Archive for ShOOey

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.

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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.

Its Wes Smith Yo! Saddling Up with the Space Cowboys for the latest RIPEcast!

In anticipation of the newest Wes Smith endeavor, I sat down with the curator of the famous RIPEcast, Keith Deckard (aka DJ Deckard) to talk about the show.  He is a member of the Space Cowboys, a San Francisco based Burner music and art collective.

Tell me who or what are the Space Cowboys?

There is a really long history surrounding the Space Cowboys, I have been a part of them for 6 years now.  It is a collective in the true sense of the word that was born from a fusion of two different Burning Man camps. They found themselves at Burning Man in a “coming together” moment. They had the same temperament and needs/skills/equipment that complimented each other … and the camp was born. Today we have about 17 active members, builders, sound guys, maintenance, etc and each has their expertise that is used during the year for our activities, shows and at Burning Man itself.

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Explain to those who  have not been to Burning Man what the Space Cowboys do at the burn:

At Burning Man we have MOG which is an art car and last year we built a saloon. The MOG is a mobile party that is always on the move. We would rather be mobile and a bit harder to find than have a huge party that people plan on going to during the week. It’s part of the experience, you have to make an effort to find us. It’s almost a metaphor for breakbeat, a little off the beaten path. We want the people who love it to come find the art car or if you stumble upon it and have a great time listening to it and we gain new people, that’s great too.

I know we ended up in deep playa one early morning at the MOG. We were the first ones there but a whole bunch of people showed up and we danced for hours. That was a great Burning Man memory for me, thank you Space Cowboys! 

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Who are the Space Cowboys outside of the burn?

Different parties we throw thoughout the year have different purposes. From specific Burning Man fundraisers to smaller shows that give our vibe and music but are most likely less of a production. We are a not-for-profit and we really try to back art projects.  For example we backed the Bay Bridge lights project [https://thebaylights.org] where a local artist Leo Villareal did a LED light installation on San Fran’s Bay Bridge. We also throw Ghost Ship which is a Burning Man type party but it also supports local artists. As we have been more successful with each show, we are able hire people/artists from other camps like Dusty Rhino (for example) and they are able to gain something from being there, helping their camp for the year.

What is RIPEcast?

Zach Moore championed the RIPEcast effort and spent a lot of time and effort getting RIPEcast to where it is now. It was born out of love and belief in the music from those with a love of breakbeats and ability to promote what we love. The sound has evolved a bit more from exclusively breakbeat, we play more house styles now as well. I’m even hearing more of that organic electro sound that we were hearing 6-7 years ago. We talked about it as a collective to widen the range of what is played and it has worked out really well- I feel like we have something pretty rare. Now Zach does the Armory Podcast exclusively and all of us involved in RIPEcast are figuring out how to get the word out on social media and in our communities.

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How do you choose your artists/mixes for RIPEcast?

We are trying to record as many live sets as possible that we do during the year like our happy hours on Pier 70. Josh (8_Ball), a camp elder/leader, manages 1 mix a month plus a mixture of Space Cowboys DJS live, video or pre set mixes as well as other guest DJs. I am trying to curate producers/DJs that I follow and like to get more content. Even though I have a 9-5 job and limited time – it’s like being a radio programmer, I get to bring music I am really passionate about to people who really like it and what we do as well.

How did the July 24th San Francisco “The Space Cowboys present ShOONanigans with Wes Smith” show come about?

This is a really good example of how we have different people who take on different parts and roles. Jenny (ShOOey) has a relationship with Jeff (GM) of Public Works in San Francisco and she is a huge fan of Wes Smith. It’s her birthday and she was able to choose who she wanted to play. It’s very organic, we have the infrastructure and level of expertise/knowledge to propose a plan and throw a great, successful party. We also have a good track record so it feels good when you have everyone’s backing going into it.  [Facebook Event]

How can we hear the RIPEcast?

It is available on Mixcloud, Soundcloud and for download on iTunes. Wes Smith’s RIPEcast drops today at 11am pst.

Keith is a Space Cowboy and is known as DJ Deckard. His “Definition of Chill” RIPEcasts are available on the links below (I’m listening to one now and it’s great). I thank him for his time with me today, it was a awesome and interesting conversation that helps bridge the gap for me on music and what others are doing across the country for the love of music. I look forward finding the Space Cowboys and  dancing with you all in Black Rock City in 2015. Giddy up!

Related Links:

[Wes Smith Website] [Space Cowboys Website] [DJ Deckard | Facebook] [DJ Zach Moore | Facebook] [DJ ShOOey | Facebook]