earplug-thereseToday was a really good day – a mix of fun stuff that I personally have loved for years, along with new favorites. I started the day meeting Matt Waterhouse, the British manager who handles many of the biggest UK commercial producer/remixers – Danny Howard, Cutmore, Seamus Haji, Moto Blanco, Cahill, and many more. Sitting with him was the lovely Therese (Swedish singer of “Put em High” with Stonebridge who has started her own label – Vixen records) and Ed of the Wideboys (garage/electro remixers who have done just about every major artist in the world). To say I was having a fanboy moment was putting it lightly, as those who listen to my sets know that I have an unnatural inclination to throwing the Wideboys in the mix and in my many years as a journalist they have always been a dream of mine to meet. So, I held it together, did both interviews – which were lovely, and left with the biggest grin on my face.

earplug-patrick-hagenaarOne thing about Amsterdam Dance Event is no matter how well-scheduled and organized you are, meetings get missed, people disappear, things happen – the secret is to just walk outside and look around and you will find someone else to chat with. I did just that with the lovable Patrick Hagenaar, who I have recently begun following closely. Not that he would be hard to miss – wearing a colorfully printed Adidas trainer jacket and Jeremy Scott-winged high tops. His mixes of Martin Solvieg “Hey Now” and Cash Cash “Take Me Home” are both corkers. It’s also great to meet people who are nicer and more humble than you expect – and that are truly good people. These are the ones that you want to support (and I want to write about). You just feel their energy and know they are coming from a good place.

earplug-seamus-hajiSimilar in vibe is Seamus Haji, who I didn’t know did A&R for Strictly Rhythm for a good while. It’s funny, because I was going to ask him about the big break in his discography and it ends up thats when he was working with Defected. You can always rely on Haji for a solid house mix, a rhythmic twist, and good energy; whether it’s The Gossip or Rihanna – he never fails to deliver. Chatting with him, we dug into some interesting topics that I can’t wait to post about.

Mighty Fools

It was then time for another press call where in secession I spoke to two party duos (Mighty Fools and The Party Squad) and two brand new and young producer/DJs (Erik Arbores and Martin Garrix). As more seasoned veterans, MF and PS (those initials sound a bit vulgar) were both full of energy and talking about their many projects was quite fun. With Erik and Martin, they are both so young (17 years old), I kind of felt like a father figure in a way. It seems like both have good teams around them who are helping guide and give them space to be teenagers as well. Erik was signed at 16 by Armin van Buuuren to Armada, and Martin has arguably the biggest club hit of the year with “Animal.” Both are surprisingly down to earth and friendly/charming in that playful Dutch way.

It was then time to head back to the Dylan for the Urban Ears drink because open bar is always the best time to get people to say stupid things on the record… Just kidding. Sort of… I was gifted with a mini plug sound card that allows two stereo line outs (one for Cue, one for sound system) so that you can DJ with an iPad/iPhone – quite an advancement from the mono splitter most iPad DJs use.

armin-a-breath-of-tranceRealizing it was 7pm and I hadn’t eaten all day, I suddenly got a craving for Wok to Walk- a European chain of fast asian food grilled to order- that I always hit when I finish the ‘dam. So good, so filling, and so decadent on a budget. From there, I was walking through Rembrandplein and was handed a pack of Mentos gum, which was perfect timing. Then I looked at the package and noticed that it was a special Armin van Buuren packaging .. I guess this would be called “A Breath of Trance.”

Julian Jordan and Martin Garrix

Popped into ABE, a club I had never been to before, for the Spinnin party. It was a meet and greet party, and sometimes these can be a bit dodgy because if you don’t already know a few people, it’s hard to network. The vibe here was quite good and I kept popping into people I knew or had just interviewed. Please note that while Martin Garrix and Julian Jordan may have done the track “BFAM” – Brothers From Another Mother – they might as well have called it “Twins from another mother” as the two look so much alike that they are easy to confuse. Running into both of them at the party made me realize that… Luckily they were wearing different shirts. (Note to gay readers – I said twins without a ‘k’ – get your mind out of the gutter.)

Around this time, I got a text about another social-y drink event, hosted by Sea to Sun down on Prinsengracht, a nice sprint to Wok off that last meal. Sylvia Tosun is as charming and beautiful as ever, as was David Vendetta. There were some quite interesting media guys there as well and I had a nice chat with Anthony Lopez of FG Radio US about what they are planning.

don-diabloThen it was time for the adventure. I got another text to come to Toren from Don Diablo. All he said is that it was in an artspace across the pond from Central Station. At the hotel, I asked them to look up the address and they point to me to an address so I got in a cab and went there. Address was horribly wrong, so I got back into the cab and said take me to Central Station. I got out and found the ferry boats and I felt like I was going to a ’90s-era underground rave – where you got a map or cryptic directions and you had to go on an adventure to find it. I chose the first boat, got on, and when arriving, I just walked around. I asked a few people where Toren was and no one knew. I popped on my phone hoping to find a WiFi signal and I saw a faint signal for IndeToren. So basically I treated my phone like a compass and just kept walking in different directions until the signal grew in strength until I ended up at the venue.

Don Diablo is a performer. When I first saw him perform years back, he was one of my personal inspirations – his energy on stage, how he engages the crowd, playing multiple genres and blending them in a unique style. Just yesterday, I wrote about how Quintino didn’t really beatmix and that it seemed odd. While Don doesn’t always beatmix, the way he jumps through styles (similar to open format), it would be possible to mix in the traditional way – you can’t go from electro to trap to dubstep to to mashups to house and back and forth, every few minutes and BPM it. The thing is that it flows so seamlessly that you don’t even notice. He was premiering the new Hexagon projection, a flying robot, and the upcoming Batman track. The visuals are a nice touch but honestly, Don is one of those performers who really doesn’t need it. At one point, the hexagon generator failed and the screen was moved out of the way so you could just focus on dancing with Don. The party got even better. If you ever get a chance to see Don Diablo spin, do it. It’s an experience and you will be sweaty when you leave.

SONG OF THE DAY: Bebe Rexha – “Comeback Kids”

When all the stars align, it gets kind of magical. You’ve heard singer Bebe Rexha before, either with Pete Wentz (of Fall Out Boy) in Black Cards on the club record “Dr Jekyll and Mr Fame,” or on the current dance radio hit “Take Me Home” with Cash Cash. She also cowrote Nikki Williams’ crossover pop hit “Glowing.” With her debut solo single “Comeback Kids,” Bebe takes the spotlight, singing about her background and struggles to be where she’s at today. It’s quite the uplifting party anthem which just happens to have a good message in there as well (if you can look past the f-bomb in the chorus). The dreamy synth-pop song is full of hooks that will quickly get ingrained in your head as you find yourself singing along without realizing it. For some reason, the last bridge feels like it would mash perfectly with New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give.” The tonal quality of Bebe’s voice is quite unique, the only comparison I could imagine would be an amalgamation of Neon Hitch, Charli XCX, and Cherry from the Studio Killers. I am hoping that remixes are forthcoming, because even though its danceable at its current tempo, with the right remix, “Comeback Kids” could easily become a massive commercial club anthem along the lines of Icona Pop’s “I Love it.”

Image Courtesy of Bebe Rexha.

INTERVIEW: Cash Cash (2013)

From rock band to EDM trio, the story of Cash Cash is quite interesting.??Originally a power pop foursome, the band toured with everyone from Cobra Starship to Kevin Rudolf and was even part of the Vans Warped Tour.?As their tastes went more electronic and they started doing more remixes for other artists, their own releases followed suit.??Two buzz records on Spinnin, including the infamous ?Michael Jackson? tribute track, along with their remixes, really increased their presence in the EDM world.??Now signed to Big Beat records with a single ?Take Me Home? exploding on radio, the Jersey boys are definitely ones to watch.

Ron Slomowicz: You guys were originally a rock band, how did you make the move to dance music?
Jean Paul (Cash Cash): It was a slow process, but we were always putting electronic elements into our music. We had keyboards, electronic drums, and we were doing remixes during that time for other artists. We were always in touch with that side of it and we slowly went over to dance music. Eventually we dropped the guitars and it was more keyboard-heavy and from there we dropped the drums and parted ways with our drummer. We just started bangin’ the beats and then we were doing remixes and DJing. It all started to make sense in conjunction with some stuff that we were doing with Spinnin? Records overseas. It worked well, so we’re bringing it back here to the states. We just signed with Big Beat Records of Atlantic and we are doing a whole new thing with them.

Continue reading INTERVIEW: Cash Cash (2013)