Although Miami's hosted WMC for decades and booked commercial DJ heavyweights at megaclubs like Space for years, it's only recently that there's been a steady influx of quality underground EDM bookings. And if 2010 was any indication, you could almost say the MIA is starting to become an electronic music mecca on par with NYC, London, and Berlin.
Numerous venues, promoters, and DJs have contributed to fostering our burgeoning EDM scene this year. But there's just a handful of crews that really made 2010 special. They threw highly memorable, intimate parties every week while hosting some of the greatest stars of the international EDM underground, from house and techno, to dubstep and bass.
Now on the cusp of the new year, Crossfade caught up with Miami's five best DJ crews to get their mission statements, 2010 highlights, and a few resolutions.
The Electric Pickle Co.
The Electric Pickle is not just a venue, but the conceptual musical brainchild of Miami DJs Will Renuart and Tomas Ceddia. Along with international booking partner Clarisse Monahan and DJ/marketing director Inbal Lankry, they've earned a die-hard following through uncompromising commitment to musical quality and unpretentious good vibes. Unlike the commercial business model of most club owners in this town, these guys are genuinely in it for the music, and it shows. This year alone they booked everyone from old-school legends Greg Wilson and Doc Martin to contemporary favorites like Justin Martin and Henrik Schwarz, not to mention stellar lineups during WMC and Art Basel. As resident DJs they also provided a banging underground house music soundtrack that made the Pickle the only place to be for local house heads.
"Mission statement... sounds very serious. Rule #1: Don't take any of this too serious. Rule #2: Don't be a douchebag. Rule #3: When encountering a douchebag, disarm him/her with humor and kindness. Rule #4: Bringing to Miami the best in dance music, presented in an unpretentious atmosphere, with no prejudice and great attention to quality sound."
"Fuck Art Let's Dance 2010 during Art Basel. This party was just one of those nights where everything was perfectly aligned: a beautiful, funky crowd from all over the world that was 100% committed to having a good time combined, with my personal favorite DJ Harvey, who just killed it! Not to mention Damian Lazarus and the entire crew from the Wolf + Lamb record label. I got like a hundred calls and e-mails the next day with people saying what an amazing night it was, like "dude, that was the best fuckin' party I've been to in my life!"
New Year's Resolutions
"I don't do resolutions... too much pressure. You're setting your self up for almost certain failure."
-- Tomas Ceddia
Comprised of DJs Alejandro Sab, Basti, Michael Christopher, and creative sidekick Rebecca Lange, the PL0T crew were at the forefront of Miami's underground techno and house scene throughout 2010. Their Friday night sessions at the Electric Pickle were elegant, sultry affairs boasting some of the most forward-thinking sounds in transatlantic EDM. Memorable bookings included Seth Troxler, Ryan Elliot, Lee Foss, and Wolf + Lamb.
"Imitation never, always forward! Conceptually we're not just about throwing great parties but rather engaging our crowd in memorable experiences they'll retain (hopefully) forever. Musically we only move forward. We push genre boundaries and we only book forward-thinking artists we truly believe in, both established and up-and-coming. This philosophy and the sound that comes with it, is obviously something you experience every night courtesy of our resident DJs."
"There are several. Best party: PL0T presents "The Wolf + Lamb Experience" in January with Gadi Mizrahi, Soul Clap, Shaun Reeves, and the debut of Nicolas Jaar! It was the first time Miami got a real dose of W+L. Both rooms were packed. Downstairs Soul Clap rocked an extended five-hour set while upstairs Gadi and Shaun did their usual magic. But the highlight of the night was Nicolas Jaar's live performance! By 1 a.m. the club was packed with people from all over the state and out of state. And those who stayed 'til "late" (or rather early) got to really experience what PL0T is all about. It was simply remarkable. Best DJ Set: Dyed Soundorom in July -- amazing performance by Dyed. Kept the party going 'til late with a mix of house and techno, old and new-school jams that we just couldn't get enough of. He is definitely one of our favorite DJs and will be back next year. We can't wait. Best turnout: Seth Troxler in August. Seth has played for us every year since we started in 2007. Each year he gets better and people just seem to love him more and more. This year was one for the books. Outside, people were waiting in lines a block long. Inside, people were dancing in every single corner of the club -- stairs, chairs, tables, etc., all enjoying one of the top sets of the year. That night the A/C went down, but that didn't stop anyone from having a wonderful time and dancing their asses off to the #3 DJ in 2010."
New Year's Resolutions
"Well, music is evolving and changing much faster than ever, and with it we are seeing lots of brilliant and lesser-known artists emerge. In 2011 we are making sure Miami gets to experience these talented people and their sound. This is, of course, the only way we move forward! As always, our friends and favorites will continue to delight us throughout the year and we are making sure each time around the experience you get from a PL0T night continues to be unique and exciting. Forthcoming in Winter 2011: Lee Curtiss (live), Shaun Reeves, Sergio Santos and Tanner Ross, Lee Foss and Mayaan Nidam, Margaret Dygas, Dan Ghenacia, and a City Fox showcase."
-- Alejandro Sab
It's pretty much safe to say that Miami didn't have a proper techno scene until the LINK crew started throwing their weekly parties at the Electric Pickle and Space a little over a year ago. Lead by promotions mastermind Davide Danese and resident DJs Maurizio & Danyelio, Joaquin Estevez, and Hardline, LINK have brought some of the biggest names in international techno to a small but budding audience of local techno lovers that continues to grow. Memorable bookings in 2010 included Magda, Steve Bug, Troy Pierce, and Adam Beyer.
"Back in 2005, I had the luck to meet Maurizio and Danyelino who, at that time, were doing a party called Patchwork every Thursday night in the Colony Hotel's basement. Later Patchwork moved to the infamous club Blue on Espanola Way. At this time it was the only consistent weekly party in Miami featuring underground techno. The love and dedication of these two DJs for this music created a strong following among our friends whom then followed us on our brief venture at the Shore club for the SoulTech parties. Our last event at the aforementioned saw us bring our first international booking, Mobilee artist GummiHZ before leaving the venue and moving our parties to underground-friendly downtown Miami. Our relocation to downtown began with our Saturday morning afterhours events at Parkwest, which led to a successful collaboration with Space's marketing manager, Louis Diaz. Concurrently, LINK collaborated with SAFE for a one-off event featuring locals with our partner Joaquin Estevez who helped out with bookings, logistics and as a resident DJ. After the closing of Parkwest and Circa 28 we took a break to organize the first events at the newly opened Electric Pickle and the "Techno Loft" at Club Space, along with Benjamin Acero and PL0T's Alejandro Sab. The Electric Pickle and The Techno Loft have become our home ever since, allowing us to give our crowd the musical exposure it deserves while also proving how far LINK has come since those Thursday nights back in '05."
"It's very difficult to choose the best of 2010, due to our tireless efforts to always improve upon our last party. However, if we had to choose... "Hush Hush" -- an unannounced afterhours party during WMC (right after Marco Carola and Paco Osuna at La Folie. The lineup kept secret 'til the last second, as it was private with limited entry. Our friends Alexi Delano, Adam Beyer and Ida Engberg played a tag set all morning downstairs at the Electric Pickle after an epic opening by Danyelino. Our collaboration with Nektarious and Nikola from Resolute NY takes the first place because of the amazing music and intimate dark atmosphere (it will always be our highlight during WMC.) LINK on the Terrace for the SpaceGiving (Thansgiving) party, featuring Alexi Delano, Chris Liebing and Mathias Kaden. Our biggest lineup to date saw LINK take over the biggest stage in Miami, the Space terrace. A night opened amazingly by our residents, and ending up even better by having our 3 guests playing a tag set until noon sporting LINK tee shirts. "Home Sweet Home" sessions -- our first two parties in February. Friday at the Pickle and Saturday at the Techno Loft featuring Marcus Meinhardt and Empro were definitely a turning point for LINK. The strong response of the crowd to such an underground booking showed pure love for the music and gave us the necessary momentum to keep working on our format. Format B, Steve Bug and Camea -- this was LINK's launch of our back-to-back weekends. Our first party at the Electric Pickle deserves a place in the top five. For many people it's still number one. The crowd was incredible and the room had an energy we've rarely seen. The following evening proved that Miami can keep the party going with an impressive display of local and big name talent at the Space Techno Loft. Magda and Moule's album release party at the Electric Pickle. After playing twice at the Techno Loft, M-inus giant Magda had requested that when she returned to Miami for the album release she wanted a more intimate setting with an underground feel. LINK was up to the task and it made for a wonderful event at the Electric Pickle with a homegrown opening tag set of residents Hardline and Maurizio, followed by an explosive live performance by Marc Houle. It all culminated with a true techno master Magda that kept the patrons dancing all night long. Other parties that we need to honorably mention are: our anniversary weekend featuring Joel Mull and Ida Engberg in June, the two Drumcode showcases (WMC and September), Steve Bug and Adultnapper in August and the Mobilee Showcase in September. Tony Rohr and Tim Xavier's performance at the Techno Loft still has many a LINKer buzzing."
New Year's Resolutions
"To continue to build on LINK's winning formula of local residents spinning alongside the biggest names in techno music. The loyalty of those great artists will have them coming back for more, allowing for LINK to introduce more young and up-and-coming local and international talent in what is becoming a stronghold for this music genre."
-- Davide Danese
If one good thing happened to über-commercial Club Space in 2010, it's that the Un_Mute crew kept the Techno Loft busy with top underground techno bookings all year. But they also took over more intimate downtown venues like Grand Central and the Electric Pickle, all the while providing ambitious, world-class clubbing experiences to the beat of the world's finest techno DJs. Top bookings included Josh Wink, Loco Dice, Konrad Black, and Alexi Delano.
"To be recognized as one of the best techno-producing brands in the industry. Team Un_Mute's main objective is to keep on bringing top quality global artists and spreading the best music to a much larger scale at amazing venues like Grand Central. Our focus is to keep providing our events with the best and crispest sound, stunning visuals and a true underground music experience which is shaping our city by its attractive and memorable performances."
"This year has proved to have many memorable moments. The year 2010 was well complimented by highlights such as Josh Wink, Rhadoo, Konrad Black, Alexi Delano and Camea. Although our year ends filled with incredible performances, we are proud to recognized the relationships and that were created earlier in the year, which includes collaboration with Half Seas Over, Wheppa Music and The Groove Cruise. We feel however that our main accomplishment besides offering our South Florida audience the best of shows, has been the music produced by Un_Mute artists Dsan Powell, Louis David, Juan Rojas and Mario Liberti. Throughout 2010 they have reach the top charts with fresh tracks available on all music stores."
New Year's Resolutions
"Continuing to provide Miami with the best music events in our new home Grand Central, and to continue to overwhelm Miami with all the new events we bring to the Techno Loft, which in turn has brought us incredible success by transitioning into extended marathon afterhours sessions presented at the historic Space terrace."
It's no small feat turning Miami into an international bass music capital, but that's exactly what Juan "Basshead" Lumiet and his crew accomplished this year. Dubstep is pretty much a household term around here now, but Juan was the first DJ to introduce this UK-based underground sound to Miami audiences at his former haunt, Black Sheep Bar, and through his Basshead Music imprint. 2010 kept him busy throwing weekly parties at venues like Vagabond and Electric Pickle, and booking international legends like Skream, Benga and Mala while garnering international recognition as one of the foremost American exponents of dubstep.
"Hmmm... never really thought about it. Basically, the point of me being involved in music at all is because I love it. Lucky that I have found other people who share the same tastes and together we do shows so everyone can have a fun time. It was never about anything more than wanting to hear the music I love, loudly, surrounded by people who also love it. The vibe that can come from that type of an environment is the rush I'm looking for and why I do what I do."
"All of 2010 has been a highlight for me. It's really been one of the best years of my life, maybe the best, and I have all my family, friends, and supporters to thank for making it so."
New Year's Resolutions
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"I don't remember ever making a new year's resolution. I don't like to put rules, limits, or expectations on my life. I find that expectations often lead to disappointment. The world has a funny way of working itself out if you let it, and I find that if I keep myself in that frame of mind then mostly anything that happens is a privilege and a pleasure, even things other people would consider mundane or a waste of time. I try to enjoy every second I have in this life, stay relaxed and stress/drama free. This type of mentality drives some people crazy, but we are all human beings who function differently and that's what works for me."
-- Juan "Basshead" Lumie