Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Honey for the Vice crowd

By
October 15th, 2014



STAR-ADVERTISER / 2014Vice Nightclub was popular among the EDM and 18-and-over crowds in Honolulu.

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2014

Vice Nightclub was popular among the EDM and 18-and-over crowds in Honolulu.

Hearing the news last week that it was Vice Nightclub’s final weekend in business at Ward Centre wasn’t as disconcerting as it should have been.

I knew there had to be other plans. Element Group and Racesauce Events are both constantly working on something. Always. If one establishment closes there’s another one on its way to open. They have operated in this fashion for years.

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2013The dance floor at Vice Nightclub.

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2013

The dance floor at Vice Nightclub.

These guys cornered the market with a very strong hold on both the EDM and mainstream nightclub scenes. Almost so much that it’s uncomfortable even walking into their clubs if you have plans to do anything except rage. I liked to lurk at the bar right as you walk in, but after a while even that area was always packed with people. That's a good thing.

Accommodating the 18-and-over crowd as much as possible was another solid move at Vice, which opened in 2012. It only built their base, as those few years pass incredibly fast — and guess where everyone celebrated their 21st birthday? Vice was very good at that, as well as keeping the music fresh with a constant influx of top level EDM headliners to play alongside their resident DJs.

Last weekend the crowd that used to be at Vice moved to 1215, which is also home to Boda Cafe (aka one of the best places in town to get banh mi sandwiches) at 1215 Hopaka Street. (Editor's Note: The space previously housed nightclubs Reign, Zen, Xyloh, and most recently, Club Hype.) Honey started there last week with plans to continue as a weekly Friday promotion by Racesauce.

“The good thing about this party is it’s right next to Ginza, so your Honey wristband gets you free into the Ginza Friday after party,” said promoter Alex Kamm via email. “It's literally right next door.”

I was just so happy to hear there was a plan. I knew there would be.

COURTESY COURTNEY MAUDJ Debin is among the new resident DJs for Honey at 1215 every Friday.

COURTESY COURTNEY MAU

DJ Debin is among the new resident DJs for Honey at 1215 every Friday.

Honey will have a dress code and strict cover charge as well as resident DJs Graves, Strkly Bzness, and rising nightlife star Debin. Debin is a name that isn’t as recognizable as the face, but both are standouts in the club scene this year. The tall, lanky DJ has appeared in lineups at every top club in Honolulu and has engaged a very nice-looking following of girls who love trap and twerk.

This weekend will set the tone for the rest of October's Halloween parties. With Halloween falling on a Friday this year, by the time the day actually comes we'll all have more than a few costumes piled on the floor at home. Or at least I will. On Friday, I'll be playing the Ghost Ship party with DJs Shift, Jeff Phantom and Dee Wizzard.

On Saturday, local concierge company Funinthe808 attempts to fill a bit of the void the Diamondhead Hui leaves with this year's cancellation of Crazy, Sexy, GHOUL. Most of the same crowd will be at Longhi's this weekend to celebrate in costume, and the party's breast cancer awareness theme means anyone with boobs to enter at no charge.

Saturday is also the huge Zombie Crawl in Chinatown. Anything to get the crowds to Chinatown sounds great to me, and I heard organizers have pre-sold more than 3,000 tickets — and that was a week ago. Be ready!

———

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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Fashion forward

By
September 10th, 2014



I know I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the best at being stylish. Shopping is usually a rush through Nordstrom Rack grabbing everything bright and colorful then never wearing it. I have the same four T-shirts in a regular rotation but am putting in more effort to be brave enough to wear a dress here and there.

I do try. It’s just not my thing. But these days, I’m spending a lot more time than usual trying to keep up with the trends — or at least not stand out as the most casually dressed woman in the room.

The seasonal change from summer to fall is a huge one in the fashion industry, and I’ve been enjoying all the social media posts coming from New York Fashion Week. But I’ll be looking forward to all the floral and lace disappear; not necessarily on everyone else, but for me it’s a bit too frilly.

I like color blocks, basics, anything that says, “I’m here!” but not, “Hey! Look at me!” Also, “I’m stylish!” but not “I’m trendy!” I'm going for more classy than kooky, but also with a creativity that gives me my own personal style.

Is that too much to ask?

BALLYPablo Coppola's Bloom Bag, part of the Fall 2014 Collection available at the Ala Moana store event Friday 5pm-9pm

COURTESY BALLY

Pablo Coppola's Bloom Bag, part of the Fall 2014 Collection available at the Ala Moana store event Friday 5pm-9pm

“Start with the shoes,” celebrity stylist Crystal Pancipanci told a room full of women earlier this year during a fundraiser for Aloha United Way Women’s United. That seemed easy enough, and I was pretty proud of a cute pair of strappy heels I found at Homecoming that didn’t kill me. Pancipanci was totally right; it was a lot easier to get dressed up when I had a killer pair of shoes to plan around.

Now it’s fall, and my awesome shoes have been worn so much the steel is protruding out of the heel. They click so loud when I walk, I’m pretty sure I wake up all of Makiki when heading to my car in the mornings. I should have fixed them or gotten a new pair months ago, but these are the only cute black heels on planet Earth that are stylish AND comfortable. I think?

On Friday, Bally Ala Moana will reveal their exceptional fall line of handbags and shoes. When it comes to style and durability, I trust a Swiss brand that’s been around for 163 years.

Newly appointed Creative Director Pablo Coppola designed the AW14 collection that will be on display along with some bubbly and music by DJs Willis Haltom, Paul Brandon and yours truly from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Ala Moana store.

He's called the collection a “palette cleanser” for the brand, with shoes and bags in natural, earthy colors and lavish materials like suede and pony skin. Meant to be the sumptuous pieces that can last over time, I will definitely be looking for a pair of go-to, plan-around, look-at-me-but-don’t-look-at-me pumps at this party.

COURTESY PHOTOMSCLS is a rising producer who performs in Hawaii again Thursday at The Underground.

PLURSDAYS

Featuring MSCLS

» Where: The Underground, 1146 Fort Street Mall

» When: 9 p.m. Thursday

» Cost: $10

» Info: edmhawaii.info

LAST WEEKEND was one for the books. I had such a great time DJing on the maiden voyage of the EBC, or Electronic Boat Cruise. It reminded me of a more intimate Holy Ship!!! EDM party. I got to meet and talk to visiting artist Josh Vela, aka MSCLS from San Antonio, Tex. as he did a surprise set alongside CoonDog.

Vela pulled out some great music, and I found out later he produced a lot of himself. It was fun, bassy house with some fantastic disco influences everyone was able to groove to under the stars. His music has been described as a “more stripped-down Dirtybird sounds with some Duke Dumont-esque feels” by Do Androids Dance and I definitely heard his appreciation for the UK Garage sound, too.

He played the Electric Daisy Carnival this year and is currently on tour.

“He is super, super, super rising artist at the moment,” Coon told me. “His recent single, 'Like This' has garnered over 179,000 plays on Soundcloud.”

As we gear up for the 16th annual Love Festival at Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park on Sept. 27, it’s these weekly events at The Underground that regularly showcase the talent in both the local and visiting EDM community, allowing all EDM DJs to come and play whatever they want.

I got a small taste of that playing the boat when I dared to stretch the boundaries of what I was expected to play. The reaction was very positive and I’m so glad I did it. There’s nothing like doing something you truly love and having others love it too.

Now if only they would love my outfit.

———

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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Portland stole my heart

By
August 20th, 2014



“This has been the most incredible trip so far and nothing I'm here for has even started yet!” I posted to my Facebook last week Sunday, Aug. 10.

COURTESY CHRISTA WITTMIER

Mr JPatt of The Knocks with "Project Runway" winner and Portland native Michelle Lesniak and her husband Manny at Electric Summer PDX: Low Key No Big Deal.

I usually refrain from posting too much to my Facebook stream — that’s what Twitter is for — but I just couldn’t help myself. This trip to Portland is even better than the last one. I realized that this city has everything that Hawaii doesn’t.

Don’t worry though! All that really is, is nice crispy, jacket weather at night, evergreen trees and boys who like me. After living in a city amongst so many perfect 10 supermodel-looking women, that last thing is feeling very refreshing. I really needed this trip.

Sunday was the Electric Summer PDX event my friends Tia Vanich and Chef Gregory Gourdet put together that had everyone, even the out-of-towners, saying it was the best event they have ever attended. Since it was invite-only with very strict access, everyone inside was extra stoked to be there and every conversation I had with someone new was awesome.

Listening to the DJs before me play on the Funktion One sound system (one of the best in the world) was pretty nerve-wracking, but sitting with Mr JPatt of The Knocks and seeing he was nervous too helped a lot. He had just come from a huge festival in Montreal with thousands of people and an after-party where he played with Jesse Andrews, Dillon Francis and The Bixel Boys. If he was nervous, too, then how I was feeling was completely okay.

JAMES PATTERSONThe first song is always the scariest in a new city.

COURTESY JAMES PATTERSON

The first song is always the scariest in a new city.

There were a few times I wanted to go back in my crate and switch some things out, seeing how much everyone loved deep house and tech-house. I realized these people really loved and understood intelligent bass music.

My set was an hour of beautiful daytime Tropical House since I was the only DJ from Hawaii and one of three from out of town. I wanted to bring exactly what I love to them, but it freaked me out!

I decided to go with my instincts and opened with ColeCo and I’m so glad I did. Out of the woodwork came some of the most beautiful, goddess-like women to dance. The sun was still out so I could see everyone’s face and with the exception of one beard-stroking, intently-staring, plaid-shirt-wearing guy, all of the faces were smiling. More and more people came out to dance, and when I glanced behind me even Mr JPatt had stood up to dance for the first time that day.

COURTESY PHOTO600 of Tia and Gregory's closest industry friends at White Owl Social Club.

COURTESY ELECTRIC SUMMER PDX

600 of Tia Vanich and Chef Gregory Gourdet's closest industry friends at White Owl Social Club.

This was when I was able to get into the zone and really give them exactly what I loved. It was the best set I’ve ever played, made up entirely of all the music I loved for people who loved it too.

Later that night after I finished, I got hugs from strangers, with many asking for my Soundcloud URL. It’s not the first time that’s happened, but there is nothing in the world better than connecting with new people through your music, especially in another city.

I was a bit terrified to be in a lineup with so many superstars and even local heavyweights, but afterward one of the local DJs invited me to play with him at another gig later in the week. It was exactly the validation I needed to keep me motivated.

I'll be heading to Las Vegas for the first time ever in my life on Friday, so I'll be missing another weekend in Honoulu. It's two weekends too many.

Portland has definitely nestled itself deeply into my heart, but (as usual) I can't wait to get home to Hawaii.

———

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.

An ode to the bottle rat

By
August 6th, 2014



This weekend marks a significant event in super-fun music as The Chainsmokers descend on to Hawaii for a sold-out show Saturday at The Republik. The Facebook event page for the show has evoked a bit of discussion separating the “Selfie” lovers from fans who listened to their music well before the hit single was released.

The Chainsmokers AP

THE CHAINSMOKERS

Presented by Electric Palms Presents

» Where: The Republik, 1349 Kapiolani Blvd.

» When: 10 p.m. Saturday

» Cost: Sold Out

» Info: facebook.com

Personally, I'm in the middle ground, having first hearing them last spring when DJ Deko dropped their remix of Say Lou Lou’s “Julian” at the Fighting Eel fashion show, which caused me to run over to him after I couldn’t Shazam the track.

Hearing it played out I instantly knew it was the perfect opening track to my summer mix, but was having a hard time finding it. I knew this was exactly the song I needed – the perfect indie upbeat sound that can carry an entire mix with its light pop aesthetic crying out, “BE HAPPY, DAMN IT!!!”

“Selfie” is to The Chainsmokers, however, what “Harlem Shake” was to Baauer. A perfectly timed crossover anthem that was played too much, too fast — turning true fans off quite a bit and making otherwise underrated, underpaid producers rich and opening doors they may have never otherwise seen opened so quickly.

I think it’s awesome and a well-deserved achievement for the duo who have been consistently putting out great music. Next week brings the debut of The Chainsmokers new weekly radio show on SiriusXM, “Nice Hair with The Chainsmokers,” which will air on the Electric Air channel starting on Aug. 18. I’m looking forward to this as they will use it as their avenue to play up-and-coming acts (which they have a very keen ear for) and also display their quirky humor.

“SELFIE” IS both annoying and relevant as an ode to the bottle rat, which is probably why the female voice over on the track is almost impossible to listen to.

The sad thing is, people really talk like that. The sadder thing? Now bottle rats have an anthem for themselves, seemingly justifying their irritating and narcissistic behavior.

Can I just say this now? It’s not cool to talk like that.

COURTESY CRAIG GIAMBRONEThe Chainsmokers cash cow single isn't popular with everyone, but they're laughing all the way through the festival circuit and their tour straight to the bank off its success.

COURTESY CRAIG GIAMBRONE

The Chainsmokers cash cow single isn't popular with everyone, but they're laughing all the way through the festival circuit and their tour straight to the bank off its success.

As irritating as that voice can be, bottle rats are a necessary evil. As someone who actually pays for bottle service, I know it’s not as fun to party VIP-style unless you have people to share it with. There are roughly 25 drinks in a liter bottle of Grey Goose, and if any one person drinks that in a night they are legally dead anyway. So why not share?

If those people happen to be gorgeous and fun females who love to dance and smile and be seen, well, there really isn’t too much wrong with that. It’s too loud to have thoughtful, insightful conversations anyway. True friends are awesome — especially when it’s time to pay and tip the server — but sometimes you just need a little padding.

According to bottle service regular Jason Nagamine, a bottle rat is someone “in a group, (who is) attractive and wanting free drinks.”

“They will be scarce if they aren't getting free drinks without effort,” he said. “So they are a controllable evil.”

“Their favorite pastime when not in the club is posting selfies,” fellow bottle service regular Chad Yamamoto said. “They do this for two reasons. The main (one) is to validate their existence. The second is so we don't forget what they look like just in case we forgot what they looked like since the last selfie they posted probably three or four hours before.

“Bottle rats are actually very insecure. They need the likes and comments from their selfies because of their lack of self-esteem, hence the word selfie. Yes they are beautiful, but the sad reality is more than likely they grew up being reinforced that the only thing they have going for them is their looks.”

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2014Let the professionals handle it: Heading to The Manor's two-year anniversary on Friday at M Nightclub? Be sure to tell one of the club's bottle service hostesses, pictured, who your guests are to avoid a bottle rat infestation at your table.

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2014

Let the professionals handle it: Heading to The Manor's two-year anniversary on Friday at M Nightclub? Be sure to tell one of the club's bottle service hostesses, pictured, who your guests are to avoid a bottle rat infestation at your table.

My verdict? It’s our own fault for continuing to host and encourage this behavior. We want the beauty and flashiness, then we complain when people take advantage.

If we want people to contribute, it needs to be communicated when they are invited. If everyone scatters when it’s time to pay the bill, just don’t invite them again. The best part about Hawaii is dime piece club girls are a dime a dozen, and new 21-year-olds who want to party keep showing up.

As long as we are the ones paying for the drinks we hold the cards. How many friends do we want when we are out? How good do we want our table to look? How much fun do we want to have? It's up to us at the end of the day.

As much as I love The Chainsmokers and hate “Selfie,” it definitely rings true so I can tolerate it. Just like bottle rats — if I don’t want to hear them I can just turn it off.

———

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.

Lux makes lasting impression

By
June 11th, 2014



KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISERA GREAT WEEKEND WITH GREAT FRIENDS WAS CAPPED OFF BY THE GREY GOOSE SUMMER CLUB AT THE MODERN HONOLULU ON SUNDAY.

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

A GREAT WEEKEND WITH GREAT FRIENDS WAS CAPPED OFF BY THE GREY GOOSE SUMMER CLUB AT THE MODERN HONOLULU ON SUNDAY.

It’s not often I find myself dizzy with exhilaration after a weekend out. This is a good thing though — it makes me appreciate the Mondays where I’m like, whoa.

Seriously. This past weekend was whoa.

It was probably because it was my first one back in Honolulu for a while. The dust had finally settled from helping produce a huge pool party a few weeks ago and taking a trip to Asia earlier this month. That stuff took a lot out of me.

It also helped that it was First Friday, which is becoming more and more of a thing (again), now that there is so much to see and do in Chinatown.

When the lines stretch out for Bar 35 and Manifest, some of us know the right corners to dip into — this month being The Jump Offs' frontman Landon Tom’s debut art show, a chillingly creative photo collage installation at The Human Imagination — and then everyone congregates back in the street.

There’s literally something for everyone. It’s really a great night out. Avoiding crowds for me is more to avoid drunk people who tend to get too mouthy or handsy, so the open air of the street and delightful nooks and crannies of the neighborhood make this night one of my favorites of the entire month.

COURTESY ORRIN NAKANELUA"HE'S SO GORGEOUS," I HEARD SOMEONE SAY BEHIND ME AS ADRIAN LUX PERFORMED AT THE REPUBLIK ON SATURDAY.

COURTESY ORRIN NAKANELUA

"HE'S SO GORGEOUS," I HEARD SOMEONE SAY BEHIND ME AS ADRIAN LUX PERFORMED AT THE REPUBLIK ON SATURDAY.

First Friday was great, but Saturday was even better as I listened to Sweedish producer Adrian Lux’s new EP, “Make Out,” while getting ready to talk to him before his show at The Republik.

It wasn’t my first time getting excited over this artist, as he tends to produce music in a very approachable, beautiful way that I find I can connect with. I was in Cabo for his Electric Palms appearance, watching him expertly command the crowd of spring breakers.

I was safely tucked back in the DJ booth with him, but could see hundreds of young girls swooning over the tall, lanky, blond ex-model who knew the precise moments to bring the music's tempo down, then back up again. He definitely knows how to feel out a crowd.

His Grammy Award-nominated single, “Teenage Crime,” sat perfectly atop one of my “Best of” mixes a few years ago as a track I couldn’t stop listening to. His music just flows with the kind of grace that makes you feel like it’s the soundtrack to your amazing day/life.

With his latest EP, I'm hearing a lot Lux's style of catching everything my ears want to hear when I’m listening to progressive house. More melodic, more accessible and beautiful. Songs you remember. Songs that stand out.

COURTESY ORRIN NAKANELUASWEDISH PRODUCER ADRIAN LUX FEELING THE CROWD'S LOVE WHILE ON STAGE AT THE REPUBLIK ON SATURDAY.

COURTESY ORRIN NAKANELUA

SWEDISH PRODUCER ADRIAN LUX FEELING THE CROWD'S LOVE WHILE ON STAGE AT THE REPUBLIK ON SATURDAY.

“Rain” is the first track on the EP and immediately pulls me in from the second I hear the light musical phrasing. I know it’s going to be a more vibey, indie sounding ride than a hard-hitting, barely understandable progressive journey. I love it.

Pretty melodies and flowing rhythms in “Rain” give way to more anthemy “festival”sound in “Smoke & Mirrors” until the vocals and the darker yet penetrating bridge of “Sooner or Later” — the EP's first single and already one of my favorite tracks of the year — make me realize this is something meant to be listened to from beginning to end.

It’s telling a story, and all I can see is Adrian’s visual environment of high fashion, glamorous parties, beautiful art and his deep house past as creative influences.

“I experiment a lot in the studio,” Lux said before taking the stage on Saturday, as opening DJ Massfunk's progressive set pounded through The Republik's sound system.

“When I go in there I try to be as non-restrict as possible. I think a lot of good things come when you just let go. And you don’t really care what the outcome is.”

“Sooner or Later” came out of his 2013 Australian tour, where he mostly worked in short bursts of studio time while on the road. The track’s vocalist, Kaelyn Behr, is a good friend and Lux would send ideas for chords from the road for him to put vocal melodies over.

COURTESY ORRIN NAKANELUATHE AUTHOR INTERVIEWS ADRIAN LUX BACKSTAGE AT THE REPUBLIK ON SATURDAY.

COURTESY ORRIN NAKANELUA

THE AUTHOR INTERVIEWS ADRIAN LUX BACKSTAGE AT THE REPUBLIK ON SATURDAY.

“It was fun because we made it on the tour, and by the end of the tour I started playing it out and got to see the reactions,” he said. “It was very good! It’s more intimate and it has more of an underground feel to it (debuting music that way).”

The track is definitely deeper house, but still bright enough to hold its own for daytime vibes. I know I’m totally going to try this track at my pool parties this summer. I love it when musicians go outside of the box.

“Artists serve themselves best when they really look into themselves,” Lux said. “That’s how they can develop, and that’s the ones that usually do the best.

“I experiment a lot in the studio. When I go in there I try to be as non-restrict as possible. I think a lot of good things come when you just let go. And you don’t really care what the outcome is.

“There’s a lot of A&Rs and producers and they try to figure out music before it’s happened like, ‘We’ll put this together with this artist and it will sound like that and that will be great!’, but you know you can’t really do magic like that.

“You have to go in to the studio with no expectations try a vibe and whatever feels good, that’s what you gotta do. Hopefully the outcome is really cool.”

Saturday's show was fantastic, and everyone there was feeling his vibe and music. With great support from Jeff Phantom and Massfunk, expect to see more great EDM artists coming through Hawaii with the partnership of Collective Effort and BAMP Project.

———

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 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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Painted Highways reunites for farewell

By
April 30th, 2014



supercity_header_2013

I’ve been traveling quite a bit to the neighbor islands for work and have been joking about not coming back from Kauai. That place is a dream world. Everyone keeps telling me it is way too slow for me but I don’t know … I kind of love that.

Painted Highways

With PAGE, Botoroke and Oil in the Alley

» Where: Downbeat Lounge, 42 N Hotel St.

» When: 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday, May 10

» Cost: Free

Some people can’t hang with small towns but to me it’s a glorious escape from the hustle and bustle. I jokingly refer to Oahu as “The Metropolis” whenever I’m out there and love that with each trip I return with more friends. When there’s not as much to do people spend more time on their own families, their own health and fitness, and their own peace of mind.

Who wouldn’t want to have a life on a beautiful lush island as a farmer, getting up at dawn to surf, doing yoga and making smoothies?

There are some, apparently. Most of my friends on Oahu say they could never live somewhere so small. “Everyone knows everyone. You have no privacy.” Blah. Living under the radar was never really a thing for me. The more people I can get to know the more interesting life gets. I saw a quote somewhere (probably on Instagram) that said, “The less people I chill with the less drama in my life.” It’s totally true but missing out on being close with others strips away a bit of our own humanity. People need people.

Mike and Rachel Pooley will be leaving for Kauai at the end of May. (Courtesy Graham Black)

Mike and Rachel Pooley will be leaving for Kauai at the end of May. (Courtesy Graham Black)

Longtime Honolulu musician Mike Pooley and his wife, yoga instructor Rachel Piano-Pooley, will be moving back to Kauai at the end of May with their two young children after 10 years of living in The Metropolis. Could it be that the big city was just too much for the talented young couple?!

Not quite.

“I went to elementary school in Hanalei and always wanted to move back, but since my wife’s family is over there we decided to have our kids grow up around their family,” he told me.

Pooley has been a significant fixture in the local music scene, currently fronting indie rock band Pink Mist but also powering Timbre Tantrums, POWER! and Painted Highways.

Painted Highways was, as many Honolulu bands tend to be, a miscellany of some of the city’s greatest: Jack Tawil (At Sea, Malcognitas), Mark Howard (CTRL ALT DEL one of my favorite bands of all time in Honolulu) and Pink Mist bassist Kai Kalus. They are, essentially, a product of exactly what is right about Honolulu’s tight-knit, incestuous music scene.

Painted Highways performing at Nextdoor circa 2010. Not pictured: me in a dream state. Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

Painted Highways performing at Nextdoor circa 2010. Not pictured: me in a dream state.(Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

I was standing dreamily in the back for many of their shows at Nextdoor and Mercury Bar. Their music is heavily influenced by a lot of the '90s rock that I was actuallyl listening to while driving long roads in Washington state in the '90s: Modest Mouse, Dinasour Jr., Radiohead. These are merely influences, as their sound is all their own. Dreamy guitars could be my favorite thing to see live on the planet.

Painted Highways had a “whirlwind romance,” as Pooley puts it, for two and a half years that included a five-song EP and opening slots for Blitzen Trapper, Vivian Girls and Toro y Moi.

Saturday, May 10, will be a reunion-slash-goodbye show featuring all the original members.

“I’m sure going to miss it here. The musical and creative opportunities I’ve had here have been amazing. It’s going to be hard adjusting, but I’m excited about this new adventure,” Pooley told me. "I'm sad too. It's weird leaving a place I'm still in love with. So bittersweet."

Meanwhile, online local street performers Streetlight Cadence are about to have their big break. They won the Hard Rock Cafe's Hard Rock Rising for Hawaii and are now in the more difficult portion of the restaurant chain's contest: the online voting.

Streetlight Cadence are in the running for an all-expenses-paid trip to perform at the Hard Rock Live Rome Music Festival in Italy this summer. (Courtesy Streetlight Cadence)

Streetlight Cadence are in the running for an all-expenses-paid trip to perform at the Hard Rock Live Rome Music Festival in Italy this summer. (Courtesy Streetlight Cadence)

It's a shame, really. These guys could easily be the next Mumford & Sons but won't be going anywhere if they can't get enough online support. If they do make it, just watch out. The crowds around them under the Hawaii Theater each First Friday, standing there with their mouths hanging open, are totally going to be able to say they knew them when. I really hope they can get past this voting purgatory and in the running to perform in Italy. The Hard Rock Live Rome Music Festival is this summer, and voting is only open for 25 days. The link is here. Good luck guys. You definitely deserve it.

———

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.

GTA returns to Oahu

By
February 5th, 2014



I was thinking about the first rave I ever went to as I drove out to Kapolei last weekend.

It was in one of those abandoned subway (“tube”) tunnels in London with huge, heavy curtains separating the rooms. They had the main house area, a jungle room, a happy hardcore room, and one of my favorites – the garage room. I had no idea who was playing, and for the longest time we never really kept up with the DJs — just the style of music. That’s why you would see a genre listed next to every DJ on flyers back then (this was, like, 13 years ago).

This era, however, is all about the names. The DJs are at superstar level.

As far as superstar DJs go, you could say GTA are doing pretty well for themselves. Coming off a highly-coveted, superstar DJ bro-down summer camp on steroids cruise called “Holy Ship,” Matthew Van Toth (Van Toth) and Julio Mejia (JWLS) have played back-to-back sets alongside Diplo, toured with Rihanna, have an upcoming tour planned with Flume’s music project What So Not and recently signed their first record deal.

With thousands of screaming fans at every show and the electronic music holy grail that is another Ultra Music Festival slot this year in their hometown of Miami, these two are definitely ones to watch.

GTA. (Courtesy photo)

GTA. (Courtesy photo)

The performing producers are known for stretching the boundaries of genres and have produced all forms of music, including moombathon (before it was cool), electro (at the height of its popularity), trap (which should be over soon if it’s not already) and lately, a more future-sounding hip-hop that makes everyone’s booty bounce. Anyone who has seen GTA perform knows they were the perfect duo to warm up the crowd for DADA Life at Podium Raceway Park during "Winter Wonderland" on Saturday, Feb. 1.

When I got to the show it was messy, to say the least. Not just because of the rain and the overcrowded, insufferably hot venue, but because the boys were about to go on and they were having technical difficulties — Van Toth's USB sticks were corrupted and he was trying to move files from a MacBook he had no charger for that had four percent battery life left. I winced along with him, while JWLS sat there scrolling through his music in good spirits. You could tell he was pretty excited to get on stage.

CHRISTA WITTMIER: Hi Julio! So I wasn't planning to ask this until later but I have to know now. What was it like touring with Rihanna?

JWLS: Oh man, Rihanna is pretty awesome.

CW: Did you have to play a lot of mainstream music to open that show?

JWLS: Yeah, well you know, we were trying to play more commercial because it's a big pop crowd. Everybody is there for Rihanna.

CW: So you had to be more sensitive about what to play?

JWLS: Yeah, we're opening for her so in order for that to work we wanted to prepare the crowd for her, you know, get them amped up. That means playing stuff to get them in dancey mood and the only way to do that is to play songs they know.

CW: How did you like playing in Hawaii the last time you two were here?

JWLS: Actually that was one of my favorite shows last year. I love Hawaii; it's awesome. That was our first time here.

CW: Did you do any sightseeing last time?

JWLS: We didn't have a lot of time to do much, but Matt went and hiked up Diamond Head.

CW: Do you remember anything you ate?

JWLS: Amazing sushi at this place called Unagi.

CW: Have you done anything fun this time around?

JWLS: We went hiking. Today we went to... what's that crater?

(At this point, Van Toth turns around from his computer for the first time with a big smile.)

VAN TOTH: Kooleooo?

CW: Kuliouou! Did you eat anything good?

VT: Ahi tuna melt at this place called Kale's.

CW: You were here last year opening for Krewella. Did anything about that show stand out?

VT: I guess it was just like, I had never been here before and I hadn't heard much about the scene here and it was just very very surprising. Everybody was so into it. It was so awesome.

CW: Can you remember any specific tracks that took you by surprise when Hawaii fans responded to them?

VT: I do remember we have an edit that goes from Grizzly’s 'Bugatti' edit into one of Julio’s tracks that's like a trap song. We were just like, "Oh man, I don't know if it will work," then you see everyone going crazy.

GTA. (Courtesy photo)

GTA. (Courtesy photo)

CW: You guys put out a lot of trap, moombathon, dub step and electro house. Is there any genre you wouldn't go near?

JWLS: I mean we try to make everything. Lately we've been doing a lot of rap, not trap kind of rap, but like, you know, slower rap and stuff for radio. We’re also trying to work on different kinds of EDM, like the ghetto kind. More clubby stuff. Let’s see what else, like goofy house. I like garage.

CW: What was "Holy Ship" like?

JWLS: It was crazy. Like, I got off the boat and I think a day after I was just like, 'Man, I want to go back on!' But during that whole time it was literally just straight party party party party party.

CW: Any specific plans for this year's Hawaii set?

JWLS: I think right now we're probably going to play really intense music just to hype everyone up. We know Dada Life is like one of the craziest artists, especially their DJ sets. They’re super crazy; just amped up. We want everyone to go crazy and party.

CW: Tell me your dream lineup. Eight people. Go!

JWLS: Definitely Major Lazer. Tiesto is really sick. Laidback Luke.

VT: Major Lazer! Flosstradamus. Claude Von Stroke is really fun to watch. Joris Voorn.

CW: You guys are known for being more spontaneous in your sets. Is there something specific you see when you're looking in the crowd to know what they would want to hear? Like, “I see a lot of girls, I better play booty music.” Is there a method?

JWLS: It's really just trying to see what works. I get on the mic now and ask. I’ll say like "put your hands up" and if they do then they're feeling it. There will be times when we're playing a song and nobody's really dancing and you're trying to get up on the mic and they're not doing anything. That’s when you know you have to change your style. It's really just based off of people's reactions. If they're going crazy then you're doing a good job.

CW: Of all the cities you've been to, which has the best food?

JWLS: Hawaii.

CW: Best nightlife?

JWLS: New York has really good nightlife because they go late.

VT: Los Angeles does, but everything closes at 2 a.m.

CW: Best women?

JWLS: Australia

CW: Who's the gnarliest, most fun artist you've toured with so far?

JWLS: Definitely Rihanna. Rihanna is crazy. She’s really cool; we partied with her in Europe, in Australia. She knows how to have fun. She told us that she wanted to make some music we were like, SURE!

AFTER WE TALKED, they took the stage, opening with that "Bugatti" track — and the entire room went crazy. They kept the energy up for their entire set, setting the stage beautifully for Dada Life.

It was fun to go back and read all the feedback online after this show. Kids took to Facebook to express their disgust with the heat and the venue, only to be countered immediately by the “older” generation telling them they were spoiled.

“For real though, RAVE IS GRIMY, DIRTY, WET, AND FULL OF LOVE. If you can't comprehend that or handle it, then this scene is not for you!” one user posted.

The whole event page turned in to an older generation scolding the younger, telling them to be more appreciative of what they have, which made me very happy.

The people scolding were barely 21, but they are already seasoned party people. There are now more positive comments than negative; the love these people have for the music and for the party is awesome. It’s nice to see how appreciative they are of all the hard work it takes to put these kinds of productions together.

———

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.

Posted in Music, SA | No Comments »

Machinedrum makes Hawaii stop

By
January 22nd, 2014



Sports? I’m not a fan. When everything is sports-related and the NFL is all over Waikiki this time of year, I tend to shrink back a bit. Both figuratively and literally — they’re so TALL!

As Honolulu is overrun once again with NFL players, fans and supporting acts, one of the parties that really stands out for me this year is from local promoter SPELLS, who are bringing Machinedrum to Chinatown on Saturday, Jan. 25, for a special live set.

0122 supercity

MACHINEDRUM

Presented by SPELLS

» Where: NextDoor, 43 N. Hotel St.

» When: 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 (doors open at 9 p.m.)

» Cost: $10 ($15 for 18-20 years old); 18+

» Info: brownpapertickets.com/event/558557 or spellshawaii.com

A native of North Carolina who spent time in New York and now lives in Berlin, glitch-hop producer Machinedrum (Travis Stewart) has been influenced by many different genres of music. From the rhythmic repetitiveness of playing a snare drum in marching band, to the bright melodies of playing guitar in a country band and even the deeper sounds of a goblet drum in an African ensemble, different instruments have all contributed to his rich musical background.

Working with the likes of Azealia Banks and Theophilus London in New York for the label Normrex put Machinedrum on the map, and his collaboration with Praveen Sharma as Sepalcure garnered him spots on Pitchfork magazine's top 50 albums and top 100 tracks lists in 2011. Their track “Outside the Lines” was also featured on the soundtrack for Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan.”

While this artist still tends to fly under the radar, his sound is quite unforgettable — which is the norm for any act SPELLS brings to Hawaii. It's cerebral electronic music, a boiling cauldron of alt hip-hop, ambient and Chicago dance that leaves a pretty profound impact on everyone in the room.

Backed up by talented local MC Omega Cix, SPELLS resident DJ Seeko and special guest Maui artist Incyde (Hotflush Recordings), Saturday's show will be brought together with mind-bending live projection visuals from UVAV. It will definitely be a highlight of my weekend.

I’m also looking forward to seeing Foxes perform on Friday, Jan. 24, as the headliner for the "Pepsi Pro Bowl Concert" at The Republik. She's the voice we hear on Zedd’s “Clarity” and a pop star in her own right from the United Kingdom.

If there’s anything I learned while living in England, it’s that they know good pop music. The remix EP for her single, “Youth,” contained some super memorable tracks for me, including one by Adventure Club that is still in heavy rotation.

The Green. (Courtesy photo)

The Green. (Courtesy photo)

AFTER THE Pro Bowl dust settles, it will be time for the Super Bowl at the new Crown Bar, hosted by The Green.

Located in the former Hard Rock Cafe location at the corner of Kapiolani Blvd. and Kalakaua Ave., next weekend's viewing party will be a family affair, with tons of seating, face painting, balloons and an extensive food menu. Once the game is over and the families go home, live entertainment will continue into the night for those 21-and-over.

They had me at the part where things will be hosted by The Green. Even for a non-sports fan, that sounds like a lot of fun.

———

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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From Hong Kong to Haleiwa

By
December 18th, 2013



I usually shy away from the country during the VANS Triple Crown of Surfing season - it’s an entirely different world of people, where locals become even more protective and us townies can feel a bit more isolated.

Photographer Zak Noyle watches the first day of Pipe Masters from the balcony of one of the RVCA houses (Image courtesy of Brandon Shigeta)

Zak Noyle watches the first day of the 2013 Billabong Pipeline Masters in Memory of Andy Irons from the balcony of one of RVCA's houses on the North Shore. (Courtesy Brandon Shigeta)

It's not like there's a negative energy; more like, I feel like I’m intruding. It reminds me of crashing set parties for TV shows or movies. The day-players and friends of friends who found their way inside can never be in the inner circle among those who spend 12-16 hours each day for weeks, or even months, together. They know who you are.

After accepting a very gracious offer to visit the RVCA house and talk with photographer Zak Noyle about a recent trip to Hong Kong for the global action sports photography competition Red Bull Illume, I was both excited and scared. RVCA founder PM Tenore had brought tons of his advocates with him for a RVCAloha Project, many who I've followed for years (and was trying to keep cool about it).

Nobody likes an overly-excited fangirl on the North Shore.

The day I drove up was a beautiful one — incredibly clear skies and huge waves. It was the first day of the Billabong Pipeline Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, so there were many people on the back porch of a house overlooking the contest. Skateboarders Kevin Spanky Long and Josh Harmony, artists Estavan Oriol and Barry McGee, musicians ASAP Mob, YG and tons of others were milling about, watching fellow RVCA advocates Makua Rothman and Danny Fuller in the water, among others.

The waves were so huge you could feel them breaking. As someone who doesn’t get out to watch sports too often, I tried to be cool with each “WOAH!” that would escape my mouth whenever someone would shoot out of the lip of a heavy wave.

Noyle winning the Sequence Category at the Red Bull Illume Award Ceremony at the Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong, China on August 29th, 2013   (Courtesy of Brian Ching See Wing)

Noyle with his Red Bull Illume award during a ceremony in Hong Kong on Aug. 29. (Courtesy Brian Ching See Wing)

Zak was the best, immediately making me feel welcome and taking our group up to the second floor so we could watch from the balcony and talk about his trip to Hong Kong.

As one of four staff photographers in the world for Surfing Magazine, Noyle is the kind of globe-trotting creative people can easily look up to. He is patient, humble and shows great appreciation for all forms of art. Having traveled to Japan, Puerto Rico, Tahiti, Easter Island, Australia, Mexico, Indonesia, California and Orgeon, he shows no signs of complacency, telling me Hong Kong was a very memorable visit.

“It was so sick,” he said.

His sequence photo of surfer Gabriel Medina was selected from more than 30,000 applicants among the top 250 images, which earned him an invitation to see if he made the top 50. Winning his category was a breeze, he said, but he also had the opportunity to meet and mingle with hundreds of other action sports photographers at the event.

“I liked a lot of the skate and the snow photography." said Noyle. "Mainly because it was so different from what I do in the water. I liked seeing how they use light and different elements to capture their subject.”

Each of the top 50 images were on display in illuminated cubes in Hong Kong, but have since been packed up and shipped to the United States for a nighttime exhibition that will travel from Phoenix to Atlanta.

All of the mind-blowing images can be seen online; a special collector's edition book with all of the top 250 images is also available for purchase.

Zak Noyle's winning photo. (Courtesy Red Bull)

Zak Noyle's winning photo. (Courtesy Red Bull)

ALSO THIS weekend: It's my birthday!

I love this time of year so much and have found bringing everyone together to have a party, as a party person, is the best birthday present to give myself.

There’s so much happening with the POW! WOW! Hawaii music program, I wanted to produce a showcase for that and raise money to support programming for the big February event that's coming up super-fast.

"BANG! BANG!" will feature performances by students in the POW! WOW! School of Music from 9 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at NextDoor, 43 N. Hotel St. They'll be followed by the announcement of 2014's featured Hawaii music artists, who will then take over for the most ultimate dance party celebration yet. One of my favorite visual artists, Ekundayo, will also be painting live and Visual Cortex will display projection art all night.

Cover is $10 for everyone 18-and-over; click here to buy tickets online. I hope you can come!

———

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.

Posted in Art, Music, SA | No Comments »

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