Much Ado About Nothing

By: Neil Feineman

In 2002, when I was working on a mammoth DJ festival in Acapulco, the festival's mastermind, Michael Hahn, and I were being driven through the outskirts of the city when the phone rang. It was a representative from the Deep Dish camp, who were headlining one of the two main stages from 2 A.M. to sunrise and close the festival.

But, as this person relayed, Deep Dish was not happy because they thought they were being pushed into a rivalry between them and Sasha and Digweed, who were headlining the other main stage at the same time. Now, mind you, we were dealing with weather problems (as in hurricanes), a taxi boycott from all of Acapulco and the outbreak of dengue fever among some of the staff. So starting a rivalry between two of our artists was low on our list of priorities.

So, patiently, Michael explained that there was no rivalry going on, that both duos were at the top of the game and, surely, as superstars, had ended up playing on different stages at the same time many times before. After a long silence, the dude grudgingly agreed, sort of, and then suggested that maybe we could avoid the (non-)problem by having Sasha and John go on earlier in the evening. At this point, Michael, exasperated, told him that he'd be happy to put Deep Dish on as early as they want and hung up the phone.

As things turned out, neither group went on due to a hurricane touching down and demolishing the site six hours before they were all to play. But the next year, Deep Dish definitely scored something of a coup. The same night Sasha and John were playing an arena gig in Miami during the WMC, Deep Dish created a freeway exit sign for their appearance at Space. There's no way of knowing how many people never made it to the arena, but I know more than a few who did.

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Show Details

Glow at Ibiza

1222 First St. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002

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Hours: 10:00:00 PM - 3:30:00 AM
Info Lines: (202) 271-1171
Ages: 18+


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Apr 09, 2008

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The 18th St. Lounge

1212 18th St. St. NW


Alan Freed

Alan Freed has programmed dance radio from the very small to the very large. While he was Music Director and Acting Program Director at XM's BPM, the channel was recognized for its sound and leadership in dance music radio for two years straight, in 2004 and 2005, at both the 20th and 21st International Dance Music Awards in Miami (IDMAs), winning XM's only IDMAs with the "Best Satellite Radio Channel" award. Programming for a national audience was a big jump from the unlicensed 20-watt FM dance station he launched 12 years ago this summer in his native Minneapolis, an effort that in 1998 went national in 10 cities.

Alan went on to join in Santa Monica and subsequently consulted Musicmatch Radio's dance channel before the company was acquired by Yahoo! Today Alan operates both independently as a dance music programming specialist and as Music Director for WorldSpace Satellite Radio's dance channels, "The System"...WorldSpace202 in Asia and the Middle East, and XM82 in North America.

1. What is the state of electronic music in your area. Is it growing? stagnant?

Dance/electronic music is cyclical and the last upward trend in the U.S. was around 2002 so we're overdue for a resurgence. That said, the DC-Baltimore scene is hanging in there with a combination of tight local production talent, DJs, and promoters who book the big names attracting the loyal crowds and who maintain a pulse for the overall genre (and introduce new fans). Unfortunately, Five, which was home to regular drum 'n bass and house nights, recently changed management and has altered its music booking policy to attract a different clientele.

2. You have two hours before the show and one hour after to take Sasha and Digweed someplace that will give them a sense of the city and something that would make the stop memorable. What is it?

If the boys are into American history, Washington, DC can keep you busy for days. Since we have only two hours, a walking tour centered on the Capitol Mall offers lots of possibilities, from museums (Smithsonian, Air & Space, Native American, to name a few) to government landmarks (White House, Capitol, Supreme Court, Bureau Of Engraving – the money factory) and American icons like the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. Plus, the cherry blossom trees in that part of DC are blooming right now. Or, we could make them feel at home with a stop at the sprawling British Embassy complex on Massachusetts Avenue (the stretch known as Embassy Row).

Post-show, I suggest a short drive up Florida Avenue not far from the venue to the historic Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street, open late to bust a gut on the chili dogs, half-smokes or a chili burger. The people-watching ain't bad, either.

3. What local DJs should we know about?

  • Noel Sanger has been dropping tracks for years on the progressive house and breaks tips
  • Breakfast is Ferry Corsten's young protege
  • George Karmokolias spins minimal and techno
  • Deep Dish the Grammy Award-winning Sharam and Ali Dubfire are the best-known of the DC-Baltimore names. They've been working independently, for the most part, over the last year
  • Ultra Nate' is Charm City's Queen of House and Grime
  • Zoltar is on XM82 The System in North America and on WorldSpace202 on the other side of the planet with progressive house/trance/breaks; he also plays out at selected gigs
  • Enferno combines all aspects of DJing – turntables, sampling, effects and keyboards – into what he calls the "Live Remix Project"
  • Majai kicks progressive house and trance
  • Neekola is a DJ I've heard good things about but I haven't had a chance to hear her yet

4. What local charity should we know about?

It's tough to select just one. Greenworks concerns itself with urban environmental pollution.

5. What's the venue like? Any insider tips?

Ibiza is a new club, just a year old. A block from the Metro Red Line New York Avenue station. I haven't been there because it enforces a dress code and frankly, when I'm going out to have a good time and spend my $$, I prefer not to be told what look I have to conform to.

6. If you have a favorite Sasha and/or Digweed story, tell it, please.

[Alan] How about a Sasha memory and a Digweed memory?

When I was relocating to Los Angeles from Minneapolis in late 1999, I set out on a 2,000 mile road trip. It was just a few months after Sasha's "Xpander" single had been released and I wore that track out because it was perfect driving music as I sped across all of those desolate square states, especially at 90 mph. I got just one speeding ticket (in Missouri) and I can't blame Sasha because Xpander wasn't on at the time. Honorable mention to "Wavy Gravy," that's another mint track.

I guess my Digweed "story" isn't really a story. It's an opinion: "Heaven Scent" is simply an awesome track. Well, I did loan John my headphones when he played a set at, where I was working, in 2000.

— Alan Freed
Dance Music Programming Consultant
Music Director/Dance Music News Producer,
WorldSpace Satellite Radio – The System

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