Electronic music program Metropolis is returning to KCRW with its original host Jason Bentley, West Coast Sound can exclusively report. The dance music show, which Bentley created and hosted from 1992 to 2008, will air Saturdays from 10pm to midnight, starting this Saturday. Bentley will maintain his role as the host of Morning Becomes Eclectic.
“People tell me all the time that they loved it,” Bentley, KCRW's music director, says of Metropolis. “A lot of people have commented over the years how much that show meant to them, and that stayed in my mind.”
Bentley's electronic music roots run deep, and Metropolis helped introduce the sound to Los Angeles and the country at large.
The program's return was precipitated by KCRW General Manager Jennifer Ferro's desire to demonstrate the station's commitment to the genre, which has become resurgent in recent years.
A Metropolis website, meanwhile, will be a multimedia portal of videos, interviews, livestreams and curated playlists from Spotify and Rdio. It will also host exclusive videos and segments like the Electrospective documentary series, which focuses on the history of electronic music since 1958, and to which Bentley is a contributor.
“There is a whole new generation of EDM fans, and I think it's important to give [the genre] some context,” Bentley says. “Your gateway may be Skrillex or Avicii, but there's some real depth there. I definitely want to cast a balance between older and more established names and newer people on the scene. I want to showcase artists that are really saying something interesting.”
Reviving Metropolis also gives Bentley — a regular club and festival DJ who is performing at Coachella again this year — a creative outlet beyond that of the indie music heavy Morning Becomes Eclectic.
“With MBE, I've needed to really contain the amount of outright dance music and electronic music. Each of the three former music directors and hosts of the show have put their fingerprints on it in a certain way, and very likely my fingerprints have been towards electronic music or club culture atmosphere, but this will give me an opportunity to play a lot of music that I just can't find appropriate for MBE.”
Below: Bentley talks about Coachella 2013
The relaunch is also a natural extension of the the electronic scene in which Bentley resides. “I'm out with these people and have these relationships anyway, whether it's Gary [Richards] at HARD or Pasquale [Rotella] at Insomniac. These are my longtime friends I'm in touch with anyways. Metroplis just makes a connection between circuits, KCRW and my passion for dance culture.”
Bentley serves as a bridge of sorts between the younger, pacifier and dubstep crowd and the grown and sexy technophiles. He frames this divide in terms of a new Coachella stage that will be debuting this year.
“It's roughly a discotheque with a wooden floor and air conditioning that's meant to cater to the lost of art of DJing and mixing records,” he says, adding that it's in contrast to the big lights and bombastic sounds of the Sahara Tent. “There's a place for that, but part of what we're responding to as Metropolis relaunches is that there are adults and other generations who want to listen to this music presented in a thoughtful way.”
The return of Metropolis, in short, has Bentley totes geeked. “It's the music that makes my heartbeat faster and my brain start to fire quicker. My intention is not to have the program directly identified with me, but I am the best person to do it. It's just a matter of fact.”