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PORTLAND-2

Week 6 – Portland, Oregon

track of the night….
Sometimes this one works and sometimes it doesn’t. in Portland it REALLY worked.
Get Low – Justin Martin – dirtybird (mp3 clip)

Portland Overview –
It was a weird tour week. Sometimes i do these gigs where i leave around 8pm to a West Coast city and am back in the morning almost like I never left. Portland was scheduled like this.

Lets start with the apartment where they put me up. I think it was probably the pimpest lodging I’ve ever stayed for a US DJ gig. Someone built this amazing modern building just before the housing bubble burst. Now they use them for anything and everything possible including DJ lodging. I felt bad for the owner but good for me!

I was booked for a 3 or 4 hr. set at most but i ended up playing the WHOLE night…almost 6 hours until my plane left the next morning. The crowd was very Northwest rave style and super enthusiastic.*** I maybe played a little long past 5 am but it was a scenario where i either get a 45 minute nap or I just played it out. Of course i decided to play it out so the people who stayed got to hear some funny weird stuff like Christian Martin’s Yo Gabba Gabba bootleg.

There’s a Party in My Tummy (Christian Martin bootleg) mp3 clip

Thanks so much to the very enthusiastic Portland crowd and also Jeff and Cynthia for putting together the event. Who would have guessed that and outdoor event in the middle of winter could be so awesome. I will definitely be going back (and wearing a warmer jacket) Of course staying up all night straight through seems like a great idea until you actually get home and your two little kids want to play games all day. I was a trooper but i got some serious sleep the next night…maybe made it to 8pm at most.

portland 2

The Hippies
****Let’s take a second to talk about a current phenomenon going on in America. Back in the day the hippies would all follow the Grateful Dead. Then when Jerry Garcia died there was a giant void that was filled by jam bands like Phish. Never before in this evolution has electronic music been a part of the hippie equation. But recently somehow a new breed of hippie has risen up. The burning man folks have taken over the reigns and dubstep has emerged as the music of choice. This seems like a very unusual combination but take it from me, i have seen it with my own eyes. 4,000 hippies going insane to UK dubstep in Yosemite national park at a festival called “Symbiosis.” The even crazier part of this is that an American guy called Bassnectar is the Dj of choice for this sound. He draws the biggest crowds and is the most sought after and he never leaves the states. This is incredible to me that an American Dj is playing UK dance music and making 10’s of thousands every gig and never setting foot outside of the USA.

Portland on Friday had a little bit of that vibe going on which made me want to comment on this phenomenon. My sets at Symbiosis and at Rain dance on Halloween this year showed me the possibilities in America for my brand of tech house as well as Dubstep. The hippie’s are actually the most enthusiastic, creative crowds in the USA. I will be pursuing gigs to play at these shows because the crowds are crazy, fun, and there are always a lot of naked people running around. In Portland i felt like there would have been some nakeds if it hadn’t been for the freezing cold temperature in the outdoor tent. The lines between jam bands and electronic music are definitely getting blurrier because I was the last show as part of a 3 day Reggae festival! I may not look like or be an actual Hippie but i do get a free pass because my home address is on Haight St. San Francisco. (an automatic hippie club qualification.)

Week 6 – San Francisco – Wednesday night – surprise Drum n Bass vinyl set

Track of the night. Everything Drum n Bass

SF
This wasn’t really a tour date but I was booked to play an all vinyl set in San Francisco around the holidays. The guy who booked me owns Tweekin records down on Haight st. where I bought all my very first house records. dirtybird have been selling our records there since the start of the label. Back in the day this was the place where you would see every big SF and international DJ on any weekday. The current owner, Manny (M3) is a long time SF DJ who is part of one of SF’s longest running house crews called Green Gorilla.

twikkin pic

My very first vinyl had about 10 test pressings total. i gave them away to people but maybe 3 of them were for sale in Tweekin. You can hear that my production wasn’t quite there yet, but this is the very first thing i ever had on wax as “Barclay Crenshaw.” (about 2 years before dirtybird 001. You can see that the original record label name was supposed to be Rook Records (Rook is now the name of my publishing company.) dirtybird was just a better name for a label so i changed it before the first record. If anyone could find a copy of that vinyl i would be really impressed.

Barclay Crenshaw – Banana Phone – Rook Records (full mp3)

Anyway, I have always been a huuuge drum n bass fan and I decided to do something special at this all vinyl show. I called up Justin Martin who has a nice collection of old “intelligent” Good Lookin’ style DnB vinyl. Then i went through my own harder collection. I even went to go buy some records from this new shop min SOMA run by John Holiday. He had some real hot shit there as well and between the three collections I managed to put together a very historical vinyl set, starting with the old ambient vibey 1995 stuff like on Good lookin and working my way up through Photek and Metalheadz all the way up to the slammin Krust and Dillinja material released around 2002.

It was really fun. People thought i was kidding at first. I could tell some were there for the house trax but I loved playing those basslines!!!! They were rolling around my head for the next two days straight. It was probably the most fun I’ve had Djing in a while. i definitely still love Drum n Bass. That is for sure.

portland pic
A spattering of the records i played.

watergate

Week 3 – Berlin – Friday @ Watergate

Berlin track of the night –

DJ Marky’s drum n’ bass remix of “Aundy” from the album. What a surprise to me that this would be the track in Berlin of all places.  I would have expected this in Manchester or Bristol but not Berlin. Goes to show we had a great crowd that night.

Berlin track of the night “Aundy” DJ Marky & S.P.Y. remix (mp3 clip)

Berlin Overview –

There is something comforting to me about seeing the TV tower in Alexanderplatz and pulling into the East Berlin city center. Like many producers, I tested out the move to Berlin two summers ago and lived there for 3 months. Although i made many great friends and had an amazing time, San Francisco definitely called me back. West Coast for life!

When i got to the apartment where we were all staying, Maetrik, Tanner Ross and I discussed the value of living in Berlin. The guys seemed convinced (and quite annoyed with the idea) that US Djs have it much harder these days unless they move to Berlin. And that it was possible to make it in Berlin solely on DJing if you did drugs with all the right people and and acted cool.  My answer to this was – yeah MAYBE, but there really is no easy way to make it. Those who do not earn it the right way will quickly be discovered and replaced with real talent. It is just as valuable to be from somewhere and represent something that isn’t like what everyone else is doing. Berlin for DJs is like Los Angeles for actors. It is hard to get any perspective when you are living inside the machine. I find it much easier to sit outside of the machine and press buttons.

Even so, Berlin has it’s many many charms as a city that never sleeps. Just to show how many dance music producers live in Berlin – the early stages of our party at Watergate looked more like a producers convention than a show for fans. Sebo K, Jesse Rose, Heidi, Seth Troxler, Jay Haze, Sascha Braemer, Dan Caster, plus all of our people playing, Maetrik, Catz n Dogz, P.toile, Justin Martin, Tim Green, Voodeux – it was like a world Summit of house DJs. And then just imagine all of these people have agents and managers and friends who are also in the business. It was insane. This was the second time we had done our event with mothership on the water floor and dirtybird on the main floor. But from 12:30 to 2 am i couldn’t move an inch because i was trapped in non-stop conversations.

Justin Martin graciously took the warm-up set before me but there was nothing gracious about the music. He had it slithering and shaking in there by 2. The crowd was super primed by the time i got on.  A great set by Justin for sure. All his new bombs blew up in the right spots.  Here’s one for example…

Justin Martin – Robot Romance – dirtybird (mp3 clip)

Wishing i had a chance to see more of everyone’s sets, I went on and started housey, quickly moving through the arsenal to panty dropping bass tracks. The best part of Berlin is that the crowd is usually highly educated and can handle it if you experiment a little bit. I played some things i wouldn’t dare bring out in a place like London.  The room went off and everyone had a great time. It was like throwing a party with all your friends. How could it be bad?

RUNNING OUT ON THE PARTY

Justin and I had to run out of the club right at 5am, the minute my set finished in order to make our flights to the next gigs. I didn’t like the fact that i had to leave my own label event well before it was over and i somewhat sabotaged my own departure. My self fulfilling prophecy unfolded once I got to the airport and saw I was on Easy Jet. I never check my record bag but today i got a particularly bitchy check in attendant who wanted me to check my records AND my laptop and everything. She wanted to weigh it, measure it, and size it. Now i can usually pull some tricks and get around this but not if they are really on me about it. (see top 6 list below**) But my bags are just way to heavy if i get truly busted.

All i could think about was the main room at Watergate going insane to Maetrik while this old Easy Jet lady was telling me my DJ bag isn’t getting on the plane as a carry-on.

As she came from behind her desk to physically measure the dimensions of my hand luggage I totally cracked. Snatching up both my bags I very rudely said “fuck you, have fun with your ruler” and walked out of the airport. (maybe slightly drunk at this point and a little too rude.)  I got straight back in a cab back to Watergate. I walked back into the main room as Maetrik finished and got back on the decks for another 2 hours. Worth it…yes!

Week 3 – Rome – Saturday @ Goa

Track of the night – Stop Lyin

A weird one for track of the night in my sets. A super housey record, rooted in hip hop. But it has a great, classy build up and this room was all about the build ups.

Rusty James – Stop Lyin’ -  mothership (mp3 clip)

Rome – Goa Club

Luckily my agent was able to put together a connection filled flight out of Berlin to save my ass and I still made it to Rome. Needless to say i arrived in Italy dead tired. I went straight to sleep but was woken up by my phone blaring endlessly. I finally picked it up and on the other end was a National Dutch Radio live interview! Fuck! I forgot of course.

In 10 seconds I had to get my head into being cheerful and upbeat, but my voice just sounded like Froggy from the “little rascals.” Grasping for straws and knowing my interview sucked I told the deejay my music was going to make people in Holland want to have sex on the dance-floor. Then i cringed and realized what i just said. So lame! But the guy played along and actually made it funny by commenting, “the way you sound right now I really don’t want to have sex on the dance-floor.”

Oh mang…interviews.

I soon went to dinner with my driver/host, Simone. This guy was a real Italian, really funny and cool without even trying to be. He also just happened to love San Francisco so I instantly bonded with him. One of the best lines that actually left his lips during the night was… “When i was in San Francisco last summer I fucked about 20 girls. I’m not kidding.” This kind of thing would sound insane coming from most people but I actually believed him. He told me the amazing tale of traveling by himself to New York which was “much too fast for me..” and ending up in San Francisco where he rented a room in a building on Polk St. not far from my office.  He said that he knew everyone in his building within 72 hours of arrival due to a half pound bag of weed he bought. He said, “my room was like a shop.” (Imagine the thick Italian accent and the story is better.)

Simone found it completely amazing that people in America would stop and give you directions and that some girls actually would talk to you before you talked to them. This is the kind of guy you wish you knew in high school.

The sound system in Rome was fantastic and my set really worked for the most part. I have to admit i drank a little too much vodka and smoked a little too much weed so it’s a little blury. (there’s goes my presidential campaign.) I ended up out on the dance-floor dancing to who knows what, so for sure i was loaded. Simone ended up dropping me at the airport at 9am. Somehow i boarded and woke up at my connection in Washington DC. All in all, too much fun for an old man like me.

TOP 7 ways for DJs to sneak extra luggage and overweight carry-ons on a plane. Airport restrictions have become the DJs biggest nightmare because if you ever check in your music there is always a chance you will not be working that night. I find this to be an unacceptable risk so i have a strong repertoire of sneaky ways to get heavy Dj bags on the plane. It’s all about preparation and knowing the rules before you get to the desk. if you are more prepared than them you can win this war 99% of the time.

  1. Take all the records and cds out of the bag and hand them to the promoter or driver. Check into the flight with your bag weighing 3 pounds. Once you get the boarding pass, reload the bag with all the heavy stuff.
  2. Do the same thing as step one but do not even show them the bag. (have the promoter hold it for you.)
  3. Roll your bag as close to the counter while the person ahead of you is still checking in. This way, when it is your turn you only look like you have your laptop/backpack item. Since the counters are all very high at the airport the check-in people usually cannot see your bag, they can only see if you roll something up to the counter or not.
  4. Always use your status. Even if you aren’t a “premiere exec” or whatever, always make an attempt to check in the business/first class line. Usually they don’t have time to relegate you to the back of the other line and the business/first check-in people are trained to be much more lenient with the carry-on bag situation.
  5. This one requires dexterity and a cool head. Unzip the top of your Dj bag so that if they ask you to weigh it, you can lean down and quickly pull out the heaviest stack of vinyl or the huge cd wallet in one swift move. (and out of their line of sight.) Then put the bag on the scale with the one heavy bit hiding right in front of the desk. You have to be very quick and smooth but I have done this successfully.
  6. Be extremely confident and happy when checking in. No frowns our bad attitudes. You are this person’s new best friend and you would never lie to them. You are just a wholesome boy or girl from the midwest. They get so many sour faces at their job that if you are a breath of fresh air you could probably carry on a 400 pound iron anvil.

The tour blog!

Nov 27 2008

No, it’s not us in the picture

Since we are out travelling a lot these days we thought we set up a tour blog so that you can follow us when we go to different places and the people we meet. It will be a lot of pictures and some writing on what we do. We probably also will do some interviews with some of the people we meet.

So, what better way to kick it of then when we are flying to Rio, Brazil. Me and Kristian will be there for the weekend to attend the Bacardi B-Live event with Groove Armada, Cicada och The Twelves.

Go to the tour blog for the latest on our adventures.