Archive for May, 2014

Hawaii DJs hit international stage

By
May 21st, 2014



As the rest of us gear up for a big Memorial Day weekend, some local DJs are gearing up for the biggest experience of their life.

CHRISTA WITTMIER / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER DJ ANIT DEPARTS THIS WEEK TO OPEN FOR EUROPE TO OPEN FOR PHARRELL WILLIAMS.

CHRISTA WITTMIER / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

DJ ANIT DEPARTS THIS WEEK TO OPEN FOR EUROPE TO OPEN FOR PHARRELL WILLIAMS.

Before his tour with Aloe Blacc and Hawaii’s Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams will have the pleasure of performing in Paris with Addiction resident Tina “DJ Anit” Viernes as his DJ.

“A-Track told me they were canvassing the country, looking for a female DJ that could scratch,” fellow Addiction Nightclub resident Jonathan "DJ Compose" Ablan said. So he put Viernes in contact with Supreme Video Productions creator Philip Lemoine to highlight what she can do on camera; skip ahead to now and we had to find a replacement DJ for the Bacardi Pool Party on Monday. But she did drop out with the best excuse ever.

Knowing Viernes' hilarious approach to life in general, I know it’s going to be a treat for everyone she meets in Europe. Also performing at the Trianon de Paris theater will be Kyo, Rita Ora, Black M and many others as a part of the NRJ Radio Music Tour.

WHILE VIERNES jets to Paris, local DJ/producer trio Oof Music is flying to New York to play the main stage at Electric Daisy Carnival as winners of the Insomniac Discovery Project. With close to a hundred thousand attendees from around the world and over 70 headliners playing across four stages, you could say this is a big deal.

Similar to local concert promoters who offer up-and-coming DJs an opportunity to open for headliners, EDM powerhouse tour promoters Insomniac Events introduced the Discovery Project in 2012 to motivate undiscovered talent. For each of their events they offer opportunities to work in visual arts, stage design, costume design and DJ/producer performance.

DJ/producer entrants must submit an original track and a 30-minute mix. Judges look for boldness and precision, as well as the talent’s ability to take advantage of free promotion tools online like Mixcloud and Facebook.

COURTESY KEKAI NAMAUUFROM LEFT, OOF MUSIC'S ISAAC IKEDA, CHRISTIAN MOCHIZUKI AND KEKAI NAMAUU IN THE STUDIO.

COURTESY KEKAI NAMAUU

FROM LEFT, OOF MUSIC'S ISAAC IKEDA, CHRISTIAN MOCHIZUKI AND KEKAI NAMAUU IN THE STUDIO.

I’ve been lucky enough to get to know and work with the three people who make up Oof Music and can say this win is very well-deserved.

For hard-working producer Kanakaokekai “King Kekai” Namauu, a 2014 Na Hoku Hanohano Award nominee for his genre-bending album, “Wait On Me,” the Discovery Project is only validating what many of us already know — he understands music production. Already planning out the EDC set, he has included many non-EDM tracks in an effort to catch the attention of the crowd in a similar way that he did the Discovery Project judges, beginning OOF Music's entry with Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole's gripping “Hawaiian Like Me” before a hard-hitting EDX Miami Sunset remix of AVICII’s “Wake Me Up.”

The supergroup was assembled by Grammy Award-winning recording engineer Christian Mochizuki, who constantly has his brain waves in motion to take over the world. Known currently as Graves, Mochizuki presented a business/action plan for a group to Namauu and Isaac “DJ Frizel” Ikeda and all it took from that point was a commitment from all three to put things in motion.

After the big performance this weekend in New York, the trio plan to take advantage of everyone they touch from the experience.

“We are planning a few commercial releases within the next couple of months” said Namauu. “We've built a lot of connections over the last couple months and with this stamp of approval from Insomniac, things are going to be taking off.”

Congratulations to all four of you. This is huge!

———

Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular "Bacardi Pool Party" on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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Hara prepares for Miss USA adventure

By
May 14th, 2014



STAR-ADVERTISER / OCT. 13 MOANI HARA REACTS AS SHE'S CROWNED MISS HAWAII USA ON OCT. 13. HARA DEPARTS FOR LOUISIANA NEXT MONTH TO TAKE PART IN THE NATIONAL MISS USA PAGEANT.

STAR-ADVERTISER / OCT. 13

MOANI HARA REACTS AS SHE'S CROWNED MISS HAWAII USA ON OCT. 13. HARA DEPARTS FOR LOUISIANA NEXT MONTH TO TAKE PART IN THE NATIONAL MISS USA PAGEANT.

Moani Hara is the opposite of a Monet. The closer you get, the more flawless she becomes.

I was caught off-guard as we walked through the mall recently when she got in to a very quiet — but very obvious — confrontation with an older beauty consultant standing in the middle of a store we passed through.

MISS HAWAII USA

SEND-OFF PARTY

Hosted by Moani Hara with entertainment by Makana and

Aidan James

» Where: M Nightclub, 500 Ala Moana Blvd.

» When: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday

» Cost: $30

» Info: (808) 627-2440

Hara had turned heads from the second we walked in, and once people realized her conversation with the consultant wasn’t exactly pleasant I saw heads tilting, trying to listen in. I clumsily fielded some emails on my phone, trying to be respectful of the situation. I wasn’t sure if it was an auntie scolding her or a more serious conversation, but I definitely didn’t want to know.

“Sorry about that,” she said a few minutes later as we walked down an escalator. “I really don’t like it when people try to test my character.”

It was at that moment that I genuinely respected the girl. The fact she would take a minute, no matter who is watching, to stand up for herself reflected a realness that rocked me to my core.

Sure, I know Moani. Not as Miss Hawaii USA, but as a loyal friend to many. Whether it’s helping makeup artist Kecia Littman paint faces at an Empire of the Sun concert or checking in guests for Flash Hansen at his New Year’s Eve party, there isn't anything the beauty queen wouldn't do if it was for a friend.

I personally only know her from a distance, but that’s quite comfortable for me considering her complete knockout presence. Talking with her more, I immediately understood she is a woman who has been through a lot. Hara has put much work into herself and is more self-aware than a lot of today's social media-scrolling lovelies who may be a bit too obsessed with everyone else’s lives.

COURTESY MOANI HARAHARA AT PREVENT CHILD ABUSE HAWAII'S PINWHEELS FOR PREVENTION EVENT EARLIER THIS YEAR.

COURTESY MOANI HARA

HARA AT PREVENT CHILD ABUSE HAWAII'S PINWHEELS FOR PREVENTION EVENT EARLIER THIS YEAR.

Basically, the girl’s got depth.

“I like the idea that Miss Hawaii USA is about being confidant and beautiful,” she said. “When I entered this year I had no intention of winning; I just really wanted to have fun and to see how far I could push myself.”

The result was a win that will take her to the national Miss USA competition in Baton Rouge, La. on June 8.

Some still get the Miss USA and Miss America pageants confused. The Miss USA pageant is more of a beauty and personality competition, while Miss America includes talent and scholastic competitions.

“Miss Hawaii USA is more getting to know yourself,” said Hara, who has participated in both pageants. “Really having your own opinions on different topics, whether it’s political or not, they just really want to get to know who you are.”

Our lunch meeting was her fourth or fifth appointment already that day. She said she's usually up at 5 a.m. for fittings, interviews, a workout or community events.

“It really teaches you to dig deep.” she said. “Going in to any situation, you have to have a purpose. If you don’t have a purpose there’s never really going to be a positive outcome.

“If you’re just doing it just because or just whatever, I don’t think that that’s acceptable. I think you have to have a drive. You have to have something that’s making you want to do the best that you can do.

“I used to be really shy and very timid. I was introverted at times. When I started doing Miss Hawaii USA it really made me dig deep. I have to show my personality and have to really be comfortable with myself and in tune with my own heart and my own soul.”

COURTESY MOANI HARAHARA WITH HER PARENTS, GEORGE AND ROBYN.

COURTESY MOANI HARA

HARA WITH HER PARENTS, GEORGE AND ROBYN.

With just a few weeks to go before the national pageant, Hara is beginning to feel the crunch.

“(I'm) very stressed, but also very anxious and excited,” she said. “A bunch of different feelings right now all at once, but it’s definitely positive. I’m just trying to really keep focused. I think what’s really stressing me out right now is just the uncertainty.

“I’m really looking forward to the experience in itself, meeting the girls and meeting Donald Trump and the entire organization.”

Hara is up against 50 equally stunning and confidant women next month, but I hope the judges see what I saw during our time together. Scrolling through the contestants now that I know her, I really do think she has a chance to take it all. I will definitely be watching.

———

Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular "Bacardi Pool Party" on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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Hawaii Gets De Lux

By
May 7th, 2014



What kind of duo gets so much buzz over their upcoming EP that they are repeatedly proclaimed the Best Band of 2014 before the year is even half over?

De Lux perform in Honolulu for the first time Saturday May 10th (Courtesy photo)

DE LUX

Presented by Spells Hawaii

» Where: Nextdoor, 43 N. Hotel St.

» When: 9 p.m. May 10

» Cost: $20 general admission ($15 presale tickets available)

» Info: deluxshowhawaii.brownpapertickets.com

It's fitting one of those publications is the Guardian out of the U.K. Listening to De Lux, I immediately thought of British legends The Kinks (but only from the vocals).

The lively rock sound these two produce is timeless, drudging up tons of nostalgia from when I had the Talking Heads' "Speaking in Tongues" on repeat as a kid.

De Lux is a band with a refreshing sound full of instrumentation. They are signed to Innovative Leisure, which is known as a prodigy label as far as independent record labels go. Starting out as more of an art project, the most familiar names (besides co-owner Jamie Strong of The Do-Over) would be Classixx, Noasj Thing and crooner Rhye.

The label is a product of three partners, two of which are Strong and Nate Nelson, who worked together at Stones Throw Records but needed a more creative outlet than what the underground hip-hop label owned by Peanut Butter Wolf offered.

As Innovative Leisure, Strong and Nelson, along with third partner (and HUF Creative Director) El Khatib, are able to stretch their wings. They've signed a roster of some amazing talent, including the most notable project in the company's four year history, El Khatib's "Can't Win Them All," which was picked up for an Audi commercial during the 2013 NFL Super Bowl. That deal paid for the production of Khatib's album before it was even released.

De Lux was discovered in Los Angeles by DJ Delve at the Echo; the set he heard was electrifying and he was so blown away by their performance that he turned Spells Hawaii promoter Ken Selders on to them.

Delve is sort of like E.F. Hutton when it comes to music; a tastemaker with an endless catalog in his brain of every genre that exists.

"I've heard this before,” and “I love this" are common reactions when seeing Delve play.

ALT/AIR perform with De Lux on Saturday (Mark Kushimi)

Alt/Air will open for De Lux on Saturday. (Courtesy Mark Kushimi)

Watching him spin when there's not a huge crowd is by far the best time to hear what he can do, as that's when he really flexes his muscles and displays a never-ending appreciation for music as a whole. He can flawlessly go from Diana Ross to Slick Rick to Hot Chip to Cypress Hill, then back to the Four Tops.

Spells is known by many as the curator of unique listening experiences within the city. Artistic visuals paired with acts most would only dream of seeing sets the crew apart. You only need to know its their show — not necessarily who the headliner is. Their most notable shows include Tokimonsta, Com Truise and most recently, Machinedrum.

De Lux will be in good company on Saturday night, as local dream team Alt/Air will help warm up the crowd. Producer Brandon Udani has been busy working on tracks on Soundcloud, but is also making new music with vocalist Aly Ishikuni for their long-running music project that usually features lasers and robots.

Also on the bill is DJ Delve and Spells resident DJ Seeko.

———

Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular "Bacardi Pool Party" on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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