Month: July 2015

DJ Tony Z hosts AVLHMS radio show on AshevilleFM

Tony Z interviews Celebrity and Fried Coffee from Deep Underground at Southern Kitchen & Bar on AVLHMS Radio Show

Listen to the archive this week of Asheville House Music Society radio show from Sunday, July 19th from 12 midnight to 2 am. This week’s guests were Celebrity and Fried Coffee – two of the three House and Techno DJs – along with with Niko Grandé, who spin a bi-monthly residency, Deep Underground, at the Southern Kitchen & Bar.

Celebrity and Fried Coffee talk about their influences, the Asheville house and techno scene, and how this party kicked off in downtown AVL, which is filling a void on Lexington Avenue since the Bobo Club ceased operations a few years ago. The three DJs all hail from the region and are laying down deep, alternative house and techno grooves that you won’t hear at the more mainstream spots. It was great to have them on the show this week. So listen in by clicking on the archive player.

The AVLHMS archives are only available on desktop until the website updates the archive player from Flash to HTML5. Regretfully, you’ll be stuck to your laptop, but it will be well worth it.

To open the show, I spin a set from 12 to 1 am, then interview Celebrity and Fried Coffee starting off the second hour. In the last half hour, we spin fog / thunder, a set from the boys you might be able to catch on SoundCloud…until they take it down, that is.

Here’s their full SoundCloud DJ set, “Fog/Thunder.”


Fried Coffee fog/thunder preview mix for Deep Underground party on 7/17/15

Picture of Kraftwerk Moogfest 2014

MOOGFEST moving to Durham in 20016

In a very disappointing, but not unexpected move, Moog Music announced yesterday that it’s multi-day electronic music showcase and technology expo, MOOGFEST, will depart from Asheville for the arid confines of Durham, NC – a city that seemingly has no relationship to electronic music, but it’s burgeoning high growth startup scene is a key impetus for the move. The next event is scheduled for May 19th through the 22nd, 2016.

After frequenting Durham during my time living in Chapel Hill from 2010 to 2012, I couldn’t count the number of electronic music events in Durham on one hand – because none existed. Real electronic music DJ events were few and far between. In the last three years, maybe things have changed, but I can’t imagine by much. The way Durham is laid out will make walking to events in smaller venues far more difficult. And, while the Durham Performing Arts Center is hosting American Idol Live!, that is pop rubbish and has zero relation to cutting edge music for a younger generation.

We’ve known for a while that MOOGFEST had been publicly seeking a stronger public/private partnership with Asheville and Buncombe County. However, the city and county government simply refused to come up with a package to keep MOOGFEST here. The decision to leave, while bitter, was expected and leaves the city without its premier electronic music event to drive interest in the region.

This is hugely disappointing for me personally, as I moved here thinking that MOOGFEST would be one of the driver’s in the city’s overall growth. Unique events like MOOGFEST are important to tourism and can be a showcase for any small city hoping to attract young people, entrepreneurs, and technology startups to the area. In a music city like Asheville, the nightlife industry depends on events like MOOGFEST for growth. I personally took a chance on moving to Asheville thinking that if MOOGFEST was here, others might come to live, work, and play as I did. That will seemingly not be the case for the foreseeable future.

Without cutting edge events like MOOGFEST, the city will struggle to attract a certain type of entrepreneurial spirit that the Asheville Chamber of Commerce is hoping to invest in. Last year, the Chamber launched Venture Asheville, a startup advisory organization pulling together a group of high net-worth Asheville angel investors to fund local Asheville startup deals. After a year of building the network, Asheville Angels have committed about $300,000 to Asheville-based startups. And those commitments were predicated on those startups primarily raising outside capital first. Certainly a very conservative, but understandable approach. One that is indicative of Asheville’s struggle to figure out how to attract high growth companies in the technology sector. What you’re seeing is an extremely low-risk approach and without risk, there is no reward.

While some local DJs and electronic music producers have criticized MOOGFEST for not staying completely true to electronic music by booking artists like NAS, who is well known in hip-hop, that style of music is primarily made with software and hardware. It does take all kinds and one can even say that some country music today is electronic, given where we are in the music production process. But, MOOGFEST won’t be around to educate us on what is or what isn’t electronic music, because it’s now going to take a bet on Durham.

While I wish them well, one of the primary issues they are going to face is working with a city and its venues who don’t know this kind of music and who may not be prepared to work with a festival like MOOGFEST. The folks at Moog Music live, work, and play here in Asheville. They are all very well known to the community and that goes for something. They’ll constantly need to make the trek out to Durham on a weekly, if not daily basis, to ensure that the festival kicks off in the right way.

In Asheville, people made room for MOOGFEST, because many of us truly wanted it here. But Durham is another story altogether. Will the American Tobacco campus really embrace an electronic music event? Will the Durham Performing Arts Center provide room on its super conservative schedule of events? Will there even be enough hotel rooms in downtown Durham, which is pretty tight in terms of hotel space, unless you’re 15 to 20 minutes out somewhere along US Route 40?

All this is a big bet for Moog Music’s Mike Adams and it remains to be seen if this bet will pay off in the long run. According to news reports, Moog is committed to Durham until 2021, so Asheville has five to six years to come up with something different to fill the void. I don’t know if I’m going to stick around long enough to find out.

For a festival that lost $1.5M in 2014, this is an even bigger risk, but one that seems worth taking.

MOOGFEST is offering $99 tickets to Asheville residents who plan to trek out to Durham for next year’s event.

DJ Tony Z hosts AVLHMS radio show on AshevilleFM

Listen to the Asheville House Music Society Radio Show Archive

Every Saturday night, DJ Tony Z is in the mix on Asheville’s community-powered radio, Don’t forget to hit the archive every Monday morning to tune into the web rebroadcast of the live show.

Just click on the audio player on this page to listen:

DJ Tony Z hosts AVLHMS radio show on AshevilleFM

AVLHMS Radio Show Playlist – Sunday, July, 5 2015

Playlist for Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Listen to the archive the week of July 5th.

Artist, Title, Label

  • Yoland Be Cool & DCUP – Soul Makossa (Money) (Club Mix) – Sweat It Out
  • Shuhandz & Luis Armstrong – Muse (Original Mix) – Build It
  • Klangkarussell ft Jaymes Young Sonnentanz (Sun Don’t Shine) (Crookers Remix) – Vertigo Berlin
  • DJ Kose – XTC (Original Mix) – Pampa
  • Ten Walls – Sparta (Original Mix) – Boso
  • Kill Frenzy, Justin Jay – Momentum – Pets
  • Prok & Fitch – One Of These Days (Original Mix) – Toolroom
  • SNBRN – California feat Kaleena Zanders (Original Mix) – Rising Music
  • Shuhandz & Luis Armando – Same Page – unreleased
  • Shuhandz & Daniel’s Jack – Muse – Build It
  • Ten Walls – Walking With Elephants – Boso
  • DJ Tonio – Bigger Than Yours (Olivier Giacomotto Remix) – Suara
  • Fouk – Kill Frenzy (Original Mix) – Heist
  • Doorly – Boogaloo (Original Mix) – Cajual
  • Disclosure ft. Gregory Porter – Holding On – Defected UK
  • Ananda Project ft Gaelle Adisson – Cascades of Colour – Nite Grooves
  • A Guy Called Gerald – Voodoo Ray – A Guy Called Gerald – Warlock
Deep Underground SoundCloud screenshot

Deep Underground Preview by DJ Celebrity and Fried Coffee

DJs Fried Coffee, Celebrity & Niko Grandé bring you Deep Underground on Friday’s at The Southern Kitchen & Bar in downtown Asheville. Check out the preview mix. This is a party that is sure to grow. Great to have House and Techno in downtown Asheville!

The Nightbell Asheville Interior photo

The Nightbell Ends Late Nights with Asheville Local House Music DJs

In a city that has struggled to create an identity and persistent presence for house music, Asheville will be losing a sliver of the stronghold it had built over the last year in The Nightbell. Today, AVLHMS learned that The Nightbell will be ending its DJ sets from local House and Techno DJs to focus on its restaurant activities. The Fourth of July weekend will be the last weekend of DJ sets. Starting next week, the restaurant will focus on dinner service and close at 11 pm.

This brings to a final close a chapter that seemingly ended with the departure of The Nightbell manager, César Meana, who recently returned to Spain. César’s brother, Felix, and his sister-in-law, Katie Button operate The Nightbell as a sister restaurant to Curaté, an established Spanish-style tapas restaurant on Biltmore Avenue. While César was one of the restaurant’s managers, he also brought an electronic music focus to the restaurant, built a DJ booth, and started booking local DJs to play on Saturday nights while he manned the decks on Friday nights himself.

Last month, before his departure, César appointed Ephraim Dean, a local DJ and one-third of the crew, In Plain Sight, as curator of the late night festivities upon his departure. Despite a phenomenal programming effort, after a month, the restaurant decided to change direction and focus on what they know well, which is running a fantastic restaurant.

In discussing this with our source, there was no specific reason given, but one can surmise that César was really the driver of the DJ program. Now that he is back in Spain, it was simply a business decision to focus on the dinner crowd since they no longer have him running the DJ events.

At the end of the day, The Nightbell was a cool little spot that was growing into a destination for DJ culture. While local DJs appreciated the efforts to showcase local talent and House music, they were hopeful that The Nightbell would expand the effort and make some minor improvements to the sound system. There was no real dance floor and the venue lacked the sufficient low end bass required for playing this type of music. But overall it had a great DJ booth, expertly built by César, with all the tools a DJ needed to play.

In my early conversations with him, they really weren’t promoting the venue as a nightlife destination. It was just quietly growing as a place to feature local DJs and this kind of music with no promotion other than a few printed posters in the windows of Curaté and The Nightbell. As a music programmer, César was simply focused on creating a vibe and a sound at The Nightbell, applying his European sensibilities and restaurant prowess to crafting something unique and special.

We can completely understand the decision and know that there will soon be another venue focused on House music to take The Nightbell’s place – there always is. Cesar’s commitment to DJ culture was stronger than The Nightbell’s desire to continue in his absence. And, that’s fine, because Asheville deserves a proper nightclub and all the DJs spinning at The Nightbell should really be playing for a dance floor at that club. Someday, we’ll have that, I’m sure. But for now, we have to thank The Nightbell for giving it a chance. It was refreshing to have a venue who truly understood the culture for DJs by a DJ himself.

There’s no harm in understanding your strengths and changing direction. It’s unfortunate, as local DJs need a place to play and get paid for it. But, we truly wish The Nightbell well and appreciate all the love and support the establishment gave the community while they stayed open all of those late nights for us to gather and play the music we love. Let’s remember that The Nightbell was always a restaurant first. It silently embarked on supporting local DJ talent until it simply could not. That’s business.

I know I’ll be back to The Nightbell for eats and drinks, as it really is a fantastic restaurant with great service. Hopefully, they’ll have an exceptional music selection that matches their food and drinks. I’ll miss playing there myself, but look forward to a future in Asheville where one venue supports the House music movement.