We catch up with Utrecht-based producers Jordi van Achthoven and Micha Heyboer aka Tinlicker whose remix of Robert Miles “Children” hit Beatport’s overall top spot.

Jordi and Micha, Congratulations on your new number one on the Beatport charts! Did you already have a chance to celebrate?

Jordi: Thank you very much. It’s our first number one. We’re very happy about it. Actually we didn’t have time to celebrate it yet. But we are going to do that. We probably buy ourselves some sugar coated cookies and have a cup of tea on the couch with each other. 

Robert Miles “Children” has one of the most instantly recognizable melodies in the history of electronic dance music. What made you want to remix such a classic?  

Jordi: I always thought it would be nice to play that song some day. And that day came in October 2019 where Micha and I had to play in Prague. Before our show we edited the original “Children” track into a Tinlicker song just to play it for that one time. We never realized this would become an official track. 

The original version of “Children” came out when you were both still kids. Can you remember listening to it back then? Do you feel a special connection to the song?

Jordi: I was 14 years old and I bought the CD single. I was sitting in my parents house in my small bedroom and after inserting the disc and pressing play I somehow always was nervous when that melody came. But it always blew my mind back then. Hearing it now makes me feel so nostalgic in a good way. 

How does it feel to have such a big release without the possibility of playing it in front of a live crowd?

Luckily we made this song a year ago. We had the possibility to play it out for example at the Anjunadeep open air in Prague — you can see footage of it on YouTube. That was pretty epic. But it feels weird not to play. Luckily enough our music is also enjoyable listening. 

How are you dealing with the current pandemic and does it have any effect on your productivity as a musician?

It’s been a weird year so far. We both decided to work from home around March and April. But after those two months we didn’t speak to each other and our productivity almost disappeared at some point around May and June. There was nothing to work for in all these months and then there was also so much negativity in the news. But now since we launched our own Patreon page we definitely found our inspiration again.

Our expert curation team brings you the best tracks on Beatport you may have missed. This time featuring DJ Earl, Ivy Lab, Kodama, Idle Mind Workshop, and more.

DJ Earl – Wrk Dat Body [Moveltraxx]

Coming soon via the Paris-born, London-based imprint Moveltraxx, “Wrk Dat Booty” is the first single from DJ Earl’s sophomore album Bass + Funk & Soul. This one’s a fresh, classic tune in the Teklife tradition with a smart alternation of choirs and vocals.

Sumgii, Illaman, Chunky – Lost in Space (Zed Bias Remix) [Potent Funk]

Sumgii, Illaman, and Chunky joined forces on the breaks and garage-influenced “Lost In Space,” and one week later, we got this sick remix from Zed Bias: it’s minimalistic yet heavy, with a huge kick and UK funky swing. Love it!

Ivy Lab – Fidget – [20/20 LDN Recordings]

Ivy Lab are back on their own label 20/20 LDN Recordings, with “Fidget,” a track that boasts a deconstructed beat with TR-808 elements. The predominant kick is supported by a soulful vocal contrasted by an anxiety-inducing vibe, but it closes with a dreamy pad on the back half to make this track stand out, just like a lot of the music from this label.

 Sweepa, Tosti – Ketel (TMSV Remix) [Basskruit]

Let’s celebrate the creation of Basskruit, a new deep dubstep label launched by Duploc founder Pieter Grauwels and the talented producer Hebbe. TMSV’s remix of “Ketel” by Sweepa and Tosti is a fine deep dubstep track with nice work on the swing, accentuated by several layers of percussion, a swamp of bass, and a catchy flute melody. A future classic for sure.

Kodama – Piranha Plant [Subaltern Records]

Check out “Piranha Plant,” the latest track from Kodama off Subaltern Records. I remember the smash hit “IMHK” from Glume and Phossa on the same label, and upon finding “Piranha Plant,” I was expecting a track with a great melody — and here we are. The alternation of piano, bells, and different melodic percussion creates a beautiful orchestration. I love these 140 BPM vibes!

 Idle Mind Workshop, Rider Shafique – Take Time (Murder He Wrote Remix) [Plasma Audio]

Check out Murder He Wrote’s remix of the big collaboration between Idle Minds Workshop and Rider Shafique, “Take Time.” As expected, Murder He Wrote brings a UK funky beat supported by the cool and calm flow from Rider Shafique and a heavy bass synth to test the subwoofers.

Oolacile – Cloud Mind [Halcyon Music House]

When it comes to the future of dubstep, Oolacile is an artist who continues to push the genre’s boundaries and lead his community. Following the launch of his own label Halcyon Sound, Oolacile dropped a new full-length record that’s teeming with cutting-edge sound design — check out “Cloud Mind” for a delightfully disorienting listening experience.

Tune in to the Juke Bounce Werk showcase on Sunday, October 25th via Beatport’s Twitch Channel.

Following the announcement of Beatport’s exclusive livestream partnership with Twitch, our channel’s Sunday evening programming will focus on showcasing electronic music collectives from around the world, musically and geographically. 

For our third edition, we welcome footwork collective Juke Bounce Werk to bump up the BPM and bring their fierce strain of Chicago-inspired sounds into our homes and headphones. Based in Los Angeles, the label and collective launched in 2013 and worked quickly to fill the city’s footwork void. Their weekly events and larger showcases did wonders in introducing this breakneck musical movement and culture to the floor throughout LA, dance battles and all. After seven years, the Juke Bounce Werk crew is now spread across the US and is considered an essential bastion of the footwork genre worldwide.

With artists dialing in from NYC, Chicago, and LA, the Juke Bounce Werk Collective Stream kicks off on Sunday, October 25th, at 6:00 PM PDT.

Tune in via Beatport’s Twitch Channel

Check out the schedule below:

6:00 PM PDT // 2:00 AM CET – Elise
6:45 PM PDT // 2:45 AM CET – DJ Swisha
7:30 PM PDT // 3:30 AM CET – Kush Jones
8:15 PM PDT // 4:15 AM CET – DJ Earl
9:15 PM PDT // 5:15 AM CET – DJ Clent
10:15 PM PDT // 6:15 AM CET – RP Boo
11:15 PM PDT // 7:15 AM CET – Sonic D
12:00 AM PDT // 8:00 AM CET – DJ Noir
12:45 AM PDT // 8:45 AM CET – Jae Drago
1:15 AM PDT // 9:45 AM CET – G Frequent

We recap the debut of Beatport’s brand new livestream series — The Residency — with Ukrainian dance floor stalwart, Nastia.

As part of our exclusive music partnership with Twitch, Beatport has created The Residency, a new series at the center of our livestream programming that gives full control of our Twitch channel to some of the electronic music scene’s most revered artists for a weekly show each month.

Every Thursday, our chosen resident will recruit both established and up-and-coming talent to join them on the decks for personally curated shows that showcase the host’s taste and artistic vision.

For the series debut, Beatport has teamed up with techno and drum & bass giant, Nastia. As one of the world’s foremost selectors, the expert DJ has curated a stellar lineup for her livestream takeover.

Take a look at what we’ve seen so far and what’s on the horizon for Nastia’s ‘The Residency’ program below.


For the inaugural The Residency stream on week one, Nastia got things off to a fiery start with an incredibly talented team of fellow Ukrainian performers to deliver a headrush of techno to the viewers at home. Fresh out of the gate with a devilish and friendly two-hour b2b with Daria Kolosova, their set was followed up by live performances from hardware wizards Splinter UA and Bejenec before wrapping things up with Ukraine techno pioneer Mays.

Nastia b2b Daria Kolosova – Watch on YouTube + check out their Beatport Residency Chart 

Splinter UA (live) – Watch on YouTube + check out his Beatport Residency Chart 

Bejenec (live) – Watch on YouTube 

Mays – Watch on YouTube + check out his Beatport Residency Chart 


Keeping it fresh and rapid for part two of her livestream exhibition, we see Nastia switch gears to drum & bass, serving up a gritty combination of mouthwatering tracks such as Coco Bryce’s “Blue Tile Lounge” and Special Request‘s “Spectral Frequency“. Followed by a beautiful live performance from Monoconda and a mind-boggling set from Etapp Kyle, both Poly Chain and S.A. Tweeman were charged with closing out the stream.

Nastia – Watch on YouTube 

Monoconda (live) – Watch on YouTube

Etapp Kyle – Watch on YouTube + check out his Beatport Residency Chart

Poly Chain – Watch on YouTube and check out her Beatport Residency Chart

S.A Tweenman – Watch on YouTube and check out his Beatport Residency Chart


Thursday, October 22nd (20:00-01:00 CEST)

Nastia b2b #BSKD – Beatport Residency Chart
Stanislav Tolkachev
Vladislav Deniraw – Beatport Residency Chart
Andrew Deme – Beatport Residency Chart

Thursday, October 29th (20:00-01:00 CEST)

Na Nich (live)
Symonenko (live) – Beatport Residency Chart

Tune into ‘The Residency’ via Beatport’s Twitch Channel.

Ahead of the release of his lush and nostalgic debut album, Videosphere, on Kompakt Records, London-based artist Lake Turner pairs a deep and emotional mix with an interview about his musical origins, passion for history, and creative mindset.

Andrew Halford is entering a new chapter of his life. The London-based musician, DJ, and producer who’s better known Lake Turner, just bid farewell to his childhood home — a countryside farm up in Worcestershire — where much of the artist’s musical inspiration first came into full view. It was there, during lockdown, that he wrote his debut album, Videospherewhich drops on October 23rd via Kompakt Records. The lush and nostalgic nine-track LP marks another, less melancholic turn for Halford and his career — one that brings a remarkable and full-bodied work of an artist on the rise into the forefront.

Getting his start playing in UK post-punk bands Great Eskimo Hoax and Trophy Wife, Halford’s desire to explore electronic music and spend more time producing music of his own landed him in studios with the likes of Underworld‘s Karl Hyde, Ewan Pearson, and his close personal friend and collaborator Yannis Philippakis from the band Foals. After landing a gig composing music for BBC natural history documentaries alongside Philippakis, in 2016, the Foals frontman sent Halford’s first Lake Turner single “Beacon Fields” over to Kompakt Records, which subsequently added the track to their Total 16 compilation.

The success of the single — in addition to a wildly popular remix of the Foals track “Albatross” — set Halford on a new and refreshed musical trajectory that has only just begun to show its potential. Returning to the Cologne-based label for his breakthrough debut album, Videosphere is packed with “ambient-disco-techno-dreams” that seem to stop time and reflect on feelings of heartache and euphoria.

We caught up with Halford to learn more about his entry into the electronic sphere, his love of history, and how the ceremonial concept behind his new LP pairs with its illuminating sound. To round things off, he’s provided us with an exclusive mix filled with his favorite Kompakt tunes that plays as a beautiful soundtrack for any new beginnings.

Bring us back to one of your earliest and most fond musical memories on a dance floor. When was it that you knew you wanted to become a musician?

I remember catching the national express with some mates down from Birmingham to London to go to fabric for the first time. It was a midweek event. Riton and Simian Mobile Disco were playing. I’d never heard music sound so good before on a sound system. It had such a profound effect on your whole body, and it changed my perception of music forever. That feeling of sharing the dance floor with friends and strangers — the oneness and togetherness is a primal feeling, it’s something I’ve been drawn to and wanted to be apart of ever since. Admittedly, the 7 AM bus back to Brum was less fun. 

You previously played in two post-punk and indie groups, Great Eskimo Hoax and Trophy Wife, before focusing on your solo career as a DJ and producer. What is it that sparked this creative transition?

While I was playing in those bands, I was involved in the production of the recordings along the way, and slowly, my hunger for producing increased. As they evolved, both bands gradually expanded their sound palette with electronic sounds, so the transition came naturally, I guess. When you’ve been in bands for years, I think many people are keen to go off to do their own thing. It’s harder to fall out with yourself, allegedly. 

Back at University, you were a student of both archaeology and ancient history. Where did you go to school, and what were your ambitions when deciding to go into that field? Would you say your passion for history has altered or influenced your musical endeavors?

I went to study history at the University of Birmingham partly because it was wasn’t too far away from my mates in my hometown, and we could continue the band. I was also somewhat convinced I could become the next Howard Carter. Back in the real world, it was a fallback plan. If music didn’t work out, I could perhaps become a history teacher, or at least it would help me flee the nest and get some sort of job. 

History helped me understand how important lineage is within music — knowing and understanding why and what came before puts a more assertive trajectory on art and music as we advance. 

Tell us about your relationship with Yannis Philippakis from Foals. How has that friendship and collaborative spirit between you two shaped your work?

I might be wrong, but I always felt like where I’m from — the midlands — there is a lack of self-belief and general acceptance as underdogs. Befriending and touring with Yannis helped shake off that mentality. He’s a motivator and one of the first people to get behind my music and believe in it. Working with him in the studio, he has this idea or vision that anything’s possible: Some crusty old loop, chords with loads of mistakes, or a clipped beat can often be the seed that’ll blossom into something special. There’s an alchemy at play, and it begins in the mind. You can usually turn trite into gold through your sheer belief in it.

How did you first get linked up with Kompakt?

It was initially Yannis who liked a track enough to send on to Kompakt, which they then put on one of their Kompakt Total compilations. It’s an institution I’ve always been a big fan of, and I’m super proud to be a part of it. 

Tell us about your new debut album, Videosphere. What’s the story behind the album’s title, and what was your vision behind creating the LP? 

The title Videosphere is taken from the name of an object I stumbled across in the Geffrye Museum in London: a television set in the shape of a spaceman’s helmet, which I believe were popular in the ’70s (after the moon landings). When you read about that time and what humanity was experiencing — oneness, one planet, humanity prevailing — these were some of the themes I was trying to get across some of those feelings on this record. The vision I loosely had was to make an electronic record that had a communal warmth and almost ceremonial or ritual feel.

You split your time between London and your family farm in Worcestershire while creating the album. Did these differing atmospheres influence your production process and the overall sound and emotion of the LP?

I’ve always enjoyed the extreme of both worlds — immersing yourself in the city’s daily grind and then stepping out of it to find nature. In some instances, I think with tracks like “Honeycomb“, the intensity and pace of it comes from being in the city and writing music on hackney road where I’m often competing with the traffic noise. In comparison, tracks like “The Sunbird” float along quite softly, which may be subconsciously like this as it was conjured up in the sticks and made in a more calm environment. The track “Videosphere” was musically forged on the farm, but lyrically it’s all about living in the city, so there’s often an instance of where the two worlds collide. I ended up being locked down on the farm to finish the record using some monitor speakers that had been previously thrown out by someone on the street in London. 

Tell us about the mix you made for us.

Now that my parents have just sold our farm, it feels like this liminal phase of life has come to an end, and a new chapter is beginning. I made the mix for the drive back to London, and for that moment of never to return. The mix includes a comb through some of his favorites from Kompakt’s back catalogue, along with a new remix.  

Cameron Holbrook is Beatportal’s Assistant Editor. Find him on Twitter.

As the founders of Ilian Tape, the Zenker Brothers are two key figures of German breakbeat-infused techno. After years of touring, they’ve finally found time to finish their second album. Cristina Plett meets them in Munich to talk work-life balance, spirituality, and the importance of family.

After you’ve walked through an abandoned parking lot in a residential neighborhood of Munich, walked through the glass door of a rusty shack, down a flight of stairs, and through a long, narrow hallway, you’re there. The studio of the Zenker Brothers. It’s a room full of gear, carefully placed around a desk with a mixing console and a computer. Jazz music by Brian Blade Fellowship is playing softly in the background as I step inside. It’s warm here, and there are no windows. And with the smell of aroma diffusers filling the air, and red carpets lining the floor, it feels like entering the dark, beating heart of their music. 

Marco and Dario Zenker have been spending a lot of time in this room lately. More than usual because, like every other artist, Covid-19 put their tour schedule on hold. And the techno ambassadors of Munich had an album that needed to be finished. 

Cosmic Transmission is the result of two very different kinds of phases in their lives. They started working on it when they moved into their current studio in late 2018. But after releasing their debut-LP, Immersion, in 2015, the Zenker Brothers quickly became part of the global techno circuit — touring heavily and barely finding the time to go to the studio, let alone develop their ideas. 

Marco, the younger of the pair (who are actual brothers) recalls a typical pre-Covid-week. “On Friday we left, on Sunday we came back. Then on Monday, we did some relaxing and office work. On Tuesdays I always spent time with my girlfriend, then on Wednesday we went to the studio, maybe on Thursday as well and then Friday off again.” It’s a schedule that didn’t leave a lot of room to dive deep into the production of an album, especially considering how the two Zenkers work. Most of the time they jam for hours, and maybe they record something. But it might take months for a recorded jam to become a track. “It’s kind of freestyle, and there are days where it doesn’t work,” Dario explains. “But that’s how we’ve always done it.” 

Eventually, the touring threatened to become too much. “Around 2017 we noticed that we were doing less and less music,” Dario says. “It’s a huge privilege to be able to tour. We’ve seen nearly the whole world and met great people, but it’s exhausting if you’re doing it constantly.” Dario Zenker is five years older than his half-brother Marco, and in describing the challenges of touring, seems reflective and down-to-earth. But the younger Marco admits he was a bit burned out. “Not depressed, but I really missed making music,” he says.  

Despite continually investing in their studio over the years, Marco felt like he didn’t have time to get to know all their gear. He radiates a dreaminess that contrasts with the pragmatism his brother seems to have, and says that at the end of last year he’d been wishing that things would change for a while. 

Things did change. The lockdown that started at the end of March cleared out their schedule and made room for their method of producing. “We came here every day,” Dario says. As everything was closed, one of us cooked at home, brought food for both, and we stayed for hours, disconnecting from the whole madness outside.” Weren’t they afraid of their futures, of the future of clubs? “Back then we hadn’t fully realized the whole dimension of it,” Marco explains. “It was only after finishing the album that I realized what a massive crisis we’re facing.”

This now lost peace of mind comes across throughout the eleven tracks of the album. They feel warm and introspective, part ambient, part moody electro excursions. It’s easy to picture Marco and Dario sitting in their underground studio, encaved yet free to explore, while outside the world ground to a halt. The album doesn’t sound particularly happy; the threat lingering outside is hidden, but it’s there. DJs may be disappointed that there’s hardly a club-banger, but that’s not what the Zenkers are aiming for. “When we’re compiling an album, it’s about a listening experience, not about functionality,” Dario explains.

The same applies to the albums they release via their label Ilian Tape. Having become a well-known label for breakbeat-y and bass-heavy techno a few years ago, the albums on Ilian Tape typically leave room for non-functional dance music. Earlier examples are the critically acclaimed albums Shred and Compro by Skee Mask or recent albums like debut-LPs by Stenny and Andrea. All three artists form part of the gang that the Zenkers have assembled around Ilian Tape. Other affiliated artists include Munich-based Konrad Wehrmeister or Argentinian producer Andrés Zacco. Having a recognizable set of artists associated with the label is a natural result of the philosophy of Ilian Tape. “If we do a release with an artist, we’ll try to do a second one,” Marco explains. Ideally, a relationship in any form follows. For Marco, it’s also a way to create an identity for Ilian Tape. “It’s harder to build an identity if you release 100 records from 100 artists,” he explains. 

The Zenkers have had plenty of time to carve out this profile. Dario founded Ilian Tape in 2007, and Marco joined a year later. Around the middle of the 2010s, hype around the label was growing, not only in Germany but internationally. It was in sync with the resurgence of breakbeat and bass-heavy techno. And even though hype tends to be short-lived, Ilian Tape has managed to stay relevant, slowly but steadily putting new artists on the map.

The family spirit comes through in everything they do with their label. Not only are Marco and Dario half-brothers who grew up together. Not only do they try to maintain a bond with their artists and send out some of their records themselves directly from their depot in Dario’s basement. But more importantly, their mother does nearly all the label artwork. The cover of Cosmic Transmission hangs on the door of their studio, a trippy and colorful view down a rabbit hole; other oil paintings are hung across the room. They were all painted by her, showing a dear form of support — the proud sons including their mother in their work, her supporting them. “Our mom is an artist, so she always taught us to rather do something we like than simply doing whatever,” Dario recalls. 

When they were 8 and 12 years old, the family moved from Munich to a small town in the Bavarian countryside. At that time Dario, the older one, was already heavily into hip hop. The older sisters of his longest childhood-friend had shown the boys Wu-Tang Clan. Growing up, Marco and Dario weren’t as close, mainly due to their five year age gap. But Marco had no choice but to get into hip hop as well. “Our childhood rooms were next to each other. You had to walk through my room to get to his room, so I had to listen all day to whatever he was listening to,” Marco says. “A kind of brainwash,” Dario adds ironically. At only 10, Marco had also become a fan of Wu-Tang Clan. 

The love for the genre has stayed with them. Both still listen to a lot of hip hop, even though they are known as techno DJs. Dario still identifies with the sound. “If you’re a real hip hop fan, it never leaves you,” he says. Soon they will come full circle with their passion and launch an Ilian Tape sublabel for hip hop beats. The first release will be by a young jazz piano player from Munich. 

            Zenker Brothers and Skee Mask at Dekmantel Festival, 2019

That plays tribute to their roots. Marco Zenker was also once a young guy trying to rap and produce hip hop beats. As a teenager, he messed around with Fruity Loops with a friend until his brother gave him the proper software. They don’t remember if it was Logic or Ableton, but it kickstarted Marco’s interest in production. “I dug deep. After school it grew to be the only thing I wanted to do,” he says. 

Dario had already moved back to Munich by then. He’s been part of the Goa and psytrance scene since he was 15 years old. Being underage didn’t stop him from organizing a Goa party with his older friends. “I was very ambitious. [At] 15 I already knew that I wanted to do something related to music.” He laughs as he remembers that his first track to ever be released was on a Goa compilation. It’s still up on YouTube, a progressive dance track with surprisingly house-y chords. At 18, Dario had moved on, musically, and played his first techno party. It wasn’t in some random shack, but one of Munich’s legendary clubs of the late nineties, Ultraschall. His step-aunt had been part of the crew behind it, and to this day she’s part of the team running Rote Sonne, another staple of Munich’s nightlife.

As both grew older, the age gap became increasingly less important. Eventually, Dario invited Marco to join him. “He said, ‘Now you’re old enough, why don’t you come when I play in Munich?’” Marco remembers. The shared interest in music led the way for a closer relationship between the two. “When Marco started producing, we grew closer together,” Dario says. Shortly after, in 2008, they joined their forces under the name Zenker Brothers. And in 2011 they released their first record.

The scene in Munich has accompanied them their whole lives. They’ve never seriously considered moving somewhere else. Marco and Dario had a residency at famed underground Munic institution Harry Klein, did label parties at the now-closed Kong, and have now moved on to Blitz, Munich’s most recent club addition. But the city has a reputation for being conservative. “There are not many freaky people here, plus it’s super expensive. Munich doesn’t attract international artists and it drives away local artists,” Marco explains. Still, Dario says the scene is improving. “It has gotten more open. Some weekends there were even too many parties for too few people.” Was, when clubs were still open.

The Zenker Brothers have been DJing and producing together for more than 10 years, and now they can’t imagine doing it any other way. Splitting up so that one can produce and the other tour like Âme? “That simply wouldn’t make any sense,” Dario says. Sitting in front of them, it’s striking — they seem similar because they actually seem to represent two parts of one, radiating the unity of a true duo. Yet it’s impossible to not spot the differences; how Dario seems more outgoing and speaks with a louder voice than Marco, who in turn has a more contemplative vibe. Marco wears a dark green hoodie with a subtle leo-print, while Dario sports a bright red sweater. 

The brothers say that over the past few years they’ve improved their communication. Still, like any other siblings, sometimes they fight. “There has to be friction for something to grow,” Dario says, Marco adding that “There’s a deep trust between us, so it’s easier to fight.”

Throughout the conversation, we touch upon topics where they disagree, and they’re fine with it. But if there is a decision to be made, compromise is key. “We decide everything together and we discuss everything.”

As for the narrative, their productions are sent out with, the Zenker brothers have full control. Marco writes the press releases for the albums on Ilian Tape himself. For example, the text he wrote for Cosmic Transmission states, “[…] always remember we are just a tiny micro spaceship traveling through a gigantic universe. When nothing is safe, all is possible. We are one — one love.” It may sound like a variation of the ever-repeated rave-mantra PLUR, (peace, love, unity, respect), which is rarely more than half-empty party babble. But the Zenker Brothers mean it. “Obviously you can also read it in a cheesy way. But to us, it’s a message we really do believe in.”

This kind of spirituality fits the cover of the album as well as the decoration of their studio. On both sides of the room, they have placed two plants and two salt lamps. “They’re supposed to help against electromagnetic fields with all the electricity here, and of course they have a beautiful light,” Dario says. And in the corner stands a silver statue of a buddha — “a gift,” they say. The Zenker Brothers see themselves as spiritual people. “I think it’s important to be aware of the energy you radiate on other people and how energy-fields can influence each other,” Marco says. “Developing a sense of basic trust and not overthinking everything,” he continues. It’s not an easy task, especially now, he admits. Regardless, it’s more important than ever to think this way. Both inherited this kind of thinking from their mother, and for Dario, being a spiritual person means living his life consciously. “How do I want to live? What do I want to achieve?” he asks. 

Looking back at their pre-Covid tour life, it’s hard to imagine space for this kind of ponderance. There was the fast-paced lifestyle, and the music they played: energetic techno, breakbeat, and electro with hints of bass and dub. Smart and meticulous, but able to completely rock a dance floor if they wanted to. And definitely more energetic than the tunes on their new album, which they consciously didn’t produce for the dancefloor. To the Zenkers, there is no contradiction. “Dancing to a rhythm is something naturally human. That’s why we were always interested in DJing,” Marco explains. 

The feeling of dancing for hours and not thinking about anything led them to dance music. But since Dario and Marco are now on the other side of the booth, they’re rarely able to dance like ravers. So instead, they try to give that feeling back and even feel something alike. “At a good party, I’m in a very similar state. Ideally, you’re always connected to the dancefloor,” Dario says.

Add the stress of the touring life and you understand why the Zenker Brothers have been wanting to change things for a while. Even though like most touring artists they’ve struggled financially during Covid-19, they seem optimistic. And they’ve made good use of the extra time, first by finishing their album. They also want to start mastering all the records released on Ilian Tape themselves, while offering their services to other artists. They also want to become music publishers as Ilian Tape, to eventually have more control over their catalogue. These ideas are means to an end and would make them less dependent on DJ bookings. “We don’t want to be playing in clubs when we’re 60. Maybe occasionally, but our goal was always to extend the label. The pandemic only speeded up the process,” Dario explains. 

The Zenker Brothers have wanted to work in music since they were teenagers. And since then, they’ve managed to not only build a career for themselves, but a home for other artists with Ilian Tape. Now they seem dedicated to not let a pandemic destroy everything they’ve worked for. Poised with a thoughtful and long-term outlook on life, their success might just be written in the cosmos.

Cristina Plett is a freelance journalist living in Berlin/Munich. Find her on Instagram.

Tune in to see the world’s top DJs, labels, and music industry leaders pedal away at iconic venues during an online cycling relay event to raise money for underserved students and artists in South Africa on Wednesday, October 21st.

Every year at Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), industry insiders have fine-tuned their spokes and donned their helmets to participate in the ADE Charity Cycle Event — a quintessential and favorite tradition among the attendees of the electronic music conference.

Headed by the non-profit Bridges For Music with support from Pioneer DJ and Beatport, the charity event raises money for students and artists in underserved communities in South Africa, giving them the tools and education they need to fulfill their creative aspirations.

With ADE taking place online this year, it seemed inevitable that this year’s ride around Amsterdam would have to wait until 2021. But instead of giving up, the industry has organized a virtual cycle relay, with bikes set up in cities and renowned venues worldwide. Spinning in from places such as Berlin’s Watergate, London’s Ministry of Sound, Amsterdam’s ADE Headquarters, and the Bridges Academy in Cape Town, the cycling app Zwift will connect the riders virtually as they crank away for this worthy cause.

Amongst the participating teams and riders will be some of the world’s most respected industry leaders, event coordinators, labels, and DJs, including ArmadaDefectedAwakeningsRichie HawtinPan-PotGIGEERebekahFloyd LavineJuliet FoxGoldFish, and Pete Tong. Viewers can enjoy real-time tracking of riders’ progress, as well sets from international guests, including two of South Africa’s hottest acts. Themba and Lady Z.

Dance music fans who want to ride with their DJs from their own home can follow along on their Zwift App and Tacx Neo Smart Trainer, or via the Cycle For Music website. Just choose the artist you want to ride with on the Zwift App and share the page link to help raise funds for South African students. Hop on your bike and join the event here.

You can further support the cause by purchasing an exclusive ADE x Bridges For Music cycling jersey by GOBIK here.

Get the lead out! Donate directly and sponsor a student here.

We catch up with Brighton-based DJ/producer Dan Hardingham (AKA Endor), whose recent Defected Records single, “Fur”, just hit Beatport’s overall top spot.

Dan, Congratulations on your new number one on the Beatport charts! Did you already have a chance to celebrate? 

Thanks, I’m delighted! Well, I certainly sunk a few beers this weekend, but nothing major. I’m just taking a moment to be thankful for this amazing situation. This is huge for me!

“Fur” is based on one of the most famous piano melodies — Beethoven’s “Für Elise”. How did you get the idea to use this for a track?

Actually, my girlfriend came up with the idea! I asked her what she would remix if she could pick any track — so I totally stole her idea. Hopefully, she doesn’t come at me with a lawyer! 

“Für Elise” wasn’t published during Beethoven’s lifetime and was only discovered 40 years after his death. Do you have any unreleased tracks on your hard drive that you’re still planning to put out? 

Yes, I do. In fact, there are a couple of weapons sitting in there that are almost ready. I can’t say too much about them yet, but they definitely have the same raw vibe that “Fur” does.

Your big break came last year with your cover of “Pump It Up!” — another Beatport number 1 that has been streamed more than 250 million times by now. Is it true that Sam Divine had a hand in breaking this track? And how has the success changed your life?

I can’t lie, a lot changed after “Pump It Up!” did its thing! I suddenly had a stack more gigs and many “old friends” crawling out of the woodwork. But it’s a blessing; I’m just happy to have a moment in the spotlight. 

And yes, massive respect to Sam Divine. She played the track at Eastern Electrics Festival, and it got a great reaction. That moment set everything in motion, and although she’s far too humble to admit it, she was the key to everything. I will find some way to pay her support forward!

How are you dealing with the current pandemic, and does it affect your productivity as a musician?

Honestly, things are pretty good for me, creatively speaking. I have a clear head right now and a much better sleeping pattern! That’s definitely helping my work rate. It’s still a tricky time for the scene, and I sympathise greatly with my struggling family, but if there was ever a time to get your head down and focus on the music… it’s now. So that’s what I’m trying to do.

Our expert curation team brings you the best tracks on Beatport you may have missed. This time featuring Iglesias, KC Wray, Benjamin Barth, Avante, and more.

Iglesias & Proudly People – Do You Wanna Dance (Extended Mix) [Kaluki Musik]

With the Set Me Free EP, UK-based label Kaluki Musik welcomes back DJ- producer Iglesias. For the record’s b-side, the artist teams up with Italian duo Proudly People for “Do You Wanna Dance” — a question we will have to answer with a resounding YES. The talented trio brings us playful basslines, energetic drum grooves, intricate percussion, hip-swinging claps, and expertly manipulated vocal samples throughout the track. It’s a true-to-form dance floor jumper for all to enjoy.

Late Replies – Black Tea (Original Mix) [Sola Nauts]

If you haven’t heard anything yet from Solardo’s new label, Sola Nauts, Late Replies fresh Djembe EP is the perfect way to get introduced to this firey and fresh imprint. “Black Tea” is a bouncy tune that keeps rolling and rolling along with a well-produced acid synth and soaring vocals that round up this dance floor heater and will set the right tone for any set. 

Italobros – La Via En Rose (Original Mix) [Knee Deep In Sound]

Hot Since 82’s imprint KDIS is known for his high-quality releases, and never fails to surprise with its wide variety of sound directions. The Spacey EP, produced by the Italian duo Italobros, is full of unexpected twists and turns. Their track “La Via En Rose” makes you feel so light that it would probably lift you into the sky if listened to on a large enough sound system. A track open-air tune for sunrise, sunset, or even to close your DJ set. Very melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic, this track is missing NOTHING.

Benjamin Barth – Just Rock (Original Mix) [Flashmob Records]

French talent Benjamin Barth closes the La Riviera 2020 VA compilation from UK-based label Flashmob Records with a proper uplifting tech house song. The composition’s piano chords will put you in a thoroughly positive mood and instantaneously transport you to the wonderful island of Ibiza. We all know these moments when the crowd becomes one and simply appreciates the joy of the moment. Create these with “Just Rock”, one of my favorites this summer.

KC Wray – Tears Off (Original Mix) [Purveyor Underground]

Next up, we have Berlin and Chicago native KC Wray. The DJ/producer has been leaving an impeccable mark on the underground electronic music scene lately. “Tears Off”, the B-Side of his Scribble EP on Demuir’s Purveyor Underground imprint, feels very organic with its beats and swing. This track is a perfect maintainer for any setting and is bound to make you move.

22 Weeks – Trying To (Original Mix) [Monoside]

We are going off the grid a bit with “Trying To”, the closing track of 22 Weeks Like You Do EP — released this month via the Mood Funk Records sub-label, Monoside. This track is the perfect choice for curating your deep mood while still rock your peak time set. A minimalistic tune with lots of impact, the playful bassline, rolling sub-bass, clear mixed hi-hats highlighting, and emotional vocals will guide you into the sinking dance floor aura that you’re looking for.


Hype is your destination for new music from up-and-coming labels and artists on BeatportLearn more here.

Avante (UK) – Rhetorical Question (Original Mix) [Innocent Music]

The British duo Avante has been building up its reputation for quite a while now. The pair’s most recent Rhetorical Question EP — released via the Slovenia-based label Innocent Music — is one classy tech house release that will make you jump out of your seat instantly. With its rolling bassline, well-placed stabs, swinging spheric synth, shuffling hi-hats, and a sexy female vocal breakdown, “Rhetorical Question” will is one of those universally friendly dance floor tunes that’s bound to make you smile. 

For more tech house tracks you may have missed, check out our Beatport Link Playlist.

UK electro and hardware specialist Rex The Dog singles out his favorite tunes from the label that helped launch his career — Kompakt Records.

Jake Williams, AKA Rex The Dog, is a wizard. Not of the fantastical Merlin or Dumbledore ilk, but of the modular type. He is an expert at crafting sonic spells and patches with his analogue electronics and a self-built modular synthesizer. His sound ranges from polished and brilliant to gnarled and noisy, and his extensive discography is overflowing with influential dance floor enchantments.

Debuting back in 1994 as JX on Red Jerry’s established Hooj Choons imprint, Williams jumped straight into the ’90s dance charts with dynamite tracks like “Son Of A Gun” and “There’s Nothing I Won’t Do”. After playing around under various monikers such as Mekka and Oblik, he signed to Kompakt Records in 2004 under his now revered Rex The Dog alias for his Frequency and Prototype EPs, before producing with Moby and Fever Ray and remixing The Prodigy, Robyn Depeche Mode, Röyksopp, The Knife, and more.

It wasn’t until 2015 that Rex The Dog returned to Kompakt Records with his You Are A Blade and Sicko EPs. The highly-acclaimed records marked a new chapter in Williams’ slick and driving output, which has continued to flourish on Kompakt for the past five years. From the high-flying sounds of “Teufelsberg” to his spiraling and potent “Vortex” — which just received a stunning remix from Krystal Klear — Rex The Dog brings all the bark and bite that one looks for in any chugging electro excursion.

A full-fledged member of the Kompakt family with a total of eight EPs released via the critical dance music institution, we hear from Williams about his 15 favorite tracks on Kompakt Records and the brilliant stories behind them.

Justus Kohncke – Homogen

This was the first Kompakt record I ever encountered. I liked the artwork first (which was a photo of a man washing another man’s hair) and then the analogue sequencer line and general fun of it. Michael Mayer recently mentioned that it was a significant Berghain record at the time, which seems amazing now because it’s such a disco sound. The last time I was on the Berghain dancefloor, it was wall to wall punishing techno. 

Ferenc – Yes Sir I Can Hardcore (Michael Mayer Mix)

This was in the same batch of records as “Homogen” and, listening to it in the store seemed experimental and fun, which was quite inspirational. The very scrubby synths in the break are charmingly confusing and awkward, but then when the beat comes back, everything pulls into focus, and you know where you are again. It’s really fun.

Jurgen Paape – Nord

I came late to this track, but heard it the first time in the best circumstances: Michael Mayer was playing at an Off Sonar beach party, in front of a spooky oil refinery. This came on around sunset, and I was dancing in front of a big white speaker that was sinking into the sand (it’s a vivid memory). The bass and drums sounded so pure and fierce, and I was so overcome with excitement that a security guard rebuked me for leaping about too much.

Heiko Voss – I Think About You

Back in 2003, this was the first vocal track I’d heard from Kompakt. The vocal is short and straightforward but has a ton of yearning and emotion boiled down into one phrase: I think about you all the time. I wanted to try something similar, and the vocal for my track “I Look Into Mid Air” was inspired by this.

DJ Koze – Brutalga Square

Like Jurgen Paape’s ‘Nord’, this is boney and stripped and sounds super heavy on a club system. I used ‘Brutalga Square’ as the basis for a mash-up when I did a BBC Radio 1 mini-mix for Annie Mac. I put Mel & Kim’s “Respectable” over the top of it, which was quite a juxtaposition. When I met Koze, I played it to him, and he said (more or less) that he liked me as a person more than he liked this music, which I thought was very kindly put.

Justus Kohncke – Timecode   

The ultimate slow-burn pleasure release record. It’s so beautifully produced and spacious. I’ve never played it as a DJ, but I’ve danced to it many times. I sampled the bass drum and used it on loads of my own stuff at the time. Maybe. 

The Modernist – The International Loner

This track is all about the riff, which starts at 1:06. It’s kind of camp and exuberant in the way that Glam’s “Hell’s Party” or even “Doop” was in the early ’90s (super fun at a party). In my mind, it really needed a clap, so I made an edit with a big sort of New Order clap all the way through it. It made it a lot more direct and maybe a bit more obvious, but that’s what I wanted.

Oxia – Domino  

This is another track I missed when it came out and heard for the first time at a Kompakt beach party. By the time I found out what it was, it had sixty billion views on YouTube. I love the whole trance riff and the dislocated bassline, which is almost — but not quite — out of time with the drums. I was aiming in this trance direction with my track “Teufelsberg,” but that was a very wide miss.

WhoMadeWho – Immersion

I wish I could hear this in a club, but there are no clubs right now. It’s a lovely wash of pads and fan faring synths all over a relentless bassline. If there were piano sheet music for this, it would say ‘with a driving beat’ as the instruction for how to play it.

Michael Mayer – Action

Michael Mayer getting playful and throwing the whole kitchen sink in. This is super fun with a rattling alarm/percussion bell all the way through, white noise rhythms, and a voice shouting “Action!”. And then it goes to a squirting acid line, and then by the end, there are referee whistles. A not-stripped-back classic!

Jonathan Kaspar – Young    

This reminds me of my early experiences of Kompakt music, even though it’s a new track. It recalls those odd diversions which resolve into something more familiar and pleasing. It reminds me of other favourites like Koze’s “Brutalga Square” and Barnt’s “Chappell” with bursts of alarming electric fence noises and primitive drum machines.

Rex The Dog – Sicko (Bawrut Remix)

Bawrut is one of my favourite producers at the moment. I really like how this is quite similar to the original version — it doesn’t deviate from the original sound too much — but Bawrut has pumped up the wonkiness to the max. I thought the original was quite wonky, but this has been smashed around the head with a cartoon anvil and stretched to the very limit. I love it.

Reinhard Voigt – Der Mann, Der Nie Nach Deutz Kam

In the beginning, this is driving and pure, but then the Kompakt non-convention creeps in. Crickets at first, but then there’s what sounds like a horse followed by a cartoony female voice and then some field recording noise that’s either the municipal swimming pool or a riot. Then the horse comes back. I would love to hear this in a club but haven’t yet.

Clarion – Early Life  

Pleasingly reminiscent of Depeche Mode’s “Shout” in the percussion breaks, this is really about the hyper-coloured cascading melody. It makes me sad not to be at a Kompakt beach party this year.

Tune in to No Shade’s showcase on Sunday, October 18th via Beatport’s Twitch Channel.

Following the announcement of Beatport’s exclusive livestream partnership with Twitch, our channel’s Sunday evening programming will focus on showcasing electronic music collectives worldwide.

For our second edition, we welcome a staple of Berlin’s collective and ballroom community, No Shade. Running club nights and organizing DJ training sessions for female, non-binary, and trans DJs throughout the German capital since 2017, No Shade has become a staple of the city’s underground scene.

“We are hyped to be able to take part in this streaming series for Beatport in the times of Covid,” No Shade resident DJ Grinderteeth says. “We’re streaming on location at Factory Berlin where we are currently doing our artist residency. Now that lockdowns and regulations are tightening again, we are happy to have an opportunity to offer some relief from the current pressures by bringing you the diverse range of sounds and DJs that is emblematic of our collective.”

The No Shade Collective Stream kicks off on Sunday, October 18th, at 6:00 PM PDT.

Tune in via Beatport’s Twitch Channel

Check out the schedule below:

6:00 PM PDT // 3:00 AM CEST – Panasiagirl
7:00 PM // 4:00 AM CEST – Grinderteeth
8:00 PM PDT // 5:00 AM CEST – Perigga
9:00 PM PDT // 6:00 AM CEST – Kikelomo
10:00 PM PDT // 7:00 AM CEST – Ace of Diamonds
11:00 AM PDT // 8:00 AM CEST – Folly Ghost
12:00 AM PDT // 9:00 AM CEST – Ceekayin2u

Welcome back to On Our Radar, Beatportal’s monthly roundup of the DJs and producers we can’t get enough of.


Whether making soulful house or shelling down a set of rowdy breaks, LUZ1E always nails that fine balance between innovation and the satisfyingly familiar tropes of the old school. Her most recent releases — the Ridin EP on Shall Not Fade and Cybernetic Movement four-tracker on International Chrome — are prime examples. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of the music’s roots and is open to combining elements from different genres. The result is a plethora of fresh cuts which will find favour with a wide range of DJs. The Frankfurt-born artist isn’t afraid of cranking up the tempo either. Across one EP, you’re likely to hear atmospheric, 120BPM house while on the next, you’ll get an earful of acid and breakneck electro. A distinctive touch runs through it all, but she likes to keep her fans guessing. It makes her a go-to for colourful and energetic club music.


Elias Mazian is the kind of DJ you could have soundtracking a summer barbeque or a packed dance floor at 6 am. He has an eclectic taste and ear for a great song that transcends genres, generations, or any geographical scenes. The Dutchman is a self-confessed romantic and mastermind of the Private Hearts radio show. In a DJ set, as in life, he expresses himself with flair and passion, often turning to an iconic record when the moment strikes. Mazian has played some of the best venues in the world and held a popular residency at one of Amsterdam’s most storied venues, Trouw. As a producer, he favours quality over quantity. The handful of stand-out releases he has to his name peaked this year with a stunning, vocal-heavy, synthpop album Vrij Van Dromen


DJ, producer, singer, Rinse FM radio host, and ambassador for fellow female and non-binary artists, Bklava seems to do it all. Her debut single “Cntrl” was released last year — a collaboration with garage legend Wookie that featured her infectious vocal work. The release marked Bklava as a key voice in the new generation of UK garage and led to her signing to Ministry Of Sound for “Back To Then,” another club anthem backed with a remix from the one and only Todd Edwards. Whether singing in a recording studio or on the microphone during her DJ sets, Brighton’s Bklava has that unforgettable touch, which turns her vibey bassline beats into hits. Aside from the music, she is doing great things to uplift others in the music community through her platform, Spin Suga.


Austrian-born, Manchester-based artist salute is taking influences from proud UK exports: grime, garage, and the new London jazz sound. He recently released a trilogy of EPs, which helped him process some years of grieving. The three records showed different sides to salute’s sound, from the R&B — which he furthered with his mini-album My Heart — to lively, Kiwi Records style garage, 2010-era pitched vocals and deep house. His journey started with the FIFA Street game soundtrack and has taken him to Maida Vale studios for FACT TV and landed him Annie Mac’s Hottest Record. In a UK garage scene bursting with talent, salute’s tracks always stand out. Expect plenty more to come as he works with vocalists and expands his bright sound world. 


2020 hasn’t been the happiest year for IDA in terms of her steadily-growing gig schedule or Sub Club residency, ACID FLASH, but it has brought the long-planned launch of Sävy Records. The in-demand Finnish DJ, who now resides in Scotland, has tapped Ryan James Ford for the first release on her new label, and it bangs. Sävy will allow IDA to put her energy behind the decks, visual inspirations, and eclectic tastes onto wax, whether that be through techno, electro, trance, or ambient. With a Boiler Room tour, Mixmag “one to watch” tag, residency at a Glasgow institution, and now a record label to her name, it seems nothing will stop IDA’s rise to the top. 


Originally from New York and now residing in London, house producer Hollis Parker is all about authentic house and the old school way of doing things. His name is an ode to his native New York, and the music birthed from there — Hollis as a shout out to the Queens neighborhood and Parker as an ode to the legendary musician, Charlie Parker. Bringing all sorts of hip hop, jazz, and jazz fusion samples into his production, mostly done exclusively on the MPC, Hollis Parker has locked into a tried and true house music quality, but with a totally contemporary and fresh approach. Having just released his debut album, Newscapism, the wisdom of Hollis Parker’s production attitude reveals a pulsing and stylish body of work that is here to help you curate your coolest of vibes. 

The Miami-Dade County medical report listed the official cause of death as “Acute Ketamine Toxicity.”

The death of international house music star Erick Morillo, which sent shockwaves throughout the dance music community this past September, has been officially listed as “accidental” by the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department.

The report states that Morillo died from “Acute Ketamine Toxicity” and lists methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and cocaine as contributing factors in his sudden demise. Read the official medical report here.

Erick Morillo was found dead on Tuesday, September 1st, at his Miami Beach residence after officers responded to a 911 call to his home that morning. The circumstances surrounding Morillo’s passing were immediately placed under investigation, since the DJ, producer and label owner was supposed to appear in court later that week regarding the alleged sexual assault of a female DJ. Morillo was arrested and charged with sexual battery in August of 2020. While he denied all accusations initially, he eventually turned himself in on August 6th, 2020.

The house music icon’s death sparked extensive discussions from the dance music community, much of which roused the community to come together with new campaigns to help address and end sexual abuse in the music industry. However, much of the online reaction highlighted the uglier side to online grief — one that systematically erases victims of sexual misconduct while pretending to acknowledge the worst of Morillo’s behavior. 

Abby Lowe discussed these issues in a recent opinion piece. Read that here

[via: Miami New Times]

We catch up with DJ cherry b — head honcho of the London-based label childsplay — who serves up a rousing mix of unreleased goodies and chats about his label’s beautiful and rebellious “live it up” ethos.

Run by DJ cherry b, childsplay first made a name for itself as one of the UK’s rowdiest and wildly eccentric parties. Whether at a club, small bar, or some clandestine location off the beaten path, childsplay’s famous Playdate raves have always taken pride in creating a safe space for queer expression with fast-paced and lawless energy on the dance floor. 

The childsplay imprint got its start on SoundCloud, offering up a handful of raw edits and distinctive house tunes, before flowering into a label that cranks out wicked electro, unruly breaks, UKG, footwork, donk, rave, and “bubblegum ghettotek” records by the boatload. With dozens of successful singles, EPs, and compilations like its Tasty Treats 4 The Kids series, childsplay continues to excel with the help of rising stars like Vigile, Moodrich, DJ Mell G, Turk Turkelton, and more. As its naughty, fast-paced, and delicious catalogue continues to grow, childsplay has committed itself to “take the ghettotek-type scene out of its SoundCloud niche and inevitably achieve world domination.”

We learn out more about childsplay after catching up with cherry b, who provides a relentless mix of the label’s upcoming offerings and tells us about their rebellious party series, internet-friendly aesthetic, the importance of a good emoji game, and the team of talented artists who have made it all possible.

When did childsplay first come into existence, and what made you decide to start a label in the first place?

No one else was realising music that got our panties in a twist and made us wanna go out get hot get sweaty. And even if there weren’t any parties we actually wanted to go out to anyways. We’re club kids who want it hard and sticky and everyone else throwing the parties and making the music we wanted to go out to were older than our parents [insert sticky pun]. While we were in our second year at uni we just started “premiering ” random tracks on SoundCloud by unknown artists that got us hot and we knew exactly what people wanted to hear because we were the people we wanted to hear it. I personally don’t know many label owners you would find gurning their tits off on a live stream so how are they really gonna know what to play to cute club kids who end up hugging a toilet at the end of the night.

If fellow kids could take anything from what we’ve been able to do, it’s that literally, all it takes to get to where we are is by trusting that what you think sounds/looks cool IS what sounds/looks cool, and that there’s always going to be people who think like you who want to hear what you want to hear. FFS, we still can’t wrap our heads around the fact that we’re Beatport’s HYPE label of the month a few years out of uni, but it’s not the craziest thing to happen considering we’re releasing our favourite music and there’s so many kids like us out there who just wanna play. If nobody is releasing THAT song. You know the one… the one that nobody’s released. 

Tell us a little bit about childsplay’s infamous illegal raves in London.

Our first #playdate was a #legal Thursday nite kiki at a dive bar in Dalston. After we were banned from the venue, we realised that we had to find a way to throw our party on our own terms. The #playdate then became a monthly Sunday daytime party at the newly opened semi-legal venue Grow Tottenham, but we quickly got bored after selling out the subsequent bank holiday weekend. Legal venues, even ones as accommodating as Grow Tottenham, can only really offer so much excitement. We decided to go rogue, linking up with a crew of squatters to find the perfect venue. Our short and sour relationship was kicked off when they broke into a four-story abandoned west London nightclub for our first XXXmas ball — an iconic party that revealed one thing: illegal parties were a million times more fun. 

We decided to flip the script and become the squatters, starting by throwing on some hi-vis vests and angle-grinding our way into an abandoned leisure centre in Newham in broad daylight on a calm Friday afternoon. Once a hub for the Newham community, the leisure centre had just shut its doors under the guise of structural issues, which after some research, revealed itself to be yet another cover-up for an underfunded council unwilling to waste money on integral social spaces as they waited to sell off the property to developers. The money that was spent on having a K9 security unit posted outside its front doors for the year since our rave dwarfs any/all costs that would have been necessary to fix the building. 

We gave it back to the community by throwing a 700 person pool party. A couple months later, we reclaimed a town hall that had been abandoned for over ten years by sneaking onto the roof through the adjacent university (pretending to be students) and sliding into a top floor window. That space may have stayed empty indefinitely, but we turned it into a safe space for the queer community. More specifically, we created a space where young creatives can meet other young creatives, build their vision, and inevitably become the foundation of the UK’s creative industry. As successful as London’s night czar has been (mega lol), it’s clear that if someone doesn’t take the initiative, the UK will quickly see its creatives to more forward-thinking cities like Berlin that support and protect their nightlife industries. 

What separates childsplay from other squat parties that might come to mind is that we’re not in it for the money — we’re out to take the whole fucking city on a queer, fluffy magic carpet ride. Destination: rainbow. 

Tell us about some of the artists on your roster and how you would characterize their sound.

The childsplay sound is a kinky mix of whatever we want to rave to, whatever kids want to hear, and whatever the childsplay family feels like making at the time. We’re releasing the music that we wanna play at the raves, from post-COVID club kids for post-COVID club kids. We here at childsplay understand that club kids are emotional, and luckily for you, we’ve taken the time to make sure all your rave needs are covered, whether you’re feeling cute, freaky, or nasty. 

Rather than taking the classic “be cool, sell 300 copies, break even” approach like the rest of our underground dance music counterparts, we’re looking more to iconic labels like Warp for inspiration — focusing on establishing the childsplay sound, signing up our favorite artists for long-term record deals, and taking the mainstream underground. We’re really excited to announce the first wave of official childsplay artists — DJ Mell G, Mod R, Speed Gonzales, and Shawn Cartier — who hit all the sweet spots and have the crossover potential necessary to take the ghettotek-type scene out of it’s SoundCloud niche and inevitably achieve world domination. Young Black Male has just come over from one of the biggest independent labels in the world as well. Between the extended childsplay all-star roster, we have playtime pretty much covered forever, from Jersey club to donk. 

Hit us with some of your favorite emojis and the ones that describe childsplay’s overall attitude the most. 

🦄 Unicorns are rare, and also the national animal of Scotland. Proven fan favourite and childsplay staple, it’s best paired with double rainbows and double hearts. The key to becoming a successful DJ is 10% mixing, 33% selection, 69% nails 💅.  Shame there’s not more colour options, but you can’t win them all. Also, the emoji with fucking $$ signs for eyes 🤑. What more do you need?

Tell us about childplay’s bright, brilliant, internet-crazed aesthetic. Who’s Osian Jenaer, and tell us about the inspiration behind the label’s album art and promo videos? 

It’s less of a stylistic choice than it is the fact that #cherryb had to learn how to photoshop from YouTube to make tacky pink covers, because we had no money to pay anyone who actually knew what they were doing. Osian Jenaer was living in the room next to #cherryb while he was staying in South London for a few months at the start of the year and really leveled up our art game just as we joined our new and ultra-cool distributors, Unearthed Sounds. He had only made one Facebook banner for our new year’s house party before he made the VIGILE cover on torrented architecture software, but it was cool, so we made him art director.

As far as the promo videos, we’ve just hooked up with some of our very young, very talented, and very meme-supportive friends @kiubik000.000.000.1 and @dustygrandmar. Osian is currently hard at work on #childsplayapparel’s debut XXXmas collection, so stay tuned for some pink, tacky, and wearable graphics!

Tell us about the mix you’ve put together for us.

#cherryb got sweaty in his room and threw together almost 100% unreleased tracks from the upcoming childsplay EPs up until next July, sprinkled with a few favorites from Carouse, Brainwaves, and our resident DJ Yazzus. Of course, it also includes both smash hit singles from the new Mod R EP. Please enjoy with your party favors of choice.

What can fans expect to hear next from childsplay?

Press play and hear it for yourself!

Cameron Holbrook is Assistant Editor for Beatportal. Find him on Twitter.

We highlight the best offerings from this year’s online edition of Amsterdam Dance Event.

Normally, the annual electronic music conference Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) sees thousands of DJs, producers, labels, industry heads, and music enthusiasts alike flooding into the Dutch capital every October. They come to share new ideas and technology, discuss hot-button issues about the state of the scene, and, of course, party alongside some of the world’s best electronic acts. 

With COVID-19 concerns, however, this year’s program will be broadcast online, giving anyone around the world the opportunity to participate in the most significant gatherings of minds in dance music. As we close one of the most consequential years ever for dance music, coming together to discuss the year’s most important topics have never been more important.

Find out how to buy your ADE Pro badge, which runs 75 euro and offers discounts for next year along with other goodies, here.

And learn more about some of the most crucial topics at ADE’s digital conference below.

Wednesday, October 21st

On day one, Amsterdam Dance Event links up with Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Festival to offer an intimate look into the scenes and sounds emerging across Africa while touching on the developments, opportunities, and struggles there. After that, keynote speaker Jori Lowery — founder of the agency Conflux Connect — will present a dynamic examination of how sexual misconduct in the music industry affects everyone, and will end the talk with imaginative and creative solutions on how to eliminate sexual violence within our industry. Ending the day with an extensive three-part talk chat about the current state of the live events, a panel of agents, promoters, managers, and festival organizers will tackle COVID’S huge negative impact on both large-scale and small-scale events. Throughout, speakers will present their thoughts and strategies on adapting and saving the global live scene.

How Africa is Redefining Electronic Music 

Sexual Misconduct in the Music Industry: Some Solutions 

New opportunities for the Live Industry

Thursday, October 22nd

Day two starts with celebrated singer-songwriter and producer James Blake sitting down with Clinical Osteopath Jennie Morton, who specializes in the field of Performing Arts Medicine, to discuss why creatives are among those most vulnerable to depression and addiction. After that, Michael Ugwu (FreeMe Digital), Patrick Moxey (Ultra Records), and Beatport’s own Susan Gloy-Kruse will discuss new tech-based opportunities for labels and their acts, the sociological and societal shifts of music in 2020, and what the post-COVID structure of the music business might look. That’s followed by a discussion on how labels can adapt to these new realities, then techno act Bloody Mary, BBC Radio 1’s Danny Howard, SoundCloud’s Jack Bridges, and MixCloud’s Xanthe Fuller will discuss how new technology can help artists make newfound connections with their fans, create engaging virtual shows, and get them appropriately paid for their work.

James Blake in Conversation with Jennie Morton 

New Opportunities for Labels 

New Opportunities for Artists

Friday, October 23rd

Friday begins with a conversation between Robert Hood and Femi Kuti, son of Afrobeat legend and activist Fela Kuti, on the inseparability of politics and music in their lives. A panel follows that on Gender Equality on the Workfloor featuring Sarah Hildering, Matt Adell, and scholar Sam Warren. After that, an expert group of speakers will discuss strategies on how to combat the physical and mental toll of lockdown, which has had an outsized impact on electronic music enthusiasts and creatives. 

A Conversation with: Femi Kuti & Robert Hood 

The Only One in the Room – Gender Equality on the Workfloor 

How To Mentally Manage The Next 6 Months

Every Thursday, Beatport will hand over control of our Twitch Channel to our monthly artist in residence. First up, Ukrainian techno and drum & bass extraordinaire, Nastia.

As part of our new exclusive music partnership with Twitch, Beatport is launching The Residency, a new series at the center of our monthly livestream programming =

Every month, Beatport will give full control of our Twitch channel to some world’s foremost dance music artists. Four times a month, our chosen resident will recruit both established and up-and-coming talent to join them on the decks for personally curated shows that will showcase the host’s taste and artistic vision.

Nastia, our debut host, will be joined by artists like Stanislav Tolkachev, Recid, Daria Kolosova, #BSKD, and more. The four-date livestream schedule will also include live performances from Splinter UA, Bejenec, Symonenko, and others.

See the dates and lineup for Nastia’s Residency program below, and check out her Residency playlist on Beatport

Thursday, October 15th (20:00-01:00 CEST)
20:00 – 22:00 — Nastia b2b Daria Kolosova – Beatport Residency Chart 
22:00 – 23:00 — Splinter UA (live) – Beatport Residency Chart 
23:00 – 00:00 — Bejenec (live)
00:00 – 1:00 — Mays – Beatport Residency Chart 

Saturday, October 17th (20:00-01:00 CEST)
20:00 – 21:00 — Nastia
21:00 – 22:00 — Monoconda live
22:00 – 23:00 — Etapp Kyle – Beatport Residency Chart
23:00 – 00:00 — Poly Chain – Beatport Residency Chart
00:00 – 1:00 — S.A.Tweeman – Beatport Residency Chart

Thursday, October 22nd (20:00-01:00 CEST)
Nastia b2b #BSKD – Beatport Residency Chart
Stanislav Tolkachev –
Vladislav Deniraw – Beatport Residency Chart
Andrew Deme – Beatport Residency Chart

Thursday, October 29th (20:00-01:00 CEST)
Na Nich (live)
Symonenko (live) – Beatport Residency Chart

Tune into ‘The Residency’ via Beatport’s Twitch Channel.

The mighty drum & bass duo Sub Focus & Wilkinson have returned with the Portals LP. Ben Hunter learns more about the dynamic force behind this production dream team.

Sub Focus & Wilkinson have just released their collaborative album, Portals. It’s the latest stop on a decades-long journey for each artist, the contours of which are strikingly similar. Both came through on Ram and released hugely successful debut albums — Sub Focus’ Sub Focus and Wilkinson’s Lazers Not Included — before they each separately migrated onto Virgin’s EMI and further critical commercial success. Having been borne out of drum & bass’ murky underworld, Sub Focus & Wilkinson are poster children for a new breed of 170 sonics grounded not in the sweat-soaked walls of the UK’s clubs, but in the slick and international touring circuit of electronic music’s age of boom. With a dual focus of vibrant instrumentation and synthetic, club-friendly sounds, Portals is both an evolution in their music and in their collaborative relationship. One which is now, in their words, a healthy and mutually stimulating partnership.

It’s surprising, then, that neither can remember the first time they met. But their first definitive memory comes from Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, where Sub Focus recalls they “hung out properly for the first time, and really hit it off.” That was followed by a studio session in 2017 where they “didn’t even come up with anything great in the first session, but it was a nice precursor,” Wilkinson admits. 

Their shared past has influenced their creative present, and both artists have fond memories of Andy C’s artist management, something Wilkinson remembers often involving Andy calling to scream, “that tune is big!” For Wilkinson, it’s a process that evolved his sound by pushing him in a more dancefloor-focused direction; a stylistic shift influenced by the history of Ram as well as his now-collaborator’s previous success. Sub Focus believes that during the album process, they’ve “provided that role for each other, in that we’ve both gotten buzzed-about individual tunes and helped each other through the creative highs and lows of making records.”

This creative support is all the more important now that the pair are releasing through Virgin’s EMI, where they “just make the music and give it to the label,” Sub Focus says. It’s a significant contrast to Andy’s hands-on approach, and Wilkinson believes Virgin understands it’s “an underground genre,” and therefore place more stock in the artists’ creative decisions than they perhaps might with a pop music act. But the biggest benefit for the pair lies in Virgin’s ability to finance virtually anything. For Sub Focus, “there were visual artists and designers I wanted to work with but that I didn’t have access to. I wanted to be able to do more ambitious music videos, that kind of thing.” The downside, especially for underground artists, is that such expansion can come with enforced dilution. It’s a devil’s bargain that, for many, separates their music from its history. 

“It’s super important that whilst we’re making tunes with vocal elements and things like that, we want to keep one foot in that club world too, to make weird club music as well, I think we’re both really mindful to do that,” Sub Focus says of this dilemma. And it’s crucial to Wilkinson that “the music comes from a place that we’re both into.” 

“It’s why we both wanted to work with each other,” Wilkinson continues. “Neither of us have compromised ourselves in any way to generate fame or success, it’s been gradual stepping stones to get to this point.” 

There are lots of drum & bass heads who don’t believe it’s possible to reach the top of the charts without changing your style. But one listen through each respective artists’ early back catalogues is enough to convince otherwise. Wilkinson’s first-ever release, “Hypnosis”, a feature on Hospital Records’ Sick Music 2 compilation, carries the same bubbling, synthetic energy present on all of his music. Sub Focus’ first big hit, “X-Ray”, released in 2005, is built around big-room synth chords and furious dancefloor energy. It’s an instantly recognisable trait audible from 2009’s “Let The Story Begin” to 2018’s “Desire”, featuring Dimension. 

Even so, it’s been a combined total of 10 years since we heard a new album from the pair. This is partly due to the changing nature of the music industry and the advent of streaming.  “It didn’t feel like albums were being made,” he says. Sub Focus agreed, telling himself “there’s no point in doing an album anymore.” It was a managerial and marketing consideration that came into conflict with his belief that “in every area of dance music, there’s a danger of being too focused on singles and club bangers.”

With that in mind, perhaps it’s unsurprising that the inspiration behind Portals came from outside the world of drum & bass. Following that initial studio session in 2017, Sub Focus remembers the pair developed a “shared thing of really enjoying deeper electronic music albums and wanting to do something like that within our own music.” The inspirations were artists like “Bonobo or John Hopkins, people that are using electronics but with live instrumentation mixed in. We were both inspired by that and wanted to take it as a starting point for a longer-form project.”

Wilkinson describes Portals as a “listening album” and it’s certainly diverse, moving from the dancefloor treamours of “Turn The Lights Off” to the ambient soundscapes of ”Stratus.” Sub Focus knew they wanted to explore multiple tempos, saying “any album has to have a mixture of tempos in the same way that it needs to have a mixture of keys, to give it that feeling of variation and for it to evolve over the course of itself.” The album’s frequent use of breakbeats, most memorably on “Just Hold On,” can therefore be seen as a fusion of their existing sound with the influences of Bonobo and others. Wilkinson feels like “the palette is all the same, but the tempos and format are just slightly different, it’s definitely a nod to who we’re inspired by.” 

The breakbeats on “Just Hold On” were played live by Wilkinson at Real World Studios, a sprawling facility owned by Peter Gabriel nestled in the Wiltshire countryside near Bath. The pair recorded there for several weeks, creating the album’s core, which is reflected in the pair’s desire to “make the process very different to our normal recording experience,” Sub Focus explains. The duo strived to work with more than their laptops, exploring nearly every instrument and sound available at the studio. “It’s in the middle of the countryside so you’ve got these beautiful views and we really wanted to absorb that into the music,” Wilkinson says.   

On “Just Hold On,” Wilkinson played the drums, but the string section was played by a random cellist who happened to be recording next door, and was recruited after the pair “accosted him at dinner,” Wilkinson says. This live instrumentation contrasts with the album’s acidic feel, a feature derived from the modular synthesiser Sub Focus brought to the studio, which he used to record long takes, while messing around with the settings. “Like reversing the order of the notes, randomising the order of the notes, all that type of stuff,” he says. They then “basically sped it up in a tape machine,” Wilkinson remembers. “It really represents how much we utilised that studio,” he adds. 

The pair’s departure from their usual creative process is apparent in the album’s organic feel, a textural quality reflected in the serendipitous stories which lie behind tracks like “Just Hold On.” Sub Focus mentions the benefits of “jamming” on multiple occasions; that randomness and spontaneity which often gets left out in the clinical precision of modern drum & bass. It’s a tangible weakness to working in the box that the pair specifically attempted to avoid.

“I think this album comes from a really pure place,” Wilkinson says. “We’re both pretty confident in the positions that we’re in within the scene at the moment and in our music careers. It feels like a confident album.” Their own personal and creative relationship seems to have played a key part in that sense of confidence, and because they’ve worked on it together, “we’ve been able to talk a lot about honouring the underground side whilst exploring other things as well,” Sub Focus says. “I feel really confident about how we walk the line between the two.” 

Whether it will be received in this way is obviously still up in the air, and the drum & bass underground core has, in the last few years, moved towards sounds that are rougher than the distinctly polished palette found on Portals. With the underground now dominated by the jump-up infused work of Souped Up and Critical Music’s urban-edged minimal exploits, a quick survey of the landscape suggests Portals belongs to a different category; the mainstream end of UKF rather than the dirtier underbelly of Skankandbass, a promotional channel and underground stalwart founded by Sub Focus manager Seb Weingartshofer. 

Although their album might not be received in underground circles the way they’d prefer, it’s an observation that, in a sense, misses the point. It is, after all, somewhat wrongheaded to try and define music by what it is not. Most importantly of all, it’s not the overriding concern of either artist and, when asked what feelings they hope to have looking back on the album in a year’s time, both just stressed how proud they are to have made it. For Wilkinson, nothing can “take away how proud I am because it was such a journey to make it, such a learning process. All the memories of making it in that beautiful setting and the people that we worked with. That’s what I’m proud of.”

Although the coronavirus puts a fist-sized asterisk over any discussions regarding the future, some things have already become clear. Sub Focus feels like he’s “a lot more aware of what I want to be making and what I should be making, I don’t feel any confusion over that,” and the whole process behind Portals has made him “want to do more ambitious projects moving forward”. He sees Portals‘ clear sonic theme as “something that I’d love to do again, I’d love to make some more records with distinctive themes behind them.” 

Right now, Wilkinson is jamming in the studio, “enjoying writing with no end goal,” and both artists say they’re enjoying the pressureless period of post-album bliss. Especially since they both tend to create a lot of self-imposed pressure. But after the rest period, it’ll be time to “put the pressure back on,” Sub Focus says, and a revamped live show, postponed earlier this year due to the lockdown, might be one of the first targets. 

In all, the pair seem likely to continue down their shared trajectory, creating a history which, as it has been thus far, is characterised by highly infectious dance music and equivalent commercial success. Portals is the next chapter in that story. And whilst it may not be their most underground work, it certainly seems the most honest. 

Sub & Wilkinson’s ‘Portals’ is out now via EMI. Buy it here.   

Ben Hunter is a freelance journalist living in London. Find him on Twitter.  

We catch up with Kyiv-based techno duo ARTBAT, whose collaborative track with Sailor & I, “Best of Me,” recently hit Beatport’s overall top spot.

Congratulations on your number one on the Beatport charts! If I’m counting right, this is your third number one this year already. Do you know how many top spots on Beatport you had in total?

First and foremost, thanks for having us. It’s a pleasure as usual! We are beyond happy to have scored another Beatport number one, and words can’t describe our gratitude. “Best of Me” must be the seventh or eighth main chart number one. It’s unbelievable how loyal and supportive our fans are.

It’s been five years since you released your debut EP, and these days you are considered among the most successful artists on Beatport. Was there a particular moment when you felt that something changed and your music connected with many more people than before?

“Mandrake” was the first record that made us believe and pushed us even further. Richie Hawtin, Maceo Plex, and many more supported the tune. And of course, our EPs on Diynamic Music also played a massive part in getting us to where we are today. It’s an outstanding feeling to play your records live in front of thousands of people. The energy, vibe, and love are what keep you going and working even harder. 

How did the collaboration with Alexander (AKA Sailor & I) happen? What made you want to work on this specific record?

We’ve been talking to Alex for a very long time and have tried a couple of things. It took a while until we found the perfect project to collaborate on. And finally, when he sent us the “Best Of Me” vocals, we were amazed. The feelings, the emotions, the wording, and the meaning were the perfect match. We immediately clicked with the record, and the workflow was flawless. It was fun and a pleasure working on this track together. Hopefully, there’s more to come!

You are always working together as a duo. How do you collaborate? What are some of your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to production and remixes?

The key is always to work as a team. It’s important to get constructive criticism as well. We are always mixing up tasks and have an excellent understanding of each other’s workflow, which is essential for a good collaboration.

You are from Kyiv. Is this where you’ve also spent the last months? How is the health situation in Ukraine? How are you dealing with the current crisis, and does it affect your productivity as musicians?

Yes, Kyiv has always been our home, and this is where we prefer to be based. Having family and friends around keeps us creative and motivated. They always serve as a fantastic source of inspiration. 

The situation in Ukraine is pretty stable. We shouldn’t always believe what’s written in the media. We have faith in the future and hope that everything will be over soon. Luckily, we were able to play a couple of shows throughout the summer and presently. It gives us a lot of energy. Besides that, we’ve been very productive in the studio. This was the bright side of not touring every week. We can’t wait to play all the new records we’ve come up with for our fans out there. 

Beatport is proud to announce our partnership with UTOPIA Talks, the new podcast from BBC Introducing Dance presenter Jaguar.

“Episode one is heavy,” Jaguar admits about her newly launched podcast. With guests DJ Paulette, Lauren Flax, and from He.She.They’s Sophia Kearney, the first episode of UTOPIA Talks delves into the aftermath of Erick Morillo’s death, and how the reaction by many mainstream (and usually male) DJs served to erase victims of sexual abuse and harassment. 

Below you can listen to the full podcast, read more about the idea behind launching UTOPIA Talks, and what Jaguar hopes comes next for the industry.

Why did you start this podcast?

I’m always having reactive, heated, and passionate conversations with my friends in my WhatsApp groups. There have been so many moments when we’ve had a discussion and I’ve thought, ‘this could be a podcast episode’. After the rape allegations of Erick Morillo and the initial reactions of mainly male DJs praising his legacy over what he was accused of, I felt frustrated, confused, and utterly helpless. As a 25-year-old woman making my way in the world, I felt like my voice was being silenced here, but I knew I wanted to help bring about change to make things better for my peers and the generation to come after me. Having spoken to many female (and male!) friends during this time, a lot of us felt the same conflicting emotions; I felt compelled to produce a podcast where we could have our say about the matter, and give womxn a voice when it comes to exploring the aftermath of sexual assault. 

How often can we expect new episodes? 

The UTOPIA Talks Podcast subject matter is reactive, insightful, and spontaneous, so our schedule will reflect that! The plan is to put out a new one when passions are high and we feel the need to give people a voice to get their opinions heard and open it out to wider discussion. I want to empower people with this podcast and for the next generation to know that their voices matter too.

What were your biggest takeaways from this episode? 

Episode one is heavy. It’s a discussion between myself, DJ Paulette, Sophia Kearney from He.She.They and Lauren Flax. I want to thank these strong women for the open and honest conversation, and my hope is that the podcast becomes a springboard for further discussion in our scene and beyond. It feels like we’re at a pivotal moment in the electronic music industry, where we can talk about how to tackle sexual assault and take action to prevent it. I found it deeply empowering to put together, and I hope that it further inspires listeners and helps change our industry for the better. There is more work to be done, but this feels like a positive step that I can take, and use my platform for good.

And what do you hope comes next for our industry in regards to this issue?

Better support for people who have experienced sexual assault. Believing the victims. Big profile artists and DJs realising their influence and using it responsibly. Better education on consent. If anyone has been affected by sexual assault or triggered the nature of the podcast, know we’re here to support you. There are some great initiatives like The Association For Electronic Music’s confidential sexual harassment support line (0800 030 5182) or MeToo #FortheMusic initiative. Huge love and respect to everyone who spoke out during this time and has offered support and used their platform for good.

Listen to the podcast HERE on your player of choice starting Sunday, 11th October at 12pm BST.  Or listen to the Beatport exclusive below.

Beatport celebrates the launch of its new Dance/Electro Pop category with a 10-hour Twitch stream featuring some of the genre’s most noteworthy artists on Sunday, October 11th.

Last month, Beatport added the new Dance/Electro Pop genre in order to accommodate the growing roster of artists who excel in blending new electronic sounds with more traditional pop elements. Beatport recognizes that global dance music hitmakers — whose music moves seamlessly from the club to the radio, to the festival stage, and back again — are capturing fans across the spectrum and needed a category that speaks to their pop sensibilities.

To celebrate the launch of our latest genre, Beatport will host a 10-hour Selects livestream with a diverse cast of artists that are leading the charge into this new dance music era that combines classic songwriting techniques with modern electronic awareness.

Starting at 6 PM PDT/3 AM CEST on Sunday, October 11th, the virtual event will host charismatic duos such as SOFI TUKKER, KREAM, and Icona Pop, as well as celebrated producers and singer-songwriters like Taska Black, Elohim, Jay Pryor, Elderbrook, and more.

Viewers can tune in to the stream via our Twitch Channel or on the Beatport homepage, where fans can enjoy live track IDs throughout the show.

Check out the lineup and set times below.

Ahead of the livestream event, be sure to check out these exclusive charts from some of our participating artists.

Kream — ReConnect Chart
Pat Lok — ReConnect Chart
Vintage Culture — ReConnect Chart

Watch the Beatport Selects: Dance/Electro Pop livestream on October 11 via Twitch

Our expert curation team brings you the best tracks on Beatport you may have missed. This time featuring Casey Spillman, Kreutziger, DC Dubz, Ken Kelly and more.

Casey Spillman – Humidity Metre (Original Mix) [Locus]

This is one of my favourite tracks in the genre from this year. This track has so much personality and energy. Casey Spillman, a man on the rise, has definitely outdone himself. The glassy melody and simple yet effective bass groove have a hypnotic effect that will get anyone vibing!

Kreutziger – Krkvibe (Original Mix) [ Rendr Records]

If you have not heard of Kreutziger yet, it’s time you go check them out. This phenomenal duo is taking over the Dutch scene with their majestic productions. Krkvibe is their newest track out on Rendr Records and it’s here to stay! The filtered stab taking over the track will give you all sorts of emotion through, while some neat shuffle drums add so much character to the tune. A must-have for your bag.

Oden, FATZO – Casinomania (Original Mix) [Salty Nuts]

For a while now, there has been a new “accelerated” tempo trend in minimal and this is a perfect example. At 132 BPM, this track captures an atmosphere and energy with its stabby FZ and pads while the typical shuffle drums remain very dry and piercing through the mix to keep the energy going. You should definitely check out the rest of the EP. This is a good one to get the party started for sure!

Den Haas – The Beach (SY’s Sunrise At The Beach Remix) [EWax]

On remix duties for Den Haas via his EWax imprint, SY delivers an emotional deep cut that will fit and adapt itself to any moment of your set. It has all the ingredients to satisfy all the needs of a dancefloor. I love how the vocals are introduced, just enough to feel the sensuality and maintaining a minimalistic approach. Accompanied by a bright and rubber bassline, warm and lush pads, SY shows us why he is one of the most relevant producers of the moment.

Ken Kelly – Tell Me (Original Mix) [Andera Records]

This track from Ken Kelly on Andhera Records is definitely very crossover with deep house. The huge atmosphere and the pads take a lot of space and are flooded with effects, which creates an incredible vibe throughout while still managing to maintain this forward-moving energy. The dry vocal and melodic stabs play a big role in keeping the track dancefloor-oriented. A must hear and something a bit different from most of the tracks we feature on the minimal page.  

Selidos – Fasten (Original Mix) [Dirty Hands]

Slides’ “Fasten” single on “Dirty Hands explores the deeper shades of minimal and microhouse blending with garage and 2-step rhythms. The drums are very tight and expect a fair share of rim shots and swing drums. You will have just enough harmony in the background to generate emotion and make your hips shake. 


Hype is your destination for new music from up-and-coming labels and artists on BeatportLearn more here.

DC Dubz – Feel the Rhythm (Original Mix) [Play Groove Recordings]

The lead single off DC Dubs’ Feel the Rhythm EP on Play Groove Recordings takes you on a journey through the juxtaposition of all its elements. The drums will capture your body, and the harmonic elements — tied up with some soulful vocals — will capture your soul. It’s one of those tracks that will make you forget time. Close your eyes and travel through the story.

For more minimal/deep tech tracks you may have missed, check out our Beatport Link Playlist.

The Association For Electronic Music’s (AFEM) health and wellness experts offer up some sound advice on maintaining your physical and mental health amidst our current global crisis.

October 10th is World Mental Health Day, which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and bring our community together. While always important, current conditions mean it’s never been more crucial to care for the mental wellbeing of ourselves and those around us.

The bulk of clubs and festivals are still closed, and the mental challenges of social isolation and career uncertainty continue for many. On this World Mental Health Day, we share tips from electronic music industry expert Tom Middleton and fellow Association For Electronic Music (AFEM) Health Group members Ariane Paras and Kristen Gilbert on how you can achieve mental and emotional balance to live a calmer, healthier, and happier life — even in the midst of a crisis.


Tom Middleton is a co-chair of the AFEM Health Group, Global Communication, Functional Music Composer (Calm + Breathonics), and Sleep Coach/Mental Health First Aid certified.

Our community is experiencing prolonged periods of chronic stress, resulting in mental health issues, with anxiety, stress, burnout, depression, and sleep loss on the rise. This is being triggered by uncertainty, scarcity, fear, and worry. It’s an evolutionary response to potential danger, known as the fight-or-flight response, but many of us have been in this state since March. 

The fight-or-flight response triggers the body to release cortisol and adrenaline, which increases heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. We can deal with short bursts of these hormones (eustress; such as exercise), but if prolonged, we begin experiencing all the negative side effects of distress. Even reading a news headline can trigger this mechanism, and with screen addiction increasing, it’s almost unavoidable. We need simple, self-care tips and techniques to reduce anxiety, to calm, ground, and relax us, and help us to sleep well.

Let’s start with sleep, the foundational pillar of mental, physical, and emotional health and wellbeing. We spend a third of our lives sleeping, and it’s an evolutionary adaptation to naturally reset the mind, allowing our brains to recover, repair, and rebuild our bodies whilst boosting the immune system.

Routine: Establish regular wake and sleep times with reminders — aim for at least 7.5 hours.

Daylight: Walk outside in daylight (no shades!) for 20 mins in the morning to reset the body clock.

Movement: Take standing breaks if you sit a lot. Likewise, it’s unwise to exercise too close to bedtime.

Diet: Eat light at night, two to three hours before bedtime. Magnesium and 5HTP may help support sleep. Aim for 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.

Caffeine: Avoid after 12pm, since it takes 12 hours to leave body and is the worst sleep disruptor.

Alcohol: Booze ruins sleep quality, blocks REM sleep for memory and mood, meaning you’ll never wake up feeling refreshed.

Sleep Environment: Remove tech, and replace with plants. The bedroom is for sleeping and intimacy, it is not an office, dining room, or cinema!

Sleep Kit: Buy an eye mask, earplugs to reduce noise, and nasal strips; these can reduce snoring and help you achieve a deeper sleep.

Light and Temperature: Avoid bright, white light, which blocks melatonin. Red, orange, or soft lights are ideal. Keep the room cool, at around 18 degrees (65 Fahrenheit).

Digital Detox/Dopamine Fasting: So-called “blue light” from screens blocks melatonin, so avoid scrolling, swiping, and toxic screen addiction for at least an hour before bed.


Ariane Paras is a life and career coach, and founder of Olympia Coaching. She helps artists and music professionals find clarity, focus, and balance, so they can achieve their goals and potential. With 15 years in the music business at labels and senior booker at Razzmatazz, and more than 10 in personal development, she empowers her clients to create a life they love. 

Practice meditation

Meditation improves how you feel and how you understand your own thoughts, which allows you to respond rather than react to negative emotions, increasing your clarity, creativity, and peace of mind. Commit to meditating daily, even if it’s for 5 minutes. If you’re new to it, try guided meditations on the Insight Timer app.  

Focus on the breath

Breathing has a direct and immediate effect on your mental and emotional state, and anxiety often produces shortness of breath or rapid breathing. Occasionally check in on your breath — is it abdominal, deep, slow, regular, and quiet? If not, practice five minutes of inhaling and exhaling for six seconds each, or doing more elaborate breathwork techniques, like breathing-focused mindfulness meditation or Breathonics, which combines guided breathing techniques and music to calm you down (and is currently free for three months.)

Listen to soothing sounds

Listening to ambient, new age, nature sounds, or lush soundscapes will help you instantly shift your emotions and consciousness. For deeper healing and relaxation, attend a live sound healing session. Create your own playlist, or get 24h of bliss courtesy of Jon Hopkins: 

Don’t believe everything you think

When you recognize you’re having negative or stressful thoughts, about yourself or anything else, challenge the voice in your head. Ask yourself: Is this true? Is it helpful? If the honest answer is no, which it will be most of the time, decide to let those thoughts go. Instead, get curious and consider other perspectives, and shift your focus back to what is going well and the solution.

Spend your time wisely

Are you spending too much time watching the news or on social media? Notice how that makes you feel. Carefully curate your feeds so they leave you feeling inspired and uplifted. Make more time for the people in your life whose groundedness, peacefulness, or positivity contribute to your wellbeing.

Spend time in nature

Even without lockdowns, 90 percent of our time is spent indoors or in a polluted environment, which isn’t exactly natural and leads to imbalances in our mental states. The antidote is to spend time immersed in nature — science says you need two hours a week minimum. So hang out in the park or by the seaside, walk barefoot on the earth, go for hikes in the forest — it’s all good!


Kristen Gilbert is a DJ, holds a Masters in Occupational Therapy, and has been working in the mental health sector for over five years.

As a DJ, I have witnessed the death of the performer part of my identity. The act of facilitating an experience of connection for a room full of people is something my soul misses deeply. This has also resulted in the loss of my own dreams and goals related to my music career, which have been shelved, at least for now. 

This begs the question — who are you without what you do? How do we derive our sense of identity if not through our careers?

We cannot stake our sense of ground in anything outside of us, because of the constantly changing nature of our world. The pandemic has taught this to us in a myriad of ways, and because of the deeply personal nature of creating music, it’s often challenging for artists to divest ourselves from what we create.

True ground means to find connection within ourselves with that which cannot be abandoned.  My teacher, Carly Forest, speaks to the three true grounds: the belly, the breath, and the earth, or actual ground. These three elements will always be with us, no matter what, and can support us when we feel overwhelmed or lost. In order for the three true grounds to support us, we need to invest our energy into creating a relationship with them.

To begin creating a safe haven within yourself, sit comfortably with your spine long. Try sitting on the actual earth if you can. Close your eyes and begin to pay attention to your breath, letting it move down into the belly. Notice any sensation alive in the belly. If this is your first time attending to the belly, you might not feel anything, and that’s ok. Continue moving your breath freely, and continue focusing on the belly, as it is home to our own instinctual sense of knowing what is right for us. If visualization is something that you resonate with, feel free to imagine roots growing from your seat down deeply into the earth. 

As an artist, it’s helpful to return to our own intrinsic motivation to make music. Without crowds or accolades, this time offers us an opportunity to direct our energy inwards and allow music to be a resource for our own wellness. If you’re not in the state to create right now, know that this is perfectly reasonable given the circumstances. Try to be patient with yourself, be compassionate, and forge relationships with the three true grounds. Trust that your love of music can also ground you, even if everything else falls away. 

Find further mental health resources in the Electronic Music Industry Guide to Mental Health.  

Back in March, Shawn Reynaldo took an in-depth look at COVID’s impact on our scene. Seven months later, Reynaldo checks in with promoters, bookers, and festival organizers to understand the roadblocks they face and how they’ve had to adapt to this new reality, in this second chapter of a four-part series.

Before the coronavirus hit, Dave Harvey was excited about Love International. The festival’s programming had been expanded, major improvements had been made to the site in Croatia and tickets were selling fast. “This year, it was the year where we were like, ‘Right, all the planets have aligned,'” says the festival co-founder.

It’s a sentiment shared by Pierre-Marie Oullion, Artistic Director of Arty Farty, an organization that oversees the long-running Nuits Sonores festival in Lyon and also handles programming for the city’s Le Sucre nightclub. “Tickets for Nuits Sonores were selling better than they ever have before,” he says.

Many booking agents were feeling optimistic too. After three years of building the business and paying off debts, Dominik Ceylan, the Managing Director of Berlin-based agency Temporary Secretary, envisioned 2020 as a profitable year, led by some of his biggest clients. “Dixon was completely booked out for 2020,” he says. “Gerd Janson, I would say 90 percent, and Âme, also 80 to 90 percent.”

Once the virus went global, things began to quickly change. Between late February and early March, clubs closed, festivals were postponed or cancelled altogether, and the industry began to scramble. Rescheduling gigs for late in the year was part of that, but as the pandemic stretched on, an air of absurdity crept into the practice. “We’ve had to reschedule some dates three times now,” says Luke James, the head of programming and promotions for Patterns, a club in Brighton. “Everyone was being quite optimistic when it first happened and they were like, ‘Oh, we’ll move it all to October.’ Then it was like, ‘Oh, we’ll move over to February.’ And now it seems like April is the new kind of go-to.” 

The financial impact of the pandemic has been more consequential, especially as promoters and agents were suddenly left to chase refunds and attempt to minimize losses. Temporary Secretary, for instance, saw one of its travel agents file for bankruptcy, resulting in a loss of thousands of euros — not just for the agency, but also for its artists and several promoters. Nuits Sonores claims to have lost about 70,000 euros on non-refundable artist-related expenses (flights, booking fees, accommodation, backline, etc.), a figure that doesn’t include even larger sunk costs for staff and promotion, or factor in the millions of euros in lost revenue. Private insurance, even for big festivals, has largely been of no help, as few people had anticipated the need for pandemic coverage.

Then there’s the issue of maintaining payroll. It’s been easier in Europe, where many governments have stepped in with furlough programs, subsidizing salaries to help prevent layoffs. While these programs haven’t helped everyone — freelancers and contract workers, not to mention DJs, are most likely to have found themselves with little or no income — among salaried employees, industry layoffs have been relatively limited. That said, if furlough programs, many of which are due to expire, aren’t extended in the months ahead, mass layoffs will be unavoidable for many.

Additional assistance programs vary greatly across borders, but in Berlin for example, €5,000 grants were available to individual freelancers, while small businesses could apply for up to €15,000. In Switzerland, Guy Blattmann, founder and owner of Basel’s Elysia nightclub, received a 10,000 franc grant from the government, along with a low-risk, five-year loan equal to 10 percent of his company’s gross revenue from last year. “Everybody could go to their banks,” he explains, “get this 10 percent by filling out a form, and if you cannot pay back the money, the state will cover it.”

Irrespective of what governments are doing, a spirit of cooperation has arisen within industry circles and the larger electronic music community. Love International, for example, anticipated widespread refund requests from folks planning to attend this year’s festival, but nearly 70 percent of people elected to hold onto their ticket for 2021. Promoters and agents are also working together, with many settling into a de facto arrangement in which artist deposits are being refunded while booking fees are being retained by the agency, with an agreement that gigs will eventually be rescheduled at no additional cost. It’s not ideal for anyone, as promoters have paid for a service that may never be realized (or at least won’t be realized soon), and booking agents are effectively agreeing to double their workload for free, but these compromises have been forged to help keep everyone afloat. “I’ve found that the whole industry — artists, agents, management, everyone — obviously at times there can be friction or differing desires,” says Love International’s Harvey, “but everyone on this has been really united and just accepted the fact that [putting on events] isn’t safe for everybody. It’s a heartbreaking thing that we all had to accept.”

Safety, however, has been a more difficult thing for the industry to agree upon, especially once some countries began to open up during July and August. As videos surfaced on social media of DJs playing to packed (and frequently unmasked) crowds, critics took aim at artists who were playing these events, which some online and in the media began to refer to as “plague raves.” Although many of these events were technically legal, they did leave booking agents in a difficult position. “I see some of these events where it’s so good to see artists in a DJ booth again and people on the dancefloor,” says Andrew Kelsey, President of North American booking agency Liaison Artists. “At the same time, the distancing isn’t there, half the people aren’t wearing masks, or at least they’re not over their noses — it’s hard to watch without thinking that this is going to end up with more spread.”

“We didn’t book any show where it was obvious [ahead of time] that people were not obeying the health and safety limitations,” says Temporary Secretary’s Ceylan. “We had one or two shows where this happened and we addressed it with the promoter and he was like, ‘Well, we tried. The police were there and everything was good, but that’s what it looked like [on social media].’ I myself got upset that people were doing this because the more we do this, the longer everything will be shut down.”

In recent weeks, countries like Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the UK have all re-tightened event restrictions following partial reopenings, but parties (both legal and illegal) are still happening, leaving agents and promoters alike to try and navigate the “right” course of action, both morally and financially. “We have governments who are trying their best to come up with safety rules for a pandemic where they are inexperienced, just like we are inexperienced,” says Ceylan. “For me personally, I go by the promoter’s proposal and what is allowed by law, and I hope that the government is putting rules in place which are more strict than they need to be, in order to have safe events and safe traveling. I feel that events can be safe as long they are outdoors.”

“With regards to [DJs] traveling, of course, I can understand how people think this is not needed,” he continues. “But everyone is flying to their holiday destinations and going to restaurants and doing all these things. And then you have an outdoor event where you can track every customer, where you have tracing apps, etc. — I don’t think that’s any more dangerous.”

Blattmann, whose Elysia venue opened in a limited fashion back in June, feels similarly. Although initially allowed to only host daytime, open-air events in the upstairs bar area — some of which featured artists like Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock — the downstairs club resumed operations in September, playing host to DJs like Dr. Rubinstein, Laurel Halo and object blue. (Acts like Hunee, Antal, AnD and Sebastian Mullaert are on the docket for October.) At first, contact tracing was required for everyone entering the club, but that’s since been changed to social distancing and a mask requirement. He’s also voluntarily capped Elysia’s capacity at 250 people, and all bar and security staff are masked. Blattmann isn’t sure yet if the club is making a profit again, but turnout has been solid and many clubbers are showing up early, just to make sure that they can get in. (That’s especially true for those coming from across the border, as Basel is close to both France and Germany.)

“We cannot decide on our own about how dangerous COVID is, what the correct strategy is for the state and what it’s going to be in a year or two years,” he says. “That’s not our decision. Like everyone, we’re trying to keep up our business. The danger [of the virus] is there as soon as you go outside your door. You could ask these questions to the people that do any kind of business, and I don’t think that doing events in our venue right now is a big risk.”

Over in Berlin, several venues have been holding fully licensed, open-air events in which masks are required. A new club, Revier Südost, has even opened up in the past few weeks. Run by the same team who previously operated Griessmüehle, the early response has been positive, though the club has already faced difficulties it would have never even considered in the pre-COVID era. Franklin De Costa, who runs the Mother’s Finest party and label and is also part of the Revier Südost booking team, explains that even managing the line to get into the club can be an issue. “You can’t have people waiting too long, as the queue gets too long,” he says. “There’s no use in having a hundred people lined up close together in front of the venue. That’s also [the venue’s] responsibility.” Adding to the difficulty of the situation is the fact that not all venues are strictly adhering to the rules. And then there are the illegal, unlicensed parties, which often flout health and safety guidelines altogether. Still, Revier Südost seems determined to try and make a go of it legally, even after an event there was cancelled last weekend — on short notice — to protect everyone’s “well being and health.”

Following health and safety guidelines means reducing capacities while increasing security and staffing levels, and promoters have had to increase door prices to make things feasible. “Of course people are not happy, and people don’t have money, but it’s also a smaller crowd now,” says De Costa. “Also the tourists, the usual party tourists coming to Berlin who are used to higher door prices, there are a lot less of them. But people adapt and we’ll see if the prices stay this way next year because people will be used to them. It will be interesting to see, but for now, it’s necessary to charge 20 euros instead of 16 or 17.”

Artists too are having to be flexible financially, namely by accepting lower fees. Blattmann says that during the summer, when Switzerland was one of the few places where parties were legally happening, artists approached Elysia specifically offering to play at a significantly reduced price. And while booking agents are hesitant to specifically come out and say that artists are now playing for a discount, it’s clear that there’s now a lot more willingness to negotiate and work with promoters. “If you have a festival where 50,000 people are coming for a higher ticket price, and the same promoter is now putting on a show for 300 people with a 10 euro entrance, you can’t ask for the same amount of money,” says Temporary Secretary’s Ceylan. “As long as it is explainable and reasonable, artists will play for lower fees. It all depends on the show. It’s not, ‘Okay, that’s the fee you have to pay.’ It’s looking at the numbers together with a promoter, seeing what’s possible and what’s not possible, and then coming up with a fair — and safe — solution.”

It’s unclear whether these changes are temporary or something more permanent, but in the meantime, most industry folks are primarily concerned about simply surviving the next few months. COVID case numbers are rising, new government restrictions are on the horizon in many places and the winter is looming in the Northern Hemisphere, which could put an end to open-air events. In Brighton, Patterns’ basement nightclub remains shut, and has little hope of opening anytime soon, especially now that the UK has announced a new round of restrictions that could be in place for the next six months or longer. For the past couple of months, the venue has tried to stay active; dancing isn’t allowed, but patrons can reserve socially-distanced tables in the bar (each table is limited to six people) and listen to music provided by local DJs and artists. “We’re currently running at 20 percent of our usual capacity,” says James, Patterns’ head booker. “A lot of the reason we are open is to try and get things moving — for the community, for bringing electronic artists to Brighton, which no one else is doing.”

Unfortunately though, that goal stands to become even harder thanks to a new rule that prohibits playing pre-recorded music louder than 85 decibels. There’s a certain logic to the policy — anything above 85 decibels requires people to raise their voice when speaking, which increases the risk of viral transmission — but it’s not ideal for maintaining a vibey atmosphere. “It just seems to get harder and harder each time they add something else,” says James. “We have very few options to try and make some money to stay afloat, and it just seems like they’re making it more and more difficult by the week.” And with the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak now seemingly suggesting that the country’s musicians and other creatives start looking for other kinds of work, the situation is starting to feel particularly hopeless. 

Of course, government indifference to musicians and nightlife isn’t unique to the UK, and the organizers of Nuits Sonores are taking action, spearheading a new pan-European cultural initiative called reset! that seeks to unite independent cultural organizations and amplify their voice in public policy circles. “We have to find, with politicians, a way to exist under the COVID situation,” says Artistic Director Oullion. “It’s not the right move to just close everything and not give us the authorization to exist. In fact, it could be massively dangerous because you will have a lot of unauthorized and dangerous parties everywhere.”

Oullion is committed to change, both at Le Sucre (whenever it’s allowed to re-open) and at Nuits Sonores, which has been rescheduled for 2021. At the club, he wants to shift away from big headliners and the agent-induced bidding wars that booking them often requires, and refocus on local talent from Lyon. As for the festival, he’s looking at a major overhaul, both in terms of the lineup and the event’s guiding philosophy. “The post-COVID world won’t be the same,” he says, “so the festival can’t be the same. That would be nonsense. For the next edition, we want to reshape the festival entirely. Decreasing and downsizing is something that’s really important for next year. The key word for me would be less — less technology, fewer flights, fewer white men on stage. I think we are in a kind of emergency now, and as the end of lockdown has shown us, people in every business are already starting to do the same things they did before. I think our role in society is to say, ‘No, we don’t want to do the same thing as before.'”

There’s an inherent optimism to that viewpoint, and optimism is something that many of Oullion’s colleagues seem to share, even in the face of uncertainty. When Dave Harvey thinks about Love International, a festival where approximately 80 percent of the audience comes from outside Croatia to attend, he knows that there are a lot of boxes to tick before the event can go forward: “People being able to travel, there not being a quarantine, flights being operational and available, and not having skyrocketed in price. It largely depends on the wider logistics of getting two-and-a-half thousand people to Croatia.” 

Depending how things go, that could be a tall order, but Harvey is determined to make it happen, even if he has to wait until 2022. “The event itself is part of my bloody heart,” he says, “so I’m not going to entertain the idea that it’s not going to be back. It’s a really magical thing. I think it’s got enough of a following and enough love from the audience that we will survive.”

This is part of a series on the effects of coronavirus on the dance music industry. Read part one here. We’ll bring you part three soon.

Shawn Reynaldo is a freelance journalist and editor based in Barcelona. Author of the weekly First Floor newsletter, he was a longtime contributor to RBMA, previously served as Editor in Chief at XLR8R, and has also written for places like Pitchfork, NPR, Resident Advisor, DJ Mag, Bandcamp, and Electronic Beats. Find him on Twitter.

We catch up with dance music powerhouse and CONFESSION label boss Tchami, who talks about finding the right collaborative energy, his incessant search for the next best track, and what to expect from his eagerly-awaited debut album, Year Zero.

Given the title “the father of future house” by his legions of adoring fans, French DJ/producer Tchami is one of those rare dance music forces that has triumphantly introduced a wholly original style and character into clubland. The Parisian was the first electronic act to inaugurate the now wildly popular genre with his 2013 rework of Janet Jackson’s “Go Deep”. And his early work sparked a rush of newfangled future house productions from artists who resonated with his groovy and pressurized fusion of UKG and house. Beatport added the genre to its store in 2016, and today, it’s become a well versed and widely known categorization for house music’s high-octane and new-fashioned sound.

Tchami caught his first big break signing to A-Trak’s label Fools Gold in 2013 for his debut EP, Promesses, which he released for free. Tchami rode that wave in unique ways, like always taking to the stage dressed in clerical black and a priest’s collar. The wardrobe choice has no religious connotation, but rather it aims at the idea of anointing his crowds with a spiritual experience.

As a steady stream of remixes and singles continued to rack up millions of plays, his rising production prowess led him to co-produce one of the biggest tracks of 2014, “Turn Down For What” by Lil John and DJ Snake. This major success led the launch of the Pardon My French collective — a supergroup of forward-thinking French producers including Tchami, DJ Snake, Mercer, and the enigmatic Malaa — and eventually the creation of the Tchami’s CONFESSION imprint. Both the collective and the label brought Tchami’s reputation to astonishing heights while giving him the ability to explore new avenues in the studio.

Eager to evolve and refusing to be pigeonholed, Tchami is gearing up to release his debut LP, Year Zero, an album that goes far beyond his future house notoriety. As a classically trained musician with a deep appreciation for classic ’90s house, hip-hop, gospel, and other genres, Tchami’s compositional intrepidity shines through with a whole new light on this collaborative album. With the release of belting and euphoric singles from the LP, like “Ghosts” and “Born Again,” Tchami has skillfully built increasing hype for his debut LP

With the release of his single “Faith,” we caught up with Tchami to learn more about his stage name, working with Lady Gaga, his debut LP, and what his ideal gig would look like once he can retake the stage.

Tell us about how your stage name was first given to you during your time in Cameroon. What brought you there in the first place? 

My best friend’s family is from Cameroon. I was invited to spend summertime with them, and we bonded during the month that we had there. One of the elders started to call me Tchami (her family name), which is a sign of deep acceptance in the family. So it stuck with me ever since, and when the time came to choose a name for my new project, it naturally was on top of the list. From the beginning of the Tchami project, I wanted everything to be rooted in truth, so with my friend’s family’s permission, it became my stage name.

How did you first get linked up with A-Trak to release your first big cut, “Promesses,” on Fools Gold?

 Snake sent my first EP to A-Trak. I was super happy to see someone outside my friend’s group validating my music. That was a big moment for me. 

How would you describe the collaborative energy you share with all the other members of your Pardon My French collective?  

We used to share the same studio for a long time, so we would always share ideas and give each other feedback. Before getting anything out, our music had to go through an intense peer validation process. 

How did your participation on the new Lady Gaga album for the song “Rain On Me” come about? 

BloodPop and I met via a mutual friend. I went to LA to work on the album. They were very open about allowing me to work on pretty much everything, which was great. Amazing energy throughout the whole creating process, which led me to help produce four of the songs in the end, including “Rain On Me.” 

Tell us a little bit about your CONFESSION label. What plans do you have for the imprint for the remainder of 2020 and next year?

I am so proud of what we are doing with the label. Building an audience with artists over the years and seeing them grow with us all together. The direction is always the same. Find the best music out there and help artists that share our philosophy. I’m always looking for that special thing that will bring the track to the next level.

You’ve told us that with your forthcoming album Year Zero, we should “expect the unexpected.” Can you elaborate on that point?

I’m always growing. That’s the main thing. The LP is a vast playground that allows me to try different BPMs, song structures, etc.

Can you tell us the story behind the album’s title?

Year Zero can mean a new beginning. It’s my first LP, so I knew I had to break the rules in some ways. It’s what makes it worth it. I chose the name before the pandemic happened, but it resonates clearly with the times we’re currently living in.

Who are some of the vocalists and collaborators that feature on the album? Can you give us a bit more insight into your relationship with these artists?

First, there is Hana with whom I made “Ghosts.” She has an incredible voice. On “Proud,” you hear Daecolm’s voice. We met in London at Abbey Road Studios and worked on another track for the entire session. Towards the end, he played me an acapella that became “Proud” not long after. For the rest of my guests, I’ll let everyone discover them in due time. All I can say is that I enjoyed the creative process behind this album. 

How long have you been working on the album? You’ve had to push the release date back a few times, has that been a frustrating process? Now that it’s coming out, how do you feel?

I’ve been working on it for about two years. The album format grew on me since I realized I had a lot of good but unfinished demos. Once it was ready, I began my Elevation Tour, but then the pandemic hit us hard. We had no perspectives at all and were in the dark. So I knew I had to wait a little bit for the album. People listen to music, so even if I can’t be on the road to promote my album, it doesn’t mean I should hold onto it indefinitely. So no frustration, but we had to rethink the strategy.

What’s the festival/party/showcase do you feel you’ve missed this year the most due to all the cancelations?

Definitely half of my Elevation tour dates… I can’t wait to be back on the road to play this album for people who want to experience it live. I would have enjoyed playing Coachella this year as well, but I’m not mad that I was able to spend more time at home.

If you could craft your own perfect lineup for your first post-lockdown event, who would you want sharing the stage with you, where would it be, and what song would you open up with?

I would bring the whole fam with me. It would include a big b2b with Malaa and a stacked Confession lineup for sure. It would take place at Red Rocks, and I’d probably open my set with an augmented version of my remix of Marshall Jefferson’s “Move Your Body“.

Check out Tchami’s debut album ‘Year Zero’ on Beatport.

Cameron Holbrook is a staff writer for Beatportal. Find him on Twitter.

Speaking with Kompakt co-founder Michael Mayer and some of the label’s biggest talents, we chart the incredible history of one of electronic music’s most vital institutions.

Michael Mayer‘s obsession with DJing came into full view when he was just 12-years-old. He was in his backyard, playing with his dog and repairing his bike when it happened.

“I played this tape that a neighbor had given to me, and it was perfect. Italo-disco, high energy stuff. Suddenly, this track came up, which I didn’t know at the time. It’s become one of my all-time favorite tunes — Mr. Flagio’s ‘Take a Chance‘. I recall my dog putting her head on my little tape machine’s speaker because she was enjoying it so much, and I did as well. We were both like, ‘Can you hear this? This is amazing.’ And that’s the moment when it all happened.”

Decades after he first shared this pivotal moment with his German Shepherd, Mayer’s unrelenting passion for music led him to co-found one of electronic music’s most distinguished labels, Kompakt Records. With hundreds upon hundreds of cherished singles, EPs, albums, and compilations under its belt — and numerous sub-labels to boot — Kompakt is much more than a label. It’s an institution, with a record store, distribution agency, webshop, and artist agency all attached. Comprehending the cosmos of accomplishments that Kompakt has achieved is a dizzying task, but simply put, it’s an imprint that’s helped solidify Germany’s authority in clubland and has been instrumental in nurturing the global growth of electronic music as we know it today.

Michael Mayer feels “all pretty and pink” when he calls in via Zoom from his daughter’s bedroom. “It’s the safest space for the moment. We’ve got a full house,” Mayer states with a smile. The Kompakt boss lives in Cologne, his adopted home, and a city that has become synonymous with his label. He grew up in Germany’s Black Forest, only 10 kilometers from the French border. In his youth, he befriended two local DJs who became his mentors, saving money to buy their old equipment in order to build his own mobile disco when he was only 14. By the time he was 20, he was fully proficient at running a dance floor, and the pull of city life led him to Cologne. While many of his friends migrated to Berlin, the city on the Rhine was a far more attractive destination for the budding DJ.

“Berlin was already quite busy,” Mayer explains. “There was already a lot of competition and DJs queuing up next to you, waiting for you to go to the toilet and sneak themselves onto the decks. Cologne was more relaxed in that regard. There was more space for someone like me. I like Berlin as a visitor, but I’m super happy I live here. We’ve really achieved something in Cologne.”

While Cologne did not have a reputation as one of Europe’s top dance floor destinations at the time, that changed with the arrival of Mayer and the clashing of worlds that occurred at the city’s newly established shop, Delerium Records, In 1993, Wolfgang Voigt, his brother Reinhard, Jörg Burger, Jürgen Paape, and Ingmar Koch created the record store, and Michael Mayer was one of their first customers on opening day. As the story goes, Mayer began mouthing off about their limited collection. Soon after, they brought him on as a buyer, an employee, and finally, as a partner after he sank the 1,000 Deutschmarks he inherited from his grandmother into the shop. 

“Cologne was not a very easy place for techno,” Mayer says. “There were plenty of clubs and free parties, but there was nowhere I felt at home musically. So we had to start our own club nights.” The crew’s various parties and gigs at small and clandestine venues throughout the city were met with great success, and it soon became clear they needed a regular venue for their events. The real change came in on July 3, 1998, when the team took over a refurbished jazz club called Studio 672 for their first Total Confusion party. The weekly Friday night event soon became one of Cologne’s longest-running and most iconic parties.

“The party was really themed around us [Michael & Tobias Thomas] and our musical idea off of a club night,” Mayer says. “It was a small place, just one room with 350 people, max. One big dance floor with no way to escape, so either you were in it, or you had to leave. It was a melting pot for different scenes. For rock intellectuals, for technical freaks, house lovers, and more high-brow experimental music fans alike. It’s like a completely new mix of people, and they all went for it.”

By this time, Wolfgang had just launched his famed ambient moniker, GAS. And he and the rest of his compatriots continued cultivating strains of provocative and charming minimal techno pop that were upending sound systems throughout Germany. A far cry from the ruthless and dark four-four thump of techno taking over Berlin, the group locked into a more upbeat, easy-going, dynamic style. Incorporating folk, surf, pop, krautrock, disco, country, psychedelic, and glam rock into their productions, the genre lines first blurred, then expanded. All they needed now was a robust platform for their diverse sound styles.

Understanding power in numbers, all the imprints affiliated with the team — Profan, Studio1, Monochrome, LifeLine, New Transatlantic, and Forever Sweet Records — were brought under one umbrella, forming an independent super-label. And in 1998, Kompakt was born.

The label’s debut release was the compilation, Köln Kompakt 1, released on January 2, 1998, It featured the founders traversing minimal techno in various fashions. Over the next few years, a flurry of forward-thinking records followed, including tracks like Reinhard Voigt’s heady “Hier Und Jetzt,” Michael Mayer’s jackin’ “Speaker,” and Jürgen Paape’s alluring “So Weit Wie Noch Nie” — a timeless Kompakt classic. In 1999, they pushed out the first edition of their revered Total compilation series, and the 20th edition, Total 20, dropped this September. By now, Mayer, who heads the series, likens the annual release of Total to something like “Christmas or a birthday,” or “something that just reoccurs every year.”

By 2003, the core Kompakt team moved to a new location, a full office building complete with a new record shop,  distributor, label offices, basement studios, and even living quarters for some of its staff. “It was almost like a lifetime life goal of Wolfgang’s to have all aspects of a proper record company or for a music company in one building,” Mayer says. The space and concept behind Kompakt’s new all-encompassing, farm-to-turntable approach took cues from the likes of Andy Warhol and his emblematic and experimental art studio, The Factory. Wolfgang held a great deal of reverence for the vital American artist. So much so, that his pop-art technique was the inspiration behind the static dots that make up Kompakt’s wholly recognizable aesthetic.

“When I hear Kompakt, I immediately think of minimalist graphic design and equally stripped-down yet sentimental electronic music,” German techno DJ-producer and Kompakt regular Patrice Bäumel says. The label’s second and equally recognizable logo, the Speicher Eagle, was Cologne’s coat of arms until the city rebranded in the early 2000s. “We were looking for something to distinguish our newly minted Kompakt Extra sub-label from the usual look of Kompakt,” Mayer explains. “We thought since they’re not using it anymore, and we love it, that we’d take it.” With this eagle’s adoption, the Speicher series was born — an ongoing collection of two-trackers that now boasts 115 editions from some of electronic music’s most beloved creators, including Laurent Garnier, Danny Daze, Anna, Oxia, La Fleur, and dozens more. 

With the opening of the label’s headquarters, Cologne now had a culture factory of its own. The city’s nightlife was theirs, and soon budding talent from all over Germany was itching to release on the label. “I clearly remember the early years when it was still quite easy to handle,” Mayer says fondly. “Like maybe once a month, we got together with a pizza, sat in the park with a boombox, and listened to some potential tracks. And then maybe after five years or so, the onslaught. We had plastic bags full of CDRs. It was like an ecological problem because we couldn’t recycle them. We were quite pleased when SoundCloud became the industry standard for sending out demos. At this point, I still receive about 100 demos per day.”

Early on, Kompakt introduced the world to acts like Sascha Funke, DJ Koze, Superpitcher, Lawrence, Ferenc, and many more. The label was also gaining a reputation internationally. “I first learned of the label during my first trip to Cologne in 1999,” Kompakt artist and LA techno luminary John Tejada says. “Kompakt, along with all its sub-labels of experimental sounds, was refreshing and inspiring. At that time, you really had to go to a place to experience it, so to get a crash course into everything that was going on felt like a breath of fresh air.” After signing artists like France’s Jonas Bering and Japan’s Kaito — Kompakt’s first non-German signings — other highly-regarded producers would follow, such as the UK’s electro wizard Rex The Dog, Sweden’s looping mastermind The Field, and one of Brazil’s most cherished dance music mavens, Gui Boratto. “Michael is my musical guru,” Boratto says. “I remember him pushing me to do a full-length album with them in 2006, so I made Chromophobia. After that, I started to tour endlessly, and Kompakt became my family. It’s the mothership. A place I can go wherever I feel like it. That’s freedom. I feel proud to be part of this iconic pillar of electronic music culture.”

As releases on Kompakt continued flying off the shelves, the company snatched up smaller independent imprints from all over the world with its wildly appealing distribution model. “In the beginning, Kompakt’s distribution was me, a little iMac, and a fax machine,” Mayer says. “As we brought on more labels, I needed help. I built up a small and energetic team, but we felt that we’re reaching our limits pretty fast. I didn’t have time to make music anymore, and getting into the studio was just unthinkable. Every time we hired someone new, we took another step forward and took more labels on board. In fact, I never managed to spend as much time in the studio as I always wanted. Until now. Thanks, COVID-19.”

Today, Kompakt has a full-time staff of 25 people and handles distribution for almost 150 independent labels. Their artist agency represents over 30 artists, including Marc Romboy, Barnt, Robag Wruhme, Rebolledo, La Fraicheur, and Kölsch, who released his debut 12-inch Speicher 68 via Kompakt Extra in 2010. When asked what Kompakt means to him personally, the Danish superstar replied: “It’s really very simple. Without Kompakt, there would be no Kölsch.”

In the 27 years following Kompakt’s founders’ fateful gathering at Delerium Records in Cologne, the group has not once faltered in their ability to advance their label’s sound in the right direction. Over the past decade, they’ve given rise to popular groups like the Netherlands duo Weval, pushed the intersection between electronic and the avant-garde with their yearly Pop Ambient series, and helped revisit and reinterpret the influence of established acts like Terranova, Sasha, and WhoMadeWho. “When we started releasing on Kompakt, it felt like a whole new world was unfolding for me somehow,” WhoMadeWho’s Jeppe Kjellberg explains. “When I first met Michael, it was like meeting a brother that you didn’t know you had.”

For Michael, nurturing connections with artists is all in a day’s work. His go-to A&R strategy reads something like, “Let’s get drunk and talk about what music we like right now,” and all who cross his path are more than happy to comply. “One of Kompakt’s strengths is that we can connect the dots between artists that would normally never play on the same floor,” Mayer says. “I like how colorful our portfolio is.”

In a year of unprecedented disarray for the music industry, Michael Mayer remains hopeful that a return to the dance floor is not so far away. He’s energized, having just played a couple of gigs in Poland, where restrictions are more relaxed, and feels pleased with how COVID safety measures were carried out. Back at home, Kompakt has received help from the government, and they’ve managed to keep their entire staff employed without any layoffs. “When the lockdown came, we very quickly realized that it’s important to keep the machine running,” Mayer says. “People were at home and locked down, and what did they do? They listened to music, and music gave them strength and hope.”

The Kompakt headquarters currently sits empty, as social distancing measures warrant the team working from home. But in the meantime, Mayer and the rest of the founders have some exciting new plans for their base of operations. “17 years after our current record shop opened in its current location, we’re making changes for the first time,” Mayer says with an eager grin on his face. “We’ve got amazing plans to improve the store. It’s where everything started, and it deserves a little makeover. We’ve also already had some anxious people looking inside, like, ‘Oh my God, what are you doing? Are you closing down?’ No. Right now, we’re in the middle of this process where the whole team’s just trying to make things better, and when the light goes on again, we’ll be there. And we’ll be better than ever.”

Cameron Holbrook is a staff writer for Beatportal. Find him on Twitter.

RIP Cookie Monsta.

One of dubstep’s notable veterans, Cookie Monsta, has died at 31 years old. The news broke through a heartfelt post on Twitter by Circus Records, home to artists including Cookie Monsta, Doctor P, Flux Pavilion, and more pioneers of the modern dubstep sound. Currently, there is no information available about the cause of death out of respect for the artist’s family and close friends.



Born Tony Cook from Nottingham, UK, the famed producer became a staple in bass music through memorable releases such as “Ginger Pubes” and “Blurgh!” in 2010 and rose to become a fan-favorite among the dubstep community. Despite the evolution of the dubstep sound, Cookie Monsta’s music remained timeless with each release. Along with his impactful signature style, Cookie Monsta was a collaborator and friend to his scene — on Twitter, a flurry of artists and fans alike have expressed their heartbreak at the news.

Our expert curation team brings you the best tracks on Beatport you may have missed. This time featuring Art Department, Hotmood, Cosmonection, Simon Shaw and more.

Art Department – Twired (Original Mix) [Kwench Records]

Art Department has been a house music mainstay act for over a decade. Nowadays, Jonny White is the lone force behind the act, providing some exquisite house music that is set to groove every dancefloor around the world, once people start dancing again. Either way, this is a masterpiece and you should not miss it!

Arctween – Dance of the Spheres (Original Mix) [Discotexas]

“Dance of the Spheres” sounds like the perfect result of masterful sampling action, but to be honest I am not really sure. What I know with certainty is that those piano chords and the strings section will stick to your mind, transport you to magical places and make you feel super chilled out. Out now on the excellent Discotexas.

Cosmonection – Carnaval (Original Mix) [Pont Neuf Records]

Cosmonection, like the connection of the Cosmos. I love this artist name, as much as I love this work, called “Carnaval” out now on Pont Neuf Records. It’s slightly Afro, but it’s mostly deep with some of the nicest chords I have heard around recently. Don’t miss this!

Hotmood – Por Que Me Dejaste (Original Mix) [Cacao Records]

“Why did you leave me,” the creator exclames in perfect Spanish. The Latin vibes are complimenting their “crying out loud” feeling, making this a beautiful and nostalgic deep house cut for your warm nights by the beach. Out now on Cacao Records.

Smoove & Turrell – Fade Away (Fouk Remix) [Jalapeno Records]

I have been a fan of Jalapeno Records since my teenage years, and that was a while ago. They have put out music from numerous top notch artists, including Kraak & Smaak, Dr Rubberfunk and a lot more. Here, we have Smoove & Turrell with their single “Fade Away” that gets an absolute treatment from Fouk, whose sound is the hottest type of deep house you can find nowadays.

Franck Roger feat. Jovonn – Remember (Rocco Rodamaal Remix) [Real Tone Records]

If you don’t know Rocco you don’t know house music. Now, can you imagine Rocco putting his touch on Franck Roger and Jovonn’s “Remember”? If you can’t, have a listen here and you will find out what good, underground deep house music means. The kind of it that you would dance in a basement, with a red light and a feeling.


Hype is your destination for new music from up-and-coming labels and artists on BeatportLearn more here.

Simon Shaw – Won’t Forget (Original Mix) [Talman Records]

Simon Shaw has been making a name for himself recently, with exquisite releases on Meta, We_R house and other top labels. This lovely little tune is a proper groover with warm pads and major chord progressions that will definitely make you feel good! 

For more deep house tracks you may have missed, check out our Beatport Link Playlist.

Forgotten Artifacts explores the vintage gear found in studios around the world. This time, we check in with Dutch DJ-producer Eelke Kleijn, who shares how his super-rare analogue delay and reverb unit, the Dynacord SRS 56, played a significant role in crafting his latest album, Oscillations.

A while ago I was on the lookout for a Dynacord analog BBD delay. I had been told those were the best, and I was particularly interested in the VRS 23. When Joep Pennings — the founder of the famed Amsterdam audio gear shop Synths ’n Stuff — described it to me, he spoke the words ‘second-best delay ever made’. So my first response was ‘Then what’s the best one?’. And so, a few weeks later I left his place with a fully revised Dynacord SRS 56.

The SRS 56 was made in the late ’70s and early ’80s. It features two independent delay channels that can be used in series, in parallel, and they can also be made to feed into each other. It also boasts two reverb modes, but contrary to most reverbs from that era, which uses springs, the SRS 56 uses the BBD chips for reverb. It also has modulation and pitch options, so you can get some very nice chorus-type sounds out of it. My unit has been modified for endless self-oscillation as well, so it’s really easy to get those tape-type loops out of it.

As a delay, it is much darker than most delays you will find nowadays. I’ve used it extensively on my new Oscillations album. For instance, in the track “Distance” (feat. Josha Daniel), the lead sound that gets introduced in the breakdown was sounding too dry to my ears. But no matter how much reverb or delay I threw at it, somehow I couldn’t get it to sit right. It went from too dry to too wet and back. When I got the SRS halfway through my recording process, it made a huge difference. Somehow this is a delay that you can use incredibly loud and wet, but it doesn’t overly sound so in the mix. I then continued to use it on various tracks. On “Taking Flight” (feat. Nathan Nicholson), it does a variety of the vocal effects, and on “Lifetime” it does most of the guitar delay.

What I especially like about it is that it opens up a whole range of creative processing. It can go from reverb, to delay, to chorus, to phaser, and pretty much everything in between. And because it is such an obscure machine, it has a very unique sound that you can’t really find elsewhere. It plays really well with modern gear as well. I love my Strymon pedals for instance, and I use those reverbs and delays all the time. Layering a reverb from the Strymon Big Sky together with the SRS, and then panning them independently works like a charm!

The one thing that puts me off sometimes is that these old machines require maintenance. Mine has broken down once so far, and so you need to have someone that really understands these machines and can keep them in great shape. But I guess that goes for a lot of the old school gear, it definitely isn’t the first bit of kit that I needed servicing on. And if you’ve got a working model in good shape, there’s nothing like it!

Eelke Kleijn’s album ‘Oscillations’ is out now via DAYS like NIGHTS.

Hyperdub affiliate Loraine James discusses the hope and heartbreak that went into her new collaborative EP, Nothing.

The release of Loraine James’ widely acclaimed 2019 album For You And I undoubtedly set high expectations for the future of the North London DJ-producer. But now it seems certain she was just getting warmed up. 

James has been experimenting with music since she was a teenager. Her studies at the University of Westminster led her to translating her esoteric productions into equally as esoteric and entrancing live performances — she’s been known to start these with the Hannah Montana theme tune.

For You And I had an intense first-person focus on James’ experience of being a queer woman navigating London life at the start of a new relationship. By contrast, her upcoming EP on Hyperdub, Nothing, refracts James’ own thoughts and feelings of despair, heartbreak, and rejuvenation through the lens of a clutch of collaborators. Not accustomed to collaborating more widely outside of her own circle, at the beginning of the year, James tweeted an open call for collaborators on a new project, and Nothing is the result.

The EP will be her second release with experimental record label Hyperdub. It manages to be as deeply introspective and heart-wrenching as For You And I. For instance, James beautifully expresses the cycle of heartbreak and healing via an exploration of refugee experiences with Farsi-language rapper Tardast on “Marg”. Nothing feels like a very purposeful next step for James, one that sees her stepping into her own plurality as an artist and having fun with new forms.

Previously you’ve only worked with collaborators that you’ve known quite well.

Yeah, me and [South London-based musician] Le3 bLACK went to uni together, and [emerging soul singer] feeo was recommended through a friend who lived in Oxford. I hadn’t really collaborated much and was saying to myself that I should try and collaborate more, but I never ended up really doing it. 

What was this particular experience of collaboration like? Was it done digitally? 

Usually, I collaborate digitally, so I’m used to sending stuff through WeTransfer. A lot of people I have collaborated with don’t even live in London, so it’s just easier. Sometimes when you try and organise something, whether it’s a mate or whatever, it tends to just draw out. Sometimes doing it through the internet is easier and quicker.

Having listened to the EP, it simultaneously feels personal, but also global, especially with Tardast’s track. How was that to put together?

When I begin a project, I never really know what kind of form it’s going to take. Things piece together and fall into place. For this EP, I did some demos of the tracks and I put them up on SoundCloud. I was kind of like, pick which song you’re leaning towards, whichever one would suit you better. Out of the bunch, I wasn’t really feeling the instrumental for “Don’t You See It.” When Jonnine chose that one, in my head I was like, ‘Ugh, I think this one’s going to be shit, but ok.’ She sent me the vocals and I edited the track and reworked a few things, and it was better in the end!

For Jonnine’s track, I read that her lyrics came out of a recent breakup. How was it handling someone else’s heartbreak and synthesising it with your own vision for the track?

To me, it was quite funny because late last year I got broken up with as well, so it was a similar feeling. I didn’t ask her to speak about anything specific or anything like that, so I found it quite funny that that was what it ended up being about.

Your solo production “The Starting Point” comes right at the end of the EP; talk to me about that, because it’s such an expansive track and feels almost cyclical in a way.

That track was based off one of those demo ideas I did. I ended up chopping up that whole track completely, which is what the first half is. For the second half, I changed it up and improvised this piano bit that ended up being the main bit throughout that half. It’s one of my favourite songs I’ve done. I named it “The Starting Point” because the piano and keys were the instruments I grew up playing and I don’t really do many tracks with a piano incorporated into it. I took my time with it. I just wanted to get that one right; I wanted the piano and bass to sound right. It’s definitely one of my favourite tracks I’ve done in a while.

The EP is melancholic but definitely hopeful. How do you see it in relation to ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, the recent trans pride vigil in London, a global pandemic, and the attention on refugees crossing the Channel in the past month?

I feel like the EP is really relatable in some way, which I never envisaged at all. I did it literally at the beginning of the year in January and I think I finished in January. It’s definitely not the cheeriest work I’ve done, and it’s not supposed to be. Doing this EP was an outlet for me. It’s weird; emotionally the EP doesn’t feel like a distant memory because of all this stuff that’s happened this year – obviously the pandemic, the protests.

How’ve you found lockdown in terms of your productivity?

It’s been very up and down! Sometimes I get in my head that I’ve not been productive enough because I’ve got all the free time in the world, and then sometimes I’ll be pretty productive. In terms of actually making music, the process is still pretty much the same because I’ve always worked with just my laptop anyway, so that hasn’t changed. But the only inspiration is where you live, and it’s not great! It’s very limited.

To counter the inspiration block of being around the same space, do you think you’d do more collaboration outreach in the future?

Yeah! I kind of already have and am making a new album, just generally collaborating with more people than I ever have. I don’t think it necessarily would have happened, to be honest, without lockdown, because everyone’s got a lot of time for XYZ reasons.

That sounds exciting!

Yeah! I’m really excited about that. It’s different from For You And I, and I’m pretty happy with it, which is something I don’t really say a lot about stuff. I might end up hating it as well, I don’t know. I just listen to it a lot and analyse everything, so I’ll probably end up hating that too in the next while, but for the minute I’m enjoying what I’ve done.

Jemima Skala is a freelance music journalist. Find her on Twitter.

We catch up with selector extraordinaire Vladimir Ivkovic and Making Time founder Dave P. to hear more about Friday’s 36-hour livestream.

The 20th anniversary of the Philadelphia-based festival Making Time festival takes place this Friday, October 2nd, with an all-star cast of underground tastemakers set to livestream across 36 hours.

The bill of artists, many of whom will be turned into holograms for the event (see a preview here), includes Axel Boman, Citizen Boy, DJ Tennis, DJ Python, Hieroglyphic Being (live), Hot Chip, JASSS, John Talabot, Optimo’s Jonnie Wilkes , Josh Wink, Lena Willikens & Sarah Szczesny present: Phantom Holo Ballett, Lovefingers, Mary Lattimore (live), Otik, Perel, Rebolledo, Red Axes, Sapphire Slows (live), Silent Servant, Vladimir Ivkovic, and Zillas on Acid.

The event will cost $5.00, of which $1.00 will be donated to PLSE and the Plus 1 for Black Lives Fund. The rest of the funds will be used to pay the artists.

To find out more about this incredible event, which is in collaboration with Beatport, we caught up with longtime Salon Des Amateurs resident, Vladimir Ivkovic.

Vladimir Ivkovic

Will you be playing live or have you recorded a set?

I recorded a set without preparations and safety nets, and I sent it to Dave days before I listened to the recording. Dave and I should have played together in Philadelphia on 19/03, and the recording is as close as possible to the live situation that didn’t happen then. 

Can you tell us a little about what you have in store? What time does it start, and how long will you be playing, for instance?

No, I can’t tell you that. It’s an event that happens in the near future, and everyone is welcome to attend it. There are two hours of music, and Dave P. will figure out what to do with it.

Livestreaming a DJ set is playing in front of an audience without being able to read it. How does this influence your track selection?

Livestreaming is for me not “playing in front of an audience.” It’s basically playing in front of a camera, which is much closer to the idea of a radio than a club. It most likely influences my track selection in a way that I would be embarrassed if I‘d imagine that there are hundreds of people on the other side losing their minds to explicit club tracks. 

We understand the event will be using TRANSCENDENTAL Holographic Technology™ (THT), which will essentially turn DJs into holograms. Did you ever think you’d be turned into a hologram? What does that feel like? 

No, I never thought about it and if it wasn’t for Dave‘s 29 Years Celebration, the hologram thing wouldn’t happen. It feels like celebrating Dave‘s anniversary in a funny way.

Do you think technology like this (and the pandemic in general) will reshape how we experience festivals even after we’ve moved on from COVID? If so, how?

Through such technology we won’t experience festivals. If festivals die, they are dead. Technology can offer something else — not a festival experience or any other experience comparable to a physical encounter with people. 

This event costs $5.00, making it somewhat of a rarity in online event streaming, which is usually either free to watch or strictly for charity. Instead, $1.00 of the ticket fee for Making Time will be donated to charity, and the rest will go to pay DJs. Are you hopeful that this could help set a precedent for artists to receive a fee for their online sets, and help artists earn a living until events resume in full?

It’s great what Dave is doing, but I don’t think that it will set a precedent for anything. It’s Dave enthusiasm, love, probably the idea that essential things shouldn’t be devalued, manifestation of having a heart in the right place…. Everyone could have done it before and can do it in the future. We’ll see if it’s going to happen.

With touring on pause, artists are looking almost anywhere for income. As Harry Levin learns, for some, that means online education.

Since the death of the CD, musicians everywhere have gradually become ever more reliant on income from touring to pay the bills. With clubs and festivals around the world shuttered due to the coronavirus, artists are now scrambling for new income sources. Several have now turned to teaching, finding economic refuge and professional satisfaction in passing along the production skills they’ve honed over a lifetime. 

Some artists, like Dutch dubstep veteran Martyn, have gone their own route, using platforms like Patreon to offer various levels of artist mentorship based on price tiers. However, others are joining more traditional classroom settings like those found at ICON Collective, Point Blank Music School, and IO Academy in Los Angeles.

IO has always employed professional artists, but since closing their in-person classes in March, IO began offering exclusive standalone courses from artists like UK deep house purveyor Kidnap, Washington D.C.’s own progressive house star Enamour, and Los Angeles-based melodic techno composer Rinzen — real name Michael Sundius — all via the video conferencing platform, Zoom.

Having studied traditional music production at ICON Collective, Sundius has always been an advocate for formal music education. However, since losing 90 percent of his income as a touring artist due to COVID, he’s discovered a much-needed income source. 

“Personally, music education has been a financial lifeline for me during lockdown. I’ve found genuine joy in teaching, and it will likely be a part of my artistic life in some capacity for the foreseeable future. Particularly during lockdown, I’ve been blown away by the demand for music education.”

Sundius has taught two courses through IO since quarantine began. The first was a complete overview of producing house and techno, showing students exactly how he writes house and techno “from the ground up.” An important element of this course was balancing the technical and spiritual aspects of producing.

“[Sundius]’s class was a lesson in believing in yourself and staying true to yourself as an artist,” says Tiffany Goodridge, a student of Sundius’. While anyone can be taught tricks in a DAW, Sundius believes every individual applies creativity in their own way. 

“So much of our output and success is dependent upon our relationship with creativity,” Sundius says. “When we let our creativity flow, we are able to utilize our technical skills to their full potential.”

IO Music Academy launched virtual courses after COVID, and enrollment increased nearly tenfold, as prospective students in Australia, Canada, Thailand, and other countries continually reached out.   

“What started as an attempt to remain profitable has now become an integral part of the business that we plan to grow for the foreseeable future,” says Nick Garcia, an instructor at IO.

By contrast, LA’s ICON and London’s Point Blank offered online courses before COVID, which have continued growing during lockdown. When physical instruction closed at ICON, they transferred their entire in-person program to Zoom, rebranding as “ICON Remote.” Students were able to keep their same teachers and schedules while attending from home, and all classes remained live. This differs from ICON’s Online program, which is primarily video-based.

“[Remote has] provided incubation for fantastic creativity,” says Chevy Bhorntus, Director of Education at ICON Collective. “There is more depth, focus, and drive within the underlying message of the music.” 

Point Blank’s online programs are near duplicates of their physical programs, conducting live instruction in the virtual space rather than the physical space. This made for a far simpler transition when COVID hit, allowing management time to hire more touring artists.

“We have instructors who have come from tour to teaching and they’re incredibly passionate about it,” says Jay Ryall, Music School Manager of Point Blank Los Angeles. “It’s opened their eyes to new possibilities.”

But young artists don’t necessarily need institutions like IO, ICON, or Point Blank to develop their talents, and many established artists are now hosting their own virtual lessons, often with one-on-one sessions.  

“You can’t beat one-on-one,” says Megan Frey, a student of Blanke, real name John-Paul Orchision. “[Orchison] allows sessions to be open format. We touch on topics that are of interest to me, or that I need help with.”

Orchison, a bass producer from Canberra, Australia, hadn’t taught production traditionally prior to COVID. Just before the pandemic, he was traversing the globe with Black Tiger Sex Machine as a part of their Futuristic Thriller Tour until the entire tour fell victim to the worldwide ban on gatherings. Following that disappointing occurrence, Orchison almost immediately shifted his energy towards education though, and as a result, found joy in imparting his wisdom and skills to the next generation. 

“I definitely get a kick out of teaching. It’s been nice to give back where I can, especially now that there is more time to do that,” says Orchison.

Orchison teaches over Zoom, but he is also taking advantage of content subscription service Patreon, which allows for a more seamless monetization structure when sharing content or lessons.

“[On Patreon] I will be making educational videos on production that will be different to the one-on-one sessions by focusing on a more tutorial-styled approach to techniques, plugins, and things I’ve found useful,” Orchison says.

Johannesburg-based house producer Kyle Watson has developed several memberships via Patreon, costing between $5 and $20 per month. 

“Currently I have three tiers. As an Awesome patron, you receive access to my tutorial library, my Discord, and participation in sample challenges. As an Awesomer patron, you receive those benefits plus your own Discord chatroom, as well as a monthly personal session with me and private Q&A sessions. Finally, as a Double Awesomer, you receive all of the above, plus an extra session per month,” says Watson.

Watson currently has over 200 Patreon subscribers, some of whom have voluntarily pledged custom monthly rates to support him during this tumultuous time — a clear indication of how much young artists value education, and, perhaps, seeing their favorite artists stay afloat when other income sources have dried up.

Although students greatly relish the opportunity to both learn from and support their favorite artists through Zoom, Patreon, or Twitch, Discord is the platform that ties everything together. Serving primarily as a message board, Discord allows students and fans to speak directly with one another. Best of all, it’s constantly available, so students can continue sharing music and discussing gear and production tips long after class is over.  

“The community attitude on the Discord is great,” Watson says. “There has been a ton of great music, content, and resources shared over the past few months.”

Despite the success of these online communities, one question looms large: Will artists keep teaching after COVID? While Sundius says he’d like to work teaching into his touring schedule, most artists we spoke to alluded to touring once again becoming the focus. In the meantime, however, teaching has provided a lifeline for artists, while offering eager young producers the chance to gain invaluable experience. 

“Education buys you time,” says Sydney native Laura Patterson, who DJs and produces as Sippy.

After serving as Director of  The Academy, a DJ/Music Production School with three campuses across Australia, Patterson attended ICON Collective via their Online Program. Now she’s teaching private lessons, while hosting production streams on Twitch and running a Discord server. Most importantly, she understands exactly how much time and energy she’s saved through focused education. 

“It would’ve taken me four or five years to learn the same things I learned in such a short amount of time,” Patterson says. “You have to make mistakes when you’re learning, but there are also a lot of mistakes you can cut out.” 

Harry Levin is a freelance journalist, find him on Facebook.

On Wednesday, September 30th, event professionals from thousands of cities in over 20 countries will #LightItInRed for the Stand As One campaign to support the live events industry.

Created by The Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLSA), the #WeMakeEvents campaign first launched in April 2020 to bring awareness to the destructive impact COVID-19 was having on the live events sector. Since its launch, the initiative has grown to include over 21 industry bodies spanning 20 nations..

Following the success of their Red Alert action day in August, #WeMakeEvents has announced a second day of solidarity called Stand As One that will take place on Wednesday, September 30th.

The global campaign objective is to focus on the crews, production companies, and venues behind events and bring attention to the fact that the live events sector urgently needs support from governments to survive the pandemic crisis. 

Across the globe from 20:00 local time, thousands of venues and workplaces will light their buildings red and, where possible, hold socially-distanced demonstrations under the #WeMakeEvents and #LightItInRed banner.

Show solidarity for the people who make our shows and festivals memorable and unique by posting the #WeMakeEvents and #LightItInRed banners on social media. A toolkit has been created to maximize effort and consistency, including logos, video assets, images, and guidelines, which can be found here.

Global Events Day essential information can be found here.

Find more information on fundraising for #WeMakeEvents here.

Get to know Afterlife’s Mathame — the formidable techno duo from Italy driving their music forward with an eruptive force.

Matteo and Amedeo Giovanelli don’t look like brothers, but they definitely act like them. They overlap as they speak and take pleasure in winding each other up. “Amedeo’s a Call of Duty champion now,” says Matteo. “He’s thinking about a career change to a professional player.” 

Amedeo rolls his eyes. “I was in a super small flat without a terrace for the whole lockdown,” he explains. “I was going crazy.”

The brothers, better known as Mathame, were expecting to play more than 150 shows this year, but only managed 16 before they were locked in their apartments in Bergamo, Northern Italy, one of the first cities in Europe to shut down. Instead of playing Fabric, Awakenings, and Tomorrowland the brothers spent their days playing Xbox, soundtracked to siren sounds, and Pavarotti performances. But they don’t want to dwell on the hideousness of that time.

“It was very hard,” says Matteo. “But it’s passed and now things are better. The cases are stable. Everything is under control.”

The brothers didn’t waste too much time during lockdown. They stayed in near constant contact, producing remotely and laying down the foundations of their first full-length album. Pre-COVID, Mathame were fast becoming dance floor heroes with fan bases sprouting up around the world, but this emergency stop button hasn’t dampened their spirits or swallowed their ambition. They simply plan on adapting to the new world. “The question is, how can dance music evolve in this time?” Says Matteo. “How will we listen to music in future? If our future is this, we need to re-think dance music.”

Mathame formed in 2015, when Matteo was 27 and Amedeo 15. Their parents ran a pirate radio station in the ‘80s called Radio Taxi in a building near the family home. “It was completely avant-garde,” Matteo says. “They played dark wave, rock, punk. When they stopped they brought all 20,000 types of vinyl and cassettes back to the house with mixers, turntables, and speakers.” Matteo remembers standing on a stool age four, headphones on, vinyl rolling, pretending to spin tracks like a DJ.

Matteo studied piano as a kid, DJed clubs as a teen, and then moved to Milan to study film directing. Amedeo studied violin but was frustrated by the slow professional progress and how often he’d get floored by Russian child maestros half his age. Mathame was a way for the brothers to explore their love for music on their own terms in a medium with few social constraints and room to grow. Four months after they started the project, they moved to the foot of the most active volcano on Earth. 

“It’s not a common move,” says Matteo thoughtfully. “Our parents bought a farm in a forest near the foot of Mount Etna. It was a life-changing choice and a bit crazy. But we moved with them to help build the business.”

The first Mathame tracks were produced in spare moments between cleaning guest rooms, working in the restaurant, and wiping volcano ash off windscreens. “We were in the forest, alone,” Amedeo says. “Except for the guests, we didn’t know anyone. We were deeply affected by the place.”

When Mount Etna isn’t erupting, it’s thinking about it, and the brothers say they could feel the constant rumblings in their chests. “It’s subtle, but it’s there,” Matteo says. “You live in the clouds. There’s no grass, just lava. It looks like Mars.” The brothers say the landscape impacted the way they made music. “We went dark. We used heavy soundscapes, thunderous bass, strange noises.”

Matteo began studying composition and came up with a set of “rules” that they still use to produce every Mathame track. They can’t possibly share what those rules are, but they hope it makes their style instantly recognisable. “We want people to listen for five seconds and say, ‘this is Mathame’,” Amedeo says. 

Their style ranges from dub techno to melodic house to electronica, but every track has an ethereal, dream-like quality. Listen to Mathame with your eyes closed and you’ll soon drift to some euphoric galaxy where stars rise and comets rush by in time for the drop. It wasn’t long before Tale Of Us wanted a taste of Mathame’s recipe, and their first track, “Timeshift,” was released on Afterlife in 2016. The secret to getting noticed by Tale Of Us from the bottom of Mount Etna? Message them. Relentlessly. 

“I was breaking Matteo (Milleri)’s balls a lot,” says Amedeo. “Too much. I was very focussed on Afterlife. We’d been following them since their first release. We’re such fans because we feel something really honest in their music.” Once they had Afterlife’s backing, Mathame began playing showcases around the world — Ibiza, Prague, LA, India — and were soon booked outside the Afterlife fold playing DC-10, Parc del Forum, and ADE. Their tracks got snapped up by Systematic Records, Oddity and Souvenir, and the brothers were making friends in high places along the way. Recently, Mathame received a lot of attention for their release “Never Give Up” (Ministry Of Sound/B1 Recordings) which was named Essential New Tune by BBC Radio 1’s Pete Tong. But it’s the remixes that got the town talking.

“We met Diplo at Sound Tulum last year,” says Amedeo. “We stayed in contact and when the track came out we asked about a remix. He loved the track, so that’s how it happened.” 

The remix divided listeners. Diplo fans loved it, Mathame fans not so much. One dismissed the collaboration as “very odd.” But the remixing didn’t stop there. With a music taste that spans the spectrum of dance music, Amedeo hit up his friend and underground Giegling hero Vril to remix the same track. Vril’s dark, thundering mix couldn’t have been further from Diplo’s peak-time floor filler, but Mathame delight in this disparity. Adriatique, ZHU, and Lost Frequencies remixed the track too, so within a couple of months Mathame’s listenership expanded to reach every possible corner of dance music. “No one was listening to the radio in their cars,” Matteo says. ”So we pushed the release in different ways, and it worked out.”

It’s been a turbulent year for Mathame. Besides COVID, their favourite venue, Beirut’s The Grand Factory, was destroyed by the devastating explosion in August. When Mathame played there last year, they extended their live set from two hours to six. The club was jam-packed until 8 am, the crowd “out of control,” Matteo says, adding that he still gets goosebumps when he thinks about it. “Hi to everyone in Beirut,” he says. “We love you.

Despite 2020’s never-ending roadblocks, the brothers will continue to drive their music forward at breakneck speed, refusing to adhere to expectations and happy to commit their lives to the dance music they love. And when they finally get to unleash the horsepower they’ve been building up this year, they’ll make Mount Etna look like a molehill.

Alice Austin is a freelance writer from London, based in Berlin. She writes for Mixmag, Beatportal, Huck, Dummy, Electronic Beats, and more. She likes to explore politics and youth culture through the lens of music, a vocation that has led her round the world. She can be reached and/or followed via Twitter and Instagram.

We catch up with Egyptian trance duo Aly & Fila, whose collaboration with Plumb, “Somebody Loves You,” just hit Beatport’s overall top spot.

Congratulations on your Beatport number one! It’s very rare these days that a trance release reaches the top spot. Did you already have a chance to celebrate the news?

Thank you so much! It is very rare, and I think we are the only ones who did it with the 140 BPM uplifting trance style. The more significant achievement, in our opinion, is that we didn’t have to change our style to get to that. Of course, we celebrated, but it would have been even better if we had shows last weekend. 

The original of “Somebody Loves You” is a song by singer-songwriter Plumb, who became known in the trance scene through her collaborations with Paul van Dyk. How did the remix happen?

We have been huge fans of hers as a singer and songwriter since her collaboration with Paul. We went through her music online and found “Somebody Loves You” and fell in love with it from the first time of hearing it. So our management asked her for the stems for a possible remix from us. After we had finished it, they were really happy with our version, and we were then able to release it as a collaboration.

Your version has probably been the most anticipated trance release of the year. When did you first notice people had a special connection to it?

The first time we tried it out was last year in Bangkok in our Future Sound of Egypt 600 celebration show. We closed our set with it, and we remember well the messages we got from fans asking about the ID at the end, and the same happened with every event after that. So we knew the track was going to be big. 

You’ve been releasing songs for more than 15 years, and unlike many other producers in the scene, you’ve always stuck to your uplifting trance sound. Why?

It’s simple — we love it so much and it doesn’t matter how popular it is right now. All that matters is that we are doing what we love, which was why we started our music career. But it doesn’t mean we don’t like or produce other styles. 

You are both from Cairo. How is the Covid-19 situation in Egypt? What effect has the current crisis had on your productivity as musicians?

Yes, we both live in Cairo, and that’s where we have spent the last months. To be frank, the health situation here has been completely fine. This long time off was a blessing for us, family-wise, and also musically. Expect a lot from us in the future.

The British techno phenomenon has shared an open letter addressing sexual assault, harassment, and rape in the dance music industry.

Last week, celebrated techno DJ and producer Rebekah launched the #ForTheMusic initiative on social media. The campaign starts with a petition and an open letter that Rebekah published on Change.org.

In the letter, she outlines her own experiences facing sexism in the industry, and how “systematic and rampant” sexual harassment and abuse are still a serious problem.

“We can no longer excuse the behavior of high profile artists because they are high profile anymore. That is corruption,” Rebekah states in the open letter. “Sexual harassment, assault, and rape can no longer be accepted. Not in our culture, not in our places of work, not inside our venues, festivals, or after parties. And if for a moment, my friend, you think that you are not as responsible as I or any other to combat this and protect your friends, myself, or each other, then you are definitely no friend of music.”

She also outlines the goals of the campaign and the pledge in the letter. It ensures that artists, employees, and audiences are protected against sexual harassment, guarantees a safe workplace for industry employees, demands an end to the culture of silence, and holds clubs accountable for ensuring a safe space free from sexual harassment.

“This new era and post-corona world has allowed us the opportunity of a blank slate,” the letter continues. “And it is time to decide what that will look like. And this is the time to decide which side of history we are on… Together, we can bring the Dance Music Industry back to its roots.”

The launch of the #ForTheMusic campaign comes paired with the launch of the website Metoo-music.com, where survivors of sexual abuse can share stories, get help, and find the resources they need.

Participants are encouraged to download the poster for the #ForTheMusic initiative (or create their own) and post a black-and-white photo of themselves and the reason they aim to end the culture of silence in dance music.


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After all the reports coming out from women who have been sexually assaulted in the industry at the hands of powerful men had really made me analyse the scene and how it really is fucked up. We have turned a blind eye, stayed silent and let things carry on how they have always been for far too long. 👇🏽 After deciding I would like to mentor people to help bring them in to the industry it became apparent I was unable to do this unless I stood up and tried to fight to make the industry a safer place all round. How can I mentor women and members of the LGBQT++ community, knowing they will face sexism, harassment and at worst, assault and rape and stay silent on this issue. 👇🏽 We have a great opportunity to now assess what kind of industry we want to return to when it opens back up, what kind of people we place in these powerful positions and how we can we make clubs, festivals and after parties a safer place. 👇🏽 We all must be accountable and speak up about the abusers, allow people the benefit of the doubt when claiming abuse, as many stay silent for fear of retribution. To really look out for one another in our venues and parties. 👇🏽 So with this I’m asking you to read and sign an open letter on change.org asking the industry to be accountable to make changes, to look out for our most vulnerable because after 24 years in this industry I see we have made little to no progress in ending the culture of silence. 👇🏽 Will you stand with me? #ForTheMusic 👇🏽 Link is in the biog ☝🏼☝🏼☝🏼 And if you’re tagged, I know 💯 you are in it #ForTheMusic and asking you to stand with me and share the message, together we are stronger 🖤 To join the campaign, download the poster #ForTheMusic or create your own and share a b/w photo with the reasons to end the culture of silence and why you are #ForTheMusic and please share the link http://chng.it/rZG6TC9Z

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