Karnivalya 02 is here! Cranking up the power to blow out the spot with “Crank It Out” and on the flip side, “All The People” absolutely shreds the speakers. Guaranteed to make the ravers dance.
Karnivalya 02 is here! Cranking up the power to blow out the spot with “Crank It Out” and on the flip side, “All The People” absolutely shreds the speakers. Guaranteed to make the ravers dance.
Wes Smith brings you the first installation of Karnivalya. Levitate holds nothing back, bringing a vicious assault of high energy sound waves. A festival banger on every level. Give It To Em continues to roll out the breaks on a massive scale. Guaranteed to make the ravers dance. BreaksMafia delivers the remix of Give It To Em, twisting up the original and keeping things fresh.
Here to oscillate your body with the newest release, Sawtooth. “Feel The Groove” and “Shake It Freak” showcase an creative approach to sound synthesis and groove production.
Following the first Califunkya Dreamin’ release, we bring you Califournya Dreamin’ 01! Enjoy the Califournya mixdowns of “Nothing To Say” and “Bubble Yummy”.
It’s here, the first release in the Califunkya Dreamin’ series. “Nothing To Say” is an absolute smasher, switching up grimy lead sounds on the main melody and redropping into utter synth madness. On the flip side, “Bubble Yummy” wubs its way into the mix, stacked with pitched vocal chops and a truly unique energy.
Next up on the road to the remix album release…the one and only Rob-E based out of Orlando, Florida. While a few minutes of rave culture have passed for both of us, we most recently linked up this year at the Revelation party in Tampa. Bass heads throughout Florida and beyond need no introduction, so sit back and enjoy the ride.
Interview by Kelly Ross | Agent 137
What is the Wes Smith connection?
Wes and I have known each other since the 1990’s, the original Juice days. I met him at Simons back in the day, He and I lost contact for a while, he popped back up a few years ago and has been totally been putting in work. Everywhere you look you see Wes Smith!
Which tune did you remix off the album and why did you pick it?
I picked “Do You Want To Get Funky” I got to choose which one and it was the vocals that really caught me, full of soul!
What were your challenges with the remix and what were the good points?
It’s an old C&C Music Factory track and her vocals are absolutely amazing so that excited me to use them. I got the vocals dry at 118 bpm and there was a snap that was throwing me off and I had to write around it. It took some creativity to get around but it flowed fast after the snap and we were able to finish the remix in 6 hours.
I’ve known the Rob-E Name now for a long time. Tell me what has changed since the “back in the day” times for you?
Everything in life changes, it evolves, especially music. But back then it was a lot more exclusive to be a DJ. I would walk into Vinyl Frontier and I would have test pressings and dub plates from Icey, amongst other breaks artists. I had a flightcase full of white labels and dub plates, super exclusive. But now it’s a totally different game. With Mp3’s as our main format of music, it’s not so exclusive anymore. It’s real easy to share media these days, so the days of being super exclusive are far-gone.
I try to keep it true to the old school, if someone gives me music and asks me not to share – I don’t. I try to keep my shows exclusive now a day as well. There’s only a hand full of promoters that I will play for – I’m also a full time father of 2 [daughter 11 and son 10] Music was my first love, but now that I’m a father, my children get my full attention first and foremost.
Who is your biggest influence?
My Influences come from many different genres of electronic music. I get a lot of influence form my partner in crime Carl(DJ Security) – My mentors are Andy Hughes, D-Xtreme and DJ Orlando (All the Old skoolers in O-Town will know this name!) Kimball Collins also had a big part in molding my sound, but when it comes to break beat, thank heaven for Icey, I have known him since the Edge days. He has kept the breaks scene alive and moving for a long time, if it wasn’t for that guy it may have died. The breaks scene has been up and down like a roller coaster, but he has been there in the valleys and he is the one that has kept it going. Hands down he is the pioneer of the U.S. break beat scene.
Where would you like to see the future of breaks go?
Right now I am teaching my daughter how to DJ. She is really into it and digs the music. It’s cool to see some of the newer generation that is into break beat, and where they will be taking it. Pauly [Fixx], Keith [MacKenzie], Wes [Smith] are the ones really putting in work right now, I’m proud of Pauly – he is a machine and living the dream. The breaks guys (and gals) in Europe are taking break beat to a whole other level now. It reminds me of the USA back in the 90’s’ Also, Sharaz is producing some new stuff that is totally different, it’s retro but nothing like you have heard it’s a super fresh sound.
Thank you for your insight, Rob-E. We look forward to your remix on December 14th. Bless.
Next up in the interview series is DJ Hero. I’ve always enjoyed the variety in his sounds and was pumped to have him jump in on the remix project. While we have not met in person, we’ve connected through mutual friends over at XeroTribe and chat in bits and pieces over the last year. I’ve found his perspective on music refreshing and worldly insights fun to follow.
Interview by Kelly Ross | Agent 137
Where does the name “DJ Hero” come from?
When I was young, I used to draw comic books. One day, when I was 19, I was sitting at my house with my roommate, doodling. I had just recently started DJ’ing. I wouldn’t even consider myself a DJ that point. I sat there, at the table drawing, while my roommate sat across from me reading. I had set my drawing pad down, and gotten up to go refill our coffee cups. When I returned to the table, my roommate had drawn the Superman “S” on the chest of the little DJ character I had been drawing. Before I could say anything, he said “that’s you, you’re DJ Hero”. I erased the “S” from the shield, and added a DJ. It just sort of stuck. To me a hero is someone that sets an example and is an inspiration for people. If I was the normal guy, then DJ Hero would be my muse to be more than I was; to be a better person. I hope that over time, as DJ Hero, I’ve inspired other people to be and do more with their own lives through my music and hopefully the example I’ve tried to set.
Your label is named Solitude Studios – what’s in a name?
I have been a bit of a loner all my life, and not a fan of big crowds or busy places. My studio is my place to get away from the rigors of the outside world, or packed clubs, venues, and festivals. I tend to think more clearly, and more creatively when I sit in peace. When I finally built my studio it seemed only fitting to call it “Solitude Studios”. Later, a friend of mine pointed out that Superman’s home is called the “Fortress of Solitude”, making me that much more of a nerd.
I listened to a few Solitude Studio podcasts today. Tell me how that started.
Several years ago, the podcast started as a radio show on United Breaks FM. From there, it moved to Party 95 out of Orlando. After several years on Party 95, and shortly after I started Solitude Studios, the record label, I changed the radio show to a Podcast I aired myself, once a month. Originally, the weekly radio show spotlighted the most popular breaks of the time. I tried to make the show put breaks in a good light. As my tastes evolved, I started adding other sounds and styles. Today the podcast is my way of showcasing the latest Solitude Studios release. The podcast’s sound each month, directly reflects the style of the release. As my own sound grows and expands, so will the podcast’s.
Talk to me about Denver. How you arrived, why you stay, what the music landscape is like etc.
In 2007, I was touring with Huda Hudia. The last stop on the tour was Denver, Colorado. I loved it. I loved the climate, the view, the city, and instantly clicked with the group of people we had met at that gig. At the time I was living in Atlanta, Georgia, and had been in the south for upwards of 12 years. I hated it. I was tired of the dirty south. A little over a month later, I had moved to Denver. I thought I wanted to move back to Florida in 2014. After getting there, it took me about 7 months before I was back in Denver, I missed it so much. This is my home now.
Denver is the birth place of Beatport, so the music scene has always been pretty hot. We’ve also got some pretty famous clubs, from Vinyl that over the past 20 years has hosted just about every one of the biggest DJ’s, to The Church, which is a gorgeous converted Catholic church, to Beta, which is now one of the country’s super clubs. We’ve also got some pretty successful promoters that have had their hands in some massive events.
There really isn’t much to complain about out here from a musical stand point.
When you sit down and listen for tunes to play or remix, what do you look for?
I look for originality and production quality. I look for tracks that are unique. As the use of premade and purchased sample packs increases, I’ve decided I would rather steer clear of them. I applaud the companies that have created successful businesses around selling the packs. And, I feel there is a place for good sampling, that’s what so much of my generation’s music is founded on, from hip hop, to pop music, to dance music. But I feel relying on sample packs and construction kits is lazy, and ultimately decreases sound quality. You can’t alter the effects already on the samples, so producers are limited in how much they can manipulate their sounds to specifically fit with the sounds they produce themselves. When I look for tracks for my own virtual record bag, I look for tracks that don’t sound they’ve come from those packs. When I look for tunes to remix, I try to choose tunes that I can’t use my own original production to make the remix sound top notch and unique.
Aside from that, when I’m looking for new music, I try to avoid blatant drug references and sexists or abusive lyrics. I don’t do drugs, I don’t party like that. It’s just not my thing. And, the bad lyrics and vocals are just annoying. I don’t really want to hear some MC demoralizing woman. Again, that goes back to the “DJ Hero” name sake. I just don’t think either is a good look, and doesn’t set a good example.
What’s the Hero/Wes Smith connection?
A while back I was listening to a mixed set online while hiking with my dog. In the mix was a pretty cool track that I couldn’t ID. I reached out to the DJ that posted the mix, and he said it was Wes Smith’s remix of his track. I heard a new/different remix in my head, so I asked if I could have a go at a remix. The DJ agreed, and sent me the remix pack. After going through the remix pack, I noticed it was missing one of the pieces I really liked about Wes’s remix. At that point I reached out to Wes for the part I wanted. Once Wes sent it to me, I completed the remix and sent it to the original producer of the tune, and to Wes (because he had given me a pieces from his remix of it). Wes seemed to enjoy the remix quite a bit, and, later, asked if I would remix one of the tunes on his album “It’s Wes Smith Yo!” The rest is history.
What’s some advice you would like to pass on?
If I could say just one thing to every would-be producer looking to make music, I would say “be you”. Make the music you want to make. Don’t try to make something that sounds like the other guy. Don’t make music to be cool or successful, do it to express yourself. But, I never want to say just one thing, so let me add this; Take your time, make mistakes. Suck for a while, because you’re supposed to. Learn your craft. Prevent yourself from taking short cuts. Learn humility, because not everyone is going to like you, people are going to lie to you, blow smoke up your ass, hate on you, etc. And, that is OK….be you.
Beyond that, don’t send a label an unfinished track. That’s the fastest way to be skipped over when the label goes to listen to the demos in their in box. Label your work properly; Artist Name – Track Title (Mix Title). If the label doesn’t know who and what they are listening to, they won’t follow up and try to find you. Instead they’ll find another track. Take some pride in your work.
After Turntable Sax, what’s next for DJ Hero?
I’m going to keep making new music. After really contemplating who “DJ Hero” is over the past two years or so, I’ve come to the decision that I love far too many sounds, and too many genres to limit myself to just ‘breaks’. That said, I’m going to make whatever inspires me, be it breaks, house, trap, or anything else for that matter. The goal is to create music that can span the genres in one mixed set.
I’m incredibly excited to announce the release of my remix for the one and only Dub Pistols. This massively popular UK based live & DJ act has an amazing, diverse catalog of music and equally long list of awards including multiple nominations for this years Bass Music Awards.
I found a recent quote online which seems fully fitting for this release…“Legends of the urban scene in Britain and adored by hip hop fans because of the exceptional rap vocals of Seanie Tee, will amaze you with the energy and passion on stage.”
Check some bonkers live footage below…
So I had been chatting w/frontman Barry Ashworth for some time and following his DJ escapades for the 2015 tour. We finally linked up and over time started taking about remixes and bam, I got to be part of this killer new Remix EP for Killa Sound, one of the massive bangers of their recent album, The Return of the Pistoleros.
So, today is the day, there is a killa on the loose and i’m humbled and proud to be part of this release for such an amazing group and alongside many other talented artists including Skapes, Wes Smith, Leeroy Thornhill, D-Funk, Landings, Dub Pistols, Donovan Kingjay and Seanie Tee. Check it all below and on Beatport.
Thanks for your support!
My remix for G$Montana’s “G-Spot” dropped this week on Gigabeat Records. The original was written by Geo Lopez aka G$Montana of Project Mayhem (Miami). Geo and I first met @ WMC 2014 when I played his Gimme A Break Pool Party. Since then we’ve played a few fun parties together and worked for some of the same promoters.
Kelly Ross/Agent 137 recently ported herself down to Miami to talk with Geo about what it means to be a promoter-turned-DJ/producer and how he finally came up with G Spot. Check the interview below.
Hi Geo, I know it was your birthday last week, tell me about the weekend:
It was awesome and the first time I had an really awesome birthday in a very long time because it fell on a weekend. On Friday I played the “Breaks Yo” party in Miami where I played early enough to have a good time and late enough to have a great crowd. It was a night of entertaining people and networking – it was crazy. Martin Flex ripped it the fuck up, TwoSweet of the Geishas was a beast, she just made it happen. Then on Saturday I went to Tampa for Revelation where I got to play and also watch Wes Smith absolutely crush it.
When I met you it was in Miami back in 2013, you hosted a Hotcakes/Essential Bass show that was my Miami debut. How did you get into hosting shows?
I was into throwing parties way back in the day and my birthday was coming up so i met with a club owner. I convinced the him that I could bring 100 people to the club for my birthday, so he gave me the side room. I offered to pay him and I packed it out, so eventually he gave me the other room so I put in drum & bass and breaks. People were buying bottles so I sparked it up again and then the club owner gave me all five rooms (jungle, electro breaks, house, etc). The event went on until the venue was sold. It started with a birthday party and became a real business. Then this other production company came up and saw I had drive, motivation and ambition so they asked me to do an event at a new venue. I grabbed it and said I can make it happen. I/O Lounge in the center of Miami right near Space. I did my first major party called Masters of Mayhem there with a ridiculous lineup of 45 artists, the line was down the sidewalk with 2700 people inside. From there we started Project Mayhem, a spin off of that party with Mike aka Malo to become a Miami entertainment promotions agency.
Suddenly, the phone gets muffled and Geo yells out:
That’s my new track vs Neuroziz. We are putting in my flavor and he is putting in his flavor and we are shaking it up. Working together is fun to meld our sounds together. So far I am liking what I am hearing. Sorry, go ahead…
I had been in the scene since 1997 – during that time i would always walk up to the DJ and ask them how they made it happen. I was interested in promoting and creating events but would always go to studios and ask my friends all kinds of questions on how things work.
At some point I figured I might as well start djing, all my friends I had met as a promoter, like Eddie Light and Phat Kidz, were all sending unreleased tracks, so I starting DJing 2 years ago after WMC [Winter Music Conference]. I bought my first pair CDJS and a flight case on Craigslist, I wanted to play out with the people that had become family to me and I started playing with them.
As an agency i would tell artists to create an identity but also to go beyond djing and make their own beats. Djing alone doesn’t mean you are gonna make it big and it would be critical not to produce after I told all my friends and artists they needed to produce. I realized I needed to get serious and need to make this happen so I spent months and months in the studio learning. I do my main job during the day, run into the studio all night, fall asleep and do it all over again. It took me 4 months to make the track, but I finished that original then shot it off to Wes Smith. He remixed it and here we are… Regardless, I feel like I have big shoes to fill because I have seen all these artists all my life and hung out with them, but I have to be a producer and dj well. I expect no handouts, I want to learn and get opinions to make sure I am following in the footsteps of others, I still have to prove myself.
Talk to me about G Spot:
It’s on the label Gigabeat and will release Oct 20th. Micheal Anthony Lauzardo (aka Malo aka slip 187 knew me from the start). My choice for the remix was my favorite producer Wes Smith. His style is different with a funk flavor that is just wow. I’m really excited about it’s release.
What’s next for Geo Lopez/G$Montana? Will I be meeting up with you again in Miami for WMC?
Yes! After coming off tour in San Diego for Wiggle (thank you Wes Smith and Omega Squad) and St Louis (thank you XeroTribe) and playing in Florida, I’m back in the studio again. My goal is to have 6 finished tracks by March for the WMC events so I can play half of my own set and the other half my fav artists. One of the greatest pleasures is when an artist you look up to plays your tune it’s so humbling and such and honor, you want to run up and say thank you so much. Like Wes Smith did at the Tampa show this weekend. I got to sit back and observe from a different perspective than just djing it and the reaction was great- so very very appreciate of that.
Geo, we are all excited for you! ] It is great to learn your history, present and future in the music industry. I look forward to the track, Miami and getting down with you on a dance floor/DJ booth again soon.
All the <3.
On Oct 17th I’m headed to Milwaukee for Transistor Rhythm brought to you by Dynamic Groove with support from City Air Milwaukee. I put together a call with the promoters to shoot the breeze on the Milwaukee music scene, my Magic Fugu stickers and the 411 on what they do with such love and passion.
Interview by Kelly (Agent 137) Ross:
First I met up with Nic Zimmerman, aka Schwilly-Z, Wes Smith fan and birthday boy (ok maybe not a boy, but that’s the term, right?).
How did you get involved in this particular show?
I have being dj’ing for about 12 years and I was searching through Soundcloud one day for tunes. I heard Lady Waks show that Wes had done and thought it was awesome. I went digging through his Soundcloud for tracks and heard “Bring Back That Funk” and thought it was a massive tune.
I started following him Wes from there and when he posted the “Electric Love” GoPro live recording from that show, I thought it was very interesting and such a great idea. With my birthday coming up, I wanted to be able to bring him from Milwaukee somehow and spread the knowledge of what I already knew about him to others. I reached out to Natalie Bush, as I knew that her company produced quality shows and to see if she would want to do a show with him as the feature artist. Natalie obliged, she has thrown shows here, in Orlando and even Detroit in the past and was completely on board to make it happen.
Tell me about the types of shows City Air Milwaukee throws:
I spoke with Nic and he gave me some background, tell me your thoughts on this show and why you wanted to throw it:
I really want it to be about the show, Wes and good quality dj’s – the main goal is to bring some dj’s that haven’t been in the area in the past. I am really looking forward to the show myself as a breakbeat fan, I enjoy Wes’s style of breaks to the booty side all the way to Adam Freeland and Meat Katie.
What were your beginnings and how did that lead up to starting your company?
My beginnings started in the Chicago house illegal warehouse days. I brought my flyers and notes to my parents to fight for my right to rave and thinking back on it now, we were nuts to be wandering around on the South side of Chicago to go to these shows, but it was magical and we loved it.
I moved to Raleigh for a bit and then to Denver where I started the Rocky Mountain Roller Girls (derby). From there I started doing shows (rock fest, dance and dj events) at the roller derby events. I was spending more time out and meeting people and that’s where I started developing a love and interest in djing. I retired from roller derby and when I started running a dj event, when I met my now husband, Marc Bush aka Markis (who is also playing at Transistor Rhythm).
How did you two meet?
I met him at a traffic light at 2 in the morning and fell in love immediately. We were battling red lights and he asked for my number at one. We kept battling and I lost him around a turn but he called and we both pulled over and started shooting the shit on the side of the road. We went to Cancun for his birthday, he played at an after hours which resulted in us moving to Mexico for 7 months. After that we spent 4 years in Lima, Peru. We met a number of promoters, both established and new with poor English and general lack if a sense of business. That was when saw an opportunity and started helping local Peruvians book talent and throw show. We went back to the states and got to know the scene and started up again…
Then one night it began in Detroit at an after party after Movement. We decided to take a further look at expansion to join forces and Chapter of City Air was born. We began to do monthlies at Studio 200 and some in-betweens such as Halloween parties. It’s the only venue in MIL that caters to an EDM forum – house, techno, drum&bass, etc.
Thank you, Nic and Natalie! The lineup is stacked on this one and I will be there in spirit. I appreciate your time and great conversations.