by Brent Crampton
:::: Nerds Unite ::::
The verdict is in: Last Saturday's Nerdtron event saw the party concept's largest attendance to date. Given that the previous weekend saw Gunk & loom hit record attendance, it begs the question: What's going on in Omaha's EDM scene?
Nerdrton founder Cay Combs, aka Kid-Dynamite, says the scene is intermingling.
"Someone told me on Saturday that they appreciate how they can go to loom at the beginning of the month and hear deep house and world influenced music. In the middle of the month they can go to Gunk and hear dubstep and electro. Then at the end of the month they can go to Nerdtron and hear hardcore, hardstyle and d'n'b," Combs says. "… At each of these parties, they feel welcome and feel like people aren't judging them.
"Despite music differences, those three parties basically promote the same thing … the demographics are intermingling."
Combs says Nerdtron also experienced "growing pains" last Saturday, similar to Gunk & loom. While they stepped up the overall production value, unforeseen things can happen when a party blows up. In Nerdtron's instance, when three lines formed in front of the elevators, people began cramming into them like a boxes of sweaty and rhythmic multi-colored crayons. The recommended max occupancy was six. Well, when 11 condensed into one, the elevator broke, leaving all 11 people locked and stuck inside.
"We could hear them laughing inside the elevator," Combs says. "A fire truck was there within 10 minutes and the doors were opened."
I'll be sure to mention future Nerdtron parties and monitor their progress. To stay in touch with their events, check out the website: nerdtron.net.
:::: Your Thoughts? ::::
On the topic of the recent growth of Omaha's dance party scene, I'd like to hear from other DJs, promoters or just party goers on what's behind the recent trend. Is this a sign of what's to come? Just a lucky streak? Weigh in your opinions in the comments section below.
:::: Enso Interview ::::
You may remember in my first feature for Hear Nebraska, I talked about a budding debut from a two-person group known as Soma. Well, over a month later they've changed their name to Enso. Serka & Dorion of the 1/Fourth group formed Enso to take their mutual passion for music and producing into the next level. Their ambitious rhetoric and future plans (I'm not fully allowed to announce yet) are setting the bar pretty high. But if Dorion's recent win in the Sleigh Bells' remix contest for the song, "Run the Heart," is any indication, they'll do just fine.
Below is a Q&A to get to know them …
Describe your sound …
[Serka] We like to describe it as a combination of several genres: indie Dance, electro House and progressive house with some trance influences here and there. Not secluded from each other, but combined into one experience. In short, progressive electro house. We both are strongly influenced by indie dance and alternative rock, and while we are relative newcomers to EDM, we like to think of it as an advantage because we see everything in the scene with a fresh perspective. Artists that frequent our sets are Michael Woods, Deadmau5, Swedish House Mafia, Kaskade, Boys Noize, Dada Life, Pryda and Afrojack.
It's a bit of a departure from what you're both known for, correct?
[Serka] Yes, we were both much more heavily into indie and alternative rock and were a part of various live shows that fit within those genres early on. Dorion had been producing since high school, exploring those genres combined with some electronica. Then we became a part of 1/Fourth, which introduced us to the EDM scene for the most part and we naturally allowed our indie rock influence to bring us to electro house and indie dance. We were definitely shaped by our past as well as the current movement in Omaha that we were a part of. Early on, underground house parties and private rooftop parties were our signature events. Sweaty, raginga and intense. As we grew, we began to put on larger shows, and began to establish our own styles. There were four of us in the group at that point, and that lead to an interesting flow as we DJ'd shows together, alternating back and forth. In the summer of 2010 I spent quite a bit of time in Los Angeles and fell in love with the club scene there, which is largely progressive house. For me it was a natural progression.
[Dorion] For me, I've always been kind of restless musically. What I mean is that I never find myself content with one genre or artist. I take that philosophy into the studio when I write and compose music as well. If you sit still and are unadventurous in your art form, you neither satisfy your artistic urges nor create something interesting. Dance music continues to surprise me in that it allows for endless possibilities for experimentation, while still fitting within an elegant framework.
So as far as what artists and trends I'm into, I really just enjoy anyone who is pushing the scene in new directions and produces their ideas beautifully.
Describe your process of live performance: What equipment do you use and how do you work together?
[Dorion] Our live performance process is constantly evolving. Both of us are fascinated by technology and strive to use new equipment and software to enhance our live performances. Right now we are syncing Traktor Scratch Pro and Ableton, allowing us to drop tracks, samples and run effects from both programs, each of which have their strengths. All of it is controlled with several MIDI controllers. The next addition to our equipment arsenal will be the Pioneer DJM 2000, the industry's top of the line mixer. Without getting too technical, both laptops can be plugged into the same mixer, which opens up so many doors for what we can do live.
The most important thing about the process is that Serka and I play off each other so well in a live setting. We first noticed this in 1/Fourth when playing live. We always kind of knew what the other one was going to do before he did it. It isn't everyday that you stumble upon this kind of dynamic.
Why the name change and what's the meaning behind the new one?
[Dorion] The name change initially was out of necessity. Beatport, the world's most popular and important online EDM store has a policy where two artists cannot have the same name. We discovered another group by the name of "Soma" on Beatport and knew we had to change our group name. Enso, formerly the name of our debut single (which is now "Infinity"), means "Circle" in Japanese. An enso is an important concept in the Zen school of Buddhism, and has several meanings. It is often described as an "expression of the moment," which is an idea both us were immediately attracted to. I have been a practicing Soto Zen Buddhist for several years now, was familiar with the symbol and thought it was a natural fit for us.
[Serka] We love nothing more than building those moments in our sets, syncing with our audience in a way I can't describe. There's nothing like it. I'm sure any other DJ would agree. In that respect, Enso is the perfect name. I also feel connected to the name on a personal level, as my mother grew up in Japan (my grandparents were Christian missionaries there for over 20 years), and we have embraced that history and culture in our family ever since.
What's in store for the future?
We love doing this more than anything. Enso isn't just a hobby. It's what we want to do for the rest of our lives, and are confident and are excited for where this project could take us. We are beginning to make some great connections and building interest outside of Omaha and hope to begin performing in other cities soon.
In the near term, we have a several original tracks, a remix and some big shows in store for everyone. Aside from that, we'll just have to wait and see. Cheers!
Stay in touch with Enso here: ensoofficial.com.
:::: Weekend Events of Note ::::
Thursday at España, loom celebrates a 5-year anniversary. Check out all the details here.
Saturday, Panos & Sentenza of Lionheart will be making a long-awaited return to Bar 415.
DJ Diatribes & Dandies is a weekly column written by Omaha promoter and DJ, Brent Crampton, exploring the electronic dance music and DJ-related culture in his city. Tell him what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.