplo & Skrillex- Amplifire (Kristiän Edit): LISTEN TO IT HERE

A totally crossed out video that will leave you yelling ‘Que!’

Dillon Francis & Diplo feat. Maluca “Que Que”: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Which leads us to the beast known as Dillon Francis. You’ve heard me sing his praises thousands of times — quite simply, this man is Moombahton.  Enjoy this selection of hits from young Dillon…


Dillon Francis – I.D.G.A.F.O.S.: LISTEN TO IT HERE

A teaser of epic proportions …

Digitalism – Circles (Dillon Francis Remix) **TEASER**: LISTEN TO IT HERE

And a mix to put in your playlist for the right time … enjizzzoy.

Dillon Francis 25 Minimix On Flux Pavilion Takeover BBC Radio 1: LISTEN TO IT HERE

If you’re looking for other Moombahton artists, try Port Alberni, BC native Paul Devro, Munchi, Nadastrom, Sabo, and basically anything Mad Decent!

Class is now dismissed……………xx

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Brand New Zeds Dead

October 11th, 2011


Posted by Scott Willats


Great video just posted a few days ago: Toronto dubsters Zeds Dead tear it up at the Mad Decent Block Party in NYC. I wasn’t lucky enough to be at this event (insert sad emoticon here), so I’ll let the visuals tell the story.

Zeds Dead – Rumble In the Jungle: WATCH IT HERE

Rumble young man rumble!…………..xx


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Red Bull Culture Clash 2011

September 21st, 2011


Posted by Scott Willats

Picture this: four stages, each stage representing a different genre. Each genre represented by some of the top talent talent in the biz. Now picture this event outdoors, in an epic yet state-of-the-art facility. Still not getting your attention? Well, now picture the host and MC of the evening being none other than Kardinal Offishal. The 2011 Red Bull Culture Clash is coming to Toronto this Thursday, Sept. 22, and bpm:tv will be there.

Four stages, each representing their own sound. On one, you’ve got the legend and pioneer known as Afrika Bambaataa & The Zulu Nation. You kidding me? Who has a chance of competing with them? Well, the opposition is just as heavy. On another stage, you’ve got Lucky Me, with help from Hudson Mohawke, Lunice, Rustie and … wait for it … Just Blaze.

Sound tough? It gets more challenging. Toronto is represented by DJ Mensa, Lissa Monet, Lindo P and our Don, our DJ Khaled before DJ Khaled, Mr. Starting from Scratch. Game over, right? Who has a chance of beating them in their own back yard? That’s where our electro brothers come into play. The only crew that could even stand a chance against those three stages is none other than the trend-setting label known as Mad Decent. DJ Sega, The South Rakkas Crew and Paul Devro are all going to take their shot at competing with the best. Their secret weapon: the artful dodger and moombahton king, Dillon Francis! (I was just telling a couple friends the other day: “I can’t wait until Dillon Francis comes to town.” The electro gods must have heard me, because no less than a week later I’m blessed enough to see him.)

This is the kind of event that a live broadcast just wouldn’t do justice, because the crowd is as much a part of the festivities as the DJs. Top that off with Toronto’s King Kardi, and you got yourself a show not to be missed.

The inspiring people of Manifesto have this week all planned out. If you’re into some old school, backpack real rap, then tonight you have a chance to see one of the best groups in the game: The Boot Camp Clik. I saw them back when I was 17 at an … ummm … all ages show (lol), and they were one of the main reasons I got into my field. Sean Price, Buckshot, Starang Wondah: all heavy hitters in the rap scene, and they are right around the corner at the Sound Academy. I look forward to hitting both shows and I hope to see you there. CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW TO GET TICKETS.

This is going to be an event to remember, so get fresh, call your team and get ready to rep your genre until victory is yours. Defeat is not an option!


But seriously, how does anyone have a chance against this? Get ‘em, Dillon!


We play for keeps … xx

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