A-TRAK (Fool's Gold):
No longer is it a crime to mash a hip-hop acappella into a techno track. In this arena, A-Trak, aka Alain Macklovitch, leads the pack. The 27 year-old Montreal native rides the line between hip-hop and electronic beats in a refreshing hybrid of everything ass-shaking.” (BPM Magazine, issue 86)
Very few DJs can jump from club sets to high-profile festival performances, to Kanye West’s larger-than-life stadium shows with ease. In today’s DJ culture, A-Trak holds a truly unique place. He and partner Nick Catchdubs founded America’s most trendsetting new label, Fool’s Gold, launching the careers of artists such as Kid Sister and Kid Cudi. Fool’s Gold’s mission to merge all aspects of club music was already outlined in Trizzy’s original mix tape manifesto, Dirty South Dance (2007), which set the tone for his own production. He is now one of the most sought-after remixers in electronic music, and his remixes for the likes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Boys Noize have become undeniable mainstays in DJ sets the world over. 2009 saw the release of two critically acclaimed DJ mixes, Infinity +1 and Fabriclive 45, as well as the birth of Duck Sauce, his collaboration with Armand Van Helden. The duo’s radio smash “aNYway” cemented itself as the dance anthem of the year, A-Trak’s first true chart-topper with two videos in international rotation and across-the-board support from Pete Tong to Busy P, David Guetta to 2manydjs.
Not bad for a kid whom many viewed as a 90’s turntablism prodigy. Indeed, Alain’s career began at age 15 when he won the 1997 DMC World Championships and proceeded to take home every other DJ title known to man. He then toured the globe, first alongside Q-Bert’s Invisibl Skratch Piklz and then with Craze and the Allies. In 2004, he was handpicked by Kanye to be his tour DJ. A near decade of youthful meanderings was captured on his acclaimed DVD Sunglasses Is A Must.
Somewhere along the line, A-Trak also became a streetwear culture icon, collaborating with Nike, New Era, Kidrobot, Zoo York and pretty much every designer worth his salt. And all the while, his brother morphed into the lead singing lothario in the acclaimed electro-pop sensation Chromeo. The last couple of years have seen Trizzy headlining tours and festival stages the world over. Add to that scratching on Common’s classic Be, Kanye’s Late Registration and Graduation, and Kid Cudi’s Man On The Moon, as well as producing Kid Sister’s debut album Ultraviolet, songs with Lupe Fiasco, and original releases with Stones Throw and Kitsune.
After years of schlepping vinyl, accumulating air miles and dressing smart, A-Trak has finally become the man to call to make the kids dance. Ask him and he’ll tell you that this is the moment he’s been waiting for his whole career.
PEANUT BUTTER WOLF (Stone's Throw):
You can read more about Peanut Butter Wolf and Stones Throw Records in the History section of stonesthrow.com. But for PB Wolf the DJ/recording artist/producer, here’s a quick rundown.
As a young kid growing up in San Jose, Chris Manak soon realized he needed an escape from the realities of suburbian life in the Silicon Valley. The age of nine was his coming of age. This was the year he discovered sports (Pittsburgh Pirates), video games (Pac man), girls (Anita Balderama), and hip hop (“Rappers Delight”). Alongside partner Sweet Steve, young Chris fashioned primitive mix-tapes (using the pause button) and ran amok at the local roller rink.
He took on the name Peanut Butter Wolf in the late-80s when he realized that, in an odd turn of events, a girlfriend’s youngest brother feared the “peanut butter wolf monster” more than death itself. Wolf and his more conventionally-named counterpart, Charizma, began recording in 1989 when the two were still teenagers. Within three years, the duo signed a contract with Hollywood Basic (Disney) alongside label mates Organized Konfusion and DJ Shadow. Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf were riding high, touring Europe, receiving press in magazines such as Billboard and (a then newspaper format) Urb, hanging with radio legends Sway & King Tech on Wake Up Show and performing live shows with groups like House of Pain, Nas and The Pharcyde. Then, in December of 1993, Charizma tragically lost his life. Stunned, Wolf temporarily gave up on music.
After releasing the song “Just Like A Test” with Charizma for David Paul’s Bomb Hip Hop Compilation early in 1994, Upstairs Records, a label known primarily for house music, approached Wolf to record an instrumental LP. Thus, the Peanut Butter Breaks was born; the record became the Wolf’s calling card, leading to meetings and collaborations with like-minded DJs like Q-bert, Cut Chemist and Rob Swift.
After the release of Peanut Butter Breaks, PB Wolf found himself in demand as a producer. His track for the all-scratching compilation Return of the DJ was labeled “incredible” by The Source magazine. He released a 6 song compilation for South Paw Records in 1995, featuring collaborations with up and coming San Jose MCs. He also produced Kool Keith’s first single as a solo artist “Wanna Be A Star.” These releases, amongst others, led to a picture disc EP for British label 2 Kool Records.
In 1996, Peanut Butter Wolf founded Stones Throw Records. Charizma’s posthumous “My World Premiere” was the single to launch the label. A few highlights in the beginning were the songs “Unassisted” by Rasco, Super Duck Breaks LP by DJ Babu, and hip hop 7” series.
Lately, PB Wolf has moved away from producing (save the odd remix or compilation track) to build the Stones Throw label and to travel as a DJ to Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, and across the US. Through his willingness to experiment and provide Stones Throw’s artists with musical carte blanche, he has overseen the releases of Lootpack’s Soundpieces, Quasimoto’s The Unseen, Breakestra’s Live Mix, Yesterdays New Quintet’s Angles Without Edges, Madlib’s Shades of Blue, and Jaylib’s Champion Sound.
Nacho Lovers is Andrew Ross and Scott Seewhale. Two producers, DJs and friends who bonded over a flat black plastic obsession. They make house music, or what can loosely be described as such. Really, it's the end result of countless hours spent devouring their shared record collections, learning all those 12" secrets inside and out: techno, hip hop, funk, disco, house and more. Yet however proudly the duo may flaunt their influences, their original music is far greater than a sum of inspirations.
Nacho Lovers is a feeling. It's music made for 4am speaker stacks and mid-day bedroom headphones alike, where atmosphere is everything. The end result isn't to freak out or pump fists, but simply create a lasting connection and a sense of timelessness. It's the low-ceiling, red-light vibe they cultivate in their own tracks, their remixes for a highly selective, diverse handful of artists (ranging from Chromeo to Alexander Robotnick to Pase Rock), and DJ sets that make you feel like you could be at any great club or party of the past 30 years.
"Deeper" is the new Nacho Lovers single on Fool's Gold, backed by remixes from fellow Canadian dance upstarts Azari & III, Mike Mind (Turbo) and Pitchfork/Fader favorite CFCF. There's a version for every setting, yet even in such esteemed company, the NL original still stands out as an epic journey in its own right: pitched up drumlines, floating strings and an urgently cut-off diva vocal commanding you to simply go deep. It is a sound that's right on time, yet can easily serve as the Nachos' mission statement for many years to come.