Carl Craig

There are DJs who grab bigger headlines, and producers who invite more press. In the ebb and flow of what’s popular in electronic music, there are those who have larger followings or whose names are on more bloggers’ fingertips at any given moment in time. But no artist in the genre commands as much respect, from fans and peers alike, as consistently and influentially as Detroit-based DJ and producer CARL CRAIG. As an artist, a label-owner and club DJ, he is one of the few who has literally helped shape the sound of modern electronic music, with an inventive career that has spanned nearly 20 years.

Recording under his own name and many aliases – including 69, Psyche, BFC, Paperclip People, Innerzone Orchestra, C2, Tres Demented and others – Craig owns a constellation of seminal recordings that have established him as an icon in the techno genre. He came of age as part of its ‘second generation,’ learning from the trio of pioneers credited with techno’s invention: Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson. Though the genre has exploded in recent years, Craig’s role as a producer, DJ and ambassador for the music remains as vital as ever. He continues to spin around the world, from intimate venues in San Francisco and New York to large festivals in Detroit, Tokyo and Berlin. His new tracks and remixes have become contemporary dancefloor staples.

Craig’s musical history begins as a teenager living in Detroit, the son of a teacher and a post office worker. He was fully aware of the Motor City’s cultural heritage, a blue-collar city with often restricted, blue-collar ideals. Detroit was a once-glorious metropolis but in the time Craig was raised there, the city had started to crumble in the wake of the auto industry’s decline. “I don’t want to paint a horrible picture of Detroit because it is my home and is beautiful to me,” he says. “But Detroit is not a cosmopolitan place and in a lot of ways, we were very aware of its absence of ambition growing up.” That awareness reflected in the new music emanating from Detroit. As house music spread from Chicago , Craig’s musical predecessors – May, Atkins, Saunderson – put a futuristic spin on it, and it eventually evolved into the genre known as techno. There was an intrinsic irony to imaginative, future-forward music coming from such a dilapidated urban center. As Craig explains, “The music embodied this idea of hope for the future; we could only look ahead.”

The musical incubator Craig was reared in was a mixture of old and new, black and white. Against the background of Detroit’s rich, magical history of soul music, most markedly with Motown and George Clinton, Craig developed a deep love of the music of Prince (from Minneapolis), new wave (B-52s, Kraftwerk, Art of Noise) and early west coast hip-hop (Ice T). As a young teenager, he played in different bands that would perform on the local cabaret circuit. In 1986, his cousin, Doug, co-wrote a song with Juan Atkins, under the name Channel One, called “Technicolor,” and that was Craig’s introduction to the world of synthesizers and techno’s creators. “That was the first time I was able to touch a synthesizer and really play around with it,” he remembers. “It opened up so many ideas for me.” Craig’s curiosity for how that music was made took flight.

His first composition, under the moniker Psyche, was the song called “Elements,” which debuted on the UK compilation, Techno2, in 1989 and shortly thereafter on Derrick May’s Transmat Records. Over the next year and a half, Craig would release several songs under the names Psyche and BFC, for Transmat and its sub-label, Fragile, regarded today, unabashedly, as techno classics: “Neurotic Behavior,” “Crackdown,” “Chicken Noodle Soup,” “Please Stand By” and others. (The recordings are collected on the 1996 Planet E compilation, Elements 1989 – 1990). Craig was an assistant engineer for May and worked with him in both Detroit and London, a willful apprentice to his musical mentor, co-writing and co-producing some of May’s memorable Rhythim Is Rhythim sessions, including work on the classic single, “Strings Of Life 89.”

Craig soon forged out on his own, partnering with a friend to create the record label, Retroactive, that was home to early releases such as his 1991 EP, No More Words (and its breakout track, “Wrap Me In Its Arms”), and the first Paperclip People single, “Oscillator,” which clearly introduced that alias as his dance-floor project. The influence his many singles had on the genre was majestic, both in underground clubs in the United States and in the burgeoning electronic music culture of Europe.

With a platform to release his own records, Retroactive would also be home to records from Underground Resistance, A Guy Called Gerald (under the alias Inertia), John Beltran (under the name Open House), MK and others. A year later, though, Craig would disband the short-lived venture to create another label entirely on his own, Planet E Communications. Based in Detroit and run by his cousin, Planet E quickly became one of the more significant independent labels in electronic music, aided of course by Carl’s own releases. Planet E’s roster includes influential recordings by artists like Moodymann, Recloose, Alton Miller, Kevin Saunderson and several others.

One of the first releases on the label was under Craig’s 69 alias, “4 Jazz Funk Classics” EP (the title is an ode to early electronic experimentalists, Throbbing Gristle). The 69 (pronounced “six-nine”) name was Carl’s avenue for more experimental techno sounds, and it was clear that even early in his career, Craig was demonstrating an explorer’s curiosity of how the language of techno could articulate itself in various fashions. His different aliases then – as now – play into that idea, courageously battling against the ideas of monolithic identity and “branding.” If one were to compile a master catalog of Carl Craig’s tracks, they would need to sort through an assemblage of different 12″s and CDs spread across a diverse number of labels in the United States, Europe and Japan.

In 1992, using the name Innerzone Orchestra, Craig released another single, “Bug In The Bassbin,” which not only remains one of his most groundbreaking singles but also is widely regarded as a progenitor to the drum ‘n bass subgenre that developed out of the UK in the mid-1990s. Experimenting with rhythms and syncopation and, to some extent, the hypnotic improvisation of jazz, the song opened up the possibilities of what constituted dance music in the UK, and many of drum ‘n bass’ christening artists (e.g., 4Hero, Goldie and J Majik), cite the track as an early influence.

This was the beginning of a prolific run for Craig, his label and his impact. In 1994 he would resurrect the Paperclip People moniker for a string of 12″s over the next few years that absolutely destroyed the clubs, like “Throw,” “The Climax,” and “The Floor.” In 1996, the Paperclip People singles and its b-sides and extra tracks would be compiled into the album, The Secret Tapes of Dr. Eich. These tracks still resonate with people today, including other musicians. For example, James Murphy and his band LCD Soundsystem regularly perform a live-band version of “Throw” to close out their sets.

In 1995, Craig would try his hand at something larger than 12″ singles and EPs – an album. Of course, he had a concept in mind. Landcruising was released initially in Europe (on the Blanco Y Negro label, also home at the time to the Jesus & Mary Chain), and Craig framed the long player as a sonic tour of Detroit, with all of its intensity, direness, urbanity and beauty. Playing with a more expansive format, Craig stepped away from a strictly techno sound, and used the album’s tracks to explore his more ambient and compositional influences, such as those of Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and film composer Ennio Morricone. Since that debut album, Craig has released several more, each with its own signature sound. More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art, released in 1997, opted for a more techno-soul style, a statement by Craig that music made from machines could also still move people emotionally.

There are also the mix-CDs released throughout his career, which Craig has used to document his tastes and style at any particular moment, notably: a session for the DJ Kicks series (1996), House Party 013 – a Planet E Mix (1999), a session for the Abstractfunktheory series (2001), a mix titled Onsumothasheeat (2002), Fabric 25 (2005) and a Kings Of Techno double-disc (2006) with Laurent Garnier playing mixing music from Detroit on one disc and Craig mixing his favorite European techno on a second disc.

In 1995, a new label founded by James Lavelle called Mo’ Wax would reissue Craig’s “Bug in the Bassbin” single, and its reception by a new generation of beat-heads overseas would open the door for Craig to resurrect the Innerzone Orchestra alias. This time, though, he assembled a trio – and later a group – for both improvised live and studio sessions. That group would include percussionist Francisco Mora (Sun Ra Arkestra), pianist Craig Taborn (James Carter Quartet), Recloose (producer and DJ who had recently signed to Planet E), and a local MC, Lacksidaisycal (later called, Lacks). The resulting album, Programmed, met with more critical acclaim than commercial acceptance, but its explorations into techno-influenced jazz recordings, film scores and old soul signaled Craig’s thirst to push the boundaries and make an impact on music beyond the genre of techno.

Craig has often been fascinated with the complex relationship between live and programmed music. In 2003, he would participate in a project titled The Detroit Experiment, a studio collaboration between Craig and Detroit-based jazz players like Mora, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, reedist Bennie Maupin, pianist Geri Allen, producer/vocalist Amp Fiddler and several Motown session players. In 2007, Craig released a single, Paris Live, that features versions of “Twilight” and Craig’s classic “At Les” performed live with a band: Detroit jazz musicians Wendell Harrison (clarinet, saxophone) and Kelvin Sholar (pianist) and Underground Resistance head Mad Mike Banks (keyboard).The same year he recorded Paris Live, Craig also participated in Narodniki (Russian for “amongst friends”), a techno laptop supergroup that also featured Richie Hawtin, Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos, Basic Channel and others performing live for an adoring dancing public at the Montreaux Jazz Festival.

A parallel history to Craig’s role as a producer and DJ is that of his role as a remixer. Throughout his career, Craig has authored over a hundred remixes, for a wide range of artists all over the world. For Craig, the “remix” is a chance to reinterpret a song from the ground up. Early Craig remixes quickly established him as a premiere producer for those artists who desired an underground club hit, yet Craig reciprocated by making his remixes entirely new tracks that hold their own alongside his original compositions. Classic remixes from Craig include those for Tori Amos (“God”), Ron Trent (“Altered States”), Inner City (“Good Life”), United Future Organization (“Planet Plan”), and Incognito (“Out of the Storm”). He would also remix Dee-lite (“Heart Be Still”), Depeche Mode (“Useless”), Hugh Masekela (“The Boy’s Doing It”), The Congos (“Congo Music”), Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom (“Revelee”), Theo Parrish (“Faling Up”), and artists on his own Planet E roster (e.g., Todd Sines, Recloose). Many of his most memorable remixes would be compiled on the 2000 release, Designer Music Vol. 1.

What has characterized Craig’s career is a passion for the music of techno and for the people who make it; for the social and cultural forces that underscore people’s appreciation for music and a constant hunger for pushing the limits of what music and its role in life can be. That continues today as Craig is currently following several artistic narratives he’s developed throughout his career.

For Booking: Detroit Premiere Artists

Kenny Larkin

Kenny Larkin is distinctly one of the world’s most premiere leaders of Detroit techno in the electronic music industry today.

As a producer, DJ and remixer, Kenny has mesmerized crowds and fans across the globe for nearly twenty years with his music. Since 1990, Larkin has cemented his name in the pages of dance music history along with fellow Detroit Techno music mates, Derrick May, Carl Craig and Kevin Saunderson.

Kenny’s list of achievements and discography are groundbreaking to say the least. Highlights include his first full album, Azimuth (released 1994), which was deemed by Street Sound magazine as one of the top 50 techno CDs of all time.

By no coincidence, his most recent album, Keys, Strings and Tambourines, released under the mighty wings of Carl Craig’s label, Planet e, has been slated by Pop Matters magazine as the ninth best electronic albums of 2008. For their selection of top 20 albums of 2008, well respected website, Resident Advisor, listed Larkin’s album at 18.

Larkin’s thunderous return to techno didn’t stop with his impressive album release. Kenny’s remixing efforts have recently been highly sought after. This is due in part to his superbly crafted 2009 remix of Ben Klock’s “OK” featuring Elif Biçer, which hit many top remix lists of 2009.

In Jan 2010 alone, Kenny has been commissioned to remix seven projects from various high profile artists, including Plastikman, and Radioslave.. It’s no surprise these brooding artists respect Kenny for the classic Detroit angle he brings to re-create their sounds.

Kenny has an undeniable passion for making techno music. It’s what he knows and loves. His popularity as an artist and DJ has no limits. He transcends expectations in balance with meeting his own ambitions and meanwhile pleasing Detroit-days devoted followers all over the world. The evolution of Kenny’s career has converted ardent fans to believers in his evident musical life calling.

A man that just won’t rest, 2010 proposes to be an eventful year for Larkin. When he’s not on a plane heading to his next DJ gig across the globe (he’s accumulated over 4 million air miles), he can be found in his Los Angeles, Calif. home in the studio working on future releases, remixes, and preparing for his upcoming live shows. Kenny is facing the bright future ahead – dead on.

For Booking: Detroit Premiere Artists

Niko Marks

Hailing from Detroit, MI, Niko Marks started honing in on his musical skills at the age of 7 – inspired by a family of talented vocalist and musicians including his mother, a pianist who played at the church they attended. In early teenage years, Niko became inspired by artists such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Paul McCartney, Elton John, George Clinton, Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Miles Davis, Chaka Khan and others which led him to play instruments such as harmonica, piano and percussions.

He went on to team up with Mike Banks of Underground Resistance, formulating a production team called Members of the House. They released compositions such as “Summer Daze, Summer Nites” (Trendsetter) which was written by Niko and featured him on lead vocals and piano. Niko also collaborated with Banks under the group names Unit 2 and 365 Black. This mission stemmed forth the high-spirited grooves, “Sunshine” (Happy Records) and “Keep Your Head Up” (430 West Records) written by Niko and Raphael Merriweathers – featuring Niko on lead vocals and keyboards.

Other projects include:”Niko Marks and the City Boy Players”(SSR/Crammed Disc), “Truly Something”and “Chune”(Planet E),“Carnal”EP (New Religion/EMI),“Sonny Daye” by Ujuzi (Pan Records),“Major Arterie”,“House People Know”and “Voice Box Detroit”(Subject Detroit). Currently, Niko is writing and producing as a member of the Planet E family as well as performing live. He is an eclectic and diverse electronic music musician and we are glad to consider him a part of the crew.

Urban Tribe
Oliverwho Factory

Catcalling from the depths of a city seen from the outside as crumbling, sonic grooves carve a path to the soulful Detroit duo known simply as the Oliverwho Factory. First noticed across the primitive music sharing plateaus of a decade past, the Oliverwho Factory quickly gained notoriety overseas with a Glasgow based distribution, and a keen sense of product importance, releasing rich, mood-driven tracks on vinyl, inspired by and resonating the roots of rock, pop, jazz, and R&B. Earth near-silently stumbles with the distinct yet mysterious, funk laden blend of house and techno that Oliverwho? and Shonie C. so naturally provide. Like stepping into dreamscapes of unknown desire, the obscure flavor of OWF’s tunes keeps unconventional beauty and otherworldly adventure at the forefront of this duo’s Detroit-based soundboard.

Monty Luke

Monty Luke is a revolution in sound – a forever push towards forward thinking; a man unafraid to explore the space beyond the assumed boundaries of electronic dance music. What began in Brooklyn quickly spread, as Monty spun his way across the west coast, honing in on a raw, brain-pumping sound that would catapult him into the great unknown.

Monty Luke began producing in the early 2000s, releasing “What U Feel” alongside Sam Urton under the Loopwreckas moniker. Shortly thereafter, Monty struck again, this time with Stompy Hi-Fi resident DJ Tasho. Released on Mothership Music, the track, “Paranoid,” showcases Luke’s punk rock mentality – a force of creative ferocity and out-of-this-world vibe that so clearly characterizes Luke’s distinct style.

In mid 2008, it seemed fitting Monty would relocate to Detroit, the birthplace of techno music. He began work with his mentor, techno legend Carl Craig, and produced “Panik Attack,” the un-nerving, hypnotic follow-up to “Paranoid.” Managing the development of Craig’s home-based label, Planet E Communications, Luke received the encouragement to push ahead, to new frontiers of the sonic mind. 2009 saw the release of yet another single, the nebular “Art, Love, and War.” With each track, Luke has expanded the horizons of techno music. During 2010, he was a part of the D25 World Tour, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Detroit Techno, alongside DJ’s such as Theo Parrish, Kenny Dixon Jr., Derrick May, and more. In 2011, Monty launched his own imprint, Black Catalogue. The label is focused on raw, underground electronic music talent and will primarily be a stage for him to release music on his own terms. You can also hear Luke monthly, on his Scion A/V show “Wave of the Future.”

Monty Luke is determined to bring his outer-galactic, unapologetic, jack track music to our world and back again. The time is now.

For Booking: Detroit Premiere Artists

Tribe

Marcus Belgrave in brief: Marcus has been an internationally recognized jazz trumpet great for over forty years. Bursting into prominence as a teenaged sensation in The Ray Charles Orchestra. Marcus also delivered the soulful horn that helped to define the legendary “Motown Sound” as a featured player on many of the labels classic releases. Marcus released one solo album on Tribe in the early ’70s entitled “Gemini.” It featured the classic “Space Odyssey.” The album was re-released by London label Soul Jazz in the early ’00s. Marcus has also had the honor of being chosen by Wynton Marsalis for the original Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. He has performed with Ray Charles, Max Roach, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Dizzy Gillespie and John Sinclair, amongst others. Marcus also has a reputation for cultivating young jazz talent. Some examples are: Rodney Whittaker, Kenny Garrett, Regina Carter, James Carter and Geri Allen. Additionally he is a member of the teaching faculty at Oberlin Conservatory. He continues to tour and record around the world on a frequent basis.

Wendell Harrison in brief: Wendell’s work as a jazz clarinetist and tenor saxophonist began on the amongst the likes of Jack McDuff, Elvin Jones, Sonny Stitt and Sun Ra in the 1960s. Moving back to Detroit in 1970 he became a mainstay and backbone of the Detroit scene which he remains to this day. He co-founded the label Tribe with Phil Ranelin and has since launched Rebirth Inc. a non-profit jazz arts organization, and WenHa Music; record label and publishing company. Wendell also works extensively as an educator. His instruction book series, The Be Boppers Method Book I and II have become essential for young musicians. Now, Wendell leads a number of his own ensembles inlcuding his famed MAMA’S LICKING STICK CLARINET ENSEMBLE which periodically features many other known jazz stars such as James Carter, Don Byron and Howard Johnson. In 1996 Wendell toured with an all-star ensemble, The Michigan Jazz Masters internationally performing an extensive tour of Africa and the Middle East. In addition, Wendell also performed as a jazz master with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, who featured two movements from his suite Something For Pops.

Phil Ranelin in brief: Ranelin is a diehard independent straight-ahead Jazz trombonist, composer and arranger. In his early days he performed along side the likes of Wes Montgomery, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Eddie Harris and Grant Green. Ranelin is loved and respected around the globe as a veteran trombonist of the J.J. Johnson tradition and as co-founder of Detroit’s TRIBE Records. As a leader, Ranelin has shared the bill with Stanley Clarke, Christian McBride, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Smith, Pharoah Sanders and McCoy Tyner. He has also recorded with Freddy Redd, Teddy Edwards, Art Pepper, Billy Eckstein, while appearing on Freddie Hubbard’s “Mistral,” which was Japan’s # 1 Jazz Record of 1980. Phil has also played many Jazz festivals around the world, including the North Sea, Montruex, Monterey, Newport, Playboy, Indy and Vera Cruz Muestra International Jazz Festivals. A Los Angeles resident since 1977, Ranelin’s most recent CD is INSPIRATION. He continues to receive air play on Jazz radio and his classic “Vibes From The Tribe ” has become one of Hip Hop beat makers’ most sought after samples. Currently, Ranelin is a member of the Luckman Jazz Orchestra and is involved in his own solo project with Wide Hive Records intitled “Metamorphosis.”

Sandiego

Boogie sirens meander the narrow streets of Milan, the same air on which traveled the feral melodies of Jackson’s Bad, second-hand wailing from the table top of Diego Montinaro. Inspired by Quincy Jones, Italian-born Montinaro found himself propelled towards jazz, funk, boogie, disco and soul. The earliest beats began with an Akai S950 sampler and Atari 520 ST computer, echoing tone reverent to the likes of Herbie Hancock and Donald Byrd. By 2002, Diego Montinaro had released three LPs, and a transformation of dance floor driven proportions had began. In recent times, past multiple monikers, Montinaro catapults the mind as Sandiego. With EPs on both Trapez and Resopal, Sandiego meets the extraterrestrial city of Detroit, joining Planet E for the birth of his latest and greatest.

Sebastien San

Sebastien Pastore grew up in France, enveloped at an early age by the powerful sounds of Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, Stevie Wonder, Prince, and Serge Gainsbourg. As a teen, Sebastien immersed himself heavily into the new wave/industrial scene much inspired by the likes of Depeche Mode, Cabaret Voltaire, Human League, Front 242 and Severed Heads. “It was the most amazing thing,” says Sebastien. “At that time, I could hardly believe that this music was made by human beings.” This futuristic mindset structured the inner yearning to create and explore from which Sebastien San began.

The emerging club-culture of the mid-80’s, as well as the birth of Detroit techno and Chicago house, had an even greater impact on him. “I immediately got into it; the sound of those records had a powerful depth and it was generally more funky and danceable. We were throwing parties anywhere we could find, be it a garage, a warehouse or a basement. Tracks Like ‘Strings Of Life’ by Derrick May, ‘Big Fun’ by Inner City or ‘French Kiss’ by Lil’ Louis became instant classics.”

It is clear that Sebastien’s fascination with dance floor driven music would lead to the development of his own style, which combines deep atmospheric strings and sweet melodies laid over funky beats and rhythms. Having gained quite a following with his electro-kissed “Rising Sun,” Sebastien returns to Planet E with the forthcoming release of his new single “Adventures.”

Reade Truth

Reade Truth’s 2009 release for Planet E, “Crimen Excepta EP,” reveals the New York native’s latest wonder-beast classic, churned, chiseled, and set free from the Vienna-based studio; a fantastic hybrid of bottomless grooves, maniacal rhythms, and moody Detroit-esque vibes from and for the underground. With influences from Skinny Puppy to Derrick May, Reade Truth has been rocking the decks since 1990, showcasing in his music an inherent lust for the dark and unknown, the unimaginable imagined; as a producer he has made his mark on many EPs for cutting edge labels like Direct Drive, Strictly Rhythm, Sonic Groove, Instinct, Pomelo and Path Records. Reade Truth is best identified as a veteran DJ of the NY and Brooklyn scenes whose heavy dance floor visions have consistently provided an important source of edgy, often experimental electronics–always delivered with inimitable style. When you hear Reade Truth, you know it can be no other.

Reference

The Detroit duo known as Reference focuses on the soul of
electronic music, not the hype, staying true while working to promote the expression of underground music and dance culture. Luke Hess is a name synonymous with a new wave of ‘Detroit techno’ producers, but his roots go deeper than that. His continued dedication to musicianship and his natural talent as a DJ have allowed him to release music on some of the most respected labels in the genre, and play some of the most prestigious clubs in the world. Brian Kage is the founder of the record label Beretta Music. Along with a countless number of successful releases, Brian’s experience as a producer, DJ, and label head has helped catapult the careers of some of today’s brightest and best artists in the dance music community.

Like any pure artistic or avant-garde entity, Reference has no concern for following trends. Hess & Kage have come together to create music in its truest form; experimentation, soul, sweat, live instrumentation, and organic sounds all welded together to form deep and timeless music. The main concern of Reference is to stand diligent, trumpeters amongst the foundation of underground culture and rebels against the commercialism that longs to destroy the freedom of the human mind.

Kirk DeGorgio

Long before Dance Music became the global phenomena it is today, it was a way of life for Kirk Degiorgio. From his beginnings as an Electro DJ at local events in Suffolk, his pause-button cassette mixes and local club night “Sweat”, Kirk has been at the centre of the dance music explosion for over 25 years.

Kirk turned his hand to production in 1991 and also founded his legendary ART label. ART – Applied Rhythmic Technology – had an envious roster including artists such as The Black Dog, Aphex Twin, B12 and Carl Craig.

The nineties saw Kirk release critically acclaimed EP’s and albums for labels such as Planet E, R&S, New Electronica, Mo Wax and Clear. Remix work and DJ bookings saw Kirk working overtime – leading to a long
hiatus for his ART label.

Although primarily known as a pure and tough Techno DJ, as a connoisseur of many genres of Dance Music, Kirk has a versatility few other contemporaries can match. He is equally at home whether playing Detroit infused techno, rare disco, boogie or funk.

Since 2005, Kirk has been an integral part of the Red Bull Music Academy’s online Radio Station. His monthly Sound Obsession shows are now into their third year and have a loyal and devoted following. Kirk
has also lectured and regular participated in various RBMA events over the past five years.

2010 marks the return of Kirk to the DJ circuit as he embarks on a worldwide tour to promote his established pure Techno vision.

Psycatron

2009 is proving to be a landmark year for Psycatron aka Paul Hamill & Dave Lievense as they take things to the next level with a string of high profile productions being released on some of the world’s most respected labels, receiving props from some of the biggest names in the business and the sales flying high in the Beatport charts.

The year began with the Location Unknown EP on Fergie’s Rekluse imprint. The lead track ‘Takefive’ was a huge smash at the Miami Winter Music Conference with everyone from DJ Hell to Sasha (who was closing his sets it with) making it one of the biggest records of the conference.

From Belfast to Detroit is next, with the master Carl Craig signing ‘Deeper Shades Of Black’ for Planet E Communications making them the first Irish artist to appear on the Detroit imprint. ‘Deeper Shades’ spent 6 weeks in the Beatport Top 20 peaking at Number 5 with only Cirez D, Adam Beyer, Joris Voorn and Sebastian Leger standing in the way of pole position. Then from Detroit to Sao Paolo in Brazil, where Christian Smith’s recently relaunched Tronic Music delivered the devastating ‘Directions’ and ‘Tipping Point’ with charts and plays coming in from everyone from Dubfire to Digweed to Dave Clarke who featured it heavily on his White Noise Radio Show. ‘Directions’ will be re-released with remixes later on in the year from Matt Nordstrom, Fergie & Reset Robot as well as featuring on Christian Smith’s new compilation for Renaissance.

A bit closer to home and an appearance London based Simple Records demonstrated a deeper, subtle edge at the opposite end of the scale from their previous big-room releases with the ‘Orchestral Manouvres In The Park’ EP showing up on Will Saul’s highly respected imprint.

As if the prove that getting signed to Planet E was no flash in the pan, Psycatron have recently signed a deal with legendary Belgian imprint R&S Records home to the likes of Aphex Twin, Joey Beltram and Derrick May who will release ‘Is What it Is’ in November. Further material is in the pipeline for Cocoon, International Deejay Gigolo, 1605, Tronic, Mija Records and Process.

Having spent the past seven years hosting their residency at the world-famous Shine and the Stiff Kitten in Belfast where they’ve supported some of the biggest DJ’s on the planet, 2009 will be the year where Psycatron’s winning combination of killer DJ sets and live shows will see them emerge as one of the biggest Irish acts of the year as their profile continues to grow on a global scale.

Psycatron are made up of BBC Radio DJ and producer Paul Hamill and superproducer Dee Lievense who has worked for every label under the sun from NRK to Plastic City.

Franck Roger

Franck recalls vividly toying with his audiotape recorder, cutting voices out, matching the beat, a symptomatic, diy approach to music that soon translated into a mission of instinc-tion; the very same intuition underneath the house movement from the beginning: a need for loops and beats. From raw-edged, stripped-down tracks to those flourishing with an intense depth, Franck Roger has managed to create a distinctive musical signature earning him praise and respect. In recent times, Franck redefines the terms of his musical addiction through traveling, experimenting, and learning. Beat is the word. “Most of the time I use my studio as a sanctuary, a shelter from the city mayhem or life’s complications… I search for a beat and build the tracks from there.” Music and dancing have always been intimately bonded for Franck Roger, since the day he first entered a club. At the time, the loudest place to hear the likes of DJ Deep and Laurent Garnier spin in all of Europe was the Rex Club, in Paris. Flash forward to 2010: the Rex Club is now home to Franck’s successful Real Tone Records party “The 5 Beats,” showing clubkids du jour how it should be done. The more Franck Roger plays in the club, the more inventive he becomes, and the more comfortable he stands in the great dynasty of DJ’s that matter.