Dyed Soundorom & Seth Troxler treated the crowd to a special back to back performance to close the Visionquest Vs Lola Party in Barcelona at was widely thought of as one of the popular favourite ‘off-sonar’ events this year.
Which party or set that you heard, in your opinion, did it for you the most?
Dan Ghenacia is an individual who is widely considered to have been pivotal to the evolution of the music scene that we enjoy today. He is one of the innovators of all that is Parisian Chic in the electronic world. Alongside friends and musical cohorts such as Ivan Smagghe, Jef K and Didier Sinclair they carved a sound that is unmistakable and earned a place in recent musical history that is undeniable. Dan’s the man that, without whom, we would not enjoy the audio delights apportioned to us by the trop cool stream of credible French artists that Freak n Chic have introduced us to over the years. Individuals such as Anthony Collins, Seuil, Mayaam Nidam, Djebali to name a few. The time and effort invested by Dan and his imprint over the years sculpting and moulding their artists are paying dividends today as each have spread their wings and sound far and wide.
When we meet Dan it is a quick handshake a we all bury our heads in a menu at a Japanese food joint in town. Our first impressions are that Dan is a person who is comfortable in his own skin. He has an air of Gaelic self assurity about him, he is wearing a comfortable pair of jeans, understated kicks and a t-shirt with a ghost on it that is well worn in, clothes definitely selected for comfort that are at the same time effortlessly cool. Dan is also sporting a moustache that sits atop his slightly furled French top lip. Dan pulls it off effortlessly, he wears his ‘tache like he means business. He is the type of person that gives off the impression of being comfortable with who he is, and that is the impression that he has given throughout his musical journey; someone who has been comfortable enough to stick to his own agenda, his own sound throughout, someone who has been brave enough to conservatively stick his finger up and make career decisions that some would not be brave enough to do. Par example, pulling the plug on his infamous Batofar after-parties at the height of their popularity and more recently calling time on Paris’ most industrious and influential label Freak n Chic. These decisions are ones that reflect an individual who is not afraid to step outside his comfort zone and push his own boundaries. Our guest is quietly reserved as we all order a refreshing pint of Japan’s finest brew Asahi, (thankfully not glowing green), Dan on the other hand opts for a water. When asked if he has opted down the health conscious route he merely cocks his head and expires expressively out of the corner of his mouth as he pats his stomach. This is met with an understanding nod from the other artist at our table, Burnski. If every beer that was on offer during a busy schedule was supped up then the Frenchman’s trim waistline would almost certainly be compromised. Dan then began to come out of his shell and Miami was talked about for a while, the fact that the conference itself has been shifted to the week after and the week before if for parties. “Is this good?” Dan is asked, “Good? For Miami maybe, but for us no” Is this the case? Do you know when the conference has been moved to? When asked about his sets and favourite parties Dan picks out a few that spring to mind.
The impression we get is that Miami is far from merely a week of hedonistic parties in the American sunshine, but a place where a lot of tracks get broken, a lot of networking, conversations, detail swapping and deals happen here, this makes this week an important part of the industry calendar. That and it’s a week of hedonistic parties in the American sunshine. As the food comes we tuck in, one of our party has carefully selected a sizzling Wasabi steak (extra hot no less) that is brought to the table by a small japanese girl who fry’s it off in front of his bulging eyes as he licks his lips, Burnski is still feeling slightly fragile after a gig in Tunisia the night before so goes for the lighter option of some noodles. When the topic of Tunisia crops up this seems to ignite Dan’s interest, he sits behind his box of Japanese food elegantly clutching his chopsticks with a sparkle of interest in his eyes. “Is there much of a scene in Tunisia?” he quirks, “aye mate” replies Burnski in his broad North eastern drawl. Burnski tells of a hairy moment he thought he was going to be kidnapped in a country that was pretty much a war zone until a few months ago and sparked a political revolution in the region. Dan laughs and seems amused that people seem to be touched by the music he and others play “maybe the music played a part in the revolution” he quips.
The conversation turns to Basics, as Dan shakes his head in disbelief when we talk of the fact that the World’s longest running weekly night turns 20 this year. Dan seems truly happy that Basics has been providing generations of club-goers with a place to party for 20 years now. “That really is something” he retorts as he shakes his head in disbelief again. Dan of course has played at Basics a handful of times and has always enjoyed a close relationship with the club, to us he seems proud to have borne witness to Basic’s evolution and longevity. As we leave the restaurant we accompany Dan to his hotel and part company before arranging to meet in the club and interview him. We shake hands and go our separate ways. The impression we get as we leave is that Dan is a rare breed, a DJ with a self depreciating personality, not a massive ego. There is something refreshing and different about him as an artist and this is evident throughout his career. The story goes that Monsieur Ghenacia had been reluctant to make the trip to Ibiza during the time he was being propelled to the top of his game, the reason behind this was his reluctance to get involved in what he viewed as a “shallow, fake” scene. Thankfully he decided to eventually take the plunge and as we all know nowadays he is know a DC10 stalwart with quite a few years residency under his belt. He is an artist that has kept his musical vision clear and un-corrupted, he isn’t an artist that chases the next big thing or is swayed by trends or fads, he has stayed true to his vision and this has in turn enabled him to rise to the top of the dance music tree unperturbed. As these thoughts swirl through UGroove’s mind a prickle of anticipation swathes over us as we look forward to getting him sat down at the club and of course enjoying his set. As we get to the club we are greeted by the same friendly faces that make Basics what it is. As we stroll into the club resident jock Jon Woodall (nicely satisfied after his Wasabi Steak) is getting to the end of an enthusiastic, animated set, whipping the crowd into getting their groove on. By the time Dan steps up to the plate it is clear that he has drawn a crowd of punters eager to see him and hear what treats he has to offer. As a DJ very much at the forefront of the vinyl revival, as we see Dan delectably picking out shiny black records and lovingly placing them on the platters our mind harks back to a conversation over dinner. “For me, when I go to the record shop it is like a break or a release. We all spend too much time on our computers everyday, when I go to the shop and listen to maybe 20-25 records it is refreshing. I do not want to pollute, you know, my brain listening to so many records that are about everyday.” This reference to the oversaturation of the electronic musical scene rings true, the ability to take yourself off to a “real shop” and actual physically select and listen to some records is a concept that is all too quickly becoming lost, a complete foreign concept to a new generation of digitally based artists. As our mind is brought back to reality Dan eases into Leeds’ native’s Laura Jones’ Love in Me, a delightful melodic number that features her own vocal talents and is out on Leftroom later on this month. Dan’s relationship with the crowd is a personal one, he seems the type of DJ that builds a specials repaux with the crowd, we thought this at one of his DC 10 sets last summer and this is certainly confirmed at My House, a club that is conducive to such a symbiotic relationship.
As Dan wrapped up his set we feel that this is an individual who has played a seminal part in House music history, he has been at the forefront of a era which has help to mould the house music scene, the mid 90’s to early 00’s in Paris and this is a wealth of musical experience that Dan transposes into his music, both productions and sets. It is for this reason that Ministry Of Sound have asked him to kick off their series new series of mix cd’s Sound of the City. According to a press release each Sound of the City compilation will hark back to the musical « golden era » of a different city, beginning with Paris circa ’94-2000. The fact that Ghenacia has been selected to mix this compilation is a priveledge for him and when we ask him about it, he seems to puff out with pride as he tells us about it. You can tell this is a man who has been around the block and always has an keeps to keep it real, this is where the secret to his success lies. He has never been afraid to make desicions that others would think twice about, he seems to thrive in the face of adversity. When we begin to talk about what the future holds Dan’s eyes glint once again. His new Project Apalonia will rise from Freak n Chic’s ashes, like a Phoenix, stronger and twice the beast it was before. It is UGroove firm belief that Dan and his influence will be around for a long time to come.
The Hot Natured Party at Ghoa Beach Club has been widely described as one of the highlights of the week’s Off Sonar activities. Check out Maceo Plex in action as he performed an incredible live set.. Full episode coming soon..
Every once and while you come across a mix which you cannot stop listening to and this is one of them. Its been on on repeat at Groove HQ since it landed on Friday. Its a Radio Show from the late 1980′s and is full of deep, seductive and sleazy old house and disco tracks..
The International Music Summit is now in its 4 instalment and seems to be growing ever stronger. UGroove had the pleasure of attending this 3 day event last year and we went back to the Balearic Party Island of Ibiza and used the IMS as a spring board to get us in the mood for the opening parties.
The end of May is a special time in Ibiza, the island begins to stir from it’s slumber and jolt into action for another year. The International Music Summit is quickly evolving into a “must attend” fixture for many industry leaders who view it as the world’s leading electronic music conference set in the spiritual home of dance music. It also unofficially marks the start of the openings, and some may say even more so with the addition of an official opening party to complement the pretty special closing party.
The co-founder of the event, Pete Tong has always championed the emphasis of the conference on being “back to business” and has exploited the absence of a dedicated European event where the world leaders in dance music can come together and spend a few days exchanging ideas, raw energy and, of course, business cards. It is UGroove’s opinion that individuals in this industry spend so much time fretting and anticipating what is round each corner and how to plan and cater for it that, at times people can forget to meet each other face to face and plot their own courses. Meeting people face to face is a big advantage to the IMS, this is feedback we received from the majority of the attendees we quizzed. Nowadays so many people are merely names on an email to each other, it is refreshing personal and human to meet people face to face and this only helps cement working relationships.
The Grand Hotel once again provided the back drop for this forum of debate in opulent and apt style and with the delegate list swelling to 500 (200 more than in it’s first edition) we felt that the event still managed to retain its personable and intimate feeling. Over the 3 days you begin to recognise familiar faces and have ample opportunity to approach people for a chat, as well as bump into a few you maybe wouldn’t have approached.
During day 1 we were eased into proceedings by an introduction by the IMS partners which was swiftly followed by a business report on the state of the industry, which “conservatively” estimated it to be worth $4 billion a year. A figure that is both staggering and encouraging when you take into account the state of the world’s fractured economic systems. Still, it proves people still need to let loose and party, seems more and more individuals seem to choose electronic dance music as their soundtrack!
The next topic touched up something which was slightly less upbeat, but extremely relevant and one which tends to affect most in the industry; piracy and illegal downloads. The delegates were presented with a report from data transmission that highlighted the threat posed by piracy. A figure of 60% of delegates present admitted to piracy, surprising to us, and an overwhelming majority of industry workers agreed that it affected business in a negative manner, especially as music is hawked in an increasingly digital fashion. After all this talk of piracy and illegal downloading of tracks (something we would never condone) UGroove felt slightly deflated, like it was all doom and gloom. Enter Matt Adell, CEO of beatport. This guy oozed positivity and charisma from every pore and immediately enraptured the whole room with his words. He painted a rosy picture of tinged with positivity and informed us all to beam a healthy smile as the industry was healthier than ever before, due mainly to an upsurge in mainstream crossover. UGroove could feel the murmurings in the room from the more “underground” members of the industry; artists, label bosses and the ilk. This was due to the fact that mainstream appeal of the industry is viewed with suspicion by many of the aforementioned and also it would not directly benefit their bottom line as it would a large corporation’s like Beatport. It is to be said that Mr Adell certainly seemed to know his apples and had a positive rebuttal and response for anything thrown at him, we were certainly smiling after hearing him speak. We were lucky enough to catch the man for a few words which proved both interesting and insightful, and we didn’t make it easy for him. Watch this space for the interview!
We also enjoyed listening to Space Owner Pepe Rosello chat with Carl Cox about how his life worked its way to where he finds himself today. It was clear that he and Carl go way back and Señor Cox was expert in leading Pepe to entertain the room with his answers in a quaint and strangely alluring broken but understandable English. Our highlights included how he had his 300 odd records confiscated by Franco’s Guardia Civil (hiss) in the 60’s, only for the resourceful Pepe to buy them back at an auction with accompanying receipt from The Guardia to ensure any 300 records he took with to corresponding gigs would be safe from confiscation.
Carl and Pepe also recalled a special moment when Carl was playing on a, and I quote the big man, “a wallpapering table” on the terrace before Pepe had built a proper booth and a sudden gust of wind lifted the record being played off the platter and into the crowd. It was promptly passed back as Carl explained “not even God can stop the party!” This pairing really gave the impression that they could go for hours and we, for one, could have listened attentively.
Our other highlight of the day was watching Crosstown Rebels head honcho and impresario, Damian Lazarus coupled with Jamie Jones who were tasked with bringing those present up to date with the “new wave” of artists and music. A notable absence was Seth Troxler, an artist counted within the “New Wave” ranks, who had fallen foul of some dodgy chicken. UGroove’s favourite bits were Damian’s insight into the part Ibiza plays in breaking a new record and the release tactics that are employed as well as the way that the Miami WMC is evolving, to both negative and positive effects. We were then treated to the newest instalment of Damian’s Rebel Rave series which included highlights of the much lauded Get Lost events. Well worth a watch in our opinion.
We enjoyed collaring both these major players and pinning them down to answer a few questions. These two characters really are at the forefront of their game and the pinnacle of what moulds the “cool & credible” side of the industry where the underground raises its head above the parapet.
The perfect end to the day was the opening party at Pacha. This is something that has been lacking from the IMS in previous editions; an official shindig to celebrate the commence of the IMS and the fact opening parties are around the corner. We whet our whistles in a nice little venue called Grial as they hosted a Snatch Records showcase with Riva Star and Pirupa on the decks. As we moved on to Pacha, Damian and Jamie really where firing on all cylinders and whipped the crowd up something special. UGroove lapped it up and captured a couple of special moments for you to relive and we could only wonder what course the night would have taken if the talents of Seth had been added into the mix. God damn chicken!
Damian put into practise what he had spoken about earlier on in the day by showcasing some Crosstown Rebels releases from new signings such as Maceo Plex, someone we regard highly and we caught up with in London midwat through the year.