The things we typically do in the morning range from banal to breath-taking: Make eggs, pound coffee, groggily read the newspaper/iPad/Instagram feed, check traffic, take out the dog, drop a load, meditate, medicate, kiss and bang, surf, yoga, sail, kayak, sky jump…. (hey, we’re sure there is someone!). And yet no matter how ambitious, one can rarely say the AM entails joining a dance rave. Until now.
New Yorkers Matthew Brimer and Radha Agrawal started an A.M. dance party, Daybreaker, as a way of igniting spirits and strangers, getting a community together and dancing like hell without unhealthy doses of liquid courage and gnarly hangovers. This simple concept has become, (excuse the pun), all the rave. After taking NYC by storm, it has since spread to San Francisco, London and reached the sunny shores of Venice, CA this Tuesday AM Sept 17th2014.
As curious and fun-loving folks, we found ourselves grumbling at the alarm clock at 6:30 AM, throwing on sneakers and heading to the nearby hot dog and beer joint Wusterkuche in Lincoln. Sure, it wasn’t easy getting up, it wasn’t easy to rally our friends to check it out (“Huh? 6 AM? Dang that’s early! And why on a Tuesday?”) and we’ll be honest, we found ourselves second guessing our motives right before entering: “Dear self. You are pretty much gung-ho for anything, but this behavior has officially lead you to a dance rave at 6 AM on a Tuesday at a hotdog joint. Is this something you should monitor more?” But then we shrugged, reminded our left brain that our right brain deserves a dance party whenever they want a F***ING dance party and headed inside.
The crowd and beats assuaged our uncertainty almost instantly. Evidently there was at least a hundred people who were as crazy as us and better yet, they were dancing harder and happier than we could have ever imagined. The place was packed wall to wall with colorful, glowy, sweaty, smiling people. In fact, we know what you are thinking, but most looked gainfully employed, smart, super-duper humans. Many of them were in some kind of spandex day-glo combo. And seriously, every last one of them was dancing.
The maverick-mustached DJ Eric Sharp built up delectable layers of upbeat, sun-filled deep house so we could not resist rising up and getting down. He chose to share the love by embedding the entire mix here! And, just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, he was accompanied by a full brass section. Oh and hungry? A mix of Runa Tea, Groundworks coffee and KIND granola bars overflowed the bar. Then, the band Magic Giant did a sing-along acoustic drum-circle performance to close the morning.
While a 6am dance-athon may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, if you want a morning that is guaranteed to be the exact opposite of banal, you should give it a try… more pics and info on Facebook!
U.R. ART Music Festival, a day-party series featuring the best music, art, fashion, and food each month, returns to Bergamot Station in Santa Monica on July 20th for its second blowout culture installation — this time, the decks get blessed with Solar, Asadinho, Sean Patrick, Eduardo Castillo, John Wander and music man Guillaume + The Coutu Dumonts — who we zeroed in on for a proper sit down. This multi-faceted musician definitely knows his percussions and the ever-evolving Tsunami of music. Listen to his pulse:
LA CANVAS: So, what’s up with you headlining U.R. ART Festival on July 20th?
GUILLAUME: Hahahaha… Not sure what to answer to that. In any case, I’m not a big fan of the term headliner. I think promoters and even party people give too much importance to what they think is a headliner. But yeah, I have the chance to be one of the “out of town” guest. Lucky me!
LAC: What are your thoughts on the concept of U.R. ART being more than just music?
G: I haven’t seen it in action so far.. but from what I gather it seems to be touching to fashion, food, design on top of being a music festival. Being a musician, I will always be a bit more interested in music then fashion (for exemple)… so as long as the music is good… whatever quality artistic stuff that is around makes the experience even more of a success.
LAC: What do you think of the rise (+ domination) of house + techno in LA?
G: Wow, that’s great to hear. I love it. Well.. it’s all about cycles no? It comes and it goes. I guess you guys had a bit of a low tide for a while so now let’s enjoy the Tsunami.
LAC: Are you interested in any specific style of music right now?
G: Always. I listen to everything I can all the time. I try to keep my ears open as much as I can.
LAC: How long have you been banging on percussions, and when did you start?
G: Well… I did it “for real” a long time ago. When I mean for real I mean, practicing 5 hours every day. Nowadays, I would say I don’t really play. I use a drumpad during the live set which I play… but it’s nothing like playing the real drums. I started when I was 15-16 years old. I was playing some old banged out drums over Santanas songs in my living room.
LAC: Was there a moment in time that you knew ‘music was the answer’?
G: That moment when I was playing over the Santana’s records in our living room. Made me feel good and it made the time stops.
LAC: If life could resemble any record…
G: Then death is a over-compressed shitty resolution mp3?
LAC: Your career is multi-faceted. Tell us a bit about your journey behind the decks…
G: Well, I started as a percussionist and then studied percussions, electroacoustic composition and then discovered techno and house music. So I guess I apply my baggage to what I do nowadays. I try to keep as many collaboration projects as I can. I also have a band project, Guillaume & The Side Effects (guitar, keyboards, saxophones and Dave Aju doing the vocals). That project will soon bare it’s fruits with the first album coming out in 2015. Other then that, this year will probably see the first album of Museum, a ambient more experimental project I have with my brother Gabriel Coutu Dumont and Frederic Aubourg. I’m really looking forward to this one as well.
LAC: Any secret music formulas you can share with us we should expect on Sunday?
G: Hahaha, formula… nooooooooooooooo. But one thing I like to do is really trying to shape my live set like if it was a dj set. I mean, I like to go up and down and left and right. I bore myself if I try to play the same kind of groove and songs thru the whole set.
LAC: Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
G: What about a mystery and murder dinner (with Hercules Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, Mata Hari, Miss Marple, etc…). You know those one when you everyone dresses in a costume and plays a part. Wait, they made a film out of that idea… what’s it called again?
*There’s Rope, The House Of Yes, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, Gosford Park, The Last Supper…
LAC: Top 3 favorite tracks of all time…
G: That’s way too hard! I can probably do a top 3 tracks of the month.
Loose Joint, Tell you
Taylor Mcferrin, Degrees of Light
LAC: Advice or words to live by for those emerging creatives?
G: Instinct baby instiiiiiinct!!!!!
Rising dance music star, Mystery Skulls, is a one-man-dance-party whose electronic beats are laced with funk, soul and disco. His performances have so much energy and infectiousness, one might find it hard to believe it’s just one guy up there. Mystery Skulls, aka Luis Dubuc, sings his own vocals, lacing them over layers of beats and poppy melodies. We caught up with the rising star before he took to the decks to DJ our very own “Future” issue release party.
LA CANVAS: So, you released an EP in 2011 and in 2013 you signed to Warner. When can we expect your next release?
Mystery Skulls: I’m putting out a single in December through Warner and then we are going to do another single in the early part of next year. Then the record is going to come out in Spring of next year — so it is mostly written, I’m just kinda finishing it up right now. It’s really cool, there are some interesting people on the record.
LAC: You grew up in Toronto when you were younger, and eventually moved to Dallas — have either of these places influenced your sound at all?
MS: I think Toronto definitely did the most. I was really young, and the thing about Toronto, for whatever reason, there’s just so much European music. I remember there were bands I liked when I lived in Toronto and I remember when I moved to Texas, no one had heard of them. It was all radio and Matchbox Twenty and whatever. And I was into like Daft Punk, and Chemical Brothers and Portishead – I was fucking cool! ::Laughs:: Anyway, the thing about Texas, I sort of picked up this other side. There’s just a different type of music that they like there, and it did rub off on me. It’s not all bad.
LAC: I read that you’ve also done metal music, yet you also really like doing disco. Is there one that you feel you make stronger music in, and why did you gravitate toward this genre or sound rather than metal?
MS: Well I wouldn’t even say it was disco…to be honest with you, I just love all music in general, I know it sounds super cliche, but I think to me it’s sort of one in the same – they are both really rhythmic genres. I don’t really know how to describe it. The thing about metal too is it’s just such larger than life personalities, and it’s sort of these people attempting to be something else, and with dance music it’s also these people trying to be something else. You would think there wouldn’t be so many similarities, that they are just polar opposites, and I don’t know, I just love that…
LAC: Do you think that you would go back to making metal music? Or are you just going to do dance for now?
MS: I don’t know about full time, no. I have so many friends that play metal for a living and we’re still great friends, so I think it’s fun. To those dudes, what I do is so foreign. They tell me I’m so lucky cause I get to fly with a laptop, and I’m like “oooo you can be in a van for dayysss.”
LAC: You’re a transplant now here in LA. What do you love most about the city?
MS: I love everything about it. I’m such a fan. I wake up constantly and just think “I’m so fucking lucky to be living here.” I really like having my windows open all the time, so that’s kinda my favorite thing. Other than that, musically, it’s the best place. Movies – you can see anything!
LA is the main place. I love it.
LAC: Speaking of music, are there any LA bands we should be looking out for that you really like?
MS: I like that band, Tapioca and the Flea. I played with them the other day, so they are the only ones really fresh on my mind. They are really cool
LAC: I read somewhere that you really like Halloween, and that you have like a whole tattoo in its honor. Why is that such a favorite of yours?
MS: I don’t know, it probably goes back to that thing about getting to be someone else. You just get to put on this personality of something that you are totally not. You get to put on a mask and just be that, its fucking awesome. There’s something super precious about that.
LAC: It’s kind of magical.
MS: Yes! And it’s super awesome that adults do it too.
LAC: Do you have plans on expanding your tattoo at all?
MS: Yeah, I’m pretty tattooed, so I definitely have plans
LAC: People have described you as a one man dance show. Are there other people out there that you think are doing something similar?
MS: I feel what I do is a little different – I’m a little more visual. Im DJing and singing, I don’t have drums or a band. When I perform, there’s more of a vibe and a story – it’s less visceral. It’s deep in a way.
LAC: You mentioned Nile Rodgers and working on the album with him. Is there anyone else you have collaborations with on the horizon?
MS: Yeah, I’m working on a track right now with Viceroy and I did a track on the new Kimbra record.
LAC: Lastly, the issue that you helped us celebrate was The Future Issue, so I thought it might be fun to ask – if you could travel forward in time, how far would you go?
MS: That’s a really interesting question. You don’t know how interesting that question is. I think if I could go any length of time, and return, than I would go thousands of years.
LAC: I guess I was asking more of how far you would want to go to see yourself?
MS: OH! I was just thinking of going realllly far – uhm yeah, I don’t know…I would like to see myself in 20 years. I have so many goals and ambitions, so it would be cool to see that come to fruition. As cheesy as it may sound.
Photos: Frank Maddocks
We recently had the pleasure of speaking with some of the band members of Midnight Magic, a live disco-funk-electro-anything-that-makes-you-dance act out of NYC. Self-described as the “lovechild of Donna Summer and George Clinton”, Midnight Magic are the kind of band you ditch your lazy Sunday night plans for. As vocalist Tiffany Roth told the crowd “You could be watching Oprah, but you’re here tonight.” We watched and danced on as the band’s undeniably groovy vibes transformed the Fonda into a bonafide discotheque.
Read our interview with band members Tiffany, Morgan and Andrew as we caught up with them during the Los Angeles stop of their tour with Holy Ghost!
LAC = LA CANVAS; T = Tiffany, M = Morgan, A = Andrew
LA CANVAS: You’ve been compared to LCD Soundsystem and Hercules and the Love Affair. How would you describe your sound?
T: There are so many elements of funk, soul, a little bit of disco, a touch of R&B if you will (laughs), a sprinkle of house, nu-wave.
M: And a tug of dubstep. (laughs)
T: Yes, and a tug of dubstep (laughs) not really!
LAC: How did you get into disco and funk? Is the nostalgic sound of your music intentional?
M: The nostalgia? No, I don’t think so. We just do what we do and try to make the best music we can. I know a lot of our influences definitely come through in that. Maybe that’s where the nostalgia comes from. We’re influenced by a lot of older music, so it definitely comes through, but it’s not like an intentional thing where we’re like ‘let’s bring it back.’ (laughs)
A: I think it’s also in the equipment we use and the way we record as well. We have what is considered to be old school sensibility. We use a lot of outboard gear and vintage analog drum machines and synthesizers. Those have that quality and that color that remind people of that era in which these things were made—which is the 70s and the 80s.
LAC: Speaking of instruments, with a nine-person band, it sounds like you guys might have a lot of instruments?
A: Actually, we’re a lot of people but we’re not a lot of stuff. Most of the instrumentation is coming from, like, the keyboards, and all that stuff is coming from Morgan. Really, at the end of the day, his rig, which is 3 or 4 keyboards, and then a drum machine maybe, or sequencer of some kind, and then it’s like two trumpets, trombone, percussionist, drum kit and bass, and Tiffany singing through a delay pedal. We always show up and people always think we’ll have a lot of inputs like we’re fuckin’ Radiohead or something. They’re like ‘Oh, you only have 11 inputs. That’s amazing!’
M: But in the studio we have a ton of instruments. When we record, we use a lot more. Then we interpret it live.
LAC: With nine band members, what’s the creative process like, both in songwriting and how you interpret that for performances?
T: Two things kind of happen. Sometimes we will write a horn line and it’ll come from something Morgan’s doing, like a keyboard line. We’ll translate that and they’d be like, ‘Oh that’d be really good if the horns played that.’ Sometimes those guys will be in the studio and be like ‘I have something,’ and it’ll strike and we’ll write something down.
M: It depends, the process is always different. At first it wasn’t like ‘Oh, we’re gonna have a nine-person band,’ it just happened to be people around and we all played music together anyway, and eventually Midnight Magic kind of ended up having three horns and two percussionists and all that. Later on, that kind of informed the writing as the live band developed and the writing kind of informed how we’re going to do it live. They both kind of play off each other.
LAC: In talking to other dance musicians, they say their biggest motivation is getting the audience to dance.
A: Oh yeah! It’s huge. You know if something’s working by looking at the audience. I’ve seen someone who’s standing still just react to something that Morgan’s just done and they’re transformed.
LAC: Would you say that’s part of your creative process? Thinking about how someone will dance to your music?
A: I dance in the studio, if Morgan’s programming something and I’ll be dancing behind him and be like ‘yeah, this makes me dance.’ Sometimes, though… the piano makes me cry (laughs).
LAC: So what’s the best dance move you’ve seen at one of your shows?
A: Probably Morgan’s. You’ve got some really good moves.
T: Erik Tonneson from Holy Ghost! was dancing like a crazy person during our show in Santa Barbara. Like out of his mind…like he was on bath salts.
A: It was beautiful.
M: It’s like a gazelle in the wild.
LAC: Top three disco records?
A: Lists are tough. You know what’s an awesome disco record I found in my record collection? It’s pretty obscure. It’s called Off the Wall by this artist named Michael Jackson (laughs). No, I’m serious though. I forgot about that album…
T: I didn’t, I heard it all the time.
A: I found it in my stack of CDs driving around this summer in my car. Man, favorite? That’s tough.
LAC: Maybe just name one that has been most influential?
A: As a bass player I think a lot of about Bernard Edwards from Chic. He’s amazing. I’ll go with I Want Your Love by Chic.
T: Sparks’ Number 1 Song in Heaven produced by Giorgio Moroder. Every track is nuts—it’s like eight minutes of amazingness.
Morgan: I’ll pick Jones Girls’ Nights over Egypt. Maybe, although it’s not my favorite, I’ve been listening to it a lot lately: Mind Warp by Patrick Cowley. A lot of inspiration has come from that recently.
LAC: What are some of your non-dance music influences?
A: When we’re asked this question my mind goes to a lot of influences outside of music, cause there’s a lot. There a certain things that unite us, that we’re passion about, beyond music, I mean.
M: As far as artists, we all really like Bohannon, we’re all really into The Fatback Band, The Gat Bands, Grace jones, Isley Brothers–the classics, you know? We all listen to a lot of music from all over the world. Salsa, and a lot of Brazilian music. It all kind of falls into the realm of dance music, I guess, so it all has that common ground.
LAC: Have you guys had the chance to go to Brazil yet?
M: Yes! Not to perform [as Midnight Magic]. But Tiffany and I were there 10 years ago. We partied… hard.
T: They know how to live!
LAC: I’ve heard they don’t even start partying until midnight.
T: Oh yeah, we performed at 3:30 in the morning! At Razzmatazz in Barcelona. That was so fun.
A: Just wanted to add, going back to influences, the films of Dario Argento and David Lynch, things like that—these are all things we talk about a lot.
M: The band Goblin has been a huge influence too.
LAC: I was listening to one of your tracks and heard one of the guys on the track saying something about ‘drinking yerba mate.’ I thought it was hilarious. What’re the most ridiculous lyrics in your tracks?
A: ‘Let the honey dip trickle on your stick!’
T: I don’t even know what that means.
M: I know what that means (laughs)
A: ‘Sharing your love with Tiffany’
M: ‘Waves of liquid gold flowing through your world.’