December is finally here after what one can only describe as a grueling 2020. Especially, for those of us in the music industry. Indeed, it feels like this year is never going to end, as local bars and clubs are enduring yet another temporary closure. Nevertheless, the final month of the year always brings good tidings and an annual reminder of the importance of community. With this in mind, AK Productions and Quite Low Records are definitely unwrapping some presents early as they add two new residents to their roster. Certainly, Cynapze, and Design will be stuffing our stockings with bass, just in time for the holidays. Surely, there's no doubt AK & QL already boast a pretty stellar lineup. That's undoubtedly obvious with names like DJ Contrast, Evasive, GHoST, Ryan Vail and Shua. It's easy to see why they're seeing so much success with their Till The Break Of Dawn series, as a result. It continues attracting bassheads back to the underground which is great for the community. Furthermore, their resident hosts RELYT and Slim_r_i are in the driver seat right now when it comes to bass emcees in Colorado. Cynapze and Design should fit in quite nicely with this group of turntable giants. Clearly, AK & QL are gearing up to pick up where they left off by adding these two talent-laden artists to their roster. Cynapze & Design... If You Don't Know, Now You Know Although they're at different places in their careers, both of these artists have much to offer the Denver bass community. Foremost, they both have formidable skills behind the decks. Beyond this, they both have a deep love for bass music and all the trappings that go along with DJing in the bass capital. However, after a long hiatus of live music, it makes sense to refamiliarize yourself with who's making moves in the scene. Evan Bower, a.k.a. Cynapze, has been doing his thing for a hot minute in the Denver underground. Most notably. He's been associated with such bass music firebrands as The Distinguished, Recon DNB, and Altitude Sickness. Additionally, his ear bursting Turbosound speaker array continues to deliver that skull ratting bass we've all come to expect at underground events. If you made it out to Lake George for Till The Break Of Dawn: Under The Stars, you got a proper dose of that. Thus, it's a guarantee that he knows how to rock the decks. Who wouldn't if they got to practice on that sound system on the reg's? Besides that, he continues to pop up on lineups all over the place - from warehouses to night clubs, with no signs of slowing down. With numerous appearances on AKQL lineups already, it should be a forgone conclusion that they'd lock him down sooner or later. Evan Montes-O'Gorman, may not be as well known in the scene but he's by no means a newcomer. He's been slicing up beats for about a decade now under his Design moniker. One quick perusal of his SoundCloud reveals a bevy of original tracks and fire remixes. He's already got major creds to his name with releases on Section 8, SW Records, and Trio Recordings. Furthermore, be on the lookout for some brand new heavies due out on Drama Records. Consequently, he's quickly making a name for himself as a producer/audio engineer extraordinaire. Earlier this year, he finds his way onto the TTBOD:UTS lineup where he unleashes a mind bending bass heavy set. Certainly, that's just the tip of the iceberg of what this kid can do behind the decks. That's why it should come as no surprise that AK & QL are making the wise choice of adding him to their residency. Expect to see big things from Design in 2021 and beyond! With the end of the pandemic in sight, there's a lot of hope for a return to some semblance of normalcy in the music industry. For now, we'll have to wait and see what the next few years holds for a return to live music events. Indeed, you can expect AK & QL to be at the front of the line, delivering bass to the underground. Especially, if their roster continues to see upgrades like this one. Follow Cynapze Facebook Soundcloud Mixcloud Follow Design Facebook SoundCloud
Lady Sage's Moonlight Sessions Makes 2020 Way Less Shitty
First of all, this is not meant to be a gripe session about this so-called year that has been nothing less than a constant dick punch around the sun. Because, well... We've all been constantly complaining about how the dawn of the '20s is just one long itchy taint- all year long. In fact, the constant complaining - from everyone - is just another attribute of what is already guaranteed to be the worst year of the decade. No Festivals. No clubs. Even the people who got herpes at Coachella last year, shrug and say, "At least 2019 had festivals." Considering that argument, we do still have streams of music, and mixes galore. For example, Lady Sage's Moonlight Sessions are the perfect anodyne for this yearlong pain-in-the-ass and its making 2020 way less shitty. It would be all too easy to merely posit that Lady Sage is dope so we guess everything actually doesn't suck and call it good. Our last conversation with her substantiates that and it hasn't changed. What's of note here is that she continues funneling mesmerizing beats to the heads in the underground. Particularly, in a year that is anything but lucrative, she continues to do what she loves, for the love of bass. That, in and of itself, is something to cling to during this 365-day long, lube-free colonic of 2020. For an hour at a time, Moonlight Sessions nudges us headfirst into bliss at 128 BPM. Don't Sleep On Lady Sage Or Her Moonlight Sessions Specifically though, her most recent episode is straight grimy. Just a ridiculously filthy set back to front. Conversely, it's sort of hard to listen to. This is in no way a reflection of the beats or turntable prowess she puts on display in the mix. Rather it takes several hours to get through the mix because you'll find yourself rewinding it over and over. That pretty much comes with the territory when Lady Sage gets behind the decks. She certainly brings it on this mix. With its thunderous bass house cuts interwoven with heart palpitating electro bangers. The set is a whole-ass vibe, and takes you back to the golden era of electro. We all know that feeling when you hear a nasty beat for the first time. That's that good shit that takes your mind to a higher plane and we can't get enough of it. So, if you're feenin' for some beats, Lady Sage and her Moonlight Sessions is what you need. Especially, in a year that feels like one long, sketchy-ass come-down right before you have to go to work, right after you just found out that Cookie Monsta died, then found out David Guetta got rated the #1 DJ in the world. Wack... Luckily for us, the Sound Level Music beatstress is on the job - and she's helping make 2020 way less shitty - One mixtape at a time. Lady Sage - Moonlight Sessions 06
It's been a long year for the Denver underground scene. Especially, with such a huge decline in the available amount of fresh content. Certainly, many bassheads in the community are feeling the effects of a short supply of new vibes to get down to. Not to mention, a limited selection of live events to feed their bass fixes with, as well. More than anything, the disastrous beginning to the decade is absolutely affecting the artists in the scene. Therefore, it's so refreshing to see our creators continuing to do their thing, bringing us fresh beats and finding ways to keep their own respective livelihoods afloat. In particular, Xeela is showing us the blueprint for staying viable during these unforgiving times and she gives us a fire new dnb mix to go along with it. If you pay any attention to the Denver underground bass music scene, you already know Xeela continues to make a name for herself. Since last checking in with her, we see that it's clear she has no intention of slowing down. Surely, she's making that poignantly clear with the launch of her OnlyFans page - The Barefoot Basoonist. She's dead serious about her musical career! With a tagline like this: "Wanna see me squak on my bassoon? I know you're at least a little bit curious..." you know you want to tune in. That's great news for heads in the bass capital. Xeela undoubtedly delivers some of the freshest mixes that our deep drum & bass scene has to offer. With this most recent offering, she exposes the true depth of the energy she brings to her music. Peep the full stream via her YouTube page below. Xeela Takes Us On A Journey Into Bass Without question, she takes us on musical journey, dancing all over the genre with an eclectic selection of bass heavy bangers and burners. First of all, she starts out the mix with her more signature style as she opens up the mix with some liquid dubs to set the vibe. It wouldn't be a Xeela mix if it didn't have that jungle feel to it. Moreover, it wouldn't be Xeela set without an injection of her bubbly and vivacious personality. Since she decided to drop the mix via livestream, we definitely get a proper dose of her lively energy and infectious smile throughout the set. Beyond this, her track selection is on point from start to finish and takes us on a certifiable journey into bass. In illustration of her depth, she sprinkles in some of the softer, more uplifting vocal-jungle energy along with some brand new heavies, perfect for making those speakers thump. All over the mix, she drops in some lofty beats, with heavy, whirring synths. More often then not, each track is rinsed-out, over some dark samples and vocals. Seemingly, this is a nod to the season. As we quickly approach Halloween, everyone wants to hear those vocals and basslines with the ghastly undertones that haunt us on the dancefloor. On the other hand, Xeela takes time to sneak in some of those tracks that are heavy on instrumentation, giving us that classical and jazz feel one might expect from a musician with a background in classical training. Overall, this new mix is around 60 minutes of straight heat that we've all come to love and expect from underground giants like Xeela. Of course, this is one of the major reasons why she's become a fixture in the Denver bass music scene, and a common name on fliers for various events throughout the bass capital. If you haven't yet, make sure you hop on the bandwagon and tune your ears to the sounds that Xeela delivers. Above all, please show your support for her as she embarks on her newest endeavors. If you love what she does and support her artistry, it's vitally important. After a year like 2020, we can't afford to lose out on any more outlets for beautiful music. Indeed, beautiful music, is exactly what Xeela is all about. Follow Xeela Facebook Soundcloud Mixcloud YouTube OnlyFans
Drum and bass is alive and well, but that's old news to bassheads in the Denver underground scene. However, most have no clue exactly how much work goes into making sure the music never dies. It's easy to just show up at the venue, sporting all black, and go ham on the dance floor. Preservation requires much more than a few dedicated ragers to keep a scene active and constantly pushing forward. That's why people like Michael Beard aka Critical Control Point, are so important to the community. With his Drum And Bass Proper movement, he's definitely doing his part to carry the torch for generations to come. Although he's fairly new to the DJ circuit, Critical Control Point is no slouch behind the decks. His deep inventory of mixes easily makes this evident. Not to mention, he's quickly beginning to rack up spots on various lineups around town. Beyond this, he's got the expansion of Drum And Bass Proper basically on autopilot. Its roster of resident DJ's already has OG's like Ryan Vail, Contrast, and GHoST on lock, and continues to grow. Moreover, the DNBP flagship mix series #PROPERMONDAYS seems to elicit spins from bass fiends at a blistering pace. Drum and Bass is in Good Hands Looking to the future of the music industry, clearly its survival is dependent on the unwavering support amongst those in the community. Creatives have to put the scene on their backs and will their way beyond these dark times. Thus, it's so refreshing to see heads in the local scene stepping up to hold it down. Truly, CCP and his Drum And Bass Proper army of beat soldiers embody this sentiment perfectly. The industry will eventually emerge from the effects of the pandemic. When it does, they'll be among the few left standing, ready to help guide us all into the future. Assuredly, with DNBP at the helm, the Denver underground scene will be in good hands. This became undeniably clear after we got the chance to speak with him about his passion for the music. With this in mind, the future of dnb and bass music overall looks brighter than ever before. Bass'D Out DNVR: Tell us what it was like when you first fell in love with bass music. Does that vibe still hit you to this day? Critical Control Point: I was in my twenties the rave scene was, in my opinion at it’s most fun, and there were these dark, really overheated rooms at the Raves. In those rooms is where I found my love for Drum and Bass. It was just more of a community of people than the main dance floor scene for me. The BASS hit harder and there was just something special about the dirty, dark, grimey bass lines that filled the air when DnB was being played. It’s been twenty years and I have never looked back so yes that VIBE is probably better than it ever has been. BOD: What motivated you to start DNBP? What do you feel DNBP contributes to the bass music scene? CCP: My motivation was that I wanted into the scene in Denver honestly. I didn’t know anyone when I moved here and I just wanted a way to contribute to this MASSIVE scene and culture of electronic music that Denver had to offer. Drum And Bass Proper contributes a weekly mix series every Monday at noon MST. This mix series showcases our eight residents and “Featured Selecta’s” on a rotating basis. We recently switched up the format from #MINIMIXMONDAY to #PROPERMONDAYS . This allows the DJ’s to do whatever kind of mix they feel is “PROPER” and not be limited to twenty to twenty five minutes. We also post on Facebook with interesting articles/ links and really anything related to DnB. BOD: You recently started performing live as Critical Control Point. Can you describe the vibe you get when you perform live? CCP: Well honestly i'm so new still at this point that i'm just hoping that the equipment works right and I don't mess up super bad LOL, but seriously I love getting up in front of the crowd and sharing what my vision of the sound should be for that half hour or hour set. It’s just amazing when you finally have a moment to look up and you see everyone dancing or showing the “BASS FACE” or whatever their interpretation of a good time is. It’s just amazing to know what you love is being taken in and given back in the way of a good fun time. BOD: As an artist, how do you know when you’ve recorded a fie set that’s going to murder the dance floor? CCP: Well when you get literal goosebumps while putting a set together, recording and or playing it’s just an obvious feeling that it’s about to go down. I find it fun to figure a way to put all the different sub genres into a small amount of time. I feel this is a major contribution to how a set or mix is going to go. Also when it just flows and nothing feels forced you simply can’t go wrong. BOD: What’s the most frustrating thing to you about host/sharing mixes with the world? CCP: When my mixes get the least played LOL LOL LOL im just kidding. Honestly it’s not that frustrating to share them because anyone with an honest opinion is welcome in my eyes (just don’t be a dick lol)... Finding time to get together a mix of what you are feeling can turn into days and nights that you didn’t expect but in the end it’s all worth it. BOD: What inspires you to keep spreading filthy bass music across the globe? CCP: That's easy….The fact that it is so well taken and loved by the DnB community and that there are so many talented DJ’s and Producers. It almost sells itself. BOD: Is it hard out here for a pimp? CCP: Well if I wasn't busy getting this set around for this weekend I might have time to try Pimpn’ LOL, but I have heard even if it isn’t easy it sure is fun!!!!!!!!!!! BOD: Any shout-outs? Final comments? CCP: First I want to thank my girlfriend Taylor Smith for putting up with and supporting all the behind the scene madness that it takes to DJ and run this thing called Drum And Bass Proper. My Crew: JEFF, CCP, TOKEM, GHoST,CONTRAST, VAIL, EL CONQUISTADOR , SEMKO, S2PS as well as ALLLLLLL the guest DJ’s and MC’s we have had the pleasure of working with over the past few years. "BIG SHOUT OUT to everyone that tunes in weekly to help this mix series be shared and
enjoyed. Without all of you we would just be a bunch of DJ’s listening to loud bass music
together LOL." Be sure to bang Critical Control Point's fire Pregame mix for Till The Break of Dawn: Under The Stars, and follow him at the links below. BOD Podcast 023 - Critical Control Point: Before The Dawn (TTBOD Pregame Mix) Follow Critical Control Point Facebook SoundCloud Follow Drum And Bass Proper Twitter SoundCloud Facebook
Where are my Till The Break of Dawn OG's at? While the road has been long and arduous, it is paved with hard work, love and lots of bass. Even though 2020 is without question, "the year of the cancel," it hasn't diminished our love for the Denver underground. In fact, that infatuation with the scene in the bass capital is probably more intense than it's ever been. As they say, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." That's why we're anxiously waiting to share our love for all things bass with you as soon as things regain some semblance of normality. Who is we, you ask? Well, TTBOD is by no means a small operation. These events are a collaborative labor of love between AK Productions, Quite Low Records, Revival Concepts and Bass'D Out DNVR. We are the collective. We are underground bass music. The Till The Break Of Dawn Team Of the members in the TTBOD collective, AK Productions is certainly the elder member. In October 2016, the underground event production company was founded by Owner Kris Denton. Shorty after, the first AK event THC: Turntable Heavyweight Champions, opens its doors to heads in the bass capital. Since then, it has quickly begun to make a name for itself in the Denver underground, during its brief immersion into this bass experiment. Fast-forward to 2019 and AK is comfortably settling into its own little niche, becoming a leader in late night bass offerings. Certainly, if you haven't been to an AK party yet, you're missing out on the vibes of a serious movement. Back when AK productions is still in its infancy, there are few that truly believe in the message and the mission. On the other hand, there are others that fully buy-in, and never let the dream fade. Suffice to say, Josh Wolf aka Shua never fails to let his intentions be known when it comes to bringing the bass to your ears. Without question, he was a major impetus behind the rise of AK and a flash-point for the spark which ignites the development of the TTBOD collective. Equally important, he is the boss behind the label which is responsible for some of 2019's heaviest releases from artists like Fonzie, saltee, ERG, and Beats.Me - Quite Low Records. The most underappreciated and never overrated member of the collective is Ariana Cvencek. You're probably more familiar with her brand, Revival Concepts. If you've ever seen any AK, QL or BOD merch, at all- It's because of her. Additionally, RC has done consignment work for popular Denver underground artists KSUHDILLA and Queen Beats. Unsurprisingly, some of the dopest organizations in the bass capital look to her to help take their brand awareness to the next level. After a chance meeting and eventual romance with Josh at THC, her induction to the collective was all but solidified. Since then, she's been the primary force behind the AK/QL merchandise and brand awareness expansion. Bringing the consortium full circle is Bass'D Out DNVR. Initially, the underground media outlet's primary function is as a marketing arm for AK Productions. Subsequently, following a motivational spark from Shua (of course) owner/operator Aaron Melton decides to ramp up his offerings to the bass music community with a comprehensive cultivation of the Denver underground music scene and beyond. The BOD archives now contain copious amounts of bass music history and the additions continue to stack up. No doubt, if it concerns the bass capital, BOD is on top of it. As you can see, the Till The Break Of Dawn event series definitely didn't happen overnight. But that's OK because we're not in it for the glamour. We do this because we love our scene! Furthermore, we do this for YOU, the bass music community. We wouldn't be here without you, and we love and appreciate all of your support! With that in mind, please like, follow and share our brands, so we can continue to spread these vibes. Don't do it for us - Do it for the love of bass. Follow AK Productions: Facebook | Instagram Follow Quite Low Records: Facebook | Instagram | Beatport | Twitter | Web Follow Revival Concepts: Facebook | Web | Instagram
As we inch ever closer to the weekend, it's impossible not to get excited for several days filled with delicious beats. The stress and divisiveness of a 2020 gone sour almost seems unending, but with TTBOD: UTS inching ever closer, there's some relief in sight. AK & QL is definitely making sure we'll all have plenty of bass heavy entrées to gorge on with a night full of delectable dnb. Considering this, it's a blessing that so many artists from the Drum And Bass Proper roster will be in the kitchen, cheffing up beats. Accordingly, their catalog of fire mixes from artists on the lineup make the perfect appetizer. Let our Beats Before the Dawn series feed your hunger with some beat-catering courtesy of Fuse. His DNBP Featured Selecta mix certainly delivers a smorgasbord of mouthwatering bass. Bon Appétit! A lot can be said about how ferociously Brian Schell aka Fuse comes with it on this mix. Indeed, it's 55 minutes of straight filth, from top to bottom. With 20 years in the game, it's hard not to say we didn't expect this and the enormity of his experience undeniably shines through. Of note, his mixing skills are on point and can be heard throughout the mix as he blends track after complex track. You get a seamless tempo across each transition which plays well in your ear. Although, he doesn't furiously jump from track to track, opting instead to let the songs play out while he manipulates the mixer to perfection. Beyond this, Brian's track selection is tremendous and a true testament to his years of assiduous crate digging. For instance, at about 14 minutes in, he drops in 'Notion - Hooked (Bou Remix).' You can't help but move your feet to its whirring and winding synths, and emotional vocals. Surely, this sets the vibe for the entire mix. The whole set seems to follow this theme, with its generous helping of nasty, rinsed-out jungle dubs. Using an immersive, yet puritanical application of reverb, Fuse seemingly creates a soliloquy of drums; a dnb lullaby, if you will. This is the type of shit that makes us fall in love with drum & bass! Later, at about 52 minutes in, he graces the mix with K Motionz's banger 'Hack It. feat. Duskee' Surely, the hollowed out beat, reminiscent of a boom-bap kick, laced with a hip-hop sample, is a nod to all the dnb emcees out there. Alas, Fuse's DNBP Feature will get you hyped-up for Till The Break of Dawn. Consequently, you're not going to want to miss his set. As we'll all soon find out - nothing is better than dnb under the stars. Especially, when the DJ brings it like this. Drum And Bass Proper Featured Selecta Mix - Fuse Follow Fuse Mixcloud Facebook
Like us, you're probably making those final preparations for TTBOD: Under The Stars by rallying the troops and loading up on supplies. Speaking of supplies, you need not worry about amassing a fresh supply of bass for the voyage. AK and Quite Low have that situation on lock, but not without help from some friends in the underground. Denver crews will be heavily represented in the spot all weekend long. In particular, Drum And Bass Proper holds it down for Denver dnb and is sending a plethora of its bass ambassadors to help guide the mission. So, it only makes sense that we revisit their catalog of fire mixes from artists on the lineup to help us get hyped for the party. To kick off this series, let's pump the volume up to the sound selections of DNBP resident, Contrast. When Mike Silvestri a.k.a Contrast is on deck to man the wheels, he never fails to bring the heat. Back in December 2019, he certainly answers the call when DNBP dials him up for its Monday Mini-Mix Series. It's no surprise that they make it a priority to lock him down as one of their resident selectas. Right out of the gate, he unloads a crate full of fire that incinerates the sound system. The 17 track banger is overflowing with driving dnb basslines interwoven with gritty synths and grimy, rasta vocal dubs. Early on, about 7 minutes in, he ignites the mix, by dropping in 'It's Goin Down' by KC setting the dance floor ablaze. The vibes don't let up again until about the halfway mark when he laces the decks with some filth. The bass bottoms out ever so slightly so that AC13's burner, 'Fu Gee La (Bootleg)' can roll out of the mixer with clarity. It sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the mix that bangs your eardrums with bass all the way to the end of the set. The only downside to this DNBP throwback is that it's only half an hour long. Seemingly, Mike's just warming up as he begins fading out the beat leaving you begging for more. Fortunately, we don't have to wait much longer to see him do what he does best. With this in mind, this mix is exactly what you need to hear, so you can turn-up before the party. Crank up the bass and snap off the knob for this one! Then, be sure to catch Contrast's set live - Under The Stars. MINIMIXMONDAY #073 - Contrast Follow Contrast Facebook YouTube SoundCloud Twitter
Usually, when you hear the term "four-on-the-floor," you think of 4-beat sounds like house, techno, electro, etc. Although, heads in the Denver underground scene, might perceive this connotation in a different manner. Sure, bassheads in the region definitely share a deep fondness for the 4x4, sub-genres notwithstanding. Particularly, if you belong to the fellowship of the old skool, where our scene cut it's teeth. Nevertheless, a new definition of the acronym FOTF is firmly taking hold. In 2018, this movement takes its first full-lunged breaths initially as a party of three - Soleil, Audio Chemist, Phteven - and have since added a fourth - Jorge Bongo. They are - Friends of the Floor! Certainly, we all remember the old adage of PLUR, and this group certainly embodies that message. They are four, Peacefully, United as one, with intense Love and Respect, for the underground. Their effervescent house and tech house sounds are as reverent to the music's purists as they are a cohesive unit. However, that doesn't takeaway from the ferociousness that this four-headed monster can deliver in the form of dance floor destruction. With this in mind, whether you're from the old skool or the new, you'd be doing your ears a massive favor by keeping their mixes in your playlist rotation. Consequently, it's no surprise that Friends of the Floor consistently occupy time behind the decks, in the bass capital. Notably, their resilient consortium with Denver bass trafficker, Whomp Truck, results in recurring appearances at the Black Box. Or, you might even find yourself embarking on one of their fantastical music journeys by way of the MoTHeRShiP. No matter where you encounter these emissaries of turntable manipulation, you're sure to catch a vibe, and blast off into the 4-beat cosmos. Untz-untz-untz-untz... Of late, and like nearly every artist in the industry, Friends of the Floor haven't been able to flex their tech-pecs live, and in-person. Yet another casualty of COVID-19, which continues to ravage the music and nightlife industry. Despite this, the group maintains its offering of beats to heads in the underground with their Friday night Twitch live streams. Unsurprisingly, you can still feel the energy in their sets pump viciously through your fabricated broadband internet link. Thus, you definitely need to be on the lookout for the next one, coming to a laptop near you. For now, you can check out their most recent broadcast here. Or, better yet, catch them at Till The Break of Dawn: Under The Stars, hosted by AK Productions and Quite Low Records. They'll be bringing it to you live in stery-erio! If you haven't already, we highly recommend that you get familiar with the vibe this team can provide. Tickle your fancy for the four-on-the-floor, while they tickle your eardrums with some nasty, underground beats. Follow Friends of the Floor Facebook Soundcloud Twitch
The countless fires ravaging the Colorado mountains continue to lick the ether, basking the skyline in their amber glow. However, that isn't the only thing leaving us shuffling aimlessly through the mist of a scarlet fog. Specifically, a nationwide movement calling for a show of solidarity is the most recent culprit behind that cerise hue surrounding the city. Moreover, a symbolic gesture raising awareness for all who suffer from the nightlife industry, now on red alert. As someone you may not always see but almost certainly hear, DJ and audio purveyor Tony Knight exemplifies this. According to #WeMakeEvents North America, "77% of people in the live events industry have lost 100% of their income, including 97% of 1099 workers." These are the people who shouldn't be forgotten, in remembrance of an industry killed by the spread COVID-19. Now, rather than offering up a moment of silence, we should make our voices heard. We should stand with organizations like Help Musicians UK, MusiCares, PRS Foundation, Unison Benevolent Fund, and PLUS1, for the love of bass. Check out this NPR article detailing loads of other organizations doing similar work. Or, you can go here to keep the pressure on our government officials. With all this in mind, it's important for us all to take a moment to recognize all of the unseen warehouse warriors. Those soldiers of the underground whose contributions we always see, feel, and hear, yet oft fail to acknowledge. Without these agents of bass, Tony among them, those events we sorely miss would undoubtedly be mere shells of themselves. Tony Knight is Rarely Seen but Always Heard With an industry in dire straits, Tony Knight tirelessly continues pushing the sounds of the underground. Most notably from beyond the speaker stacks, as an audio engineer. Certainly, if you spend any time on the hunt for beats, you'll encounter his auditory footprint. In detail, his resume speaks for itself. First off, he never stops serving bass to the fiends through his 40HZ of Sound outfit. His Turbosound speaker stacks always impress and never cease to invoke dance floor gyrations. Additionally, it's no secret that his partner in crime, MS TØXIIC, is definitely doing her thing in the scene too. Together, they're a true force in the Denver underground, united by a deep love for bass music. Beyond this, Tony Knight flexes his sonic wizardry all over the state from Subterranean, Sodo and the Underground in Colorado Springs, to Knew Conscious and Mile High Spirits in the bass capital. More recently, his association with the vibrations coming from the Subverted Entertainment crew has his stock sharply on the rise. Check out their site, or this recent story to find out why they're currently getting big props in the bass community. Moreover, it's important to note that many like him are struggling to overcome the effects of near total-loss of income from live events. However, he continues to do what he loves, for the love of the music. With these kind of accolades to his name, it's a forgone conclusion that you should get familiar with Tony's sound. Therefore, if that video above has you furiously nodding your head, you definitely need to check his skills behind the decks, A.S.A.P. Of Course, this doesn't mean a live set from Tony Knight is too hard to come by. Especially, if you catch him at a random underground gig or during his resident DJ sets at Blondie's Ultra Lounge. Nevertheless, demand for his sound production skills regularly keeps him posted-up in the shadows. It's possible he's flying under your radar, as a result. Luckily, you'll get the perfect opportunity so see what he can do very soon at Till The Break Of Dawn: Under The Stars. You don't want to miss out on what he's been itching to drop, during his hiatus from live events. Above all, this is our chance to show some love to one of the many people in the scene, who help uplift the vibes of our scene, from behind the scenes. We all have to do what we can to support the underground. Truly, it needs us now, more than ever before. Follow Tony Knight Facebook Mixcloud SoundCloud
Even though it's a down year for bass music, and the music industry in general, that doesn't mean artists can't keep up their hustle! More than anything, creatives should be making the most of this time to refocus their energy on what matters most - the music. For example, Tokyo Mandy,doing her thing in Grand Junction, CO, probably isn't what you'd call a household name. Nevertheless, she is steadily putting in work in the scene and setting herself up for a massive sophomore season in the Denver underground. Certainly, everyone in the industry is already looking forward to 2021. As a result, there's a strong feeling that artists are going to be hitting the ground running next year with a fresh supply of bass. Heads in the bass capital are no exception to the rule, so it's refreshing to see our artists making the most of their limited opportunities in preparation for a breakout '21 campaign. Despite her first live gig coming only last August, Amandalin Hunter aka Tokyo Mandy continues to find ways to make a name for herself. She already has several live performances under her belt now including sets at the Mesa Theater, Your Mom's House, and a recent stream set for Denver's EDM stalwart Party Guru Productions. Surely, it doesn't hurt that she possesses a very thorough musical background too. She was raised in a musical family and went on to study music in college afterward. From this, there's no surprise that she develops an affinity for all types of music from classical to hip hop. However, it remains a point of fascination that it isn't until 2018 that her fondness for bass music comes to life. On the other hand, we all know too well how infectious the energy and vibes are when it comes to the culture of bass music. If You Don't Know Tokyo Mandy, Now You Know... Regardless of the fairly new direction that her music career is taking her, it quickly becomes clear that she is in no short supply of talent. Especially, after banging your head to some of her latest bass heavy mixes. Indeed, the dope hand skills of Tokyo Mandy are forcing everyone to take notice. Clearly, her recent interview (above) with The Bomb Skwad and WVET Radio is evidence of that. In it, she takes some time to discuss what got her into the industry as well as what her plans are for the future. If you haven't heard of Tokyo Mandy before now, you'll definitely want to peep the video. Additionally, be sure to bump her live sets streaming on The Bomb Skwad Radio every night from 12-1 am eastern time. She's one of the featured artists all month long. Beyond this, there's no better way to get familiar with an artist than by watching them drop beats live, behind the decks. Therefore, you don't want to miss your next opportunity when she slides into the booth at the next AK/QL event: Till The Break of Dawn: Under The Stars. It's going down in just a few weeks so mark your calendars now! If she isn't on your radar yet, consider this your final warning. Don't be the last one in the scene to find out how Tokyo Mandy gets down. Follow Tokyo Mandy Facebook Twitter SoundCloud Instagram
Unfortunately, the last live event many of us remember attending is months ago and there doesn't seem to be any reprieve in sight. Sure, there have been a few drive-in events along with a bonanza of fire live streams. Meanwhile, local venues are restructuring themselves to align with the various state-level executive orders. Not to mention, collectives like AK Productions and Quite Low Records are gearing up to do their best to save salvage some semblance of those summer festival vibes. Nevertheless, that vacuum that the loss of nightlife creates, continues to grow. However, when we look outward, the purveyors are definitely feeling the pain of a devastating year in bass. Certainly, the venues, promoters, DJs, producers, and various supporting staff quickly come to mind when thinking of those suffering the most. Beyond this, we must observe a moment of silence for the few among us who dedicate their time to verbally uplifting our collective energy- drum & bass emcees. Although the appreciation we dispense upon our beloved mic controllers might be in short supply, their contribution to the game shouldn't be taken lightly. Certainly, this doesn't apply to their counterparts within the realm of the monolith of hip hop. Notwithstanding the fact that that's where many bass music emcees draw their inspiration from, "rappers" are in a different category. In fact, some might say the continual rise of the dnb emcee follows the path of the purist master of ceremonies- Not quite prototypical, full-breathed lyricists nor mere antiquated, guttural hype-men, but somewhere in between. The History of Emceeing Through the Eyes of the Emcee The history of the bass emcee is as long as it is underappreciated. Specifically, in reference to those who hawk verbal phlegm over drum 'n' bass or breakbeat tracks. In particular, the UK grime scene offers a wealth of cultural evolution dating back to the birth of underground bass music. Peering back in time, we gain a clear picture of where rave or "party rocka" emcees started which helps us understand where we are today. In his 2018, in-depth look at the drum 'n' bass emcee for Red Bull, Dave Jenkins digs significantly deep with a thorough analysis of the marriage between bass music and emcees. In his article, Here Comes The Mic Man, he speaks with legendary mic rulers like Dynamite, Inja, DRS, SP:MC, and Harry Shotta. They reveal the subterranean facts that provide a crystal clear window into the world of drum & bass emceeing. First of all, Inja gifts him with a thoughtful yet contrite perspective when he describes the unique relationship between emcee and DJ. "The MC is the conductor. They’re right next to the crowd, they’re right next to the DJ, they bring it all together." It's hard to say it any better than that. As spectators of bass, this is exactly what we see and feel at an event on any given evening, in the Denver underground scene. Unsurprisingly, the lessons don't stop there. Dropping even deeper knowledge, Dynamite loads more facts into the lyrical bonfire when he posits on the birth of bass music emceeing. “We came from the original hip-hop combination,” adds Dynamite. “Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Eric B & Rakim. Historically drum’n’bass has had that same formula with a lot of duos. Brockie and Det, myself and Roni Size, GQ and Micky Finn, Conrad and Bukem. It’s like a double act.” Surely, emceeing, in general, is a huge part of the diverse musical culture of today. You can't even get on the bus or navigate a dance floor without someone trying to bend your ear with their "slept on" mic skills. With that in mind, a DRS quote seems extremely apt. "Jungle became so popular that all the kids in the ends aspired to be jungle MCs. You know the cliché – 20 MCs around the mic, all bada bada bada bada..." Finally, a quote from the legendary Harry Shotta appropriately brings our journey through the annals of dnb emceeing full-circle. “I think what’s changed now is that MCs are giving the crowd much better lyrical content and something they can relate to. We’re talking about relevant things and not just hyping up ourselves or the DJ or what’s going on in the party. From this, we can easily see where the lyrical facilitation of bass energy gets its foundation. Naturally, though, this leads us to one question: What are today's underground orators doing with the blueprints that these legends are leaving behind for them? Undoubtedly, the bass capital has the answer and is ready to grab the torch like a mic stand. Emcees in the Bass Capital are Holding it Down Now, if you're still skeptical about the reach and longevity of drum & bass music, you're definitely in the minority. Evidence of this doesn't even require a deep scan of the bass music archives. For instance, Iowa's Grinnell College has a somewhat robust piece about dnb's historical imprint. Thus, if kids in the "corn belt" of Iowa are getting down to some rinsed out vibes then you know heads in the bass capital are already with the sauce. Therefore, it's no surprise that our devotion to bass music culture cultivates a healthy crop of dnb emcees. Even if you require spitters to meet a certain quality threshold before cosigning on their legitimacy, the Denver underground has you covered. With this in mind, the denizens of Denver bass music can provide uniquely valuable perspectives into the current state of bass. Specifically, there are a couple of fire mic controllers preparing to unload bars over beats set to echo through the valleys of the Colorado Rockies. So, in anticipation of their emcee duties at AK & Quite Low Present Till the Break of Dawn: Under the Stars - let's check-in with two standard-bearers of microphone mathematics who patrol the Denver underground - Slim_r_i and Relyt. Bass’D Out DNVR: Do you remember when you first fell in love with bass music? What do you love the most about it? What are your favorite genres to emcee for? Slim_r_i: I think I've always been a bass fan. Even at an early age. By the mid-’80s to the ’90s, I would say I was completely gravitating to bass sounds. I liked some metal, but this is also around the time that I fell in love with hip hop and early electronic music. Then breaks really took hold. But by the end of 90's I was a full-fledged junglist. I bleed camo. Drum ‘n’ bass will be my mistress ‘til I'm 10 toes up. I’ve been working with a lot of breaks and hard dance as well. It's tough, I get different vibes from these three different styles that are so closely related. Dnb makes everything ok no matter where life is and allows me to release aggression. Breaks always have this classic old school feel. The breakers and tracksuits take me back and always keep me rooted. The hard dance is literally my safe place. The way the ravers and artists treat each other is indescribable. Ugh, I wish my camo junglists would remember those roots more often and not take shit so seriously. Can't beat the vibe the candy kids give off, though. Relyt: The thing I love most is the vibes! Also, the way a well-produced tune can bring an entire room of strangers together, to experience the same feelings at the same time! Obviously, I’m a junglist to the grave, but I do enjoy emceeing over breaks, trap, and occasionally dubstep! BOD: When did you first realize you wanted to be an emcee? Who are some of your most influential artists? Relyt: I realized around 2000 or 2001. I was heavy into hip hop. It was all about Bone Thugs ‘N’ Harmony which helped shape my ability to rap fast. Then, I went to my first rave and saw MC Dino and DJ Fury going off and I instantly fell in love! Dino has been a huge influence on my emceeing ever since. Slim: That's kind of tricky to answer. I started on open mic rap nights in Pennsylvania in the late '90s. It was literally about flexing and acting up back then. Then, in the early 2000s, I was working on DJing dnb in South Carolina. I shelved it all to run a business and have kids. Around 2011, I found myself in the bass capital, Denver. I went through some huge life changes that led me back to the clubs for bass therapy. For the third time, dnb saved my life. I became heavily entrenched in Denver's dnb scene and made so many great friends. I was thirsty! I wanted to play music, but it was such an oversaturated market. So, after some convos with dnb heads I respected, and getting the blessing of the main guy hosting everything, I made my rounds to the crews and got put on. Lulz, I guess I never realized until I was already in it. I take inspiration from everywhere. Legends like Stevie Hyper, Skibadee, and General Levy, to name a few. Some of my favorites like Inja, Evil B, Traumatik, Flipside, and Harry Shotta inspire me too. I can’t forget about the state-side champs like Armanni Reign, MC Dino, and Messinian. Along with that, there are others like Tone Piper, Wizzkid. Local guys that I see on the regular are important to my growth as well- big up Reylt! But I have to say I learn a lot from what I don’t like by listening to other emcees and hosts. BOD: What was it like for you the first time you picked up a mic and went onstage in front of a crowd? Was it hard to break into the industry? Slim: Well the very first time was like '98 or ’99. It was open mic with my boys with about 100 people in the crowd. I really didn't understand then. I just would just wilded out and left. I didn’t take in the experience. When I started here in Denver, it was pretty scary. My first show was a heavy head-banging dubstep show that was sold out. I think the crowd was as confused as I was as to what I was doing on stage. But in the end, I knew a lot of people there and I got decent feedback. It's been on ever since. It wasn't that bad for me. I think the timing and my established relationships with people in the scene helped a lot. I love this shit, and I feel like it shows. Promoters and DJs tend to back me for that reason. Relyt: It was like what I assume your first hit of crack would feel like- I was addicted… I still am. I still get nervous before shows, but that quickly goes away when I get into the venue. BOD: As an emcee, what do you feel is the biggest thing you can contribute to a set? What qualities do you feel any solid emcee should possess? Slim: Energy and direction. Sometimes people forget they are there to have fun and appreciate the moment. Professionalism, situational awareness, and timing is huge! Knowing when to shut up, paying attention, and being flexible is huge too. I tend to work as a host more than emceeing so knowing your fellow artists is a must. I never host for someone new without some background digging. Affiliations and label knowledge are important parts of a proper introduction. I consider myself a facilitator. It's not really about me but who I am there to highlight. A DJ should never feel like they have to pick up a mic to get the crowd to engage. Especially, if there’s an emcee on the lineup. You have to walk this fine line of ego and confidence but don't shadowing. You can't be scared to be front and center or even act silly to engage everyone. Shit happens, the sound goes off, changeovers take too long, and people are late or don't show. That's where a good host or emcee will shine. It's important to remember DJ's tend to feed off of you as well. I always try to chat with headliners or people I've never met before their sets. Haha, equipment knowledge is also key! Knowing how to tune yourself and how to hold a mic is 101. That can be taught, but the feels I've described cannot. 99% of the time you will have no idea what the DJ will do or play. But the feel of handling those situations is something you have, or don't. Knowing how music is made is very important to that feel... Oh, and for the love of bass! Don't be that guy that's just a waste case on the mic. I've never had to leave a set because I need to puke. It's so disrespectful. BOD: How does the energy of the crowd affect your performance? What would you say is the emcee’s responsibility during a set? Relyt: Crowd energy and participation is huge! I pride myself on being able to create and control a vibe in a club, and I would say the emcee's responsibility is just that! BOD: How do you keep your mic skills in top form? Slim: Honestly, I feel like I don't. I know I'm capable of much better work. I'm only settling into this role. I'm close to 40 and feel dumb as rocks most the time. I've only been back on for a few years. I still have so much to learn- So much to express that I don't even know where to begin. But I read, write, and listen to other emcees on sets all the time. I also do my best to keep up with new tunes as they are released. I have a never-ending playlist. With that, I bar over new tunes in the car that I've never heard before. It's about as close as you can get to the feel of doing a set with a DJ. Here's the thing- the past 10 years have been a rollercoaster and now I've finally redeveloped stability in my life. I’m confident that it'll start showing more in my performance. I guess; to sum it up, that is my weakness. I'll be the first to admit I'm a shit emcee but a damn good host. When I get that down its game over. Relyt: I emcee in my head all day every day!! BOD: What do you like most about performing live? What do you like the least? Do you think emcees get the love that they deserve? Slim: I've been blessed in my short run so far. I've had the pleasure of working with legendary DJs and producers. Guys like Roni Size, Stanton Warriors, Krafty Kuts, Kutski, Crissy Criss, Al Storm, Scott Brown, Martix n Futurebound, R.A.W., The Freestylers, Mob Tactics, Rel 1, Rob Gee, Reid Speed, DJ Venom, Dieselboy, AK1200; the list goes on- I guess moments that stick out are my first time with Stanton Warriors and Roni Size (wish I could get a redo on that one). I was scared shitless and star-struck. He was really cool and told me he wanted more from me. Helping Reylt fill in for Messinian when his flight was canceled last year for POTD’s 20-year tour was special too. But my favorite thing is the relationships I've developed with so many UK headliners- I don’t know - the Brits tend to like me. I don't really have a stand out shitty experience. Some shows I'd like to do again and use what I've learned. There are some moments that I really wasn't into so I could have done better. Sometimes, dealing with random people that hound you for the mic is a pain in the ass. Haha, my Ex called the police to the venue one time over an old warrant that she found. She was told that she could not come to the show by the head of security because of her attempts to start drama, so she had the law show up and they did a walk through while security hid me out. I didn't get to perform as a result. It wasn't that bad to deal with just more of a WTF? We definitely don't get the props we deserve as emcees. It's definitely not the most loved aspect here in the states. But that's never my motivation. The reality is I'll never be everyone’s cup of tea, no matter how good I am. This is why I try to have a different style than most emcees. But, when a random person I've never met compliments me, those are the moments I hold onto. Relyt: The thing I love most is being able to emcee with some of the people whose music I’ve spent the past decade geeking-out to. People like Dillinja, Metric & Mampi, and Swift just to name a few! The thing I like least is a hard question- maybe fuckin’ my shoes up?! Honestly, that’s a complex question. There are emcees out there that spit straight fire and don’t get booked because of politics and bullshit! On the other hand, there are emcees out there who have no business touching mics that are getting booked like crazy. I believe if you’re actually a talented emcee and a good person then yes, the people, DJs, and promoters have lots of love! BOD: Any comments or shoutouts you want to give? Relyt: Shouts to Urban Aboriginee, Quite Low Records, Reload Productions, and The Distinguished!! FUCK COVID!! Support your local music venues!! Slim: First off, I appreciate this interview! Big ups to Hartshorn, Evasive, Ryan Vail, Fury, Ghost, Deceptive, Sevamatic, Kris, Shua, D.O.H., and Denver's Dom. Thanks for having my back gents and pushing me forward! S/O to my crews 303 Family, Dnb:03, Altitude Sickness, The Distinguished, Quite Low Records, Sounds of Bass, and AK Productions. Much love to Reload Productions, Free Bass, Amplitude Presents, and all Denver drum ‘n’ bass for the opportunities. Rest assured, the Denver dnb scene is definitely in good hands as long as these two are holding the mic and have something to say about it. More importantly, their continued growth and success is proof that bass music is alive and well in the bass capital. No need to take it from us though. Be sure to follow both emcees at the links below. Then, catch them live in-action when they grace the stage alongside some of Denver's best DJs at 'TillThe Break of Dawn: Under The Stars, next month. Follow Slim_r_i Follow Relyt Till The Break of Dawn: Under The Stars // 9.18-9.20 // On-Sale Now!!
Keith Mackenzie Set to Shatter The Black Box with Broken Beats
There's no doubt that there's a strong connection between the FL breaks scene and the breakbeats heads of the Denver bass music scene. Certainly, that's why icons of the Florida breaks scene often make it a point to register multiple stops at DIA on their yearly touring schedule. Of course, Denver's SOB Productions is acutely aware of this and is doing their part to help keep the sounds of breaks flowing endlessly throughout the halls of the Denver underground. As a result, it should be no surprise that none other than Keith Mackenzie will be making his return to Denver tonight for a special Valentine's Day performance. Expect Keith to leave those broken hearts full of broken beats tonight on the dance floor of underground bass music hub, the Black Box. Keith Mackenzie's been a mainstay in the breaks scene for years now so lovers of all things breaks are definitely in for a treat tonight. Indeed, that's a forgone conclusion for a man who's responsible for booty breaks hits like 'Got That Booty' and 'Big Booty Girls.' However, if some of his new stuff is what you're after, you can stay up to date via his Illeven Eleven Recordings imprint. Nevertheless, make sure to get to the Black Box early and secure your spot on the dance floor. Truly, Sounds Of Bass, continues to deliver those much sought after broken beats to Denver's thick community of bassheads with much enthusiasm. It's no wonder they're single-handedly keeping the love of breaks alive and well in the Denver bass music community. Consequently, that enthusiasm can be felt all the way out to the beaches of the sunshine state. in response, you can bet he'll be loading up his crate with a fresh supply of fat booty breaks for that ass! As you can see below, Keith is definitely feeling that enthusiasm shortly after SOB announces the event. Peep his Facebook post about the gig. The vibes are about to too real with Keith Mackenzie's return to Denver! On top of that, some of Denver's nastiest broken beat purveyors will be locking down warm up duties. SOB is charging Benny Young, ILL.ME.NGHTY and Breakbeat Mafia with lifting the vibes up before Keith takes over the decks. Let us not forget the master emcee Slim_R_I will be holding down the mic all evening long to keep the crowd fully motivated. Furthermore, John Mundt aka DJ Hero will be in the spot to welcome him in. Anyone who knows anything about the Denver breaks scene is definitely familiar with DJ Hero and his grimy sounds. He's been heavy in the Denver underground bass scene since its infancy. If you somehow haven't heard of him, be sure to hit up his Mixcloud and get in the know. His latest Solitude Studios Podcast is straight fire! Better yet, go and grab your tickets for the show here right now and don't miss his set. As a matter of fact, don't miss any of these sets. You will not be disappointed. Come get down with SOB tonight and see just how hard they throw it down- for the love of bass and breakbeats.