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The Spotlight: Erol Alkan

Posted on July 30 2015 by Patrick Blinkhorn
Erol Alkan

This is ‘The Spotlight.’ Many artists pass through D.C. on a weekly basis, but this column highlights one specific artist who happens to be playing in the district during the week. That way, you may join their journey in influencing the house music landscape.

There is no question that London based artist Erol Alkan has helped shape dance music as we know it today. As a DJ, he needs little introduction – in 2006, he received Mixmag’s renowned DJ of the Year Award. Nine years later, he shows no sign of slowing down – he still plays approximately one hundred shows a year. As the label boss of Phantasy Sound, Alkan has helped bring artists such as Daniel Avery and Ghost Culture into the limelight. Alkan has gained respect from his fans and peers alike as a producer and remixer, and he has even been called the inventor of the mash-up.

Before his show tonight at U Street Music Hall, we had the opportunity to interview Erol Alkan. You will find the interview along with one of Alkan’s mixes below:

PB: In an interview with Red Bull Music Academy Daily, you said that your earliest memory of music (which may be your earliest memory) was sitting on the floor of your old home with your toy Dansette player. For our readers who aren’t familiar with Dansette players, they are record players. Most children play with firetrucks, dolls, or stuffed animals, but you were playing with a Dansette player – how did this happen? Who gave you this toy and how would you play with it?

EA: It’s true, the Dansette player is the only thing we had to keep me amused. It belonged to my parents. I don’t recall really having many toys when I was younger.

PB: When did you first know that you wanted to be a DJ? Was it an epiphany, or did you come to realize your passion over time? What inspired your decision? How old were you? Were your family and friends supportive of you becoming a DJ, or did they want you to pursue another occupation?

EA: Maybe around 2006 when Mixmag made me ‘Dj Of The Year’.. It seems weird but before that I treated it quite differently, when that accolade was given to me it made me realise what I’d achieved through quite an honest pursuit.

PB: In that same Red Bull Music Academy Daily interview, you said that your “uncle remains the person who seems to be the most enthusiastic about music.” How did he continue to support and influence you as you gained popularity as an artist? Would you say that he is your greatest influence? Who or what else had a significant influence on you as an artist?

EA: He was. unfortunately he died around 14 years ago so he didn’t really see where my love of music took me. Everything influences me in some way. Much of what I do is driven by what I dislike rather then tracing what I do like.

PB: What’s the most moving piece of music you have ever heard? What about it moved you?

EA: Impossible to answer.
“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Elvis Costello

PB: In an interview with Miami New Times earlier this year, you said that you “don’t read any EDM-natured magazines or websites … I live next door to a very illustrious and famous writer, and he knows I’m a DJ. I fear what he thinks I do, as his perception of the ‘DJ’ may be informed by what EDM and the media has created. I feel the need to take him to one of my gigs so he can see what it is I actually am.” Over the years, you have had an enormous impact on dance music and DJing. You have even been credited with inventing the mash-up. So why distance yourself from a scene that you helped create? What is it that separates you from EDM DJs? Is it your style of DJing? Is it the style of music you play? If not a DJ, what are you and why do you want share this with your neighbor?

EA: I’ve not followed EDM so can’t really answer this.

PB: If you could change present-day EDM in any way, how would you change it?

EA: People seem to enjoy it, so I wouldn’t wish to change something which others enjoy solely because I may not agree with it. My whole career has been focused on creating something I want to exist, and with that comes the acceptance that others can do the same.

PB: Thank you for your time. We look forward to hearing you at U Street Music Hall tonight.

 

 

Stanton Warriors – The One (Christian Martin Remix)

Posted on July 29 2015 by Chris Kennedy
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The Dirtybird OG Christian Martin is back with another remix, this time of the modern-day breaks crew Stanton Warriors. His take on “The One” is more of an ambient chill-out track in comparison to some of Christian’s hyphy sub-rattling songs. He takes the vocals and puts them to good use, giving it a soulful vibe. It also seems like Christian Martin was trying to produce a track that is similar to what he used to make years ago. This is probably attributed to the synths he used, which are the bouncy and glistening sounds that have a striking resemblance to what was used in his old remix of “Girl Thing“. Unfortunately you’ll have to wait a little while longer get your hands on this, but only until August 10th where you can get it on Central Station.

Too Funk Tuesday #21

Posted on July 28 2015 by Shawn G
TFT

It’s mid-summer and Too Funk Tuesday is alive! Hopefully, all is right in your world and the funk is in full effect. This week’s collection is downright groovy and will make this work week a cinch. Enjoy!

Go Go Bizkitt! – Take It To The Floor

I’m starting this week with a BANG! Go Go is an OG of hard-hitting disco beats and this track is an absolute dancefloor breaker. With soul vocals filtered on a high energy bassline and warped synths, “Take it To The Floor” is a funky treat.

 

Tyler Touché – Act Of God ft. Jason Gaffner (Robotaki Remix)

Montreal native Robotaki has been a major presence in the nudisco game for a minute and this remix of Tyler Touché is perfectly sensual when amplified on summer vibes. Super groovy, it just makes you want to jazz the night away with the person you love the most.

 

SG Lewis – No Less (Kartell Remix)

Slowing it down with this one, Kartell’s take on the already sexy “No Less” is a deep, spaced out beauty that is perfect for summer nights. Using characteristics of new age R&B combined with deep house patterns, this track touches a sweet spot that is sure to get you going.

 

jackLNDN - All I See

My man Jack is back with an original production which perfectly aligns with the pace of this week’s edition of Too Funk Tuesday. “All I See” is a soothing piano house track that flips through upbeat breakdowns and chillwave harmonies. Definitely a must-listen!

 

MIX OF THE WEEK: KLP – Journey to Splendour Mixtape

OMG SO FUNKY, SUPER, SWEET, SENSUAL, GROOVY…this one will sweep you away. Tracklist:

Disclosure – Holding On {Ft. Gregory Porter} (Gus Pirelli VIP)
Julio Bashmore – Holding On {Ft. Sam Dew}
Lincoln Jesser – In My Place (Set Mo remix)
Rudimental – Rumour Mill {Ft. Anne-Marie & Will Heard}
Gold Fields – Make Me Feel {Ft. KLP}
Junior Jack – E Samba (The Aston Shuffle remix)
IMIURU – The Grandma
Terace – Let Me Know (Mike Metro remix)
Enzo Siffredi – Sometimes
Treasure Fingers – Koolaid
Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique – Love Is Free {Ft. Maluca}
Tame Impala – Let It Happen

Bag Fries, “ETB & WPB”

Posted on July 28 2015 by zacheser
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Reaching for the bottom of the bag often leads to the most pleasant of surprises. With this mentality in mind, D.C. mainstays Baronhawk and Arm In Arm, aka Bil Todd, are taking the scraps to make some of our favorite tunes fresh again as Bag Fries: a side-project based around the concept of taking raw acapellas and familiar loops and retooling them. And the best part? Each release will have two options to choose from with the common denominator being whichever sample the two tastemakers choose to flip.

The first Bag Fries release, a duo of edits cryptically titled “ETB & WPB,” takes Amy Winehouse’s acapella of “You Know I’m No Good” and transfers it into tech house territory not unlike recent slammers by Hot Since 82 or Doorly. The “AnA Version,” Todd’s edit, is a deep, cycling trip that saunters and skips through your sonic headspace as it uses Winehouse’s chopped vocals to produce an otherworldly sound made for setting the tone in the club during early evening sets. Baronhawk’s version, on the other hand, begins with a tribal kick/snare combo paired with a panned, echoing cut of Winehouse’s croon decidedly making his the darker, more intense cut of the two. Together, the first Bag Fries release is a balanced, palatable tech house release that digs deep and isn’t afraid to get dirty which has us excited to see where this side project is going to go in the months ahead.

You can stream the first Bag Fries release below and subscribe for future releases here.

IN THE MIX: PHILCO, “DC House Grooves Meet the Locals #13″

Posted on July 24 2015 by zacheser
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If you’ve been keeping up with Blisspop for the past year, you’ve probably read about PHILCO: a current Blisspop member and deep house tastemaker based in D.C. Known to humans as Phil Haffner, he’s started to gather a following during his short tenure in Washington’s underground dance scene no doubt due to his focus on rootsy, organic house which has made him the kind of local DJ that people will show up early for. PHILCO has warmed up rooms for heavyweight artists like Klangkarussell, Rufus Du Sol, and Guti in addition to recurring featured spots at clubs like 18th Street Lounge, Rock & Roll Hotel, and Flash.

Based on his status within the local scene, DC House Grooves, the online presence of D.C. dance legend Andy Grant, recently asked him to be a part of the Meet the Locals podcast wherein he provided almost an hour of deep, psychological house and tech grooves. With a stacked playlist that boasts tunes by Hot Since 82, Danny Daze, Kevin Saunderson, and KiNK, this is intelligent house mixing at its finest and a glaring symbol of PHILCO’s talents behind the decks.

You can stream the podcast below and be sure to visit PHILCO’s SoundCloud to keep up with his music. You can also catch him this weekend at Rock & Roll Hotel and 18th Street Lounge.