PREVIEW: HARD DAY OF THE DEAD, 11/2 & 11/3

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Yes, Halloween might be on the 31st, but what we’re really excited about is HARD’s dance music festival-incarnation of Dia de los Muertos. HARD Day of the Dead comes to LA’s State Historic Park this weekend, Nov. 2nd and 3rd, and we’re all for honoring the deceased with a dance orgy of  epic proportion. Alongside obvious headliners like Skrillex and Deadmau5, there’s a first-rate lineup of DJs taking reign of the decks. From dubstep-turned-disco act Skream, to LA’s own beatsmith TOKiMONSTA, we’ve picked out our sets to catch below.

SATURDAY

Dusky [2:45-4:15pm, Red Bull Music Academy Discotheque Stage]

London-based musicians Alfie Granger-Howell and Nick Harriman are the duo who make up Dusky, a producer/DJ team whose hit “Careless” currently holds the #1 spot on Beatport.  The coveted #1 spot is a huge feat considering the fact that it’s usually reserved for the type of banger you’d hear at an EDC mainstage set, yet Dusky’s ‘Careless’ leans more closely to a deep and soulful brand of house.

Salva: [4:15pm-5:15pm, Harder Stage]

Frite Nite owner and Chicago native, Paul Salva knows a thing or to about working an audience and igniting the turnt up flame. Most known and recognized for his remix of Kanye West’s ‘Mercy,’ which garnered mass radio attention, Salva’s craft showcases heavy dips, house motifs, funk and tsunami waves of bass. Alongside Shlohmo, Jerome LoL and Groundislava as one of the foundations of record label Friends of Friends, this set will be unforgettably unique.

TOKiMONSTA [4:15-5:15pm, Red Bull Music Academy Discotheque Stage]

The monster is back with a newly released project, “Half Shadows,” where she explores some new sonic territories but still remains the chilled hip-hop flavors that we know and love. The LA producer is set to take you on a multi-genre journey filled with her own brand of bangers — from disco to electro-pop to hip-hop, this girl’s going to to throw it all down.

Maya Jane Coles [7:15-8:30pm, Underground Stage]

This house queen hails from the UK, spinning smooth and penetrating bass-heavy beats with a quiet finesse on the decks. Ranked #10 on Resident Advisor’s top 100 DJs, Maya’s deep and tech house sets have hypnotized crowds from Ibiza to Coachella’s Yuma tent last year.

Kavinsky [7:30-8:30pm, Red Bull Music Academy Discotheque Stage]

Frenchman Vincent Belorgey’s productions reminisce on that one awesome 1980s signature that we hate to love: that synth-heavy electro-pop that littered 80’s film soundtracks. Though he’s only been making music since the early 2000’s, Kavinsky’s tracks sound like they are decades-old, and just as refined.

Justin Martin [8:30-9:45pm, Underground Stage]

Justin Martin is one of those producers/DJs who manages to capture the elusive combination of dance-worthy tunes with emotional depth. Catch him at the Underground Stage for a set that’s sure to be full of low end-heavy house with a disco bounce and sub-tropic vibes.

Lunice [11:00pm-12:00am, Underground Stage]

Don’t break your neck when you see this cat, the Montreal producer and one-half of trap-hip-hop-glitch-whatever-you-want-to-call-it duo TNGHT, murders every set he throws down with big bass and big beats. Taking classic hip-hop joints and transforming them into trap lords, Lunice throws down hard each and every time.

Cirez D [10:45pm-12:00am, HARDER Stage]

If you’re not seeing the legendary Lunice or grooving to Masters at Work over at the RBMA Discotheque Stage, head to the HARDER stage for a rare appearance of progressive house maestro Eric Prydz spinning dark techno under the Cirez D moniker. It’s kind of masochistic, but we can’t wait to hear the master of anxiety-inducing progressive build-ups to get our hearts thumping.

SUNDAY

Maribou State [2:30pm-3:30pm, Red Bull Music Academy Discotheque Stage]

To borrow from the Guardian’s description of the duo, this UK pair are like the downtempo equivalent of Disclosure, except with a little more depth. While their tunes still have hints of a dance floor sensibility, their productions have an emotional complexity that Disclosure’s lack. You’ll find their songs are soulful and touch on jazz with bits of melancholy. We’re curious to see how their sound will play out at a festival such as HARD’s Day of the Dead.

J Paul Getto [4:00-5:30pm, Underground Stage]

This Chicago producer is probably one of the most slept on producers in house music. We started noticing J Paul Getto on soundcloud for his undeniably groovy tunes, but it’s this reworking of the instrumental from the hip-hop classic ’93 Til Infinity’ that really solidified J Paul Getto’s status in our eyes. Their translation of the jazzy warmth of the original into a bonafide house beat was simply genius.

Cut Copy [5:55-6:55pm, HARD Stage]

This Aussie duo has mastered the art of making incredibly catchy synth-pop with hits like “Hearts on Fire” or “Lights and Music.” Their appearance at HARD should include some tracks from their forthcoming album Free Your Mind. Catch them at the mainstage for some euphoric dance-heavy magic.

Skream [7:30pm-9:00pm, Red Bull Music Academy Discotheque Stage]

If the name is familiar, it’s because Skream is one part of the UK dubstep-popularizing trio, Magnetic Man. Publicly announcing his departure from the genre, Skream is now focusing his efforts on a decidedly more cheerful genre: disco. His appearance on the RBMA Discotheque Stage may be one of the first times Skream has played a major stateside festival under this new direction, so his set should be well worth checking out.

Amine Edge & Dance [8:30-10:00pm, Underground Stage]

If you’ve never heard of G-house, now’s the time to get familiar. Amine Edge & Dance are a duo out of France who are pioneers in this genre, pumping out beats that are heavily influenced by the sounds and funky basslines of 80’s hip-house.

Duke Dumont [9:00-10:30pm, Red Bull Music Academy Discotheque Stage]

With one of HARD Summer’s best sets, Duke Dumont has quickly gained a heavy following in the last few months in Los Angeles. His sonic confections, smooth melodies and perfect transitions have a mesmerizing quality, which keeps you hooked on each beat as if it was the last one for the night.  We hope they’ll have the lights dimmed down low and the mood just right for what’s sure to be a massive set.

Paper Diamond: [Sunday 11/3 10:45-12pm, Harder Stage]

With Paper Diamond closing out the Harder Stage, you can expect a slew of surprises: new releases, collaborations and visuals. Under Pretty Lights Music and an EP off Mad Decent, Alex Botwin has found himself escapading all over the globe with his destructively diverse repertoire at festivals and shows. With versatility under his belt, you can expect big revelations during his set.

Giorgio Moroder ft. Chris Cox [10:30pm-12:00am, Red Bull Music Academy Discotheque]

He might be old enough to be your grandpa, but the guy is homies with Daft Punk and commands the respect of many electronic musicians alike. One of the most prolific acts on Day of the Dead’s lineup, Moroder is an Academy Award-winning composer, a recognized songwriter/producer worldwide, an artist, designer, filmmaker, entrepreneur and overall disco OG. This man does it all and has been crafting a musical evolution for nearly 50 years. Prepare your mind to be swept away by this genius in the Red Bull Discotheque Stage. 

Tickets for HARD Day of the Dead can be purchased here.

INTERVIEW: MIDNIGHT MAGIC

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.’

Let the honey dip trickle on your stick over with Midnight Magic’s tunes over on Soundcloud

SONG OF THE DAY: THEM JEANS – “BODY PARTY” FT. CIARA

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Jason Stewart, better known by his stage name Them Jeans, has become a Los Angeles namesake, spinning at venues all over town, most notably for Dim Mak Tuesdays at the Cinespace. Aside from music, Stewart is considered a renaissance man of sorts, doing everything from designing his own record covers and flyers for events, to establishing his own denim line. Although Ciara’s “Body Party” has been remixed by more producers than we can count, we’ve been grooving to Stewart’s remix all day. Clearly a multi-talented man, this remix showcases Stewart’s ability to seamlessly mishmash genres and unlikely singles into new hybrid-genres like indie house or electro R&B.

INTERVIEW: ODESZA

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The typical newcomers to the music industry would never dream of playing a big festival after just four shows, but the boys of Odesza are not your typical artists. Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight make up the latest electronic dream-pop duo to hit the Washington music scene. They are set to play Sasquatch! Festival with the likes of Grimes, Mumford & Sons, and many others. After graduating college and starting up this project last September, could they wish for more? We decided to ask the band how this fast-earned fame feels.

 

1. You guys are playing Sasquatch! Festival this year. Is this your first festival?

Harrison of Odesza: Yes, it is. It’s kind of like the most amazing thing that has ever happened to us. On the third day of us ever coming together trying to make music Clay was like ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome if we got to play Sasquatch?” and we were always kind of aiming for that. Now we are asking ourselves how we got here.

2. Where did your band name come from?

It was the name of my uncle’s ship that sank. Him and another crew mate were the only ones to get out alive. Our music has a kind of emotional element to it, and this one incident has always really struck me.

3. What bands or other artists inspire your music?

We are kind of strange. We listen to Goodwill tapes of 50’s music. We like Radiohead, James Brown, Fina, and Blockhead. We are inspired by more ambient music as well as classic rock, so it’s really a mix.

4. What besides other music inspires your sound?

We really like the idea of a sound just punching you in the face, really hitting hard. We love when a song just has that drive.

5. What has been your favorite city or venue to play in?

We actually have only played four shows, and they’ve all been around Washington. I guess out of those, our favorite has been our college hometown show. There were 50 of our friends there when the set started, but someone turned on a fog machine and for the first few songs we couldn’t see anything. After it cleared we looked out and the place was packed. That was a crazy moment for us.

6. So what is next for you guys?

We’ll be going on tour with Emancipate and Little People for the next few months. We are also working on remixes and EPs. We are really working our asses off to push forward. Check out their track “How Did i Get Here” below, and look out for the show at the El Rey on March 16th!

 

VIDEO: TOKIMONSTA – “THE FORCE” FEAT. KOOL KEITH

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L.A. beat-smith Tokimonsta comes back at us with a video that is sure to melt your face off. The new track featuring some rhymes from Kool Keith plays out like an iTunes visualizer taken to the next level. The graphics were put together by Japanese design guru Teppei Maki, a fan who reached out to Tokimonsta in search of a collaboration. Because the video will most likely leave you wanting more, look out for her full album Half Shadows out this April or get to Low End Theory at the Airliner this Wednesday to see her set live.

 

 

 

VIDEO RE-CAP: EXPANSION NYE

This year, we were lucky enough to ring in 2013 with some of our favorite DJs and friends at the Expansion NYE Party. LA CANVAS joined forces with Jarritos, The Service Company, and Shake the Hand to host former LA CANVAS musician feature Tokimonsta alongside fellow Low End Theory alum Daedalus.

It was an unforgettable night, complete with costumed dancers, crazy projections and the kind of letting lose that only goes down once a year. Well…maybe more than once…

Watch the video below to re-live the festivities.

SONG OF THE DAY: BLOOD DIAMONDS x DOMINIC LORD – “BARCODE”

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Dubstep is the music of the dystopian future. Accordingly, in this dub-inflected electro-hop track, frequent Grimes collaborator Blood Diamonds paints a sparkly-pink-and-blue metropolis with a dark, seedy underbelly, made even darker by Harlem rapper Dominic Lord’s pronouncement that he’s coming for you with an AK-47.

I wouldn’t by any stretch of the imagination call this song “feel good.” It’s tense and anxious with comically bright sonic textures, a formula whose solution can be alternately creepy or totally rad. In this case it’s both.

Check out the Fader’s behind the scenes video to see how this epic collab went down.