Saturday, April 05, 2008

House and Trance Tonight

The ornately adorned Trinity night club in Seattle is known for hosting some of the hottest DJs for its Saturday night dance parties. Tonight they are getting a taste of Tacoma since two of the University of Puget Sound’s well-known techno DJs, David Hvidsten (“Chaosthetic”) and Brad Miller (’06 alum) along with Jason LeMaitre (also from Tacoma) are spinning back-to-back in the 50’s-era retro Blue Room.

Brad is touring the Northwest after having spent his post-graduation years working as a producer for Foambox Nightlife Marketing in NYC. Both David and Brad were hosts of the Thursday night KUPS 90.1 radio show “In The Mix”. David continues to host the show now, kicking out non-stop tech-house, breakbeat and funky glitch four-on-the-floor. He’s opening tonight at 10pm for his first show in Seattle. Brad hosted the show for two years and for his last mix he locked himself inside the studio for a 12-hour marathon set.

The Melon used this opportunity ask Brad about his experiences since UPS. Brad has spun with many famous techno DJs since then, including Preach, BT, Hybrid and Seb Fontaine. He’s spun at a list of impressive clubs from the East to the West Coast. Space is one of his favorite clubs; Paul van Dyk is one of his favorite DJs. When the two converge it must be absolutely wicked. “Half the people who go to see [van Dyk] have no idea what he’s doing to the music,” Brad said. “This guy is adding notes on the fly, layering basslines, tweaking harmonics, adding acapellas, all with timing that comes down to fractions of a second.” Needless to say, van Dyk is one of Brad’s biggest influences.

Using a combination of techniques and technologies like Ableton Live and Apple Logic, Brad says that he loves mixing up his music with lots of sidechaining and percussive delays “to give them a bigger feeling.” With a traditional musical background in piano, saxophone and trumpet, Brad now incorporates instruments like Vember Audio’s Surge and Rob Papen’s Predator. So what kind of EDM (electronic dance music) does it end up sounding like? As Brad describes it, it’s a “darker” blend of progressive house and trance. And although it’s typically more “aggressive” sounding, he balances this with “euphoric”, trance-like elements.

In the techno scene, most don’t eschew what some might see as an endless classification and reclassification of its own genre. “You need some way to put the sounds in context,” Brad says. With trance and EDM in general, “It’s not the same when listened to track-by-track the way other music styles are.” When a fun, enthusiastic DJ with an ear for tune and the right sounds is spinning, “the songs can change meaning and create different feelings depending on the context they’re put in.”

brad miller.jpgBrad naturally tends toward an unregretful attitude toward making music. The question, “What if this is your chance?” was the positive feedback mechanism telling him he had to pursue a career in music. The first big paradigm shift came when, unbeknownst to him, a party thrown by BT would change his life. The next big moment was at Space, with Armin van Buuren spinning a massive set. At the exact moment when they released nitrous jets on the crowd, Brad “knew right there and then that it’s what I was born to do.”

“And,” he adds, “it was only a Tuesday night!”

But when asked about the best party he’d ever been to, Brad admitted it would have to be a 2007 costume party (for pirates only) on a private boat in Manhattan Harbor with Sasha spinning. “Picture me with an eyepatch, a sword, and a pirate flag harassing the tour boats by the Statue of Liberty with Sasha DJing on deck. Unreal.”

Brad, welcome back to the Northwest, and thanks for answering questions for The Melon. See you tonight!

Tonight’s show will open with David Hvidsten at 10pm. Brad Miller and Jason LeMaitre will continue the party until 2pm.

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