By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
By Falyn Freyman
By Hans Morgenstern
Upon graduation the two moved together to South Beach and formed boosted, whose moniker covers a myriad of activities. Under boosted they have released two twelve-inch singles of their own songs, with a third on the way. They're acting as buyers for the record section inside the South Beach clothing boutique Synthetic, and tag-team DJ-ing regularly across the state. In addition they spin at Beatcamp, which has since become ground zero for Miami's drum and bass scene. Not bad for a duo who arrived in town less than two years ago.
Arias recalls one of the first Beatcamp evenings when she began playing a personal fave, Decoy's "Heavy Metal." As the title implies, it's hardly easy listening. Rather, a frenetic rolling drum loop is punctuated by what sounds like a rumbling garbage truck gunning around a tight curve. She smiles, shaking her head, and says, "The club owner came running over, yelling 'Stop it! Turn that record off right now! You're going to make everyone leave!' At first people were hesitant, it took awhile for people to get into it, but now they love it."
"When we started we were only getting 50 people a night," Hauser adds. "But after five months it became packed, and everyone knew all the songs. Amie plays the hardest stuff I know, and people line up to hear it."
That fondness for an abrasive tone emerges in Arias's own work. Her song, "Cerulean," showcases a menacing rapid-fire bassline that rattles the walls, while an ominous beat stomps through anything in its path. Hauser's music boasts a similar take-no-prisoners bluster. It's all a far cry from the South Beach club staples of either house music, with its urbane, champagne-sipping demeanor and smooth funk hooks, or trance's shiny happy people vibe. Which is exactly the point. Neither Hauser nor Arias have any interest in those styles, or the venues that feature them.
"When we go out, you won't find us at Groove Jet or Liquid. If we're not at Beatcamp, we're probably at Rockers Island," Hauser says, referring to the popular dancehall night at South Beach's Amnesia nightclub. Although the Rocker's Island crowd is predominantly black, racial tension is in short supply. "Back in Pittsburgh we'd be the only two white people in the whole club, so we're not uncomfortable there. Reggae is a friendly music -- you can be intimidated if you don't know what's going on, but I'm going out on the dancefloor singing and dancing just like everybody else. We'll hear some snide comments when we're standing in line to get in, but once we're inside, it's very cool," Hauser says.
"There's nothing like seeing a whole mass of people writhing in time, screaming in unison," Arias continues. "We're not interested in that get-dressed-up-like-a-model scene. Kids come to Beatcamp to dance, not to worry about what stars are there. It's a friendly environment -- it's not about posing."
The bulk of their scorn, however, is reserved for the government; specifically the Federal Communications Commission.
"Until two months ago there was a really thriving pirate radio scene here. Unfortunately that's been squashed, and it's to the detriment of something that made Miami really special. It's one of the main reasons we came here! Look at the WOMB," Hauser notes, referring to the electronica-focused pirate where he and Arias spun before an FCC raid this past December forced it off the FM band and onto the Internet. "As a radio station it was perfect for Miami Beach. The signal didn't leave the island. It barely crossed I-95. But it was a good way for people who were coming into the city to tune in, find out what's going on in the clubs, hear local DJs, learn about everything that's going on in our scene. That's all been shut down by the authorities, but that year and a half the WOMB was on [the radio] really opened a lot of people's minds," he explains.
Still, Hauser is upbeat as he sits alongside Arias in the apartment they call record-label headquarters, recording studio, and home. Walking over to the keyboard racks, samplers, shelves of records, and the computer on which he and Arias create their music, he grows animated. "There are no Gloria Estefan samples in my music, but you can't help being affected by this location. Just the ocean alone," he says with a smile, raising his eyebrows. "There's a lot of freedom here -- still -- that you don't have up North." He pauses, and then adds, "Plus I get to hang out in a T-shirt all the time.