Features

NEW YORK'S UNDERGROUND REVIVAL By Justin Brown

23 April 2012
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NEW YORK'S UNDERGROUND REVIVAL

The commercial growth of dance music in the USA has been well documented of late. But in the entertainment Mecca of New York City, far away from flashy clubs, glitzy bars and the like, there is a deeper and different type of sonic gratification being embraced by a sizable sum of people. The recent surge in underground sounds is mostly the result of three parties: Verboten, Blkmarket Membership and Resolute.

Although there is a faction of music lovers that are growing weary of the recent domestic oversaturation within dance music, there is also a diverse group of slightly older individuals who are long departed from the clique-oriented, bottle service aspect of dance music that has become the New York standard.

As these two groups join and continue to capture some of the forces that have accompanied commercial dance music, the result is a burgeoning scene filled with refreshing music and an unmatched atmosphere.

We profile the three key events, making waves in the underground.

NYTroxler
[Seth Troxler at Good Units, Verboten]

Verboten:
Who: Verboten is husband and wife partners Jenn Schiffer & John Perez. John does A&R and promotions while Jen does bookings and operations.
Notable Bookings: Hot Natured, Seth Troxler, Maya Jane Coles, Maceo Plex, Soul Clap, Green Velvet, Nico Jaar
Venues: Good Units (recently closed), The Morgan, Yotel, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Highline Ballroom

How do you decide who to book for your parties?
"We both love the deeper side of house and techno, and are happy to see its popularity grow, as evidenced by the success of Verboten events with Wolf + Lamb, Hot Natured, and Crosstown Rebels. We aim to book diverse acts and expose people to different styles."

How do you choose the venue for a party and the accompanying production aspects?
"Variety has been a major theme in choosing a venue, as no venue has it all. There seems to be a lack of proper large rooms in NYC that cater to the deeper sound, so Verboten has attempted to keep people on their toes by changing spots. As for production, sound is paramount. Mark Divine from D3 Audio (Crobar) handles the complicated production requirements while Mike Roche handles the DJ Booth. Verboten also embraces the visual aspect of production, with branded content that complements the overall party experience."

What has been your best party to date and why?
"The last few parties at Good Units with Hot Natured or Seth Troxler were unforgettable. Also, the Sunday of Labor day with Matthias Tanzmann, Davide Squillace, and Martin Buttrich all tag teaming was great. Lee Burridge on New Years Eve at the Morgan was pretty special, as was the Wolf + Lamb / Soul Clap party which had a special guest appearance from Nico Jaar."

Are you catering to any type of crowd in particular? Who do you want to show up?
"We are not trying to be the coolest or most underground group in the scene, but rather we tend to focus on a vibe of inclusiveness and good customer service. The crowd is diverse, polite, and slightly older. There are people who save their money and drive in from out of town, people who drag their friends from bottle service clubs to hear great music, and people that write thank you notes and suggest new DJ’s to book."

Mixmag says: Perhaps the most organised and business-oriented, Verboten aims to please its loyal followers by providing dynamic music, consistently good venues, and big names.

NYMarco
[Marco Carola at Electric Warehouse, Blkmarket Membership]

Blkmarket Membership:
Who: Taimur Agha & Fahad Haider
Notable Bookings: Scuba, Marco Carola, Adam Beyer, Ida Engberg. Chris Liebing, Paco Osuna
Venues: Electric Warehouse, Highline Ballroom, Star of Palm Beach (Boat)

How do you decide who to book for your parties?
"The bookings are done way in advance and reflect the DJs and live artists that are inspiring to us. Blkmarket does not like to book the same act every 3 months, as that is playing it safe and can get boring. There are a few DJs who will play twice a year like Ben Klock, Craig Richards and Robag Wruhme."

How do you choose the venue for a party and the accompanying production aspects?
"Finding a venue suitable for our needs is the toughest part about doing an underground party. A few years ago, it was a little easier to find newer venues but there are a few options in Brooklyn and Manhattan. It all largely depends upon the line up, and after that the venue is decided. If there is a big night coming up like the Drumcode night with Adam Beyer, the team will go all out with production. All of the Blkmarket Membership parties look different from each other, production wise."

What has been your best party to date and why?
"In February we had Carl Craig, Francesco Tristano, and Moritz Van Oswald live, plus DJ Three. The trio playing a live show in NYC was a rare booking and also super risky, but the live show was very “next level” and ended up being an unforgettable night for everybody. The space, sound system, visuals and vibe were all amazing."

Are you catering to any type of crowd in particular? Who do you want to show up?
"There is a fun crowd at Blkmarket parties who are there for dancing. Some close friends attend, and coupled with an open atmosphere, this generally leads to an un-snobby party."

Mixmag says: Noticeably more underground than Verboten, but still attracts top tier acts and legitimate production. Be prepared for later nights.

NYReSolute
[Resolute on the roof]

Resolute:
Who: Nektarios Ioannidis
Notable Bookings: Thugfucker, Tale of Us, Alexi Delano, Tiefschwarz, Elon, Ellen Allien
Venues: Warehouses, Boats, Rooftops

How do you decide who to book for your parties?
"The basic decision maker is the quality, not the name. Resolute is looking for what is new, but not in a trendy sense. Time, place and occasion will also influence bookings to a certain point. Different sounds are needed for a day party versus a night party."

How do you choose the venue for a party and the accompanying production aspects?
"Resolute has worked with a lot of different landlords and many different spaces. Sound is becoming more and more crucial. Amazing parties used to be thrown with mediocre sound, but now the audience has been spoiled. Visuals and lighting are always the result of constructive and creative brainstorming amongst the team."

What has been your best party to date and why?
"The 'Boat Without a Captain' party was amazing and incorporated everything that Resolute stands for. The location was an old ferry hidden in the creeks of Brooklyn. The party lasted 28 hours and each DJ complimented different hours of the day."

Are you catering to any type of crowd in particular? Who do you want to show up?
"Cool people that love really good music. The crowd at Resolute parties truly embodies this."

Mixmag says: The most abstract of the three, Resolute attracts a music-loving crowd with an amazing vibe. Unique venues and upcoming talent make this group a true underground force.

TAGS: AMERICA / BLKMARKET / CLUBS / DANCE / EDM / ELECTRONIC / NEW YORK / RESOLUTE / UNDERGROUND / USA / VERBOTEN

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