VINYL TRIBE REPRESENT >>>
People who consciously attempt to be cool are a turn off. Those who try to act cool to earn the money of other people should be dragged into Tollefson Plaza and forced to sit there. Those who make great music don't do it for us, but for themselves.
Art is a form of self-expression and brings self-satisfaction. This does not mean it cannot be admired. Presentation is one thing; creating a work of art is another entirely different consideration.
As soon as people are willing to pay money to witness artistic output, that product becomes a commodity. Honors go to those who work dreary 9-to-5s in order to support themselves and still find the energy within to create magnanimous odes to human existence.
Such is the case with Tacoma's new DJ collective Vinyl Tribe, three veteran DJs who are slowly building their collective with pile-driving techno and dubstep on the scene. While slaving away in the local clubs (OK, make that 9-to-5 a.m.), Damon Kaiser (DefCon1), Chris Savenetti and Garret Winebrenner (BennieNugs) met at house parties only to discover they live within a few blocks of each other. Witness their skills every Thursday at Sax Restaurant and Lounge on Sixth Avenue. They spin techno, dubstep and house under the title Tribal Thursdays, which begins at 9:30 p.m. What I have discovered chatting with the collective over the past two weeks is that they're cool without trying to be cool.
The men behind Vinyl Tribe are regular guys who are in love with music, the art of collecting vinyl, and the discovery of new music. They create the music for themselves, and then share the joy with others. Yes, they watch the crowd closely - monitoring the vibe and adjusting as necessary. That's what the great DJs do. However the three Vinyl tribe DJs spin for themselves, too. You can see it in their eyes and smiles behind the decks. It's passion not posing. And ultimately the crowd wins.
If you haven't heard DefCon1 spin yet, you may grab a taste today when he's the guest DJ on DJ Michael Sherman's "Intersections" show on enSonic.FM at 1 p.m. The show connects listeners with rising star DJs in the underground dance scene. DefCon1 will showcase his Western Technology set today on the show.
What follows is my conversation with DefCon1 concerning his "Intersections" appearance.
WEEKLY VOLCANO: Tell me about Western Technology.
DEFCON1: Well, when I was initially putting together the DJ mix set of Western Tech I wanted to not just do a decent mix for Michael Sherman's "Intersections" show, I wanted to introduce what is an exploding new form of dance music, dubstep. Hence, I didn't want to just throw together some tracky set, where each new song is trying to top the other. Western Technology is more of a gradual up and down journey in feel - a condensed version of what an evening out at a party might be like. If you're familiar with dubstep, it's a treat to hear the songs not normally heard, and if you're new to it, it's a great introduction, I think.
VOLCANO: Sometimes there's a fine line between identifying a common set of sensibilities, which make up a genre. Do you follow a strict dubstep genre path?
DEFCON1: Not in the least. I love the mellower side with its spooky reggae or trip-hop harmonies, as well as the old school screaming acid lines in stuff from artists like Datsik. In fact it's the entire, "let's take a bit of this and that" mentality of dubstep that draws me and a lot of others into it. People are much more astute regarding dance music than when I began DJing and it shows in the progression of the music and what they want to hear. When you listen to Western Tech, it's an example of how I spin in song selection with this in mind. Now there are others that do just spin one type or the other, but I think that limits them creatively.
VOLCANO: What kind of music did you listening to growing up? What led you to the dark side?
DEFCON1: HA! I grew up listening to all kinds of music, my dad liked country and 1970s folk and mom liked metal, classic art rock - and Kraftwerk of all things. I would say that those pioneering German geniuses were my first introduction to electronic music. I mean, just like any kid I had periods where I only liked one thing - AC/DC and Metallica one month, Easy-E and NWA the next. Influentially though, what brought me into dance music and away from the traditional was darkwave like the Cure and Depeche Mode, followed by techno - and I mean fast, breakbeat, we-just-broke-into-this-warehouse rave music. It was just like now, an incredible new form of music bursting on the scene. I loved it. I had just hit my late teens/20s and went to every party I could go to, I couldn't get enough of the energy. Spinning naturally followed.
Catch Defcon1 on enSonic.FM today at 1 p.m., and every Thursday with his Vinyl Tribe collective mates at Sax on Sixth Avenue.
On Wednesday, April 21, DefCon1 and collective mate BennieNugs will spin as part of Black Ice Booking's "Return to Eden" show at Jazzbones, which will feature live hip-hop from Faraca. DefCon1 and I chatted up the show, which I will post the conversation on Spew later in the week.
Now bookmark enSonic.Fm and enjoy DefCon1's world.