Funk Freaks Scare Up Some '80s Boogie Funk Tonight at Original Mike's

Categories: DJ Culture

Courtesy of Funk Freaks
DJ Debo
There's one thing that Halloween and funk music will always have in common: the ability to bring out the freaks. From "Dr. Funkenstein" to "Thriller" and all the undeniable grooviness in between, few things send shivers up our spine and force us to dance like the old-school barrio party jams of the '70s and '80s, a glorious span of time we'll just call "Back in the Day."

More »

Nocturnal Wonderland Turns 20: DJs Remember How It All Began

Categories: DJ Culture

Michael Tullberg
Nocturnal Wonderland in the 1990s
By: Liz Ohanesian
In February of 1995, the first Nocturnal Wonderland hit Los Angeles, with a flyer referencing Lewis Carroll's tales of Alice and featuring "Tea Party Info Lines" to serve curious ravers across L.A. and Orange County.

For Joel "Mojo" Semchuck, one of the DJs at that first Nocturnal, his memories of the party are vague. But he does remember that the Boyle Heights warehouse was packed beyond its 1,000-person capacity and that there was a room upstairs where the floor got "wobbly" from the combination of heavy bass and heavy dancing.

Today, the bash, which takes place Labor Day weekend at San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino, is a three-day festival packed with a global talent that includes bona fide superstars like David Guetta and Afrojack. For that first incarnation, though, Nocturnal existed for one night, and its lineup was heavy on the locals.

More »

One Tribe Festival Performers & Focus DJs Create a Mix for OC Weekly

Courtesy of INFAMOUS
Focus DJs: Josh Billings & Nonfiction
If you can get down with the finest acts in electronic music such as Kygo and Gramatik, dig activities like stand up paddle, peddle boats, swimming and yoga, and you are in need of a seriously stunning backdrop to redefine your dance floor experience then you're in for a treat-- it's called One Tribe Music Festival. Located on Lake Perris State Park in Riverside, ID&T (the producers behind TomorrowLand and Electric Zoo) and B3 Production (famous for their '90s events like JuJuBeats) have put together five stages and one Friday night camping experience with the Desert Hearts Crew featuring Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Deep Jesus, Marbs, Porkchop and guests Pumpkin and Diamond Saints to serenade you by the campfire.

More »

10 Classic House Records For People Who Don't Know Shit About House Music

Categories: DJ Culture

Frankie Knuckles, the godfather of house, in 2003
By: Jonny Coleman
The origins and ownership of the term "house music" have been hotly debated since, well, always. House music is a lot things to a lot of people. It's disco's revenge. It's a feeling. It's controllable desire you can own.

While house can still be a little elusive, it's like the Supreme Court's definition of pornography: You'll know it when you hear it. House was born in Chicago from a meeting of late '70 and early '80s technology -- synths, drum machines, difficult-to-program sequencers and samplers -- and the people using it -- mostly black, often queer, working class men and women. Classic Chicago house is sought out for its soulful and unapologetic rawness, a far cry from the swaths of antiseptic house available today on Beatport. As much of modern music tries to scrub out any imperfections, classic house openly embraces its limitations and blemishes.

This is a primer for new jacks, albeit an incomplete one, as 100 other records could qualify for this list. It's a cheat sheet for people who discovered dance music through mainstream EDM, pop or Jamie xx, and are curious to learn where this music comes from.

More »

Should DJs Take Your Song Requests?

Categories: DJ Culture

Flickr/Juan Andres Martinez
We know which side he's on
By: Lina Lecaro and Liz Ohanesian

[Editor's Note: In clubland, few topics ignite more heated debates than that of whether DJs should play requests. Writers and DJs Lina Lecaro and Liz Ohanesian lay out both sides of this controversial subject.]


We all know that thanks to technology, anybody can be a DJ these days. But not everyone has the ability to read a crowd and create a room-elevating transition with new killer beats or long-forgotten classics. Those are the unteachable skills that separate the pros from the wannabes.

Unfortunately, in many club and party environments, these abilities are not always appreciated. The lowest-common-denominator party posse doesn't give a crap about the tempo or tension a decksmith might be building throughout the night. They don't even care about beat-matching skills. No, the drunkards who bombard DJ booths to make requests usually care about one thing only: They want to hear "Baby Got Back," and they want to hear it now!

More »

EDM is Dead

Categories: DJ Culture

Aaron Thackeray
By: Mary Willson

The last major electronic show I attended was Porter Robinson's World's tour. The 21-year-old DJ used to be known for his wild drops and ultra-fast techno sounds, as heard in his 2011 hit single Spitfire. But in his newest album, he uses sampling to thread together beautiful melodies with gut-wrentching drops that are more emotional than fiery in the way that dubstep drops are.

This album, along with other hit downtempo albums such as ODESZA's In Return and newly popular ambient artists like Kygo, Tycho, Cashmere Cat, Emancipator, Miike Snow, Kaskade and more, point to the downfall of EDM as the culture suffocates in a mass of corporate money, extreme hyped culture, and a fan base absorbed in the scene rather than the song.

More »

Meet Skittles, the Master of Gloving

Courtesy of
Davis Duong aka Skittles at the first IGC
Originating in the early rave days, the first well known instance of gloving could be credited to Hermes who put 10 Rav'n lights into a pair of white gloves. Few could've guessed that the simple act of making his fingers dance in the darkness would be the beginning of an entire scene in today's EDM culture. Today, companies like EmazingLights sell millions of gloves, orbits, poi and other light show related items in a plethora of colors with much more advanced variations and modes. Aside from bringing gloving in the hands of consumers, Brian Lim (EmazingLight's CEO) and his company are pioneering the gloving movement into the skillful expression of art and dance that it is becoming today.

More »

The 13 Richest DJs of 2014

Categories: DJ Culture

By: Carolina de Busto

It's been a few years since EDM became big business. But the bubble hasn't burst. And those folks who wear bulky headsets and press play (i.e. celebrity DJs) are still laughing all the way to the bank.

The giddiest jock is once again Calvin Harris. The scruffy-faced Scotsman topped Forbes' list of the highest-paid DJs of 2013 with a total of $46 million. One year later, Harris is raking in a staggering $66 million. But the second highest-earner collected a mere $30 million. And Avicii only made $28 million. Pshhh, pocket change.

Check the cut for the 13 richest DJs of 2014.

More »

Noise Revolt Brings The Burning Man Festival Experience to Locals

Courtesy of Noise Revolt
Past the threshold that unites Santa Ana's venerable Diego's Downtown and Festival Hall, and you're instantly greeted with a bold world of color. Dancers throw around glowing neon hula hoops around their bodies, while a small cushioned area resembling an opium den allows for guests to visit and tell stories; live painters move paint around furiously on their canvases. On stage, Noise Revolt member and musician+producer Jesta beats on a large conga drum to his DJ set while a western-themed experimental film is projected onto him.

The scene largely resembles a small Burning Man-esque party, aided by the hippied-out attire of guests and artists. But all this controlled chaos is meticulously planned out by members of the DJ collective Noise Revolt. In just a year, Noise Revolt have created a following from tacking on artists, dancers, and other creative individuals (they frequently include body painting and henna) in their events to bring different crowds and arouse creative minds and to reshape the nightlife in Orange County.

See also: Will Diego's Be the Next Big Local Venue in Santa Ana?

More »

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

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."

More »