Claude VonStroke, Justin Martin, Damian Lazarus, Felix da Housecat, Dusky and Jackmaster weigh in on Miami 2016

go b2b at wmc.jpg

djm_40View PDFs: DJ Mag USA 40 p. 38, p. 39p. 40

Double the pleasure, double the fun. That’s what the Dirtybird crew has in store for lucky revelers during Winter Music Conference—er—Miami Music Week (depending on how long you’ve been attending). Inspired by some of the best DJs going back-to-back, we wanted to pit a range of artists against each other to enhance your Miami experience with their expert advice. And don’t forget to hit up their sets if you remember (we know how Miami goes…)

We hit up Claude VonStroke and Justin Martin, who are bringing the house at the Dirtybird Players Back2back Throwdown on March 17 at Trade (along with Shiba San, J.Phlip, Will Clarke and many more). Also mark your calendar for when Crosstown Rebels presents Get Lost Miami with Damian Lazarus and Felix da Housecat on March 19 (location TBA). Dusky Presents a March 16 party at Treehouse where Jackmaster will team up with The Black Madonna, plus over at Pete Tong’s All Gone Miami Pool Party, Jackmaster will also be going B2B with Armand Van Helden on March 17 at the Surfcomber Hotel.

Who is your favorite newcomer to the scene that you’re hoping to check out in Miami?

CLAUDE VONSTROKE: “Sage Armstrong — and wouldn’t you know it he has a record outsoon on Dirtybird.”

JUSTIN MARTIN: “For the first time in the 12 plus years I’ve been coming to Miami for music week, I am just popping in and out, so most likely the only party I’m attending is our own Dirtybird party. However, that being said, the newest additions to the Dirtybird roster have been pumping out some serious fire so I’m excited to hear Maximono, Billy Kenny, Sage Armstrong and of course Will Clarke (who I just finished some new tracks with).”

DAMIAN LAZARUS: “As our Get Lost party has grown so much over the years, it has given me the perfect opportunity to showcase some new faces and talents that otherwise may not get called into Miami. This year I highly recommend Satori, Magit Cacoon and Red Axes.”

FELIX DA HOUSECAT: “For me, there’s so much going on in the scene, so much music and great artists, DJs and producers rocking the scene. I really never go into South Beach and have a favorite or my top this or top that. I just flow, taking the organic route, keeping my ears open for what grabs my attention in that special moment.”

DUSKY: “They haven’t released all the line-ups yet, but we’re hoping Denis Sulta is playing. He had a couple of huge tracks out last year with ‘It’s Only Real’ and ‘L.A. Ruffgarden’, so expecting to hear more good things from him.”

JACKMASTER: “I just really wanna see Black Madonna because I’ve never heard her play in the flesh before. We’ve never even met, but we are doing a b2b at Dusky’s party because she is sick. Not knowing someone and going into a b2b set blind — or deaf in this instance — can go either way. It’s either crap or amazing. There’s never really a middle ground where you’re thinking, ‘That was ok.’ But this one is a no-brainer for me. We read from the same hymn book.”

Do you have a surefire anthem in your crate that’s going to go off?

CLAUDE VONSTROKE: “I’m hoping that my new CVS record ‘The Rain Break’ will be getting played down there. It should be on promo by then. I know I’ll be playing it, plus some Get Real stuff too!”

JUSTIN MARTIN: “Definitely ‘Mind Yo Bizness’ by Get Real. Such a fun and catchy tune. I have been playing it in every set and it is so fun and unique.”

DAMIAN LAZARUS: “Well, there is one particularly special record that will be premiered this year and it comes from Felix da Housecat and Jamie Principle. I guarantee this one will be a huge smash this summer, so I asked both the guys if they would perform it live for the premier play at Get Lost. Can’t wait!”

FELIX DA HOUSECAT: “There are loads of great stuff out there, not really a fave at the moment, but I’ve mostly been rocking the jackin’, booty shakin’ Chicago stuff with a bit of disco, house, techno — just good music in general.” DUSKY: “E-Dancer, ‘The Move (D-Wynn Mix)’.”

JACKMASTER: “Cratebug’s ‘Acid Train’. I dunno why this tune isn’t bigger. It’s a beast.”

What’s been the best party you’ve ever been to during WMC in the past?

CLAUDE VONSTROKE: “My fondest memory is Matthew Dear at a tiny club on the strip in like 2002.”

JUSTIN MARTIN: “WMC in 2006 and Matthew Dear performed live at a tiny little club called Jazid. I was there with the OG Dirtybird gang and we all lost our minds!”

DAMIAN LAZARUS: “Obviously Get Lost has been my baby for 12 years now, but thinking outside of that I’d have to say back in 1997 Danny Tenaglia’s GrooveJet was one of the greatest parties I remember. Everyone from every corner of dance music was there. I remember Goldie dancing on top of the bar, Danny pulling his horn and everyone shouting ‘Trucker’ at him. It was magical.”

FELIX DA HOUSECAT: “Since going to WMC since ‘96, I don’t party like I use to. It’s mostly me hanging out with my comrades over the years. But if I was to name a few that I was really impressed with was when Damian invited me as Aphrohead to play Get Lost. The energy and vibe was so spiritual, organic, beautiful where everyone is one or equal.”

DUSKY: “Some memorable ones for us were definitely the Hotflush party at Trade a few years ago and our first-ever Dusky Presents at Treehouse last year. That was a lot of fun!”

JACKMASTER: “Paradise last year was the vibeeee. Me and Jamie [Jones] played a b2b till daft o’ clock in the morning and I really enjoyed it. Ben UFO’s set at Last Resort 2015 was my favorite I’ve seen in Miami. Phrases like ‘joining the dots’ always seem to be used when talking about Ben, but the way he managed to mix obscure African house with leftfield, Bristolian stuff in the context of Miami was quite impressive.”

In the past with less technology in the world, WMC was a great place to get the newest, coolest unreleased tracks handed off to you in person, plus a lot of industry gatherings and deals were being made. Looking at 2016, what do you see as the primary goal or draw of Winter Music Conference, or as it’s referred to now, Miami Music Week?

CLAUDE VONSTROKE: “I think it’s just a week of parties now, but so many artists are there, the choices for music are a lot better than your typical weekend. I also really like seeing everyone from all across the world.”

JUSTIN MARTIN: “Well, I still see it as a gathering place for aspiring producers and it’s a chance for labels to show off their talented rosters and network. It’s just fun seeing people I only get to see once or twice a year as well all in one place together.”

DAMIAN LAZARUS: “I think it’s now mainly focused on premiering new music and new artists — and of course socializing with the amazing people in our scene. Certainly at Get Lost there are no barriers between party heads and artists; everyone parties together. This creates a unique opportunity and the vibe is legendary.”

FELIX DA HOUSECAT: “Great question! WMC? Miami Music Week? I’m old school so I will have to say WMC. Times have changed so much since then, but I was happy to see last year when I was there the best parties I was checking out was the bars and clubs with 200 or 300 people, rocking straight up house music. I would walk down the street randomly and if I heard good house music or disco, I would walk in as a fan and check it out. It’s so many options and music out there, you kinda have to go there with no plan and just flow and take what beats are in your path.”

DUSKY: “It seems like it’s less of an industry event now and the parties themselves are more of a draw for people. The sheer number of different events means that people travel from all over the US and the world to come and see their favorite DJs in one place, so there’s a good vibe. People are up for partying and getting involved.”

JACKMASTER: “I just go there to play records, get sunburnt and have fun. The networking/industry/backslapping side of things isn’t for me. It’s probably everything that’s wrong with WMC. It’s probably everything that’s wrong with music.”

Do you get any downtime while in Miami? If so, what are some other things you’re hoping to check out (restaurants/beach/more parties etc.)?

CLAUDE VONSTROKE: “I really don’t, it’s usually mayhem all the way through. On rare occasion I get a couple hours at the pool.”

JUSTIN MARTIN: “‘Downtime in Miami’ is an oxymoron. I do however, try and make a habit of stopping by Mac’s Club Deuce Bar for a Bloody Mary. Something about that place makes me really happy because it is so dive-y and opposite of everything else in South Beach.”

DAMIAN LAZARUS: “I tend not to over do it in Miami. Every year I play three parties and try to make sure they are all very different events. I spend quite a lot of time in Miami throughout the year and it’s great to see the growth of areas like Wynwood and the Design District. I’m not much of a pool guy, but I do like to eat well and fortunately Miami has some great spots for eating and hanging with friends.”

FELIX DA HOUSECAT: “Sleep till dusk and pretty much DJ till dawn…”

DUSKY: “We have a few days to relax, yeah. We’ll probably go and get some vitamin D on the beach and try not to get sunburnt. There’s also the obligatory visit to Joe’s Stone Crab, the food there is so banging.”

JACKMASTER: “Joe’s Stone Crab is a must. Annie Mac took me there years ago and I’ve been back by hook or by crook every time I’ve visited Miami since. Oh and the slushy place that Plastician showed me my first year there. They have like 30 different flavors of alcoholic slushy. It’s like the kind of spot the cast of ‘Geordie Shore’ would go, or that you’d see on a spring break clip on YouTube — but don’t let that put you off. It’s really fun.”

Originally published in DJ Mag USA

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