This past summer I was staying out in Los Angeles holding down a few jobs in the music industry during the day, and exploring LA’s world of underground house and techno by night. I ventured out to everything from mega-clubs to warehouses, and many other performance venues in between, just to catch all of the music that I could in one of the world’s most musically promising cities. LA has always been a city known for a lot things of going on in the music world, hosting MANY venues and the almost the entire entertainment industry. However, when it comes to most types of electronic music, especially house and techno, the cities that come to mind would generally be Chicago, Detroit, Berlin, London, Ibiza, NYC, and Miami. Based off my summer, I can assure all skeptics that 2015 has proved to be a huge year for Los Angeles, truly putting it on a must visit map for any Techno lover.
I started off my summer on a quick trip to San Francisco. The two nights I was there, I had to catch Billy Kenny (Dirtybird/This Ain’t Bristol) and Popof (Cocoon/Hot Creations) playing. Billy Kenny played in a relatively new venue called The Hawthorne and it was amazing! Completely underground, two separate rooms, draped and covered with a Funktion One sound system! His single “I Operate” had just come out, and completely set the club off when it dropped.
The next night, we headed over to The Monarch to catch Popof. My crew turnt up, had quite the night, and The Monarch was a perfect venue to drop these new tracks.
Here’s a pic of my friend Phill with some sus lady at the Popof show:
Before I went back to LA, I had to catch Skream (Crosstown Rebels/Hotflush) and Scuba (Hotflush) at an awesome warehouse turned venue called Mighty, right in the middle of SF’s Mission District. Skream has really moved through various genres over the years, DJing everything from dubstep to house. But playing with Scuba, the duo both dropped thumping minimal techno all night. On screen trippy smiley face visuals bugged out during the entire set. Definitely felt like a scene straight out of Berlin. Adesse Versions’ “Pride” dropped by Skream was a definite highlight for me, Jackmaster’s Numbers label always drops heat. Alan Fitzpatrick’s remix of Trus’me’s “I Want You” was definitely the tune of the night dropped by Scuba, guaranteed banger.
I then went back down to LA to start my summer. First weekend there I was at the Mixmag Lab, a private DJ set put on by the world’s most informative electronic music magazine, Mixmag. These parties were thrown on the 14th floor of the CNN building in Hollywood, secured in a corner room with a beautiful sunset lit view of the entire city. I knew I had to go every week for the summer, just too a good of a vibe. So, I decided to walk around and socialize, ended up meeting the editor, and getting put on the list for the rest of the summer… sweet. My first week there I saw Atish (All Day I Dream) & Hoj (All Day I Dream) throw down one of the most elegant house sets I’ve ever seen. It also happened to be the best Lab set I saw of the summer. Some other sets I saw there were Anna Lunoe b2b Mija (OWSLA) and Jeremy Olander (PRYDA) to name a few.
Atish at the Mixmag Lab:
One club I checked out a few times this summer was Sound Nightclub in Hollywood. I went with some homies to catch the legendary house gangster, DJ Sneak (IAHG). The club also filled with a Funktion One sound system, let Sneak show his swag, throwing down house beats all night. I also went to Sound to catch AC Slater’s Night Bass party, but truthfully it was just pretty average…
DJ Sneak at Sound Nightclub:
An easy favorite of all of the venues I hit up in LA was Lot 613. Lot 613 is a warehouse in the middle of the arts district that always brings the best techno acts, the best crowds, and the best drinks. The first time I went there we rolled squad deep to an Emerald City party featuring Serge Devant (Emerald City), John Tejada (Emerald City), and Lee Foss (Hot Creations/Emerald City) for the label boss’s birthday. Serge Devant and John Tejada were awesome, but Lee Foss brought the magic. The dude is the man, and the party was fireeeee! The best track of the night had to have been Denney’s “Low Frequency” played by Lee Foss. Absolute tune.
The second time I went to Lot 613 was to check out Howling playing with the legendary Âme. Amazing music, and hilarious night with the homies, a little too turnt up for this one…
What had to be my absolute favorite night of the summer consisted of four shows with my whole crew. We started things off at the Mixmag Lab (had to take advantage of the open bar as a pregame for the night). The DJs playing were some lame trance DJs on Above & Beyond’s label, we didn’t stay too long. We then mobbed over to the House of Blues to catch Freddie Gibbs. He’s probably my favorite rapper, and it was up there with Yeezy in best rap shows I’ve ever seen. After that, it was time for some techno. So we went over to the Avalon Nightclub in Hollywood to catch Kill Frenzy. Work came through with guest list spots for my homies and I, very clutch. Kill Frenzy was bringing that Dirtybird booty bass, as always. We stayed until the end of the his set, then at about 1:30 AM went over to catch the remaining hours of the best party I went to all summer, City Hearts.
Freddie Gibbs @ HoB:
We walked in about halfway through Pork Chop’s set and he was bringing the bass! The setup in the venue was mind-blowing. The Desert Hearts crew changed the entire theater around, featuring all sorts of trippy boutiques, displaying crystals, art, and clothes for sale. Outside featured interesting lounge beds and fire dancers. The party felt like some trippy out of this world zone. But after 20 minutes of being distracted by the outside area, we went back inside to catch Lee Reynolds throw down on the labels massive brought in Funktion One setup. Lee Reynolds is really old, that’s for sure. But he is an absolutely amazing DJ. Marbs closed out the night, merging rolling bass with strange synths, keeping the late night vibes alive. The last ten minutes of his set had everyone clapping and screaming while he kept the sexy dancers on stage moving and the music bumping! Best. Party. Ever.
I ended the summer with back-to-back festival weekends, starting with Hard Summer, and then back up to SF for Outside Lands. Hard Summer hosted some great acts like Hot Since 82 (Knee Deep in Sound), Maya Jane Coles, Tiga (Turbo), Erol Alkan (Phantasy Sound), and Boys Noize (Boys Noize Records). However, the festival as a whole is probably one of the worst festivals I’ve ever been to. The environment is boring, everything is concrete, and the people are the worst. I wasn’t too down on it though, I still had plenty of fun.
Hot Since 82 @ HSMF:
Maya Jane Coles @ HSMF:
My weekend at Outside Lands however, was quite amazing. I’ve been going to the festival for the past five years and it never disappoints. The atmosphere is like Disneyland placed in the middle of Golden Gate Park. At least it is for me… Jimmy Edgar (Ultramajic) in a full rooftop LED domed room was absolutely insane. Caribou also played a sick show, definitely puts on the perfect between electronic and live band, and the music is beautiful. But, Get Real (Claude Vonstroke (Dirtybird) b2b Green Velvet (Relief Records)) truly stole the show of the weekend. They had a pretty predictable set, playing classic tracks from both of them respectively, but the vibe and execution were top notch. The crowd went off when Claude dropped Justin Jay’s new DB track, “Hit It.”
Jimmy Edgar @ OSL:
Outside Lands was the perfect way to end my summer. I can testify that if you live in the United States and love everything tech-house and beyond, California is the best place to be!!