Better than… any dubstep show in this galaxy
The concept of Team Supreme, like most good ideas, is simple. Once a week a member of the electronic collective selects two different samples and a particular BPM, and sends them off to the other producers in the group. Then everyone makes a track. There are a few rules: 1. The song has to be about a minute long 2. The beat must begin and end with the provided transition sample 3. You're supposed (on the honor system) to finish your track in about an hour. And on Mondays they release the entire playlist, called a “cypher,” on YouTube.
There are now 13 installments of this crew's mix-tape of sorts, and there are usually about a dozen producers involved, mostly a recurring cast of Low End Theory young-guns (DJ Nobody), but also artists like Boreta of The Glitch Mob. Team Supreme began as an unofficial collaboration between Dane Morris, aka Great Dane, and Preston James, one half of Virtual Boy. Morris and James both made a beat in a single sitting using the “Mo Money Mo Problems” sample: my team supreme stay clean. Thus the moniker was born.
These efforts were encouraged by Steve Nalepa, an electronic music guru and one time professor of music at Chapman. Both Morris and James are former students of his and he's been involved with the project since its inception. He's a hands-on mentor — last night he was grooving with the best of them as Team Supreme played a live set at La Cita.
It's the second time they've hosted a live show, incorporating the tracks from the weekly cipher. Around a dozen producers each get to play a twenty-minute set –the rule is you're supposed to play at least one Team Supreme track but they often play more. There are plans to make it a monthly event.
Suffice it to say that it wasn't your typical EDM show, the closest point of comparison being seeing someone like Teebs at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts. Instead, it was a small group of talented producers showing off for one another, a sort of friendly competition. All the producers there were fresh-faced pupils who exuded that paradoxical mixture of eagerness and apathy only found in the young.
Djemba Djemba, formerly known as St. Andrew, payed early in the night, to rapt attention. Nalepa along with many others assured me he's going to “blow the fuck up.” It's easy to see why — the baby-faced producer who frequently works with Diplo is ridiculously technically talented. His beats are quick but not driving, allowing you just the right amount of airy head-space to vibe out.
Djemba was followed by Kloud, a mustached beanied guy who plays Low End tonight with Cadalack Ron. His beats were an immediate change of pace, more tribal, like the sound of feet running from a tiger in the jungle. Another standout was Henry Allen — the other half of Virtual Boy who produces under the name King Henry — who played a set of entirely original tracks. His set was daring too; not everyone felt every beat but each was at least attempting something, which is more than most can say.
There were a few duds among the many many tracks spun, but no-one's set was wholly tepid. When you're creating and preforming among a set of friends and peers who happen to be extremely talented, quality work tends to be the by-product.
Personal Bias: I've been a fan of Virtual Boy ever since I wrote a profile on them back in February.
The Crowd: DJs, DJs, more DJs, and the girlfriends of DJs. And lots of photographers.
Random Notebook Dump: Nalepa told me earlier he'd be the guy wearing “a black Moog shirt on with gold lettering.”