We're glad trance is finally over (isn't it?), but something just as cheesy has stood up to take its place. While we won't name any names
(Afrojack, Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta), they call this new sound “house.”
Now, if you've been alive since Clinton was president you know that house music comes from gay black people, Latinos who would rather listen to salsa, and church ladies who snap their fingers.
But “house” as its marketed today is just bombastic, trance-like shit that gives you a headache. We're not sure the electronic dance music producer Loco Dice intended to be marketed as the antidote to this crap. But he is:
Mr. Dice was born in Germany to Tunisian parents and actually came up as a hip-hop DJ and artist (extra points). So much so that he actually opened for the likes of Usher, Snoop Dog and R. Kelly.
Why anyone who has had such success would want to dive into the anonymity of clubland is beyond us. But Loco has been a stalwart of the new sound killing it in Europe, mainly that deep, dark, dubby, “druggy” flavor that rides between the rails of true house and minimal techno.
This month Senor Dice is celebrating the release of the Desolat Christmas Sampler, a collection of tracks from Desolat, the label he founded with fellow jock Martin Buttrich. He's DJing at the Music Box (tickets) in Hollywood Saturday.
If you want to seem really cool to your younger friends, tell them Guetta is 2005 and that Loco is the real deal. Better yet, take them down to Hollywood Boulevard tomorrow.
Do you play different in America?
Not really. It doesn't have to do with the country. I play different everywhere I go. It depends on the crowd, room, sound-system. There is a great knowledge and tradition here when it comes to rooms and sound-systems, so here I definitely can play less obvious, straight-tracks.
At the end, it's always Loco Dice style, somewhere between house and techno.
How does your style contrast with the uber-melodic flavor of the moment (Swedish House Mafia, Afrojack, etc.). Do you feel like you provide an antidote?
I don't see it as an antidote, because we're talking about music. Antidote sounds so technical and exclusive. My style is just another color in a musical spectrum. Despite that fact, I also don't like to compare myself with the artists mentioned above.
Not a lot of build-ups and crescendos in your sets. Why?
House is not built on build-ups and crescendos, neither is techno. The essence of this music is repetition, the groove, and this is how I play. Again, it's a mixture between house and techno and there are endless worlds in between. I often play long sets and my musical approach leaves lots of space for the imagination. It's about the groove, it's the groove that really make people dance to the beat.
Afrika Bambaataa was looking for a perfect beat with a little help by Kraftwerk. We still do. We're not looking for a perfect build-up. I also prefer to leave crescendos to classical orchestras playing Wagner.
Does American tribal house (the closest thing we have to your style — Oscar G., Danny Tenaglia) influence you at all?
Yes, definitely! In the 90's, this sound was huge and it definitely took the whole idea of monotonous groove to another level. It had its roots in early Chicago tracks, but sound-wise, those records were huge and are fine examples of that idea of a never-ending hypnotic groove.
Danny Tenaglia… what can you say about Danny that is not already said?! Legend, great DJ, great mind, really nice guy. I have huge respect for him and his art.
You went from being a pretty big hip-hop DJ opening for large acts to techno and house. Why?
Because at the time, around 1998, hip-hop was not able to give me what I was looking for. It went into a slightly different direction, became predictable. Discovering house then, along with many other forms of electronic music, it just opened doors to so many new worlds and I'm still here, exploring.
Wasn't there more money in hip-hop?
It was never about money for me. It is about the music, finding a good record, dance, and the interaction. If I were looking for money I'd probably become a stock broker.
How does hip-hop influence your sound?
Hip-hop was not only music for me. It was the attitude, the mindset, a certain way of living my life. All that is still an important foundation of who I am today and of my musical approach. I think that you can still hear it in my way of mixing or in my sound. There is also this classic line about “2 turntables and a mic.” Well, I still use turntables!
What's next for your label? Are you pushing it in America?
We have our annual Christmas sampler coming out on 12.12.2011. The idea behind Desolat X Sampler is to release good, exclusive music at the end of the year, put established artists besides young unknown talents, and give them a proper platform. This 2×12″ is already our 3rd and probably best sampler, which is of course available digitally for all those who aren't into vinyl format as much as we are.
We don't really push it in America that much. I don't think that you can do such things, but all our music is available in America as well, and I sincerely hope that people will discover and enjoy it. Maybe it'll be their entrance into a magical world beyond build-ups and crescendos.
Loco Dice spins Saturday alongside the legendary Victor Calederone at the Music Box. Info and tickets.