Holding Hands (Again) with Gargoyle Records

Some records just stand the test of time. In the mid-90s Baltimore natives Don Corrieri & Tony Pegas of Gargoyle Records released six of the most high-octane east coast break-beat records we’ve ever heard, all of which now fetch a pretty penny on the good ‘ol Cogs. It goes without saying that these tracks still completely rip up today’s dancefloors, which is exactly the reason why Holding Hands label boss Desert Sound Colony snatched some up for re-release on his Holding Hands Again imprint.

Editor’s note: Desert Sound Colony played one of the best sets of recent pre-quarantine memory for [sic] at the end of 2019 — dang, I miss dancing with friends!!

Hot off the release of Gargoyle Records Classics Volume 1, I caught up with the Gargoyle bosses Don and Tony to chat about the label’s history, their favorite breaks, and of course grab some of the label heat (which I mixed up into a little label sampler below to whet your appetite).

WKDU · Gargoyle Records Ultra-Mix

How did you and Tony meet up? What music were guys into at that time?

Don: We met in the mid 90s and were both already deep into the underground music scene. It was an exciting time as we were moving from industrial bands (like Nitzer Ebb and Thrill Kill Cult) to house and techno. At the time, I was promoting my record, FS Tech. Tony was only 17, but  was one of the biggest DJ’s and promoters in Baltimore. He would spin my records at his weekly “Meltdown” parties. Soon after, I had him over to my studio and we would do sample sessions into my EMU sampler.

Tony: I met Don sometime in the 90s. He had produced several projects I had heard, so when he brought me some records to play, you better believe I played them. Eventually he invited me to his studio and it was an instant connection.

How did Gargoyle get started? 

Don: Tony would bring DJs and acts to my studio. In 1995 he was throwing a New Year’s Eve rave and approached me about creating a song specifically for that event. The song we created eventually became “Danceaholic”.  After that we began working on more music together, and soon launched Gargoyle.

Tony: Once we had a few songs, our friends Dan and Bump at Defective Records suggested that we start a label and release it ourselves. Fortunately they shared with us how to go about doing that (thank you guys!) And that is how Gargoyle Records was born.

What’s the biggest difference in dance music today vs the 90s ?

Don: Back then the music was much more underground. It didn’t permeate ads and pop culture as much. It was great to witness the birth of new genres and be able to go to clubs and hear truly new sounds.

Tony: In the early days, it was all just called “dance music”. As time went by it got more refined in terms of genres. Eventually DJ’s started playing just one style.

What’s one of your most memorable label / party moments?

Don: Tony was one of the headliners at a big party in Ottawa, Canada. They rolled out the red carpet for us and it was amazing. It was a wild party with great bands and DJs. Our (just released) song, “Do You  Believe” was actually created for and debuted that night, played on acetate vinyl.

Tony: The best Party I ever played was with DJ Bump from Defective Records for the premier of John Waters’ film Serial Mom at the Baltimore Museum of Art. A-List Party. By now I played only what I liked and everyone loved it…if you have ever seen a John Waters movie you can understand Baltimore and its charm. I eventually produced and promoted raves with SisterFace (Trax DC) and Bubbles (Cignels + Orpheus). Richard Long had passed by this time but Gary Stewart, who was an associate of Richard’s, did our sound and Super Cal did our Lighting. In the Mid-Atlantic Area, our system was only comparable to The Paradox.

Is there anything that stands out to you as part of the signature East Coast sound / style ?

Don: I say the East Coast sound is a little rougher and rawer— just like Baltimore!

Tony: The ‘Baltimore Club’ sound influenced our music quite a bit. We took the chopped up loops/vocals and added techno and acid synth sounds.

How did you link with Liam / Desert Sound Colony?

Don: Beginning in 2019, we had a steady stream of renewed interest in our music. We never officially had anything online and the vinyl was getting scarce. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see our records selling for upwards of $100. Along with messages from fans we had a good bit of label interest. Liam offered us a great deal and the rest is history.

Tony: We liked the vision Liam had toward re-releasing our music. His label, “Holding Hands Again” not only symbolizes the reissue, but that Don and I are back at it!

What else do you guys have in store after the Holding Hands release?

Don: We actually have another retrospective EP, “Gargoyle Classics Vol 2”, coming this summer on Liam’s label Holding Hands Again, and a 3rd EP with another label based in Europe. On each of the records we’ve also included an unreleased song from that era. Plus everything has been remastered and sounds really great. We’ve also began working on some brand new tracks, so be on the look out for more on that soon!

Tony: We’ve been talking about the next Gargoyle release and I can feel it coming.  I’m putting together a new studio with some of my favorite classic synths like the Juno-106 with the Kiwi mod as well as new gear.

Don: Yeah, the renewed interest in our music is definitely making me itching to create some new acid breaks!

What’s your favorite break ?

Don: I love the Bad Sista break, which is one of the most iconic loops in Bmore club music. Also the Lyn Collins (used in ‘It Takes Two’).

Tony: Pacha on Acid ( Krafty Kuts remix)

Stay tuned for more heat from the Gargoyle crew & definitely check out Gargoyle Records Classics Volume 1 if you haven’t already!!!

Stay safe out there y’all <3

Launching Off with Rave Scout Cookies founder Salman Jaberi

During these crazy times, it’s comforting to know that people like Salman Jaberi, founder of new multimedia platform Rave Scout Cookies, are out there fighting the good fight.

Rave Scout Cookies represents everything we’re about here at WKDU: devotion to the community, quality underground taste, and uplifting underrepresented marginalized folx who enable and create amazing art.

We caught up with Salman to get the scoop on some of their most memorable rave deeds, how to create safe & inclusive events, and why dancing in itself is a political act. 

Be sure to check out this bangin’ mix from New York duo Fatherhood as well!

Continue reading “Launching Off with Rave Scout Cookies founder Salman Jaberi”

Human Head’s Stephen Silvestri In The Mix

Head to the back counter at Human Head Records in Brooklyn, where the shop’s excellent electronic music section resides, and Stephen Silvestri will likely greet you, pile of records & seltzer in tow. On an E-ZPass tip, I checked out the store for the first time, saw they were carrying some of my favorite labels (shoutout Is / Was & Vanity Press), got to chatting with Stephen, and had him do this mix 🙂

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What’s in this mix?

I collect a lot of house/techno records from the NYC area from the late 80s to the early 90s so there’s a good smattering of that. A couple of UK records, some Detroit. I opened the mix with a track from Don Carlos the famous Italian house music producer. But the era is most definitely around 1989-1996. Always all vinyl! I’m not sure why I chose to focus this mix on this era but I guess it’s what I’m feeling currently.

What’s something you’ve learned (that you didn’t expect to) from working at record shops?

A deeper appreciation for visual art and typography. I am inundated with visual imagery working with records and you start to get really good at being able to determine eras of design preference. Some record art is totally pop art, some conceptual, some campy, some commercial, some political, etc. The spectrum of artistic design reflects the breadth of music which is obviously wide. But sometimes the visual is better than the music, or vice versa, or sometimes it doesn’t seem to quite match with the music or the content of the record. I could go on about layers of human behavior that I have learned about but that’s a whole other topic.

Continue reading “Human Head’s Stephen Silvestri In The Mix”

The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2018 (in Alphabetical Order)

From hazy break-beats, to pumping acid techno, to hands-in-the-air Detroit diva house, 2018 was another great year for dance music. So many upstart labels shined and delivered great releases, countless new names floated to the top of lineups, and some of our favorite artists continued to bring the goods.

jlo champ

Bearing in mind that year-end lists tire everyone out and usually suck, here are forty tracks that heavily sound-tracked my radio show, club gigs, car stereo, and beyond — presented in alphabetical order because any ranking would be completely arbitrary.

Tune into WKDU one last time in 2018 for the ‘Resolutions Show’ from 8:30 – 10:30 pm, where we’ll read your resolutions on air, play some of the tracks below, and prepare you for a brand new year!

🎉  HAPPY NEW YEAR  🎉

The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2018 (in alphabetical order)

Artist Track Label
Waajeed After You Left DIRT TECH RECK
Hugo Massien Alien Shapes E-BEAMZ
Videopath And So Do Eye Peach Discs
Sa’D Ali Asylum (Louie Vega Deep In The Underground) Nulu Electronic
Steffi Between Form & Matter Air Texture
Pangaea Bonesucka Hessle Audio
Sami Bright Blue feat. ZSY 1432 R
Dj Steaw Celestial Vibrations Rutillance Recordings
Leo Pol Dark Outside Bass Culture
J. Albert Deep State Riddim Trilogy Tapes
Marquis Hawkes, Ursula Rucker Don’t U (Dubbed Out Vocal) Aus Music
Roza Terenzi Electronique Oscillate Tracks
Almaty Gennaro (Endian Remix) naïve
Moodymann Got Me Coming Back Rite Now Mahogani Music
Lady Blacktronica How I Learned Meda Fury
Omar S featuring Simon Black I’ll Do It Again FXHE
Baltra IWUNNAF33L CD-R
Scott Richmond and John Selway Keep On Climbing Firehouse NYC
Teakup Lose My Mind is / was
Heckadecimal Murder Tape Great Circles
Brother Nebula Parting Infinity Legwork
DJ Koze Pick Up Pampa
Hoshina Anniversary Pimp Jack Dept.
Batu Rebuilt XL Recordings
BMG & Derek Plaslaiko Rendezvous (NWB Mix) Interdimensional Transmissions
DJ Dre Respect These Things Take Time
Galcher Lustwerk Rules Meant to Be Broken Lustwerk Music
Djrum Sex R&S Records
D. Tiffany Sip & Savour Planet Euphorique
AceMo Speedn N Smokin Vanity Press
Will Dimaggio Steppin W Friends Future Times
Universal Cave Take Your Time (Universal Cave’s 909 Rubdown) Universal Cave
Omar S & Brian Kage Thru The Madness Michigander
Antemeridian Tuesday AM The Bunker NY
Alex Falk Upp International Black
The Horn Villager (Luca Lozano Remix) Klasse Wrecks
Scott Grooves We Move…We Have To Natural Midi
Marie Davidson Work It Ninja Tune
Shawn Rudiman Works On Paper Pittsburgh Tracks
Cassy X Pete Moss You Gotta Know (Ron Trent Remix) Kwench

Thank you to all the labels, artists, PRs, etc for the great music!!! See you next year — SPREAD LOVE <3 <3 <3

Catch the Hot Mix on Tuesday nights at 10 pm for a preview of The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2019 ; )

Hollerboard goes IRL for a ‘Redux’

From basement dancefloors in Philly’s Ukrainian social club, to parties around the world, to the New York Times review section — the infamous Hollerboard helped birth one of the most fertile periods in dance music and partying in recent memory.
RJD2 Diplo Cosmo SXSW 2006.jpg
RJD2, Diplo, & Cosmo Baker at SXSW 2006 (All photos courtesy of Cosmo Baker)
“Kinda crazy to think about how a community that existed in real life ended up becoming an online community, centered around like minded people, like minded DJs, and friends IRL. We really were just playing around and trying to do things a little differently, and I guess that impacted the world.” – Cosmo Baker
Founded by Wesley “Diplo” Pentz and his Hollertronix partner Mike “Lowbudget” McGuire, the Hollerboard was a go-to source for hot music, trash talk, and early memes before the era of Facebook and Soundcloud.
Ahead of a blow-out party at Warehouse on Watts featuring some of the most famous Hollerboard alumni, we chatted with 1/2 of Hollertronix duo Mike ‘Lowbudget’ McGuire to get the scoop on how the Hollerboard came to be.
redux
How did Hollertronix and the Hollerboard start? What was going on in the Philly scene and beyond at that point?
Lowbudget: I know for us we were all hip hop dudes that felt a bit restricted in the scene musically. We found ourselves liking a lot of the new hip hop , especially the stuff coming out of the south. There was also a growing indie dance scene lead by Dave P as well. We were really into all of this stuff and and we just wanted to play everything we liked.
It was a culmination of what a bunch of 20-something music heads had been into their whole lives and it turned out there was a lot of people that were on the same frequency. As for the board, messageboards were pretty much the only form of any kind of social media. There were a lot of local Philly messageboards where people would talk about parties and music and beef over graffiti and gossip, They were a major part of the early “word of mouth (or internet)” success of our early parties. So when we became more established we started a messageboard of our own.
Cosmo DJ AM Hollerboard
RIP DJ AM!
How did you get to know Wes / Diplo?
We actually met at an underground hip hop show in Brooklyn. I was the DJ for this indie rap labal called Arrakis and he was there DJing. We kept running into each other at parties in Philly after that. We realized we had a lit of similiarly unusual interests and thought we should spin together.
Hollertronix &amp; Roxy At The Rub at Southpaw 2004
Diplo, Roxy Cottontail, and Lowbudget
What were the projects that Holletronix put out?
Our main mixtape was Never Scared. It was on the NY Times albums of the year ( a mixtape, Iknow, weird) in 2003. We made a bunch of 12 inches with mashups and a few other random mixes here and there. But the mixtape was really the main thing.

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What were the parties like at that time?
It seemed like every where we played, it was a mix of all types of subcultures. From hip hop to punk to what would soon be called “hipsters”, everyone kinda came together  because they knew it was gonna be a wild scene.
Hollertronix June 2003
Hollertronix party flier at the Ukie Club
What do you think the impact of the Hollerboard was then and into today?
I think a lot of the sounds you’ve been hearing in music for the last 10 years are a lot of times an amalgamation of the carious sounds being traded on the board. So many relevant producers and djs from this time were part of this scene.
Cosmo Craze A-Trak Pase Chromeo Amanda Blank JOTS Miami 2009
Miami 2009 with Craze, Pase, Chromeo Amanda Blank, Jokers of the Scene, A-Trak, Cosmo Baker
See you at Warehouse on Watts. NOTE: this will also be Spank Rock’s last time performing under that moniker !!!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDLMJccb1YU&w=560&h=315]

is / was turns one, talks Pittsburgh unity

Just about to turn one year old, Pittsburgh-based label is / was has already made quite the impact with fresh and timeless releases from heavy hitters and new names alike. We had a chat with label boss Tony Fairchild after he turned in this bangin’ set for the Hot Mix.
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Tell us a little about the mix — what was the idea behind it?
It’s a collection of records I’ve bought over the past month or two with maybe 3-4 that have been in my collection for some time.  I think I’m starting to get to a point where my personal definition of house music is starting to congeal and define itself.  This mix is another step in the distillation process.
You’re a new imprint — how’d this all get started? Is it “is / was” or “was / is” ?
Yes, the labels (is / was & was / is) will turn 1 in April and they are my first labels.  It all started with my desire to present music from the 90’s that has maybe fallen out of the spotlight to dance floors of today.  Currently the curatorial ethos is simply releasing whatever I feel is timeless and important music.  It helps to have a kick drum too!
Looking across the state from Philly, Pittsburgh packs quite the punch with its scene / labels / parties. Tell me a little bit about the scene and what you think makes it special / different.
I think what makes Pittsburgh great is what makes Midwest techno great in general.  Heads-down, no frills, hyper-devoted people who involve themselves in dance music simply for the love of it.  It’s an example of the beautiful things that can happen to art and culture when you take money out of the equation. What I’m most proud about is how cohesive the scene is and how supportive everyone is of each other. All the contributors to our scene have their own hustle yet are able to come together to lift each other up and put wind in each other’s sails.
How do you come across some of these older projects and go about re-releasing them? What can we expect the rest of 2018 ?
Usually it starts with a record I have, or am aware of (and wish I had!), that I think has something to offer current dance floors.  Often its just a matter of contacting the artist and asking if they are interested in working together.  Facebook is a big help!
As far as what to expect from the label, there will be 4 more pairs of is / was & was / is records dropping between now and the end of the year.  Expect tunes from Mark Ambrose, Archetype, BPMF, Dar Embarks, a couple of top secret surprises and the debut of the insanely talented Teakup.  I am also launching a new label, “TerraFirm”, this spring via Subwax Distribution.  Its a very conceptual project focusing on a melodic, utopian, futuristic strain of techno.  Look for 2 releases or so this year on that imprint.
Tell me something distinctly Pittsburgh that I should know about.
I’ve only lived here for about 2.5 years so I’m not the most qualified cultural ambassador!  Our museum has a sick gem room that should be one of the first stops on any tour of the city.
What’s your favorite / least favorite thing about electronic music right now?
Favorite: watching the DJ’s and producers of my generation evolve as they mature in the scene.  I see my cohort getting more nuanced, skilled and discerning.  We aren’t the ankle-biters anymore!
Least Favorite:  Discogs prices 🙁

NEW YORK TRAX taps John Selway for 7th release, talks state of dance & New York nightlife

Founded in 2016 and based in Brooklyn, NEW YORK TRAX is an outlet for New York music, by New York artists, in New York city.
Ahead of the label’s seventh release, this one coming from techno icon John Selway under his Semblance Factor alias, we chatted with label boss Nicole about the state of electronic music, hype, and of course, New York.
Check out this mix of 100% NEW YORK TRAX releases and get a sneak peek at three upcoming releases from the label:
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How did you get into electronic music? What were some of the first labels you loved?
I started going to events around the age of 18. I quickly became involved in the local scene by organizing my own events. My first big love when it comes to electronic music was hardcore techno (and it remains my favorite genre to this day). I spent a lot of time exploring the truly underground and obscure hardcore labels of the 1990s. One of my greatest discoveries was Fischkopf from Germany, Hangars Liquides from France, and, of course, New York’s Industrial Strength.
Why did you start the label? Have you done any other labels before? What’s the idea behind this label?
I started New York Trax to release music by New York producers only. The sound of New York is like its people: diverse and unique. Despite the common belief, New York Trax is not only a techno label. It releases electro, acid, hardcore, experimental, and will release even more genres in the future. What matters to me is creative sound with character. In the past, I did some work for other labels, but this is the first label that I run on my own.
What’s one thing you see a lot of labels doing wrong / right?

There is no formula for running a label and there are no limitations as to who can run a label and who cannot. As a result, concepts and sounds are constantly being recycled. I wish people asked themselves more often what is the purpose behind their projects, are they in any way original, are they contributing anything to the big picture, and so on.

What do you think is the state of New York nightlife?

New York nightlife is at its peak right now. There are a lot of venues, crews, labels, promoters etc. We have recently abolished the Cabaret Law and the office of Night Mayor was created. I hope we are off to a fresh start and an even brighter future.


What’s one thing in electronic music you wish you could change?
Less hype, more merit.
What’s your favorite post-rave snack / meal?

Sometimes I just don’t eat until Monday.

John Selway Pres. Semblance Factor EP is will be available in all fine outlets on March 19th.

NEW YORK TRAX Promo mix track list:
1. Lot.te – Graft (NYT05)
2. Richard Hinge – Changes (NYT01)
3. Dawid Dahl – Gehenna (NYT Imports 01)
4. Brenecki – The Oven (NYT02)
5. Another Alias – Craic Fiend (NYT Imports 01)
6. Alex Alben – Irin (NYT03)
7. TBA – NYT08
8. Steve Stoll – She rises up (NYT04)
9. TBA – NYT Imports 03
10. Endlec – Rhythm 387_1 (NYT Imports 02)
11. Steve Stoll – No questions please (NYT04)
12. Lot.te – Ultra Vires (NYT05)
13. Liquid Asset – Contact (NYT06)
14. John Selway – Jack the Void (Raw) (NYT07)
15. Endlec – Rhythm 401_Mix 1 (NYT Imports 02)
16. TBA – NYT Imports 04
17. John Selway – Defiance (NYT07)
18. Liquid Asset – Forgetmenot (NYT06)