/// How did you get involved with the scene, and what draw you to it? ///
It was a new year’s party named Hot Mix '06 in Cedar Rapids, IA. It was my first warehouse rave, and the first time I heard real electronic music in a live setting. Prior to that, I was getting into electronic music for 3 years, near the tail end of high school. I was getting into trance, and wanted to experience dance music in a live setting. I specifically remember one of the main promoters of the event, Coleman Greenhaw aka The Goat, took the stage late in the night. He had absolute crowd control, laying down some of the first techno I'd ever heard. Not only was I hooked by the environment, but watching Coleman play the music the way he did, made me want to pursue DJing. Less than a year later, I had my first pair of CDJs and a mixer that I bought with student loan money. From there it just snow balled. I attended every event I possibly could in Iowa and the Midwest (regardless of genre). I started getting gigs gradually and got asked to be a resident DJ and a member of the Iowa based crew, The Code in 2007. After being part of that crew, they gave me the hands-on experience on what it takes to throw an event.
/// When growing into the scene - where did your music influences come from? ///
Growing up in the scene in Iowa did have its benefits. For one, we were smack dab in the middle of the Midwest, so practically every major city was with reasonable driving distance. Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha were all 4 hours away and Madison was only 2 1/2 hours. So, it was an awesome opportunity to see big names we wanted to, but also experience each cities individual scenes and vibes. Minneapolis was probably my favorite places to travel for events outside of Iowa. Consistently big, consistent variety, and so much talent. Friends and family were made in every major city though, and that fuels artists exchanges for gigs and such.
/// Musically, which area had the biggest influence on you? ///
Musically, my biggest influence and definite shift in my style was my first time attending Movement in Detroit in 2008. I had been to many 3 day festivals of all different types, but nothing resonated with me more than Detroit. The city, the vibe, the grittiness, the attendees, and the simple mathematics of bad ass dance music and dancing without any of the other bullshit that comes with any electronic scene. That kind of explains why this year will be my 10th year in a row of attending Movement haha!
/// During the time you got involved - what roadblocks did your local town/city put up when trying to play our music? ///
As there are benefits to growing up in the Iowa scene, there are also its disadvantages. Number on problem is having venues that allow us to do what we do, especially when it comes to all night events. We have had some incredible venues where some of the best parties I've ever attended or thrown have gone down. But, a consistent all night venue is lucky to last a year in Iowa. I can't even count how many venues were a one and done scenario. You had to be very careful when approaching a new venue with how you present your event that your trying to host. Venue owners get spooked very easily if they get the idea in their head that you’re throwing an all-night rave in their space (rightfully so I suppose). And that's been one of the coolest things about living in Denver and a much bigger city setting. For the most part, there are plenty venue options for all night events.
/// You were part of your scene in a deep way before you left home. Any changes because you left? ///
The Iowa scene is a smaller, tight knit web of people than say in a bigger city. What's cool about that is I feel it improves the quality of the people who are in the scene. You pretty much have to have prior interest to electronic music and have to be looking for these type of events in order to find the scene in Iowa. Where as in a big city setting, it’s no where near as hard to find. The Iowa scene is in a constant cycle of young newcomers coming into the scene, a lot who stick with it, and those who just kind of filter out. There are still many of those who have consistently been doing events for years, some even long before I got into the scene in 2006. I'd say the scene maintains a consistent amount of balance in the quality of events, but it certainly has its ups and downs. I myself throw an event or two in Iowa every year and the response is still overwhelmingly awesome to this day.
/// How is the mission creek festival going? ///
Mission Creek Festival is an indee/underground music festival that happens every April in downtown Iowa City across multiple venues for nearly a week. 8 years ago, I was asked by the organizers to host the underground electronic showcase event of the festival aka Mission:beat. It has been hugely successful every year and its always great to go back to my home stomping ground and throw the event. We showcase local and regional talent, and since moving to Denver, I've brought back some of Denver's best talent to rock it in Iowa City for us each year. This year we have Alala.One coming in from Denver to headline the Yacht Club on April 7th. Iowa is in for treat!
The first 2 years I hosted the event we were lucky enough host the event in an all night venue setting. But, due to lack of spaces that will allow us to have music go all night, we have just taken over local spots in downtown that have hosted plenty of electronic shows in the past.
/// You've been here for some time now, how long? And during this time – what changes have you seen? ///
A lot has changed since moving here in 2012. Two of the biggest shifts for me, and undoubtedly some of the best techno festivals Colorado has seen, were the retirement of both the Great American Techno Festival and Communikey. Communikey was the first gig I ever played in Colorado and pretty much sealed the deal on me moving here, and GATF was taking place the weekend I moved out here. But all good things must end I suppose.
/// You currently run an outdoor festival here in Colorado - can you give us a glimpse of what this year might bring? Any significant changes since last year? ///
Yes, Together @ 9K FT will be happening for its 3rd consecutive year this summer, and most likely its last year. Together was a concept and an event that happened in Iowa for 3 consecutive years back in the mid 2000's. So not only is this "retirement" of the festival in keeping with the traditions of its Iowa native 4/4 fathers (hehe), it will give me the opportunity to focus on new ideas and other summer events that I would love to continue to throw. Together has quickly become a favorite amongst the locals, and an annual pilgrimage for those coming from Iowa and the midwest, so we will be working extra hard and pulling out all the stops to make this the best one yet. All I can say is...prepare :)
/// Do you have plans for production in the future? ///
I've always had a saying when it comes to people who's passion revolves around electronic music. There are 3 P's: Promote, Produce, Perform...pick two. In the ten years I've been involved in electronic music, my two p's have been perform and promote. I commend those who are able to do all three, especially when they can do all three successfully. I have been wanting to get into producing for pretty much ten years now and I still just have only tampered with it here and there. It is still on my list of shit to do and I hope that I do actually walk through that door soon. If anyone would like to volunteer and get my ass in gear, I'm all for it
/// How do you see the future, or current present of our electronic music scene in the states particularly vs. how other countries are making developments? ///
We've recently had some major tragedies/hurdles both nationally and internationally in the electronic community. One being the fire in San Fran that took the lives of over 30 people, as well as the shooting that happened at BPM festival. We've already felt the ripple of these incidents with the crack down on venues (even in the big cities), and the authorities seemingly targeting our particular style of gatherings. Time does heal most things, and the beautiful part is that this sort of "invasion" is nothing new to those of us who attend and throw these shows. We are extremely adaptable and we will continue to collectively make it happen no matter how hard they try to stop it. We believe in and recognize the importance of creating these spaces where people can come, dance, laugh, grow, be inspired, and radically be themselves. That is without a doubt something worth fighting for.
/// Detroit 2017 - what are you planning to attend or looking forward to seeing? ///
10 years going strong! Honestly, I could care less who is playing every year because the music is almost always consistently amazing. The family reunion of the techno tribe is stronger than anywhere I've ever been, and its amazing to see the city improve in quality every year. That being said I'm definitely excited to see Pan-Pot, Carl Cox, Stacy Pullen, Chris Liebing, and Adam Beyer. Will also be interesting to see what Testpilot does.
/// Time to turn the tables on you – what are your best and worst experiences? ///
Best performance- Hands down Daft Punk. Was lucky enough to see them 3 times. 1st in Miami at Bang Music Festival in Miami in 2006, 2nd was my first show at Red Rocks in 2007, 3rd was 4 days later at Lollapolooza in Chicago. Each time was equally mind blowing, regardless of my sobriety level and the venue. It is the only show I've ever been to that I would be willing to pay $1000 to see again even if I knew it was the exact same show. I still tear up and get goosebumps when I hear the Alive 2007 album 10 years later.
Biggest disappointment- My first year in Detroit 2008, and really the first time being exposed to Richie Hawtin, he was hosting an afterparty the first night after the fest at some venue downtown. It was suppose to feature this new visual experience to accompany his set and it was called "The Cube". Everyone was freaking out about it and how it was gonna be the best after party experience of the weekend, especially since he was slated for 4 hour set. So after waiting in line at this venue for 40 mins to get in, the place was absolutely packed. The cube was nothing more than some lame led's hanging above the dance floor in a grid formation that changed color. Super disappointing. As for his set, which was the first time I ever saw him play, I literally fell asleep on the guard rail in the balcony about an hour into his set. First an only time I've ever fallen asleep at a club (mind you I did not pass out). I'd never heard such droney, monotonous, minimal techno in my life. $60 well spent :)