Boiler Room announces new film platform, 4:3

On May 24th, Boiler Room announced their release of a new film platform, 4:3. Coined a “Netflix for the Underground”, the techno moguls will curate visual media that focuses on documenting club & dance music culture. The pieces on the site are sure to be entertaining, but more importantly, the collection will trace music history and likely inform its future.

Since their first broadcast in 2010, Boiler Room has become become a keystone production company in the growth and international migration of dance music. According to their website, what began as a webcam taped to a wall in a basement has now become a collection of over 4,000 performances by over 5,000 artists.

4:3 refers to the aspect ratio commonly known as “full screen”. In this new era where screen-based media is accessible to a resounding number of people in the first world, Boiler Room hopes that this platform will fill the gaps between those 5 million actively involved in their social community and the 157 million that they connect with monthly through various media campaigns and networks.

But this visual platform won’t just exist online. Tackling themes like “performance, identity, youth culture and anti-establishment”, the company plans to facilitate a body of live events, making 4:3 “rooted in physical experience”. This will include “parties, smoked out film screenings and exhibitions around the world”.

May 29th was the official launch of the site, though there was a soft launch on the 24th, with artists Elijah Wood, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Peaches, and Jenn Nkiru featured as curators.

With the official launch, the site is holding a week long tribute to cult icon Arthur Russell, complete with unseen pieces from the artist’s personal archives and a sound installation by renowned techno artist Andy Stott. Boiler Room will also host a live screening of “Wild Combination (A Portrait of Arthur Russell)” featuring Optimo’s JD Twitch. The event will take place within a church.

As per the company’s website, “Everything [they] do is rooted in the energy of club culture and its ability to bring people together. Open dance floors; where music, ideas and people meet.” In an interview with Campaign, Stephen Mai, chief content officer at Boiler Room, touched on the impact that 4:3 could have on the influential members of Gen Z and Y. This type of foresight seems to speak to the importance of curation in the digital age.

When Google ranks the order in which websites appear in a search, its algorithm determines the likelihood of which the searcher will visit a particular website. Coined “filter bubbles”, these rankings can have a huge impact on our own individual beliefs, behaviors and understanding of the world, from our political affiliation, to what media we consume, and more.

This same concept can greatly impact music listeners and culture consumers depending on which platforms they use. If a listener relies heavily on Spotify in order to find new music, their discoveries can be limited based on what Spotify’s ranking algorithm puts in their suggested playlists or in the “related artists” section. (Maybe this type of thing something to do with the explosion in popularity of repetitive SoundCloud rappers in the past year or so….)

The many curators of 4:3 could bring together content which even the most savvy culture connoisseurs might otherwise have to scour the internet to find. From futuristic Audio Visual pieces to cross-cultural documentaries, providing audiences with films that are culturally rich, even educational, and artistically diverse has the potential to be highly impactful. 4:3 seems less like a musical Netflix, and more like a musical FilmStruck.

According to Mai, the website will “champion underground art movements across music, art, fashion, film and culture by curating and commissioning relevant content that brands can integrate with.”

Though this is worded to sound almost noble, the use of the term brand gives me pause. Market dominance is implicit in the extension of any company. While 4:3 appears largely beneficial to audiences, the idea of pushing the agendas of various brands seems to dilute the innocence of its mission. At the end of the day, Boiler Room is a private company. If plans for 4:3 include privileging content that promotes brand initiatives over that which is artistically significant, might this platform become bias to the point of disingenuousness?

What do you think about 4:3? Do you think other companies might follow in Boiler Room’s footsteps? Or that maybe Boiler Room will use 4:3 to create VR concert experience one day? Is 4:3 just a scam for Boiler Room to monopolize “underground” music?

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PREVIEW: Remember Sports & Shamir @ PhilaMOCA on May 17

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people sitting, table and outdoor

Remember Sports celebrate the release of their excellent new record, Slow Buzz, this Thursday at PhilaMOCA, with Shamir, Comfy, and Friendship.

The Philadelphia based band, formerly known as Sports, S P O R T S, or Sports (the one with girls), release their third album this Friday, May 18th, on the Bay Area label Father Daughter.

After forming in a college town in Ohio, the band has integrated themselves into Philadelphia, playing their brand of pop punk at houses, batting cages, and venues alike.

Shamir shares the bill. Since Ratchet, Shamir has continued to create upbeat music, but with an indie rock influence, as he also now releases music on Father Daughter. He’ll likely play music from his most recent albums. Check out his 2015 WKDU performance.

Locals Comfy and Friendship round out the all Philadelphia bill.

Tickets are available to purchase here.

REVIEW: Turnover w/ Mannequin Pussy, Summer Salt & Pronoun 5/01

IMG_0447On April 1st, Turnover finished their 2018 US tour at Union Transfer, here in Philly. This was their second show in Philly since the release of their new album Good Nature that was put out at the end of last summer (August 27, 2017). They played at the TLA in October.

This show’s line up was an oddly pleasant mix of bands spread across the “rock” genre spectrum.

Pronoun is a one-woman band from Boston. Supported by a second guitar, a bass, and drums, Pronoun played a set that bordered between rock and pop. The music was very upbeat with catchy melodies. Pronoun was a great opener to get the crowd excited.

The second band, Summer Salt, shared some ~beachy vibes~ to get the crowd in the zone for Turnover. Their slow surf rock style mixed with the vocalist’s impressive range was reflective of bossa nova and The Beach Boys all in one. The crowd definitely enjoyed their set.

With another change of pace, Mannequin Pussy brought their high energy to the stage. Popular in the Philly scene, Mannequin Pussy is a four piece band that combines elements of shoegaze, punk-rock, and bursts of hardcore. Personally, I was very excited to hear that Mannequin Pussy would be joining this line-up. Vocalist, Marisa Dabise, has an incredible ability to transition from soft hushed singing to loud, fast, yelling, and her performance surpassed expectations. The pit opened and the crowd was ready.

Though earlier in their career, Turnover was considerably more “pop-punk”, Peripheral Vision, their second album, and Good Nature, their third album, enter a softer realm of indie/dream rock. Their set was filled with summery guitar sounds and Austin Getz’s soothing vocal melodies. Though their sound has transformed, Turnover’s fanbase is strong and does not cease to dance and crowd surf at their shows. Their stage was set with old TVs stacked on top of one another with whimsical imagery playing at different paces with no other lighting (poorly shown in the picture above), which fit their set perfectly. They opened their set with the newest albums first song, Super Natural, and ended with one of their many hits from Peripheral Vision, Dizzy on the Comedown. After the show, people were walking out of Union Transfer happy and carrying old TVs on their shoulders.

WKDU Presents: Vundabar @ Philamoca

Words and photos by WKDU guest writer Madison Kierod

Vundabar brought Philly out of hibernation on Tuesday, March 6th with their sold-out show at PhilaMOCA. Devoted fans had been awaiting their return to the City of Brotherly Love since their show at the First Unitarian Church with The Frights and Hockey dad this past November. This time, the Boston punk/surf/math rockers headlined the show with support from Chicago-natives Ratboys, and D.C. indie rock duo, The Obsessives. The intimate venue was decorated with paintings and prints from local artists, allowing the performance to become tailored and personal for Philly fans.

The band jumped right in with their upbeat new single, “Acetone” off of their 2017 record Smell Smoke, and, after some dramatic pauses and heckling from the audience, continued the show with fan-favorite “Chop” from their second studio album Gawk. This single particularly showcases the band’s ability merge catchy vocal melodies with crunchy guitar tones, and incorporate tempo changes from Grayson Kirtland’s groovy bass lines to Drew McDonald’s quick, almost frantic drum solos. The progression was inherently entertaining to watch and the urge to dance was hard to resist.

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Consistent with the name of their first studio album, their show was certainly filled with Antics. Their fun, high-energy tunes kept the audience jumping, and lead singer Brandon Hagan’s commentary between sets kept them laughing with cheeky rants promoting their band, asking for food, and asking silly, rhetorical questions such as “what do you sound like when you sweat?”. His witty sense of humor even kept the audience entertained while dealing with some noise interference mid-show, as the band had to overcome what Brandon described as “the crickly-crackly.”

Part of Vundabar’s charm is in their unpredictability, their improvisational dance moves, facial expressions, and vocal runs while jamming and soloing mid-song. No track shows this better than “$$$”, where the band took a 2-minute detour to exchange solos just to build up to a clean and abrupt end to the song.

The songs off of their newest album Smell Smoke such as “Diver” have a slower vibe, and were aptly placed in the middle of their set This left room for extra-long, extra-loud, extra-crunchy renditions of one of their more mosh-able tunes “Alien Blues” and “Voodoo” for last.

Overall, Vundabar’s set was tight and precise, yet natural and energetic–a difficult balance that their fan base acknowledges and appreciates. The band’s animated stage presence emanated into the audience, and kept the whole crowd moving (and laughing) for their entire hour-long set. The fun-loving band was exactly what the audience needed to get out of our houses on that cold and soggy Tuesday. Without a doubt, Vundabar fans will be anxiously awaiting their return to the east coast.

 

is / was turns one, talks Pittsburgh unity

Just about to turn one year old, Pittsburgh-based label is / was has already made quite the impact with fresh and timeless releases from heavy hitters and new names alike. We had a chat with label boss Tony Fairchild after he turned in this bangin’ set for the Hot Mix.
Tell us a little about the mix — what was the idea behind it?
It’s a collection of records I’ve bought over the past month or two with maybe 3-4 that have been in my collection for some time.  I think I’m starting to get to a point where my personal definition of house music is starting to congeal and define itself.  This mix is another step in the distillation process.
You’re a new imprint — how’d this all get started? Is it “is / was” or “was / is” ?
Yes, the labels (is / was & was / is) will turn 1 in April and they are my first labels.  It all started with my desire to present music from the 90’s that has maybe fallen out of the spotlight to dance floors of today.  Currently the curatorial ethos is simply releasing whatever I feel is timeless and important music.  It helps to have a kick drum too!
Looking across the state from Philly, Pittsburgh packs quite the punch with its scene / labels / parties. Tell me a little bit about the scene and what you think makes it special / different.
I think what makes Pittsburgh great is what makes Midwest techno great in general.  Heads-down, no frills, hyper-devoted people who involve themselves in dance music simply for the love of it.  It’s an example of the beautiful things that can happen to art and culture when you take money out of the equation. What I’m most proud about is how cohesive the scene is and how supportive everyone is of each other. All the contributors to our scene have their own hustle yet are able to come together to lift each other up and put wind in each other’s sails.
How do you come across some of these older projects and go about re-releasing them? What can we expect the rest of 2018 ?
Usually it starts with a record I have, or am aware of (and wish I had!), that I think has something to offer current dance floors.  Often its just a matter of contacting the artist and asking if they are interested in working together.  Facebook is a big help!
As far as what to expect from the label, there will be 4 more pairs of is / was & was / is records dropping between now and the end of the year.  Expect tunes from Mark Ambrose, Archetype, BPMF, Dar Embarks, a couple of top secret surprises and the debut of the insanely talented Teakup.  I am also launching a new label, “TerraFirm”, this spring via Subwax Distribution.  Its a very conceptual project focusing on a melodic, utopian, futuristic strain of techno.  Look for 2 releases or so this year on that imprint.
Tell me something distinctly Pittsburgh that I should know about.
I’ve only lived here for about 2.5 years so I’m not the most qualified cultural ambassador!  Our museum has a sick gem room that should be one of the first stops on any tour of the city.
What’s your favorite / least favorite thing about electronic music right now?
Favorite: watching the DJ’s and producers of my generation evolve as they mature in the scene.  I see my cohort getting more nuanced, skilled and discerning.  We aren’t the ankle-biters anymore!
Least Favorite:  Discogs prices 😦

WKDU stops in for a little Miami Music Week action!

Day 1

Dodging the last snow storm of the year in Philly, Being WKDU’s new member I felt it was necessary to take a quick trip to 90 degree and sunny Miami! The first stop after dropping luggage off at the hotel was most definitely the beach. Running into one of my close friends/DJ/Producer Deana Sophia Vera, we started to have our first drinks on the beach and got the run down of what parties to go to and so on. Deana is a local Philly dj whos on the come up making a number of appearances not just in our city but had opened up for major names such as Oliver Heldens, Nicole Moudaber, Walker and Royce, and few others. After making power moves in 2017 she is on her way to success in 2018 making appearances in major party cities domestically. Her style consists of real intimate, sexy, tropical dark deep-house and tech-housy vibes but also not afraid to step into the dark heavy hitting techno world (link below of her latest mix on soundcloud). At some point this spring she will make a guest appearance at WKDU, a date has not been determined yet.

Deana’s latest techno mix

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Deana Sophia Vera opening set for Oliver Heldens at Noto in Philadelphia

As the sun came down it was time to get suited and booted for the first event of the night. The first stop was an event called “Techno Taco Tuesday”. This event was beautifully decorated hidden little spot in down town Miami. Although I was disappointed they weren’t serving actual tacos the decorations and the vibe as I entered gave off a traditional west coast desert Mexican cultural feel. Techno infused with Mexican style tribal feels created a warm soothing atmosphere like you were celebrating the day of the dead holiday. MNTRA and DVINA are the promoters/Entertainment groups who set up this event coming all the way from Arizona brining Desert Heart inspired production to Miami music week.

short clip from the “Techno Taco Tuesday” event TACO TUESDAY

Heading off to the second party, the next destination was Trade Miami. Normally the smart thing is to pre plan your trip and purchase tickets a few days in advance where everything is cheap starting at around 15-30 dollars. In my case, since I am a more of a spur of the moment type of guy I ended up paying 80 bucks for general admission. I was not missing out on legendary Paco Osuna and Carlo Lio back to back show. When I entered I have never seen anything like this in my entire life. Not a single person was on their phone, all eyes were glued to the front, and not one person was not dancing. I had gotten there at 12am and next thing I know, looking at my phone, it was 5am. the combination of music, crowd, sound system, and visuals blew my mind. I was in such an intense state of excitement the 5 hours spent there felt like 5 minutes.

carlo lio paco osuna
Trade Miami

Day 2

After passing out around 8am I had a rough start to the next day. pretty much waking up around 4pm I had original plans to go to the Axwell day party but decided I shall save my energy eat some good vegan grub and whip around a rental scooter to do some sight seeing and sticker slapping!

For the second night I purchased tickets to Club Space which is ranked in the 95th place according to DJMAG top 100 clubs in the world. This club is by far the biggest I have ever been to consisting of three huge dance floors. One of the rooms which really makes the club iconic is the roof top terrace experiencing very special moments when the sun comes up on the horizon. This club is located in the perfect place in the heart of downtown Miami capturing the first rays after a long night of dancing. The line up for this night consisted of so many amazing artists but the only ones that stood out to me were Josh Wink and Danny Tenaglia. Both Philadelphia and New York City legends! I was fortunate enough to catch Josh right before his set to take a quick pic and send some WKDU love!

Short clip of Josh Wink’s set at club Space Miami

Day 3

My last day in Miami I met up with local Philly DJ/producers Jordano and Capretto, made there appearance for the first time during Miami Music Week doing a back to back set for a small party located smack dab right in the middle of South Beach Miami on Collins avenue. Nexus Radio was hosting a party at the Fire Ice drink house and I was really happy to be able to take a few photos of some familiar Philly faces spreading brotherly love all the way in Miami. These guys are currently working hard in the studio cooking up some potential fire for their come up, so look out for them to be potential headliners at major festivals such as EDC or Electric Zoo.

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WKDU supports Jordano+Capretto

Taking a long nap was much needed after this event to later attend the last two parties of my time in Miami. The first one was located in North Beach Miami called Basement. The name speaks for itself literally in the basement of a hotel or a very expensive looking apartment complex. Judging from the folks lined up for the party and the establishment in which it was housed this place looked extra sheik. The main floor consisted of a bowling alley and in the neighboring room was the main dance floor, very small approximately 3000 square feet. It was extremely tight because the word on the street was that Diplo was the special guest after the headliner Hot Since 82. was not really feeling the party the entire time because the sets from both the opener and the headliner sounded very commercial and basic. Extremely disappointed I thought maybe Diplo can change the vibes around. Unfortunately he kept the same flow of the party going. I left 5 minutes into his set to go to the last and final stop for the night the Tree House. This Party was hosted by Dirty Bird records own Billy Kenny. The line up for this was stacked! the particular names that stood out were Weiss, Josh Butler, and Huxley. All kings of house music coming from the UK. Huxley has been on a production frenzy coming out with hit after hit on the house and tech house music charts. Some of my personal favorites in the recent months were “Eastside” and “struttin”! Absolute killer tracks! Josh Butler has also been busy in the studio featuring many new talents to the industry on his Origins record label. Releasing the record labels second Various artist EP on March 30th features an emerging producer Ben Sterling and along side him debuting his first appearance on the label Timmy P.

   short clip of Huxley’s set at the tree house

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NEW YORK TRAX taps John Selway for 7th release, talks state of dance & New York nightlife

Founded in 2016 and based in Brooklyn, NEW YORK TRAX is an outlet for New York music, by New York artists, in New York city.
Ahead of the label’s seventh release, this one coming from techno icon John Selway under his Semblance Factor alias, we chatted with label boss Nicole about the state of electronic music, hype, and of course, New York.
Check out this mix of 100% NEW YORK TRAX releases and get a sneak peek at three upcoming releases from the label:
How did you get into electronic music? What were some of the first labels you loved?
I started going to events around the age of 18. I quickly became involved in the local scene by organizing my own events. My first big love when it comes to electronic music was hardcore techno (and it remains my favorite genre to this day). I spent a lot of time exploring the truly underground and obscure hardcore labels of the 1990s. One of my greatest discoveries was Fischkopf from Germany, Hangars Liquides from France, and, of course, New York’s Industrial Strength.
Why did you start the label? Have you done any other labels before? What’s the idea behind this label?
I started New York Trax to release music by New York producers only. The sound of New York is like its people: diverse and unique. Despite the common belief, New York Trax is not only a techno label. It releases electro, acid, hardcore, experimental, and will release even more genres in the future. What matters to me is creative sound with character. In the past, I did some work for other labels, but this is the first label that I run on my own.
What’s one thing you see a lot of labels doing wrong / right?

There is no formula for running a label and there are no limitations as to who can run a label and who cannot. As a result, concepts and sounds are constantly being recycled. I wish people asked themselves more often what is the purpose behind their projects, are they in any way original, are they contributing anything to the big picture, and so on.

What do you think is the state of New York nightlife?

New York nightlife is at its peak right now. There are a lot of venues, crews, labels, promoters etc. We have recently abolished the Cabaret Law and the office of Night Mayor was created. I hope we are off to a fresh start and an even brighter future.


What’s one thing in electronic music you wish you could change?
Less hype, more merit.
What’s your favorite post-rave snack / meal?

Sometimes I just don’t eat until Monday.

John Selway Pres. Semblance Factor EP is will be available in all fine outlets on March 19th.

NEW YORK TRAX Promo mix track list:
1. Lot.te – Graft (NYT05)
2. Richard Hinge – Changes (NYT01)
3. Dawid Dahl – Gehenna (NYT Imports 01)
4. Brenecki – The Oven (NYT02)
5. Another Alias – Craic Fiend (NYT Imports 01)
6. Alex Alben – Irin (NYT03)
7. TBA – NYT08
8. Steve Stoll – She rises up (NYT04)
9. TBA – NYT Imports 03
10. Endlec – Rhythm 387_1 (NYT Imports 02)
11. Steve Stoll – No questions please (NYT04)
12. Lot.te – Ultra Vires (NYT05)
13. Liquid Asset – Contact (NYT06)
14. John Selway – Jack the Void (Raw) (NYT07)
15. Endlec – Rhythm 401_Mix 1 (NYT Imports 02)
16. TBA – NYT Imports 04
17. John Selway – Defiance (NYT07)
18. Liquid Asset – Forgetmenot (NYT06)