Archives for posts with tag: Decibel

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Just a few days ago, I posted my glowing Disco Droppings feature on Jimmy Edgar and his Ultramajic label. It’s just so surreal to now have him here for an interview, right on the heels of his Spring 2014 Tour. This string of dates has him in my area of Seattle on March 20th @ Q, via Studio 4/4 and Decibel..

 

DD Hi Jimmy, such a gift being able to talk with you here. This conversation is greatly appreciated.

JE Pleasure is mine. I am humbled by your gratitude.

DD Can you share any inspirations from your recent trip to Egypt? You mentioned meditating inside the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

JE I much prefer this conversation in person, but I might as well relay some of the things that happened since they were so amazing. Obviously, it was a challenge to even decide to go there because of the situation there, but I really convinced myself that it was fine. There were absolutely no tourists, the pyramids were completely empty it was kind of sad to be honest. We did a tour with a Khemit school of Ancient Mysticism and they had diplomatic ties so we were able to go into locked areas. The first locked area we went into was just adjacent to pyramids, but underground. As soon as we entered I thought there was a truck driver over us, and they explained that the sound is always there, and they asked me to sit in a sort of seat and close my eyes. I immediately started seeing geometry in my mind, since I have experiences like this often, I sort of accepted it and moved on. Later on, we go into the King’s Chamber and I was in awe of the design. The wall so straight and flat, and so high inside, no writing on the walls. All the documentaries and photos could not prepare me for the feeling inside there. I just got the feeling that there is much more to the story, it was so intuitive and obvious. Anyways, so we make it up into the King’s Chamber, completely alone again.  Inside the chamber I was so awestruck by the resonant sound of the pyramid. I was hearing such a pure high fidelity vibrating reverberation. The guide tells us it’s completely illegal to do any meditation inside, and there are cameras. But, he basically says the cameras are bullshit and that we should get inside the sarcophagus and he will look out for us. Pilar Zeta, who does the Ultramajic covers with me gets inside and we take turns doing a meditation. I see this geometry in my mind again and I start focusing on it, so now I know it is something connected. She asks me if I saw some swirling tetrahedron type shape in my head shortly after, and I didn’t really plan on saying anything since it was such a personal experience. Hard to say what happened in there, but something perhaps deep and subconscious. For me, the pyramids seem to be some kind of temple or spiritual technology, something about sound and resonance.

We also visited Luxor, which was beautiful.

 

DD How would you describe the Ultramajic energy?

JE The parties are all about having fun. For us, we appreciate when people give us feedback on the artwork, which is our focus now, to create a vibe connected with the music with a lot of artistic integrity. I love working with Pilar because she has a way of not settling for second best. Since we are both hard to please, once we have something that we like, we end up staring at it for hours to make sure it’s up to our standard and something we are proud of. We have an ongoing joke that has stuck, and as long as everything has a bit of fun, a bit of magic, a bit of mystic, and a bit of fashion then we are on.

 

DD Your 2014 Spring Tour is about to begin, with its first stop at the highly esteemed Fabric in London on March 14th. A few days after that, you’ll be returning to my city of Seattle on March 20th at Q nightclub. After seeing you at Decibel Festival 2013 via the Leisure System After Hours showcase, I’m curious about how your upcoming tour will sound. There’s also your recent RA mix, Warehouse Project and Boiler Room sets online. What happens now?

JE The RA mix was more about scaling back and showing a really specific vibe, since I knew people would be listening at home. This was a huge challenge for me because when I DJ out I just want it to bang and people to dance. But really, I can’t comment much because DJ’ing is a very intuitive thing… I need to see faces and bodies moving and the sound system and everything ya know….of course I love playing new music and unreleased Ultramajic…again, it’s all about having fun and getting into a vibe. Recently, in Europe I’ve been playing the first hour of my sets with almost exclusive drum trax. So when the melodies enter it really starts to feel like we are going somewhere. I don’t think this works so much in USA. In the states we don’t have the type of patience that Europeans do for DJs. Americans, for the most part, are expecting some kind of fire because we don’t have the same club culture. That’s fine too, I just feel I gotta tune my set a bit. What I actually do can’t be quantified, it’s all intuitive and felt when I’m there.

DD Are there plans to present more Ultramajic visuals at events? Your graphics are sure to be super trippy in the club environment. 

JE Yes, thank you. Visuals are a big part of what we do, but I am more interested in working with LED and lighting designers. I am not a big fan of projectors, I don’t think they have the impact and brightness I am looking for.

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DD How have your recent fashion projects been going? 

JE I don’t do much these days, but I just shot Pilar Zeta’s fashion line called Holographic Universe for their FW2014 collection. Really amazing designs and I am excited to see them released. The website is up..we worked on this project for months and then flew to LA to shoot it in the studio, we had a really cool team.

DD There are so many pictures of yours that latch onto me. The one of you holding that striking Black Tourmaline stone looked mesmerizing. I’ve become kinda obsessed with crystals lately, always carry something on me. What’s your relationship like with gems and such?

JE Ive always had crystals since I was a child, I don’t know what it is, I just really love them. Well, actually I’m lying, I just pretend I don’t know what crystals do, but I am convinced that what “new age” people say about crystals is true. You can program them and communicate with them. Ever since I was a child I used to always imagine being a room full of crystal walls, it was one of my youngest memories. I don’t understand why some people are so ignorant to the power of crystals, our computer hard disks are made of Silicon. Science already knows that crystals can hold memory. Anyways, you should Youtube “crystal documentary” and you will find this guy called Les Brown, who gives a very boring but informative lecture on the nature of crystals, and for me its important to have the scientific openness to convince myself of the authenticity. A few of my friends who used to be complete fuckups found themselves through crystals, which is quite drastic but really fascinating to see people really get into them. Once you have the belief and you allow yourself to connect, whether it be crystals, nature, aliens or whatever, then you open that door to see what’s possible. For me, I’d rather live in a world of magic and wonder rather than a world of “I can’t”, and limiting yourself to possibilities. I now find myself feeling really bad for people who can’t even consider the possibility. Like I said, just being open makes a doorway for these things to come into your life…but it applies to everything.

 

Jimmy Edgar – Twitter Soundcloud Facebook

jimmyedgar.com

– Jimi Jaxon

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Clark, Clark, motherfuckin’ Clark. It’s surreal to say that just last year I played alongside this revolutionary producer for Decibel Festival 2012. Alongside Jimmy Edgar and Machinedrum, we represented the Warp Records Showcase. I tried with all my might to create a mix that would compliment these awe-inspiring artists, and the experience helped my art evolve to new heights in a very short period.

 

Fresh off the press, I was so excited to see Clark in charge of the latest XLR8R podcast. I’m always curious about what this dude is up to, and now I have new insight. It’s a bizarre, adventurous mix, demonstrating Clark’s wonderfully twisted perspective that I’ve come to love dearly.

 

For those of you living in the Seattle area, Decibel will be bringing Clark back towards the end of November. Jon Hopkins headlines with support from Nathan Fake. No way in hell I’m missin’ this.

 

Clark – Twitter Facebook

– Jimi Jaxon

Event Participant - Performance

About a week after I opened for Bok Bok via Decibel w/ Sounds In Silence (another dB resident DJ), he was over in New York doing this lecture for Red Bull Music Academy. I remember him mentioning a future trip to NY for this presentation, and I’m so pleased with the way it came together. Although I did an in-depth observation of his Night Slugs Infrastructure for Disco Droppings pre-show, I was very laid back with this intriguing man in person. I wasn’t able to go deeper into his mind, and talk about music and the NS aesthetic. Lucky for me, RBMA took care of that, organizing a lecture/interview running a little over an hour.

 

It is a true privilege to hear from Bok Bok in such a lengthy way. You’ll learn about everything from the ideal Night Slugs club environment to the beginnings of the label, the foundational grime influence, new producers to the NS family and the production manifesto for their Club Constructions series. Take notes, Night Slugs & Club Culture 101 commences.

 

Bok Bok – Facebook Soundcloud Twitter

nightslugs.net

redbullmusicacademy.com

– Jimi Jaxon 

 

 

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It’s about time David Kwan is recognized for all his artistic work, and I’m happy to facilitate this. He is a close friend and one of the hardest working people I know. Learn about his efforts for Decibel as a graphic designer and VJ. You can catch him doing visuals live tonight at my Vermillion show. This event has been put together by Tremel; DJ, producer and writer for Disco Droppings and features performances from himself, dod, Max Taylor and me. Hope to see you there. 

DD What drives your graphic design role in Decibel? Are there major themes or concepts being focused on in 2013, for the 10-year anniversary?

DK This year’s creative drive captures the essence of Decibel. Each year of the festival is like a layer of ideas that builds upon one another. The approach was to capture all those ideas from the early beginnings and refine those sets of ideas. In the process I reviewed the profiles of past dB artists, listened to samples of their music, and went through tons of old photographs, down to observing the personalities of the staff. I wanted the 10-year brand to be about Decibel’s community and culture, not just what looks cool. What I discovered was an array of dark tones, which made sense being that the root of Decibel began from the deep underground–no pun intended. 

There was an untitled quote I read one morning on Facebook which said, “You can’t live a positive life without a negative mind,” which made me reflect a little further about this year’s theme. That quote rang true for Decibel and a lot of other things the more I thought about it. In a nutshell, you can’t have yin without yang, and you can’t discredit either. Historically, Decibel has hosted many stark and obscure events, which is what I wanted to extract and condense for this year’s theme. In doing so, participants will be able to witness and experience Decibel for what it really is, and be able to better appreciate it. The night might not be as bright as the day, but it sure as hell is sexy.

DD What led you to become a VJ, and what role do see visual artists playing in a show environment?

DK The funny thing is that I didn’t intend to become a VJ after I was done with college. Being a graphic designer is my full time job, but one of the tools I use to conceptualize new ideas stems from motion graphics. It’s important to understand the different fields of art to help enhance what you do as an artist. Knowing art is good, but it’s not enough to help you evolve creatively. Similar to being a plant biologist, if all you do is focus on plants, you might be missing key knowledge from other fields that may help you discover something groundbreaking. In the end it’s all about holistic thinking; that’s how I stumbled upon becoming a VJ. 

The VJ arena is still very much in its infancy and growing rapidly. It’s sort of overshadowing an era of expensive physical stage production and moving more towards affordable virtual reality as technology advances. That’s not to say building heavy stage sets will become obsolete, but it does mean that stage production is shifting towards a new paradigm. There is a time and place for physical stage sets — plays in theater, for example– but it’s not very practical when you’re talking about a low budget music show. The nice thing about having a VJ during performances, is that it grants stimulating visual access for musicians and their audience, which in the past might not have been possible. In many ways, VJ’s helps the musicians tell their story a little better while helping their audience understand their music a little more. A special dynamic occurs when you combine music, visuals, and a lot of serotonin resonating from the audience.

TobinAmon Tobin, ISAM / Visuals by LEVIATHAN

DD This will be our third time collaborating on a performance. How would you describe the direction of the visuals this time around?

DK This time around we’ll be entering a dystopian science fiction environment, where I’ll be taking everyone though space, then back to Earth and beyond. I don’t really want to spill the beans for anyone, but the goal is to follow the theme of the music set. With that said, your fans could probably imagine the journey I might take them on. Did someone say neo-noir genre? Yep, there’s going to be a lot of that in the visual set. I’m pretty excited to roll out some new eye candy.

943021_4900462314343_1993084720_nJimi Jaxon + David Kwan @ Bok Bok Showcase via Kyle Young aka Tremel

DD Your work as a graphic designer and VJ puts you in the background, where audiences may not see whose behind it all. Do you enjoy this perspective? 

DK “Lord of Light! Come to us in our darkness …'” sorry I couldn’t resist throwing in that “Game of Thrones” reference. I actually enjoy working in the shadows, it gives me the opportunity to focus on my craft behind the computer or behind the stage without a lot of distraction. Sure, it’s not the same as getting full attention from the audience, but I am touched when I see sparkling pupils of joy emanating from the crowd. Especially when I hit the soft strobe or fade in a scene of slow crashing waves headed straight towards the audience. If they’re happy, then I’m happy too.

dakwanDavid Kwan @ Andy Stott Showcase w/ Kid Smpl via Mollie Bryan

DD Where do you hope all this effort takes you in the future? 

DK I’m not really sure, but since I am in the business of creating virtual realities I guess I can go anywhere. :]

dakwan3David Kwan w/ Giraffage

– Jimi Jaxon

 

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I have the utmost respect for people willing to go their own way. In the music world, and life in general, carving out your own individual path can be met with great difficulties. For those with enough determination, it is possible to claim your spot and make a lasting impact. Bok Bok is one such individual, leading the highly innovative Night Slugs label. I was a stage manager for Decibel Festival in 2011 and insisted on working 2 shows; Zomby and the Night Slugs showcase with Bok Bok, Girl Unit and Kingdom. I considered it a high honor to be around these artists and I hoped some of their mindset would rub off on me. I saw a strong leader in Bok Bok when we met; politely guiding the show, making sure everything was up to his standards. That showcase had mad energy as expected and became a highlight of my year.

 

In terms of branding and the overall visual aesthetic, Night Slugs are frighteningly good. They put forth a brilliant vision not seen in today’s dance world. It’s a visual environment filled with architecture, grids and blueprints of sorts. They make me think of strong foundations like the pyramids; cryptic, alien looking creations that are built to last.

Now I’ll focus on some Night Slugs releases that stand especially tall in my eyes..

Velour – The Velvet Collection (NS007) – Lush and sexy at its best. The dreamy synths on this EP go straight to my heart.

 

Egyptrixx – Bible Eyes (NSLP001) – I was dumbfounded when I first heard this title track. Very strange and enticing album.

 

Kingdom – Dreama EP (NS012) – Stalker Ha is the shit, just like the man behind this EP.

 

Jam City – Classical Curves (NSLP002) – A new world has been created inside this album; one that is very bright, diverse and magical.

 

If you wish to experience a set from Bok Bok, you should grab your ticket for his show this Friday @ Chop Suey in Seattle (TIX, Fb Event). This show is put on by Decibel and Shameless and will also feature sets from Sounds In Silence and myself + visuals by David Kwan aka Nanoglobe. Stay tuned for an upcoming Disco Droppings feature where I’ll interview Mr.Kwan; graphic designer and VJ for Decibel. We will talk about his various roles, as well as the immersive visual presentation we are planned for my set.

Bok Bok – Facebook Soundcloud Twitter

nightslugs.net

– Jimi Jaxon