Monty Luke and Black Catalogue

Monty Luke and Black Catalogue

Recently we got together with Monty Luke, owner and curator of Detroit-based electronic music label Black Catalogue. Originally from San Francisco, Monty moved here several years ago to work with Carl Craig and Planet E Communications.

We talked weather for a minute, winter’s like this can easily make someone think about goin’ back to Cali’. As I asked Monty if this was the most eff’d up winter he’s seen out here, he laughingly asked me (Michigander my whole life) the same question.
Yes. Yes it is.

Let’s get to the music.


How do you try to get your sound and message to the people? Does the music curation and artistic duties take up most of your time, or is it the marketing and everyday responsibilities of a running business?

“It could be a general music industry thing, it’s tough man. The whole game of PR and trying to get that publicity and awareness. There are so many other labels, and so many people making music, you got to get above the fold. It can be really tough, especially when so much of your day is trying to run the label, doing day-to-day stuff and talking to artists, especially when you’re an artist yourself, it’s a grind…”

“I have to set time aside for each aspect, otherwise it’ll never get done. If I have a remix that’s due, I have to focus on that. If I have a deadline for a release, I have to schedule studio time and finish that track. I have to set separate office hours aside to meet with designers, and production related stuff. If I don’t do that, something is going to fall by the wayside. It’s some of the hardest work I’ve ever done but also some of the most gratifying.”

Monty Luke

What’s going to be happening for you and Black Catalogue in the next couple years?

“As an artist myself, I want to push myself beyond my current boundaries. I want to help push the boundaries of Detroit electronic music. I’m really happy with what I’m doing with the label right now, but I want to focus on finding underground artists, not only from Detroit, but from all over the place. Finding someone really dope that you’ve never heard of before and makes you say “Damn! Who the fuck is this?” is something I want to continue to do. But in general, I really want to push myself to get better at music production, push what is known as Detroit techno, and house, further.

To me it’s all about progress. I think the history is amazing and great, and really rich, but it’s time to push this to the next level. I think the time to rely on the history of Detroit techno is over, it’s time to push this shit forward.

That’s what I like to focus on. If you come to my house, I have all the Detroit classics, all the hot shit, and I love all that stuff to death. But, it’s time to make some new classics.”


You recently released some tracks vinyl only, and digital releases weren’t released for several months. Was that by design?

“Yes. I believe in that format really strongly. From a practical standpoint it’s more expensive, so I have to focus more on selling that more. The bottom line is I’m dedicated to that format, it’s a labor of love. They’re both beneficial; I’m not one of these people that don’t believe in the digital realm. Tangible art to me is real important.”


By the sound of your music, I can tell your heavily inspired by science-fiction. Just how deep does that run?

“This is gonna sound crazy. There is this Dutch organization called Mars 1. They want to send 4 people to Mars in 2022. Last year they had an open application process, you had to submit a 70 second video. I entered this, and out of 200,000 applicants I made it to the second cut of about 1,058 people. At the end of this year they select the next round, then it’s a seven-year training process. “I want to be the first brother to go to another planet” I actually put that in the video haha. It’s not a trip, it’s like a one way ticket, which is kinda wild. I haven’t told my mom yet, I don’t know how that conversation is going to go.”

Yea, Detroit was probably hard enough…


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PHOTO GALLERY: SLEAZY MCQUEEN @ WHISKEY DISCO

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SLEAZY MCQUEEN (Whiskey Disco Records)

w/ Dustin Alexander & Jerry Downey (Sexual Tension)

As owner of the record label Whiskey Disco, Sleazy McQueen has helped to give the ‘Nu-Disco’ scene an element of referential class. With remarkably well produced re-works and originals, the Sleazy sound combines the dirty fun ofseventies funk with the hypnotic rhythms of deep house. As a dj, he has travelled from Asia to Europe, both Americas and a constant tour of the United States. His music productions have been licensed to over 100 releases, remixes & edits on labels worldwide, including, but not limited to; Bearfunk, Virgin, Compost, Paper Recordings, Siesta & House Arrest.

All photographs taken by Lex Dodson (Rust Belt Raw, Rust Belt Raw Facebook)

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PHOTO GALLERY: BIG FISH DISCO wsg JARED WILSON – Jerry Downey’s Birthday Party

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It”s 2014 now and we’re reelin’ in the big fish in celebration of Sexual Tension Detroit owner, Jerry Downey’s birthday – Detroit style.

with DJ set by Acid & Techno legend…

JARED WILSON (7777, Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, Skudge)
“Jared Wilson is of a new Detroit lilt. He has not been eclipsed by the gravitas that comes with the Motor City, instead he uses it as a bedrock from which to bring forth his own take on techno. Wilson, armed with his analogue arsenal, forces a new rawness; an unashamed baring of teeth to those who think that Detroit has had its day.”

RA DJ Page / www.residentadvisor.net/dj/jaredwilson
Website / www.j4r3d.com/
Soundcloud / www.soundcloud.com/j4r3d7777
Discogs / www.discogs.com/artist/Jared+Wilson

Opening set by STD resident DJs – Jerry Downey and Dustin Alexander.

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DSLT: Best of 2013

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Since we are new in town, we decided not to do a traditional list, that being #1 is the best and #25 being the bottom.  Instead we have compiled a list of 20 Artists/Bands that really made their mark in 2013, within in the city and our ears.

Our list will include electronic artists, indie bands, punk music, jazz, psycho billy and many other artists you may recognize and others you may have never heard of before.

Lets begin:

1. KYLE HALL – 2013 Release: The Boat Party

In electronic music, this was the year of Kyle Hall.  I recently had the pleasure of sharing breakfast with him and our Media Director, Roger Castillo.  Kyle Hall is a well spoken, intelligent, down to earth guy who shared with us stories about his travels, his influences, and even had a laugh as Roger and I attempted to guess samples he used in “Crushed.”  The Boat Party was definitely a favorite among many in 2013, with Kyle Halls dirty r&b samples with a blend of Detroit style electronic, this LP was unstoppable.  You can find this LP among many lists such as NPR, Resident Advisor, and XLR8R.  At the start of 2014, please check back for an exclusive Detroit Sounds Like This interview with Kyle Hall.

2. THE GUTTER GHOULS – 2013 Release: Motor City Murderbilly 

The Gutter Ghouls had a wonderful year in 2013, playing shows throughout Metro-Detroit, even being the highlight of the Motor City Nightmares horror movie convention.  I have never met a band that works as hard as these guys do, even with a lineup change mid year, they still show that they are capable of giving you a great show.  These psychobilly maniacs even released a brand new video for their track “Corpse Bride,” in early 2013.  Recently being signed the Splatterhouse Wreckords in Washington, we at Detroit Sounds Like This cannot wait to hear what is in store for The Gutter Ghouls in 2014.

3. MEXICAN KNIVES – 2013 Release: Other Tramps & Nightmare b/w Down To Hell

Mexican Knives were without a doubt becoming one of Detroits most looked at and talked about band.  Mexican Knives achieved so much this year not only at shows but gaining a wider audience.  Just by attending other shows around the Detroit area, we always hear the name Mexican Knives being talked about and how they opened for touring indie bands such as Best Coast, and The Fresh and Onlys.  Mexican Knives not only wowed us with killer unforgettable performances but they released not one but two amazing EP’s in 2013.  With Nightmares/Down To Hell and Other Tramps being released in 2013, Mexican Knives are definitely a serious Detroit band.  Lead vocalist Ruth the Truth, lead by lead guitarist Zach Weedon are a duo on stage not to be toyed with.  Lets not forget their amazing bass player John Salvage, and their amazing drummer Blair, who are the perfect additions to Zach and Ruth.  Enjoy their new music video for “Killer Snake,” from their 2013 release “Other Tramps.”

Mexican Knives-Killer Snake from Mexican Knives on Vimeo.

4. ROGUE SATELLITES – 2013 Release: Other Angels

Rogue Satellites never disappoint.  Their style, rhythm, and production is something so elegant, most ears are probably not even ready for it.   Rogue satellites provide you with dark synths, electric guitars and beautiful lyrics with support from soft yet deep driven vocals.  Playing a daytime show at this years Dally in the Alley, Rogue Satellites really stood out with their hour long set and amazing sound.  Enjoy and purchase their album “Other Angels” below, and make sure to follow their facebook page and check out one of their shows!

5. OMAR S – 2013 Release: Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself

A release that went almost under the radar unless you are a huge Omar S fan is one to have for your library.  This is a MUST listen to if you have any respect for Detroit Electronic Music.  Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself is a deep house master piece which displays influences of early Detroit electronic music.  This album also made many lists across many blogs and news outlets around the country.

6. BRANDON WILLIAMS – 2013 Release: Stronger & Godsend

If you have been to MotorCity Wine more then once, then you have definitely seen Brandon Williams or the B.Williams Experiment.  Brandon Williams is one guy who definitely loves his fans, he is one to always thank and give the love back to his fans.  You can see him at various spots around downtown, and make sure to check out his upcoming album XII (coming soon).  In addition to his playing he has worked with many major recording artists and he has a 2009 Grammy nomination under his belt, this is one jazz cat not to be messed with.

7. SAXAPPEAL – 2013 Release: Singles: It’s You, Time Flies, Catch the Rhythm & I Can Be

Detroit Sounds Like This had the honor of sitting with SaxAppeal (LaDarrel Johnson) to really get to know how he creates, and how much Jazz music means to him.  Johnson handles his alto saxophone in the same fashion in which he plays his music — with attention, pride, and a graceful passion.

8. Dustin Alexander (Dayda, Sexual Tension Detroit)  – 2013 Release: Bootlegs V.1

The name Dustin Alexander can be heard in two realms of electronic and house music in Detroit.  Dustin is a man with two hats, one being that of Bass heavy ghetto tech playing loudly and unmistakably from The Works.   He is also 1/2 of Sexual Tension Detroit with friend Jerry Downey Jr..  With the Bootlegs V.1 release, Dustin clearly showed the city what he is capable of and how knowledgeable he is in the bass scene and with his disco grooves.  Dustin Alexander was a name to watch in 2013, look out 2014, I’m sure this DJ/Producer has way more in store for Detroit as he is making a name for himself.

9. COSMIC HANDSHAKES – 2013 Release: 2 Delicate Details

One part Todd Modes, one part Blair French (Dial.81) and you have Cosmic Handshakes.  Maybe house and most forms of electronic don’t fit your style.  Cosmic Handshakes have elements of electronic, but infuse parts of jazz, skilled drums, and very high end production.  The very chill EP release 2 Delicate Details really takes the listener on a journey on the joyous parts of life, the album makes you want to hang out, see old friends, and of course makes you hope for Detroit.  Cosmic Handshakes have never performed together, but maybe if were lucky in 2014 we can see something amazing happen at a local venue.

10. MONTY LUKE – 2013 Release: Lonely is the Night

Lonely is the Night is probably one of the strongest deep house releases of 2013.  Monty Luke and his label Black Catalogue are putting out some of the heaviest and hard hitting grooves that are getting around the world.  Seeing him this year on my birthday at MotorCity Wine was definitely a treat, he is a vinyl only professional, dont expect to see a laptop at his show.  Monty Luke will spin the night with the rarest grooves and get everyone dancing.  Make sure to check him out for NYE at MotorCity Wine for only five bucks!

11. NIGHTMERICA – 2013 Release: The Waiting Room

Those seeking hip hop refuge from the current ramblings and nonsense of the current trend of hip hop, Nightmerica is the answer.  In addition to these 6 amazing artists, they each display a very strong solo presense with their solo projects all over soundcloud, as a group though…perfection.  This is definitely one of the best Detroit hip hop albums to be released in a long time, and they definitely need the love.

12. CLEAR SOUL FORCES – 2013 Release: Gold PP7’s

Finally a group to fill my void of A Tribe Called Quest era style hip hop with an additional 2013 production.  These guys have an unmatched flow and unreal production.  Clear Soul Forces have definitely made a dent in the hip hop circuit having recently toured Europe and getting their name out there.  With the release of Gold PP7’s, put your copy of Yeezus down and listen to hip hop the way it was supposed to be listened to.  Make sure to check them at their Ugly Christmas Sweater Concert at The Shelter.

13. JERRY DOWNEY JR. (Sexual Tension Detroit) – 2013 Release: Bad Motor Folk (Jerry Downeys Motor City Dub)

Having interviewed Jerry Downey Jr. earlier this year was a great experience not only getting to know him, but he shared his knowledge of anything disco in Detroit.  2013 was a big year for Jerry Downey as he played many Sexual Tension parties, including his North End Studios Two Year Party, with Secrets and Dr. Disko Dust.  He has slowly been releasing his own edits and they are definitely being noticed.

14. SECRETS (Gary Springs Hunting Club) – 2013 Release: Real Life – Send Me An Angel (Super Trance Edit)

Matt Abbott aka Secrets is one man who is always playing at every sleezy bar and wharehouse in the city.  His fans/party goers know him for his wild parties with Gary Springs Hunting Club and as one of the best disco edit DJ’s in our city.  He performs many live edits during his sets and always awes the crowd or gets them singing.  While his edits range from disco, to soul, and some 80’s new wave you can always find a way to get sleezy when you hear a Secrets Edit.

15. SHIGETO – 2013 Release: No Better Time Than Now

Our first Shigeto show was at the Laneway Music Festival this past September.  Shigeto did nothing but awe his crowd and played a show which showed his precision and how he treats electronic music like a craft.  His album No Better Time Than Now became a hit across the world after its release on Ghostly.  Listen below on his track “Detroit Part 1,” for his mind blowing drum sequences, eerie sounds while it takes a walk with an unimposing bass.

16. JAMES LINCK – 2013 Release: Fortress of Solitude

The first time we encountered James Linck was when the office staff and I went to check out Mexican Knives at St. Andrews, and James Linck was one of the opening acts, our ears were blown away.  James Linck and Doc Waffles took over the stage and made sure they were heard.  James Linck has worked with many other Detroit musicians such as Dial.81, Doc Waffles, Eddie Logix, and Christopher Jarvis (Phantasmagoria).   With his 2013 release Fortress of Solitude, James Linck pop vocal skills really add to the production of his tracks, whether it be electronic, hip hop or any other sub genre.

17. PASSALACQUA – 2013 Release: Eagles Fly

I really hope in 2014 Detroit Sounds Like This can sit down with them and really get to know them.  We have extensively listened to their albums and they leave us wanting more.  Their beats are beautifully done, their style reminds us of Brother Ali, and early Dilated Peoples.  A lot of their tracks are just great to sit and relax to, by relax I mean light up of course.

18. ZOOS OF BERLIN – 2013 Release: Lucifer in the Rain

Zoos of Berlin had a quiet yet tremendous release with Lucifer in the Rain.  If you enjoy the styles of bands like Beach House and Wild Nothing, we would definitely recommend this album.  With beautiful melodies, soft vocals echoing throughout the album you couldn’t ask for a more relaxing and engaging album.

19. THE VONNEGUTS – 2013 Release: Automobile
The Vonneguts lured us in pretty early on this year with their funkadelic rock ‘n roll. From snatching sets at nearly every musical event to just rocking on the street in Eastern Market, this group stole our attention and vowed not to return it. They have a very promising future ahead of them in 2014, but don’t take your eyes off of them even for a second, because these men move quickly!

20. EDDIE LOGIX – 2013 Release: Eddie Logix Plays Lykke Li

Who hasnt Eddie Logix been working with these days?  It seems that I havent heard a remix without Eddie Logixs name attached to it, whether its for Dial.81, James Linck, Doc Waffles, Phantasmagoria, and many more, hip hop and indie musicians of Detroit want Eddie Logix on their projects.

In addition to our top 25, we included a “KEEP ON YOUR RADAR 2014” List

Feral Ground
SIAS
Dutch Pink
Jay Daniel
Golf Clap
Phantasmagoria
Codine

 


Jerry Downey Jr. (Sexual Tension Detroit) – Badd Motor Folk (Jerry Downey’s Motor City Dub)

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Released 10/7/2013 is a free download from Jerry Downey Jr..  Uncle Louie’s classic “Badd Motor Folk” from 1979 is given a 2013 re-touch.  Enjoy Detroit.

For an in depth interview with Jerry Downey Jr. click here!


Forward, Deep + Sleaze: An Introduction to Disco in Detroit Part 1

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When Detroit Sounds Like This sat down with DJ Jerry Downey Jr. (Sexual Tension Detroit & Bathroom Culture) we asked him to describe his parties and the music he spins in three words. His response:

Forward, Deep & Sleaze

Ever since my favorite monthly DJ party has come to a halt (Funk Night) I have been looking and keeping my ears open to any scene or party to fill my monthly party void. This is when I stumbled upon the parties that have been happening on a monthly basis at Temple Bar. Are they playing more funk? Is it a hip hop scene? Is a Detroit DJ playing free parties that no one knows about?

Wrong! It’s DISCO! Yes Detroit, we may have our roots in Motown, we have punk-rock, and our hip hop and electronic music are at the forefront of their scenes, but what about Disco? You can now put a check mark next to that genre too.  From its early rumblings in dimly-lit cretin-filled warehouses, Detroit Disco Collectives and their parties have been forming and moving from warehouses to residencies at local venues.

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The Beginnings of Sexual Tension Detroit

(CP – Carlos Padilla, J – Jerry)

CP: Where did the idea of “Sexual Tension Detroit” come from?

J: STD came to life when I had the opportunity to have a party at a warehouse (Warehouse 1018) in the Islandview neighborhood that I would shortly after help manage.  My idea was to provide the party crowd an atmosphere unrivaled to that which clubs/bars can contain, give the community an opportunity to release all the tension they’ve built up all week by cutting loose in a laid back; anything goes type of environment.

CP: What was your inspiration to even throw warehouse parties?  As most Detroiters have experienced, our police seem to care a bit to much for no reason.

J: My inspiration came heavily from the way Funk Night parties were thrown. They were in warehouses, BYOB and thousands of people would show up and you just danced. I wanted everything about that experience to be part of Sexual Tension Detroit.

CP: It seems easy to most, but I know myself that warehouse parties take a lot of planning and strategy, what was your draw to even get people to come downtown for Sexual Tension?

J:  These parties were late night free-for-all’s with myself and friends DJing. Ladies would also be free with a minimal cover for the fellas to cover whatever sound system we had rented.  For the most part I was organizing these events without a steady team, but I really loved the idea of always working with a rotating cast of people which really helped me understand the logistics of how things work with events.

CP: Warehouse parties dont last forever? What was your next step?

J: Around the time the warehouse space fizzled out I was offered a monthly residency at the Temple Bar in Cass Corridor and Sexual Tension Detroit eventually found its new home here. About 4 months ago I started playing back to back with Dustin Alexander (Dayda) and took him on board as a resident DJ.  A lot of things are about to change with Sexual Tension Detroit as we grow; the next move is going to be my 2 year anniversary party this November – keep your ear to the ground.

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Moving the party out of the bathroom: The beginnings of Bathroom Culture

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(Photographs from Facebook Page of Bathroom Culture)

CP: The name alone draws a lot of responses, Bathroom Culture?

J: Bathroom Culture itself is a nod to what goes down in the bathroom (wink) at parties and even though the bathroom of a club makes people feel secure, people need to spend less time in it and more time on the dance floor. So the idea of the name was to get people out of the bathroom and to the dance floor.

CP: Who are the DJ’s that make Bathroom Culture?

J: My main crew consisted of John Ryan (Dr. Disko Dust) and Griffin Scillian (Carlo Rambaldi). John was the first person to actually book me to play a club and we all eventually got together and established ourselves as Bathroom Culture along with Griffin’s roommate James Droze who would be paramount in helping expose our aesthetics visually.

CP: Besides warehouses where else can someone in Detroit catch Bathroom Culture?

J: Our parties are at some pretty random locations, we’ve played huge packed nightclubs/warehouses and even tiny restaurants like Small Plates on Broadway.  Every part of our aesthetic is rebellious and provocative; we don’t fit in with the other party crews and use some really over the top imagery.  Look out soon for our forthcoming series of web videos.

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At the end of our interview I asked Jerry to play some vinyl to give us at Detroit Sounds Like This a taste of what he plays during his sets.   Jerry concluded the interview by telling us about an upcoming Sexual Tension Detroit party at Temple Bar…THIS FRIDAY!

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Thats right Detroit, Friday night, September 6, 2013 come on down to Temple Bar for “BAD PARTY NAME: LUV BOXX,” which should be a great party to start off the weekend.

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Well Detroit, because we have so much to offer I will have to end here.  But dont worry there will be a part 2 in the coming weeks!  Yes, we actually have another group of disco aficionados who go by Gary Springs Hunting Club, but they are an article all in their own, and you will see why very soon.   Until then, find out where the GSHC party is this weekend.  I heard their is free coffee at midnight.
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Below article is a soundcloud set by Jerry Downey Jr.  Enjoy.

 


Detroit Input at Brooklyn’s Output

Output is a new dance club in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood that fortunately focuses more on the “Dance” than “Club”. The exterior is nothing to look at, it reminds me of many unused buildings in Detroit, and which is probably why I love it. Set in the old industrial neighborhood, new signs of life, social-gatherings and business are sprouting up every where. As Output proudly states:

Output is open to anyone, but is not for everyone. Output welcomes individuals who value the communal experience of music over cameras and bottle service.

Is very true. Impeccable attention was giving to the sound. The audio was bright, crisp, bass heavy and creamy and left just the right amount of space to hold a quick conversation. Lights? Yea, they got em. Luckily Output was asked to keep them toned down a bit, so when the club started flexing, it actually complemented the music. On Thursday, August 15th, 3 DJ’s from Detroit we’re flown out to headline the Input monthly at Output. Fit, Big Strick and Omar S. performed after the night was opened up by Brooklyn local Turtle Bugg. The night maneuvered like any promoter or DJ would gladly pay for. Music started about 10pm, Fit started playing around 11pm for a few dozen patrons, scattered throughout the two floor space. By 11:30pm, the dance floor was pretty much packed by a sea of house and techno lovers who were getting down and embracing the gritty, yet soulful music we bring to the party.

In actuality, Detroit artists play here frequently. Peeps hanging at Output this past weekend just got turned on to Stacey Pullen.

 


Secrets “Night Mapping”

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This weeks track of the week goes to one of the cities most expert when it comes to disco. Enjoy a track from Secrets (Gary Springs Hunting Club) and maybe catch his party on Sept 7. Where is it? No one knows, but if you are in Detroit on September 7th, I’m sure you’ll find your way.

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Check his event info here.

Oh here, maybe you can decode their party promo video from last week…enjoy!

Want more of Secrets, check out his Soundcloud!