Electronic Music Marathon Part 2: Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning

Day 2 of the Electronic Music Marathon kicked off with a heartwarming start from the Musicopia crew. Musicopia is one of our nonprofit partners who focus on arts education in schools. I wasn’t there but heard they were absolutely adorable and amazing overall. Stay tuned for the full write up.

I woke up late and unfortunately couldn’t come in for Musicopia’s set. Scandalous, I know, but I need some sleep otherwise I might never be useful to the station again. I woke up instead to multiple texts from my brother and sister both informing me that the DJ who got on afterwards was super dope. I found out that was Billy (M//R) from Great Circles, who once I threw on the radio got me motivated to take the quickest shower and make the fastest eggs just so I could get down to the station and see him during the performance. As I sit here writing this, I’m enjoying the hell out of the set, even though I missed most of the live performance. It’s a lot more progressive than the sets from last night, which I like because I feel like I’m being taken on a musical journey down in the station as opposed to just “untz-untz-untz”. Justin closed off the Great Circles set, keeping it abstract and weird. Much more mood music and less danceable stuff. Honestly I thought it was great, took me on a whole new level.

Nigel Richards from 611 Records came by next and once again I had a great chance to chat with him before he got on. He discussed his time spent on college radio at University of Rochester WRUR, how he learned the technical side of DJing, and more (I was a big fan of how he didn’t crap over me for relying on the sync button on modern DJ controllers: “Hey, no one can blame you for using technology. If they’d had that when I was coming up I probably would have used it too”). His set started in funky with some acid sounds, much more “hands in the air” than before. Brought the energy in the place back up real nice.

Nigel Richards going wild on the decks
Nigel Richards going wild on the decks

I spoke with James and Thom from Broadzilla and learned all about the difference between club DJ-ing and radio DJ-ing, how they came up, and what drives their current style. They also brought a guitar pedal with them, so they were able to get some really cool effects with the microphone (it’s the little things in life). They recorded some super whacky station IDs for us, full of pitch shifting, echo/reverb, and all around weirdness. Keep your ears tuned to the airwaves to hear them again. Their set had lots of synthesizers and some great 80s sounds. Sounding super cool Broadzilla took us on a musical journey until 7:00 PM.

Matthew Law, aka DJ Phsh (from Illvibe Collective) popped in next, and while he was really fun to talk to, everyone at the station went a little nuts over his shoes. He dropped the hip hop (trip hop?) beats, with a groovy (I keep saying that word but I really can’t help it all the DJs really have been) low BPM set. Matt pumped up the energy in the second hour of his set, going in a whole new direction. Not club style but definitely more danceable than his earlier set. The whole set overall was really good jamming music- I was manning the phones most of the time during that set, just nodding my head along. Best part though: Matt’s grandmom called in during the set, and let us know she was jamming along!

Passion of the shoes
Passion of the shoes

Jay, aka Telequanta came by to lay down his tracks in a special live set on the air. His stuff is supremely chill, reminds me of a trip-hoppier version of Gold Panda (and then he even played Gold Panda after his own stuff, too!) I now totally see why he was always tuning into my show last summer. After his live stuff, he just played some of his favorite songs, which were the ultimate chill out tunes to lead us into the beginning of the late night sets.

Telequanta rocking his own stuff live
Telequanta rocking his own stuff live

As I write this sometime after Telequanta finished, I’m starting to fade fast so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Patrick Richards stepped up to the decks at 11 PM (holy hell how is someone so young so freaking talented?) and rocked us until midnight. Tight transitions and a choice song selection, my favorite being when he played “Walking With Elephants” by Ten Walls and Tchami’sPushing On” remix.

Jansen and Sylo popped in for the midnight to 2 AM slot. They took it to a new level, with some dark tech house. I didn’t recognize any of their stuff but damn was it cool. I finally tapped out some time after 1 AM, struggled my ass to Wawa, and thankfully was able to nab a cab just before I stepped onto the subway platform #luxurious. I was still listening to the marathon the entire ride home until I finally passed out to the sounds of Enrique Villacis’s guest mix around 3 AM, ready to get refreshed for the next big day.

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West Philly and Worldwide – Breaking it down with Matthew Law

by Chris Burrell // @Chri5B_

Matthew Law FKA DJ PHSH is a man that really shouldn’t need an introduction.

He’s rocked pretty much every spot in Philly, and has been moving asses in clubs before he was even allowed to drink. He was the tour DJ for Dave Chappelle’s Oddball Comedy Tour, the Northeast champion of the 2013 Red Bull 3Style Contest, and has spun numerous highly acclaimed gigs including LA’s the Do-Over and Low End Theory.

DJ Lil Dave and Matthew Law
Matthew Law on the 1’s and 2’s at his July Friends and Fam party, as WKDU’s own DJ Lil’ Dave vibes out.
Photo cred: Tim Blackwell, Shots Fired

It seems like forever ago that I sat down with Matt, and since then, he’s recorded the official Roots Picnic Mixtape and opened up the annual PSK event for J. Rocc, Rich Medina, Cosmo Baker, Cash Money, and Questlove – amongst his normal crazy schedule.

Peep his dope set from PSK, and read our chat to get hype for his 3rd annual PHSH TANK Block Party this weekend.

Matthew Law LIVE at PSK 7.3.2014

CB: Who are you, and what do you do?

ML: I’m Matthew Law – you might know me from before as DJ PHSH. I’m a DJ, producer, vision guy – I have a lot of ideas.

CB: What were your first musical memories?

ML: My parents had a theatre company together, up until I was 14. I grew up with that, and also played violin for six years.

Growing up in West Philly in the 90s, the hip hop and alternative rock stuff was really poppin, so I remember that. My Dad liked the modern rock too, so we’d go on drives and listen to Y100 or WMMR and joke around. I still remember being like 7, and listening to Pearl Jam and making fun of Eddie Vedder with all the aaayyyyy-eee-yayy-yuhhh’s.

CB: Y100, RIP! I remember them making fun of Creed also.

ML: Oh Y100 would rag on Creed so hard.

It’s a weird segway – but I remember there being such a weird feeling of race separation once I started hearing Beastie Boys and Eminem on Y100, but not any other rap. I was like, “Oh so I guess if they’re white guys it’s OK for them to be on Y100?” I thought that was really strange, and even at 12, I boycotted them for like two months. My first concert was at Veterans Stadium with Dave Matthews Band, The Roots, and Santana. I was 10, and I came for Dave Matthews Band. I had no idea who The Roots were.

I don’t have any older siblings, so when it came to hip hop, the reason I probably attached to it so much, besides a few key people, was that I really had to discover it on my own, and make it my own.

CB: So how’d you get into DJing, and what was your first set up like?

ML: I saw Scratch, the documentary, and I was like, that’s what I wanna do, I wanna try it out. I didn’t really have anybody to show me anything up until I met Illvibe Collective. It was just watching Scratch over and over again.

It’s funny because on the special edition of it, Z-Trip gave a 20 minute tutorial on how to be a DJ for the most part. Last year, I was DJing at Output with Rich Medina, Questlove, and Z-Trip, and I was like, “Yo, you were my first DJ teacher!”

My first set up was the Stanton STR 880 DJ in a box. The first pair of turntables I saw in person was from this kid I went to Hebrew school with, he got those for his Bar Mitzvah. His Bar Mitzvah was after mine, and when I saw his, I was like, “Man, I shouldn’t have gotten a guitar!”

Matthew Law, King Britt, and Questlove
Two generations of amazing West Philly artists unite – Matthew Law, King Britt, and Questlove.
Photo from @djphsh Instagram

CB: How did you start to build up a name for yourself in Philly and beyond?

ML: I started DJing the Gathering, the longest running hip hop event in Philadelphia. When I was 18, I had my first consistent gig in a club at Medusa Lounge on Tuesdays. I didn’t try to drink, and I think I got a way with a lot of stuff because I knew I was there to work. I wasn’t there to party – I was there to make the party happen.

Then in 2009, everything blew up with my first party, Superdope. Nose Go, Yis Goodwin, had a magazine called McJawn with Gwen Vo, and Leah Kauffman had just started the blog Phrequency. Sammy Slice had his party Mo Money Mo Problems, and while we were somewhat in competition, as far as the kids that were our age, we all were working together in some way.

I started Superdope when I was 20, still not drinking, and on my 21st birthday, there was a thunderstorm. I thought nobody was gonna come out, and we had over 350 people that night.

CB: How was Low End Theory when you spun out there?

ML: Low End Theory was great. It was the first time in a while that I understood that a large crowd of people might not be there to dance, cuz it’s beat heads. So they’re just looking at you like, yeah, you might hear a ‘wooh’.

CB: Let’s talk about the Matthew Law name change.

ML: My full name is Matthew Lawrence Fishman-Dickerson. I came up with DJ PHSH in 10th grade chemistry – I just needed a name. I’m producing now, and I don’t want people to get the wrong idea about what I’m capable of, so that’s why I’m going with Matthew Law.

Plus, a lot of my mentors go by their names, Statik is now Mr. Sonny James, King Britt’s real name is King Britt, Rich Medina’s real name is Rich Medina, and I thought I’d get on the bus.

CB: Tell us what to expect from your new EP.

ML: I’m currently working on it. It’s a storytelling record. Originally it was like oh I’m breaking up from DJ PHSH, but it ended up being like oh I’m breaking up with a girl and then going into a new relationship, new girl. Each track is it’s own thing – it’s a score to my own short film in my mind. I just got a bass player on it, there’s some funky samples and modern funk electronics, and a slow jam with a really ill guitar solo from Joe Jordan.

CB: Favorite closing track:

ML: Between two records.

I’m always the first one there and last one to leave, somebody better be going home with something.

Mos Def – The Pannies

Or, Jaco Pastorius – A Portrait of Tracy

It was sampled for SWV’s – The Rain.
*editor’s note – I linked to the live version of this song because it’s the shit*

CB: What’s something interesting about you outside of music?

ML: I grew up watching a lot of anime. Not like oh Pokemon’s on, Dragonball Z’s on – no, I watched Akira in a dark room by myself when I was 11. I saw Ninja Scroll when I was 9. I think it’s really funny when people try to rag on anime and act like that shit’s for nerds – it was the foundation for your entire childhood! All those cartoons you used to watch were outsourced to Asia, stop bullshitting. Do not front. I take the strongest approach possible when it comes to defending watching good anime.