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:
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.
JohnSelway 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)
Before throwing down at Rumor’s All Natural party, we sat down with German dance duo Mat.Joe for a chat about living in Berlin, their hip hop roots, and highlights of a crazy successful 2017. Be sure to check out their #1 Beatport house smash “Love Stream”, if you haven’t already.
WKDU: What were your first favorite hip hop and electronic artists respectively?
Mat: Oh I guess my first Hip Hop favorites were Wu Tang and Dr. Dre…it started with Yo! MTV Raps..oh damnnn, miss those times! Electronic-wise it was Ricardo Villalobos back in the minimal days.
Joe: My first Hip Hop tape was Jeru the Damaja’s “Wrath of the Math”. It blew me away! House-wise, crossover hits from Stardust, Phats & Small, Bob Sinclair, Armand Van Helden, and Daft Punk found their way into my ears when I was a teenager.
WKDU: How did hip hop / skateboarding background lead you to electronic music?
Mat.Joe: We both went to some crazy underground raves back in the days. Guess that the lovely vibes and different energy made it something special. House music is really similar to Hip Hop, Soul and R&B. Skateboarding is a big sub-culture…same with electronic music back in the days….maybe because of this, haha. We still love all those things and ride our boards in the hood as often as possible.
WKDU: What are the differences in your own two personal tastes and styles of music?
Mat.Joe: Haha…this question is in any interview we get. We both have a really similar taste and started with electronic music production in late 2011, right after we froze our Hip Hop project. It’s way more relaxed in the studio and when you play back2back if you share the same taste.
WKDU: Tell us about an ‘only in Berlin’ kind of moment you’ve had since moving there – it seems like you guys like it as a homebase.
Mat.Joe: Oh so many moments…but we guess besides the good food and the lovely cloudy sky (baaahhhh) the parties are crazy wild and they don’t stop! One time at Sisyphos we realized, ‘Oh we’re partying for 3 days already!’…Berlin is Berlin! <3
WKDU: Closing out the year, what have been some of your most memorable moments from 2017?
Mat: Got a lot of amazing moments with a lot of cool people, great parties in different places around the world plus a successful track in “Love Stream”.
Joe: The festivals were incredible, the Brazil tour, the marathon sets we played at Lost Beach Club and like Mat said, it’s all about the moment and about connecting with the people.
WKDU: What can people expect when they see you DJ live?
Mat.Joe: Some lovely crazy boys with Mat.Joe necklaces and lots of ice cream…haha, but seriously we want to have a good time and enjoy partying with people. So come to the party and don’t be shy. Let’s drink some shots and have some breakfast at the DJ booth. Cheers!
Catch Mat.Joe in a DJ booth near you and stay “crispy” !!
Midwest producer Appian (pronounced App-ee-an) has been honing his ear for dance music since he was a kid, soaking up select cuts from his Mom’s collection. His Mom must have good taste, because Appian’s gone on to create some of the vibiest house music we’ve heard of late, recently joining forces with Chicago-based label Stripped & Chewed for a bumpin’ piano-laced four-track EP entitled Rite of Passage.
We caught up with Appian to talk about the midwest, snackin’, and to grab a sweet guest mix!
Appian: “I grew up in Ferndale, which is a suburb of Detroit, by 8 mile and Livernois. I listened to dance music as a kid because my mom had a bunch of CDs and tapes from DJs. When I got older, I got into Djing and making music.”
“For this mix, I had some slower tracks that I wanted to play. Usually I don’t play that much of the slower tempo stuff that I have, so this was a good opportunity to put some of those tracks together to see where it goes. As far as music influences, I was influenced by Rhythm Is Rhythm, some 80s club music, Aphex Twin’s techno stuff, and a lot of house music… among other things.”
WKDU: How’d the midwest influence your sound and how’d you connect with Stripped & Chewed?
Appian: The mid-west has its own style… I don’t know if I can really describe it though. Stripped & Chewed got in touch with me about doing a record. I’ve liked a lot of stuff that they have done with the label, so it was a great opportunity to collaborate.
WKDU: Any party pro-tips?
Appian: Play the music you love and music for your friends. Play music for the dancers.
WKDU: What’s your favorite post-party snack?
Appian: Chicken strips or coneys.
Peep clips of the Rite of Passage EP below & stay groovy y’all.
bpmf is a button pushin mother f*cker living in beautiful West Philadelphia. With a career spanning back to the 80s that has seen him rock shows across the world, we sat down with the hardware wizard to discuss his new album Abide the Glide, keeping the funk (and glide) alive, and of course, music gear.
bpmf has been doin’ the thing for a little while now. Pictured here with Prototype 909 (P-909).
When did bpmf first start playing with hardware?
bpmf has always been about hardware. I got the name from Skip McDonald of Tackhead who came to my studio to check out my skills with an eye for helping his band mate Doug Whimbish produce his solo album. I was told that when Doug asked what he thought of my work on the Akai S-900, Skip responded: “Man that is one button pushin mutha fucka”.
The first time I ever played live was in ’86 with The Free World. The two of us basically dismantled the entire studio and brought it to the space. I wasn’t thrilled to ever do that again, so it wasn’t until ’93 in Prototype 909 where we had six hands and an arsenal of Roland gear that I got the bug for playing live. We started Rancho Relaxo All Stars in 94 and I’d bring my SH-101, TR-606, DX-100, and Prophet 600 and we’d put all our gear together and jam. Each of us would often solo out for 10 minutes or so and then mix in a record. So in this way I feel like I was very fortunate to ease into playing live solo with a lot of extra gear and a little help from my friends.
Despite making techno for a decade as bpmf and with P-909 and playing live with them over 70 times, I never really played Techno live by myself until I hooked up with Rizumu in 2015. I had gone to a few parties with some amazingly talented young people working the machines, some shows having more than one, or going all night live. This really got to me seeing these young people going at what I had never really had the courage to do. I had some newer, smaller gear that certainly made it easier to bring along everything I thought I needed and to work it more easily than what I had done in the past. So the time was right.
Prototype 909 live in action with the infamous Prophet 600 in tow.
You’ve got two labels: Serotonin & Schmer. What’s the style for each?
By 94 I was starting to feel that techno was getting a bit too unfunky for my taste and that year I had met John Selway at Satellite records and realized that we both had a love for the funkier electronic dance music of the early eighties: electro, electro disco, new wave, funk. We thought we should help to bring it back, so we started Serotonin.
I wasn’t done with Techno so the next year I started Schmer. We brought Serotonin back because we wanted to get some of the old releases that hadn’t been digitally released re-released and because John and I were sitting on tracks that we had made for Serotonin over the years that would never find a better home than our own label. We also had never stopped receiving demos and some of them amazing and better than anything we had yet put out. Seemed pretty obvious to us.
As for Schmer, it was simply a matter of having an outlet for the kind of stuff I was making and since its pretty far outside the mainstream of modern techno its very unlikely anyone else was going to do it. When Nina Kaviz put a DJ RX-5 track from Schmer-003 out on her Fabric CD that was just the straw that broke the camel’s back on that decision.
DJ RX-5 “Like A Boogie”, as featured in Nina Kraviz’s Fabric 91 mix.
What’s your favorite piece of gear? If you have one.
Well my “love piece” as my buddy Abe Duque would say, is the Sequential Circuits Prophet 600. It’s the sound of “Button” from the Button EP on Rancho Relaxo. I took it everywhere in the 90s and there’s hardly a bpmf track from back then without it. I still have it and I still love it but I wont take it out because its just too big and impractical. Especially when my new favorite “love piece” the Roland JP-08 Boutique is so small and compact.
What’s the worst thing about electronic music coming out today?
Much of what they call “techno” today I don’t recognize as such. You can make electronic dance music using almost all the same gear and techniques employed in techno, but if the music has no soul, no funk, so sexy feeling or no house feel then its not what I call “techno”. Let’s call that EDM, regardless of what the label, or producer claims it is. House is a feeling and techno is a sub-genre of house, therefore techno needs to have a feeling, when its not there its just whatever.
Also, there are too many jerks. Yes, they are misogynists and there needs to be more woman in our scene and great progress is being made; but only by getting rid of the jerks will we make room for a lot of the people who’ve been left out or put out by jerks at the top.
bpmf rocking it solo at a recent live gig.
Is this your first album? I thought albums were “dead”.
bpmf released two ambient albums, “Parousia Fallacy” in 2007 on Serotonin and “Solaris” on Telepathic Bubblebath in 2016. Albums aren’t dead, I think they are a very useful form helping the artist to focus energies and themes. The fact that consumers get to pick it apart and just take the tracks they like shouldn’t discourage the artist from thinking in terms of an album. Just like we put four tracks on an EP for you to only play one. The album is still the artist’s best chance to be a DJ and take the listener on a journey with their music selection and programing. In addition to the tracks, I intend to release a mix of the album so people get another insight into how I thought these tracks should work together.
Abide the Glide was conceived and produced as a series of 3-4 track EPs starting in 2016. The 4th one is the only one to be put out on vinyl and it comes out in August, its Schmer-008. The other 3 had been on bandcamp for a while but I’ll be releasing them on the album instead with the mix to follow. The theme is portamento. You must abide the glide if you’re gonna get down on this.
Oh man… well first of all, the gear itself. Got a preenfm2 from Xavier Hosxe so that I could do FM parts with portamento, because the volca FM don’t glide. This brought me back to when I had the Yamaha DX-100 with p909 and I always tried to rock these Relief Records glide lines into the mix. When they worked, nothing worked better.
So you could say a big influence was Lester Fitzpatrick, Green Velvet and everyone else in Chicago in 90s rockin that glide sound. Also as for the 303 itself, my favorite patterns are the ones where the bends get you moving so those are the ones I gravitate to.
The mood rises from a meditation on the acceptance of reality and the need to go with the flow. Each of us was put on this earth for a purpose, even though our contribution may be small in the grand scheme of things there is something that you are the best at or are only person that can do it. Right now I’m here to bring the glide back.
What do you love and/or hate the most about the TR-606?
What I love most is its size. Its perfect. Put separate outs on the drums and its even perfecter. I love the hats and cymbal, they are piercing, dangerously so. I can’t put into words the feeling the sound of the toms give me and that tight sharp snare is the best Roland snare EVER. There is nothing I hate about it, I have accepted it and embrace it for what it is. It is perfect, as perfect as piece of gear can be. I was very sad when Ikutaro Kakehashi passed away this year. He is my hero, he is to me like an uncle I never knew. This entire techno journey would have been impossible without him and I owe him a debt that can never possibly be repaid.
What’s your favorite thing about techno ?
It never ends so it’s always there.
What’s the button pusher’s favorite post-rave snack?
Our friend & anonymous producer Deeper Kenz just put out a fantastic tape on the always-excellent LA-based label 100% Silk. They put together a disco-laced mix for us and we chatted about wandering, relationships, and of course, Kensington.
Peep the mix & our discussion below:
KDU: Where did the Deeper Kenz alias come from?
Deeper Kenz: The name of the project was meant simply to pay homage to the place in which the music was made. I first moved to Kensington in 2007 and was 19 at the time. I feel like I became an adult there. I owe a lot to the neighborhood and its different residents.
KDU: How did Philadelphia influence the sound of this tape?
Deeper Kenz: The Sound of Philadelphia is a wonderfully dense landscape and so many parts of it have affected me deeply- the city’s towering contributions to Soul, Disco, and Hip hop, the Experimental and Noise music communities of which I was a peripheral part, the Saturdays of Caribbean music on WKDU, the talented people I DJ’d with at clubs and parties, the dancers there- I felt so connected to and inspired by all of this while I was working on the tracks that would end up on the tape. I spent so many hours wandering around the city but I was always most attached to Kensington. The track names were an attempt to create a map of some of the details of the area that were most important to me.
KDU: Were there any artistic influences that went into Deeper Kenz?
Deeper Kenz: I was obsessively digging for Techno, House, Disco, Funk, and Soul tunes at the time I was working on these, so I’m sure I was fully processing my education. I also was trying to make music I could play out Djing and would fit in the context of my sets. I was also inspired by the personal relationships I had at the time and the inexhaustible current of music flowing through so many of them. I hope the gratitude I feel shows in the music.
KDU: How did you get involved with 100% Silk?
Deeper Kenz: I got in touch with 100% Silk through some mutual friends- Britt Brown had written a review of another project of mine and we first began corresponding about that. He was interested when I told him I had some music that sounded vaguely appropriate for the label and I was ecstatic when they agreed to release it. I hadn’t exactly intended for these recordings to come out- they were just for myself and my friends. All this comes as a pleasant surprise.
Josh Wink gives an interview on club vs. home life ahead of hometown Halloween gig.
It’s a brisk fall afternoon when I meet up with Josh Wink at Northern Liberties record store Profond Music N Art. Josh has just arrived back from finishing an acclaimed summer residency in Ibiza and is helping organize his son’s birthday party before heading out to Amsterdam the next night.
“My son is four, so I’m still new to being a parent, and there’s all these things I try to balance: being a father and a partner to my wife, being ‘just Josh’ to the people I know from the neighborhood and community gardens, and then being Josh Wink the artist. Finding time to do other things is difficult, but there’s something nice and humble about being here in Philly. I like riding my bike places, I don’t have a car.”
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Josh’s game-changing anthem “Higher State of Consciousness”, the first instrumental record to ever enter the UK’s top 15 national chart twice in one year. The track burst him onto the international scene and became heavily engrained with the first wave of pre-EDM stadium-packing electronic music that took the US and Europe by storm in the ‘90s.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/228654155″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=’450′ iframe=”true” /] Josh co-hosted a show on WKDU in the 90s called Rave FM, so you know we had to get him to do a station ID for us!
Ahead of his LIVE full band performance at Coda tonight (10/15), we caught up with Josh Legg, the mastermind behind Goldroom, to talk about what it means to deliver a true live electronic music performance, his influences, and what his favorite kind of Snapchats are.
KDU: So you’re on a live tour now. What does it mean to you with regard to DJing vs live performance?
Goldroom: I grew up playing in bands and have always incorporated a lot of live instrumentation into my music. I cared a lot about DJing when I started Goldroom and I was only doing DJ sets then. I still DJ all the time – both in clubs and festivals. For me, playing live is a whole different level of emotional commitment and it’s much more musically fulfilling for me. We’re not up there with a couple of drum pads and an Ableton controller. When we’re up there live it’s a four-piece band with bass, guitar, and we sing every song – it’s truly like a band experience. Trying to bring electronic music to people in an authentically live performance is something that means a lot to me and I’m trying to fight the good fight.