Sequential Circus 14 happened a few months back. In fact, it’s almost time for Sequential Circus 15 (happening on July 26, 2014). Here are a few photo hi-lights from SC14.
(For the full audio podcast, click the link at the bottom of this post)
Despite a few technical challenges, we managed to cover quite a bit of ground… Dark Arps has fairly recently relocated to Vancouver, Canada after a 17 year stint in the UK where he toured extensively as part of 10-piece breakbeat orchestra, Keiretsu. Clearly he’s spent a significant amount of time evolving his sound which blends breaks, progressive house and sweeping atmospheric sounds.
MUX has been on hiatus for roughly 5 years (living on a sailboat off the coast of Mexico) and in addition to talking about the birth of Sequential Circus, tells us how, with the help of a Windows 95 machine, he continues to deliver screeching acid lines in every track he performs (Hint: Nord).
MUX rockin’ the Skytrain at the Robot Uprising party.
Photo credit: Matthew Trentacoste
I could have talked with these guys for days longer, and we will… as Sequential Circus continues to evolve. We also could have played tracks from both of these guys for hours on end, and so you will hear more of their material in the coming weeks and months.
Sequential Circus 14 happens this Saturday January 25th at Open Studios in Vancouver.
Plus, don’t miss the debut of the new daytime portion of Sequential Circus; a partnership with the Vancouver Producers Forum to bring you an afternoon of talks, workshops and panel discussions from veteran live performers. If you’re a live-pa artist, a producer interested in taking things live, or even just a fan who’s curious about what’s going on under the hood, this will be an excellent session of tips, tricks and techniques for live-pa performance.
This week we have two very special guests playing live in the studio! DJ Dresden and Goa Pete are the lead organizers behind Goa Trance Mission, a local Vancouver group that have been bringing some amazing psytrance DJs into Vancouver for both indoor and outdoor parties.
Their next show is on Dec 1st at W2 in downtown Vancouver, when they will be bringing Avalon over from the UK for a live performance.
DJ Dresden Psychedelic Trance Mix
(I think Dresden mentions several of the tracks he played at the half time break)
Goa Pete Forest Psy-trance Mix
(Pete’s tracklist is super-secret)
After Pete’s set I played a few more tracks…
Every now and then I come across a DJ (or pair of DJs) that is (or are) a perfect match for my musical taste, and it’s beyond fantastic because they introduce me to a whole new set of artists and tracks that are instant favourites. Ru-Bix vs Jester is (are) exactly like that. If I recall correct (and likely I don’t), first contact was made when they submitted a mix to the Trancendance Soundcloud group. Now we’re in touch via Facebook at least once a week.
djsm: So… Multiple personalities? Or is Ru-Bix vs Jester more than one person?
jester: We’re brothers… Emmett & Jesse Andersen from Blenheim, New Zealand.
djsm: How did you get your DJ names?
jester: Well a promoter friend and mentor of ours (FLUX, founder of the famous Gathering parties here in NZ) wanted to put on a free outdoor party and asked us to play. Emmett and I were very green, we’d done a few private parties, hung out with some DJ mates etc, but that was about it until then. Basically, we were asked what our DJ names were to put on the flyers. I had a think about it… I was well into the whole Twisted Records/Dragonfly type stuff, so guys like Dick Trevor were an influence. Dick Trevor’s handle is “Dickster” so Jester was an easy choice. Ru-Bix was the result of an extensive brainstrorming session.
djsm: When did you start DJing?
jester: Both of us have been messing around since around 2004-2005, Emmett for a bit longer. I’ve been listening to electronica & trance since around ’93 but it took me 10 years or so to take the next logical steps. I decided to go the digital route as by that time most of my tunes had already been ripped to digital, so for me it just made sense. Our first official gig together as Ru-Bix vs Jester was early 2008. So, yeah… its been a few years now. 2008 was also when we took things a bit more seriously and started investing in some gear.
djsm: Speaking of gear… what kind of equipment do you mix on?
jester: We have a Pioneer DJM600 Mixer and CDJ800mkI decks, a Denon DNX1600 Mixer, and Native Instruments Traktor Scratch Pro with Kontrol X1 Controllers. We’ve also been playing around with the new DJ Techtools Midifighter 3D Controller. Headphones of choice are Sennheiser HD-215/205, and then rounding things out, an Audio 6 Interface, Dynamic M-58 Microphone, Wharfedale Pro 15″ Active Speakers, and B&W 10″ Sub. As well as all these toys, we have access to a lot more “communal” gear as well. More speakers, lighting rigs, that sort of thing.
djsm: What about before you got serious? Did you dive right in? Or what did you get started on?
jester: Emmett learned a little on the turtables, and moved to the CDJ’s soon after that. I was already messing about with FL Studio (Fruity Loops back then) so learned on Imageline’s Deckadance software with my famous “Psyboard” & Mighty Mouse.
djsm: Sounds like psytrance was a pretty big influence then, and it’s certainly what drew me to your mixes at first. Have you explored any other styles?
jester: What do you want to hear? Obviously we both love playing progressive/psytrance and thats not going to change anytime soon, but we can play anything “From House Up”. Emmett plays a bit of drum & bass as well and has actually opened for the Upbeats. Most nights we start off with the house and work the energy up as the night progresses. Definitely we try to sneak in some banging trance at our gigs.
djsm: Do you find that promotors ask or dictate what styles they want or don’t want you to play? Or do they mainly leave it up to you?
jester: Yeah we really only do parties that suit us. We can play a variety of styles but just don’t ask us to play a dubstep gig
djsm: Lol! What about production? I haven’t been able to find anything official, but have you put together any bootleg remixes, or mashups?
jester: Like many, we mess around a bit. Nothing good enough to upload. Not enough hours in the day!
djsm: What software have you been using when you’re “messing around a bit?”
jester: I have the odd project on the go in FL 10… who knows when they’ll get finished. We use Audition for mastering mixes.
djsm: Do you guys have most memorable DJ moment?
jester: I think when we played last year at an outdoor party called “Twisted Freaks” …together in a back 2 back set. As our set progressed the crowd just grew and grew until it was massive. It was a great moment for us.
djsm: Caddyshack and I are big fans of the oldschool… What’s your favourite classic/oldschool track?
djsm: Ahh! Hallucinogen! I have The Lone Deranger album on vinyl, along with a couple of their EPs. Ever listen to Cosmosis? Their Cosmology album from around the same era was another favourite of mine. It was one of Transient Records earlier releases. Several years later they released an album titled Trancendance…
jester: Love that album. “Sanyacid” and “Gift Of The Gods” … fantastic.
djsm: So is that the kind of stuff that got you interested in DJing? What else where you listening to around that time?
jester: Astral Projection and old Infected Mushroom were what got us into the psytrance thing. Label-wise… Trust In Trance, Matsuri Productions, Twisted, Dragonfly, TIP, Flying Rhino. All the old stuff.
djsm: What about now? Which ones are on your watch list?
jester: Iboga Trance, Iono Music, Yellow Sunshine Explosion, Synergetic, Tesseract, Suntrip, Ovnimoon, Plusquam, Echoes, Nano, HOMmega, Timecode .. The list is big.
djsm: Hmm… several familiars, but a few new ones in there. Looks like I’m going to have to check out Synergetic and Suntrip. What’s your current fave track?
djsm: Has that changed since I first asked you the question almost two months ago, maybe more? *hangs head in shame at how long it’s taken to post this interview*
jester: Well to be honest my favourite tracks are usually in my latest mix, so to answer your question, yes that has changed. My current favourite is John ’00′ Fleming’s “The 10th life (Artifact303 Remix)” and thats in the new set i’m working on.
djsm: So where can I come and hear you play if I happen to be down in New Zealand?
jester: We have some semi-regular house gigs in town, where we usually team up and play with some buddies. We are in a small town so bigger parties are harder to organise getting to. Two festivals we are looking into playing are the Twisted Freaks party, again in October, and we have been invited to play at Alien Nation next year (NZ’s premiere Psy festival). We couldn’t play there this year due to Ru-Bix getting married.
djsm: Married!? Wow… that’s like a whole ‘nother interview! Where can we find you online?
djsm: Tell me a bit more about DJ Tech Tools…
jester: Well i discovered djtechtools.com in 2008 after purchasing my first midi controller and having no clue how to map it. I lurked on the forum for a while before joining the community in 2009. I was promoted to moderator in 2011.
djsm: Is that a full time gig? Between DJTT and DJing, is it enough to pay the bills?
jester: If they paid me that would be sweet but its on a voluntary basis. We do get some good deals from the store though. The site has exploded in the last 3 years and i believe the forum has over 80,000 members now. Recently we have added a production section, Ableton and Serato forums.
djsm: Do you have anything else that you would like to be asked about or that readers/listeners might find interesting?
jester: Well I’d like to say thanks for the shouts and for playing our stuff on CiTR, its a great honour, and for sure its helped us out. We are involved with a few stations now, and that really helps with the motivation to step it up and put up some great mixes. To the young up and coming DJs… buy your tunes. Producers have to eat too! Go to shows and experience as much good music as possible guys. Boom Shiva!
Photo by Euan Forrester
As I turned off Main onto East 1st the memories started trickling back. It was a dark and quiet street. An industrial area, not far outside of downtown Vancouver – it was a bit like the old days, before the cops had cracked down on the illegal warehouse raves. But those memories were so distant at this point, it wasn’t more than a fleeting thought that I would only later recognize the significance of.
It was still pretty early when I arrived. Scott Riesterer was on stage, layering live muted trumpet overtop of weaving landscape of housey beats and melodies. It was a unique sound, and knowing Scott, I was immediately interested in hearing him play.
Everyone was playing live, so the night progressed quickly from artist to artist. PhonoTactic from Calgary was up next. His style was still different than what I would typically play, in fact, I’m not even sure how you would classify it. So far, Ableton had been the tool of choice for the evening, but PhonoTactic had a Chaos Pad running in tandem, and kept using it to add on-the-fly scratching effects that immediately left me wanting new gear. While his set sounded fresh and funky, many of his sounds had a classic “ripping” analogue sound that seemed to resonate and awaken a corner of my brain that had been asleep and forgotten about for the better part of a decade.
Each time a new artist took the stage, I was driven to try and find out what gear they were using. Terekith kept me in suspense for his entire set as I couldn’t quite make out the writing on the two boxes he was using. No laptop here. One of my favourites of the night, I could see Tarekith making every musical tweak right in front of me. Two fingers, two buttons – bass is gone. Twisting the filter on a sample, fading between rhythms. One, two, three, four fingers and – BAM! – bassline comes slamming back. Why take my word for it. Watch this. It even has overlays describing what he’s doing. This is half of a two-parter, so if you like it, be sure to check out the second video. Finally, at the end of his performance, I found out he was using an Elektron Machine Drum with a Octatrack sampler by the same company.
Dark Arps easily had the best stage presence, with a futuristic full torso costume (must have been screaming hot in there) that was lined with all kinds of intelligent lighting. It was pretty clear the crowd loved him too. I’m again unsure of how to classify the style, sort of a dark, wobbly techno. Here’s a sample from his previous Sequential Circus performance.
Let’s face it. MUX stole the show. And that opinion was formed before I had any idea he’s one of the key organizers behind Sequential Circus. Also before I realized I had likely seen him play before, at one of the Listening Room shows at the Planetarium. Wow. Throwback.
Even before MUX takes the stage, the night has crept up on me. With each artist, the sound has been boosted a little louder, and a little louder. And it’s good. I’ve come out of hibernation for a few shows in the past couple years, and unless it’s the Commodore, the sound never seems to be that great. Even some of the big shows have been plagued with terrible sound until the headliner comes on. (So tempting to mention some names here…) You’d figure I’d be half deaf at this point, but apparently I can still tell the difference when the sound is good, and what a difference it makes.
At this point I’m also starting to notice that it’s busy, but not so packed I can’t dance. I’m not surrounded by high-heeled hoochie-mommas, there are no whacked out candy ravers sitting in the middle of the dance floor… Holy shit! This party is going off!
MUX intros his set with an answering machine message, recorded at… 3:03. Boom. My knees have a lot of miles on them. They don’t like to bend as much as they used to, but MUX has me jumping in the air with hands up. Music affects us. It doesn’t matter what style you like. Classical, country… whatever it is that hits you, it reaches right inside and does something to you. That corner of my brain that’s been sleeping so long… Well… Just like Quietman said.
Here’s MUX playing live on the Skytrain (like the subway except above ground). Imagine the sound being 1000 times better.
Winding up the night was Vancouver’s own Vincent Parker playing glitched up I don’t know what. Psychedelic trip-hop craziness, outdone only by Vincent’s ability to move his body even more vibrantly than his music.
So as I start walking back through the otherwise quiet industrial streets, I’m reminded of that first fleeting memory of the night. From the moment I turned onto East 1st, it’s like I was back in 1996 – a time I’ve been trying to get back to for at least a decade. This was a fantastic night, in every aspect. I can’t wait till the next one.
Thank you to all the artists and the entire Sequential Circus team.