Houston House Music 101: An Extended DJ Summit

Categories: Local Motion

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Photo courtesy of Extended Play
L-R: Josh Dupont and Eddie Spettro of Extended Play
Recently, I blogged about two brothers who are professional accountants by day and amateur electronic dance music producers by night. It was a story about doing something outside the box and finding and fostering the creativity within us, no matter what we do to pay the bills. It was about how music brings people together, which should generally be celebrated.

I was a bit surprised when my quaint little blog brushfired with heated vilification normally reserved for stuff like Mein Kampf and that poetry book Jewel wrote. Some people were unnecessarily rude in their critiques of the brothers' work. Some were at least funny -- no, the McFadden Brothers aren't my coke dealers. And at least one offered a serious invitation to learn more about EDM in Houston.

That invitation came from Josh Dupont, a fixture in the local dance-music scene. He agreed to arrange a summit of sorts, a sit-down with some of the city's most successful DJs and producers. Since I'd already covered the exploits of a pair of upstarts, I agreed it would be good to know more about the people who have toiled to establish Houston's electronic-music scene.


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Look Out, Boy DJs of Houston: Here Come the Girls

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Photos courtesy of Here Come The Girls
At their first gig ever, a funny thing happened to Here Come The Girls.

The boys came running.

"It was a bit hectic getting all of the gear set up and we had guys coming up to us all night fixing our levels on the mixer," says co-founder Darenda Weaver. "We thought it was really funny because if it had been a male up there DJing, people would likely expect him to know what he was doing or tell him to fix the levels rather than touching his gear. It was just all in all a fun night, so we decide to book some more shows."

Since then, Houston's all-female DJ group has cut out the kinks and built up an audience from shows at MKT Bar, Eastdown Warehouse, Big Top Lounge and the like. This Sunday the group kicks off their second year together with a noon-5 p.m. showcase at Pop Shop Houston, 1657 Westheimer.


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Children of Pop at Cactus Music, 3/1/2014

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Photos by Alyssa Dupree
Children of Pop
Cactus Music
March 1, 2014

One week removed from their album-release pizza party at House of Creeps, Saturday Houston's Children of Pop welcomed a sizable crowd to a mid-day Cactus Music in-store amid rows of music merchandise and the infamous keg of Saint Arnold.

The band kicked off by working through the noise of the latter half of debut full-length Fiesta/Drift before truly finding their bearings on "Power From the Sun." Because the song structures of Fiesta/Drift balance rock and electronica so carefully, it's became evident that it's going to be hard to pigeonhole them as one thing or another. It's not easy to balance two genres as bold and diverse as those two, but Children of Pop found a way to work through dreamy synth parts before jumping head-first into heavy, intricate guitar playing on songs like "I Know" and "Build a Home."


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Children of Pop Is Throwing You a Pizza Party

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Last year was a busy year for Houston's Children of Pop. So busy, in fact, that the act never had time to host an official release party for its latest album, Fiesta/Drift, which was voted one of Rocks Off's top local albums of 2013.

But that's all about to change when Children of Pop hosts the official Fiesta/Drift Tape Release Pizza Party tonight at Houston House of Creeps. So it seemed there was no better time to sit down and find out more about this local act that has been making waves on a national scale.

Of course, getting to know Children of Pop means checking expectations at the door. Though the act can be considered a "band," it's actually the brainchild and persona of one Houston local who prefers to remain nameless in the press. When asked why, his answer is simple enough.


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At Houston Tattoo Shops, "Nothing Gets Done Unless Music Is Playing"

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Photo courtesy of Electric Chair Tattoo
Stephanie Purnell inks a RIPPER band member
Late last year, I asked my daughter what she wanted for Christmas and she said she wanted the entire family to get tattooed together.

It was so much easier when I could just buy her a Barbie dream house and be done with it; but, as she'd just left home to live on her own, how could I deny her? It was tougher to convince Mrs. Sendejas this was a fine idea, but was managed and so off we all went one Friday evening to get inked.

At nearly 50, I had no tattoos on my body until last month. I'd been in tattoo shops before, of course. One thing I appreciated about them was that they always had music going. I'd heard better music in some tattoo shops than I'd heard in bars or other music venues on occasion.


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Meet the McFadden Brothers, Houston's EDM Accountants

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Ryan (L) and Kyle McFadden, a.k.a. Kyle Dux
I once wrote here how my kids work at being musicians. Their hand-to-mouth life demands and modest success mean they don't have to bus tables for a living.

But many Houston musicians do work for the man. Admirably, they create and perform music by night, then do the day job. For many, it's changing tires at the auto shop or stocking shelves at Guitar Center.

Or, in the case of the McFadden brothers, Kyle and Ryan, it's the staid corporate work of accounting. Over the past year, these honest-to-Pete siblings have joined forces to create original, Houston-based electronic dance music. Under the banner of Kyle Dux -- yes, that's a nod to Bloodsport's larger-than-life hero, Frank Dux -- they focus on house music and hope to help advance a local EDM scene that seems too small for a city this large.


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Melodic Ingredients: Music at the Saint Arnold One Pot Showdown

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Photos by Adrian Sendejas
The Confused Bavarians, One Pot Showdown contestants

My brother, Anthony, enjoys cooking and he is also quite good at it. I enjoy drinking beer and am also quite good at that.

So, Saint Arnold Brewery's One Pot Showdown seemed like a great, local event to partake in to boast our respective talents. Last Sunday afternoon, we joined 80 teams, all gathered to fix the best meal possible, cooked with Saint Arnold beer and entirely prepared - from start to finish - in one, single pot.

Weeks of debate over what to serve ensued. Gumbo? Etouffee? Chili? We couldn't decide.

But, the one ingredient we all agreed upon was music. Whatever we chose to prepare for Houston's fun-hungry would be served with a big side helping of musical deliciousness. As we've done for countless tailgates and family picnics, we devised a playlist to entertain ourselves and those we hoped would gather around our booth.

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Six Houston Hardcore Acts to Look Out for in 2014

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Photo by Nathan Smith
Die Young (TX)
For the first time in a long time, Houston's hardcore punk scene is thriving. Maybe it's just a part of the wave of hardcore revivalists around the country, but then Houston has never been trendy. What we have here, though, is a burgeoning scene in and of itself, formed through the grassroots efforts of its members. That's pretty commendable.

2014 doesn't seem to be letting up at all. In fact, the scene just seems to keep growing and now Houston is drawing in more and more major-label and legendary hardcore acts to play at places like Fitzgerald's and Walters with each passing month. Here are some of the great local names you might encounter at those shows, and who you should be watching as the year goes on.


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10 Perfect Cover Songs for 10 Houston Bands

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Photo by Meagan Merta Photography/Courtesy of Lion Among Men
Lion Among Men
Every one of the acts listed here writes fine, original music. They're too busy creating Houston's sound to be bothered with cover songs. That's a good thing.

Still, a man can dream, right? In fact, this whole exercise began when I fell asleep listening to a song and dreamed a local band performing it. In the light of day, I wondered which songs might fit other area bands.

Here are my choices. If even one of these happens, prepare to read about it here again later.


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Amarillo Highway: How Well Does Houston Music Travel?

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Photos by Jesse Sendejas Jr.
Christine at Motel 6
My daughter recently moved to Colorado. Like a lot of young people striking out on their own, she decided she wanted to celebrate her first holiday away by coming back to visit. Her boyfriend drove her to Amarillo, and Mrs. Sendejas and I made a weekend trek to retrieve her.

My kids are musicians and I'm a dad, so any time I've traveled outside the city, I've burned a few of their CDs to hand off to puzzled but understanding strangers. Not once has anyone ever told me, "No thanks, I don't want your free music." We should all take heart in that.

Since I've been running with team Rocks Off, I've also felt responsible for alerting people of more of Houston's musicians, not just the ones I raised. With that in mind, I grabbed some CDs by local acts to pass along to anyone I met in need of an introduction to Houston music.


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