It's September and everyone is returning to school or their fall schedule! And that means the new season of music will be intense and hitting hard. Artists, producers and labels will be scrambling to get their best products out. And for the first time in a long time, I am excited about the landscape of clubland. Of course there's tons of new music to make me want to pull what's left of my hair out, but the tide is changing and I believe we are heading towards the right direction when it comes to club and dance music.
I am very pleased to announce that I am bringing my HAUS 101 event back to Toronto. The gay scene in Toronto is lacking in House Music and I am going to use this monthly party as part of my fundraising for the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation. Be sure to come out to Wayla Bar on Queen Street East on Sunday - September 14th. No cover, but we ask that you donate $2 per request at the booth. You'd be surprised what a couple of bucks can do to help in the fight against AIDS and the stigma associated with it. Hope you will come out and show your support.
Finally, it's The Return Of House! And no…..I'm not talking about Tiesto and Calvin Harris. I'm talking about that pure 115 to 125 tempo baseline driven House that I grew to love back in the 80s and 90s! The writing is on the wall with tracks like "Latch" by Disclosure and "Hideaway" by Kiesza. We saw hints of it in tracks by Azealia Banks with her throwback sound to Hip House in tracks like "Liquorice" and "1991". But now there's a new influx of tracks coming out that really define the true meaning of House.
Geniuses like Digital Dave are even taking classic Hip Hop tracks and giving them House makeovers. I'm loving' it! His remixes of classics like "Hypnotize" by Notorious BIG, "Next Episode" by Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg and "Ready Or Not" by The Fugees have breathed new life into what I play for my floor. And while Dave Aude, Wayne G and the Wideboys are pumpin' out the Big Room and Club Anthems, heroes like Paul Byrne, Quentin Harris and Eric Kupper are keeping true House Music alive!
Here's a few House tracks to be on the look out for this fall.
"Lost You" by Zeds Dead featuring Twin Shadow & D'Angelo Lacy is not only a hot House track, but the video is quite trippy as well. Releases by ZHU such as "Faded", "The One" "Stay Closer" and their tribute to OutKast "Moves Like Ms. Jackson" would all make a groove for your floor. And the Paul Bryne remix of Kay Perry's "This Is How We Do" is a nice alternative to the downtempo Pop song. Jean Tonique's remix of Jay Z's Hip Hop classic, "I Just Wanna Love U" will be a pleasant surprise to your floor. And by now you have the sweet vocals of Sam Smith on Disclosure's "Latch" (which the T. Williams Club Edit and the Ernest & Frank Rework mixes are the best) and his debut single "Stay With Me" (highly recommended Throttle Remix is my favorite), but be on the look out for Armand Van Helden's remix of his latest single "I'm Not The Only One".
And even after Frankie Knuckles' death back in April. Eric Kupper has decided to continue with the Director's Cut remixes and has applied their formula to the Pop classic "Baby Baby" by Amy Grant. Didn't think I would like it, but it sounds so much like their remix of Ariana Grande's (tight) "Baby I" that I couldn't resist. Cutmore's treatment of Sia's "Chandelier" and Maroon 5's "Maps" almost made me forget that these were pop songs.
Zoo Station has given Röyksopp & Robyn's "Do It Again" and Jeremih's "Don't Tell 'Em" a sick makeover that screams of 90s House. And speaking of 90s House……remember when MK did a mix of Jodeci's "Freek N You"? I always wished that he had used more of the vocal. Well, Marcus Jakes has solved that problem. His new mix gives you more of the vocals and that retro House sound that made you fall in love with Jodeci's club side.
And lastly I would like to recommend an artist named MNEK. I am a little late to the party on this one, but being bombarded with music on a weekly basis it is really easy to miss a new song or great artist. His latest single "Wrote A Song About You" was released back in April and even though there are about five different remixes, the original mix still gets me every time! He's already written and produced for Brit acts like Little Mix and is hoping to break into the dance and R&B market in the U.S.
But of course we have to return to what is most popular these days……
And that would be the whatever is burning up the charts. Nicki Minaj (left) is definitely cementing her spot at the top of Billboard's charts with her heavily sampled "Baby Got Back" infused "Anaconda". I hope Sir Mix-A-Lot is getting paid nicely for this one. I must have downloaded at least 20 different mixes. And with it in the 130 BPM range, this track could easily slide from club speed to Hood Trap (as proven with the DJ Paul & Twhy Remix). Nicki is also making sure that her name is everywhere. She has made cameos of such hits as Beyonce's "Flawless" remix and Jessie J's "Bang Bang" with Ariana Grande. And of course her ongoing feud and diss sessions with Lil Kim and Iggy Azalea help keep the fires burning. Nicki's speech at the BET Awards while receiving the "Female Rapper Of The Year" honor was pure shade. I love it, but it was shade.
And speaking of Nicki and shade…..I'm sure she is loving that Mariah Carey's album bombed along with her marriage to Nick Cannon. Ariana Grande seems to have taken the spot that Mariah held. I mean, let's face it….at this point Mariah is the Norma Desmond of the Pop World. If Lady GaGa is planning on making a duet album with Tony Bennet, Mariah should accept the fact that she would be best suited in the Adult Contemporary category. There's nothing disgraceful about that. We all grow up. Well….maybe not Madonna, but you know what I mean. Unless Mariah is willing to work with Pharrell on an R&B tip or someone like Quentin Harris for a House album she's not gonna get very far. She might as well pack up and move to Vegas. I'm sure her ticket sales would do just as good as Celine's on the strip.
Ariana Grande is the shiny new package. "Problem" with Iggy Azalea (right) was huge. And her latest single "Break Free" is burnin' up the floor. If she could only get rid of her Mickey Mouse Club hair. Her image is too squeaky clean. She needs a "good girl gone bad moment" to create a scandal. And speaking of Iggy Azalea….brava, lady! Iggy has done what a lot of rap artists wish they could do. She's conquered the pop scene. "Fancy" was huge through smart marketing decisions and staying out of the dirt and mud that's being slung her way. Her latest single with Rita Ora "Black Widow" is climbing the charts and I am sure once the remix video for "Booty" with Jennifer Lopez drops we will all be sick of her.
And speaking of Mickey Mouse…..do you think Disney will succeed in their lawsuit against Deadmau5? I was surprised that this had not come up before. But I guess since he wanted to trademark his head piece and Disney uses Toronto as their training ground for their park and cruise performers it was bound to come to a head sooner or later.
Question….has anyone noticed that Maroon 5's "Maps" and Nico & Vinz' "Am I Wrong" sound a lot like The Police? As usual….what's old is new again. "Am I Wrong" is really popular on my floor and despite the homophobic name the Fruityman remix is my favorite.
Now….every now and then I am blessed to get some advanced copies of a few songs. There are some folks out there who actually value my opinion and trust my experience as a DJ and programer.
I recently got a copy of a new R&B artist named Carmen and her debut single "Cold" is quite catchy. The borrowed delivery and flow from Next's "Too Close" works nicely. Not sure if it will chart, but I am definitely programing it in my sets. It mixes nicely with Tinashe's "2 On". In the tradition of Cassie's "U & Me" the simple R&B production works and does not overpower their vocals. As for "2 On" I did find a great House remix by the Italo Bros.
And to close out let's talk about Taylor Swift's full move into the pop arena. I had only read about "Shake It Off" at first and then one morning on Much Music I watched the video and she paid homage to Toni Basil and attempted to throw a little rap in. My question is…..is she still going to be nominated for Country Music Awards? I mean….they certainly turned their backs on Shania Twain and Faith Hill real quick when they had major pop hits. And are we supposed to still feel sorry for her that the big bad black man interrupted her speech? "Shake It Off" has all the makings of being a full on Pop monster on the charts. It's slow enough to add a real rap by a professional. It's the perfect tempo to remix into a club track (as already proven by the Calvo House Mix, Ranny's Sunset Mix and Dave Aude Remix). Do I like the song? Hell no! But I do know that young girls and twinks everywhere are gonna be bugging' the shit out of me to hear it. Well, at least it's not the damn "Boom Clap" song by Charli XCX! What the hell…?