Miami Diary, Pt. 3: Boats, Gerber/Diddy Collab & The Festival Flu

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Miami Beach, Fla. – Flying in from New Orleans, following Buku Music + Arts Project (keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming web coverage), I hope can bring a different perspective to Miami Music Week than my DJ Times compatriots Natalie Raben and Chris Caruso, so here goes:

Sunday, March 23: I landed with just enough time to make the first of my five—that’s right—five trips to all-night, Collins-Avenue eatery Sultan for some of the best Greek food that South Beach has to offer.

Next on the docket? Downing a few beers at Free Spirits, DJ Times’ unofficial favorite South Beach dive bar, and then doing a bit of ghostly guest DJing from my nearby hotel, using the nifty TouchTunes iPhone app. It’s $5 for six chances to delight, confuse or abuse nearby bar patrons without even being in the room? Priceless!

I am the boss. Even once I’ve left the venue.
Monday, March 24: Let the games begin. After snagging some sustenance from the Miami Beach Convention Center, I camped out for several hours with our sales guy, Jon Rayvid, in the DJ Times Winter Music Conference booth. Armed with hundreds of copies of our March issue (Nicole Moudaber cover) and April issue (Armin van Buuren cover), Jon and I flew the DJ Times flag amidst the sonic assault coming from the surrounding booths as attendees tested out shiny new gear from Numark, Pioneer DJ, PK Sound, Prism Media Products Ltd. and Roland Corporation.

That night, DJ Times editor Jim Tremayne and I stopped by the Lola Ed Takeover and Fathers & Sons Showcase at Treehouse Miami to catch Djebali b2b John Dimas, as well as Jovonn playing some deep, funky house with a tinge of garage flavor. Good stuff, but luckily, we didn’t push it too late.

Tuesday, March 25: This was more of the same at the WMC exhibit hall, though I did have the opportunity to catch Kaskade’s featured Q&A with Arjan Writes, where the Chicago-born DJ spoke about passion, authenticity and his personal path to the top of the dance-music charts.

Kaskade: “[Turning] everything off [to] feel it with the audience [is] something that I [had] to learn.”Photo: Chris K Davis
Later that night, Jim and I swung by Rokbar (a modest-sized club right next to Sultan—perfect!) to catch BT wrapping up an always-stellar “Laptop Symphony” performance; bringing the house down while perched high above the Rokbar stripper poles and black leather couches. Notable guest DJ was Savant, an up-and-coming Norweigan electro-house producer with a disorder of the same name, who claims to have produced over 10,000 tracks in his lifetime.

Wednesday, March 26: What’s the No. 1 thing to do when you’re in Miami and it’s a balmy 70 degrees outside? Party on a boat!

Captains Joris Voorn, Joseph Capriati and Danny Tenaglia helmed today’s seven-hour “Found at Sea” water-borne dance-a-thon. With the free drinks (and complimentary sea-scarves) flowing, opener Voorn took it upon himself to play a steady set of rolling, summery techno basslines as we cut across the glassy Biscayne Bay.

Armed with a MacBook Pro, a set of CDJ 2000s, a Pioneer DJM-2000 and an Allen & Heath Xone:K2, Voorn had the crowd losing their minds (seriously—notice the guy on the far left). Photo: Chris K Davis
After a quick video interview with our camera crew, Joseph Capriati was up, delivering a thrashing, darker blend of techno that slowly mellowed out into the evening. With Capriati’s tribal beats in the background and his own video interview in the can, techno legend Danny Tenaglia took to the decks until 9 p.m. to play a set of classic house and disco.

Thursday, March 27: It was time for a much-needed energy boost, so I popped over to the Red Bull Guest House to explore the Hot Creations takeover from 2 to 8 p.m., featuring Greg Pidcock, Mark Jenkyns, Jamie Jones, Lee Foss, Anabel Englund and special guests Art Department.

With Lee Foss DJing, sex-kitten Anabel Englund kept things rowdy, belting out her boiling vocals atop her collaborations with MK and Lee Foss (as Pleasure State) and, of course, her work with Lee Foss, Jamie Jones and Ali Love (as Hot Natured).

Next up came Art Department, playing a deeper, bassier set than any who had come before. As I waited to see if they would mix in the massive “Love Your Illusion” by Eric Volta—a staple track I’ve heard Art Department play every time I’ve seen them—it struck me that my NOLA and Miami shenanigans were finally catching up with me in the form of the Miami flu. As a preemptive strike, I crashed at my hotel immediately.

Friday, March 28: After a day at the beach to dry out the cold bugs still on the offensive, I showered and then headed to the SeaFair Mega Yacht docked behind Ultra Music Festival to conduct a video interview with Art Department.

Art Department: Canadian DJ Kenny Glasgow and No. 19 Label Owner Jonny White. Photo: Chris K Davis
The interview in the can, Space Miami was next, with all three rooms opened for an all-star lineup including Solomun, Paul van Dyk, EDX, Sick Individuals, Chris Liebing, Radio Slave, Marcel Dettmann, H.O.S.H., David August and ADRIATIQUE.

Unsurprisingly, techno-turned-house legend Paul van Dyk pummeled us into submission, never relenting during his 2-to-5-a.m. set as he dropped thumper after thumper—with never more than two to four measures of breakdown to rest, if we were that lucky! Unfortunately, deep-house maven and Diynamic label-boss Solomun wasn’t slated to go until 8 a.m., so we had to take a pass on his set.

Saturday, March 29: Still weary from my travels, Saturday was another beach retreat until around 10 p.m., when I made my way to the Red Bull Breakfast Club Venue on South Beach for a mysterious Guy Gerber x Diddy “11-11” album listening party. Diddy was fashionably late, of course, as the tunes fittingly slated to kick off at 11:11 didn’t actually commence until 11:46.

If you’re intrigued, watch Diddy’s recap video he posted to Instagram below, and then listen to two of the stellar deep-house/techno tracks that have already made their way onto the Internet:

Post-11:11 it was time to head to Ice Palace to catch the Deep Dish (made up of Ali “Dubfire” Shirazinia and Sharam) reunion. In what was one of the largest VIP sections I’ve ever seen, I noticed quite a few dance music heavyweights paying their respects, including Pete Tong, Bad Boy Bill, Skribble, Cedric Gervais and even one of the Nervo twins. This was the first time Deep Dish had performed in over six years, and boy, did they bring a massive sound and equally large production to the sweaty masses writhing around inside that warehouse.

Sunday, March 30: My final day of recovery consisted of sitting poolside on Collins Avenue and shoveling ample DayQuil and Venezuelan food into my mouth. Relative bliss.

Sunburned, sick and with a suitcase full of dirty clothes, nonetheless, I knew that I’d do it all over again the exact same way. See you next year, Miami.

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