I’m not all that into party reviews anymore, pics, vids and music usually tell the story better than I. But since rapping on the keyboard is what we do here, I’d be amiss not to mention some of the highlights of what may have been our favourite Winter Music Conference ever. And of course there are pics, vids and music to pass along as well. So indulge me in a party by party trip down memory lane now that the cobwebs have finally cleared from this wild and wonderful week.
Tuesday March 23
After a virtual full body cavity search from the American Airlines staff, we had a fairly low key, stress free flight to Miami. We arrived at our spectacular hotel sorted by organizational ace Jason Warth and then immediately hit up Five Guys Burger and Fries for a quick bite. We actually made a list of places to eat this year and this was one of the most highly recommended burger joints on South Beach. And for good reason, the food was fantastic.
Soon after we were off to part-eh #1… SOS at BED. It was amazing to see everyone after a year away from conference, but the smoke inside BED is almost unbearable and SOS was good but not great. These guys are over the top talented and have incredible charisma, but I just can’t get into the flow of the trio spinning in unison. There are far too few tempo changes and for some reason they choose to really bang it out when playing together. It’s a bit much for me.
Wednesday March 24
The DJ Mag at The Shelborne poolside party was definitely not for us. It sounds like Way Out West were great in the early hours and we did catch the end of Dennis Ferrer’s set, which was pretty excellent, but from then on, it was kind of crap. SOS played some cool tunes, but it was impossible to enjoy them on the dance floor with the cast of Jersey Shore mauling the ladies at every turn. You can see for yourself in this video, which on a more positive tip highlights Omid 16B in full effect.
The day was saved by Danny Funk, the cooler, groovier side of Danny Howells. With two Lee Burridge and Danny sets planned for later in the week, we knew Danny was going to play house at the Dig Deeper event at BED and we were definitely not disappointed. All around this was an awesome party with great tunes, fantastic people on the dance floor and much better sound than the night before. Even the smoke didn’t seem quite as intense. It was our first time hearing Danny in the city of his GU and man was it ever a killer time.
Thursday March 25
We had this day circled on our calendar for months. The Sasha & Digweed cruise is a party we never want to miss, but unfortunately this year we were literally left on the dock. It was an empty feeling not being able to get every one of our crew on the boat, but that’s how it goes sometimes. In the end we had some good hanging out time with just the tight knit group, which is a rarity during conference. But as you can see on ChinaShopMag.com, it looks and sounds like we missed another incredible cruise put on by the masters of the music we love. Hopefully we’ll get on that ship one more time before we shut it down… it really is the party of all parties.
The evening brought us to the basement of Shine for the very first time, where Desyn Masiello hosted the Alternative Route label party with many of our favs in the booth. Des and Dory played the early portion of the night, Tom Morgan and balErik took over in the twilight hours. And as you can hear below, Add2Basket destroyed the peak time hours with a killer progressive roll. The space was a little dark for Miami, but it was a definitely a nice little jam with great people and our kind of music all night long.
Download (left-click and unzip):
Add2Basket – Live @ Shine, WMC – March 25, 2010
Friday March 26
This was the first day where the weather didn’t cooperate, but with Luke Fair having his flight canceled, it didn’t matter the festivities were delayed for the Balance party. With Luke off the bill nobody’s slot was cut short and the party ended up going off incredibly well. Will Saul played a perfectly suited set for poolside sunshine and Joris Voorn displayed his incredible versatility with groovy, bumpy tunes that had the entire rooftop shaking their booty under the South Beach sunset. We missed Agoria in lieu of a spectacular performance from our #1 gal Dory, and thanks to the Listed crew, we have proof we didn’t miss a beat on the other side of the headliner… Dory blazed the poolside proper.
Download (left-click and unzip):
Dory – Live @ Listed pres Balance, WMC – March 26, 2010
Saturday March 27
I can’t think of a better day at conference than this one… ever.
The Discoteca boat cruise was absolutely perfect for us. We couldn’t have hand picked a better dance floor and the music from Tom, balErik and Luke was absolutely magical. Being on that boat reminded me why we’ve been in this scene for as long as we have. The love, joy and pure bliss that were shared were everything we could ask for and more. As you can hear below, Tom started the cruise off with some deep, soulful progressive and from there we literally and figuratively rode the sweet waves into the sunset. And as you can see in the video below, the ride was equally amazing when the sun went down.
Download (left-click and unzip):
Tom Morgan – Discoteca Boat Cruise, WMC – March 27, 2010
The night time shenanigans took place inside the Shine main room with what was billed as a solo performance from Sasha alongside opener Charlie May of Spooky. To our dismay we walked into the room after Charlie finished as the owner of the club felt obliged to give himself a peak time hour in between two legends of the progressive house genre. I’ll say no more.
When finally in control, Sasha started kind of slow; but once he found his groove, it was all hardcore dance moves for the next two hours… that was until Lee Burridge and DJ Three stormed the booth. As these two found their bearings it became a bit stagnant again, but soon after he disappeared, Sasha reappeared and revived us all, including Lee and Three. The trio proceeded to lay down the most spectacular back to back to back set I’ve ever heard. It was music that could only be played for an â€˜up for it’ conference crowd. It was so deep and so sexy, but still dance floor driving. By far the most amazing music I’ve ever heard in Miami and an experience that will go down as one of the most moving in my clubbing career.
Sunday March 28
We ended our conference on the rooftop of the Bentley Hotel for the Add2Basket / Witty Tunes soiree. This was exactly what the groove doctor ordered for winding down a mad week on South Beach. Deep house from Roberto Rodriguez, Mike Haddad & Royce Haven, Luke, Add2Basket and Coyu had us all floating on the clouds… the $35 mojitos helped with that quite well. This party was really something special in my eyes. While many were sketching it out at Sunday school, we were all styles hanging with an incredible crew. It was absolutely the perfect party to end this phenomenal week; a week that was supposed to be our last at the WMC, but we honestly can’t say that anymore.
Tom Morgan emailed the links to this sets with a note that said, “I think you’ll like these, they’re a little more your style.” Like anything Tom has ever put together wasn’t my style??
But he was dead on when he suggested that I’d be more intrigued by this two part August promo. This is exactly the sound I want to hear when I’m on the dance floor, from warm up, to peak time (I’ve always thought Tom was a tailor made club DJ).
It’s the day / night format that excites me most.
I’m not someone who enjoys DJs who are over eclectic, with continuous genre jumps and random programming. I’ll never like pure techno or banging electro and I’m so over the dark, minimal shit. You could mix it all with my top ten tracks of all time and still you wouldn’t get my feet moving.
What I want to hear are mood changes and variations in pace, but I recognize these techniques are very difficult to pull off in one compilation. So you make two. This is what the Balance Series was born out of and why it’s been so successful across so many DJs and their assorted styles.
The open to close concept allows an artist to focus on the purpose of the comp, without the pressures of trying to fit in something deeper or tracks with more drive. What you don’t get from one, you’ll get from the other.
Together the two parts should be a complete representation of the versatility of the talent. That’s exactly what Tom Morgan’s August promo is; an example of how it should be done, from the first track on number one to the last track on part two.
One of the best aspects of this year’s conference was that I had some good face time with Tom Morgan. And unlike last year, I pretty much understood everything he was saying under that brrrroad Scottish accent. But even if I could never hear a word Tom says, his music speaks volumes to how cool this guy is.
I’ll never mention it again (a little cheesy and not fair to Tom’s individuality), but I’m starting to think Tom is the next Desyn Masiello. He has the looks, the personality, ambition and most definitely a pristine ear for great beats.
Tom had a great presence about him throughout the WMC and it’s obvious he has Desyn’s seal of approval, being sandwiched between Jody Wisternoff and Des & Omid in primetime at the Sex on Wax pool party.
This two-hour set live from a Renaissance meets Stripped party in the UK is everything I want to hear in a live club set. Tom was on the bill with Paolo Mojo that nightâ€¦ I hope Paolo was able to keep up.
My introduction to Tom Morgan happened not too long ago when I logged onto my MySpace account and was pleasantly surprised to find that he had requested me as a friend. I didn’t know Tom or his music but I had heard his name on a few occasions so I knew I needed to find out who this guy was with the crazy Scottish accent. I downloaded Tom’s most recent mix and instantly knew he was someone I wanted to learn more about.
Tom bought his first set of decks at the age of fourteen and seven years later he is still one of the youngest, yet hardest working DJs out there. His dedication to the search for only the highest quality music and his obvious ability to mix it caught the attention of Desyn Masiello who coined Tom ‘a DJ who’ll break through’ in the 2006 DJ Mag poll.
Tom assumes the role of A&R for Desyn’s label, Alternative Route. For those of you who don’t know what an A&R is – as I didn’t until recently – it’s a job that entails seeking out tracks that would be a good fit for the label, as well as listening to any demos that are sent to the label for possible signing.
His keen ear for the highest quality House music has constantly pushed Tom Morganto new levels. His most recent achievement being the release of his own label Discoteca, which was founded by Tom and three other Feedback Bookingstalents, Dana Bergquist, Erik Molthe (BalErik)and Somnus Corp.
Stockholm’s Dana Bergquist is creating his own ‘Dana House’ style, a fusion of funk, electro, techno and ultrafresh disco.
House and Techno enthuisiet BalErik, whose name comes from the word Balearic i.e. Balearic Islands, hails from Oslo, Norway. Desyn labeled BalErik “a DJ to watch out for’ in the 2005 DJ Mag poll. Erik is also an A&R for Alternative Route alongside Tom.
Somnus Corp. comprised of Gabriel Sordo, Jorge Lopez and Beto Rodriguez of Mexico completes the Discoteca crew. This trio, best known for their mix “Black Love Magic” brings a darker, minimal Tribal House influence to Discoteca.
With this range in talent and taste, the Discoteca collective is sure to give us some dance floor bombs!
And after weeks of searching for the perfect tracks, Tom has mixed us an exclusive set of the freshest House available today. Every time I hear a new mix of Tom’s I get so excited because I know he’s put a lot of thought into it and it always comes out sounding so smooth. This set is no different, enjoy!!
Inside the IM with Tom Morgan & littlemissbluedress
An insiders look into my conversation with this incredible Scottish talent…
Lisa: Hey Tom…
Tom: Helllooooo! How’s it going?
Lisa: Good, it’s a nice day in Toronto and I’m listening to some good music. What about you?
Tom: Almost the weekend – right up for a heavy one!
Lisa:Very nice, do you have a gig?
Tom: Nah, just partying, my team’s got a big game.
Lisa: What do you play?
Tom: Football, not me playing as such, just the team I support.
Lisa: Ha ok, so what is your team called?
Tom: Dunfermline, we’ve been shite for the last three seasons but we’re starting to get it together now.
Lisa: Well I wish them good luck
Lisa: What’s a day in the life of Tom Morgan like?
Tom: It usually consists of getting up about midday, spending the most part looking for / listening to music. That’s pretty much the top and bottom of it.
Lisa: Sounds like a great day to me.
Tom: Aye really can’t complain.
Lisa: I’m listening to your February promo mix right now; I never get bored of it.
Tom: Ah, cheers. My hands were tied slightly as there were a few tunes I really wanted to use but couldn’t.
Lisa: So you can use them on the In Demand mix!
Lisa: So to delve into your curious mind, what do you think is the greatest invention of all time?
Tom: Hmm, good question, bear with me. I suppose the airplane would have to be up there but the Internet’s definitely in the running, as I do pretty much all of my work over it.
Lisa: I was just going to ask you what kind of impact the Internet has had on your life.
Tom: A very big one to be honest. A few years ago I did pretty much all my record shopping in local stores, but now I can’t remember the last time I was in one. Messenger also plays a big part in what I do.
Lisa: So being a DJ next to your turntables, would you say the Internet is your most useful tool?
Tom: Whether it’s speaking to other DJs or acquiring music, without a shadow of a doubt. Actually more so I think; my decks are knackered!
Lisa: Time for new ones?
Tom: I haven’t touched them in too long. That’s partly due to the neighbors though.
Tom: They at least need a service
Lisa: So you don’t use your turntables much at home?
Tom: Definitely not as much as I used to. It used to be the case that I’d spend hours trying to find out which tracks go together, but the mixed in key software has taken a lot of the leg work out there.
Lisa: Ah I see, such as Ableton Live?
Tom: Basically just a program that determines the root note of the track playing so u can tell at a glance which tunes will mix harmonically. Ableton’s great for edits as well, but I haven’t really thought about using it in a live situation.
Lisa: So this has eliminated the need to practice before you spin at a club?
Tom: I try to squeeze in a couple of hours a week just to keep myself ticking over.
Lisa: Do you prepare more when you have a big gig coming up?
Tom: I tend to spend the vast majority of the time beforehand hunting for new music or editing tracks.
Lisa: Do you have a set direction you like to take when you are DJing or do you just go with the flow?
Tom: Seems to be the case that whenever I go into a club with a rough idea of what I’m doing, it goes out the window after the second or third track for one reason or another. So I have been playing it more and more by ear lately, just trying to go with the vibe of the crowd.
Lisa: What kind of differences do you see in the types of crowds in the places you have traveled to?
Tom: I’ve been really impressed with the crowds in South America. Pretty much everywhere I’ve been they’ve been great, there’s a real buzz about the scene that’s missing a bit in places back home.
Lisa: How so?
Tom: There’s so much enthusiasm over there. Buenos Aires for example, they’ve got a really healthy scene there at present. It’s strange here in Scotland, there’s always been quite a big clubbing market but it’s a little stale right now, but I think it’ll pick up.
Lisa: Do you like all the traveling involved in being a DJ?
Tom: There’s still a big novelty factor for me, but I would imagine that’d change quite significantly when it becomes a more regular occurrence. For now, I really don’t mind it too much. Though I’ve been stuck in a few airports in Mexico, which wasn’t a great deal of fun.
Lisa: Traveling can be exhausting.
Tom: It’s definitely toughened me up a bit.
Lisa: Do you have a girlfriend at the moment?
Tom: Nope, they’ve been notable by their absence lately, still young, free and single.
Lisa: Do you think being a DJ will make it easier or harder to find one?
Tom: I can’t see my present status changing in the immediate future, as I don’t know many women who’d put up with the hours I spend on the Internet.
Tom: So the answer is definitely harder.
Lisa: Are you more of a casual relationship type guy then?
Tom: As it stands I don’t really feel like I have the time for one just now.
Lisa: It does take time… and money!
Tom: Ha, I wouldn’t rule it out by any means, but I think it would be hard work at present.
Lisa: Being only 21 makes you one of the youngest traveling DJs at the moment, what are the benefits or disadvantages of that?
Tom: I actually got ID’d twice when I was playing in Mexico last year, once going into the club and once in there when I was pouring a drink behind the decks. It’s hard to be taken seriously when that’s happening
Lisa: Any benefits?
Tom: Getting into it at such a young age means I might be able to put off going out and getting a real job. I’m quite happy playing records for a living.
Lisa: How do you handle all the late nights required in being a DJ?
Tom: If I wasn’t DJing I’d definitely be out clubbing with my mates, so in that respect my situation hasn’t really changed since I started playing out a little more. I’ve spent the last few years practicing. I tend to keep it sensible during the week though, especially as there’s hardly anything happening here Monday – Thursday.
Lisa: What do you like the most about the EDM industry?
Tom: Definitely the amount of amazing people I’ve met on my travels. I always enjoy meeting like-minded individuals from different countries and I really can’t think of a job that is better tailored to this.
Lisa: I think that would be my answer too, along with it being the best music there is!
Tom: Ha, well that goes without saying.
Lisa: Is there anything you would like to change about this industry?
Tom: As with any industry I suppose there are a number of people in it for the wrong reasons and are out to take advantage. I think credit has to go to Ricky Ryan and company for what they’re doing with Feedback. Looking after a bunch of relatively young guys and ensuring they get good promoter handling, are fairly paid, etc., which I appreciate can be difficult without the profile of more established DJs.
Lisa: I love the Feedback guys – great talents.
Tom: Yeah, a lot of really talented DJs on the books. I think in a couple years time a lot of them will be giving the A-listers a run for their money.
Lisa: It seems like most DJ / producers out there now are starting their own labels, why did you decide to create Discoteca?
Tom: Basically to get access to a lot of exclusive tracks and to have a bit more creative control than being simply an A&R. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really grateful to Desyn for getting me on board with Alternative Route, and I am still doing that on the side. And I can appreciate people would probably rather release their tracks with AR as it’s an established label. Also, it’s a privilege to be working with Dana and Somnus (and Erik!), as they’re both making music that really inspires me.
Lisa: How will Discoteca be different from the other labels out there?
Tom: Well, as its run by DJs, we’re looking to release music that will work on the dance floor primarily. And I think between us we have a fairly decent idea of what’s required. Also, I suppose there’s an element of quality control as most of us will have to agree on a track before we sign it.
Lisa: So who is going to be signed to the label and what will you be looking for in the producers you sign?
Tom: We’ve been trying to get a lot of talented up-and-coming producers on board. For instance, we’ve signed a track from a guy from Finland, Jay Lamar, who has a bright future ahead of him.
Lisa: How did you find him?
Tom: Surprisingly enough, the Internet. I think with the whole MySpace boom it’s been a lot easier to find really good unsigned music. And it means I can postpone getting a proper website for even longer; been meaning to do that for an age but I haven’t quite got round to it with the label and all.
Lisa: When will the label be launched?
Tom: I’ll go out on a limb and say a couple of months, but don’t quote me on that, as the original plan was to have it up and running for Miami. We just didn’t want to sacrifice the quality of releases purely for the sake of getting them out there.
Lisa: How will it be launched? Website? Party?
Tom: A website and MySpace will be up soon. We’ll also be doing a series of parties in different countries. Erik’s already had Dana over in Oslo and the plan is to do a few more.
Lisa: Any in Japan?
Tom: I wish. Not unless easyJet started offering significantly cheaper flights.
Lisa: If you could choose one super power what would it be?
Tom: I suppose it’d have to be flight. Aye, definitely flight. That would make things so much easier.
Lisa: And cheaper.
Tom: Haha, and cheaper.
Finally we reached the end of our WMC coverage. Yes we’ve dragged this on for quite a while, but we couldn’t not take the chance to plug three fantastic DJs (and dudes) before we wrap things up.
We met Jerone ‘DJ Fountain‘ on day one, at the Proton Party. Jerone’s manager and I gabbed all night while Jerone worked the room as well as any DJ / producer I’ve ever seen. I came home with three DJ Fountain cards and figured that was a sign to contact these two wicked guys from Amsterdam as soon as possible. That wasn’t necessary, because on day two, at the Sick Watona party, we hooked up again and ended up packing them into the trunk, hijacking them to Luke’s gig at the Giant Hotel. I’m so glad we did because on the way he handed me this set and we’ve been hammering it ever since.
Download (left-click and unzip):
DJ Fountain – WMC Promo 2007
I’ve been talking to Tom Morgan for quite a few months now. I snagged a promo of his from mercuryserver and I instantly knew Tom was my kind of DJ. It was awesome to finally hook up at Luke’s Balance party, too bad I couldn’t understand much of what we talked about – bloody Scottish accents. Nevertheless, it was great to meet him and I’m sure if he keeps making promos like these, I’ll be seeing him again sometime very soon.
Download (left-click and unzip):
Tom Morgan – February 2007 promo
Our last highlight of the WMC of 2007 is a friend we met at our first Conference. Since that week in 2004 Steve Graham has come a long way. With his thriving production company TampaHouseMusic.com, Steve’s made something out of virtually nothing in terms of a House scene in the Tampa area. And his relentless passion for the music is really starting to shine through in his promo sets. An example is this wicked mix broadcast on Proton’s DjsInbox presents Solid Sessions which aired the first night of the Conference. It’s a great set and a fitting way to close the book on one of the best WMC’s ever.
Download (left-click and unzip):
Steve Graham – DJsInbox presents Solid Sessions on Proton Radio