Archive for Faultline

The Discos of Tron Release by Justin Johnson (Remixes by Wes Smith, discObeta, Fire-Beat and DJ Loryn)

“The Discos of Tron” is the new release by Justin Johnson (with remixes by Wes Smith, discObeta, Fire-Beat and DJ Loryn). I sat down with the owner of the distributor label Barely Legal Records, Justin Johnson, to see what the heck a Disco of Tron was anyway and what led him up to this release.

Tell me a little background on Barely Legal Records:

I started in late 1990’s working at Satellite Records in NYC.  I had always played all styles but I was known for breaks and needed an outlet to put my music out.  I had a good resell perspective, knew many contacts and had good info on how it all worked, so I brought my skills to the table and my Dad funded the 1st two releases on vinyl.

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How do you pick your label artists? 

The thought behind all of them is to put out my own music but also for friends of mine in a casual low-key way. We are not trying to be a big label, I enjoy doing my own thing by supporting the music of friends and family as well as some artists where we have built up good relationships. If I get a demo from someone I don’t know well then I might have someone I know do a remix and package the whole thing.

What is a Disco of Tron?

Part of it came from when the second Tron movie came out and Daft Punk was djing in the club reminded me of the old stand up game from the 80’s… The Discs of Tron. It was a nod to something I loved as a kid growing up – contemporary but with an old school flavor. You can hear that crunchy hip hop inspired breaks on the discObeta version you can hear the East Coast similarities that you would hear back at Limelight back in the day. Wes Fire-Beat and DJ Loren provided completely different flavors and spins with their contributions to the release.

discos of Tron

How did you choose Wes Smith for his remix contribution?

Wes and I knew of each other being involved in breaks on the East Coast and both living in NYC. For me it was awesome to see someone from back in the day holding it down and becoming successful. It’s on a whole other amazing level, I couldn’t be happier for him. He played one of our Faultline parties (actually the same one you and I played with DJ 138) and we started to build a friendship at that point. He played another Faultline event recently and from there we started talking about a remix option for BLR. It’s hard to get the artists involved after they have been paid, Wes is adding additional value to his product, which is something artists should learn from. I was really excited when you contacted me because I knew that another dimension to the release would be coming in the future.

Any advice to producers out there wanting to submit to labels? Yours or others?

Spend a lot of time making your track sound as good as you possibly can in your chosen DAW. Whatever your friends tell you – don’t listen to them unless they have at least a somewhat professional perspective. It’s because no matter what you make they will be positive because they love you and want to give positive feedback. The reality is that there is SO much noise (literally thousands of releases every week) you really have to figure a way to stand out musically. Not just key changes, but also how good the whole package is and it has got to sound original – it’s not easy. Also, no one is really making money producing tracks so don’t put a down payment on the mansion on your first release. Add value to your production skills by realizing that as an artist you are in the public eye. Basic social media maintenance shows you are active and that you care. Unless you are insanely talented and you do none of that, no one will know about you. Find an artist you respect and admire, follow their model and adjust it with your own voice and have it come from your heart. What works for them?
Ask yourself: What is it you think you have done to make you deserve the attention out of the 1000’s of tracks that are put out each day/week/month? Justin_Johnson_washed_out

You are living a lifetime of passion for music, are there any other words you want to say to all the music lovers and breakers out there?

Yes! Be kind to animals and be funky as fuck people! Those who truly love breaks need to continue to get the word out and preach the breakbeat gospel. It’s a genre that ebbs and flows in popularity but it is well back on the rise, which is great to see. I would like to see it maintain a certain plateau and it is  up to all of us involved whatever level to bring it to the masses. If you are a dancer tell your friends about it… share a link, drag a friend out, don’t assume they won’t like it. Same for DJs, producers, everyone whatever your level/involvement. Start a monthly – do something! Back when we started “Faultline” [breakbeat monthly with DJ 138 and Eric Riggsbee] we knew there were fans out there and we were right the fans do exist. You just have to hustle and find them!

Also we just finished up our 2nd installation of “Foundation”, [drum & bass and breaks monthly we do with the Dystopia crew] with Submorphics. We are building a following in broken beats on all levels.  It’s a small venue with good sound and an indoor/outdoor space with breakbeats under the stars. The food is actually really good and the staff is great…we couldn’t ask for more.

This coming Saturday (Sept. 19, 2015) we’re doing a special SF edition of Faultline at Underground SF (the old Top on lower Haight) with guests ShOOey and BENN BA$$. No cover. 21+. 9pm-2am.

Do You Even Wiggle? An Interview with Eric Riggsbee

Growing the #MagicFugu connection across the states,  Agent 137 catches up with Eric Riggsbee, the co-founder of Faultline – a Oakland based breakbeat monthly. Having met last year 4th of July weekend at Faultline, we quickly settled in and discussed Eric’s career, the state of beats and the creative charge happening in downtown Oakland.

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So tell me about Faultline-

Well as you know, Faultline is a monthly Breakbeat party in Oakland, CA hosted by resident DJs- myself, DJ 138, and Justin Johnson, along with local guest DJs. Faultline has a new venue this Saturday for the grand opening-there is more foot traffic in this location and it is contained to all in one room and it us every 4th Saturday at The Rock Steady.


I have been talking to a lot of producers, DJS and promoters about the state of breaks and their take on the genre. Faultine is a primarily breakbeat show. What is your opinion on the genre and maybe help bridge the gap?

Breaks are a couple of years behind of some of the other genres but there are a lot more events now. Most of the DJs are breaks djs and we are getting all the local celebrities out of Burning Man camps. Space Cowboys, Dusty Rhino, Camp Charlie etc and they seem to be on the same page. Bass music has been remarketed for the youth though, in the past breaks had very little sub genres because there really were not enough people producing the different sounds to break it out into sub genres. Now it’s evolving around us. While it is coming back I think we all can agree that it is coming in baby steps, It’s because we all want to do well and also do it right. With all of that going on, seeing more events and seeing the word breaks more often (at least the word is being thrown around more and more), we are driven to do it… the timing is right.

Burning Man stems from the Bay Area and I remember when I attended last year, the presence of breaks was very strong. Tell me how you see the Burner lifestyle is affecting music and art in Oakland. 

I live in a neighborhood with a lot of warehouses that a lot of the art for Burning Man is being built. Sometimes I take it for granted thinking it’s going on everywhere. I find myself Djing more and more with the burner crowd. We are very close to the Burning Man experience here which pushes creativity in so many ways- everyone around is doing art, music, SOMETHING. There are a lot of incredibly talented people around Oakland and San Francisco using self-expression in some way shape or form. It’s an exciting time.
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What about the self-expression of Eric Riggsbee? Tell us a little about your musical background – 
I played piano since 6 years of age until 9 and then drums from 10 until now. I was in bands from 12-22 and started djing at 18 in 1998. Basically my progression in music with drums helped me learn to DJ, it helps with rhythm. Breaking down the beat is a big part of being a drummer and it helps with DJing Breaks.

You have started on production as well – how did you start with production?

I took a community college EM class in 1998-1999 for Logic and used Reason for a while but now I’m using Ableton by trial and error and also by doing a lot of shadowing of other producers.

Any advice to aspiring producers?
Produce what you want to produce and don’t worry how the track is going to sell or hit the top 10. Tracks that lay down a groove that move people are more important to me. Look what is really important to you and let that guide what you create.
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What is next for you as an artist and Faultline?
  • Justin Johnson runs Barely Legal Records and there are a lot of big things happening on his label.  Adrenalinez will have a full length album out later this year. Other releases coming will be remixes of Adenalinez ‘Wet Me” by The Gulf Gate Project and Run Riot, remixes of Justin’s track “Body Movin” by Geon and Adrenalinez, a Sychosis remix of EvilBeat “On My Beat”, and then a massive EP from Justin called “The Discos of Tron” that will also include remixes from Wes Smith, discObeta, Fire-Beat, and more TBA.
  • In July Faultine will be doing a breaks and drum&bass throwback to Electic Hectic called Foundation with the drum&bass crew Dystopia. If it goes well we will continue that on the second Friday of the month in Oakland.
  •  NEXT is Wiggle in San Diego this weekend with Wes Smith, Omega Squad and Ghost Md.
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Related links:

Wes Smith Brings The Juice Squad Heat to the Bay Area’s Faultline Party in Oakland!

If your in the Bay Area get your A$$ out to Oakland on Friday for a 4th of July show down @ Faultline with The Juice Squad’s Wes Smith and Friends.  He’ll be droppin’ the latest bangers from the Juice catalog including unreleased tracks from Dirty Kicks, DJ Fixx, White Boy Awesome, BumpR StickR, Low End Hustler, and an assortment of official and unofficial remixes coming your way soon.  He’s joined by some long time friends of the label b/w of Justin Johnson, DJ 138 in a tag team set with our good friend Agent 137, Sean Infinitee & Eric Riggsbee.

Faultline Oakland, Bay Area, Juice Recordings, The Juice Squad, Wes Smith, White Boy Awesome, Dirty Kicks, BumpR StickR, Low End Hustler, #Breaks, #Breakbeat, #JuiceHedz, #BringBackThatFunk, #HotMessGoesBoom, #FriendsInLowPlaces, #858FunkBass,

Check out the rest of the line up below:

Justin Johnson (Barely Legal Records, Cable Recordings)
http://www.soundcloud.com/djjustinjohnson
http://www.barelylegalrecords.net/
http://www.techtonicfunkbrigade.com/

DJ138 (Midnight Sons)
http://soundcloud.com/dj-0138
https://www.facebook.com/xDJ138x 
>>Special tagteam set with special guest Agent 137! <<
https://www.facebook.com/Agent137
https://soundcloud.com/agent-137

Sean Infinitee (HyperKat-Recordings, iRock-Classics, Midnight Sons, DOT)
https://soundcloud.com/hyperkat-recordings
https://soundcloud.com/irock-classix

Eric Riggsbee
https://soundcloud.com/eric-riggsbee