Electronic Music Marathon Part 3: Rounding 3rd and coming home

A month after WKDU brought back the annual Electronic Music Marathon, I think I’m finally ready to get back into the swing of things, radio wise. I held off of posting this because I wanted to give myself some time to decompress and reconcile the INSANE 75 hours of DJing, dancing, and fun over Columbus Day weekend. We are working on posting the sets, so stay tuned to our Soundcloud page for those. In the meantime, feel free to read the play by play I wrote during the final day of the marathon.

Jersey Dan kicked us off at 11 AM, playing stuff like Crystal Castles and Nenah Cherry. It was dark, it was moody, it was exactly what I needed. Highlights of the set were the “Open (Jeff Samuel faded mix)” by Rhye and the DFA cover of “D.A.R.E.” by Gorillaz, where I got a chance to turn introspective more a moment and think for a bit. If I had to pick one word to describe his set, it would be contemplative. His set really gave a chance to look inwards at my own soul for an hour. Fun fact: Dan uses a free version of Virtual DJ to mix. True the college radio ethos he chooses free when possible, making the most out of what he can. Bonus fun fact: Dan used to be a professor here at Drexel back in 2008, great to have old faculty on board!

Maxwell Knubee from Brewerytown Beats, one of our proud sponsors of the event, stepped up to the decks next, spinning all wax. I spoke with him before he got on and he told me about the evolution of his set. Originally he wanted to spin psych-funk and go into 80s electro funk, but decided eventually to go with positive hip-hop. We talked about how the best songs are the ones that talk about how good music is, or how a specific brand of shoes is just super cool (when he told me that, I was hoping he would play “My Adidas” by Run DMC, and he did not disappoint!). His set definitely lived up to the expectations, and brought the funk and hip hop beats for all to enjoy, leading nicely into King Britt’s set.

As I’m writing this, I’m surrounded by King Britt’s crew, including members of The Village and Playback Radio. Many of these guys and gals have been here in the past for previous marathons and it’s an honor to have them back. For the newcomers, let me just say this if I haven’t already: welcome to WKDU and enjoy your stay!

King got on the mic at 1:00 PM to talk about his time in high school (Central High reppin’!), coming up in music, and some of his major influences. Look for the full interview online soon. About half an hour later he stepped onto our decks and started laying down the beats. If you ask Es, he’s a beat wizard. If you ask me, he’s a beatsmyth. Whatever your preferred nomenclature, he’s really something to watch perform. He combines magic on the deck with music in the air, forging tunes, sounds, and rhythms out of nothing. I’m writing this during his set, which is conjuring some deep images in my head, floating me along a soundscape of immense proportions. I’m envisioning vast rolling hills of dark earth colors, pulsating along with the beat. The second half of his mix got a lot funkier, throwing some soul vibes out there. I was busy doing my homework during this set and it made for some great jams for concentrating.

King Britt's gear

King Britt’s gear

Matpat popped up after King, to take us into the final 5 hours of the marathon. Bringing the club beats back into the building, he got me moving once more. Funky piano, soulful saxaphone, and sexy synthesizer. Matpat brought the funk and didn’t just warm up the decks: he got them blazing hot, closing his set with “Deep Inside (Shadow Child remix)” by Hardrive.

Matpat hits center stage

Matpat hits center stage

Risky Disko hit the decks at 5 PM for 2 hours, throwing down the low BPMs with some trip hop vibes. Despite their name, I didn’t think they had that disco of a sound, though I enjoyed the set nonetheless. As with Jersey Dan’s set, it was much more contemplative and I got some nice thinking done. I really enjoy the sets that take me on a musical journey, as opposed to the straight dance stuff. Peter remarked that the whole set had a Todd Terje vibe to it, which I’m inclined to agree with. They sounded very disco influenced, but with a very clean production and modern twist.

Risky Disko

Risky Disko getting up close and personal with Roberta Flack

And now I’m faced with the monstrous task of doing justice to Dave P’s set with words. I’ll try my best, but honestly your best bet is to listen to the set and check it out for yourself. He started out slow, and I kind of just sat with my thoughts for awhile. Bringing the energy up slow, all of us at the station started to jam with some really swampy sounding songs, getting some retro-futuristic synths (my favorite synths!) going. His mixing technique is really good, too: he handles CDJs like he was born clutching a pair in his hands. His slogan of “futuristic sounds” is pretty damn accurate, the songs he spun sound like they came from a club in a cyperpunk movie. House jams through and through, solid 4-to-the-floor beats to groove to. He wasn’t laying down just future sounds though, some of his tracks sounded like classic disco house jams, with some beautiful piano and synth pads for added spice.

Dave P

Dave P deep in the mix

His set just kept amping up over the last hour. There was a certain charge in the air- everyone there knew we were reaching the end of something huge and the excitement was palpable. The room we have in the studio where all the DJs performed over the weekend isn’t that large- we were able to tightly fit our equipment table, speakers, and a few people hanging out listening to the DJs perform, but at this point we had over a dozen people crammed inside, all dancing. Dave kept the energy rising, too- by the end of it, I was sweating (almost) as much as him, just from dancing around the room. When he finally closed out at 9:00, he said some wonderful words over the air and, surrounded by applauding DJs, finished off both his set and the 11th annual electronic music marathon.

I’d like to thank everyone who tuned in, everyone who performed, and everyone who donated their time, effort, and money to our cause. With your help we resurrected a long-dormant WKDU tradition. Not only did we get the chance to party in the station for 75 hours straight, but we had a chance to connect with the community and raise money and awareness for some fantastic local non-profits. The work Musicopia and The Village of Arts and Humanities do is truly noble and we are honored to have helped play a part in their dedication to arts education and empowerment. Having pulled this off in approximately 5 weeks (90% of the work on this marathon was begun on Labor Day), we learned an incredible amount and are already looking forward to next year, where we hope to make the 12th annual electronic music marathon even better. Thanks for stopping by, and of course, keep those radio dials locked!

A final jump for joy before we all promptly fell asleep

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Pizza Partying with DJ SYLO & Jansen

DJ SYLO & Jansen rocking the homely DJ booth at the 700 Club in Northern Liberties for STUNTLOCO.

DJ SYLO and Jansen rocking the homely DJ booth at the 700 Club for STUNTLOCO.

by Chris Burrell // @crispychrisx

It was hot in our studio when DJ SYLO and Jansen came through and laid down a two hour set as part of our newly revamped Electronic Music Marathon. These two young Philly producer / DJ / party starters definitely delivered one of the sickest sets of the marathon, dropping everything from MK and Cajmere to Blawan, Jam City, and LOL Boys. They’ve got a ton of stuff going on individually, but have also lit up North Broad Street together with their Pizza Party series as of late. I can’t wait to see what power moves both these guys have in store for the very near future. Listen back to their set from the EMM and peep our chat here:


CB: How did you guys link up?

SYLO: Earlier in our Temple days, me and some homies were throwing parties under the name SFO – So Far Out ENT. Our CEO, Dubz the Don, was fresh as hell. He and Jansen linked up and that led to me meeting Jansen. SFO parties were wild – the last one we did had 700 kids in it, diverse both in terms of crowd and music.

Jansen: That was when I was still a lost little freshman taking photos and stuff. I started DJ-ing the next year and got my start spinning with this Philly rapper named Tayyib Ali. I was kicking it with him a lot, going to shows and then he just had the idea for me to spin for him. That threw me into the fire in terms of doing a live show.

CB: How did you guys get your first turntable set up?

Jansen: I spent loan money to buy some some tables off Craigslist that didn’t work too well and got a mixer for my birthday. I was lucky because my uncle who used to DJ back in the day was trying to sell his old 1200s, so I sold the shitty Numark ones I had and kept his.

SYLO: I used to go to my homie’s spot in high school and watch this documentary Scratch over and over, it’s about DJing. He had tables too, so we would mess around on those. But he believed in me and sold me his tables for super cheap and I was out. I have vivid memories of listening to “Life’s A Bitch” at his spot.

CB: That’s crazy – I talked with Matthew Law a few months back, and he also brought up watching Scratch. If you had to pick 2 tracks from HS or college that were super influential to you, what would they be?

Jansen: I grew up on hip hop/rap and lived in VA, so I was always into the trap shit and Southern rap, but was also always into some weirder electronic/dance/alternative type shit. I remember one of the first house parties I went to, I heard “Baptism” by Crystal Castles and it blew my mind. I liked them a lot because they were really different, original and hard. Second, and more important, was sometime during my sophomore year when I came across this Maya Jane Coles mix, I think it was like a live set. That mix opened my eyes to deep house and a more mature chilled-out side of house that I still love/play/produce today!

CB: Any reason why you gravitated towards the female artists, Jansen?

Jansen: I have no idea. Alice’s voice with Ethan Kath’s production is so unique to me and Maya Jane Coles is just like a goddess. The track “What They Say” – I saw the light when I heard that record.

SYLO: When I was first getting into club/electronic music in high school, I found Tittsworth – WTF (Nadastrom Remix) on hypem.com. I looked up Nadastrom and found out that they were from DC (I’m from Takoma Park, MD, inside the beltway) AND that they were playing this all ages party called Blisspop @ The 930 Club in a week. We got a crew together, put a bunch of vodka in water bottles and took the metro down to the club.

I remember so clearly THE MOMENT that I stepped into the club – everything changed. You gotta hear club music IN THE CLUB!

Number two I’ll say is the Two Inch Punch remix of that Birdy song “People Help The People”. I found that jawn in 2011 when I was living in London – it sent my whole taste in a more loved up, deep direction. New Bobby Shmurda also!

CB: Fast forward to today – tell me about the order of what happened between all the different things you guys have going on now.

SYLO: STUNTLOCO was born almost 2 years ago. Sammy Slice had been rocking Silk City on Thursdays for 5+ years and was looking for a young DJ to pass the night on to. I guested a couple times with him as a tryout and made the cut. I’ve been rocking every Thursday since [moved it to the 700 club in March]. Now, the whole thing has grown to the point where STUNTLOCO is something bigger – it’s our movement, it’s our crew, it’s a feeling that’s found across everything that we do. The crew is whoever is rocking with us: me, Matt Ford the MC, Daniel the photographer, Grace on visuals, Benz on marketing, Jansen spinning – it’s mad people, some more involved than others.

Jansen: Yeah so my point of view: STUNTLOCO (inspired by a Hispanic board game) was at Silk City for a while. I had been part of the fam for a while, but didn’t spin it until it moved to the 700 club. Then the Pizza Party just like came out of nowhere in a meeting.

SYLO: It started as this free secret house party, then just kept growing.

The idea was that we needed to throw a party for the people – get back to the roots and throw an ill house party.

We did four of those that were really awesome and then I was skating around looking for a venue for another party. I had thrown in the towel and went to go get a slice at Alessandros. When I saw they had a bar, you should’ve seen my face. The manager was there at the time and the rest is history.

Here’s a rare Pizza Party 3 gif:

Pizza Party 3 LIT UP.

Pizza Party 3 with the proper vibes going. You can catch Pizza Party pretty much on a monthly basis at Alessandros on North Broad St.

Jansen: Originally, I had a specially designated “house set” which has grown into this beautiful thing where I can spin warm-vibey-pizza sounding house music – PIZZA HOUSE.

CB: What is a pizza sounding house track?

Jansen: It’s many sounds – Kaytranada fused with Julio Bashmore and a hint of French Express.

CB: One last thing – why pizza?

SYLO: Pizza is the universal comfort food. It’s amazing how many different types of people love pizza.

The whole point is to bring people together. Thank you pizza.

Jansen: Pizza is one of the better things earth has to offer. What’s better than eating a fresh piece of pizza and dancing to some groovy shit? I want pizza right now!

******************************************************************************************************************************************************

TONIGHT, catch DJ SYLO at the 700 club for STUNTLOCO  and catch Jansen as 1/2 of P.S. 118 opening up for Huxley at The Dolphin Tavern.

Also, check out more information on the Electronic Music Marathon – it’s a fundraiser between WKDU, Musicopia, and The Village of Arts & Humanities >>>> wkdu.org/emm

We’ll be posting the rest of the audio from the EMM throughout November, STAY TUNED !!!

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Costume Contest Ends Tonight!

It’s not too late to enter our ‪#‎hallowkdu‬ costume contest! All you have to do (on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook) is tag us in your costume photos and use the above hashtag. Here’s an entry from our Personnel Director Maren!

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Prizes will include a WKDU T-shirt and comp cassette, this Cloud Nothings slip mat sticker & pin, and this Twin Peaks tour poster!

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Winners will be announced tonight so get on it!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

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POND at Johnny Brenda’s 10.16.2014

by Kirsten Becker

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Spearheading the neo-psychedelic rock movement, Australia’s Tame Impala has brought a fresh and exciting new sound to indie rock within the past five or so years. Their lesser-known, wild-partying young brother, Pond, has been doing just the same while staying just below the radar. With five albums already under their belt, the Perth-born and bred band is something of a cult favorite. Featuring both former and present members of Tame Impala, including at one point mastermind Kevin Parker, it’s no wonder Pond has garnered an incredibly loyal fanbase.

The October 16th performance at Johnny Brenda’s was their first time back in Philly in two years, having played at the same venue back in March 2012. Lead singer Nick Allbrook had fond thoughts about the city, pausing many times between songs to say he loves Philly because the city knows “how to let loose.” And let loose the crowd did that night. Leading the charge,Pond, visibly intoxicated the moment they arrived, brought a feverish energy that was reciprocated through the venue. Each song was played with a flawlessly rough vibe, with jarring solos and descents into musical madness interspersed in each epic track. Allbrook at one point went on about how he is terrified of America and his lack of knowledge of the Pumpkin Spice craze. The band also continued their love for Philly saying that most of their knowledge of the city comes from repeated watchings of Always Sunny.

The set included a composite of songs throughout their career, featuring newer songs from Hobo Rocket like “Xanman” to those of my personal favorite, Beard, Wives, Denim like “Fantastic Explosion of Time” and “You Broke My Cool.” They even reached into the archives and played some of their first songs recorded from Psychadelic Mango, including “Don’t Look at the Sun or You’ll Go Blind.”

The rousing finale of “Frond” was filled with rocking anthems and wild crowd surfing and energy. Pond’s performance was one of the most energy-filled shows I have seen in quite some time and one of incredible creative and nutty genius. Pond is slated to release a new album, Man, It Feels Like Space in January 2015.

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Introducting ExCITeCast

By: Maren Larsen

ExCITeCast, the official podcast of Drexel University’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies Center (ExCITe), is coming to WKDU!

The ExCITe Center houses a unique piano which has been retrofitted with an array of sensors and electromagnets. This allows it to produce music with the timbre of a piano and the creative capabilities of other stringed instruments, like vibrato and pitch bending. On it, you can play music that ExCITe’s beat-sensing robots can dance or play along with. Those robots are outfitted in sleek protective armor created on the digital knitting machines housed in the center’s Shima Seiki Haute Technology Lab. All of this is located at 3401 Market Street–right on Drexel’s campus.

The ExCITe Center also houses the Drexel App Lab, the Entrepreneurial Game Studio (known for its involvement in the Cira Center’s giant Tetris and Pong games), a digital inclusion lab, and space for various other multi-disciplinary, highly-collaborative projects.

Pretty ExCITing, right? (ed note: groan.)

ExCITeCast airs the first Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m. on WKDU. I, Maren Larsen, Civic Innovation Co-op at the ExCITe Center and DJ of “What The Folk?” on WKDU, am the host of the program.

Each episode focuses on one of the center’s many projects. The first ExCITeCast, at the beginning of October 2014, highlighted the collaboration between the Shima Seiki Lab and our Hubo robotics researchers to create a technologically-advanced protective armor for the robots, allowing them greater mobility and durability. In case you missed it, it can be found on ExCITe’s SoundCloud.

November’s ExCITeCast will feature an interview with the Digital On-Ramps team, part of the Digital Inclusion Group based at ExCITe. Digital On-Ramps is in the process of developing an ePortfolio for jobseekers to store their resumes, work samples, and digital badges. They are also building career pathway maps for Philadelphia’s biggest industries so that those looking for jobs can see the next steps in their careers.

Join us on Tuesday by tuning in at 91.7 FM or wkdu.org!

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Not To Miss @ CMJ 2014

The CMJ marathon starts today! If you’re as confused as we are about how you’re going to make time for all the great artists this year, consult our list of artists we’re most excited for below. Will we see you there?

So many bands, so little time.

So many bands, so little time.

Repping Cheeseteaks: The PHILADELPHIA CREW
(ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

AMANDA X
amanda
 Moody post-punk from Siltbreeze Records
Catch their set:
Tuesday @ Cameo Gallery, Saturday @ Knitting Factory

DARK BLUE
blue
– Punk from members of Ceremony, Paint It Black, and Purling Hiss
Catch their set:
Sunday @ Rough Trade

BEACH SLANG

Alt-rock straight out of 1995 from Tiny Engines Records
Catch their set:  Saturday @ Baby’s All Right

PURLING HISS
PurlingHiss
–Lyrically poignant punk from Drag City Records
Catch their set: Thursday @ Cake Shop, Friday @ Baby’s All Right


BANDS FROM EVERYWHERE ELSE
(〜 ̄▽ ̄)〜


TWEENS

– Cincinnati trash pop trio singin’ about boredom, love, and weed. Listen our live session with them here.

Catch their set: Wednesday @ (the soon-closing) Death By Audio, Thursday and Friday @ Baby’s All Right

DUSKY
Dusky
– British house/techno duo
Catch their set: Thursday @ Verboten

MATTHEW DEAR
mdear
– 
Experimental dance pop from Ghostly International
Catch his set: Saturday @ Verboten

ONLY REAL

onlylex1
– Shoegazy rap from West London
Catch his set: Thursday @ Brooklyn Bazaar;
Thursday @ Rough Trade

FRANKIE COSMOS
mutualbenefit-21
– Fun and sentimental twee pop from NYC
Catch her set: Friday @ Brooklyn Bazaar


VULTURE SHIT
vs
– Brooklyn sludge punks
Catch their set: Thursday @ Shea Stadium


SLOWDIVE

slow
–Eighties British shoegaze pioneers return after 20 years of silence
Catch their set: (Sold out!) Thursday @ Terminal 5


THE WYTCHES
wytches
– Psych punk from the UK

Catch their set: Wednesday @ (the soon-closing) Glasslands; Thursday @ Baby’s All RightFriday @ Baby’s All Right

OBN IIIS
obn-IIIs
–Garage punk from Austin
Catch their set: Thursday @ Baby’s All Right;
Friday @ Cake Shop


PANEL AND SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY:
Ripping off the Band-Aid: Why Feminism Matters in the Music Industry

WEDNESDAY:
The Color of Noise: Amphetamine Reptile Records Documentary with Q&A from director Eric Robel and Haze XXL

THURSDAY:
All Through A Life: Emo’s Revival

& of course, the College Radio Awards!
– Among the nominees for Station of the Year, Promoter of the Year and Best Taste in Music lies Best Community Resource. Check out what we’ve recently done for the Philadelphia community here and vote WKDU!

FRIDAY:
Beautiful Noise: Documentary screening and Q&A with Nick Chaplin and Simon Scott of Slowdive

See you in New York!
dog

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2014 EMM In Photos

The 2014 Electronic Music Marathon was one of the most gratifying experiences I have had as a member of WKDU. I was fortunate enough to spend a good chunk of time down at the station, catching many great sets and having the opportunity to chat with luminaries like King Britt and Dave P. Regardless of stature, I was struck by the humility and friendliness of all of our performers; it was truly a pleasure having everyone down at the station.

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