Electro Dance Music (EDM) has reached a critical mass in America and dominates much of the club and event landscape in our region. The rising prominence of these once underground DJs has come so far into the mainstream that last year, Rolling Stone magazine ran a feature called the “25 DJs that Rule the Earth.” For a music mag entrenched in the big hair ‘80s and still fawning over Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, the article marked a watershed moment in American culture. A proper EDM show can now draw more people than Bon Jovi. Here in our sliver of the planet, we are blessed with some of the most skilled EDM DJs you’ll find anywhere. Not surprising really, when you consider the talent in the live music scene. Here are just some of the ones you can enjoy locally.
Venom, an ageless wonder and granddaddy of local EDM, has been spinning for 22 years and proudly hails from Kent Farm Village in East Providence. He says he took his stage name because he has “big teeth and looks like Spiderman’s arch nemesis, Venom.” Venom predominately plays the hardstyle; some call it hard style or hardcore. He says, “Some people listen to music to calm them down. I’m the opposite.”
Venom currently runs FReQ at PVD Social Club and Morlock Music, an artist collective and production company. His feats over more than two decades of music range from intimate local nights to raves of more than 12,000 people. He says that EDM is “split in two, between the commercial scene – the larger festivals and concert shows – and the underground scene, the smaller shows, warehouse parties. The commercial wave will pass, there won’t be any money in it anymore and all the fakes will fade onto the next trend while those who are true to the scene will remain to keep it going.”
Random thought: The scene is what you make of it. I chose to find the beauty in good music and real people, and to ignore the drugs, the attitudes, the egos and the rest of the crap that tarnishes it. That has kept me here since 1991.
Soappy, aka Brian Penn, hails from Cranston, has been a DJ for five years and is a prominent member and co-founder of the Tight Crew. He was dubbed “Soappy” by friends while in high school and says it “just kinda stuck with me over the years. It worked well as a rave nickname and it was only right that I keep it going as my DJ name. I’m most known for playing breaks and drum & bass, but my style is high energy and fun no matter what genre I choose to play. Since day one, I have always had a love for broken beats.”
“I don’t have a residency at any one venue,” he says, “but I seem to have gigs almost once or twice a week. You can find me anywhere from NYC to Maine and everywhere in between.” During the last few years, he’s opened for some major acts like Skrillex, Pendulum, Infected Mushroom, DJ Dan, Zeds Dead, Plump DJs, DJ Icey, The Freestylers and more. His largest show to date was in Albany with a crowd of more than 3,000 people.
Where does he see EDM going in 10 years? “It’s hard to say. The scene changes so quickly. I’d say maybe it’ll be as big here in the US as it is in other countries but honestly don’t think it will take 10 years to do so.”
Random thought: Come check out all the exciting new Tight Crew events we have lined up for 2013 at tightcrew.net.
DJ Keither, aka Keith Woods, hails from Cranston and has been DJing for six years. He’s also part of the Tight Crew. “[Keither] was a name I was known by in my Rocky Horror cast, and oddly enough several times in my life people just called me “Keither.”
He plays A.D.D. core, which means he doesn’t like one sound for too long, and spins anything from electro, to hard house, to happy hardcore, to DnB, to hip-hop, to rock and somehow makes it back to house in the end. “I like to take people on a musical journey,” he says. Keither performs at rave parties and dance music nights all over New England and New York such as Mario Party, Space Jam, Under The Sea, Beltek Festival, Creatures of the Night and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
“The scene right now is in a great place, at least in the Northeast. The past five years have changed so much; we have seen a nearly dead scene explode, and with great people. The real rave scene is going strong, and the general feeling of mainstream dance music is great as well.”
Random thought: I hope that everything we do at Tight Crew will inspire the next generation of ravers to build, and keep the scene going with creativity. Thanks to everyone who supports us. We are proud of the community that has surrounded us and helped us to get the scene where it is right now.
DJ Michael Savant
Michael Savant hails from Taunton, Massachusetts and currently resides in Providence. With 12 years of DJ experience he is most know for DGAF, the ongoing night at Colosseum. Of his work, he says, “I have residencies that allow me to run the gamut from old school hip-hop to future bass and dubstep, so I would have to say I am all over the place. I pour my heart and soul into my sets and I am very passionate about what I do. I definitely lean toward the more aggressive tracks in each genre I play as well. Oh and I also like to wear bowties and wing tips. A good DJ can shine in any genre, and has an overall love for music.”
Savant has also played Liberty Hotel and shared a stage with the likes of Flux Pavillion, Tommy Sunshine, Nic Fanciulli and James Zabiela, Richie Hawtin, Datsik, Kastle, Drop The Lime, and the list goes on. Of the current EDM landscape, he says, “In a nutshell, exciting. There are so many outlets and so much going on – it’s fantastic. My only beef is the fact that everyone is jumping on it as if it’s something new and there are far too many nights popping up just to put money in club owners pockets.”
Random thought: I wonder if the Dolphins won the Super Bowl the other night?
DJ Thelonious Manc
Thelonious Manc, aka Michael Anthony Mancuso, comes from North Kingstown, but currently resides in Providence. With seven years of DJing under his belt, Manc works mainly with NextHype, most known for their Saturday DGAF night.
“I chose my DJ name because it had an element of class and style to it,” he says. “The name just kinda came to me one day and I thought right then and there, that’s it! It’s based off of the name of one of my favorite jazz musicians, Thelonious Monk. I am a rather varied listener but jazz music has always invoked the most emotion in me. The “Manc” portion is an abbreviation of my last name.”
Thelonious Manc tends to be malleable in style, depending on what the situation calls for. He’ll spin hip-hop, drum & bass, jungle and all different styles of house, but his favorite music to spin currently is low vibe dubstep – a more minimal sound that blends elements of jazz and old school hip-hop while still, at times, maintaining an aggressive edge.
Manc has been involved in major events at Fete in Providence including the first annual Providence Dance Music Festival and Filth Fest 2012, as well as the Tight Crew’s Creatures of the Night at Lupo’s.
Random thought: I wonder what Arsenio Hall is doing right now.
DJ Jackie Treehorn
Jackie Treehorn, aka Jarid Michael Carreiro, hails from Somerset, Massachusetts where he was born and raised. At 32, Jackie Treehorn has 17 years of DJ experience and is one of the most diverse and exciting artists on the scene. Highly animated, it is not uncommon to see Treehorn dancing all over the stage. He took his stage name from the cult classic film, The Big Lebowski. “I hate DJ names, no one cared about Jarid though. I was watching Lebowski and Jackie Treehorn is one of the people in the movie. I loved the name so I used it.”
As for the dancing, he believes that music makes you move in a certain way. “If I can move that means you can too!” Currently, Jackie Treehorn spins at venues such as Entourage (in Fall River), Dive Bar, Bar Louie, Suite 600, After Life, State, Colosseum and PVD Social Club. He’s shared the stage with the likes of KRS1, Onyx, Bel Biv Devoe, DJ Skribble and so on…
”I feel that EDM has become a tag line,” he says. “It has moved from deep in the underground to being played on TV commercials. I think it’s great that things are moving forward and I am excited to see what tomorrow brings.”
Random thought: I love to DJ because I love having the ability to make people move through the power of music.
DJ Joey Electric
Joey Electric, aka Joey Rosetti Andradi, hails from the City of Whales (aka New Bedford) Massachusetts, where he still lives. A 30-year-old veteran of the electro scene, Joey Electric’s style is a mixture of very heavy bass with discordant synth lines. “This particular style and its dense musical landscape consumes me at the core of my being,” he says. Joey spins at FReQ Fridays at PVD Social Club and is a member of Morlock Music, whose artists guest DJ at venues and many of the major rave events. “The current EDM landscape is growing exponentially, especially in this country,” he says. “In 10 years, I feel like EDM will explode then decline in its popularity.”
Random thought: My mix record, Danse.Death.Repeat., will be out in early 2013 A.D.
DJ Rob Rowman
Rob Rowman, aka Robert Bowman, hails from Narragansett, and began spinning in 1998, taking a hiatus in the early 2000 before returning to the EDM scene in 2008. He plays mostly electro house with some progressive house and also some trance and techno elements and even a little dubstep.
“I heard the electro house sound and just fell in love with it. Rob Rowman is currently a resident at FReQ Fridays and has performed at events such as Rise in Boston and Creatures of the Night at Lupo’s this past year. A lot of the genres are starting to fade into one another and I feel like the lines that separate genres are becoming very blurry. So styles are starting to really get very mixed together.”
Random thought: I love Providence and I appreciate all the people who have helped me get to where I am today.
DJ Scott Sylvia
With only two years of DJ experience, Scott Sylvia has helped establish one of the major area weeklies in his hometown of New Bedford – Bass Wave. He says he “started off on the whole dubstep train, but ended up getting really into minimal/trance. Chunky, resonating, deep, 4×4 beats; I could listen to this stuff forever.” Other venues Scott Sylvia has performed at include Goodlife and Colosseum. He has played major events and with major players such as DJs From Mars, Aphrodite, Bachelors of Science, Lisa Lashes, Angerfist, Drop Goblin, tyDi and Figure.
Random thought: I’m fairly new to the whole DJ thing, but I see myself getting better all the time. If not for this obsession with dance music, I wouldn’t have met and collaborated with so many awesome people. It’s been humbling, great, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next few years!