Though they were at very different points in their career, A-Trak and Erol Alkan may have been as relevant in 2008 as they are today. Riding the bloghaus high just a few years out from his time as Kanye West‘s official tour DJ, A-Trak had become one of the most hotly anticipated performers at his craft. Pair him with the categorically underground Erol Alkan at the beginning of his Phantasy Sound days, and there you have one of the most memorable sets of the BBC Essential Mix series.
Even ten years later, the tracks from the two master selectors make for an invigorating mix. Pulling out Fool’s Gold deep cuts, classic Shadow Dancer tracks on Boys Noize Records, and grimey, age-old Tiga tunes, the mix catalogs the peculiar, pre-EDM era of dance music that was the late 2000s.
Gammer has remixed “Dumbo Drop,” the memorable 2017 collaboration from dance music veterans A-Trak and Baauer. The duo linked for a limited run of shows and a pair of joint releases to close out the year.
The original quickly proved itself as a stunner with a underground-inspired house style and, of course, signature quirkiness and out-of-the-box thinking that we expect from both of the artists who created the track. Now, with UK bass master Gammer entering into the mix nearly a year after the track’s original release, “Dumbo Drop” has been completely transformed into a gritty, forward-thinking new track whose spitting, acidic bass is just one piece of its fascinating puzzle. The remix brings a drum and bass-inspired build up that feels like the heaviest part of the track, quickly dropping into bulldozing bass hits. It’s one that will sear into your memory.
A-Trak has released an intimate music video for his single, “DJs Gotta Dance More,” featuring his co-producer Cory Enemy and New York DJ icon, Todd Terry, in the booth. The esteemed DJ wanted a behind-the-scenes look, reflecting the production process at its most authentic. In a dimly lit room, the instruments shine and the groove is felt enough for Terry to get into the booth, remaking the entire song in one take.
The song has an old-school ambiance, telling the story of real DJs in the ’80s and their transformation from music lover into a culture curator. The Fools Gold label boss said in a press release, “I released ‘DJs Gotta Dance More’ over the summer. It’s very dear to me, because it talks about all the rituals and experiences you go through when you learn how to produce music: digging for samples, discovering influences, and convincing your parents to let you make noise at the house. Getting Todd Terry to speak on the record was a blessing: he represents a New York state of mind, and a kinship between hip hop and house, which is a huge part of my identity.”
Lauren Sick was the director for the project, racking up previous credits for Vampire Weekend, El-P, and Chromeo. In addition to the music video, A-Trak released two remixes of “DJs Gotta Dance More” by Cassius and Illyus & Barrientos.
HARD Summer 2018 has come and gone — the festival’s first year without founder of the HARD brand Gary Richards (a.k.a. Destructo) at the helm — and all seemed to go as planned. Recruiting some of today’s top talent in house, future bass, dubstep, and hip-hop, the weekend featured some powerhouse back-to-back sets from Dillon Francis & Diplo, Zeds Dead & Jauz, and A-Trak & Baauer. Travis Scott celebrated the release of his new album, Astroworld, and Mija dropped another set that completely embodies her “Fk A Genre” mantra.
With more sets from Marshmello, Ghastly, Louis the Child, and others, this weekend marked the beginning of a new chapter for the HARD organization. Check out some of the top sets of the weekend below.
A-Trak and Todd Terry are two dance music legends that’ve helped to not only pioneer house music, but fuse hip-hop and electronic music together into an infectious whole. The duo have come together for a new release, “DJs Gotta Dance More,” marking their first endeavor together.
The track features a groovy backdrop driven forward by commanding piano chords, and vocals serve as a centerpiece to the song. Terry’s voice chants throughout the song and adds an intriguing dynamic to the jazz-infused house track. His vocals are an interesting commentary on dance music and those who once started as bedroom producers.
“DJs Gotta Dance More” is out now on A-Trak’s own Fool’s Gold label.
At just 15, the child prodigy was a budding master craftsman, winning DJ championships against top talent and carrying the torch for borrowed turntablism techniques that made the ultimate difference — they made people want to dance — along the way. He’s a true auteur and through a continual showcase for his deep love for hip-hop and EDM, he’s provided one of the most unique stylistic coalescences EDM has ever had the pleasure to witness.
Most recently, A-Trak’s seemed to be feeling the GOOD Summer that Mr. Kanye West, Pusha T, and co. have been providing. He’s flipped Pusha T’s new “The Games We Play,” one of the hottest numbers off DAYTONA and even added a new touch to the track. Coyly, A-Trak’s mixed in Eve’s 2001 classic “Let Me Blow Ya Mind,” featuring Gwen Stefani, which was Eve’s highest-charting ever single on the US Billboard Hot 100 and an unbelievably smooth tune in its own right. Ultimately, it’s an incredibly appropriate subliminal mix-in, especially considering the DJ manages to continually blow our minds.
Sammy Bananas hand long been a respected figurehead in the dance music scene. Fans of Fool’s Gold Records will know him as the less forward-facing A-Trak signee, frequently appearing in the label’s radio shows, remix duty, and on many of the imprint’s compilations over the course of a decade. But the Fool’s Gold OG has never been in the spotlight in the way he is now, with the release of his debut full-length LP, Someday.
Through a lengthy, tasty catalog of singles, Bananas made it clear that his game is disco. Someday takes those inspirations further than just disco and the genre’s newer iterations, swinging through indie electronica, flanked by saxophones and progressions lifted right out of 1980’s with some contemporary dance flare. He’s made the record a collaborative effort, teaming up with singers like BOSCO and Kaleena Zanders to round out the album’s vocal fuel.
With a mantra of “little. yellow. different.” Bananas has had a strong sense of humor throughout his career, and it comes through directly in his music. “21,” one of the album’s only singles, hilariously leans on the all too familiar sentiments one might feel as they meet people out at night. The record’s charmingly cheesiest homage to the 80’s however by way of slow jam “How Many Kisses?” effortlessly reaching peak nostalgia. At long last, Sammy Bananas is having a deserved moment in the sun, and he’s dropped off an exceptionally fun collection to celebrate.
Everything A-Trak touches turns to gold. There’s nothing even remotely fake coming from the Fool’s Gold label boss’ wheelhouse. Now, he’s continuing to excavate treasures — having already unearthed supreme dance remixes for artists like Kanye West, Miike Snow, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and more, A-Trak’s latest haul is a balmy disco rendition of Charlotte Gainsbourg’s perennially cool “Sylvia Says.”
Gainsbourg recently released a limited edition, 12” EP with remixes from Soulwax, SebastiAn, and Les Oxalis for Record Store Day. A-Trak’s take on “Sylvia Says” comes as a part of a forthcoming six-track remix EP out June 1 which will feature new takes on the track from Tensnake, Breakbot, Jerge, Mind Enterprise, and Radio Slave.
MoMA PS1 has announced this year’s lineup for its annual summer concert series, a 10-week run of affordable concerts in the Long Island City space. This year’s Warm Up lineup includes A-Trak, Laff Trax (Toro Y Moi and Nosaj Thing), Cashmere Cat, SOB x RBE, Valee, Omar-S, Starchild & the New Romantic, Cuban Doll, Discwoman, and more.
A catalyst and an advocate for new ideas, discourses, and trends in contemporary art, MoMA PS1’s Warm Up series enters its 21st year this summer. The series runs every Saturday between June 30 and Sept. 1.
The first 100 New York City high school students to attend each event will be given free entry. All Long Island City residents receive free entry as well. Tickets and full lineups can be found here.
HARD Summer is pulling out all the stops for the upcoming edition of the festival, led by one of the event’s most memorable lineups to date. Slated for August 4 – 5, and returning to a familiar venue at Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway, HARD’s flagship event is sticking to their tried and true playbook of marquee dance and hip-hop match ups, laced together by the underground’s finest newcomer talents, dropping off a lineup of over 70 acts. Best of all, 2018 now is officially the year of the back-to-back.
Additional firepower from Mija, k?d, Tokimonsta, Madam X, Joyryde and many more round out one of HARD’s best bookings to date. And with the festival boasting added amenities, updated safety and comfort features, plus a hilarious trailer that pins Diplo as the “Dawson’s Creek looking motherf****r” he is, we’re looking at what could be the most over-the-top edition of HARD Summer yet.