Vanilla ACE US Tour Diary

When we heard London house/bass heavyweight Vanilla ACE (a.k.a. Sam Young) was about to embark on an eight-date tour of North America in August, we asked him if he’d keep a tour diary of his travels. He’s well-acquainted with America, having done a fair share of traveling to America before he set out on his career as a DJ/producer. Currently riding high on the strength of his recent Night Steppin’ EP’ on Sharam Jey’s Bunny Tiger Records, his DJ dates provided him with deeper insight into the ever-evolving U.S. club scene. Continue Reading

Remembering a DJ Lost on 9/11

DJ SamssonOn the 14th anniversary of 9/11 I’m sharing the editor’s letter I wrote in the November 2001 issue of Mixer. I dedicated it to Josh Birnbaum, a DJ friend of my colleague Matt Hanrahan. Josh went by the alias DJ Samsson. I never knew Josh, but Matt told me it was Josh’s dream to be mentioned in the magazine. Josh, 24, had recently graduated from Columbia University and was working at Cantor Fitzgerald. He was on the 102nd floor of One World Trade Center when the attack took place. Never forget.

It’s been a little over two weeks since the nightmare began. I saw the World Trade Center burn and crumble from my living room window. I’ve continually breathed in noxious fumes from the ensuing fires and felt what I thought must be murdered spirits from the victims shoot through my body. I’ll never forget the sight of business people running for their lives up my street and watching heroes rescue complete strangers. I’ll never forget my fear, horror and outrage.

Like you, my eyes are still bloodshot from watching CNN and scanning the Web for news almost 24/7. My sadness has slowly morphed into a state of numb semi-productivity. If it wasn’t for taking up yoga. I probably wouldn’t be sleeping at all. All of the media pundits and politicians have searched for the words to sum up this global chaos and inspire our patriotism. As I see it, a media byte comparable to FDR’s speech after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor is impossible to write. Of course this day will live in infamy and our lives will never be the same. Now someone tell me something that I don’t know.

The outpouring of solidarity in New York and Washington DC has been amazing. People have donated their time, money. food, blood and clothing. I only wish that generosity for those in need could be an every day occurrence in our great country.

Josh Birnbaum DJ SamssonAs life here in New York City returns to “normal” in this aftermath, the missing people signs posted up on walls all over the city by distraught loved ones flap in the air and tug at your heart. Photographs of people dressed in tuxedos, lying on a beach on vacation or celebrating their last birthday are branded with urgent pleas for information for the missing. I almost can’t look at them anymore. It’s just too sad.

We’ve all heard so many heart-wrenching stories, but there is one that I’d like to share with you. On the day of the attack on the World Trade Center, 24-year-old Josh Birnbaum (a.k.a. tech-house DJ Samsson) was working on the 102nd floor as a recently-hired apprentice at Cantor Fitzgerald. A recent graduate from Columbia University, he was prepping to take the Series Seven brokerage exam and was balancing a fledgling DJ career. A veteran of Long Island’s Caffeine parties, he shared the bill at gigs across the country with Christopher Lawrence, Sandra Collins, Juno and Deepsky. After the first explosion, Josh called his mother on Long Island and hasn’t been heard from since.

“Josh was always cracking jokes and liked to make people laugh,” said his friend, booking agent and ex-Mixer staffer Matt Hanrahan. “He had a sharp sense of humor and was dead serious about DJing and making music. He wanted to be a DJ, producer and label owner. He was forward-thinking…he wanted to be more than a successful DJ. His dream was to be mentioned in Mixer.”

Josh, this one’s for you.

Darren Ressler
Mixer Magazine

Kris Needs On 5 Musical Moments That Changed Everything

Secret Knowledge Kris Needs

When I took my first staff job at the fledgling trade music publication Dance Music Report, I heard stories about one of my predecessors, a chap called Kris Needs. According to office scuttlebutt he was a Brit “rocker/journo” who became enamored with electronic music and lived in New York City not entirely legally. I later discovered his writing in other publications. I felt a connection because I too immigrated from the world of rock and shared a similar POV.

In 1993, Needs turned producer and scored international dance floor success with Secret Knowledge’s “Sugar Daddy,” an epic trance monster that could make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. In late August John Digweed revisited the club classic and remixed it with partner Nick Muir for release on their Bedrock label. Now an author of acclaimed biographies about George Clinton to Suicide, we felt it was a good time to check in with the tastemaker and ask him to select five records that changed everything. Continue Reading

BSTV: Ramiro López


Spanish DJ/producer Ramiro López (listen to his Big Shot Guest Mix here) has pushed his career forward in many ways this year. His 2014 collaboration with Coyu called “That’s Not Happening” got a second life courtesy of a phenomenal remix by Nicole Moudaber. Among other releases López dropped Apt 13, a sweet lil’ two-track EP on Chus & Ceballos’ Stereo Productions. Plus, he shifted the Odd Recordings label he co-runs with Arjun Vagale into next gear. Before he got on a plane to play his debut gigs in San Francsico and Los Angeles this weekend, López took time out from a studio session to answer our burning questions — by video (!) — about his pair of West Coast gigs, realizing his dream of releasing on Adam Beyer’s Drumcode in September and a summer filled with memorable gigs at Amnesia in Ibiza and all over South America.

Ramiro López plays F8 Club in San Francisco on August 26 and Exchange LA on August 27 with UMEK and Oscar L.

Lauhaus 5 Tracks of the Moment

Lauhaus off recordings

Amsterdam-based DJ/producer Lauhaus has been entrenched in the Dutch techno scene over a decade. Since co-founding and touring the live project Polder in 2004 with David Labeji, he’s been a mainstay on the local party scene. With releases on top-notch labels including Sushitech, Cocoon, Viva, Rejected and Circus Company to his credit, as well as co-running house label Soweso along with Kabale und Liebe since 2009, he recently joined forces with the OFF Recordings crew, often spinning back-to-back sets with label head Andre Crom.

Earlier this month OFF unveiled Lauhaus’ sublime Dyson Sphere EP featuring a remix by Detroit’s Anonym, and it wouldn’t be hyperbole to say it’s one of the summer’s best releases for those who favor dark, brooding techno. We caught up with the one-named phenom and asked him to share five tracks currently rocking his world. Continue Reading