Volume VIII // 13.08.20
At Dance Wax we always unearth the best old records and new releases. We constantly speak to artists in order to get an exclusive lowdown on what they are listening to as well as their recent movements. Nothing formal, just an insight into what your favourite producers are jamming to. Rules are simple, we ask our guest for their current five favourite records.
Volume VIII: Guest Wax hosts...
Jon Hester is a Midwest American DJ, producer, and dancer known for his physical rhythms and adventurous programming, effortlessly combining diverse varieties of techno and house. With an engaging presence and a knack for telling a story, he builds a unique connection with each audience and works the dance floor until it sweats. His beginnings solidified foundational connections in music and the ritual of dance. Playing the clarinet and saxophone as a child, classical and jazz training opened the doors to music theory, performance, and improvisation. Hester’s formative years in Chicago pretty much brought house music to his ears via the radio, as he delved into the wider world of club music, sparking his connections with the sounds of Detroit. Constantly going out to party and dance, the American was ultimately attracted to the boundless nature of techno which pushed him to dig even deeper.
After several years as a punter, Hester made a natural progression to DJing in 1999. Relocating to Minneapolis, he found himself in an under-the-radar haven for underground Midwest parties, eventually starting his own club night, Convergence. As the resident DJ, he was booking well known touring artists such as Daniel Bell and Ryan Elliot, providing a strong platform for local techno titans such as DVS1 and Dustin Zahn. Over time, Heser’s mixing technique has become faster, playing each track as if they were instruments in an orchestra, rather than simply fading in and out. By bridging contrasting styles of techno and house, the American layers DJ tools and melodic tracks across three decks as well as using abrupt transitions depending on the mood of the dance floor. With a real focus on energy, Hester is a breath of fresh air and his DJ style is a testament to his success so far in terms of club nights and productions.
A few years ago, Hester’s focus shifted more towards production, as he found a new home in Berlin. Since, he has catalogued some rather splendid records through various highly regarded labels, which started out by crafting EPs for his EDEC label with Andrew Grant. Following this came his breakout Interstellar Systems EP on Rodhad’s Dystopian imprint. This brought his sound into the vernacular of techno heavyweights and wider audiences by 2016 and since then, further releases have come on Dystopian and LET, namely Trust/Arc and Aether, as well as records on Klockworks and Rekids, having built a close relationship with label owner, Radio Slave. Perhaps most notably, Hester landed an appearance on the infamous Afterlife label with a rather gorgeous track that goes by the name of Logan. In 2019, he released his Dimensional EP on Derrick May’s legendary Transmat label. With this, Hester’s music is now part of the very tree of Detroit techno that inspired him to set out on his journey in the very first place. His DJ skills have shaken dance floors all over the world such as Berghain, Tresor, Fabric and De School. Judging by his already impeccable release catalogue, Hester will only grow and continue to take the techno scene by storm. Keep an eye out for new music very soon...
Top Five Wax Takeover w/ Jon Hester
1. Ryan Elliot - The Move EP
Mr. Elliot is a Detroit born, Berlin-based label owner and producer who has spent the past two decades of his esteemed career effortlessly bridging the gap between different artistic expectations. A resident at Berghain and Panorama Bar, Elliot refuses to be aligned with just techno or house, instead he highlights their optimal overlaps. As a producer, remixer and founder of his own label, Faith Beat, Elliot always releases music that is playable but unpredictable, perfectly calibrated for dancefloor impact and enduring enjoyment. Having not released any records over the past six years, Elliot returned with a bang having released three records in quick succession at the start of this year. For The Move, Elliot has provided four solid bass hitters, introduced by namesake, which possesses a bass line similar to that of Get To You on his first Faith Beat release. Headspace and 4JM7 portray housier elements, whilst Fermi II is a surprise package as the strong use of synths strays away from his traditional drum sounds.
A1. The Move
B1. Fermi II
[Released: 09.03.20 on Faithbeat]
2. Millsart - Every Dog Has It's Day Vol.6
For Jeff Mills, his series Every Dog Has Its Day has turned into a rather spectacular series on his very own record label Axis Records. Having started the series over twenty years ago, Jeff Mills marks a return to his Millsart moniker with three albums released on vinyl and five digitally in 2020. Whilst there are stronger and weaker links within the series, Mills always delivers class and within this wealth of music it appears that Vol.6 has become a firm favourite. While combining several trusted Mills ingredients, this volume has essentially put the accent on techno soul by exploring the warmth in electronics. The Motor City Stalwart is clearly in a rich vein of form as his sixth volume stands at nine tracks deep which is his most expansive release to date. Throughout the record, pulses are set high, especially with the warmth of hybrid deep house/ Detroit techno opener Phoenix Rising and the summery, sun-kissed tech-jazz of What’s So Funny. Other highlights include the Robert Hood-esq style minimalism of Six By Six By Nine and the beatless subaquatic journey of The Possession.
A1. Phoenix Rising
A2. Motor City Dept
B1.What's So Funny
B2. Six By Six By Nine
[Released: 10.06.20 on Axis Records]
3. VIL - Ritmica
VIL is a dj and producer from Lisbon who explores the various different textualities from genres such as techno, breakbeat and electro. The Portueuguese maestro has a strong focus on groove, as he combines the sounds of 90’s era techno with his own contemporary filter, a soundtrack that has led to output for the likes of Planet Rhythm, Synewave and Analog. In fact, some of his releases come through his very own Portuguese platform, Hayes Collective, that he co-heads with the likes of Temudo. This label seeks to nurture the very best young and upcoming talent in Portugal, hoping to revive the underground scene that once was so strong. After releasing a track via Ben Sims’ Tribology compilation in 2018, Vil dropped his Ritmica EP on the British DJ’s legendary Hardgroove imprint just a few months back. The opening track is full of delicate pads which ebbs and flows into the second song, Field, taken from last year’s Tribology compilation. On the flip, Breaker and Hawav stink of a late night dance floor assault with their percussive lead sounds, distorted kicks and arpeggiated bass.
[Released: 27.03.20 on Hardgroove]
4. Stojche/ Deniro - Pressure EP
Stojche is a native of Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia. Having contributed to labels such as DMK, Subwax and Sounds Benefit, Stojche has been etching his name on Europe’s underground circuit with his fresh sounds that struck chords with the fresh faced generation of music lovers. Now based in Berlin, Stojche is known for consistently surprising high octane journeys that carry a heavy dose of emotional content. Similarly, Deniro is one of the most promising new techno talents using precise melodies and rhythms deeply rooted in timeless Detroit soul music. Gaining attention from the likes of Hunee, ROD and Steve Rachmand, Deniro has clocked a release on Nina Kraviz’s infamous Trip label. Whilst taking the helm at Tape Records over in Amsterdam, his productions are class and for the latest one he joined forces with Stojche. Released on Sungate Records, their joint effort of Pressure showcases four mesmerizing techno bullets. Kicking off with Stojche, side A presents contemporary techno with sexy drum loops and synths. Deniro’s productions on the flip are also immersed in dreamy synth chords, creating dense soundscapes and highlighting why he is so sought after.
A1. Persistance Dub
B1. Aquagoos 2 Ozone
[Released: 29.05.20 on Sungate]
5. Mike Huckaby - The Versatility EP
Mike Huckaby has done so much for the techno scene. To anyone who knew his music, the artist, producer and selector found a common ground between dubby techno and smooth deep house. Huckaby was a pillar of Detroit’s burgeoning electronic music scene in the 1980s, creating himself a musical career that sent him touring around the globe as well as leaving a legacy as a mentor to local youth. Huckaby became one of the busiest remixers and produced a huge amount of music on his own two labels, Deep Transportation and SYNTH. With highly acclaimed deep house productions and remixes for Deepchord, Loco Dice, Lo Soul just to name a few, Huckaby was always active and brought with him the sounds of Detroit deep house and techno. Focussed on always giving something back, his teaching at Youthville school must be remembered, as he taught aspiring kids the fundamentals of music production, as well as instilling a sense of self-determination. Following Bassline 88-89, Huckaby returned to SYNTH with a reissue of one of his most sought after productions containing his very own remix of Sandcastle and Flashback From The M1 which appeared on M3 Records. Enjoy.
A1. Sandcastle (The Culture Box re-edit)
B1. Flashbacks From The M1 (The Ferox Treatment)
[Released: 31.07.18 on Unknown Label]
Invite's Choice Records project was founded by Tim van Paradijs in 2011 and seeks to deliver the best electronic music through the label and their popular podcast series. For a mega extended three hour set, Hester takes us on a true techno jounrey. Tune In.
Sungate is a Madrid-based record label that focuses on releasing diverse and contemporary electronic music. For their twentieth Sungate Journey, Hester was invited to mix an hours worth of mesmirizing techno with a few surprises added in for good measure.
HOR is a live streaming service based in Berlin, offering the very best techno DJ's. Having taken the scene by storm, HOR have exploded over the last year and provided the streams we all need over lockdown. Check Hester's set full of mesmerising techno and dance moves to get you going.
KNTXT is a techno concept guided by Charlotte de Witte and aims to serve a quality techno experience driven by both national and international acts whilst staying true to the underground experience. Another mix from Hester which will make your hair on the back of your neck stand up.