MDA DJs

RECAP: OMNOM @ MDA WEDNESDAYS

OMNOM Gives it Up Fo Free at MDA Wednesdays

EXPERIENCE BY: KAGAN RICHARDSON

On April 25, we had the pleasure of hosting OMNOM, a rising star in the scene right now - at our lovely home of La Cave. He is known for tearing up dance floors and his tracks are supported by heavyweight DJs including Claude Vonstroke, Ardalan and Walker & Royce. His biggest track to date is Fo Free, which was released on Dirtybird Records on March 30.

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Cody Lee, AKA OMNOM, chose to host his single release party at MDA Wednesday to the pure elation of the cave dwellers. Fo Free entry until 10:30pm resonated with the crowd as the place was packed from when the doors first opened.

Diamond Heist and Magda Halina slayed their sets and warmed up the night perfectly. Throughout their sets, I was constantly out Shazaming the tracks they were curating. OMNOM took the stage at midnight and kept the energetic vibe with quality house and techno.

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Near the end of the night, OMNOM dropped Fo Free and the crowd absolutely ate it up. The place had been going off the entire night, but this brought the energy even higher than thought possible. He then unleashed a barrage of unreleased remixes of Fo Free, all capping off with a dubstep remix which was a delightful surprise.

Before his set, I caught up with Cody and asked him some questions. Here is what he had to say:

Kagan: How long have you been producing music? Have you been DJing that entire time?
Cody: It was three years in March, so just over three years. I’ve been writing music since fifth or sixth grade just because I’ve always been involved with music school and stuff like that. I’ve gotten into production later especially with house music but I never actually DJ’d any events until after I was already putting out tracks. I was just messing around with DJing in my free time.
Kagan: What inspired you to become a producer?
Cody: I always wanted to do something with music, and when you’re performing in an academic setting you’re never really performing stuff that you make. The more and more I listened to electronic music in high school and college I was kinda like you know what, I might be able to try my hand at this and be a producer rather than just listening to other people’s stuff all the time.
One of the toughest things is it takes so long for your ability to match with your taste. You’re gonna hate what you make for years. I still kinda hate the music I make, but when I started getting good feedback on tracks like Fo Free it really boosted my confidence enough to keep doing it.
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Kagan: How does it feel to have your first release on Dirtybird Records?
Cody: When I search for music theory and concepts of classical music in electronic music, Ardalan, Justin Martin, Walker & Royce, they’re the best. Those guys are ridiculously musically talented. For them to start get my track and start playing my track out across their Self Help Tour, it was a really big reality check. I mean that album is the only one on my phone. If I was playing guitar or something like that, that would be like Led Zeppelin playing my track. It is really hard to comprehend.
Everything after that too. Getting signed to Dirtybird, Claude Vonstroke playing it, seeing Justin Martin play it, Ardalan, all these guys I’ve been listening to for the past few years especially when I was living in San Francisco. You start to look at those guys as these huge icons and then to have them messaging you on Twitter asking for unreleased tracks, its insane.
Kagan: What was that process like when Dirtybird signed Fo Free?
Cody: I had met Gavin Royce of Walker & Royce at a party in Costa Mesa. It just so happened that they wanted everybody to come up and play a few tracks for this big back to back to back family-style set at the end of this night at some random party our friend VNSSA was playing.
I played a track and Gavin came up and was like, "Is this you?" I said yeah and he asked me to send him some stuff. I actually finished Fo Free between then so I sent it to him as well. A few days later people were like hey check out Walker & Royce’s Snapchat. They tagged me in their story and it showed them playing my track. It happened again the next day, and again in New York at a back to back with Ardalan. It kept happening again and again and became a part of their touring set. I was blown away.
Eventually they said they were going to send the track to Claude in the next few weeks or so. Claude’s big thing is he’ll only sign something if he plays it out and gets a good response. He won’t just listen to something and sign it. He said that he liked the track but hadn’t gotten to play it yet. East Coast Dirtybird Campout comes along and it just so happens they cancelled the first day of the festival so they moved Walker & Royce’s set to being a back to back with Claude Vonstroke. They played it then and Claude looked at Elevator Musik, his A&R, and was like I get it now.
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Who knows if he would’ve ever played it but it just so happens the stars aligned and they turned Walker & Royce’s set into a back to back with Claude, and the rest is history I guess. It was chaos on Instagram and Facebook pages, people were like what’s this track so there was this hype around it. Dirtybird saw this and signed it a few weeks after.
It’s kinda like what happened with Ryan Forever’s track Nasty. After the family set at West Coast Campout, that’s what everyone was looking for. I feel like it was kinda the same deal because he then got an official single on Dirtybird. I thought this was unheard of at the time because who does singles on Dirtybird? Claude Vonstroke, Fisher, it was crazy for them to bring this guy in but they ended up doing it with my track. It was crazy how it all happened.
There was such a hype around it already that people knew it was my track before they even knew who I was. It has been chaotic how everything started going down. People were like oh you have a track on Dirtybird lets get you playing here here and here. It’s all been happening really fast.
Kagan: What is next for OMNOM?
Cody: I just got announced for Hard Summer in August. I’m bottom line, like the smallest font, but at that point, it’s more about getting on the lineup with those names. The ultimate goal is to end up at Dirtybird Campout but right now we’re trying to back it up with some solid shows and other releases when I start sending more tracks out. We basically don’t want to sit there and ride the wave of Fo Free for very long.
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Kagan: What is the inspiration behind your name?

Cody: I wanted something kinda silly. I didn’t want it to be my name or any iteration of my name or anything like that. OMNOM was just a cool sound like eating, like the cookie monster or something. Then when I thought of that I thought of the face and the letters in the mouth. It just seemed like it would work. Being able to make it all capital letters is something I was kinda looking for too. The face was just something I drew in class when I was bored. I actually haven’t changed it since day one.

Kagan: When producing what is your favorite piece of hardware?

Cody: My Novation Bass Station 2. Prior to that my first hardware synthesizer was an Arturia Microbrute. That was cool, you could get some really gritty sounds out of there but it seemed more meant for the G Jones, Eprom, and Bleep Bloop type stuff. I got the Bass Station because I had seen other producers I liked using it on Instagram and Snapchat. Come to find out that’s what Walker & Royce uses so when I listen to their stuff or other people I know who use it, I can pick it out. That’s my go to for bass lines in a lot of my tracks.

Kagan: What is your favorite piece of software?

Cody: I use Ableton and pitch shifting is something I have in pretty much all of my tracks, it’s all my own voice. If I want to do something more than just pitch bending in Ableton though, I’ll use a plugin called Manipulator by Infected Mushroom. It’s a really really sick plugin. You get a lot of crazy effects. You can make it sound like a robot and you can make it sound really gritty, it’s really cool. If you get familiar with that plugin you’ll hear it in all my tracks.

Kagan: You said you do all of the vocals on your tracks? So that’s all you on Fo Free?

Cody: Yeah actually one of the biggest responses I got was that people could recognize my voice on the track because it was the least that I’ve had to pitch down my vocals to get that “I’m gonna give it up for free”. Everybody I sent it to, like my sister and roommate, were like I can totally tell that’s you, that’s the way you talk even though it’s pitched down.

Kagan: What do you think of the electronic music scene out here in Orange County?

Cody: I think it’s a lot better for up and coming artists than pretty much anywhere in the world. I started producing house music in 2015 up in San Francisco. My stuff was getting no traction up there just because I wasn’t playing anywhere and I didn’t know anyone who was. I was just making stuff and throwing it up on Soundcloud. Then I moved back to Orange County where where it was a lot easier to get things heard. Why it still blows my mind that so many people are into my stuff is because I was making it for so long without getting any response. One of the first tracks I ever made in San Francisco in 2015, Magda just said she plays it every set. It’s Bromosapiens and that’s my voice too.

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Kagan: Do you have any advice for producers trying to get their first release on a major label?

Cody: Just keep at it and always put the music first. I didn’t make an Instagram until I had already been making music for about two and a half years. I know so many people who’s whole hype is their Instagram or their Twitter. It’s like I have 3000 followers on Twitter I get 1000 retweets but you go on Soundcloud and they have like 10 followers. Put the music first and everything else will follow. Once people start playing your music and start realizing your music is the shit, they’ll care about what you’re doing on Twitter or Instagram or something like that but don’t let that be the gateway to your music.

It’s gonna take time. If you’re not willing to put the time in in the studio, it’s gonna hurt you in the long run. Walker & Royce have only been blowing up in the past three years and now they’re at the top of the top in terms of Dirtybird and house music, but they’ve been making music for a decade prior to that. It takes X amount of years to make an overnight success.  

Those are some very wise words from a rising star at Dirtybird and in the dance music scene as a whole. I think we have a lot to look forward to from Cody as he progresses in his budding career as a DJ and producer. Be sure to follow him on Soundcloud and other social media channels so you don’t miss a bit.

Until next time, Ambassadors.

Kagan

AKA DJ Moose Trax

RECAP: ELI & FUR @ MDA WEDNESDAYS

Eli & Fur Crossed the Pond to Play at La Cave

EXPERIENCE BY: KAGAN RICHARDSON

MDA had the pleasure of hosting a lineup of beautiful and talented DJs took the stage at La Cave, dishing out the tasty beats to a hungry crowd all night long. MDA DJs Rachel and Speaker Honey had warmup duties, with London-natives Eli & Fur crossing the pond from Australia to headline the night.

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Eliza Noble and Jennifer Skillman first broke into the scene as Eli & Fur in 2012 and quickly made a name for themselves. They both have backgrounds in songwriting, and it shows in their music, as they write songs with mesmerizing lyrics over dance melodies and beats. The pair is even known to sing on some of their tracks.

I personally first heard of Eli & Fur with their debut track, You’re so High. It reached the number three spot on Hype Machine and has racked up tens of millions of plays since. Their first EP, "Illusions" was then released in 2013 by NYX Records. Since then they’ve released tracks on labels like Defected and Anjunabeats, and they’ve collaborated with Erick Morillo, Shadow Child, and Tâches, to name a few.

Their early success earned them Best Breakthrough Artist at the 2016 International Dance Music Awards (IDMA) and support from legendary BBC Radio 1 tastemaker, Pete Tong. Their self-made video, California Love, chronicles their 13-city North American tour in 2015 and is definitely worth checking out.

It was an absolute honor to have the dynamic duo grace the decks in our underground home.

Rachel took the stage to start off the night and warmed up the cave perfectly. Speaker Honey then took over the decks for the second week in a row. She displayed her versatility and ability to adapt to the crowd by playing more of a techo heavy set this time around.

Eli & Fur closed out the night and kept the energy through the end of the show. The pair work so well together during a set and truly know how to work a crowd as the cave was going off! This is not too surprising as they’ve been working together since they were teens.

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Eli & Fur have played big festivals like Coachella in the past, but they will not be taking the stage in Indio this year. Instead they will be playing around the world in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Bulgaria. Their posted tour dates cap off with an appearance at Bestival in the United Kingdom in August.

Until next time Ambassadors.

Kagan Richardson

AKA DJ Moose Trax


 

 

RECAP: MAT ZO & MDA DJs @ EXCHANGE LA

Mat Zo Took Exchange LA on a 5-Hour Musical Journey

EXPERIENCE BY: KAGAN RICHARDSON

I swear I had never heard so many people cheer between songs, and I had never seen so many people weep cheers of joy at a DJ set. Mat Zo managed to bring all of the emotions out of the crowd from start to finish of his five hour set at Exchange LA.

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Before getting into the show, here's a little background on Mat Zo. Matan Zohar was born in London to an artistic family with his father being a painter, and his mother and uncle professional musicians. He fell in love with music at a young age, and it didn’t take long for him to shift his focus to electronic music with acts like Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers, and The Prodigy ruling the day in Europe. He was soon DJing around London and working on his own material.

When he was just 16 years old, he released his first single titled Exodus on a:LOUD Recordings. His trance and progressive house styles soon earned him the attention of Above & Beyond and their label, Anjunabeats. He released countless singles and remixes on Anjunabeats, Astralwerks, and other labels, as well as mixing the ever classic Anjunabeats Worldwide 02. I highly recommend checking it out as well as all the other Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep mix CDs. I also recommend Mat Zo’s compilation album, Anjunbeats pres. Mat Zo 01, if you want a taste of Mat Zo’s style early on in his career.

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In addition to all of the singles, remixes, and compilations, Mat Zo also has two full-length albums and an EP to his name. Damage Control was released in 2013 to critical acclaim. It reached number one on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Album. One of the singles, Easy, was a collaboration with Porter Robinson and reached the coveted number one spot on Beatport in 2012. The hit of a track samples vocals from Nothing Better by Colourblind.

Self Assemble followed just three years later and was released on his own record label, Mad Zoo, and had countless features spanning from Chuck D of Public Enemy to Linnea Schossow, Marcus Shossow’s very talented sister. The second album didn’t contain as many features as the first, but it did feature collaborations with I See MONSTAS and Sinéad. His three song EP, the Mad EP, followed just three weeks after that also under his own label.

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With such an impressive track record and vast array of productions to his name, Mat Zo had us in for a wild ride of a night. I had never seen a DJ play a five hour set, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. In the past, Mat Zo has produced drum n bass tracks under the name MRSA so I could only guess that his set would span many different styles.

Well, this was only kind of right. Mat Zo not only played samplings of his entire discography, he did so while taking us on a musical journey over the decades. He played classic electronic dance tracks right alongside his own masterpieces, and he did so all night long. His original tracks such as Pyramid Scheme, Rebound, and Get Up 2 Get Down blended perfectly with classic tracks like My Friend by Groove Armada, Axwell’s remix of In the Air by TV Rock, and No Good by The Prodigy.

 

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The highlight of the night for me was when Mat Zo dropped one of his collaborations with Arty, Mozart, to the pure elation of the crowd. Mozart is my personal favorite Mat Zo track, and it is the track the encouraged me to explore the sounds of trance and progressive house more.

While Mat Zo destroyed the dancefloor at the main stage upstairs, Modern Disco Ambassador residents Chef Boyarbeats, Fantom Freq, and yours truly, DJ Moose Trax, had the pleasure of bringing The Gallery Room a fresh supply of underground sounds. I swear the dance floor was on fire by the end of the night with the amount of dancing that was taking place.

 

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It was certainly a night that no one in attendance will forget any time soon. If you get the chance to see Mat Zo at a venue near you, especially at a club like Exchange, take it and thank me later.

Until next time Ambassadors.

NEON INDIAN @ EXCHANGE LA RECAP

NEON INDIAN & FRIENDS TAKE OVER EXCHANGE LA W/ MDA DJs

EXPERIENCE BY: KAGAN RICHARDSON

Live performances verse DJ sets are both amazing to experience, but in different ways. Seeing a musician or band express themselves through different mediums is like seeing the legendary Hugh Jackman star in a movie and then catching him on stage for a musical in a theatre. Neon Indian, likewise, a master of their craft for indie dance music, was a performance that I could not miss and being a DJ (and music lover), myself, I was excited to see what was in store for their DJ set at Exchange LA

If you haven't been to Exchange LA or don't know what it is, here's a little background. The building began construction in 1929, just a few days before the stock market crash. It's prime location is on Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles. In 1931, it opened as the Los Angeles Stock Exchange, 35 years later it became the Pacific Stock Exchange, and in 1986 the facility made a final move from the location.

 

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That's right, the dance floor was once used for trading stocks, but now trades memories of legendary performances. The halls that once echoed of shouting numbers and figures, now chants songs and melodies, with thousands of guests dancing to the same rhythm in unison. If you stand in the middle of the dance floor, facing the main stage and look directly up and to the right, you can see where the clock used to be for the trading floor. 

In more current history, PAX America purchased the building in 2006 and opened doors for a new dance club, Exchange LA in 2010. However, in 2013 PAX filed for bankruptcy, which paved the way for Insomniac to take over and establish the venue that we know and love today.

In my opinion, Exchange LA is one of the best clubs in the city. Insomniac truly does an amazing job with the production. When you ascend the large marble staircase to the main stage on the second floor, it feels as though you have been teleported to a midnight set at the Neon Garden stage at EDC Las Vegas, also run by Insomniac.

The lights and lasers are always on point, and the Funktion One sound system is a force to be reckoned with. Seeing Neon Indian at such a quality venue with great support from Holy Ghost!, Gigamesh, Rambo and not to mention MDA DJs, was certainly a treat. 

 

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In the heart of Downtown, you get a true taste of life in Los Angeles, as you walk toward the venue. You can feel the bass as soon as you step onto the sidewalk surrounding Exchange LA. Immediately after walking through the door, you can spot The Gallery, a spacious side room on the first floor that typically houses lineups curated from partners. This night MDA had the pleasure of curating a stacked lineup, which included DJ Instagator, Rachel and Rozco.

On the main stage, Rambo started by perfectly building up the tasty disco beats in preparation for Holy Ghost!, who took over around 11:30 p.m. The synth-pop duo from NYC held down their set for about an hour and a half before Neon Indian took the staged, which was accompanied by a roar from the crowd.

 

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Alex Polomo, the frontman for the four piece band, Neon Indian, was a solo act during this DJ set. They were named one of the best new bands in 2010 by Rolling Stone and have three albums to their name, so far. Polish Girl, off of their second album, Era Extrana, released in 2012, is the song that got me hooked. If you haven't listened to it, I highly recommend it.

Even though the rest of the band wasn't there, the unique style of Neon Indian was shown throughout the set. The chill-wave and synth-pop sound with groovy basslines drove the dance floor to a fervor.

When the clock struck 2 a.m., I wasn't sure if I could keep going after dancing nonstop for hours, but multi-platinum selling Gigamesh had different plans for me. Best known for producing Cooler Than Me by Mike Posner and for his remix of Foster The People's Pumped Up Kicks, he took over at 2 a.m. and carried the crowd masterfully with chill, groovy vibes until Exchange LA shut doors at 4 a.m.

 

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Insomniac spoiled us with such an amazing lineup all in one night. I left the club feeling like I had just finished the world's craziest leg day at the gym. I want to say no more dancing for a few days... but you'll probably find me on the dance floor soon anyway. 

Until next time. Keep those antlers up.