ELI ESCOBAR with NASTY NAV at Wrongbar (1279 Queen West), Friday (April 18). $5 before midnight. Rating: NNNNN
Something’s been happening in the indie dance scene over the past year. No, we’re not talking about the massive rise of the Ed Banger sound and the thousands of Justice imitators, but, rather, the aftermath of that, when the kids suddenly accepted that they do in fact like dance music and want to hear it done properly.
This has helped open doors for people like NYC DJ/producer Eli Escobar, who can churn out hipster-friendly remixes with the best of them but also has the DJ skills to make his living playing big mainstream clubs as well as cool kid parties.
“It just happened that way, but I think it’s good, because most of the producers on the indie scene aren’t very good DJs – it’s two different skills. It’s cool if musicians want to DJ and play some good music, but it’s a very different thing from being a party-rocker working DJ,” explains Escobar on his way home from a gig in Atlantic City.
“I co-exist in two different worlds. I do the mainstream big club world – Miami, Vegas, that kind of thing. For the most part, you know what you have to do. You can inject your own style into it, but it’s really just about banging out the hits and getting people dancing. In places like Toronto and Europe, they’re booking me because they know about my production, so I can go there and do me.”
While he brings DJ skills to the table, as a producer he has also paid his dues. He’s cranked out beats for indie hip-hop acts like MF Doom and the Juggaknots in his early days, as well as some bootleg house remixes that few people heard. That slowly changed, to the point where his upcoming releases include a contribution to a Kanye West remix album alongside A-Trak and Diplo, a full-length album for Pase Rock (Spank Rock’s hype man) and a tripped-out new-wave house remix of Neon Neon (a Super Furry Animals side project).
Readers of his blog (www.outsidebroadcast.blogspot.com) also know Escobar for the steady stream of re-edits and soulful club classics he posts. Switching from vinyl to a Serato laptop-based DJ set-up apparently unleashed the re-edit addict in him, which sees him filling up his hard drive with custom versions of everything he thinks could use a bit of tweaking.
“For every edit that I put on the blog, there are about 50 that no one has but me. It just sort of goes along with the Serato era – finally I can make these songs sound the way I want. I’m constantly doing it, I’m obsessive about it, and I make them really fast. Twenty minutes and I’ll bust out five edits.”