The sights and sounds of music returned to Lake Perris, California for a festival that is all the same as many fests yet truly different. In its third year rendition, Same Same But Different Festival overcame the many difficulties of the pandemic with a strong lineup featuring SSBD first-timers Big Gigantic, STS9, LSDream, Clozee, and Polish the Ambassador. Along with the return of Boombox, Dirtwire, COFRESI, and Megan Hamilton for a great representation of many artists who refuse to be categorized in a genre.Continue reading
On Saturday, October 2nd, a brand new event is coming to Denver, Colorado. The High Ground Music & Arts Experience will take place at Levitt Pavilion at Ruby Hill Park. This event is one of the first of its kind, focusing on bringing a full day of chill, electronic music to the metro area. A wide array of vendors, most of which are native to Colorado, will bring amazing food, drinks, and other products to High Ground.
Those that will be attending this groundbreaking event that’s set to capture the essence of fall in Colorado are called Revelers. An exclusive Facebook group, Revelers of High Ground, is the perfect place to find discussions, polls, giveaways, and more. Another way to meet other Revelers is through a community in the app, Radiate. They are also hosting a giveaway for two tickets! Click here to enter.
Party Guru Press was lucky enough to connect with Noah Levinson, the founder of Levitate Events. He’s worked hard for the past five years to carefully curate essentially every detail of High Ground. This interview happened via email, where we learned all about how the event came to be, what Revelers can expect to see at the event, and what the future looks like for High Ground. Keep on reading for the full scoop!
Let’s Get Chill, Let’s Get Vibey
Kierstin Rounsefell (Party Guru Press): Can you please introduce yourself and tell us about how you first got involved in the music and entertainment industries?
Noah Levinson (High Ground Music & Arts Experience): Hello! My name is Noah Levinson and I’m the founder of Levitate Events. Live music has played a huge role in my life since I was little. My parents took me to shows since before I could remember and encouraged me to learn how to play different instruments. In middle school, I discovered electronic music and learned how to DJ. I used some Bar Mitzvah money to purchase Serato and turntables, and quickly began performing for friends, birthday parties, weddings, and other events. Along the way, I fell in love with event creation and production and started curating shows of my own.
Party Guru Press: What do you do for High Ground?
Noah Levinson: I am the director of High Ground. I have an incredible team that supports and expands my vision, but I’ve carefully crafted almost every detail and aspect of High Ground over the past 5 years. I’ve handled the talent buying, venue selection, creative direction, and team building. Now, as we move into the final stretch on the road to High Ground, I’m working closely with each of my team leads (production, VIP, site ops, vendors, etc) to make sure everything comes together beautifully.
Party Guru Press: This is the first year of the High Ground Music & Arts Experience. What inspired you to create this event?
Noah Levinson: High Ground began as a conversation with my best friend Jacob. Some of our favorite artists at the time were Kasbo, Flume, and others in the “chill” and “vibey” side of electronic music, and we were upset that there weren’t many festivals that fully captured that sort of sound. This planted the seed that eventually grew into High Ground.
A Musical Ode To Colorado
Party Guru Press: I read online that High Ground is “designed to capture the essence of Colorado while providing incredible fusions of live electronic talent.” How will this event combine the beautiful elements of Colorado with unique live music sets?
Noah Levinson: There are so many amazing things about Colorado. Our dedication to the outdoors, the strong local music scene that listens to many genres, our progressive cannabis culture, a bourgeoning local art scene, and so many other things make our state a special place. Yes, we are the bass capital, but we also love so many other genres out here.
When I envision Colorado in the Fall, I also think about snow-kissed mountains, golden leaves on every tree, crisp Autumn air, and the exciting potential for every kind of weather. This is the essence of Colorado, and with nearly 25 artists from around the world (many are from Colorado) who perform live fusions of electronic, funk, jam, R&B, and hip hop, High Ground is set to capture that unique energy as a whole.
Party Guru Press: Has everyone in the general public reacted well to the announcement of the event so far? Do people seem excited to attend?
Noah Levinson: As my team prepared to announce in May, one of my biggest insecurities was that my years of dedication to this project would be met with a lackluster response. However, I couldn’t be happier with the reactions and comments we’ve received so far! People tell me every day how excited they are for High Ground, and thank me for curating something unique and unexpected; something that pushes against the grain.
When we first announced the lineup, somebody shared it on Facebook saying “Everything from the Colorado-inspired branding & chill electro vibe to the venue choice & lineup is impeccable. I predict that High Ground will gain national recognition and become Denver’s first major destination music festival within the next few years as it continues to grow.” This is the sentiment I’m frequently met with, and I get goosebumps thinking about what we’ve created and where we can take it.
High Ground Revelers
Party Guru Press: What artists are you excited to see perform at High Ground?
Noah Levinson: All of them. Seriously, every artist from the bottom to the top are some of my favorites. Kasbo was one of the first artists I placed on my “hit list” 5 years ago, so having him with us this October is full circle; a dream come true.
Party Guru Press: How did you and your team go about finding art, food, and drink vendors for the event?
Noah Levinson: We listen to what our friends and Revelers (this is what we call our attendees) are excited about! We’re excited to present a full array of vendors at High Ground, many of which are brands native to Colorado. We’re still looking for a few more food and product vendors. Brands can apply on our website on the “Get Involved” page.
Party Guru Press: What will make this event different from other art and music events that take place in the Denver Metro area?
Noah Levinson: Quite frankly, everything about this will be different. We’re so proud to be working with the Levitt Pavilion, which up until recently didn’t really bring electronic acts to its stage. For many, this will be their first time attending something at Levitt. Musically, there aren’t any other experiences in Colorado that focus so specifically on this style of music. You can find it occasionally at a one-off concert, but this is the first time that you’ll be able to experience a full day of chill, genre-blending, live-performed vibey electronic music.
Finally, we have a narrative that’s fused deeply into all aspects of High Ground. We used the spirits of animals native to Colorado to tell a story of powerful story of rebirth, togetherness, and collective positivity to beckon a greater world for ourselves. We hope this is the most beautiful music festival you’ve ever attended.
“Do What You F*cking Love”
Party Guru Press: There is a lot of uncertainty about events in the face of the COVID-19 Delta Variant. What safety measures do you have in place?
Noah Levinson: We will follow local, state, and federal municipality guidelines, as well as Levitt Pavilion & industry standards to protect our attendees, artists, staff, and everyone else on-site. With the recent full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, we strongly encourage attendees to get vaccinated and stay masked so that our community as a whole can continue to move in a positive direction.
Party Guru Press: What do you hope for the future of High Ground? Does this event have the potential to turn into a multi-day festival eventually?
Noah Levinson: Eventually, I think High Ground could totally become a multi-day music & arts festival… maybe even with camping? But at the same time, it’s most important to us to grow steadily and cultivate a strong community of Revelers. High Ground is special, and we don’t want to make massive leaps at the risk of losing the aspects that make us special. I envision that someday, High Ground will expand beyond electronic to include some elements of psychedelic rock and hip-hop (which we’ve sprinkled in gently this year).
Party Guru Press: Would you like to give any words of advice, or motto, to encourage others to remember as 2021 comes to a close?
Noah Levinson: I don’t mean to sound cliche, but do what you fucking love. I have so many friends that complain about their 9-5 jobs, and I’m like “just do what you love” and they don’t seem to understand how a little leap of faith can turn your passion into your career. Take what you love, combine it with the things you’re good at, and DO IT.
Words Of Gratitude From A Fellow Party Guru
Party Guru Press: Is there anything else that you’d like mentioned that hasn’t yet been discussed?
Noah Levinson: My mom is my business partner. GANG GANG. But in all seriousness, Jobi Halper is so insanely smart and creative, and as a lifelong music lover with 25+ years of legal and business experience, she’s the best partner I could ask for and I wouldn’t be able to produce this festival without her.
Party Guru Press: Final question, would you consider yourself a Party Guru?
Noah Levinson: I’m a fucking weirdo who revels in the face of live music. There are certain forms of energy that exist only within live music, and more than anything, I love creating these environments for people to experience something profound. I am a party guru.
After getting to learn all about the event from Noah Levinson himself, we cannot wait for October. High Ground Music & Arts Experience is an innovative, unique event that celebrates music, art, and colorful Colorado. A strong community of Revelers is already forming, ecstatic about what’s to come.
If you want to experience this brand new event first hand, there is still plenty of time to purchase tickets for you and your friends. Click here to secure your general admission and VIP tickets. We’ll see you at Levitt Pavilion!
Photos by High Ground Music & Arts Experience
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Denver grown bass house producer Jvckpot just dropped a new EP, Blowin’ Smoke, and we had the opportunity to ask him some questions about the project and check out the EP. It’s clear these two tracks might add the perfect touch to your summer playlist. The title track kicks off with a hard-hitting party vibe right from the start and bounces an addictive, clean drumbeat off bodacious bass lines dripping in attitude. The other track, Ripped Off, is equally as energized but has a darker vibe, with a dance-y grimy bassline through the whole track. Blowin’ Smoke is a summertime banger to add to your party playlist- find him on Beatport, Spotify, or Soundcloud. Check out the interview Party Guru Press did with him to learn about his background and the new release!
“Drawing inspiration from his roots of fidget house in 2008 combined with intricately interwoven drum styles of trap and breaks of the next decade, Jvckpot has his mind set on retaking his hometown of Denver, Colorado. Originally a founding member of the Denver based production collective Got Bass Music, Jvckpot has returned with a new alias garnering support along the way from friends and local favorites. This veteran house connoisseur will have the dance floor bouncing no matter the occasion. Combining elements of house, breaks, dubstep and trap, he maintains an immersive and eloquent mix across the board.“https://www.jvckpot.com/about
Party Guru Press: How long have you been working on this EP?
JVCKPOT: In total, about 3 months. I started the idea for “ Blowin’ Smoke” way back in November of last year but I hadn’t started shopping it out until I had some more tracks on the back line. “Ripped Off” came together much quicker and was motivated following the Night Bass Anniversary live stream on Twitch back in February. I’d say it probably took me a week to bang out the second track.
Party Guru Press: Did you run into any challenges when working on this project?
JVCKPOT: Blowin’ Smoke being an earlier track I certainly had my issues figuring out the progression and direction of the track. For a while I was trying to fit that deep and low house vibe but growing up on Electro and Fidget I always tend to add in more energetic bass sounds. Early in my production career though it can be tough getting so many aggressive sounds to fit well together without overwhelming the listener. Ripped Off is a bit more straight forward with it’s leads and I already had a vibe I was going for though admittedly the second drops ends up going pretty hard as well haha.
Party Guru Press: How does it feel to be on the Beatport top releases?
JVCKPOT: I still don’t quite believe it to be honest. I never thought I’d be charting this early on, let alone Top 5 releases. Have to give massive props to the exposure that Incursion Recordings already has and the amount they worked with me on promoting the release. To have this validation early on in the project feels really amazing and further motivates me to grow. I’ve set the bar for myself so it’s something to continue working to improve. I think it would be nutty to be on the overall top 100.
Party Guru Press: Other than bass house, do you feel any other edm genres in these tracks?
JVCKPOT: There is a lot of fidget house influence in my tracks. I’m a gigantic Crookers fan and I think my productions reflect that. I’m pretty proud of one of the wonky bass sounds in Ripped Off near the end of the drop. There’s definitely a hint of complextro influence in there as well.
Party Guru Press: How was the stream with Bassbloc?
JVCKPOT: The Bass Bloc stream is always a great time. I’ve gone back with those guys over 10 years so getting to go back and DJ for them is like riding a bike. We pick right back up where we left off. Last stream I got to tag team with Matty Ghost who is an absolute riot of a person, haha. We had a great time and cruised back to his studio space to shoot the shit afterwards. I’m looking forward to some sessions with that dude soon!
Party Guru Press: What drove you to choose the samples you did for these tracks?
JVCKPOT: I wish it was more thought out, but in reality they just kinda felt right for the tracks after trying a bunch of splice samples. Just trying to be as smug and obnoxious as I maybe was feeling myself at the tail end of the lockdown. Feelings of being rinsed and ripped off perhaps? Blowin’ Smoke is a bit more straightforward of a decision; it’s what the “pot” in Jvckpot stands for after all.
Party Guru Press: Where did you record these tracks?
JVCKPOT: These tracks are home studio creations! For the techies I’m running an i5-10400 with Ableton, Rokit 5s and a T10S sub. I was actually staying with my mom at the time I made them so kudos to her for dealing with the noise for those months. Mastering was done in house by Incursion, shout out to Ryan Gallus!
Party Guru Press: How has the reception been from your fans since this dropped?
JVCKPOT: It’s been pretty insane! The past 3 days it’s been climbing the Beatport release charts so clearly someone is enjoying it. It’s still kinda hard for me to grasp to be honest. As in any sort of art field, I don’t quite feel all that worthy yet so I appreciate all of the amazing feedback and support I’ve gotten from the community.
Party Guru Press: Who did the graphic design for the cover art for this?
JVCKPOT: Graphics were all provided by the great team at Incursion Recordings. Those folks hustle so hard to deliver some top notch bangers every week.
Party Guru Press: In your own words, what vibe does Ripped Off throw down?
JVCKPOT: Ripped Off is best listened to with a broken cig hanging out of your mouth, preferably wearing a matching Adidas tracksuit. Throw on a smug look and fist pump your problems away.
Party Guru Press: What about Blowin’ Smoke?
JVCKPOT: I’d describe Blowin Smoke as pure bass aggression. Thick FM wobs followed by squelchy wurps accompanied by that jackin’ bass house drum line. It’s got a gun cock sample too so you know it’s edgy.
Party Guru Press: What’s next for you after this EP?
JVCKPOT: Most recently, I’ve really been focusing on collaborative work. I feel like I’ve proven that I can create some pretty awesome stuff and I’m looking forward to bringing my own flavor to the table. I’ve got a pretty beefy remix awaiting label approval which would be a massive accomplishment as well. Heading into the tail end of summer, I’m sure I’ll start up a couple originals also!
Party Guru Press: Would you consider yourself a party guru?
JVCKPOT: Being a product of the Denver bass scene I can confidently say that I am able to impart my decade of party knowledge onto the next generation of aspiring bass heads. Pleasure to be here representing the Denver Bass House community!
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Doctor P and Funtcase, dubstep heavyweights based out of the U.K, brought an absolute heater of a show this past weekend at the annual Global Dance Festival in Denver, Colorado. Shaun “Doctor P” Brockhurst and James “Funtcase” Hazell have been some of most popular names in the dubstep scene for over a decade now, bringing nothing short of heavy-hitting filth to the Bass Capital every time. Their styles wonderfully infuse the gritty, beloved UK dubstep sound with more modern riddim-based synths which has their fans rightfully positioning them as some of the best and biggest names in dubstep today. The two sat down for an exclusive interview with Party Guru Productions right before their set on Day 1 of Global Dance Festival. We got all the details, some never-before heard facts, and stories from the artists you won’t find anywhere else – keep reading below to check it out!
Getting Into It : Let’s Chat!
Maddi: We are so excited over here at Party Guru to be able to sit down and learn a little bit more about you guys! So – Global Dance Festival is Colorado’s largest dance music festival – Shaun (Doctor P) you were here in 2018 with your b2b with Flux [Pavilion] and James [Funtcase], here in 2017. So you’re both been here before, you’re both super familiar with the Denver territory and this venue in particular. What’s memorable about this city that you’re excited to see tonight? What do you remember about Denver that you’re ready for tonight?
Shaun: Denver, ever since the first time I’ve ever came here has just been like, the biggest shows every time without fail. I think the first show I ever played in Denver was about 5,000 people…and I’d never played a show like that before – ever. It was like my first big show basically, ever was in Denver so- there’s some cities where i ‘m questioning if it’s gonna be good, I don’t know? With Denver, I just always know it’s going to be good – I don’t even give it a second thought – it’s going to be good. (laughs)
James: I agree, it’s like – Denver is just one of those places where it’s just like, the crowd pretty much eats up everything you play. It’s a very unique situation. They call themselves like, the Bass Capital – and it’s for a good reason. Usually, I think Montreal is starting to catch up but Denver, it’s just one of those places where you just know whatever you drop is just gonna go off.
Shuan: The pressure is on though because they are so in tune with the music, you can’t turn up and play a bunch of boring old songs.
Maddi: Right, like we expect it.
Shaun: Right, you’ve got to come here to impress.
Maddi: Love that. Well, we’re so ready for tonight, so that’s a good answer. Alright, so you both are some of the earliest earliest artists to have been on Circus Records, Shaun obviously being the co-founder of the label, Funtcase you joined in 2010. How would you say Circus Records has changed over the years musically and as a label?
Shaun: Ehm, it’s been quite a strange journey because obviously in the early days we started the label with mo expectations, we just wanted a platform to release our music. And then we had loads of really early successes – like with Flux [Pavilion] ‘s releases, and then mine, and then everyone else coming on and it just came much bigger than we could have ever imagined. But then, the dubsteps scene just kept on getting bigger and NeverSayDie got huge and disciple got huge, and all these other labels came along. So it’s been quite strange like, trying to eh – trying to figure out our place in all of it, so em, it’s been strange – I feel like we’ve found quite a nice niche now, where we kind of know what Circus is now…music, not all dubstep. We basically just have a set of parameters, and if the song fits it – we’ll release it.
James: Yeah. The thing was when Circus first started it was literally a platform to put out what we made, we didn’t aim for styles anything – I was just making stuff. I wasn’t aiming for anger or anything like that…it was literally just, here’s the track I made and Circus went, let’s put it out and that’s literally how it started. But it’s kind of honed itself into its own little beast now where it’s like, doing a lot more musical styles – and I think that’s really reflecting on a lot of the artists inside…I’m writing a lot more musical stuff now.
Shaun: It’s nice to have a platform where you can kind of release what you want – like, Circus is such a non-specific style now.
Maddi: Right, super diverse.
Shaun: Yeah, as long as we dont come with like a death metal track or something…(looks at James)
James: I’ll try.
Maddi: Right, I mean it’s questionable…so we’ll see where that goes. Alright, who would you say are your biggest influences in music right now? More of an open-ended question.
Shuan: I have been really enjoying all of the like melodic riddim as they’ve been calling it , like – all of the stuff Chime has been doing and like, SkyBreaks, Ace Aura…just all of that melodic stuff..it feels like everything I really liked about early dubstep, just done really well.
James : I think for me, the word inspired is almost like a platform to explain like, how you shaped your style in a way to sound like. If you like an artist, you go, “I like what they’re doing, I’ll do my version of that.” For me, there’s so much new amazing new talent around hence DPMO, uh – t’s just inspiring to be able to find so much talent and be able to play it out and represent it rather than have that shape my music in a way. So for me that end of it…that’s exciting stuff…in terms of other dubstep – I think Spaces Laces, that’s an obvious mention. Leotrix is doing some really cool stuff. Maurada is doing some really cool stuff, so you know – just the usual names I think, really.
Photos by Patrik Essy
Digging In: Life Before Dubstep
Maddi: Alright, before you became DJ’s for a living.. what were your original career or sort of life plans before becoming full-time artists?
Shaun: Well, I was an ice cream man.
James: Were you really? I did not know that!
Shaun: Yes, well…it wasn’t like, a career plan. I wanted to be a graphic designer, that was always my thing – I was still doing my own artwork and stuff. So, yeah.
Maddi: Were you still making music when you were an “ice cream man”?
Shaun: Yeah, yeah. I started making music when I was like 12, so I was kind of always doing that – but it just didn’t seem realistic, being like a “rock star”. So, I never thought it would actually work out. So yeah, if this hasn’t worked out…I’d probably have been a graphic designer right now.
James: I worked two jobs before Funtcase – I was working in an office folding papers and answering the phones and every other crap administrative job you can think of. And I was also looking after the elderly in my other job – I was working 69 hour weeks and in between not sleeping, I was writing drum and bass on a tiny laptop. It was a great/miserable time to be alive. But before that I didn’t really know what I wanted to be. I think music was just something i enjoyed, I never aimed it to be a career. I was always in bands before that- and I’d produced, just for fun/hobby sort of stuff…what I used to do when I was younger was game design, but i never pursued it, obviously.
Maddi: Nice, that’s awesome. We’ll do the last group question here then we’ll move to individuals. So, if you were to have an alter ego musically, what genre or type of music would it be?
Shaun: So I’ve just started an alter ego – I’ve started a new act called Freaks and Geeks which is drum and bass – just very, very English sounding drum and bass. It’s kind of what I started doing before I did dubstep, I was always on the drum and bass side. I’ve kind of like, reached a point now where it’s like, I’ve always wanted to be a drum and bass DJ and I thought, now I need to actually do it.
Shaun: So yeah, ehm. It’s me and Phil from RockSonics, we started it aout 2 years ago and we’ve been putting out music for about 9 months now. So that’s my alter ego.
Maddi: Nice. And what about you (James)?
James: Hmm, I’ve done alter egos already, like I said I started drum and bass and I moved to dubstep…I’ve also got a secret house alias which I don’t tell anyone about. (laughs)
Maddi: Secrets, secrets…
James: Yeah, but I mean – if someone said you’re banned from doing dubstep, I think I’d go be in a band. I don’t think I’d stay a DJ.
James: Yeah, I think it would drive me crazy to have to go all the way back to square one and have to build something up again…
Funtcase: The Man Behind the Mask
Maddi: Cool, alright. So, we’re going to move to individual questions, we’re gonna start with James here. So, your record [label] DPMO has been growing significantly in recent years, I know we touched on that a little earlier. Tell us a little bit about how DPMO came to be and where you see the label going in the near future.
James: DPMO was originally all ideas I had years ago and has just never executed, and so I just decided to execute it. So at first, it was only supposed to be like, a clothing label, which I originally called Ghosts — (explaining to Shaun) well, the reason it’s called that is because DPMO is after my track Don’t Piss Me Off, so I was trying to name my brand after a track that was what’s popular, so at the time, Ghosts was popular…but Ghosts…the name, it was so cheesy, and with the label, you couldn’t really do much.
Shaun: Yeah, DPMO sounds like a cooler name.
James: Yeah, exactly – but [DPMO] kind of started off as a clothing label and then, we ended up doing a compilation with Circus. There’s this thing in Drum and Bass called “Andy C’s Nightlife”, where Andy C literally just finds all of this amazing music and puts it in a compilation. We didn’t have that in dubstep, so I kind of thought – why don’t we be the “Nightlife” of that? So this is what DPMO has been doing…and then, we just decided to turn it into a record label.
Maddi: Very cool. Okay, so your style is often described as “hyper-aggressive” (laughs) or “extremely aggressive” – what is something you wish people knew about you that most people don’t see behind the mask?
James: I don’t write dubstep. LIke if it wasn’t my job, I wouldn’t write it I don’t think. LIke, I write such a mixed bag of music that no one hears and only every now and again I’ll be like “oh, yeah, that track” and put it on Twitter, just to show people, but like…for instance, when I’m not on tour, I don’t listen to dubstep whatsoever when i’m just like, being me. I’ll listen to it like, I was listening to the first Coldplay album on the plane. I’m a big fan of someone like, Ed Sheeran, for instance. I like, my styles and tastes and what I write is so vastly different. But then I can go from like, Ed Sheeran to like, Deftones to like, Cannibal Corpse in the same day…I kind of switch between music styles, honestly.
The Doctor Is In: Sitting Down With Doctor P
Maddi: Yes! That’s awesome. Alright, Shaun, we’ll bust through these last couple of questions for you. What would you say your biggest accomplishment in your DJ career thus far has been?
Shaun: Ehm, making a track with MethodMan has probably been the pinnacle for me. He was like, the number one artist I wanted to work with and when we made it happen, I was like ah – I just did it quite quickly. It was amazing, I think everything just came together just really by chance, and we managed to make it happen. I think it was just the right timing. Yeah, that was definitely my biggest sort of like, bucket list thing.
Maddi: Very cool. Alrighty, and to finish it up, one last question – what is one short-term goal of yours as an artist, and one more long-term one?
Shaun: I really want to do a proper full album. I did like a sort of album last year, but it was more of like an extended EP than an album. So yeah, i want tto at least once I want to release an album, and an album I’m proud of, as well. I feel like a lot of dance artist when they release an album, it’s just 12 random tunes, content. They just make 12 songs…so I really want to make an album that sort of encompasses everything that I do. And I’ve been working on it. (draws quotations in the air)
Maddi: Air quotations?
Shaun: At some point, it will be done!
James: The thing about albums is that, albums should be a place where you can spread your wings and do whatever you want to do…It should showcase your skill and what you’re about as a whole, rather than like, here’s 11 club bangers which a lot of artist do because they go oh, here’s a lot of tracks, album content!
Shaun: Yeah, exactly.
James: We’re not calling anyone out, they can do what they want – I just feel like an album is more of an expression than just content.
Shaun: Yeah, I want it to be a meaningful sort of thing, something that’s worth people’s attention’s sort-of-thing. But yeah, my manager was like, let’s get that done, do it this year, and I was like, hold on! It’s gonna take me a while, yeah. (laughs)
Wrapping Everything Up
Thanks for tuning in to the exclusive Party Guru Productions interview, readers! What an incredible experience it was to sit down with two of the best. Global Dance Festival is always such a treat for Denver, so we are hoping to see the return of these two dubstep heavy hitters in more future lineups to come!
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DOCTOR P FACEBOOK
DOCTOR P WEBSITE
DOCTOR P SOUNDCLOUD
Global Dance Festival is Colorado’s largest and most anticipated electronic dance music event of the year. After a year of waiting in solidarity, we are back. Thousands of EDM lovers from all across the US were eager to dance this year’s weekend away!
Being based in Denver, Colorado, Global Dance Festival has been held outside of Empower Field since 2017. Previously GDF could be found at Red Rocks, the festival was moved to expand capacity and follow sound limits. This year, the fourth official rendition of Global Dance Festival fell nothing short of amazing. The festival also exceeded all expectations – bringing some of the heaviest and biggest names in EDM today. Headliners for the two-night event included Excision, Doctor P B2B Funtcase, Zomboy, Kaskade, Illenium B2B Said The Sky B2B Dabin, Green Velvet, and Tchami (just to name a few)! The festival was filled with art installations, carnival rides, food trucks, bull riding, temporary tattooing, and much more. Stages were complete with full LED’s and high-quality sound systems. Those stages were where the experience and magic of the night really began.
Night 1 – Here’s The Recap
Night 1 started off strong with all four stages filled with different types of music. Each one holding their own unique vibe. Local heavyweights Paws, MPORT, Decadon, and Brondo were some of the openers with packed sets which filled all the way to the very back of the Northern Lights stage. If this wasn’t your thing, a silent disco was held at the Crystal Caverns stage. There was truly some place to be for every single person, no matter what your vibe was!
As the sun began to set, the Summit stage began seeing artists such as Tchami, who brought an insane house set complete with pyrotechnics. The Illenium triple B2B followed, which brought super peaceful, melodic bass music vibes to the main stage. Kaskade closed the night out at main stage with a garage-house infused set. Paired with all of his beautiful original songs, the crowd was singing at the top of their lungs. Meanwhile, on the Northern Lights stage, Funtcase and Doctor P were giving one of the heaviest sets of the weekend. Bringing their original filthy UK dubstep sound to Denver dubstep lovers. Be on the lookout for an interview coming out later this week!
Zomboy finished off the night by closing out with even more heavy originals and never before heard tracks. They don’t call Denver the bass capitol for nothing. This stage showed that all night! On the other side of the festival, Mersiv took over the Tundra stage and closed out the night with some crazy wubs and deep bass sounds. The eclectic mix of music selected this year was the perfect mix to satisfy any raver at any point in the night.
Global 2021 Was the Event of the Year
This year’s event felt much different than any before. Maybe because of the fact that music lovers were able to unite once again. It might have been the fact that this was the heaviest and most diverse group of artists to ever see the GDF lineup. The festival itself is always seeming to impress its guests. Being incredibly thought-out, it was musically balanced the entire weekend with a wide range of musical experiences to go see, and plenty of space to dance around at the stages. The festival is hopefully going to remain a Colorado raver tradition for many years to come.
Photos by Patrik Essy
There was something for everyone here at all times of the night – everyone was dancing, the vibes were high and the music was loud. This was an unforgettable experience. 2021 was one of the best years since its origin without a doubt! Colorado is proud to be the home to Global Dance Festival. We at Party Guru Productions can’t wait to see how the festival continues to grow in the future – what an unforgettable weekend it was.
Find more about Global Dance Festival below!
If you live in or near Denver, Colorado, you’ve most likely heard of 128. This production company focuses on throwing extremely unique, immersive events and shows. Four core members make up the 128 team: Alex Padgett, Rob West, Brent Steinhause, and Wesley Padgett.
Now that Denver, Colorado is reopening and isn’t under any restrictions or regulations regarding COVID-19, the 128 team has become extremely busy. Luckily, Alex Padgett and Rob West had time for a phone call with Party Guru Press. Keep reading to learn more about the 128 team, their upcoming event series, “Oasis“, and what else they have planned for 2021.
The Start Of 128
Originally, Alex started 128 by throwing shows in Boulder, Colorado. Shortly after starting to put on events in the Denver area, he met Rob, and “the rest is history”. They were introduced by a mutual friend and together, were able to rebrand 128 and make it bigger and better than it ever was before.
With a background in the corporate world, Rob is able to focus on how to turn Alex’s vision into a profitable business that grows and differentiates itself from everything else in the market.
Community Strengthened By Music
One of the main focuses of 128 has always been on the people that come to the shows. Alex and Rob are great at connecting with everyone that attends their events because they are both party-goers as well. “We’re all there for the right reasons: we love the scene, we love the music, and we love the people in it,” said Alex.
“What we wanted 128 to be was a place that anybody could come to our shows and feel welcome and have a good time,” Rob explained. One of their goals is to have their various shows and events attract people from the Denver music scene while also reaching farther outside of the metro area. Their events are open and inclusive to everyone, even those not directly involved in the music scene. In fact, 128 is working on having campus ambassadors in both Boulder and Fort Collins to broaden their audience even more.
At each and every 128 event, Alex and Rob try and talk to everyone that attends. They are super easy to approach, and want to actively try to be a part of the community. According to Alex, they never know when they’ll meet someone who wants to DJ for an event or wants to work with them. Furthermore, they network at tons of other events in Denver.
This summer, events have rapidly started to make a return in Colorado. Restrictions and regulations regarding COVID-19 have been changing frequently, but full capacity shows are finally allowed to happen after waiting over a year! With these recent changes, the 128 crew has been super busy these last few months.
In May, 128 held various events at Larimer Lounge. However, they are already planning events throughout 2021 and even into next year. “It’s busy, but it feels good to be back,” said Alex. Rob went on to say, “I think we’ve given out about a thousand hugs in the last few weeks together.” Even when they hosted various successful Family Dinner events throughout fall of 2020, they just weren’t the same as these more “normal” events.
Rob went on to explain the differences including being able to hang out with their friends and fans in addition to seeing everyone’s smiling faces without wearing masks. “There’s literally a picture that somebody took on our first night back and this girl was crying in the crowd…I’ve never felt something more in my life,” said Rob.
Since 128 has the opportunity to help bring back events to the Denver music industry, they definitely feel like they have the responsibility to do so. Hence, why they’ve been working themselves like crazy.
Having an event on Jackson’s rooftop in Denver has been a goal for 128 for a few years now. Since attending memorable events there themselves, they’ve always wanted to hold their own event on that rooftop in the heart of the city.
In 2019, Rob actually played two Electric Beach events at Jackson’s under his artist name, RC3. “It’s a great vibe and it’s a really cool location,” Rob said. He proceeded to talk about how holding their event in this central location can attract people walking by that may not have a connection to house music, but want to go up and see what their event is about after hearing the music from the city streets below.
What To Expect
Each individual Oasis event is going to feel like a mini festival. This is no surprise, seeing as most 128 events are both immersive and interactive. This will be one of their first opportunities to host a full-capacity show with a few hundred people getting to dance together again in Denver. Beautiful decorations, the Kinetic Spinners fire dancers, prizes, and more will all make up the truly unique experience of these events.
Did we say “truly”? Well, guess what, seltzer lovers. Truly Hard Seltzer is the official sponsor of the Oasis event series. You’ll be able to drink plenty of different flavors of Truly‘s at each event while getting to experience their big brand activations in person.
“That rooftop at Jackson’s is a small, intimate space that you can do a lot with, so we definitely want it to feel like an oasis,” said Alex. Each Oasis event will hold true to 128’s history by captivating attendees with a unique event that transports you to another world.
128 New Concepts
In addition to having their sponsorship with Truly, they have a few tricks up their sleeves. Alex said, “I want people to be surprised when they get there. There may be a little storyline, there may be some people running around when they get there, I don’t know. I’ll leave it at that.” Furthermore, Rob explained, “there will be elements of production that we’ve never used before. We’re excited about it.” After the first event, people will know more about the exciting, new elements that make up the Oasis event series.
A Bumpin’ Lineup
For the Oasis events, 128 fixated on bringing new sounds to Denver including talent that hasn’t yet played in the Mile High City. On June 26th, Kyle Walker will be headlining. July 31st brings DJ Susan of Hood Politics, and Masteria headlines on August 28th.
June 26th will be Kyle Walker‘s first headline show in Denver, and August 28th will be Masteria‘s Denver debut. Rob explained that 128 has been trying to get Masteria from Detroit to Denver for over two years now, so this will be quite the party this summer. Alex mentioned looking forward to seeing DJ Susan on the Oasis stage in July. Their crew is currently based out of San Diego and are doing a lot of the same work and concepts as them out in California. Even more so, they know a lot of the same people as the 128 crew.
Seeing as how Denver is such a destination location both for performers and music lovers, it’s incredibly exciting that 128 is bringing out insanely talented artists that Denver hasn’t yet seen before. Alex and Rob spent days and days brainstorming who to bring out to the Oasis event series, and “it just seemed to kind of all fall together,” said Rob.
Next For 128
Denver music lovers will be able to look forward to various 128 events at Larimer Lounge this summer. However, 128 will be kicking it into even higher gear in the fall by putting on a plethora of warehouse events in Denver, one of which will be their biggest warehouse event to date. These warehouse events will even continue into next year.
Words Of Advice
Party Guru Press asked Alex and Rob if they had any words of advice, or motto, to encourage everyone to remember throughout 2021. When asked this, Rob got pretty emotional when thinking about this past year. “We’re so lucky to live in a city that fosters music the way that it does. And, hug each other. We had a rough year. We lost a lot of friends, unfortunately. Hug people. Tell them you love them everyday,” Rob said.
Alex went back to an emphasis on community. “Communities work together and they build each other up. We’re not here to tear each other down, and I think that’s something that’s important. I think sometimes the ‘EDM community’ can get a little toxic at times, and we just need to remember that electronic music and dance music was built on community and togetherness,” he explained.
Alex and Rob wanted to say thank you to everyone on their 128 team. Without each and every one of them, they wouldn’t be able to do what they do and have such a successful production company in Denver. Thank you so much for your incredibly hard work and everything that you do! “128 doesn’t go anywhere without our crew,” exclaimed Alex.
So, shoutout to Brent Steinhouse, Wesley Padgett, Sam Beranek, Aaron Polster, and Amber DeLisle.
To conclude the interview, Party Guru Press asked Alex and Rob if they would consider themselves Party Guru’s. After a good laugh from both, Rob replied, “hey, if you want to call us Party Guru’s, you can!” “Not going to say no to that,” Alex said.
Ever since their start, 128 has been quite the force to be reckoned with in the Denver music industry. Their unparalleled, breathtaking events barely even slowed down in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic and they already have a full calendar for the upcoming year. Furthermore, they center their core values around community, kindness, and excitement for music.
We know that 128 is here to stay, and we’re so excited to see what’s in their future! We hope to see everyone at Oasis this month at Jackson’s in Denver. To get tickets to the events and keep updated with everything 128, follow their socials listed below.
Photos by 128
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Max Arellano (A.K.A. Mystic I) is a hip-hop artist out of Denver, CO. Not only is he a fantastic rapper, but Mystic I also provides high-quality videography for himself and other artists around Denver. We had the opportunity to talk with him about his growing career as a musical artist and a videographer.
How did you get started in the music scene and in the photo/video scene?
Mystic I tells us, “I remember always singing along to songs on the radio and beatboxing random rhythms as a kid. In high school my homie started recording music and I thought that was super cool. So, with his help I started making my own music with my iPod. The music was not good at all, but I fell in love with making something out of nothing. I got good enough to headline some shows early in my career and people encouraged me to make more music.” Shortly after beginning his musical career, Arellano realized that he would need photo and video work done to compliment his sound. “I was actually taking my own photos and filming my own videos when I first started. I didn’t have enough money to afford a photography/videography and I don’t remember even considering hiring on in the first place. I knew what I wanted and I wanted to be the one to make my content.” Mystic I has been a self-made, hands-on artist since the beginning. We asked, “Do you prefer performance or production?” Arellano’s response was that he likes both. “I like performing because that’s how I started, but I also like production because I like all the technical aspects of the behind-the-scenes process,” he said.
Let’s Dig into Some Details
“What makes a good song to you?” We asked. Mystic’s process is that he comes into sessions already knowing what he wants. “It’s hard to change my mind when it comes to that. I know I made a good song right after I record the hook,” he said. While he does not produce his own beats, Mystic I works with many producers such as Samuri, J. Dot, and Lunar Horizon to create a unique sound in each track. While beats are important to stand out, Mystic I believes his vocals set him apart from other artists in the scene. “I do some weird things on the mic, but it adds different elements to the song that makes it unique,” he said.
We decided to dig even deeper. “They can’t all be bangers–how do you keep going?” Arellano started out by saying that we was unsure. “I have a lot of songs I started and never finished because I don’t like them. I create my own inspirations out of feelings I have and I want to capture that feeling in the music. I keep going because art is therapy to me. I really don’t care if people listen or not, I do it for me.” This really stood out because one can tell that Mystic I is in it for the passion of creating music, not for the fame. Mystic I has said it can take him 30 minutes to a couple of months to finish a track. Typically, he said, if everything is on track it can be completed in a few hours. Last, we asked him what his favorite track is. He said, “Probably this song I did a couple years ago with Samuri called OFF-WHITE. Samuri made the beat in like a second and I got it sent back to him in like 20 mins. It did super well and was one of those songs that I knew was going to be a banger when I first heard the beat. I like when the process is fluid like that.”
Tell us more about your videography
“My homie/colleague David DiGioia really got me in the Denver scene and taught me a lot about photography. Big ups to him for that because it’s one of my favorite things to do now.” Arellano said. If anyone has seen some of his work, he or she can tell that, like music, Mystic I finds a lot of passion in his photo and video work. Currently, he is finding a lot of satisfaction in film cameras. He recently purchased a quadroscopic 3D camera: The Nishika N8000, “for those retro 3D looks,” he said. “Also, I use my drone more than I should. I just love the way my drone footage looks after post.” With drone footage becoming more and more useful and accessible, look for more amazing shots from Mystic I. He is inspired by video director and editor Lonewolf (Zac Matias) who has worked on projects with Plu20 Nash, Warhol, and Yung Pinch to name a few.
What is very unique about Mystic’s music videos is that he shoots, edits, and directs them himself. As previously mentioned, Mystic I prefers to cut out the middleman and work on his own projects. “I do everything. I even make the animations for promoting my songs. I have some help from the homies, but I am mostly a one-man team when it comes to creating visuals for my music.” he said. He uses custom LUTs, which are custom-made presets for videos, that give him the edgy, cinematic looks in all of his videos.
Looking to the Future
Finally, we asked what Mystic I has planed for 2021. He is working on many different projects. “I’m working on three different tapes with different producers at the moment. I’m also starting to plan my own album for later this year,” he said. Mystic is working with many different artists to create video content both for himself and their own videos. It was amazing to sit down with Max and learn all about his past and present. He is amazing behind the mic and behind the camera. Click the links below to follow along with Mystic I and stay up to date on all of his projects.
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Longevity Productions is a Northern Colorado-based company that “focuses on artist booking, promotion, artist management and event facilitation.” It was formed in the year 2017 by Bri Long. Longevity Productions is focused on the community that surrounds music as a whole. By bringing local communities together and creating amazing events and festivals, they are definitely a force to watch in the Colorado music industry.
Since their start, Longevity Productions has partnered with various venues in Fort Collins including Hodi’s Half Note, The Aggie Theatre, The Mishawaka, and more. Additionally, they’ve curated their own events such as Re:Turn Tuesdays and BlissFall Music and Arts Festival.
Recently, Jesse Haswell of Party Guru Press was able to meet up with Bri Long as well as some other artists and members of Longevity Productions. Keep reading to find out how they got their start, what the music community means to them, and what their goals are for the future.
Jesse Haswell (Party Guru Press): Alright, well, thank you so much for joining me for this interview tonight. First off, if you could tell me a little bit about yourselves, Longevity Productions, [and] how you got into the music industry.
Bri Long (Longevity Productions): I got into the music industry back in 2010. I went to Electric Forest and [inaudible] and was just blown away at how much music moved people and the productions that all of them had and came home and decided that I wanted to do that. So, I talked to my grandparents about throwing a music festival on my land and had the help of [inaudible] and a few other guys back in the day. I did that for three years before moving out to Colorado, and since I’ve been in Colorado I just started being as involved as I could.
Bri: Street-teaming for every venue possible, hanging posters for years, working security, and that kind of led into me being around the venues a lot. Then, I met all of the guys in CID Initiative and they needed some booking help and some management help, so I started managing all of those guys and that kind of bloomed into CID Initiative breaking up and me forming Longevity and picking up all these guys.
Jesse: Nice. Do you guys want to add anything to that?
Brian McLerran (Longevity Productions): I’m Brian. I go by Enenra. I started playing death metal bands when I was thirteen and just loved being up on stage and kind of got tired of bands, so picked up electronic music ’cause everything was in my own time. Then, [I] moved up here four years ago from Texas and immediately just found a family at Hodi’s and started working my way through, and then she finally picked me up.
Tyler Jones (Longevity Productions): I’m Tyler. I go by Elctrx. Kind of very similar to Bri’s. I had a bunch of friends, we were all into it, kind of started an underground scene here in Livermore on this ranch, and then that kind of grew into what it is now, BlissFall. From there, you know, that’s when Bri and I met then we kind of teamed up and kind of put our powers together and it’s been pretty awesome as well. And, I produce as well. Bri manages me and does all that. Great teamwork.
Sean Hall (Longevity Productions): My name’s Sean. I go by Wadada. I’ve been in the music scene since age thirteen. I was a drummer, but when I went to college here in Fort Collins at CSU, I put the drums away and was going crazy. So, I actually started a radio show as [inaudible] at KCSU and that led me down this rabbit hole of, kind of, electronic music culture.
Sean: By 2013 I was running with a local sound system crew called [inaudible], and so we started playing locally. We had a monthly at Hodi’s and after [inaudible] kind of packed the sound system up, at the end of 2013, I met all the people in the CID Initiative and basically, you know, just kind of met this whole community of electronic artists. After, kind of, CID dissolved, I think the people that are still around doing this for the love, including Bri, who’s always around either in front of us or behind the scenes with us. We all kind of banded together and kept it going, so Longevity was born. Bri reps us hard.
Jesse: Well, it’s certainly sad to see Hodi’s go because they gave me my start in photography. It sounds like everyone found each other through Hodi’s, so it’s like the perfect venue for building a family.
Tyler: That was home, that’s for sure.
Jesse: So, tell me about Longevity. I know you guys had the Re:Turn series. I think it started on a Thursday, went to Tuesday, ended up on a Wednesday.
Bri: Yeah, it started on a Tuesday, back in 2016, we started doing that under Longevity’s name. It was Turn Table Tuesday back then. And then, we ended up catching the attention of Euphonic Conceptions and Cervantes’ and they wanted to team up, and that’s how the Re:Turn series was born. Yeah, that was every Tuesday up until they recently changed their nights to Thursday, so we changed ours to Wednesday just to help the flow of artists and [inaudible] traffic.
Bri: Yeah, the weekly was really fun. It started even before 2016 with this Initiative crew. They were doing it, but that kind of dissolved, as Sean put it. I stepped up to Dan, the owner of Hodi’s, and just asked if I could take it over, to give me a shot, to give me, like thirty days, and if I could turn those four weekly’s into anything that was better than the one before that, then he would let me have it, and we did that. So, now we were rockin’ it for, this would’ve been our fourth year, comin’ in, if COVID didn’t hadn’t happened and Hodi’s didn’t shut down.
Jesse: So, besides that, you guys also put on some bigger shows, and I think you even partnered, for some of those, with Party Guru. Tell me about those. What were you guys doing on the bigger show front? Go into a little more detail about BlissFall, like where is it?
Tyler: So, BlissFall, we’ve moved around to try to keep it more camping and that kind of vibe for the longest time, since that’s where we started, was on a ranch. That ranch, now, most of the land has been sold, so we had to move on from there. We tried one location that just didn’t quite work out, but we now found The Mishawaka, which is our home now. And then, yeah, that’s when we teamed up with Party Guru, right? The Mishawaka year?
Tyler: Every year, we just try to bring out new artists who usually never come to Colorado. BlissFall really just started as a bunch of producers who we want to play with and, you know, we bring out someone who really inspires us and then we get to hang out with them and play music with them for a night or two. That’s how it all started and that’s kind of how we try to keep it.
Tyler: Anything to add to that? We teamed up, what, in 2017 for BlissFall. Or was it ’16? Well, we took a year off; we did the block party and then we did Mishawaka just to keep everything going, keep the name alive. Just to keep the stage going for everyone as well.
Bri: The block party was fun. It was six venues in Old Town, similar to FoCoMX, but just electronic music through all of them for a night.
Sean: Yeah, we kind of took over town.
Bri: Yeah, definitely, and not just bar electronic music, top-40. It was actual electronic music in town everywhere for a night.
Jesse: It was awesome. So, tell me about a little bit of this year. What were you guys planning for this year, before COVID hit?
Tyler: We had a bunch of plans. We were already getting ready, like in January, starting to get the wheels rolling ’cause this was going to be our five year, for BlissFall. And then, yeah, with everything that kind of happened, we kind of had to just slowly, more and more, pump the brakes until, you know, everything got figured out. You know, we still had things on the back burners, and we might still re-light those fires when it comes to start again.
Bri: As far as Longevity as a crew, we had our first multi-state tour plan with multiple artists. I was pretty excited for that. A festival out in Illinois that we were going to play, and yeah, we had plans to collab and move around quite a bit this summer, and this year.
Tyler: That’s usually our goal, is to travel around and meet other like-minded people throwing shows and festivals around town, you know, in other states and then be able to collab with them. They let us play on their stage, and we’ll bring out some of their boys and girls every once in a while to come join us and rock in Colorado for a little bit. It’s a little mutual, and it’s better that way, I feel like.
Jesse: Heck yeah. So, it kind of sounds like everything just pretty much stopped a little while after COVID hit.
Tyler and Bri: Oh, a screaming halt.
Tyler: It was just like, okay. Everything, everything is cancelled.
Bri: Yeah, I think within a day, every event that we had, cancelled.
Tyler: With BlissFall, we explored so many different options to possibly keep it going, just like the block party and stuff like that. We just didn’t find anything that I think would’ve benefited everybody. It was just too tricky to be able to kind of bring that vibe in with all the rules and stuff like that.
Tyler: I mean, we’re still going to get creative and figure out certain things. We’ve done a bunch of live streams and stuff like that, Bri has, and set that up for a minute. I would like to say, with BlissFall too, Mindbeam Productions helps out a lot with that too. I would like to add that, ’cause he’s been there since the beginning, since BlissFall started at least.
Jesse: He has some pretty good light work.
Tyler: Yeah, and that’s the thing, is he would take over all that and I would just let him, you know, do his thing and he always does a great job.
Jesse: It seems you guys had a big focus on bringing in local artists for a lot of your shows. I know that Re:Turn series featured a lot of local artists [and] it sounds like BlissFall did. Were you guys pretty much focused on local artists, or do you have anything else?
Bri: I mean, the focus is honestly to build local artists in the community, the people that put into your community and give back. No headliner was a headliner at first. It took their community to build them up to get them there. But, we also enjoy just bringing our favorite artists from Canada or Australia or wherever they may happen to be from, and to put our friends and the producers that we work with in front of those artists that happen to be their favorite artists.
Jesse: Heck yeah. And were most of your shows just at, like, the BlissFall festival and Hodi’s or did you partner with any other venues around town?
Tyler: I mean, shoot. We’ve done, we’ve teamed up with, what, The Whiskey and kind of helped…
Tyler: The Aggie…
Bri: Yeah, The Aggie…
Tyler and Bri: The Mishawaka, Chipper’s…
Tyler: Anywhere where, if they’ve got speakers and they’ll let us play some bass music, you know, we usually explore that avenue, at least try to, and see where it goes from there just so we can have as many options for everybody.
Bri: Yeah, not everybody’s right for every kind of sound.
Bri: Dubstep shows at The Whiskey are kind of weird. Something a little more smooth like [inaudible] fits better at The Whiskey.
Tyler: Right, right. A little more, like, funky or something like that.
Bri: It just feels weird trying to head bang when there’s a $500 bottle of whiskey on the wall.
Jesse: So, uh, just taking a step back, because I have been looking for a way to incorporate Mike from Party Guru into one of my articles. Just, like, a personal thing. How did you guys connect with Mike?
Bri: I met Mike, probably, 2017? ’18?
Tyler to Bri: I was going to say, I met Mike with you. I think I was introduced to Mike from you.
Bri: Yeah, just through the industry. You know, Mike’s always crushed it in Denver with his promos.
Tyler: Your favorite C-list celebrity.
Bri: Yeah, your favorite C-list celebrity. Yeah, he’s a wild, fun guy. He’s awesome. I think just through venue work is how we first met him. Probably, my work through The Aggie, and then just built a personal relationship from there ’cause he’s dope.
Jesse: He is pretty dope, for sure. Alright, is there anything else you guys [would] like to add about Longevity?
Bri: You guys got anything?
Sean: You know, I think to me, I think you kind of touched on Hodi’s closing. I think we’ve all been grieving, kind of, that loss, but, you know, Longevity, locally, here, has been, you know, there’s been pillars like the CID initiative and even some of the local forces I ran before. We kind of, like, are carrying this torch of, you know, not probably Fort Collins’ favorite music, I think maybe bluegrass wins that out a little, or something with a little more twang.
Sean: But, for us, this is not only for the love of music, but the love of community. So, Longevity I think is just waiting to, you know, regain that sense of community in the greater world. I think right now, we’re all trying to kind of make sure we’re all just keeping our heads up. It will be nice to get to share that with everyone again.
Jesse: Heck yeah, we definitely can’t wait to see it. You guys have anything you want to add? You don’t have to, don’t feel obligated.
Brian: We’re just a big family, that’s pretty much it. We’re just all people who love music and it’s always been a big motivator in all of our lives. We just kind of try to help each other grow and keep taking that next step.
Jesse: Heck yeah. Well, thank you guys so much for being willing to come out and talk with me tonight. I’m excited to be able to do this article for you guys. Hopefully, it’ll get you some, a little bit more attention from the Denver readers and bring more of Northern Colorado into the Denver scene too.
Bri: Yeah, we appreciate you having us out.
Longevity Productions has done some amazing things since their start only three years ago. Despite their quiet summer, they’ve kept involved in the music community by providing live streams and more. We are excited for Longevity Productions to be able to get back to throwing events! For now, keep updated by following their social media accounts below.
Photos by Jesse Haswell
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Glass Cases is a pop / synth-rock band from Fort Collins, Colorado. Alex Van Keulen is bass/vocals, Austin Seitfert is piano/ukulele/spoken-word vocals, and Cameron Greene is the drummer. The vocals of Alex and the spoken-word stylings of Austin paired with the unique sounds of bass with ukulele and piano over the rhythm of drums gives Glass Cases a wholely original sound. Party Guru Productions had an opportunity to sit down with the band and do a short Q&A.
How Glass Cases Began
To start, please tell me a little bit about yourselves and how you got into music.
Austin: “I’m Austin! I am the ukulele, piano, rapper of the band. I started playing the piano because my grandmother taught me at an early age. Later, I picked up the guitar and taught myself. After college, Alex and I got together, and we started playing more seriously and started a band”.
Cameron: “My name is Cameron. I got surprised with an electric drum set on Christmas when I was in 6th grade. That is how I started playing. My dad got it for me. I have been playing ever since then. I never really had formal lessons, but I have been playing consistently since then. And then, I played a lot for a church and different worship groups and stuff like that. I met these guys and started playing with them about three years ago”.
Alex: “I am Alex. I am the singer and I play bass guitar for the band. I grew up playing acoustic guitar, strictly acoustic guitar. It is kind of what got me into music and singing in general. Then, when Austin and I decided to start making our own music I dove into the actual computer side that Austin was pretty good at. Like, actually creating tracks. The more electronic side of music. I learned how to play bass once we actually started the band and got better at singing”.
Thank you for sharing that. Next, when and how did Glass Cases begin?
Austin: “It started when Alex and I played soccer in college. Soccer was our thing. We did it 24/7 and wanted to go pro. After college when that kind of died off we had all this drive to do something and we really didn’t know what to do. So, we just kind of threw it all into music. It wasn’t until I moved out to Fort Collins where Alex was living, cause he had a job up there, it wasn’t until then until we were like, ‘Hey! Let’s maybe just start a band and see where it goes!’ That was like three and a half years ago now. That’s crazy. But, that was kind of the beginning of Glass Cases. It wasn’t until a little bit later that we met Cam. Cam’s really good at telling this story so I think he should take over”.
Cameron: “I moved to Denver after graduating college about 3 years ago and I didn’t really know anyone. I got invited by some people that I had met through a variety of ways to what was basically a tea party on a Friday night. At this tea party I met Alex and Austin and they sang some tunes for everyone. Everyone was swaying and getting into it. I started talking to them and they told me that they didn’t have a drummer. We jammed the next day”.
It sounds like it was the middle of 2017 when everything started coming together?
Alex: “Yeah, and we met Cameron in September”.
Earlier this year you had an album release party at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, correct?
Cameron: “We tried to. The show actually got canceled because of COVID”.
Glass Cases & COVID-19
That is horrible! So, what were you working on before Covid hit?
Alex: “We were finishing up the album and getting ready to hit it off with a bunch of shows. We wanted to continue our development in the live Colorado scene. I think with Red Rocks being the capstone to that it really changed our outlook. We have been kinda waiting on that ever since. But, we’ve made some nice adjustments to keep ourselves occupied and creative since live music isn’t an option right now”.
Austin: “It was a bummer because we had Taste of Fort Collins which we were the local winner of, we had a show lined up with CSU for a skate show, and we just started kicking it off. We had other small gigs lined up. We were about to hit the summer hard, maybe hit a few festivals, and then it all dropped”.
That’s rough. So, what have you been doing to work through the pandemic?
Cameron: “One of the biggest things that we had the opportunity to work on, which is weird because we just released an album not long ago, was working on a song. We were blessed in that because we had the opportunity to come together and work on that song and be able to record it even though COVID season is happening. Another thing that kind of preoccupied us was, with winning Taste of Fort Collins even though there wasn’t an in-person live show, we got to record a really cool video that was put up for the virtual Taste of Fort Collins. We’ve had some more time to focus in on social media presence. We’ve also been meeting up for band practice about every week or two just to stay connected and stay sharp and be ready to go for when places begin to open back up again”.
Alex: “Me personally, I feel like I was inspired by all that was going on to write this new song. I sort of feel like that is the making lemonade out of lemons sort of situation. Otherwise, I don’t know if I would have ever written a new song. That’s my silver lining of COVID”.
New Music Video
You guys just launched a GoFundMe page. Tell me about that and what it’s for.
Alex: “We are making a music video for the new song. The GoFundMe is to fundraise to help cover some of the costs. As you can imagine, we have income from shows. Every year we have had it tabulated, like a couple of grand that comes into the band and is purely our money to dispose of for band stuff, that disappeared this year. So, getting a little extra help from fans, friends, and family through the GoFundMe and just getting people involved and being able to give out some merch is what we’re doing”.
Cameron: “I think what we have kind of noticed is that a lot of bigger artist get sustained revenue from streaming and sales. But when you are local and smaller the biggest portion of our income had come from playing shows. With that being taken away we wanted to shoot a music video but it’s going to cost some money. We were like, ‘How much do we have in the fund? Oh, I guess we don’t really have anything because we haven’t made any money in like a year now’. So that’s basically really letting them know our story and seeing if there are fans and family out there who would be willing to support us to help us make it happen”.
What else would you like readers to know about your band?
Austin: “I just want people to know that we like to have a lot of fun with our gigs. We want people to move around and have a good time but also just dive into the music and let the words just sink in and affect them and see how they’re feeling about it and relate to it. Hopefully. Outside of that we just like meeting new people. We are a very social band. On Instagram, all of our followers, we try to connect with them and talk with them through DM. We’ll shoot a message to them and say, ‘Hey, how’s your day going?’ You know, ‘what’s going on with you? How are things?’ It’s just a really unique situation because this is the first band that we have ever been in and to have a following has been awesome! So, to connect with them and share, like some people share music with us, or I’ve had the opportunity to write music to one of our fan’s lyrics. It’s been really sweet. So, we just like connecting with the fans, meeting them, and also just having a good time at shows.
Photos By Jesse Haswell
That about does it! Be sure to check out Glass Cases on their social media below.
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Home By 11 is an amazing pop-punk band based in Denver, Colorado. They are made up of a group of five close friends: Josh Cherry (vocals), Jared Hamrick (guitar), Lee Marino (bass), Kory Bob Caya (guitar), and Josh Brown (drums).
This captivating group has been together for about a year and a half, and their debut show was in January of 2019. Since then, Home By 11 has come an extremely long way! In addition to playing shows in both Denver and Fort Collins, they’ve also released a few singles along the way. You might recognize their songs “Drop The Act”, “Battlegrounds”, and “Work Smarter, Play Harder”.
This week, Jesse Haswell from Party Guru Press got the chance to interview two members of Home By 11. During this Zoom interview, Home By 11 talked about how they got started as a band, what they’ve been up to this summer, and what’s coming up for them as a group. To learn more about this fun, kind-hearted group, keep reading!
Jesse Haswell (Party Guru Press): If you could state your name and how you got into playing music, that would be a great place to start.
Jared Hamrick (Home By 11): Go ahead, Lee. You can go first.
Lee Marino (Home By 11): Okay. My name is Lee and I started playing music when I was fifteen. I went to my girlfriend, if you can call it that, I think I was in seventh grade or something. But, we’d do a youth group where I met some kids that were like, “we’re forming a band”, and none of us played. Well, they played some instruments, sort of, not well, but they made me the “singer” of the band ‘cause I couldn’t play anything. When the bassist of “the band” moved away, he gave me his bass guitars saying, “you should keep playing with these guys” and I’ve been playing bass ever since then.
Jesse: Wow, that’s a story and a half.
Lee: It’s weird, that’s how I got into it, man. And, at first, it was like a joke, like we kind of said we were a group, but we really weren’t ‘cause we couldn’t play anything. But I guess you’ve got to start somewhere and that’s how I started. I started playing bass because the bassist left and I was forced to. At first, I hated it ‘cause I was like, “I’ve got to learn how to play something? I thought I was just in this to be cool, what happened?” But you’re like, a seventh-grader, so I started playing Blink 182 songs after school and stuff like that, trying to figure it all out.
Jesse: That is awesome, that has to be the most unique story I’ve ever heard.
Lee: I got forced into it, Jesse. I didn’t even have a choice. *All laughing.*
Jesse: “I didn’t want this, but it’s me.“
Lee: They made me do it, man.
Jared: Alright, so, my name’s Jared and I actually kind of got forced to play music as well, but it was by my parents. They, I can’t really say “forced”, but they wanted me to learn piano and stuff, like classical kinds of music and everything. So…I started playing piano whenever I was about five and that went on until about eleven or so. And then, I actually played bass.
Jared: Bass was the first string instrument I picked up and a buddy of mine, a really good friend of mine, still good friends today, we started third grade together and we’ve been best friends since, but he made a bet with me, kind of, sort of, that I couldn’t be better at a six-string guitar, a regular standard guitar, than he was, and I was a little cocky and I picked it up and honestly, it was almost like, it turned into like this thing where I would just get home from school and I would like, just, four hours, straight. Just play and play and play, like nothing stopped. My older brother ended up getting an actual, really good, it was a Jackson Kelly, really good guitar and pretty good amp, and I mean, I pretty much snagged that from him the second day he had it, and I just never looked back. But yeah, so I’ve been playing guitar for about fifteen years now, or so.
Jared: Yeah, pretty steadily, yeah, fifteen years. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. That’s how I got started. My parents, thanks mom and dad. Appreciate it.
Lee: Is it weird that none of us went willingly, Jesse? Is that weird?
Jesse: That is a first. Every other band I’ve interviewed so far, mostly Fort Collins bands, they’re all like, “yeah, I started playing instruments when I was five years old, you know, I’ve always wanted to do this”, and then you guys come along and you’re like, “yeah, my friends forced me into it, my parents forced me into it, now here we are”. That is actually quite incredible. So, since they aren’t here, you guys have five members in your band, correct?
Lee and Jared nod.
Jesse: Could you tell me a little bit about how you met them and how they got involved?
Jared: Um, sure. So, actually, it started with the rhythm guitars, Kory Caya??, it started with him and I and an old vocalist that we had. We all met on Craiglist, believe it or not. And then Kory actually got a hold of Lee off of Craiglist, I believe, as well and pulled him to a practice, pretty much forced him to go, if I remember correctly. And then we were jamming for a while with an old drummer and an old vocalist and, um, things didn’t work out and we ended up picking up Josh Brown, our current drummer, and then we also picked up Josh Cherry, our current vocalist, and it has been smooth sailing ever since, pretty much.
Jesse: That is incredible. So, I know you just touched on it a little bit, but could you expand on how the band got started? What date?
Jared: Oh, jeez. The date? Oh, man. Okay, so Home By 11 got started probably like a year and a half ago, Lee? Right?
Lee: Yeah, that sounds about right.
Lee: With kind of the current members. We had a few people that we were jamming with but kind of once we formed our current entity and moved forward and got songs and the concept and kind of the product, if you will, what we have now, I would say it’s been probably a year and a half. Obviously, through COVID, it’s made things interesting with like, time is kind of in a vacuum right now. You know, when it comes to the music scene. It’s been difficult for us to play with venues still being closed and guidelines in place and stuff like that. But I would say yeah, it’s been about a year and a half or so with our current setup.
Jesse: Alright, well that’s interesting that you mentioned COVID because my next question was what were you guys, what was the direction your band was taking before COVID hit? I know you had that show back in January that I saw you guys at with Bluprint and The Timberline. And, I know you had a show shortly after in Denver. Was that a CD release party that you guys were having out there?
Jared: Yeah, it was um, what was the…
Lee: Your Own Medicine? I believe it was their EP release, and…
Jared: Sold out Marquis show.
Lee: Yeah, it was crazy. It was really awkward timing. It was a sold out show that was on the thirteenth? It was like two days before lockdown happened. We didn’t know lockdown was happening, but it was that weekend before, I think they announced the lockdown on the following Wednesday, the twenty-fifth of March?
Lee: It was the weekend before that, but it was a sold-out show at the Marquis and they wanted us to play, actually, because there was talk of the lockdown and stuff like this, but the show was like a day away and it was still on and actually, the bands made a choice for the safety of the band members and the fans and everyone going, the bands actually made the choice to cancel the show, or postpone the show, but I believe the Marquis, they’re still not having live events ‘cause they’re in Denver, but there’s a chance that show may get rescheduled hopefully at some point.
Jared: Who knows. Next year. March? Who knows.
Lee: Yeah, it was awkward timing ‘cause we were all set to play and it was literally all the way up until the day of, we were kind of like “we’re doing this, we’re doing this. Are we doing this? We’re doing this,” kind of thing and the day of, all the bands got together and kind of decided that. We were talking on messenger and social media and stuff and we kind of made the executive decision together that we knew what we were dealing with, and it wasn’t the best idea.
Jesse: So, from that show, I know you had that show scheduled, did you have any other shows scheduled this year before you knew that, well before COVID hit? What was your plan for this year?
Jared: So I believe we did have another show in April lined up as well. And then, we were going to go to the studio in May and then unfortunately, COVID came and we were still able to go to the studio in May, so we were still able to produce our current single. We have some other stuff we’re working on. It’s a secret. And then, in July, we were able to record our music video that’s out now for “Work Smarter, Play Harder”.
Jesse: I saw that.
Jared: Yeah, and COVID’s really put the brakes on live events, obviously, and everything like that, but we’ve been trying, obviously, alternative ways. We’ve been really trying to hound social media, trying to figure that piece out. It’s kind of a crazy thing, but definitely the music videos, we’re planning on going back to the studio again, hopefully soon, hopefully within the next couple of months, maybe next year, but hopefully within the next couple of months. We’re just crossing our fingers that next year, shows come back by, like, summer or even like autumn sometime. You know, fall shows are still just as fun, but it’s been lonely, man.
Jesse: Oh yeah, definitely. Well it’s interesting that you mentioned that you’ve been trying to find inspiration and continue to work on stuff through COVID because that’s my next question. You had a plan, you had at least one show, you had the studio. How did everything change once COVID hit? Obviously, you couldn’t do those shows anymore, but how were you guys feeling once it hit?
Jared: Do you want to take this one?
Lee: At first, we didn’t know how long it was going to last or if it was going to be a couple weeks. We weren’t sure. On top of that, we didn’t know, is it safe for us to practice together? Some of our members have families. Some of our members have friends that work in the medical field. Some of our members are in contact with other people who work and stuff like this. We didn’t know, can we even get together? Can we even practice? The stay-at-home order in March, we didn’t practice at all. We were kind of waiting for things to happen. We can still work on music and send each other stuff, but for us, the main way we operate is out of the room. You know, we go into the room, work on stuff, we hammer it out, the next day we do it all again.
Lee: So, it kind of changed the dynamic and it was definitely something that we had to get used to. Our strategy right now, we had all sorts of tentative stuff lined up, like Jared was saying. We didn’t have anything like the sold-out show that was booked and ready to go, but we had a lot of tentative things in April and May and June that all fell through, of course. But, our strategy, I think, since then has been to write music ‘cause we can’t perform music right now, or if we can it’s a limited capacity. One thing we can do is have more material, have more content, have more songs, have more music. So, currently we’re working on another EP, we’re working on more music, more songs so that we have more new stuff to come out with when we do get that chance back to play for all the fans and stuff like that.
Jesse: Well, that’s awesome. Have you guys done any livestream shows since everything kind of shut down?
Jared: No, actually we haven’t. It’s always been on our radar, however, COVID impacted some of us financially whenever it hit, some of the band members. We were able to have the money to go to the studio in May, but, unfortunately, it’s just those types of events can be kind of expensive and we don’t have, personally, the equipment really to put on a production like that. It’s always been on the radar, though.
Jared: I still would love to do something like that, but the music video was the closest thing we could probably get to something like that. And I think, with the music video we did kind of like, a live show setting and everything like that so hopefully that brought some time of remembrance to some people of what it’s like being at a show.
Jesse: Sure, definitely. Well I do want to talk a little bit about that music video. Not having known you guys for very long, even after the show at Hodi’s earlier this year, did you guys produce that video before COVID hit or was it more something that came after?
Jared: So we shot that video at the Soiled Dove in July, middle of July, and I believe we had the final cut by the middle of August, if I’m right. Right, Lee?
Jared: Yeah. And then we released it at the end of August.
Lee: That sounds about right, yeah.
Jared: Kyle from Digital Myle, he’s the one who produced the entire music video for us. Great guy, huge shoutout. He’s a great guy, he does amazing work for local bands in Denver and I cannot give him a bigger round of applause. He blew our socks off with that thing and got it back to us so quickly.
Lee: Easy to work with, awesome guy.
Jesse: That’s a pretty impressive turnaround for a music video from shoot to release. So, how were you guys feeling about that? I know there had to be some sort of anxiety going into the music video.
Jared: So the music video itself, it was just the band members, Kyle, one other guy, his aid basically, he had two photographers come out to help us out, Rudy Meadows and Lexi Hane, and then there was the Soiled Dove sound guy and their light guy, and they were up in the booth in the back. It was a private event, pretty much for all of us. It was basically like, if you’re not feeling sick and you don’t have a temperature, no real symptoms, come on down and help us out. Personally, it wasn’t too nerve wracking for me. Again, it wasn’t that many people, it was a private shoot.
Jesse: Well, it sounds like a lot of fun and the music video definitely came out looking really professionally done and I was really impressed with it and really enjoyed watching it.
Lee: Thank you!
Jared: Yeah, thank you very much Jesse.
Lee: I’m glad you liked it.
Jesse: I definitely want to touch on something that you mentioned earlier. It sounds like you have some new material coming out, some of it’s pretty secret, do you want to mention anything about that? Give little hints or anything of that nature?
Lee: I got it, Jared. I got it. I got it. I think what we’re going for is some of kind of the new school pop punk feel. We’re kind of focusing more on some of the new, more modern riffs and stuff like that that are super catchy, super interesting and kind of rhythmically different than what people are used to hearing. It adds a lot of depth to the music and a lot of the parts are really intricate, really cool, and really catchy. And that’s kind of the direction we’re moving in. Kind of more towards what we did in the last single, but I’d say even more of a focus on it. ‘Cause I think what it does is when you have guitar work like that, the song is a little more interesting to the listener and stuff like that. Jared, what do you got? What can you tell Jesse about what we’re working on?
Jared: Alright, so, Jesse, like we said we’re moving in a more modern, pop punk tone. Our older stuff is more in a vein of, I would say early 2000s kind of pop punk, kind of fast, kind of drivey and everything like that, and we’re more running into this more groovy kind of pop punk I feel like, more stuff that people can dance to and everything like that. It’s just going to be, I think, it’s going to be the best stuff Home By 11’s come out with so far, by leagues. So be prepared, everyone.
Jesse: Do you guys have an anticipated release date for that EP that you’re working on? You know, just something in the ballpark? I don’t want to back you guys into a corner by any means, but you know, just, something?
Lee: Yeah, I think we want to record maybe, December?
Lee: That’ll give us a couple months, like maybe we spend October, November, trying to hammer out four or five songs and then we get into the studio sometime in December. And then, we would be set up kind of for the following year, probably to release like January. We could either release all of it at once or we could release like one song in January/February, and then another song in March or April and then, you know, another song in May or June kind of thing. So, I think that’s kind of our tentative plans. For the next two months, try to write that music and get it solid.
Lee: We already have a lot of great ideas that are really cool that we can’t wait to share with everybody. I think we’re getting more comfortable as a band writing together, and we’re getting more comfortable kind of establishing our style, or establishing our formula or our method of writing. We’re getting more on the same page like-minded-ness of “yeah, that’s what we want” or “that’s what sounds good, that’s what we’re going for”. When we have that, I think your best stuff starts to come out and we’re kind of in that stage as a band right now, so it’s really exciting. Yeah, I think that’s our tentative plan. October, November, work on this stuff and then hopefully record it in December, and then release it the following 2021.
Jesse: That is incredible. I’m super excited to hear some of that new stuff once you have it. I do like to try and keep these interviews short, so my final question is what else would you like your fans, potential readers, to know about your band?
Lee: Tell ‘em, Jared! You go, then I’ll go.
Jared: Okay. So, actually, most recently, we are now a four-piece.
Jared: Yes. Our rhythm guitarist, Kory, he is moving to Florida. You know, Kory’s a great guy and we love him to death and we wish him the very, very best. So, potential readers, if you’re possibly a guitarist and you’re pretty good, shoot us a message and we’ll try to hook it up. I guess that’s the big thing on mine. Lee, if you have anything else you want our potential fans, our potential readers to know about us?
Lee: I would say that we’re all just a bunch of dorks.
Jared: Pretty much.
Lee: We don’t take ourselves too seriously, we love to have fun, and when we’re at our best, we’re playing music ‘cause we love it and because it’s a blast to do. We hope that when you listen to our songs, you feel a little bit of that. And don’t forget to have fun, no matter what you’re doing. Don’t forget to have fun. I think that’s something we stand for, that’s something that’s in all of our music and in everything we do. We’re just a bunch of dorks that like to play music and like to have a good time, like to have fun. We hope you feel that when you listen to our stuff too.
Jesse: Well, thank you so much for joining me tonight guys. It was awesome to finally be able to kind of meet you in person, as much as really is possible right now.
Party Guru Productions wants to send a huge thank you to Lee and Jared from Home By 11 for taking the time to chat with us! We also want to give Kory a proper send off and wish him the best of luck on his upcoming move to Florida.
To keep up with all things Home By 11, click the links below!
Photos by Jesse Haswell
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