Bassnectar on dubstep, Skrillex and haircuts

Categories: DJ Q&A
Photo by Dave Eckblad
Bassnectar in Minneapolis
"It was a much different world back then," Bassnectar (a.k.a. Lorin Ashton) says over the phone in our second conversation about dance music since 2006. This was before dubstep was the sound of choice in high schools across the country and and when it's obscure first iterations were either heavily ragga influenced or ethereal. One thing that's remained the same since then though is Lorin's incredible popularity among the more, shall we say, "free spirit" dance fans (Lorin himself was raised in a commune), and the fact that he hasn't had a haircut in more than a decade. Ordinarily this would be kind of gross, but it's become almost a stage prop at this point.  

See Also:
Bassnectar at the Varsity / Photos
Bassnectar at Epic: Halloween Costumes and craziness

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Hotpants on their 5th anniversary, record dreams, and Twin Cities funk & soul

Briana Bierschbach
Hotpants at The Summit Backyard Bash: from left to right Dale Burback, Brian Engel, The Mysterious Justin "Rambo" Salinas, and Benjamin Mena. 

At the Bryant Lake Bowl, on a sunny Thursday afternoon, Ben Mena, one fourth of the funk and soul DJ collective Hotpants is explaining what a ramen record is. The idea seems simple enough, one can guess at the meaning: a 45 so expensive that it renders the buyer incapable of eating anything but ramen for the month following its purchase. When asked if they've bought a lot of ramen records, the DJ's sheepishly smile at each other and nod.

Out of the four young men that make up Hotpants: Brian Engel, Dale Burback, Justin "Rambo" Salinas and Ben Mena, Dale admits to tapping out at $1200 once, the other three seem more hesitant to give an exact figure, but it doesn't matter, the message is clear: any resources they have, Hotpants' spends on records. That's the point of the ramen record, a kind of obsessive need for three-odd minutes of dance music that can push you to empty your bank account in one calculated move. That's real love, what Hotpants is all about.

See Also:
Hot Pants Rare Soul & Funk slots belated Valentines dance party for Saturday
Secret Stash releases new R&B compilation

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DJ Dan & Woody McBride on Bassgasm 7 (WIN TICKETS)

Categories: Bassgasm, DJ Q&A
Photo by Nick Patton for City Pages
Bassgasm time
Come one, come all, ye masochistic lovers of bass! The artillery -- AKA the massive sound system known as the Wall Of Bass -- is assembling now, so there is no turning back. This Friday night at First Avenue marks the seventh Bassgasm party featuring old-school favorites in dance music, local flavor, and up-and-comers setting the pace. We've hipped you to the lineup, we've debated over house music, and now we're interviewing a few key people in the BG7 experience. Hear from promoter/technofile Woody McBride and house music soldier DJ Dan about what they're most anticipating.

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Havens + Hart: Minneapolis house duo signed to Stranjjur (Interview)

Categories: DJ Q&A
In the studio
There are a few clues cropping up in Minneapolis lately that point to true house music's return to the city -- and our definition of the genre doesn't include the wanna-be-rockstar stadium jocking set.

The advent of nights like House Proud and the recent Minneapolis Soul Music reunion at Bassgasm are just a few hints that local EDM fans want the soul-grabbing vibe of house back in their lives -- but the recent signing of local duo Havens + Hart to respected house-leaning label Stranjjur also proves a great score for the Minneapolis dance scene.

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Gene Farris returning to play House Proud V.6 (INTERVIEW)

Categories: DJ Q&A
House Proud is special in that it's a monthly club night that doesn't feel like one, but rather a packed party filled with a family-and-friends vibe.  Factor in DJ/producer Gene Farris as headliner on April 6 for the sixth installment, and you're definitely going to leave Honey sweaty at 2 a.m.

Farris a former Minneapolis resident, a Chicago house music mainstay, and founder and CEO of Farris Wheel Recordings, which was recently named in the top 20 of underground house labels. 

Gene says he can't wait to get back to his home away from home, so we talked to him today about house, favorite local haunts, and what Minneapolis was like when he lived here.

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Prince Paul talks 'Negroes On Ice', family, & the music business

Categories: DJ Q&A

 Grammy award-winning hip-hop producer Prince Paul is known as much for his material with De La Soul, Handsome Boy Modeling School and Gravediggaz as he is for being kind of a jokester. So when Paul's people hit me up about his new "Negroes On Ice" project and were vague in their description, I pictured him directing some kind of wacky hip-hop Icecapades.
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DJ Bryan Gerrard talks 'House Proud,' the vibe, and what's missing

Categories: DJ Q&A
The man... the myth
Bryan Gerrard has been a fixture on the dance music scene since the '90s in Minneapolis, starting out as one fourth of the Minneapolis Soul Music collective that gave the former VIP Room its reputation for raucous dance parties. Today, Bryan is best known for his Celebrity Records imprint and, most recently, one of the most underrated, good-time dance nights in the Twin Cities: House Proud. 

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Vaski on the dubstep divide

Photo by Nick Patton
The Twin Cities electronic music scene is having a bit of an age crisis, and Minneapolis' own dubstep boy-wonder Vaski is right smack in the middle of it. A bassy lo-end sound made up of skittery, planetary beats, dubstep has produced an entire second generation (or third, depending on your perspective) of dance fans who go out to hear this kind of music over all other genres. They don't care to join the old-school ravers at techno gigs or the college kids at Too Much Love. They come to the Skyway Theatre on Hennepin in droves for shows by local promoters TC Dubstep, and they're very young.

Vaski, who headlined and nearly sold out the theater on Thanksgiving Eve, is himself only 21 years old. Off the steam of his first hit "Get Down," he traveled the country's club circuit before could even legally enter the venues.

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Centrific talks techno, raves, and his Record Room birthday party

Categories: DJ Q&A
Photo by Dave Eckblad
When it comes to the local dance music scene, you'd be hard pressed to find a guy who's been around longer than Steve "Centrific" Seuling. When he's not warping minds with his renowned marathon sets of deep techno at Midwest clubs and campouts or throwing his own off-the-grid parties with his Intellephunk tribe of bad-ass producer/DJs, he's usually found supporting local music and dancing up a storm in front of the DJ booth. 

This Saturday night, just a few weeks after what was an exceptional set at Too Much Love, Centrific returns to First Avenue to play a four-hour birthday set in the Record Room to an inevitably packed house of longtime friends, new fans and party people looking to sonically hitchhike to another dimension. Before we take the trip ourselves, we caught up with him for a quick Q&A about his expectations for the night, family life, and of course, old-school memories.  

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DJ Vaski talks dubstep, new album and Friday's show at Studio B

Categories: DJ Q&A

Vaski doin' his thing
DJ Vaski is Minnesota's own slice of the dubstep phenomena. Just 21 years old and from Savage, Minn., Alex Brouwer traveled the world over the last several years as a budding producer before most kids even think about finishing college. In short, Vaski's doing big things -- and he's about to catch us up via a homecoming set on Friday after a year-long hiatus from the Twin Cities club circuit.

The event takes place in what could be considered a new venue for Minneapolis: Studio B inside the Skyway Theatre on Hennepin. This week, Vaski took time out to give us the lowdown on the space, where he thinks dubstep is going, and his unreleased new album. He also passed us a fantastic remix of that unstoppable Foster The People song, "Pumped Up Kicks",  and it's here for you to download for free.  
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