Welcome to Binary week, here on electronic rumors, readers!
Over the next seven days we’ll be dedicating most of our output to Binary Entertainment, that haven for all things ElectroPop, all things Indie-Electro, all things Nu-Disco. That’s right…all things Dreamwave!
A couple of years ago this sound had no name, the Valerie crew had their little corner of the retro, 80s, inspired ElectroPop/Nu-Disco world pretty sorted, but not named, and around the world there were great artists producing music you could only really describe as Valerie-esq. While The Valerie Collative were making music largely inspired by American teen movies of the 80’s their sound still had a strong European quality to it…enter the Binary stable of artists, who took this mixture of melodic retro ElectroPop and contemporary, dancefloor aimed, production and ran with it. Adding a healthy dose of LA-centric Americana, a certain swagger if you will, to the genre and naming it. Dreamwave.
I’ll admit I was a little hesitant about the name when I first heard it being used. ‘I’ve been listening to ElectroPop for over 20 years’ I thought ‘it really doesn’t need a new name’, but credit is due to Josh and Kyle (Binary’s founders) as their vision of Dreamwave has stuck, and makes sense (even to me!) now. In retrospect the guys did a amazing job by giving this scene a name, it’s more than just a style of music (the Binary artists themselves span quite a diverse range of electronica), it’s an attitude, a soft focus outlook on life where loving and dancing are the priority. When you think of Dreamwave, not only do you thing of the perfect smooth ElectroPop/Nu-Disco blend but also of warm summer nights, partying in LA.
Whether it’s the laidback Indie-Electro of NightWaves, the Disco flavours of Keenhouse or LexiconDon’s real world ElectroPop the Binary crew are putting melody back on the dancefloor, or Disco back into songwriting, and the term Dreamwave is becoming so ubiquitous now that January’s print edition of The NME named Dreamwave their ‘D’ in an ‘A to Z for what to watch in 2011’. Let’s hope their readers take note!
Not only did Josh and Kyle pull off the (pretty hard) task of branding a type of ElectroPop, but they also branded a feeling. An aspirational lifestyle that can be yours, even if you can’t get to LA, through the music of the artists who call Binary their home.
Here’s what Josh and Kyle have to say:
ER: How did Binary get started?
J: Well, I suppose it started out of a frustration for doing what people consider to be conventional lives and jobs. Kyle and I both desperately wanted to try doing something special and different before we became tied down by things like a mortgage, a marriage, or kids. We’ve been musical compatriots practically since the day we met (sailing in Long Beach!), so starting a music company was something we felt really excited about trying. We spent a bunch of time thinking long and hard about what we wanted Binary to be, and eventually, near the middle of 2008, we quit our jobs and haven’t looked back since!
ER: Is there a Binary Mission statement?
J: For a long time we were somewhat known for saying that our mission was to “bring the song back to the dancefloor”… In a lot of ways that is definitely still a mission of ours. Most of the music we work with, put out, or write about is expertly produced electronic music that’s made for fans of all music, not just dance junkies. I don’t think that part of the mission has changed. What I’m no so sure about anymore is whether or not you could call Binary a ‘dance music’ music factory. Kyle and I love a lot of different kinds of music and I think Binary will end up being a home for a lot of music that people can’t dance to. I believe our mission is to provide an artist friendly home for great songwriters, be it on the blog, on our label, or as an artist that we manage.
ER: How do you find your roster?
K: Well our roster hasn’t changed since it was fully in place back in September of 2008. But for that process, it was a mix of musicians we were associating with at the time through a friend and we were really impressed by the material they were putting together (Fabian and Alex from LexiconDon), a couple guys we found on some blog posts (Short Circuit and Alfa), we found The Kids Are Radioactive by scouring through MySpace, which took up a lot of our time in the early days of Binary. And we saw Keenhouse play a show that another one of our friends was promoting. We spent a ton of time just jumping in head first into this community of artists online, on MySpace, that were making original music and showed a certain creative edge rather than just chopping up some songs and making remixes…it was really a great journey to take. So we found what we thought was the best and the guys that showed the most potential, and guys that were in the LA area since we were trying to build a local scene and community here, and that’s how we ended up with the roster we currently have. Nowadays, because of the blog, we get a lot of promo emails, so we’ll find a lot of upcoming talented producers that way, and just staying on top of blogs looking for new artists. I personally really like finding the totally unknown guys that I can just sense have a lot of potential and watching them grow into bigger things, whether that’s due to us or not, but unfortunately that’s getting a lot harder since MySpace has died…which is the only bad part about MySpace dying.
ER: Is LA really as cool and romantic as the music would suggest?
K:Haha, yeah, I think so. LA is as cool and romantic as you make it. LA gets a bad reputation around the world (though I think this is changing a lot) and people think it’s plastic and fake, and yeah, there are certainly big parts of the city that are like that. But it’s a very big place…big enough for all of us to create or live the life we want to live. When I first moved out here from Chicago I actually kinda’ hated this place, but once you settle in and can comfortably call it home, you start to find your own little world that works for you, with the friends you want, going to the places you want to go to, doing the things you want to do. I can’t think of a better place to live in your young 20’s than the east side of LA. We’re just all such like-minded people here, and everyone kinda’ gets each other, and we all know that we’re all kind of out here trying to live the dream. So it all works out, and some days you’ll find yourself on the freeway looking at the big green hills and the blue sky with the sun shining and you take a breath and really appreciate being here right now.
ER: Where the ladies at?
K: My lady’s at home, she’s awesome. Oh you mean where are the ladies on Binary? Haha, man there are a lot of times we wish we had more of a female presence on the label, whether that be having a full fledged Binary female artist, or even just a source to go to for female vocals on some tracks. I really hope that day comes soon, cause we could really use it. The problem is that it just seems harder to find…as I said we haven’t really expanded our roster in any case, but even if we had, I don’t usually come across female producers or singers sending us their music that would fit well with Binary. We try and push our current artists to collaborate with other singers, especially female singers, because a lot of times that is the best thing that could complement a track they may be working on, but it’s tough working on random collaborations like that. I don’t know, I think we’re going to need to start exploring some other channels. But that day will come and it will be a great day.
To get you started on your week long journey down the Binary rabbit-hole here’s NightWaves ‘Binary Hour’ mixtape, showcasing some of the best from the label:
The Binary Hour tracklist:
01: LexiconDon – Pink + Blue
02: NightWaves – Fascination (Vocal)
03: Alfa – Funker
04: Short Circuit – This Is Real
05: Fabian – Last Flight
06: Keenhouse – Ari-es (Grum reMix)
07: NightWaves – Sweet Carrie (Beaumont reMix)
08: LexiconDon – December Sunset (U-Tern reMix)
09: The Kids Are Radioactive – Sorry
10: Short Circuit – Get Up
11: Alfa – Holy Shit!
12: Fabian – Heatwave
13: Fabian – Heatwave (Short Circuit’s Heatstroke Edit)
14: LexiconDon – Student Body
15: Keenhouse – Ari-es (Hemingway’s Starlight Yacht reMix)
16: Fabian – Starlight Love
17: LexiconDon – Hot Love
18: Short Circuit – How We Speak
19: NightWaves – Fascination (Bit Funk reMix)
20: Keenhouse – The Rendezvous
And as a bonus, check out some Binary-on-Binary reMix action:
Over the course of this week we will be profiling and interviewing each act on in the Binary stable. We’ll be featuring loads of awesome music, some exclusives, mixes and a competition so make sure you check back daily as we bring you the low-down on some of the finest ElectroPop being produced today.