Check Out These 10 Tracks From June We Think Went Under The Radar

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Can you believe that we are it’s already July 1st!? Its full-blown summertime here in the US and with summertime comes tons of new music. Artists love to release music around this time of year in hopes to be that festival or summer anthem. With that being said, June was a month LOADED with new

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In Anima – Void Observatory (Pisetzky Remix)

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In Anima – Void Observatory (Pisetzky Remix)Pisetzky Void Observatory Remi

A melodic, trancier form of tech has been taking the dance world by storm as of late, with an outpouring of skilled artists made visible by the likes of Tale Of Us, Mind Against, Âme, Dixon, and more. In Anima are one such act operating below surface who are behind some destructive weapons in their colleagues’ sets. They’ve just signed onto the fledgling Barcelona-based imprint Venom Recordings with Void Observatory, in which the dup have served up three new originals alongside two remixes.

Rising Italian talent Pisetzky was chosen as one of the remixers, taking on the record’s namesake track and molding it into his own. He maintains the thunderous energy of the original, but focuses on a more muffled, yet sinister low end to accomplish this feat. The remix unfolds like a ride through the underworld, filled with chilling synth riffs, layers of tense sampling, and vibrating bass coming together in a cohesive and impactful union. It’s safe to say that Pisetzky has created a peaktime number in his rendition of “Void Observatory.”

 

 

Order a copy here 

Best Albums Of 2018…So Far

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It brings me an ample amount of joy to make the following statement; 2018 is the best year dance music has had in a long time. Since the EDM bubble blew up in the late 2000s and the commercial and mainstream takeover we’ve seen in the 2010s, there has been a noticeable decline in the

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Movement Afters? Dancing Astronaut is here with a comprehensive, yet well-curated guide

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Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching for the city of Detroit. Soon, thousands of house and techno fans will embark on their annual pilgrimage to Movement Festival in order to celebrate their music of choice in its very birthplace.

The festival itself is going to be quite the thrill; talent from all over the house and techno spectrum — from Dirtybird acts, to Ostgut Ton — will be represented, offering attendees a large menu of music to sample throughout its three-day duration. However, the festivities don’t stop at Hart Plaza. Detroit transforms into a party town each night of Movement, opening its venues up to the multitudes of caliber acts flooding the city alongside their fans.

Making a decision on the right party always tends to be an arduous task. To help refine the list, the Dancing Astronaut staff have chosen their picks for places to go when the late night kicks in.

Purchase last-minute Movement tickets here

 


FRIDAY

The Annual smartbar opening party with Palms Trax, Tin Man, Garrett David, & more
Friday, 6:00pm-4:00am at the TV Lounge | Tickets

Movement is such a pleasant reminder that dance music originated in the midwest United States. For this party, Chicago institution smartbar invades the D for their annual takeover featuring a who’s who of DJs’ DJs. Get there early for the free BBQ, while supplies last!

 

Official Movement Opening Party with Ghostly International
Friday 9:00pm – 4:00am at the Marble Bar | Tickets

Ghostly is one of the shining success stories of modern Detroit music. Although they’ve moved their headquarters from Ann Arbor, Ghostly still reps hard for Detroit and this party is no different. Featuring appearances from Ghostly boss Matthew Dear, Firehouse NYC head Kim Ann Foxman, and a special b2b between Detroit selectors Mike Servito and Derek Plaslaiko, this will no doubt be a Detroit-heavy way to kick off the Movement weekend.

 

Official Movement Pre Party featuring Blank Code + SYSTEM + Communion
Friday, 10:00pm at The Works | Tickets

Blank Code, System and Communion are collaborating to bring their sophomore official Movement pre party to The Works. With a lineup that features a three-hour live set from Function, Dustin Zahn, Karl Meier, and more, this pre-party kicks off the weekend with a bang.


10 Years of No. 19 Music
Friday, 9:30pm at The Magic Stick | Tickets

Toronto label No. 19 Music is celebrating its 10th birthday with a stellar Movement pre-party. The evening will feature sets from Art Department, Kenny Larkin, Terrence Dixon, Ryan Crosson, Nitin, and Teeloo.


Modern Cathedrals – Eden IV
Friday, 9:00pm-9:00am at the Tangent Gallery | Tickets

Eden IV has put forth one of the finest all-techno lineups of all of Friday. Across twelve hours, the likes of Headless Horseman, Anastasia Kristensen, DeepChord, and more will be filling the Tangent Gallery with throbbing percussion and shadowy tones. This is an unmissable for those who like their techno raw and raunchy.

SATURDAY

Soul Clap’s House of Efunk
Saturday, 11:00pm – Sunday 11:59pm at the TV Lounge | Tickets

Anyone who’s been to a Soul Clap party knows how fun they are — smiling faces, bumping beats, and a jovial atmosphere pervades the dancefloor as Charlie and Eli take the reins in their self proclaimed “second home” of Detroit. This year, they’ve outdone themselves booking legends such as electro Don Egyptian Lover, drum n bass king LTJ Bukem, Detroit OG Scott Grooves, and countless others.


Discwoman Detroit
Saturday, 10:00pm – 5:00am at El Club | Tickets

Discwoman has never messed around, period, but they are most definitely not messing around with their lineup for Detroit this year. Featuring a mix of some of the heaviest hitters from their ultra talented roster such as Juana, Volvox, and Shyboi, while also showcasing a different side of their sound with live performances from sonic poet Moor Mother, this party is going to be bumping well into the morning hours.


Dirtybird Players Official Movement Afterparty
Saturday, 11:00 pm at The Masonic Temple | Tickets

The Dirtybird Players are taking over the famed Masonic Temple on Saturday with a yet-to-be-announced lineup that’s sure to thrill and delight fans of the iconic house label. Last year’s performances included ones by Claude VonStroke, Justin Martin, J.Phlip, Will Clarke, and Walker & Royce, so the sky’s the limit!

Octopus Recordings Showcase
Saturday, 9:00pm-4:00am at Bleu | Tickets

Sian and his Octopus colleagues will be packing Bleu in with their avant-garde techno sound on Saturday. In addition to a special set by Marsian — the new joint project between Sian and Marc Houle — Carlo Lio, Lee K, and more will be throwing down reverberating beats into the wee morning hours.

Texture Official Movement Afterparty
Saturday, 10:00pm at The Marble Bar | Tickets

In its second year, Texture and The Marble Bar team up to offer a “multi-disciplinary experiment to explore the intersection between light, sound, and space” at their Movement afterparty. With a lineup that includes Danny Daze, Lena Willikens and Randomer, they will feature “elite cutting-edge innovators from across the global underground along with forward-thinking local Midwest talent.”

 

SUNDAY

No Way Back 2018
Sunday 11:00pm – 12:00pm at the Tangent Gallery | Tickets

Many consider this to be THE afterparty to hit, an immersive “truly Detroit” party that continues to evolve and gain steam from year to year. Now on their 11th year, No Way Back is a Detroit institution lovingly tended to by the core group of Erika, BMG, Patrick Russell, and a whole slew of insanely talented Midwest-rooted DJs. Get a taste of the heads-down no-frills Midwest flavor that started this whole thing.


OK, Cool
Sunday 11:00pm – Monday 11:59pm at the TV Lounge | Tickets

OK, Cool continues the weekend long party at TV Lounge where outdoor patio, inside club, and side alley all come into play with rockin vibes. Festive big man Eats Everything headlines while headier techno comes from the likes of Cosmin TRG and Ataxia. There’s also plenty of Detroit love in the lineup too, with Delano Smith and Eddie C also taking the controls for this blowout.


Nina Kraviz and Marcel Dettmann Official Movement Afterparty
Sunday, 11 pm Sunday at The Masonic Temple | Tickets

In the heart of Movement weekend, The Masonic Temples brings together heavy-hitters Nina Kraviz and Marcel Dettmann for an unforgettable evening. Under one roof, the Russian techno goddess and pioneering German producer, along with Helena Hauff and Luke Hess, guarantee an evening of ceaseless dance floor magic.


Seth Troxler b2b The Martinez Brothers, Loco Dice b2b Stacey Pullen
Sunday, 10:00pm at the Leland City Club | Tickets

In perhaps one of the most anticipated after parties of Movement weekend, Paradigm and Paxahau present back-to-back sets from Seth Troxler and The Martinez Brothers, and Loco Dice and Stacey Pullen. The party will rain a heavenly mix of house and techno upon attendees for eight hours.


Lost&Found Showcase
Sunday, 10:00pm-4:00pm at Bleu | Tickets

After all the techno and house-based grooves taking over Movement during the day, who wouldn’t want a bit of respite in the form of some of the best progressive in the game? Guy J, Khen, and Eagles&Butterflies will be leading the night into the early morning hours, putting forth what is sure to be six hours of hypnotic, enchanting, and melodic tunes.

MONDAY

Where Are My Keys
Monday, 9:00am – Tuesday 4:00am at the Marble Bar | Tickets

Any time Omar S shows up, it’s a reason to party! This entire lineup is insane though and features somewhat rare US appearances from selectors Move D, Osunlande, DJ Minx, and many others slinging rare wax on the decks. Please note this party’s late / early start time and be prepared for a marathon dance!

 

IT presents: 15 Years of the Bunker
Monday, 10:00pm – 6:00am at the Tangent Gallery | Tickets

The Interdimensional Transmissions crew is another one of these Detroit institutions that puts on landmark events throughout the year, especially during Movement weekend. For this year, IT has teamed up with New York’s infamous The Bunker crew for a lineup bursting at the seams, with a room even specifically for “come downs”. Techno legends like Adam X and Jane Fitz lead the way on this one, another standout event at the hallowed Tangent Gallery.

MoodRAW Official Movement Closing Party
Monday, 11:00pm at The Masonic Temple | Tickets

As Movement draws to a close, those wishing to keep the party going can continue their Monday night at The Masonic Temple, where MoodRAW will offer sets from Dubfire, Hito, and Nicole Moudaber. This star-studded lineup promises to draw in music fans of all persuasions and keep them on their feet until its 4:00am close.

 

Repopulate Mars Official Movement After Party
Monday, 11:00pm at The Magic Stick | Tickets

The Magic Stick closes down Movement weekend with a five-hour fiesta featuring Lee Foss, Moon Boots, Nathan Barato, Anabel Englund, Will Clarke, John Johr, and Dru Ruiz. The diverse lineup guarantees an evening of innovation from some of the industry’s key players.

Feature Image Credit: Bryan Mitchell for Paxahau

Get to know your Desert Hearts: Doc Martin & Lubelski

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Doc Martin

It’s hard to believe that Desert Hearts is already crossing into its fifth birthday. The Southern Californian transformational brand has grown from a humble, grassroots gathering into a veritable institution over its half-decade of existence, and only continues to thrive with its City Hearts offshoots. Now, Mikey, Lee, Marbs, and Pork Chop are celebrating their brainchild’s birthday in the most extravagant of fashions, holding the biggest festival to date and booking an equally immense lineup.

Damian Lazarus will be spinning a stirring four hour set, Doc Martin and Sublevel and SHADED will be bringing their live performances into the fray, and many other talented acts like Kenny Glasgow and Dance Spirit also making an appearance. Dancing Astronaut had the privilege of sitting down with a series of the talent on the bill, and hosting interviews that they conduct between themselves.

One thing Desert Hearts excels at is highlighting immensely talented local acts on its wistful stage. Our next two performers joining together for a joint interview are hidden gems who both call Los Angeles their home.

Heavily active members of the LA party sphere have probably heard of the distinguishable Doc Martin.He’s primarily known for its impeccable deep house curation and the intimate, good-natured vibes he fosters at each gig. He is also one part of Sublevel Live, alongside the vocalist Lilllia. Having been around since the dawn of raving, more or less, Martin knows how to command a crowd at any time of day, and consistently finds himself on the rosters of many transformational festivals.

Lubelski comes from the new generation of talent bursting out of his Southern Californian locale, and has made a name for himself as a part of the extended Desert Hearts family. His pyschedelic-inspired house & techno, splashed with a bit of obscurity, ensures his crowds are always moving and kept on their toes. He’s managed to grow a large network and solid reputation despite only a relatively short tenure producing behind his Lubelski alias.

Find out what happens when we pair old and new generations together for a discussion about their mutual industry.

 

 


Lubelski to Doc Martin:

Let’s go from easy to hard. What is your go to airline? This is one I’m still trying to figuring out. Also, what’s the farthest from home you’ve ever played?
I was flying United and I almost had 3 Million Miles with them. The last couple of years, Delta has been great as far as Service, Meals, Movies, and Comfort!!! As far as International Flights go I use a variety of Airlines….

Probably the longest flight was to Bali from LA.

What does an ideal gig look like to you? What’s the location? What’s the crowd like? This can be in the form of one of your favorite sets you’ve played or maybe one that’s in your head.
I think a great gig consists of an open, dancing crowd! Music being curated the right way, not just a bunch of names thrown together. I do prefer a good artsy crowd, that is open to great music. I also love long sets where I can play different types of music through the night and take the crowd on the full ride. Notable shows that instantly stand out are gigs at Cityfox, Circoloco, Desert Hearts,Oregon Eclipse Fabric UK, Sublevel, Deep LA, Subtract LA, Art of Sound, and most recently The Do Lab at Coachella.

Do you have a ritual for when you play or when you write music? If so, what is it?
When picking music to play I have a very particular ear. I’m looking for more of a vibe, than just a style of music. I listen to tons of tracks, and still play at home all the time. When making music, I will spend hours on just making a sound. Sometimes songs take a while to come together. I believe the most important thing is to stay extremely passionate about what you do.

You’ve been an absolute legend in the scene since the early 90s. What is one thing you miss about the early rave days that you don’t see around in today’s scene?
Things were a lot different in the beginning. The scene was a lot smaller. I was truly blessed, to be one of the first DJ’s to play in different cities around the country. Saying that, I’m having the time of my life right now. I’ve met so many cool people, while being on the road lately. It’s been a completely positive experience! I think it’s important to have fun, and always love what you do.

Has there been one definitive song for you that has stood the test of time that you still find yourself playing in sets every so often?
What an Impossible question to answer. I’m always looking for classics that maybe weren’t huge at the time. There are so many remixes that bring classics in to the now.

Lubelski

Photo credit: Charlie Winterhalter

Doc Martin to Lubelski: 

What’s the story behind the Lubelski name? asking for a friend 🙂
It’s kind of a long story but I’ll give you the short version. I used to go by another name that was derivation of my first name. Unfortunately it was taken by a Puerto Rican rapper that wanted more than anything in the world to be Latino superstar Pitbull. So in deciding a new name for myself, I wanted to go with something that sort of defined the origins of my last name. Lubell is a derivative of Lubelsky, where my family comes from in Poland!

Please give us a little background on your musical Influences that have helped you develop as an artist.
I’ve been playing instruments since I was just a kid. Always thought I’d end up in a band as a guitarist, but after years of trying to make it work with bandmates, I wanted to just do it all myself. As far as musical influences go, I’ve always been super inspired by guys like Moby, Fatboy Slim, and Led Zeppelin. They’ve always been artists that have tried to push the boundaries on what people considered to be good music and really defined generations of sound.

With so much music coming out on so many great labels. What is your favorite piece of gear and why?
There really is so much good music coming out. It always baffles me how people come up with some of the ideas for electronic music that they do.

I got to say my favorite piece of gear is my Doepfer Modular Rack. It’s the one piece of gear that I feel plays me, rather than I play it. It feels like I have to hold a conversation with it, if you know what I mean. It’s got its own character and is a bit haphazard at times, so it’s always refreshing to get lost in it and let the sounds kind of take me on journey.

How do you see the scene through your eyes?
Oof. This is a tough one. Without stepping on anyone’s toes, I feel like the scene is constantly at a tipping point. I feel because the scene is so saturated, it’s hard to say which direction it will go. Sounds, rhythms, and styles are all being overplayed and people are looking for the freshest thing. Artists like Four Tet, Jamie XX, Frits Wentink, and Danny Daze, I think, all have the right idea because they are focused on a forward thinking sound rather than whatever’s hot and just crowd pleasing, although I will say I still love party tech!

What are some of your favorite DTLA places/hangouts/Restaurants?
I love hanging out in Los Angeles Historic Park in Chinatown. It’s just outside of DTLA and a great place to look at the skyline and enjoy a sandwich ahaha

So many amazing restaurants in Downtown, it’s crazy…but to name a few – Tacos and Mezcal at Las Perlas, Sandwiches at Eat, Drink, Americano in the Arts District, Sushi at Enya in Lil Tokyo, and Mexican food at Bar Áma in the Old Banking District.

Who are you looking forward to hearing at Desert Hearts?
Sublevel Live, of course!!! Also Serge Devant, Damian Lazarus [4 Hr Set], SHADED, and my dude, RYBO.

 

Feature image credit: Danny Liao

Get to know your Desert Hearts: Lee Reynolds & Egyptian Lover

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It’s hard to believe that Desert Hearts is already crossing into its fifth birthday. The Southern Californian transformational brand has grown from a humble, grassroots gathering into a veritable institution over its half-decade of existence, and only continues to thrive with its City Hearts offshoots. Now, Mikey, Lee, Marbs, and Pork Chop are celebrating their brainchild’s birthday in the most extravagant of fashions, holding the biggest festival to date and booking an equally immense lineup.

Damian Lazarus will be spinning a stirring four hour set, Doc Martin and Sublevel and SHADED will be bringing their live performances into the fray, and many other talented acts like Kenny Glasgow and Dance Spirit also making an appearance. Dancing Astronaut had the privilege of sitting down with a series of the talent on the bill, and hosting interviews that they conduct between themselves.

Two stalwarts join us for Round 2 of interviews. The first is an LA staple, known for his connection to house music and the underground scene. We’re referring of course to Egyptian Lover, who has dedicated his life toward helping the scene thrive and sharing his soulful and grooving sounds to the world. Outside the warehouse sphere, he’s releasing on the likes of Hot Natured, Ninja Tune, and more, and even earning his Boiler Room stripes.

He partakes in this series alongside “Papa” Lee Reynolds, the English transplant who has since become one of Desert Hearts most beloved leaders. There’s something so youthful and infectious about him that rubs off on those he encounters and inspires them to maintain a positive mindset. Catch him on stage rallying a full crowd of dance-loving individuals at the festival, or any of his brand’s offshoot events. Together, they share fond memories of past gigs, offer a glimpse into their inspirations, talk shop, and more.

 


Egyptian Lover to Lee Reynolds:

What’s the feeling you get when you play a song and people scream (in a good way)?
That’s one of the experiences that I live for and what I hope to achieve with every track I drop. Trying to hit that perfect vibe and frequency that gets the crowd totally in the moment, on the same wavelength and gives them a chance to detach from the all the bad news — we’re fed with the government controlled media. When I get the crowd whooping like a bunch of wild humans, I feel like I’m doing my job. One of the best feelings you can have! I’ve definitely been brought to tears during DJ sets from the energy I feel from the dancefloor.

I myself still play with vinyl records, what do you play with and why?
I mostly play CDJs these days for the ease of use and because I travel so much. It’s nice not to have to lug around a 50 lbs box and to know I’ve got a thousand plus songs in my coin pocket so I can take the party in any direction it needs to go. I’ve been playing vinyl for about 27 years and actually played my first all vinyl set in over a decade a couple of weeks ago, but I have to say that I’m officially addicted to the black crack again! Funnily enough I did play “Egypt, Egypt” which has always been a staple throwback track for me and gets worked into a set a least a few times every year. Having to dig through my collection to get ready for the gig was such an amazing trip down memory lane…many tears of joy and goosebumps were had!

If you could go back in time and be in the studio with any artist and do a Lee Reynolds Remix, who would it be with and on what song?
Great question. Wow, so many good ones. Kate Bush, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode (ate my first acid at a DM show in London), Siouxsie and the Banshees (my first candy-flip), Grace Jones, The Clash, Bowie, Talking Heads, Fleetwood Mac, Bauhaus, Art of Noise, Bjork, Brian Eno, Giorgio Moroder, Echo and the Bunnymen, Gang of Four, The Human League, Liquid Liquid, New Order, Dead Kennedys, Prince, Queen, The Specials, Can, The Stone Roses.. I’d give my left testicle to have shared the studio with any of those legendary artists and I know my old brain is spacing out on many others. But ultimately it would have to be The Cure, my greatest ever musical obsession! Really hard to pick one song from their incredible discography but I’m gonna say Other Voices.

You are paid $10 Million to DJ a super private party. What are the first 5 things you buy?
1- Dream home for my parents
2- Three month worldwide adventure with my amazing wife Zoe and our incredible girlfriend Dani
3- The ultimate nightclub in my hometown of San Diego
not sure if there would be anything left by this point 😉
4- A plot of land to start my commune
5- A 12 pack of lager

What’s your favorite drink when you DJ? What’s your favorite drink at home?
Lager, lager, lager!!! I grew up in the UK and I’m know to kill at least a 12 pack on a daily basis. I try to steer clear of the hard liquor but that seldom works as I do love a bit of Tequila!

Egyptian Lover – Photo courtesy of artist

Lee Reynolds to Egyptian Lover:

 

“Freak-a-holic,” “Egypt, Egypt,” and “Sexy Style” are the first three of your tracks that pop into my head and all jams that I still play when I’m looking for some proper old school electro. They all make me feel you were having a really great time in the studio, which one of these was the most fun to produce and why?
I would have to say “Sexy Style” was the most fun. I always go to the studio with friends and at the time, my band. But this one weekend everyone flew to Las Vegas with Rodney O. So I was alone and booked the studio. I went in all by myself and created this track and did the vocals and when my band came back I played it for them and they lost their minds when they heard it. I felt good about it. I then released it right away. It was out in the stores within a couple weeks.

We all know that you’re the boss of the TR-808 but what’s your favorite synthesizer and when/where did you pick it up?
The amazing Roland Jupiter 8. I went into the Guitar Center and asked what’s the best synth you have? The employee said the Jupiter 8 by Roland but it’s expensive. I said “I’ll take it” and add the Emulator as well. His eyes got so big as I had them delivered to the Studio and recorded with them that day.

You been on the scene since the very early 80s and have had a huge influence on myself and many others. What inspires you and who are a few of the artists that influenced to start this journey?
My biggest influences came from Prince, Kraftwerk and the song Planet Rock. That song hit me way deep down in my soul and I knew I had to do something like that. The rap style came from Prince and by putting both of these two together you get Egyptian Lover.

I live in San Diego and I know that this city has shown you a lot of love throughout the years. Do you have a favorite venue down here and any funny stories about performing in my hometown?
I played the Kava Lounge many times and I absolutely love it. Very intimate. Once I was shooting a video there and my cameraman’s wife’s water broke and had her baby in San Diego. I finished my show and we all went to see the new born baby.

We’re super excited to have you at Desert Hearts this year. Can you tell us a little bit about your live set up, what your favorite DJ mixer is and what we can expect?
I’m gonna just do what I do best and that is Rock the House to the Ultimate of Par-tay-stivity. You will witness the evolution of The Egyptian Lover. My crazy DJ set with turntable tricks, playing records backwards, and then playing my 808 Live. Then performing my own songs. I like 4 channel mixers like the Pioneer DJM. I can plug my 808 right into it and have full control over the volume.

Beyond The Booth 011: Kicking it with UMEK

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UMEK

Beyond the Booth is a feature dedicated to the hidden side of artists that exists outside electronic music— a side rarely discussed with those outside their immediate circle. We venture “beyond the booth,” so to speak, and dive into their deepest passions that tie into their unique personalities. After some self-introspection, each participant then returns to the booth, providing an exclusive mix for the Dancing Astronaut audience.

UMEK epitomizes the words, “dance music trailblazer.”

The pioneer carved his niche in the Slovenian dance scene in the 1990s, and has since expanded his influence to a global level, touring extensively and teaming up with powerhouse record labels and artists to frontline his own master class.

His discography is as impressive as his resume. His roots are embedded in the house and techno realms, though UMEK has never been one to shy away from new territory. He boosted his acclaim even further with a stint in big room, in which he took what he learned during his time in the spotlight to further enhance his rejuvenated work in the underground. More recently, UMEK has been rebuilding his 1605 imprint while also playing other cameos in labels like POPOF’s FORM.

While he is most notably known for his powerfully ethereal beats and widely acclaimed success, music is ultimately just one aspect of his wide array of interests. His appreciation for visual art almost equates to his passion for music — particularly, in the form of a well-designed pair of sneakers.

Dancing Astronaut picked UMEK’s brain about his adoration for shoes, and what both shoes and music mean to him personally.

Pick up a copy of his sinister new EP on Tronic here, and also enjoy an exclusive mix from the man himself to tie together this edition of Beyond The Booth.


When and how did your sneaker obsession begin?
The beginnings of it could be traced back to 2006, when I bought my first pair of sneakers in consignment store, though it finally escalated in full boom sometime around 2013. I just couldn’t resist buying a pair of Nike’s Fire Red Air Jordan 5, as these was a pair of sneakers I was longing to have as a teenager but could not afford to buy them at the time. To be honest, watching TV shows, on-line channels and talking to other collectors, I became aware this is quite common trigger for collecting sneakers, especially Jordan’s: most of us didn’t have money to buy sneakers we wanted when we were young, and we are catering to that desire now that we can finally afford to buy them. It seems most of the sneaker-heads are destined to become one because of a trauma that is a result of sneaker deprivation in their childhood. ☺ Pay attention when you are watching celebrities buying sneakers on some reality show – they always say they are buying ridiculous amounts of very expensive footwear because their parents could not afford to buy it for them while growing up struggling for money. And when I look to that, I actually feel lucky as I was an athlete and into sneakers – not into cars for example. That would be one very expensive obsession to cater to.

Most prized sneakers you own today, and why?
I don’t want to discus prices, but I do own a pair of Nike Air Jordan 5 Transformers, which are a rare collectors item, designed and produced for a crew of Transformer movie franchise. I like those for couple of reasons: Jordan 5 was (and still is) my favorite design of sneaker since childhood and it was also the first purchase for my collection. On top of that it’s rare and I also like sci-fi, including Transformers movies, though I didn’t particularly like the last one. All in all, I like this pair as it connects to me on couple of levels and it’s also hard to get.

Name a type of sneaker that you’ve been dying to get but just can’t get your hands on?
There are some pairs I’ll probably never be able to buy, as they were released long time ago and are also very hard to get by. Thought it would be cool adding to my collection two pairs of Carmelo Anthony Air Jordan 5 Retro PE. Nike made those when he played for New York Knicks and they are available in orange and blue, home and away game variation. There’s couple of other pairs that are on my list as well, but if I’ve had a chance to have one or two pairs that are out of my reach, I’ll choose these. Eminem’s edition of Jordan 4 is also a very popular pair, very expensive and cool, but I still prefer Carmelo’s to those.

Best sneaker to DJ in? Best sneaker to actually exercise in?
I like to DJ in Kanye West’s Adidas Yeezy Boost 350. This pair is fashionable, comfortable and just limited enough that not everybody can buy it. For gigs it’s important for me to feel cozy and be presentable at the same time, so I can’t wear just anything. On the other hand, I like Adidas NMD sneakers for doing all kind of sports, including running. This is a very light sneaker, with boost sole technology, very comfortable. I’d wear those even through the winter if I could. Sometimes they feel like wearing flip-flops for the beach, they’re so light, airy and comfy.

If you were to design sneakers for a particular brand, who would it be and why?
The first obvious choice would be Nike as this is my favorite brand since childhood, though I like a lot of things from Adidas as well, they have created some iconic models, so I’d be glad to do some designs for them as well. By the way this sneaker fever of mine didn’t stop just at buying and collecting sneakers – I also got into customizing my own pairs. At some point I’ve been so into it I’ve put together a decent workspace in the basement of my house where I became a really good friend with sandpaper, brushes and acetone, I learned a thing of two of color palette and even bought an airbrush. Once I came to the limit of my knowledge and skills doing this as a hobby, I decided to quit as after all I’m still a musician, not a shoemaker and have to focus on producing and mixing music. Thought I’ve had lots of fun pimping up shoes for myself and some of my close friends.

Why do you think that sneaker “collecting” has expanded so rapidly across cultures over the past years? What makes it so enticing to own a collection?
I’ve partially answered to this question already in the beginning. This also goes hand in hand with the influence of big rappers and basketball players in the fashion industry. Nowadays people do notice, and they are even impressed if you wear a pair of rare sneakers designed by a famous person, especially if the item is limited and not everybody can afford to buy it. Rare items are precious, some are willing to pay for that and some are even challenged to create collections of rare items, competing with like-minded people. There are not many sneaker-heads in Slovenia, so only couple of people may notice if I wear a rare pair of sneakers. Americans are much more into it, so total strangers frequently stop me on the street and compliment my footwear or staff ask me if they could photograph my sneakers when I’m in their store. They appreciate the effort you are investing in finding and collecting nice pairs of sneakers. Because, yes, once you get seriously into this, it takes lots of time, energy and also money, so it’s nice when people notice that. It’s not very different to collecting art, stamps, coins or likes on social networks – people like to see other people noticing and sharing their passions. By the way, I really don’t like putting photos of myself on Instagram, but I don’t have that much problem doing it with my sneakers – though I don’t show off with the most expensive models. I didn’t think much of this but that’s how it is, and it does make sense to me.

Do you bring your collection of sneakers on tour with you? Have you ever performed not wearing sneakers, and if so, what type of shoes did you wear?
Sure, I always take couple of pairs with me on tour though there’s not that much space for shoes in the language regarding that I’m quite a big man and one sweater takes quarter of a suitcase already. I never take as many as I’d like to, usually I pack three or four pairs: one comfortable for airplanes and exercising, one not too expensive for going around the city in any kind of weather and two to show off in the restaurants and at the gigs. That’s my tactic for touring USA and of course I always return back home with couple of new pairs I buy there. By the way, it’s not unusual I buy couple of the same design of sneakers I really like. I don’t actually know why, but I do that the same way as with vinyl I really like and I buy it in five or six copies. Just in case I guess. It’s kind of fetish, but I’ve become a bit more disciplined lately and got rid of most of the doubled items. For most of the gigs, almost all actually, I wear sneakers, but now or then I do perform in flip-flops if we are somewhere in the nature during summer or at the beach and it’s hot and I did a gig in my hometown Ljubljana recently wearing a nice pair of Pharell’s Timberland Boots. I guess now that I’ve developed an eye for nice footwear I can’t wear just anything.

Speaking of performing, what live shows are you excited about playing in 2018? Any festival appearances you are looking forward too?
To be honest, you’ve caught me at the well-deserved holiday with my girlfriend, so I really have no clue where I’m going next. But sure, there will be plenty of exciting gigs as always. I’m on never ending tour for the last 20 years and luckily it always takes me to some places I like to visit as well as new exciting ones. I know I’m going To India, Australia and to Miami Winter Music Conference, which I’ll combine with a Northern American tour and I’ll do plenty of club and festival gigs all around Europe and Ibiza as well.

Big plans for 2018? Any new EPs, singles or albums in the works?
There are bunch of Umek and Zeta Reticula releases already scheduled and there will be some more as I’m in the studio all the time creating great music, which you can also hear in my sets exclusively, but right now I’m really pumped for the upcoming EP “Certain Trace” on Tronic. We go way back with Christian Smith and his label. I’ve played a lot of Tronic releases already in the 90s, I liked the sound they’ve promoted after the Millennium and they’re still one of the best techno labels and as such they cater to my taste regularly. In the past I’ve licensed music from Tronic for our compilations, booked Christian for our festivals and we’ve became friends. When I was producing these tracks I’ve suddenly realized that the synth sounds I’ve used should fit perfectly in the sound of Tronic. We were taking with Christian for quite some time about maybe producing something new for his label, as it’s been ages since my last contribution. I’ve sent him couple of tracks for consideration, he liked couple of them, and we set the release.

On the topic of 2018, what do you think will be super trendy for the coming year? This can be fashion or dance music!
Let’s focus on fashion since we’ve discussed sneakers extensively in this interview: granny or grandpa looking sneakers from the 80s and 90s are doing a big come back this year. They seem really funny and retro looking, but they are hot stuff now.

 

Feature photo credit: Luka Kase

Escape with Soul Catalyst

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Discovering Soul Catalyst is like discovering a hidden snack at your marketplace and it becoming one of your favorite treats of all time. In the last couple years, Soul Catalyst has consistently been awarding fans with one great tune after another, continuously finding ways to present his layback, worldly sound. “Escape” winds it down compared

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Johnny Yono Dreams Big With “King Of The Dream” (Free DL)

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The Detroit native, LA based Johnny Yono is perhaps one of trance music’s most overlooked and underappreciated talents. Owning a bevy of the heaviest, emotive, and download quality trance tunes you’ll hear, covering a spectrum of dark and techy to blissful and inspiring. Last year he celebrated numerous releases, such as a handful of bangers

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Scene rising: Ocaso Music Festival is a testament to the searing underground potential of Costa Rica

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Tamarindo, Costa Rica’s Ocaso Music Festival is already finding its sweet spot.

Such a feat is not an easy one to accomplish — especially in an increasingly saturated festival market where success rides a fine line of talent booking, production, and risk-taking. Nailing a major festival production can take years, even with a strong team and a prime location. However, Ocaso only took two editions to get its footing in the contemporary event-organizing arena.

 

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What originally began in 2017 in Tamarindo as a free event has since transformed into an unparalleled, explorative venture diving deep into the realms of underground house and techno. This year, Ocaso Festival focused on delivering a more concise lineup of house and techno artists than it had last year. 2017’s lineup boasted artists like Hot Since 82Art DepartmentLee Burridge, DJ Tennis, Doc Martin, Cristoph, Anthony Attalla, Dance Spirit, Edu Imbernon, and Andreas Henneberg. Although 2017’s curation doesn’t appear to be any less concise than this year’s artistic assemblage, the main shift for 2018 was allowing extended DJ sets from a plethora of acts throughout the weekend.

Found on the 2018 lineup were underground house and techno pioneers like Doc Martin, Hector, Claptone, and Carlo Lio, plus live sets from Rodriguez Jr and Tone Of Arc, as well as a local takeover from Costa Rican DJs like Javee, Oneiro, Maria Wabe, Samu, and more. The rambunctious, SoCal Desert Hearts party crew featuring Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, MARBS, Porkchop, and RYBO also held it down for two surprise nights of the festival.

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Tamarindo, Costa Rica’s appeal lies in a multitude of offerings: great weather year-round, a party atmosphere near the beaches, ease of air travel, and a somewhat equidistant geographic location to major markets such as North America, South America, and Western Europe. Aside from the music, the Tamarindo Playa can be explored in a number of ways, from snorkeling the coral reef to scuba diving, surfing, or zip lining through nearby jungles. For those looking to err on the side of relaxation, Tamarindo offers luscious, local cuisine, as well as a superfluous number of bars and spas.

What Tamarindo’s nightlife lacks, one could argue, are the gargantuan dance venues similar to those of Ibiza. Though Costa Rica’s San José does bolster an array of nightlife institutions and party organizations, Club Vertigo and ANTIK being on the leading edge of the scene, the city is significantly less developed than much of the leading destination festival world. Rolling green mountains stretch beyond the city limits, where the jungles carry on as far as the eye can see. In this regard, one could argue that Costa Rica is ripe for its growth in the scene, but cities like Las Vegas and Dubai are light-years ahead. Even other “would-be Ibizas” such as Punta del Este in Uruguay, Cyprus, Bali, Romania, and Croatia, are too.

Though it’s important to understand: Costa Rica’s not aiming to be “the new Ibiza.”  

Unlike other destination festivals, Tamarindo’s Ocaso Festival points to a budding underground and a scene whose deserving musical and cultural celebration is deeply embedded in the country’s very livelihood.

Costa Rica will likely not in two lifetimes approach what Ibiza has done for the dance music — it’s unlikely any new “hotspot” will, for that matter. Providing a niche destination and unique attraction between that of a boutique and underground festival experience for the scene though is growing increasingly appetizing. To this effect, Costa Rica is well-positioned, and Tamarindo’s Ocaso Festival is leading the front.

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Tamarindo is the biggest beachfront city in the area on the Pacific side, also within an hour drive of the new international airport in Liberia, making the ease of travel to Ocaso Festival a major attraction. Being on the Pacific side of the country is also incredibly important, the festival’s founder Devin Ellis has articulated to DA; Costa Rica’s dry season occurs only on the Pacific side of the country from mid-December to May, making the destination a key player in attendee’s delight.

Having organized underground warehouse style shows in the early nineties, “We have always had house and techno as our main attractions but added genres like hip-hop, drum & bass, and jungle at some of the bigger events,” the sonically well-rounded founder of Ocaso Festival is unequivocally rinsed in the underground scene.

After traveling to Acapulco Mexico in 2001 for an event called the ACA Soundfest, Ellis became drawn to the hedonistic and ground-breaking open-air possibilities a music festival could offer, and so he incorporated these elements into Ocaso.

It was “unlike anything I had ever experienced,” he’d said of ACA, also telling the Huffington Post prior to Ocaso, “I wanted to find a similar setting for my own destination festival. Removing people from the everyday stresses of life, and immersing them in an isolated setting produces a truly paradisaical experience full of freedom. In my first full night in Tamarindo a few years ago, I knew then Costa Rica was going to be home for Ocaso.”

After traveling extensively for a few years, Ellis remembered how much he enjoyed good music and its versatility no matter where he was.

“We just wanted to throw a destination festival to give people the opportunity to listen to world-class techno and house music in some of the most amazing locations on the planet,” Ellis told us of the mission behind Ocaso.

To pull off a world-class party, Ellis and the Ocaso organizers capitalized on a threefold relationship with the natural environment.

Beginning with the beach, the lifeblood of Ocaso festival was the relationship cultivated between the attendee and musical setting. Named after the Spanish word for “sunset,” it was incredibly apt that Ocaso’s second incorporation of an environmental element was a driving force of the country’s ethos: its sunsets. Ocaso’s decision to move from the opening party on the beach to a rooftop of a hotel for its days and final evening was a masterful one. In doing so, they displayed a threefold understanding of the need to entertain, but also to delight with the country’s natural beauty, and aid in attendees’ cultivation of a memorable experience with one another.

The most integral piece of Ocaso’s environmental planning though was its ascendance into the Costa Rican jungle for two nights. A sublime union between attendees and their environment, Ocaso’s underground roots were elongated with the use of the “La Senda” venue. Ocaso’s organizers paved the road leading from Tamarindo to La Senda, which was previously a dirt path, and quite literally allowed attendees to descend into the festival’s jungle accolade.

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Citing natural beauty as one of the number one attractions of Costa Rica, Ellis’ move of Ocaso to a natural amphitheater and next to an open Labrinyth structure for two evenings was immensely felicitous.

Besides the musical venue lied the Tamarindo Labyrinth, which according to both its website and locals, serves as “a maze you get lost [in] and have to find your way out, a labyrinth has only one path which symbolizes our life’s journey and takes us inward guiding us to find out who we really are. ”

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Photo Credit: La Senda Costa Rica

Translated into the design of a labyrinth by Ronald Esquivel, the jungle’s labyrinth uses sacred geometry and the number three, uniting two opposing centers — the feminine and the masculine into a third center, the Vesica Piscis — which is believed to be the point of creation.

In sacred geometry, the Vesica Piscis is the passageway from “the One to the many,” or the portal through which all forms and patterns of our universe are created. Since symbolism flows so deep within many, this figure is intended to allow inner expansion, exploration, inspiration, and spiritual self-discovery.

Respectively, Ocaso didn’t disrupt the landscape of La Senda, instead, they laced the jungle stage beside it, but the natural labyrinth’s proximity to the music and the natural amphitheater where it instead took place still beckoned an embracement of the country’s holistic energies — indeed propitious to the festival’s spiritual ideology.

Other than Ocaso’s optimal choice of venues, and its oneness with its destination, the festival soared in its palpable energy, although such a feat is rendered impossible without a diverse booking of world-class acts like Doc Martin, Claptone, Kenny Glasgow, Desert Hearts, and more.

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Ocaso’s not looking to make any drastic changes in its programming in the years to come, though Ellis hopes to continue to build on the vibes that have exploded since they began. 

Ultimately, it’s the energy of the underground that will keep people coming back to Ocaso. After all, that’s what’s kept the underground scene bubbling beneath the surface worldwide. With both Ellis’ and Ocaso’s investments in the Costa Rican scene, as well as their dedication to creating goosebump-inducing moments, and allowing the spaces to do the rest; its no surprise that Ocaso will be returning to Tamarindo next year with the same devotion to its natural environment, and most importantly, with the same love for the music that keeps it going.

All Photos Courtesy of Pablo Murillo