CHICAGO – During Smartbar’s Daphne showcase, an open to the public workshop will be taking place for female-identified people who are looking to learn the art of DJing.
Walking and Falling: A DJ Workshop and Mentor Program for Women-Identifying and Non-Binary Music Enthusiasts
Goals of the Walking and Falling Mentor program:
• complete an externship experience where they will receive instruction, mentorship, and support in DJing in a variety of formats
• receive ongoing support and mentorship beyond the externship experience; their host will be available for ongoing communication
• be provided with community support and networking opportunities in the Chicago dance music space
• take their experience back to their communities and “pay it forward” through mentorship, volunteering, advocacy efforts, etc
Participants in the Walking and Falling mentor program have already been selected and will be attending from Buffalo, New York, Columbus, Ohio, Los Angeles, California and Chicago. They will spend a week in Chicago working with volunteer DJs Ariel Zetina, Elly Schook (Kiddo), Jarvi Schneider (Jarvi) and Samantha Kern (Sassmouth) during the week of March 21-27th, learning basic skills with turntables, CDJs and laptop setups, beat matching and basics of mixing and EQing.
Walking and Falling will also host a free public introductory DJ workshop as part of the Daphne month of events at Smart Bar on March 25th from 7-930 PM. The event will be open to women-identifying and non binary music enthusiasts who are 18+ and who have an interest in DJing. Participants in the DJ Workshop Week and Mentor program will play a part in leading aspects of the public workshop and teaching their new found skills at several DJ stations that will be set up inside the venue.
‘Walking and Falling’ takes it’s name from a track title from pioneer electronic music artist Laurie Anderson’s album ‘Big Science’ and works well as a symbol for the type of learning philosophy necessary to grow as an artist- the tight rope balancing act between growing and failing and how beneficial ‘falling’ can be in the learning process.
FREE / 18+ / Doors: 6:30PM / Show: 7-9:30PM
$10 entry to Cassy, Honey Dijon, and Fortune for attendees
CHICAGO – During Smartbar’s Daphne 2017 festival, Planet Chicago will present Virginia, Sassmouth and Jarvi.
$10 before 11PM with valid student ID,
$12 Advance, $15 before midnight, $20 Door
21 & Over / 10PM
ROCHESTER – Signal > Noise celebrates their birthday with three beasts: Pittsburgh’s Aaron Clark and Shawn Rudiman and Chicago’s Sassmouth.
Perhaps no one else is as responsible for putting Pittsburgh on the map recently like AARON CLARK. If you’ve been plugged into the scene over the past several years, you’ve undoubtedly caught wind of the throbbing, sweaty techno revival happening there, at one of the events Aaron helps curate and promote with his crew Humanaut (recently celebrating their 10th-year anniversary!) and the notorious queer collective of which he’s an integral part, Honcho. What you may not know is the dancefloor weapon that Aaron Clark is when he gets behind the decks. Dynamic, subterranean beats mixed with maturity and surgical precision is what Aaron brings to whatever sound system he rocks, be it Berghain in Berlin or Rochester’s Signal>Noise.
Chicago’s Sam Kern, aka SASSMOUTH is the jet-setting queen bee of the American underground techno/house scene. Her reassuring presence and constant hard work on so many fronts has helped energize, catalyze and unify the U.S. scene. Sam’s passion for dance music and its lifestyle is unquestionable. She runs the always-on-point God Particle record label, is a resident DJ at Chicago’s Smartbar and San Francisco’s As You Like It, and with the Naughty Bad Fun Collective, is responsible for one of the most beloved events during Movement weekend in Detroit every year, Industry Brunch. Besides all this, Sam is an absolutely incredible DJ, and a simply wonderful human being whom we cherish and are thrilled to have back in Rochester, which is somehow still standing after her last appearance here in 2014
Pittsburgh’s SHAWN RUDIMAN is part-man, part-animal, and part-machine (he can also be quite the party animal, but that’s another story). Shawn annihilated the Signal>Noise dancefloor upon his last visit with the explosive 100% hardware live performance that he is renowned for worldwide. Many in-the-know techno-heads everywhere regard his as the best live techno PA on the planet, and we at Signal>Noise unanimously agree. Shawn has been a staple in the world techno community for almost two decades, playing at clubs, raves and festivals like Tresor and Movement Detroit regularly. You simply haven’t witnessed the pure, unadulterated fury of techno until you’ve witnessed Shawn Rudiman and his machines raging at full blast. on a killer sound system.
<<< DJ LINEUP >>>
[Honcho | Humanaut PGH]
[God Particle | Smartbar CHI]
[Detroit Techno Millitia | God Particle | 7th City]
<<< PARTY ESSENTIALS >>>
Saturday > January 28
45 Euclid > Rochester > NY
[10PM – 4AM]
There is an undeniable passion that drives Derek Plaslaiko, a Detroit native who calls Berlin home base. With more than 20 years of touring internationally, playing extended sets, and producing tracks – in addition to balancing family life – he continues to grow as a beloved head in the scene.
Growing up just 20 minutes outside of Detroit proper, Plaslaiko’s youth was spent exploring and becoming heavily involved in the city’s circuit. He got his start around 1994 when Detroit’s house and techno scene was on a heavy up and he became crucial to both the Analog and Poorboy Parties, along with comrade Mike Servito.
An experience that really brought him into the realm was picking up a job at Record Time. Opened in 1983 by Mike Hime, the acclaimed music shop was a staple for local music lovers. With a couple different locations it became a place where many would converge to explore and discover the multitude of local sounds and music from abroad.
Plaslaiko started working at Record Time around Christmas 1996, he vaguely recalls. Hired by Mike Huckaby he says “I was only supposed to come on for the holidays, but then was kept on until summer 1998, I think? Somewhere around there.”
Other former employees include familiar names Claude Young, Rick Wilhite, Magda, Dan Bell and Rick Wade. The Dance Room at the Roseville location became known as a hub for collecting and selling records from numerous local house and techno producers. Plaslaiko says “the space was was usually pretty hilarious, too. Guys like Gary Chandler & DJ Dangerous would come in and crack jokes with Huck. Have you rolling on the floor laughing.”
Eventually, “I got let go for the same reason 99 percent of the people working there did: being late. They were super strict on it. Even if you were one minute late, then that would be strike one. I then went back to work at the Ferndale location around the spring of 2000 until spring of 2002,” he says. During his time there he was ordering for the dance catalog and remembers it being fun, seeing a range of characters walk through its doors. He commended the staff of Record Time saying it “was nice to see the hard work build into something special.”
The shop was influential in many facets for young Plaslaiko as his passion for music began to transform. “Working there was incredible! Both locations were phenomenal. This music was a lot harder to come by back then. So, working at the source really helped shape my musical tastes. Not to mention working around Mike Huckaby,” he says.
His employment at Record Time helped him earn his weekly residency at Family. Held at the pivotal Motor club tucked away in Hamtramck, this venue played an important role for the scene’s growth and was one of the longest running clubs in Detroit. Jason Kendig and Jeremy Christian were original Family residents. One night at a party in 1998 Plaslaiko found out Christian was leaving his spot and the event’s promoter Adriel Thornton had an opening to fill. Plaslaiko took to the helm and was a regular there for the next four years or so.
It was this residency that convinced Carl Craig to ask him to play the inaugural Detroit Electronic Movement Festival [DEMF], which eventually transitioned to be known today as Movement.
Throughout the years he has found himself playing the annual festival, other parties throughout Memorial Day Weekend and as a resident he can always be found at the otherworldly after-party No Way Back. That is of course with the exception of 2014 when he basically took the year off from DJing altogether with his son’s birth just four months prior. Regardless, experiencing basically every year since the millennium he has seen the festival’s evolution, which is now a pilgrimage for music lovers from around the globe.
“The festival has changed in so many different ways. I mean, the obvious one is that it used to be free. But that was never going to be able to sustain itself. Even still, you can’t beat that first year. The thing about it being free that made it so special was that people from absolutely every walk of life came down to check it out. Every race, every age – you name it and they were down there. But, you start putting a price tag on that, and it’s obviously going to change.”
Prices began increasing, but he says the biggest benefit to Paxahau taking over in 2006 and the higher price tag means a larger scale of production. “Doing something that big down there is a feat unlike any other. I’m super proud of all those guys for doing what they have done with it. And they really do strive to make it better and better every year. I often think they are going to plateau even with the sound systems, but they just keep getting bigger and better … It’s always going to be a super special weekend for me, and I don’t even plan to skip it again unless something major prevents me from going.”
In the summer of 2004 he needed a change of scenery and moved from Detroit to New York City. Eventually he met Bryan Kasenic and went on to become a now 10-year resident of The Bunker parties. During time spent in the city he started producing; his debut output xoxo, NYC was a 12″ released in 2010 through Perc Trax. During that same year, he packed up again to move to Berlin and has since remained. In 2011 he spent a summer residency at Club der Visionaere and frequents the notable and legendary Tresor and Berghain/Panorama Bar among many others in Germany.
Although Berlin remains home he continues to travel extensively playing festivals such as Dimensions in Croatia, Communikey in Boulder, Harvest Festival in Toronto and Decibel in Seattle. He’s shared his music at beloved venues such as Smart Bar, Hot Mass, Good Room for The Bunker, Marble Bar – the list goes on and on.
Still, he maintains his traveling lifestyle as a DJ and balances life at home with his wife Heidi and his son Elliot. Such dedication is no easy feat and I find incredible appreciation for people who are so passionate about their music and are still growing a family. Someone else whom I admire for exactly that is Chicago’s Sam Kern, otherwise known as Sassmouth, who is also good friend of his. I couldn’t help but wonder what sentiments parent DJs must share with one another.
“God, I love Sam Kern. She was actually just in Berlin with Ryan [her husband] and Amelia [her daughter] and we got some great hang time in. I really try my hardest to not let my ‘career’ affect my family life in Berlin. I’ve definitely been more selective of my gigs these days and also very cautious about spending too much time away from home. DJing might be considered a job that I’m doing, but there is no denying that there is quite a bit of fun being had. I tend to feel a bit guilty about it, and feel it’s maybe a bit unfair to Heidi if she’s left to all of the parental duties while I’m out partying in multiple cities for 2-3 weekends in a row. Despite all of that, she is incredibly supportive and is even encouraging me to go out on the road more this next year.”
Elliott will be three in January and since he spends time in daycare and preschool (Kita in Germany) Plaslaiko says things are becoming a bit easier to manage. His wife is able to work consistently at her day job, “so me being gone doesn’t affect her like it would have a year ago,” he says. “Though, I’m sure the early mornings every single day probably wear on her a bit. But, all in all, I’m just trying to weigh everything out so that I’m still doing my part, so to speak. Elliott is at an age where he’s constantly doing new things that are super impressive, so it hurts to be away and missing a lot of these first time moments. I also miss them terribly within two days of being gone. Even writing this, I’ve been gone four full days and it feels like weeks. And I have eight more days to go. So, in short, yeah it’s quite hard to be away from them. Luckily with Skype I can stay a bit connected to them while I’m touring. I have no idea how people would’ve done this 15 years ago!”
For the last stop on his tour he will hit Rochester, NY for the first time at Signal > Noise, which has seen the likes of The Black Madonna, Claude Young, Norm Talley, Mike Servito and more. For a man with more than 20 years of dance floors under his belt he has seen a variety of spaces and crowds. I inquired about his reflections on small city scenes.
“I have never been one to shy away from playing someplace just because it’s scene is ‘small’. In fact, I’m always looking for more cities that fit that description. For years, I have had the approach of hoping to help build something somewhere. It’s important for a scene’s growth to have people come in from outside of the local community and (hopefully) provide a different experience, and possibly inspire those in that community.” – DEREK PLASLAIKO
For almost every DJ that has spoken with Sequencer regarding their insight on intimate crowds and concentrated music scenes the consensus seems to continue. “And smaller scenes usually have some of (like you said) the most passionate crowds. The first two that come to mind are Pittsburgh and Philly! Small scenes for the most part, but I can come in and do seven hours at Hot Mass, or thirteen hours at Inciting HQ and have some of the most engaged dancers I have seen anywhere else in my life! I’ve heard nothing but great things about what has been going on in Rochester, and I’ve been looking forward to it for months now.”
What can we look forward to seeing from Plaslaiko in the future? “I have The Bunker 14 Year Anniversary coming up in January! Definitely looking forward to that. Also, I did a remix for TB Arthur that will be out in late January. I’m also going into the studio with BMG right after I finish this interview, so that’s exciting too!”
Free before midnight with valid student ID
$12 Advance, $15 Before Midnight, $20 After
21 & Over / 10PM
For the past 15 years Chicago has been the adopted home for Sam Kern, who otherwise goes by the moniker Sassmouth. After growing up in the punk scene as a teenager in the Northwest, she was brought to the city in 2000 working as a flight attendant.
“I didn’t discover Chicago house and Detroit techno until I moved here, but once I did, I was smitten immediately … we spent most of our time going to clubs like Crobar, Rednofive, and Red Dog for Boom Boom Room. For many years my friends and I would regularly caravan to Detroit to get our fix for more underground parties,” she says.
Detroit played a significant role in her foundation as an artist, as she made her way to the Detroit Electronic Music Festival (Movement Festival) each year since the second annual event in 2001, with the exception of 2010 for the birth of her daughter.
Chicago and Detroit became such inspirational sponges for Kern which went on to establish and influence her DJing and producing. “I really can’t think of a better place to soak in the culture and surround yourself with badass mentors than Chicago and Detroit. If you go to a party here, chances are you are surrounded by amazing DJs and producers that really set the bar high and constantly inspire each other.”
While learning to mix Kern said she would carry around a little notebook and after hearing something that piqued her ear she would would ask around, scribbling down the artist and name of the track, meanwhile also establishing a network in Chicago bringing her down more paths.
A multi-tasking master, Kern juggles a variety of things including running the Naughty Bad Fun Collective, holding a residency with As You Like It, developing the Industry Brunch parties, and creating her own residential party series at Smart Bar.
The Naughty Bad Fun Collective, based out of Chicago, began around 12 years ago comprised by a tight-knit community, including Kern. She says they were “just a group of friends that loved dancing right up front next to the speakers and partying together. We could fill a dance floor wherever we went. Someone pointed it out to us and I think that kind of inspired us to start throwing our own events.” The party began to manifest as an underground event finding home anywhere the group could muster, often in giant lofts or warehouse spaces. For a while NBFC parties were being held in “The Rave Dungeon,” the basement beneath Kern and her husband’s apartment, or hosted at their friends loft in London that they called “Club Regret.”
Life spent living in London inspired her creation and establishment of the Industry Brunch parties in Chicago. What started as an underground daytime party at a friend’s restaurant has become a staple event in Chicago and has also successfully taken place in Detroit during the city’s major festival as well as throughout the summer months.
“My husband and I lived in London for a few years and were inspired by all the daytime events there. You could get a full night’s sleep, wake up, have some breakfast, and enjoy music on a Sunday afternoon. We also liked the idea that many of our friends who do work as bartenders and various service industry jobs could enjoy going out on their day off. It has been really special to watch how it’s evolved in Chicago.”
Additionally, Kern also makes her way to the West Coast, holding down a residency with As You Like It, a promoting group based in San Francisco, Calif. She met AYLI founder Jeremy Bispo about 12 years ago when she was just learning how to DJ.
“Some friends and I traveled to Los Angeles to see Richie Hawtin and Sven Vath and I guess we were dancing extra hard and probably fist-pumping. Jeremy walked up to me and asked where I was from and I said ‘Chicago!’ without missing a dance beat. He got a big smile on his face and said ‘I figured! Nobody dances like that in L.A.!’ and we became instant friends and kept in touch over the years and would meet up at parties across the U.S. when we could,” she says.
Bispo invited her to play an event in 2010 at a place called the Compound, also known for Lee Burridge’s Get Weird parties, in San Francisco and at 7-months pregnant she played her last gig before giving birth.
“The Compound was a fantastic underground space with a capacity of around 150 and had an ‘in the round’ setup; the speakers, visuals and even the crowd surrounded the DJ in a circular-shaped room. It is still one of my most favorite parties I’ve ever played. To be that connected with the sound and crowd, and I still get the occasional person coming up to me when I play in SF and tell me how special that night was. I currently fly out to SF to DJ the As You Like It parties every other month or so. The next one will be at a warehouse space in Oakland, Calif. with Juju and Jordash on Halloween,” she says.
While back at home in Illinois, she hosts her own special event titled Planet Chicago at the well-renowned Smart Bar. A continuation of her crew’s underground events, they take the party and transform the club with decorations and themes like on an underwater planet or in an alien cathedral. According to the artist, Planet Chicago is always “a little campy, a little trippy” and decorated with artwork usually handmade by one of the NBFC’s newer DJs, Jarvi.
“We also like to feature a lot of live PA’s and present it floor level so the dancers can see what the act is actually doing with their machines, or watch them sing live like when we had Portable play one of our first events,” she says. “We also like to feature longtime heroes to us. We’re not opposed to showcasing newer artists but I think there’s something important about spotlighting and celebrating artists that have been quietly grinding away over the years making fantastic music. We also believe in building long-term relationships between the artist and community, which is why we bring back artists annually if we can.”
By 2013 she developed a vinyl label called god particle. During her travels she was reading about the Large Hadron Collider and while daydreaming she thought about how music — like the smallest Higgs Boson particle — connects everything in her life. She says, “As a DJ, I love tracks that work as building blocks that can work as connectors between techno and house and electro and more ambient sounds.” Vinyl pressing in today’s age she coined as a labor of love due to various hurdles with production. Kern was excited to announce that the label will be releasing “GOPA 05” by Santa Cruz, Calif. producer Stridah.
As a mother, wife, DJ, producer, label and party developer, Sam Kern does it all purely driven by passion. “I’m positive I will be doing something music-related even when I make the leap from Mama Techno to Grandma Techno,” she says.
Kern will be present this Saturday, Oct. 17 at 45 Euclid in Rochester, N.Y. along with Shawn Rudiman for the next installment of the Signal > Noise parties.
“Shawn is one of my favorite people to watch perform, he is also a mentor and now I feel lucky to say a dear friend. I was first awed by his live show 11 years ago when I saw him and Claude Young at party called ‘Green Light Go’ in Detroit during the festival,” she says. “I felt honored when he sent me music for my label — he is truly one of the most inspiring musicians I have ever met. He just goes for it like he’s on a kamikaze mission. A lot of what he does live is improvised on the fly and I’ve seen him many times and have never seen the same show. There is a funky raw vibe to what he does, and somehow he even injects his sense of humor into the experience, which is awesome. Rochester is in for a treat.”
Stay tuned into the Sequencer later this week for a spotlight on Shawn Rudiman.