We’ve had our eye on Atlanta trapstep/soulstep crew WATCH THE DUCK since they dropped the single “Poppin’ Off” last fall. The video gives you a real feel for their blend of muscular musicality and raw showmanship.
Given the astonishing array of massive musical talents that Atlanta has produced in the recent past — OutKast, Cee-Lo and Goodie Mob, Danger Mouse, Young Jeezy, Ludacris, Waka Flocka Flama and, of course, Crunkmeister-in-chief Lil Jon — we’re inclined to lend an ear to just about anything beatwise that comes out the ATL. And Watch The Duck (better known to their mothers as Eddie Smith III, Jesse Rankins and Jonathan Wells) have definitely got the skillz to pay the billz. All three members play live instruments as well as DJing. If you want to get familiar with their soulful take on bass music, the Rub-A-Dub mixtape is the place to start:
You’ve also gotta love the touch of P-Funk flamboyance they bring to their act. Watch ‘em rock the tube socks in the new video for “Lost In It (Anatidaephobia Part 2)”
Besides which: dudes have a duck mascot, man. How hardcore is that?
Eddie, on the origin of the band’s name: “Everybody sees the duck traveling smoothly on top of the water. But nobody sees it kicking hard as hell under it, struggling to stay afloat. We would always say ‘Watch The Duck’ whenever we were in certain industry scenarios, when everyone’s your friend and is trying to be of importance. We say it to each other to kind of lighten each other’s mood.”
Download Watch The Duck’s “Girlfriend??” single for free:
This track is FUNKY! How funky? Like riding the funk train to the republic of Funkistan is how funky. It’s a bit all over the place, but definitely will keep you on the edge of your seat, if not dancing on it. I’m a fan for sure, and see this one creating a really special, crowd-pleasing vibe on the dance floor. It can get to feel a little much, though. I wouldn’t recommend pressing repeat right away, unless your senses are properly calibrated to keep up with a non-stop orgy of funk. Motherfunker!
I’ve been lost, but now I’m found. This is the track that woke me up from my dread-of-winter semi-hibernation. EDM NEVER SLEEPS AND NEITHER SHALL WE. This Dirty South collaboration with Michael Brun keeps the mind-blowing summer of 2012 alive and well! No winter blues for the EDM scene: the vibes of summer will be with us all year ’round. A well-deserved round of applause for the team that produced this euphonious progressive house track. You’ll be pressing repeat on this one as much as I did!
Fearless bpm:tv bloggeuse Gosia Mrugala goes face-to-mask with the enigmatic Italian duo CYBERPUNKERS in this exclusive interview.
GOSIA MRUGALA: Where did you meet and how did you guys start working together?
CYBERPUNKERS: We met four years ago working on the console of the De Sade Cub of Milan, and we discovered we mutually have a very strong passion for the early cyberpunk style, the one that you can find in the Ridley Scott´s movie Blade Runner: an authentic masterpiece of 1982. Since we were DJs, we decided to create a format that could represent our personal interpretation of the style, pushing it in the current clubbing world. So the best thing to do, for us, was using masks to become two masked DJs! Obviously, we had to work hard for three years before the project could become true, but if we consider the results, we can definitely say that it was worth it!
GS: How is it working as a duo?
CPs: Playing as a duo has its advantages: the union of ideas and skills of two people … can reach the goals faster and more easily. Being a duo is important in our format, it gives us the chance to confront and have the certainty that every project is studied in detail — and also disagreements sometimes brings positive results. As you can imagine the world of a producer/DJ is not just music and clubs, it also needs constant promotion and visibility, and being a duo allows you to follow closely the work of people outside our offices, such as printing or labels’ offices, and promoters.
GS: “Give us a mask and we will tell the truth” — can you explain this notion?
CPs: The phrase is part of an aphorism by the famous Irish writer Oscar Wilde: “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” Our interpretation is for the second part of the aphorism: When we mask ourselves we are without filters and inhibitions and we give the best we can to exhibit in the best way. Our transformation with our identity has given us the ability to be clear and stand out in a unique way. It may seem a contradiction, because who wants to mask their identity to hide his “true self” from the world? But in our case the philosophy of Oscar Wilde is ideal. We are “true” if masked, and our fans know this very well!
GM: Your top three tracks at the moment?
CPs: We’re working on a new EP with 3 tracks that at the moment are our top tracks! We will reveal only the titles: “I Will Kill You,” “Shock,” and “My Life,” and soon you will be able to listen to it.
GM: Which producing software do you prefer and why?
CPs: We began to produce using Virtual Instruments and some digital synth such as Virus or Nord Lead. Then we moved to analog synth. In our studio we use Moog Voyager, Alesis Andromeda and Dave Smith Prophet 08, adding distortion with guitar pedals. We’re really satisfied with the result … since moving to analog synth, we feel we have made a huge step forward. As for our sequencer, we use Nuendo, and for effect/eq/comp we use the classic Waves. Post production (mixing and mastering) are totally made by us, in our studio, because we never felt in tune with someone outside of our project. All our tracks are and will be done entirely by us.
GM: Vinyl, CD or MP3?
CPs: When we began our careers as DJs we used vinyl, and we’re really affectionate also now, but the convenience to bring with you CDs and a laptop has no price. The advent of MP3 has revolutionized our life as DJs, at the point that you need two USB flash drives and the evening is ready to go. We use the CDs but for most of our live performances the MP3 is the master!
GM: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
CPs: We don’t believe that we have reached the peak. Very humbly we say that work takes you up, but never enough to be at the peak! In today’s world, contaminated by the Internet and a large number of factors that make you discover new music and artists every day, we must always show true value. To fly high is fine, but with feet firmly planted on the ground.
GM: What is one hobby that your fans would be surprised to find out you enjoy?
CPs: As everybody knows, to create music is not the only thing that an artist enjoys doing: we also enjoy staying in touch with our fans using social media websites (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter …) because we love to answer directly. We are often far from Milan, so when we have free time, we spend our time with our friends and family. One possibly “surprising” hobby we enjoy is rollerblading. And of course sex, alcohol and the cyberpunk life style.
GM: Who are your biggest inspirations — and what have you learned from them?
CPs: We had different inspiration, from the Sex Pistols, Ramones, The Clash, Korn, Nirvana, The Offspring, System Of A Down, Depeche Mode, Massive Attack, Tricky … but also Michael Jackson (R.I.P.), and, for sure, Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy. As you know all the biggest names in music can and will always teach different meanings of music!!
GM: What is one aspect about the music scene you wish could improve/change?
CPs: There is nothing to change in today’s music scene; maybe you could give more space to emerging artists. When we have our own label, we will certainly do it and it will become the strong point of the label … off to the young!
GM: Where do you see yourselves five years from now?
CPs: Good question! We’ll find out in 5 years …. we like surprises!
“All’s fair in love and war” – a cliché, perhaps, but one with a deep, underlying meaning, and an interesting choice for the title of this great track. “All’s fair in love and war” — meaning that love, like war, brings out both the best and the worst in people; it’s a battle of the heart and soul – a battle that cannot be controlled or contained.
“Love & War” was released yesterday on on Ultra Music. (CLICK HERE to buy it on Beatport.) I’m not sure what battles of the heart Gartner went through to bestow this panacea upon the EDM community, but I would say he won his war.
Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.
Do you feel it? I definitely feel it. It’s the sound of summer coming to an end.
Ok ok ok ok! Hold on! Quit throwing rotten vegetables! I didn’t mean to say that it’s over — only that this wonderful, busy, record-breaking summer of ours seems to be winding down. But it’s not all doom and gloom: after all, autumn is when producers head back in to the studio, study what they’ve hearing on tour all summer, and get down to creating some next-level shit.
Consider this a quick snapshot of what’s going down as the summer draws to a close.
The three amigos are back at it again — but this time around, it’s to deliver their swan song.
We still don’t know exactly why Swedish House Mafia have decided to call it quits, but the fact that all three members are gearing up to pursue their solo careers suggests it may be a while before we see the Scandinavian dons together again. For now, they’re embarking on their “break-up tour,” and dropping a few new tracks that you can count on hearing again in a few years time, when they play the inevitable reunion shows.
Whether you think this split is a promotional stunt or the real deal, you can’t deny that these guys have been as important to EDM as any DJ in the history of the genre. They helped put EDM at the front and centre of the public consciousness, and established themselves as international icons. They were one of the first acts to make me feel truly starstruck when I encountered them in Ibiza. There has always been a special aura around this trio, and it will be sad to see them go their separate ways.
Still, you knew they wouldn’t part without some proper goodbye gifts. Their latest release, “Don’t You Worry Child” is as reassuring as the title promises. It’s the sound that’s synonymous with their name, with those enrapturing vocals the whole world loves to hear. This is only a radio rip, but it’s well worth the listen until the official release comes along.
As good as these guys are as individual performers (Axwell, for me, standing head and shoulders above Ingrosso and Angello), I can’t help but wonder if they’ve taken for granted the special quality they share as a trio. Granted, their image and profile have taken a bit of a dip with the emergence of North America’s new wave of superstar DJs — but make no mistake, you still want to be at a SHM concert.
OK, so it’s not like The Beatles are breaking up, but it does draw a little tear. This is the end of an era.
And here we go. Y’all getting sick of me talking about festivals? Well sorry, but tuff f***ing luck. Because this weekend Toronto the place in the world to be for EDM. Or any kind of music, actually.
Sure, Montreal has Osheaga happening, which promises to be nuts in its own right But Toronto is bringing the heavy, what with VELD and HARDboth going down this weekend.
What’s HARD, you ask? Just a little gathering featuring the likes of M83, Buraka Som Sistema, Austra … oh, and Justice. Sorry, let me rephrase that: JUSTICE!!!! The French icons make their looooooooooooooong-awaited return to Canada in style. Fort York is a special place to be this weekend.
And then there’s VELD, the brainchild of Canada’s own EMD titan, Deadmau5. Check out this lineup: Avicii, Kill the Noise, Mord Fustang, Bassnectar, Cosmic Gate and soooooo many others are busy tearing Toronto’s Downsview Park a new one. Rain is in the forecast for Sunday, but it’s gonna get real messy long before that. Canada, this is our weekend!
And with that, it’s on to …. THE SWEETS!
This will get your weekend going just right. A free download that hits the spot.
Another week, another amazing show. If you’re in Ontario’s capital today, I urge you to head over to Yonge and Dundas Square, where the Mad Decent Block Party is raging even as we speak. Local heroes Zeds Dead will be wrapping things up later tonight, and I predict they’ll be shaking the concrete in such a manner as to have the walls of the nearby Eaton Center clinging on for dear life. It’s an extravaganza, amigos – and it’s FREE!!! Say no more.
Speaking of Zeds Dead, we start this week’s Sweets with the brand new EP the duo dropped earlier this week — a collaboration with Omar LinX and, as you’d expect, a classic. Elsewhere, Montreal duo Botnek have a heavy-duty remix on their hands and Alvin Risk takes Fun.‘s “We are Young,” plus a few other goodies. Onward!
Here we go again. Back to Echo Beach — this time to see a man who hasn’t traveled to Toronto … scratch that, Canada … no, wait, scratch that, North America … in 12 years. Eric Prydz is headling the Identity Festival in Toronto on Saturday, and I am amped.
I really don’t know what to expect. We’re talking about one of the pioneers of this genre. Somebody who was bending boundaries in the studio before the term EDM had even been invented. Who was making his mark as a live performer when DJs were still mainly associated with hip-hop acts. Who’d established the pseudonymous Cirez D as a household name well before alter egos became all the rage in dance music. Basically: if you’re in Toronto this Saturday there is only one destination.
And the awesome doesn’t stop with Pryda. Other heavy names featured at Identity include none other than Nero — currently number one on the bpm:tv Hot 20 Dance Chart with their single “Must Be The Feeling.” It’s a while since I’ve seen this UK duo perform, and I’m excited about how their sound has evolved. The latest album, Welcome Reality, has been a massive success, I’m looking forward to this set — not just to see the crowd’s reaction, but to hear their choice of remixes. Should be a performance to remember.
Then there’s Madeon and Le Castle Vania: Both young, both heavy electro — and both awesome. The 18-year-old Frenchman Madeon has built a rep in Europe as something of a prodigy, as been a favorite on BBC Radio 1 for quite a while now. The Atlanta-based Le Castle Vania, meanwhile, is part of the tide of fresh blood from North America blood sweeping across face of the EDM world. Both should be great sets, so be sure to check them out.
And then there’s Excision. Canada, stand up! The dubstep demon from Kelowna, BC will definitely be excited to play such a high-profile fest in his home country. And whenever you get a bass DJ hype to play for you … well, consider your pants soiled. Be prepared to get grimy.
So with all that said, I think it only fair that this week’s Sweets should showcase the artists performing at Identity. Enjoy!