Thursday, May 20, 2010

Article: Drop the Lime | Under the Lime Light + free DJ mix

Under the limelight

A rocker at heart, Drop the Lime finds his voice in electronic music.

By Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 04.22.10

TOC | Drop the Lime

Pass him on the street, and you’d never guess Luca Venezia is one of the leading figures on the U.S. bass-music scene. His ’50s greaser style—tattoos, slim denim, ample pomade—doesn’t seem to befit a genre-defying DJ and producer. But under the nom de guerre Drop the Lime, Venezia is just that. His music, which straddles the line between electro and dubstep, has garnered acclaim in the dance-music world and helped reshape electronic music in his hometown of New York City. Through it all, he hasn’t lost touch with his rock & roll roots.

Born to an ex-hippie photographer mother and an Abstract Expressionist painter father, Venezia was encouraged to pursue his artistic inclinations at an early age. “My parents would always play Ritchie Valens, Chet Atkins or Roy Orbison, so I wanted to play guitar, be a musician or a lead singer, have the ladies swoon over you,” the jovial 28-year-old says. His fondness for early American rock occasionally sees him spinning exclusive rockabilly, doo-wop and sock-hop sets, but lately he’s used those sounds to spice up his club sets. “It triggers something in people when they’re experiencing more organic dance music,” he says. “Rockabilly was made to be danced to, so it’s the root of [dance music] even though it’s so far removed from what we hear today.”

Though Venezia dabbled in rock bands just out of high school—including a gig at legendary New York venue CBGB—it wasn’t until he discovered dance music at his first rave that he found his musical footing. “I saw thousands of chicks going crazy to a DJ, and I realized I could make all these people dance and still get the girls,” he says with a hearty laugh.

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Recent mix from Drop the Lime: DOWNLOAD

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Article: Dark Wave Disco | Making Waves

Making waves

Dark Wave Disco rings in five years at the forefront of the local electro scene.

By Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 04.15.10

TOC | Dark Wave Disco

With its ability to push sound systems into the red and induce fits of fist-pumping fury, electro has taken over as the hottest of hot club sounds. For further evidence, simply look to Deadmau5’s recent celebrity appearance on Gossip Girl, where he (and his Mau5 head) provided the beats for a fashion show. But electro’s rise has been relatively meteoric: Five years ago, it was barely a blip on the music industry’s radar—but not for Greg Corner, Mark Gertz or Miguel Martin, the main DJs of Chicago-based indie electro outfit Dark Wave Disco.

The trio—often joined by Arturo Valle on live visuals and Paul Rodriguez as host and graphic designer—started throwing packed indie-rock and electro ragers at Sonotheque in 2005 and kept them running through the summer of 2009. They also branched out to other venues, garnering high-profile bookings at Smart Bar, Vision and elsewhere—with their gothic-hipster following in tow.

“When we started the party, there was no MSTRKRFT, there was no Justice, there weren’t any of those guys,” says Corner, 35, the punky-haired bassist for local rock band Kill Hannah. “At one of our first parties, I remember bringing Justice in and playing that for the guys and them being like, ‘What the fuck is that?’” Fast-forward to earlier last month, when the group celebrated its five-year anniversary at Beauty Bar.

Dark Wave Disco has introduced Chicago to many of electro’s biggest acts. Headliners have included A-Trak, Steve Aoki, the Teenagers, Villains and Uffie; the latter was one of the party’s most successful nights. “[Uffie] was sitting there slamming drinks,” Gertz, 32, recalls with a laugh. “She’s this teeny little girl sitting in the VIP area, super wasted, and I’m thinking she can barely stand up. But she staggered up to the stage, grabbed the microphone and started spitting fire. She had the whole room going nuts and crowd surfing.”

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Article: Spring Fashion | Free Stylin'

photo: Brendan Lester

Free Stylin'

These Chicago locals take nightlife fashion to new heights.

By Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 04.08.10

TOC | Free Stylin

Certain looks dominate the nightlife scene: The hard house clubs downtown favor Ed Hardy, Affliction and overly ornate denim; the PBR-heavy hot spots in Wicker Park and Pilsen prefer deep V-necks, flannel, Levi’s and Chucks. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but such clubgoer uniforms aren’t exactly fashion innovation either. For our Spring Fashion Issue, we uncovered a few trendsetters elevating the city’s nightlife fashion.


photo: Clayton Hauck

If you’re out in River North, odds are Matt Roan is the DJ inciting you to dance till your feet go numb: You can find him at JBar, Sub 51 or Underground on the regular. But the poster child for the Crossfader King DJ crew hasn’t always sported the coiffed-hair-vintage-eyeglasses-sharkskin-suit look you’ve seen behind the decks. There was a time when he fell in line with hipster fashions more than he challenged them, rocking the flat-brim ball caps and trucker ’stashes that have become de rigueur with the indie club crowd. “Being downtown, I felt like I was tricking people in the clubs by showing up and looking like a punk-rock dude,” Roan explains. A trip to London, Paris and Milan in the winter of ’08 inspired his more tailored, high-end change for the better. Now club owners look at Roan a little differently: “When you see me and I fit your brand, I’m a shoo-in to play your next party.”

Imaginary friends

Olivia Shanks and Telo Dunne caught the fashion bug in ’95, freaking their own threads to show off at raves—which is where they met. “I thought Telo’s fat pants and mesh adidas tank top were to die for,” Shanks says of their first encounter on a warehouse dance floor. Now when the two aren’t slinging drinks at Debonair Social Club, they’re hard at work on their Imaginary People clothing line, which recently debuted its second collection ($70–$400). Focusing on signature pieces that include T-shirts ($70), wrap sweaters ($150) and leggings ($99), the line is all about arty, everyday streetwear for women. “We are definitely influenced by couture style,” Dunne says, “but we love things more when we see the different ways people wear them out.” While the debut collection kept to a grayscale color palette for the fall season, the ladies have brightened things up for spring, adding new patterns and loads of color. See

To read our full interview with Imaginary People's Telo Dunne and Olivia Shanks go here: TOC | Imaginary People

Men in the moon

photo: Justin Gill

Some make a point of looking good behind the decks, behind the bar or on the dance floor. Promoter CT Hedden and pervasive Chicago DJ Zebo have successfully combined all three with their fashion-forward, polysexual, Studio 54–channelling Glitter nights at Le Passage. “Our goal is to combine high-end fashion with a new nightlife scene,” Hedden says. “We bring together socialites, hipsters, models and trannies all in the same night.” Moving beyond mere party throwing, the duo schedules fashion and drag shows early, leaving the models to mingle with the crowd or show off their goods in cages and confetti-filled bathtubs. “Our vibe is self-expression,” Zebo says. “Glitter is for anyone and everyone who wants an unrivaled club experience in the city.” If every night ends with fake snow tossed around by a mob of sweaty disco dancers—as the last one did—then these guys can consider their mission accomplished. Glitter happens every third Thursday at Le Passage.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Album Review: Hot Chip | One Life Stand

Two weeks back, my cohort in the Chicago Workgroup, Scotty Brandon, and I had the esteemed pleasure of opening up for Hot Chip, who were in town doing a DJ set at Chicago's Smart Bar after their sold out performance with The xx. It was a spectacular night. We debuted a new visual mixing accompaniment, done by our new friend Hey Cliche!, and people were well amped for the festivities. It was one of the best nights I've had in ages.

Thanks to all the flattering girls—especially the ones from Michigan who bought us absinthe shots—for making us feel like such rock stars. I hope we get to dance on a dance floor near you sometime soon!

In honor of the memorable occasion, Dialogue Inc would like to share our review of the latest Hot Chip album, which we review for Time Out Chicago on 04.15.10.

Hot Chip



Electro \ i-lek-troh \ adj + Indie \in-dê\adj + Soul \ sõl \n

To indulge Hot Chip’s fascination with ancient Greco-Roman history: If lead singer Alexis Taylor is the Greek playwright Sophocles and studio whiz Joe Goddard the Roman strategist Ulysses (as they often refer to themselves), then in One Life Stand the two formidable minds find their perfect balance of poetry and calculation.

A front-loaded record, One Life Stand barrels out of the gates with four songs that each cry out to be singles. The title track kicks harder than David Guetta on his best day and does him one better by morphing from house banger to soul stomper as it picks up steam. The electro-funk workout of “Hand Me Down Your Love” and the soaring, string-laden techno of “I Feel Better” demonstrate the Brit fivesome’s mastery of its sound. Mellowing across the second half, gems such as “Slush,” with its church-choir harmonies, and “Alley Cats,” with its minimal Balearic chug, keep the album from going stale.

Playful electro-pop has always been at the heart of Hot Chip’s appeal; past hits like 2008’s melodic thumper “Ready for the Floor” hinted that the band is capable of boiling down its penchant for dance beats and intelligent songwriting into a potent brew. But whereas past albums have yielded only a smattering of high-proof jams, with this latest LP the quintet serves up a full 12-pack of bionic soul. We’re ready to imbibe with the same reckless abandon as the Greeks with their wine.