photogroffee: east sooke park

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A week and a half ago we went for a photogroffee/hike in East Sooke Park. We parked at Pike Road’s parking lot and then went straight for the view point on the ocean. It was spectacular. The trails ended up being somewhat treacherous as we headed east along the coast so we cut in towards the old copper mines before climbing partially over a mountain on the way back to the parking lot.
Cool stuff:

  • You can see more photos from the same walk here – penguin graphic
  • Bergamot Studios development continues.
  • VEMF continues to roll ahead with planning and marketing for August 2nd and 3rd. Demo applications for artists are pouring in and the application will continue to be open until June 8th.
  • My good friend Justin (you may know him from his Shiloh project) has started up a music making business called moreh and zuhr – composition and production with a colleague named Zuhr and they’re already off to the races. They’re represented by Four Bars Entertainment, who are responsible for the music in games such as World of Warcraft, Guitar Hero III, Gears of War, Lord of the Rings, Shrek the Third, The Da Vinci Code, etc. This is a huge advance and I’m very excited for them.

Look below for sixteen more photos from the photogroffee session.

Continue reading photogroffee: east sooke park

things in the works

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There are a number of things going on right now. I guess I better make a list:

  • The photo above is of one of our African Zebra Cichlids. Yes, those are eyes inside its mouth. There are fish swimming around in there – it’s a mouth brooder.
  • The Victoria Electronic Music Festival is happening on August 2nd and 3rd. I am now the Creative Director of the festival and a big chunk of the responsibility is in organization and things that have nothing to do with Creative Direction. So I updated the website last night here – www.vemf.ca. The Artist Application form is open until June 8th – we pushed it back a week to give more folks an opportunity to apply, so please do so if you’re intending on playing this year. We also have the volunteer application form up for those who want to apply to join the team that puts on the event – please have a look if you are so inclined!
  • The GDC Rock Awards are on Saturday and I am excited to be going to the gala event. Should be a blast to hang out with a ton of designers for a fine dinner and recognition of great design.
  • Google has started showing products inline on certain people’s google accounts when they do searches. What does this mean? Well for me, it means that AFK is showing up in searches in a more meaningful way. Have a look at AFK and Dustin H here, and AFK at Juno Download. That means that I can provide more meaningful links to buy my music now, instead of deeplinks into a Beatport flash-based store. This also means that Beatport has some work to do, as compatible sites start to have their products indexed by google. This has everything to do with the principles of Data Portability and I love seeing stuff like this roll out. If you snooze on stuff like this, and you have a big store, you will ultimately lose out as this movement continues to grow and gains momentum. Sure everyone surfs for music at Beatport right now, but that may change soon enough in the future as standards for music clips and music stores on the web begin to emerge, and multi-music store browsers emerge to gain popularity. I have many more thoughts on this subject, but they’ll have to wait.
  • My appearance on Proton Radio today has been postponed until Thursday of next week – May 29th at noon PST, or 3 PM EST.
  • The Sunset Room is having an anniversary party on Saturday the 24th and I’ll be DJing at the stroke of midnight. Hope to see you there!
  • My AFK remix of John Morgan and Kevin Shiu is coming out on Powerplant Music soon. Both the original mix and my remix will be in my mix next week on Proton Radio, so have a listen to that show if you want a sneak preview.
  • You can now use gravatars on my site – this means you can automatically have a photo appear beside your comment each time you leave a comment. Gravatars work on many sites and the way it works is you associate an image with a verified email address, which Gravatar then uses to identify you in blog commenting areas. If you have a blog and its powered by Movable Type or WordPress, you can use this on your own site as well. Installation of the plugin is dead simple and I was done in about 5 minutes.
  • I turn 30 on Friday
  • Matt Darey has been spinning Seismic – the track I wrote with Dustin H. He appears to like the Shiloh remix. Neat to see someone who has been so influential to me (partly via Lost Tribe) return the favor around a decade later.

Okay, I really have to go now. Ciao!

AFK on Pure.FM 2008

Pure.FM is an all-house/progressive house station so I decided to have some fun with that limitation. I started off with the Formulate remix of me and Thor’s Royal Assassin tune, “Turn of Twilight.” Formulate’s remix starts off pretty minimal but soon enough the layers come in a careful and clinical way. From there it’s straight into the breakdown of Quivver’s new “Surin,” an unsuspecting but utterly beautiful production from John Graham – one of the gems of 2008 for certain. This leads to Matt Rowan and Jaytech’s remix of Lush, my best selling track to date. Nick Muir’s “Airtight” is next as we prepare to take things up several notches in intensity – the layers really start to build here, as does the atmosphere. Traveller and Quests classic remix of Ocean Wave’s “Clearwater” gallops in and places itself square in the middle of the mix, emphasizing that yes – this will be four on the floor the whole way through. Another gem from the past, “Leaving Planet Earth,” is remixed by Dousk from drum and bass into progressive house. Nice work by Dousk there. The atmosphere begins to peak out with a new track by Retroid and Fretwell called “Vertical Horizon.” If you place all these track names together you get some sort of storyline here and it’s kind of neat. One of the de-facto progressive house tracks, in my opinion, is this Tarrentella vs. Redanka remix of Andy Ling’s “Fixation.” It’s pretty old – and it sounds it, but did you know it’s 8 years old? That’s older than it sounds. It has aged well, very well and fits nicely between that new Morphosis track and the new Pacific Front track, Seismic, which finishes off the mix. Thanks to Kennedy for having me on the show.

Tracklisting:

  1. Royal Assassin – Turn of Twilight (Formulate remix) [Pacific Front Recordings]
  2. Quivver – Surin (Original mix) [Boz Boz]
  3. AFK – Lush (Matt Rowan and Jaytech remix) [Proton Music]
  4. Nick Muir – Airtight (D-Nox and Beckers remix) [Vapour]
  5. Ocean Wave – Clearwater (Traveller and Quest remix) [Vapour Recordings]
  6. Talisman and Hudson – Leaving Planet Earth (Dousk remix) [Too Much Information]
  7. Fretwell and Retroid – Vertical Horizon (Michael and Levan remix) [Morphosis Recordings]
  8. Andy Ling – Fixation (Tarrentella vs. Redanka remix) [Hooj Choons]
  9. AFK & Dustin H – Seismic (Original mix) [Pacific Front Recordings]
Download: AFK – Pure.FM: May 2008 (mp3)

Right click and Save As, or option-click the link on a Mac to automatically download

oh really?

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I am not too sure what was going on here or exactly when this was taken. As you can see I was not holding the camera – I think Graham had picked it up and snapped a few shots while we were at Adam and Jessica’s housewarming. What do you think we were being told when we had this look on our faces?

thank you internet!

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The internet is many things, and this very website is one of those things. The other things are somewhere else and I’ve been holding back a few links to those things for some time now – I’ve been waiting for an appropriate post to link from, however I have decided I am not interested in writing about all the stuff I want to link to – some of it yes, but not all of it. Plus I just don’t have time to write about everything I am interested in. Since I am on an internet-related post, I think it’s appropriate to link to some completely random stuff in no particular order:

  • Fred and Sharon’s Movies – Who needs a movie? You might. I have been sitting on this one for a while. This comes by way of Ken – who is so busy making websites for other people that he doesn’t have his own at the moment. Yes, this is real.
  • Silverio – yepa yepa yepa. Dance sensation. Apparently some people have not seen this yet. Occasionally worth referencing. Definitely worth knowing.
  • Two new mixes by djfractal – The second mix is what I want to point you at: Vainglorious, is all massive progressive house and other and, as the title suggests, glorious and certainly a bit vain, especially considering I am linking you to it because of the tracklisting. The only thing puzzling me here is the absence of any Royal Assassin work since that would up the vain-listing a bit – Royal Assassin is our alias for making epic music of deceit, wonder and such and such.
  • phonemyphone.com – This is a web service that will call your cell phone in case you lost it. This is most remarkable because of how completely exploitable it is. It looks completely and utterly abusable, but also looks like a useful service for the time that it will remain up. Quick, lose your phone so you can take legitimate advantage of this. Thanks to the superb lifehacker for the link.
  • PlaysForSure – oh dear. The essay is titled “the day the music died,” but don’t let this dissuade you from reading it. If you know anyone who uses the Microsoft Zune or MSN Music or any of the “playsforsure” services, this is a must read. Don’t wait til September to see baffled folks on the dinner time news complaining about this. It is happening and there is a date set by Microsoft already. Thanks to Darren for the link to the essay.

That’s all I can think of right now. Looks like I had a few things to say about each one. There are a few other things I love right now but I’ll leave them in 4chan for the time being.

an interview with matt what

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Recently I had the opportunity to do a question and answer session with Matt Thibeault, aka Matt What, who is a mainstay of the Victoria DJ scene, and is also currently serving as the Coordinator and Technical Judge for the Hush DJ Competition. Lately he’s been taking things up a notch with his community oriented efforts and also adding some unique elements to his live performance, so naturally I wanted to find out a bit more about what he’s up to and his general outlook on music, competition, and what inspires his efforts:

Tell us a little bit about yourself – how long have you been DJing for and what is your general musical background?
Hi there. I’ve been DJing professionally for just under seven years. I say professionally as I perform quite regularly and am well paid for it, but it’s still a hobby in the sense that school and my day job take up more of my time.

My general musical background is pretty varied. The saxophone was my first instrument, but I never touch the bloody things anymore. I can bull[bleep] my way through piano and I’m a half decent bass player. I play guitar a lot. A lot. It’s my favourite for sure. I played in a few rock bands in high school and college, but when I started going to raves that all slipped away. Lately I’ve been wanting to get back into it and I think I’ve found a few people to start something up with. We’ll see.

What got you into DJing? Who has been your inspiration, and where do you draw influence from as a performer?
When I first started going to raves (this is in Vancouver in the late 90s) I had a really cool girlfriend who had a really cool little brother who had a pair of 1200s. I’d goof around on those and I picked it up pretty quick. I never really had any intention of playing out, but I ended up working at a shop with Kenzie Clarke and she introduced me to that side of it; namely, the boys from The Nomad Collective and Dizzy Productions. I’m pretty happy she did.

I don’t know if I could really pin point what I draw influence from on stage. I don’t really think much when I’m up there. I know that sounds weird, as I’m a very animated guy up there, but it’s true. I get stressed out and scared as all hell before I’m on stage (to the point of throwing up sometimes), but as soon as I put a record down my brain shuts down and I just go off.

Who are your favorite producers, and what do you like most about them?
I don’t really follow many producers. I follow a lot of bands and recording artists, but on the underground techno/house/breaks/whatever side of things there’s no one I really follow religiously. I find way too much emphasis is put on production techniques over song writing on that side of the musical world and haven’t found many guys that I really dig all the time. My record crates are a hodgepodge of so many different producers, few of which repeated more than once or twice.
You are heavily involved with the DJ competition at Hush Nightclub. Tell us about the DJ competition – where it’s been, and what is going on right now, and what the vision for the future of the competition is.
I love the Hush DJ Challenge. I’ve been talking about it at length for a few months now, so please forgive me if I’m of few words on the subject. All sorts of information can be found at the Hush website (HushNightClub.ca) as well as in Monday Mag and RaveVictoria.com. As to where it’s been… well for me, I’ve finished in just about every position you can over the years; finalist, semi finalist, and I’ve been taken out in my first round too. Now i’m running it, so I have a somewhat unique perspective. What I always loved about those first three years was how it rewarded the all around DJ. To win, you had to be a crowd pleaser, a turntablist, and a progressive mixer all at the same time. One thing I wanted to improve upon from that spirit was to really detail it out, on paper. There is a ridged marking scheme this year. I feel that taking some of the subjectivity out of the marking has really given it a lot more credibility. The future of the comp? Bright and long.
Who has been impressing you so far?
I think it would be inappropriate to discuss that while we’re still in the middle of it.
How do you see the DJ competition fitting into the scene, and what would you say the importance of it is?
Exposing new kids for sure. We live in a town where everyone and their dog DJs. It’s hard to get noticed in that kind of ocean of talent.
Returning to you as a performer, recently you did a combined performance with Fractal aka Thor Kell – how did that go and can you explain exactly what you guys did? How was it different than a regular gig for you?
Let me say this: I love Thor so much. That kid rules and that show was insane. Four 1200s, three CDJ 1000s, two mixers, and an electric guitar. When one of us was mixing, the other was dropping samples or scratching or rocking out big solos on the guitar. Total chaos. Favourite show I’ve ever played. We’re hoping to do it again in the near future. DJing with another person at the same time really adds a lot of energy to the performance. No better way to play.
Where can people see you DJ?
People can see me play at Hush, usually twice a month (Saturdays mostly, but sometimes Fridays). I play the occasional rave too. I’d like to play more.
Do you have any new mixes coming out soon that you’d like people to keep an eye out for?
Well, Thor and I recorded our set from Hush the other night. Not sure if I’ll do a full release of that, but we’ll see. I try to put out a solo mix once a year and I’m a bit past due on that right now. I put it off a lot as I hate recording. As soon as I figure out a name I’ll start laying it out. Have I mentioned that I hate recording?
Are there any sites that you’d like people to check out?

Thanks to Matt What for his time and also for sharing his thoughts!