Category Archives: DJ Spotlight
NYC DJ and producer, Justin Strauss has been remixing and spinning since 1980. He has been resident at such old school clubs such as Mudd Club, Limelight and Tunnel among many others. Justin started his producing career in 1981 with his first record Think (About It). He also has remixed an insane amount of records, having mixed the likes of Depeche Mode, Tina Turner, Duran Duran, Jimmy Cliff, The B-52s, Goldfrapp, and even co-producing a Red Hot Chilli Peppers track. He has even released on deep house labels Strictly Rhythm and Emotive Records, the range that Justin has is unbelievable.
As of recently, Justin is one half of Whatever/Whatever. Check out some of their recent remixes, and for a bunch of free downloads of Justin’s back catalog head over to his soundcloud.
Little is known about Tad Wily other than the fact that he is responsible for the Tape Love EP from Smash Hit Music. Habituate had the pleasure of this exclusive interview and mix.
Artwork by Julius Tanag.
1. Isotope 217 – <<
2. Munga – Freak (Munga's Back In The Jungle Baby)
3. Linntronix – Cool Out (Refresh)
4. Christophe – The Force (Lukas mix)
5. Justin Winks vs. Casio Social Club – Rock the Discotheque
6. Albert Cabrera – Ulticut Ups!!! Extreme Cut Up
7. The House Rockers – Everybody Do It
8. The Glimmers – U Rocked My World (Pete Herbert & Tristan Da Cunha Mix)
9. Konk – Your Life (Party Mix)
10. Master Plan – Electric Baile (Commercial Mix)
11. Shep' N Wily – One Night In Puzon
12. Ark – Stoptheball
13. Dimlite – Es Gschänk (Outro)
Q: What style of music do you produce?
A: “I’m not a big fan of genres… but if I had to choose I’d love it to be Swamp Pop, because it’s the coolest genre name out there, but I’m afraid it rather fits Beatport’s ‘Indie Dance’ description. Or you can think of it as a mess done right.”
Q: When it comes to music production, what era’s and artists do you look to for inspiration?
A: “No artists in particular, really. I tend to look for single tunes that have something unusual or inspiring in them. There’s plenty of little gems around that don’t have any important artist name written all over it, but have awful loads of character. I’ve got a soft spot for late 70’s Post Punk/No Wave stuff, early 80’s House, or Rap/Boogie tunes and various fusions of these. I’m also a big fan of weird things and small imperfections; vocals out of tune, distorted hi-hats, noisy guitar cables, etc. These things often add up to the uniqueness of stuff, which to some degree gone missing when people started to produce preliminarily on digital setups.”
Cole keeps things rolling on his newest label venture, Licorice Delight, with three pieces of music so far ranging you would guess he went crate digging anywhere from The Salvation Army to Tokyo. I had the opportunity to ask Cole about the release and he gave me some behind the scenes info.
1. House Feels So Good
2. On Fire
Cole is a crate digger by nature so when asked about his approach to production, his inspiration, more or less, has to do with whatever records he ends up digging out of a dusty crate.
“I’m goning to look for stuff that’s unconventional. Who else would make a slower Chicago sounding track from elevator music like Chuck Mangione’s song ‘Feels So Good’? How many times have you seen his music at a thrift store because people think his music is a joke now? Where I get my inspiration can make total sense, or none at all”
A perfect example of that unconventional sound that Cole works his magic on is his edit of CAN’s “Halleluhwah.” This is an early 1970′s piece of krautrock that deviated from the free-form spastic sounds of the experimental genre to include danceable elements. Cole cleaned up the format, did some tempo correction, and added an acid bass line to make this piece pure ear candy. Cole talks about how he loves the heavy krautrock and disco blend and how it takes him back to the early nineties when he went out to warehouse parties in East LA.
“Reminded me of when they used to play ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ in the warehouse parties back in the day. When you had 500+ people in a warehouse in the Eastside of LA, totally rocking out to Nirvana with mickey mouse gloves, mad hatter hats, glow-in-the-dark gear, right in the middle of techno & house sets, it was an amazing thing as cheesy as it might sound today. You don’t really see stuff like that much anymore.”
Cole first heard “Halleluhwah” a couple years back when listening to a mix by Glasgow DJ duo, Optimo. They have been DJing for decades in the United Kingdom with musical freedom as their primary concern. Cole tried to get in touch to get a hold of their version with no luck so he took it upon himself to make his own. He made his first version and tested it out at Club Loop’s anniversary in Tokyo.
“I had a great response, as expected, since most Japanese people tend to have broader tastes when it comes to the dance-floor. Coincidentally, the lead singer of Can is Japanese”
Cole DJing at Club Loop
The Loop DJs
Ramen with friends
To get your piece of Japanese dance floor tested tracks you can buy Eclecticity over at Juno.
In other news, Cole has moved to music full time and after a ten plus year run with his label House Arrest he says he is ready to take it to the next level. Keep an eye out for an upcoming RA mix of his and for more music check out his soundcloud.
I had the honor and pleasure to DJ alongside Ritesh, the label head of Adult Contemporary and American Standard. I opened things up early and kept the tempo low. Ritesh picked it up and took the sound to your head, he is a great selector and DJ. If you own any of the records he has put out on his labels you are fully aware of that already!
Ritesh @ Avalon Bar 09/10/2011 (Sorry DL link removed by artist request, the recording is damaged)
(Click the title above the media player to save)
Petropoulos @ Avalon Bar 09/10/2011
September 24, 2011 First Habituate Party w/ Petropoulos, Loose Village, Brando Commando, Joshua Collins
820 West 19th Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
extra bump (subwoofers!)
$1 PBR and $3 Soju shots until 10:00pm
The first ever Habituate event is upon us and I’m happy to say it encompasses all of the different aspects that I had hoped for when starting this blog. Quality dance music, creative people, and a regional focus on Orange County. The DJs I asked to play alongside me are all OC residents and more importantly quality selectors and production artists. As I’ve written in the “About” section of my blog the first Habituate event will keep in tune with the following aural/aesthetic appeal:
The music has to make the mind move before it moves the feet or body. A good night out is a unique situation not a cliche marketing scheme and house is a time and place, not just a 4 to the floor back beat!
More on the Artists/DJs
My main focus is to bridge the years and styles of dance music, I play tracks ranging from 1979 to 2011 that all coincide with the theme of extended rhythm and electronic production. I am the creator of this blog and it is my passion to introduce new sounds to the people of Orange County by interviewing international dance music artists, writing articles, reviewing new releases, showcasing local events, throwing my own parties, and holding a monthly residency called ZAP!
Loose Village (Loose Village Recordings, Strange Nature)
A quality production artist who just recently launched his own digital label internationally, Loose Village, is known for his unique tropical approach to house and his high energy sets. You may also remember Loose Village from the bi-weekly residency Strange Nature that he held with Brando Commando right here at Avalon Bar.
Brando Commando (No Come Down, Strange Nature)
Longtime purveyor of house in it’s many variations. Brando had his start as resident and co-founder of MNML, a techy house residency held at the Avalon Bar a number of years ago. He went on to become the brainchild of other parties such as Strange Nature and his most recent venture No Come Down.
Joshua Collins (Human Life, Defected)
A veteran house music producer from ’97 and now one third of the music group Human Life, Joshua Collins is up to his ears in music. He has released his original material and remixes on labels such as Defected, NRK and his own label frik:n:frak/Silent Machine recordings.
An account of a Friday night at Avalon Bar with the DJ’s from ZAP
(4th Friday’s of the month dubbed Black Licorice)
Avalon bar is known for some of the most random and unpredictable nights in Costa Mesa. It’s an environment where the staff, entertainers and patrons don’t force a good time but instead let it come along on its own. It allows for creative conditions and it results in some interesting nights on 19th St. Many a night the crowd stumbles in from Detroit or out of their homes in near by neighborhoods, perhaps out for the infamous brown bag special or just to avoid crowds and cliches at other spots. They usually haven’t a clue as to who is hosting or if a band or DJ is playing. If the Russian beer or the occasional $1 PBR’s are in stock. If the music will be garbage or like nothing they have ever heard before. Granted some nights just don’t hit that climactic peak, but that’s the point, people are aware of that fact and so when it does turn into a good night it’s unexplainable and it’s truly special.