Why Is It So Frustrating to Be a Local DJ in OC?

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Courtesy of Jeff Allen
MAKJ at Yost Theater
While the rest of the EDM world is in South Beach celebrating Miami Music Week and the 16th Annual Ultra Music Festival this weekend, we're stuck here in OC trying desperately to stay off social media with envy. With the explosion of dance music the past several years and the shift from open format to the banging basslines of dance music at most major clubs, Orange County has been involved in this transition for almost half a decade now. But what does it really mean for local DJs who have been playing electronic music for years and trying to make it big to the new guys hopping on the EDM train? We talked to some local promoters and DJs to find out what it's really like to play in OC and open for artist like Tiƫsto and Gareth Emery with dreams of events like Ultra and EDC.

From Focus Tuesday's in Newport Beach who just celebrated their 10 year anniversary in 2013 for bringing deep house to OC to Sutra who partnered with mega festival promoters Insomniac to bring EDM every Thursday, for the past several years the electronic music scene has been thriving here. "Well it's kind of funny how trends have worked out, but I feel OC is constantly playing catch-up. LA and SD have always been trendsetters with companies like Giant, LED and Eventvibe," says Alex "Precept" Castro. "A lot of it is about who you know, the relationship you have with people, how good and dependable you are. But with OC it's a lot more about how many people you can bring. To be honest I've never really been asked to bring a certain amount of people elsewhere."

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Nick Catchdubs Offers a Peek Behind Fool's Gold Records

Categories: DJ culture

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Fool's Gold Records
In the past six years, Fool's Gold Records has grown way beyond your average music label to one of EDM and hip-hop's most stylish and forward-thinking tastemakers. Starting off primarily as a record label, their headstrong DIY-attitude has helped develop into a multi-faceted brand for music releases, artist development, quirky and quacky apparel and merchandise, and creating live events such as 'Fool's Gold Day Off' and 'Fool's Gold Clubhouse' along with individuals tours for artists

On the music level, they release music that has a timeless and pro-party aesthetic to it. Their biggest success stories this year has been the revival of Detroit based rapper, Danny Brown whose album, Old is one of the hottest success stories in hip-hop this year. He and label head A-Trak embark on a short mini west-coast tour starting tomorrow.

This Sunday, they take over The Shrine in downtown LA for the latest edition of Fool's Gold's Day Off featuring the likes of Freddie Gibbs, Anna Lunoe, Travi$ Scott and many more.

The Weekly caught up with co-label head and founder, Nick Catchdubs to give us the dish on the latest from the label, Duck Sauce's highly anticipated album and reveals Danny Brown's secrets.

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The Prodigy's Maxim's Coming to DJ!

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For over 20 years The Prodigy have been a cornerstone of the electronic music world. At times serving as its heart, soul, backbone and balls, the outfit has become as celebrated for their standard-setting hyper-kinetic live show as well as infamous for their groundbreaking controversial videos. While they're in the studio working on a new album set for 2014, this month, member Maxim returns stateside for a DJ tour with MC Cianna Blaze. They're set to play L.A.'s The Lure on October 27th San Diego's The Voyure on October 29th and the HARD Day of the Dead festival in LA on November 2nd. We were fortunate enough to speak with Maxim about shifting from frontman to DJing and the differences in putting out an album of electronic music today as opposed to two decades ago. Come breathe with us.


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The Goodfoot Returns: Long Beach's Favorite Soul Club Gets Back Up on the Get Down

Categories: DJ culture

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Patrick Miller
For years, the second Friday of the month in Long Beach used to offer a treasured portal into a dark, blistering parallel universe permanently suspended somewhere around 1967. A bouncer took your $5 bill and welcomed you into a divey jungle full of sharp-dressed funk-o-philes--stiff drinks meshed with loose grooves and crowds pretended vinyl was the only sonic medium in existence. It was sweaty, it was loud, and it was glorious.

This week, armed with stacks of Stax, Atlantic, Chess, Motown and more, DJs Dennis Owens and Rodi Delgadillo are bringing back the much loved monthly soul and funk club, the Good Foot. After a two-year hiatus, it's time once again to get up on the get down.

The celebrated club, as much ritual for regulars as it was routine for its founders, packed the Que Sera's hardwood dance floor for 13 years solid until they gave up the second Friday slot in September 2011. To much fanfare, on Friday, September 13, the Good Foot returns on the club's 15-year anniversary.


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Six DJs That Surprisingly Came Out Of Chapman University

Categories: DJ culture

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Nalepa--VJ, producer, DJ, former Chapman professor
By: Rishabh Bhavnani
For the four years I attended Chapman University, I observed that there was a spark in the social but never really substantiated to the likes of a USC or UCSB event --mostly due to the archaic noise restrictions in the city of Orange. According to the city's public noise ordinance, loud parties consisting of eight people or more are prohibited after 10 p.m. When you have a house packed with 50-70 students partying on a Saturday night, just as you start heating up in that game of beer pong, OCPD parks their car outside your front door. Sure, we'll all quiet down hoping that they'll go away but who are we kidding?! That never works! Parties are shut down early and college events feel like high school parties.

What most people don't realize is whilst the university has a fair bit of attention towards their film and business programs, Chapman is an unexplored hub for electronic music production talent and tastemakers. A number of successful music acts that pack bars, clubs and arenas are all affiliated with Chapman-- kind of an unusual considering the restrictions imposed on students in their college years right? It's almost like their way of rebelling against all these norms, through dance music. So while the rest of the world capitalizes on the electronic music phenomenon and these individuals' cutting-edge talent, the city of Orange is enjoying early bird dinner specials at Watson's.

In honor of Chapman's stifled party culture, the Weekly compiled a list of respected EDM rebels to emerge from the home of the Panthers.

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Maor Levi is the DJ Behind "Everything Step"

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Maor Levi
The Israeli producer Maor Levi has been fine-tuning his talents for more than a decade after becoming fascinated by Tiesto's In Search of Sunrise at the age of 12. In 2005 he released his first single "Lital" on Anjunadeep records, the sub-label to Above & Beyond's world renowned Anjuanbeats and was named "Trance Artist of the Year" by the group. Showcasing his more progressive and deep house side he's dabbled in the many sub genres of electronic dance music through various aliases which include 123XYZ, M.A.O.R., Maori, MLV, Pillow One, Roam L and Verny. He was forced however, to take a three year break from his musical aspirations to serve in the Israeli army.

In the face of adversity Maor Levi came back stronger than ever as he redefined himself and his sound playing what he calls "everything step" an inventive genre-crossing modern take on EDM today. Now the rising star is co-headlining his own Anjunabeats "Summer USA Tour" alongside OC natives Norin & Rad. The tour makes a stop at Exchange LA tonight as part of their Insomniac "Awakening" nights before coming back to Sutra September 14th. We caught up with Levi after a special Above & Beyond show at Sutra this week to find out how life has changed for the young artist as a part of the Anjunabeats family.

See Also:
Above & Beyond's Tony McGuinness Shares Why He Loves SoCal


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Laidback Luke Learns to Tap Into His Inner Wolverine On Stage

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Laidback Luke throwing out his double LL's

Luke van Sheppingen is living the dream as one of the most in demand producers, DJs, and record label heads in the EDM industry as Laidback Luke, his more famous alias. The half Filipino, half Dutch artist grew up in the Netherlands where he was influenced early on by the graffiti and old school hip-hop scene. "I started listening to house music when hip-hop got too laid back," he says ironically. Enjoying artist like Cypress Hill and Snoop Dogg (the song "Gin & Juice" was actually inspiration to his DJ moniker), Laidback Luke was into the kind of chunky, energetic hip-hop beats that make you want to jump. "I found that energy again in house music and that's why I still spin the energetic stuff I do today," he adds.


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Bass Kleph's Unique EDM Style Favors Finger Banging Drum Beats

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Robert Kerian
Stu Tyson aka Bass Kleph
Stu Tyson, better known by his DJ alias Bass Kleph, is no stranger to the music business. By age 15, the Australian native had joined a band with a major record deal and began touring all over down under and New Zealand. "Little teenage me was doing what would be the equivalent of Saturday Night Live shit and MTV - the whole nine yards," Tyson says. As the drummer of the three-piece rock band Loki, Bass Kleph got a good introduction to the music industry. "That lasted about five years until I realized the drums were not my instrument. They sounded amazing at first, but once they laid down the bass and guitar [the drums] got slowly pushed to the back," says Stu in his sexy Aussie accent. "I would hear stuff like The Prodigy and Squarepusher and felt like that was more my music."

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Jason Bentley Explains Why Fans, Not Industry Types, Are the Most Important Element of the EDM Biz Conference

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Matt Oliver / OC Weekly
Jason Bentley hosting EDM Biz Conference 2012
The biggest party of the summer for electronic dance music aficionados is finally here. 345,000 18-and-over festival attendees are expected to take over Las Vegas this weekend and even more are bound to attend the insane amount of club nights, pool parties and special events surrounding Electric Daisy Carnival for an entire week. One of those is the 2nd Annual EDM Biz conference which kicked off it's festivities last night with an opening party at the Palazzo nightclub Lavo featuring Dash Berlin. The conference officially begins today at the Cosmopolitan Hotel featuring speakers such as Afrojack, Dirty South, LA Weekly's Katie Bain, Dancing Astronaut's Senthil Chidambaram, Perry Farrell, Pete Tong and of course Insomniac's CEO Pasquale Rotella. We spoke to the conference's moderator and co-curator KCRW's Jason Bentley to get an inside look at where EDM came from and where it is headed.


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Kastle Creates Futuristic EDM Sounds to Benefit the Present

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Scott Lentz Photography
Kastle at Casselmans Bar & Venue in Denver

Some artists are just born to be visionary forward thinkers who create ideas, styles and genres long before they are the "popular" thing. Barrett Richards, the producer/DJ better known as Kastle, comes from a small town in northwest Pennsylvania where he got into playing music at the young age of 12. Inspired by the early house sounds of Moby, he picked up synthesizers and ditched his guitar to create futuristic "forward thinking" music. Later he moved to San Francisco to be further influenced by things like philosophy and science. It's fitting considering most of the great thinkers in both of those disciplines were considered "ahead of their time" despite creating theories and inventions to improve the present.

"I think a lot of people describe my music as futuristic but for me its very now," says Richards. "I guess because it's so different people tend to think it's futuristic but it's very much where I am." People tend to label things that they don't understand especially when it's breaking molds and creating something that sounds very unique. Also being on tour with dubstep master 12th Planet probably further created his acceptance in the dub community. "You can maybe say I'm an extension of that scene a little. I have definitely been influenced by the dub and bass scene," the DJ adds. Fusing together bass, dubstep, house, electronica and R&B Kastle has created his own unique sound which is clearly shown on his first self-titled album which came out in April on his label Symbol Recordings. Tonight, he's wrapping up his 15-stop North American live tour with a DJ set at Focus Tuesdays in Newport Beach, live set at Low End Theory in LA tomorrow and then heading to Mexico City on Thursday.


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