I've re-christened my blog to convey a change in directions as a writer. The focus here at Confessions will still be on DJ'ing via a sociological and historical perspective but as filtered through my own observations as a long-time music industry worker and avid record collector.
Android Cartel, "There's a snake in my boot"
Android Cartel is an exciting West Coast tech house duo from LA comprised of Reagan Denius and Chris Mohn. Look for an upcoming article on them in the March/April issue of Big Shot Magazine. Give us a brief rundown of Android Cartel's history:
How did you meet, when did you first start dj'ing (both seperately and together), when did you start making tracks?
Well, we originally met in San Diego in 2006 while working for a production company called Realivze Tribe. They were associated with Giant, and were partly responsible for bringing the top DJ's in to town. We were actually promoters/flyer boys and would be packed down like mules with flyers to hand out on Friday and Saturday nights. It was a fun experience and alot of work, and Chris had actually been harassed by the cops alot and had ended up in court eventually for promoting.
Chris bought his first set of turntables in 1998 and started collecting music, but had been a raver kid for the previous 4 years, and eventually DJ'd locally in San Diego.
Reagan started producing (trying to) in 2000 with Reason, and eventually saw releases on Lost Language under the moniker Static Flux in 2004.
After a horrible night in the summer of 2006 at one of our events with a horrible headlining DJ, we decided to start writing music out of spite for the untalented/poser DJ/artists that actually make it in the industry.
We had only known each other for about 3 months at that point, but we had an equal amount of passion and love for the music, as well as similar philosophies on life in general, and at this point it's a brotherhood.
Our first attempt in the studio was to write a full length concept album, which we pulled off in less than a month -- and now we go back and listen to it for a good laugh.
Do you only work together or do you also make music with other collaborators or solo at all?
At this point we're a production team, and have no intention of breaking away from each other, however, we do collaborate with other producers and artists doing remixes, etc.
You have had some early success with your singles on Fade, how did you meet Chris Fortier and start working with him? Would you consider him an influence?
We actually met Chris Fortier for one of his gigs in San Diego when we were promoting. We picked him up from the airport and took him to his hotel, but during the ride we talked about music, and he shared his role in bringing Sasha & Digweed to the US, and introducing the country to the progressive house movement. After that we saw him at various gigs when he would play, and we would keep in touch via e-mail. We are always bugging him with music and at one point he wanted a couple of tracks at the end of 2007.
At the time we were producing under the name Proper Villains but due to an overload of artists calling themselves Proper Villains he thought it would be a wise decision to come up with a new moniker, and hence Android Cartel was born.
We definitely consider him an influence and mentor and credit him for helping create Android Cartel.
You have now signed with Steve Lawler's imprint Viva, how did that come about?
Back in 2007 we were really inspired by a DJ set of Lawler's here in LA. We decided to write a song for him as a gift for an awesome night of music. That kind of opened an initial communication with him, but we never really heard anything from him. We always sent him tracks and actually heard from friends of ours in Lebanon that he would play our tunes out there, but never really made anything good enough for him to take notice of for his own label. In the fall of 2008, we sent him some tracks and he ended up liking one of them and taking it for his label. It's called "Robotic Redemption", and is due out on our EP in the early part of this year, and has a killer remix by Steve Mac. We are really excited and cannot thank Steve Lawler enough.
Your tracks are now starting to be charted by many of the major DJs out there will any of them be making appearances on some mix compilations this year?
Not to our knowledge, not yet. We are still the new kids on the block, but hope some of our future releases are good enough to be considered for DJ compilations.
Any plans for a full-length or mix compilation of your own in the near future?
Well of course we have tons of ideas, but the opportunities have not arisen yet. When they do, we will be sure to create something cool and memorable!
Tell us a little bit about the LA scene, besides John Tejada who are some of the other people you work with regularly down there. Who's good besides AC that you endorse?
The LA scene is a lot of fun. Everyone is really into techno, and we have lots of wonderful friends that we go out with all the time. Our favorite events are the Compression events. They bring a lot of world class talent, and always throw a good party. There's also a great underground scene and the Droid Behavior guys always throw awesome warehouse parties. As far as gigs, we are residents with INCOGNITO, LLC, who always throw a great party, and the Monday Social, which is LA's longest running club night, and one of the best nights out on the town. Highly recommended if your ever in LA.
We have never really worked regularly with John Tejada, we just opened up for him, but if the opportunity ever arose to work with him it would truly be an honor.
We definitely endorse the Droid Behavior guys, they've been doing techno for awhile now. We're also really good friends with Erphun, who's also on Steve Lawler's label. He's an awesome producer and a great friend. Cari Golden is a vocalist we work with, and she has sung for various producers and always delivers awesome vocals. Our friend Shoddy is another talented artist to watch out for. We give her props for throwing her MNML GRLS night, and trying to get more girls involved in the scene, as it's mostly guys. She's becoming a talented DJ and starting to shape as a producer.
Let us know about your monthly Proton Radio show. What's the focus of the show and tell us some of the guests who've "stopped by" with guest mixes.
Well the show airs every 3rd Wednesday of the month. The show focuses on whatever house music we are liking at the time. Past guests have included Luca Bacchetti, Robert Babicz, Livio & Roby, Erphun, and The Quasar.
What kind of production gear are you using in the studio?
We are using a G5 PowerPC (the cheese grater model) and running Logic Pro and Ableton. We use the RME Fireface 800 audio interface, and have 2 KRKv6 studio monitors. We also use the Elektron Machine Drum and the Virus TI Keyboard (that we are trying to sell). That and a bunch of VST plugins we're set to go!