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On The Boogiedownload: Mix 046 by Andy Kershaw (House) + Interview!

And the podcast mixes just keep rolling in. Yesterday I received FOUR separate one for the podcast series…yes, FOUR. Definitely a personal record! Needless to say, June is going to be a busy month with banging them out, one by one. This will subsequently bring us up to #50, which I’ve been in talks with a certain someone in regards to penning for us. And trust me, you WON’T be disappointed….especially if you’ve been in the scene here in Boston for a minute now. 

The first one I’m posting has been on the docket for a little while now and is by Andy Kershaw. Andy’s heyday in Boston was actually around the turn of the century, and knowing who he is is sort of like a litmus test to how “old school” you are locally. And I can barely even wear those colors, considering the fact he moved to San Francisco only a few years after I transplanted myself here. Regardless, his old alias “Kaotik” was on hundreds of flyers, and was one of the most prominent hard trance DJ’s in the city, playing both clubs as well as raves (at a time when it was actually OK for both of them to mingle even right here in downtown Boston!)

Since moving to the left coast in 2007, Kershaw’s refined his style significantly, focusing on properly-crafted tech house and even branching out to production and launching his own record label, 3AM Devices. (Or, as our friend Mike Wilkins likes to say, 3AM “ETERNAL” Devices). A logical progression to what he’s been playing these last few years, Kershaw has managed to obtain proper distribution as well as finesse the branding of the label, all while locking down the first few releases. The first of which comes out next week! This is an exciting venture for sure, and I wish Andy the best of luck with it.

I wanted to do an interview with Andy over email because he’s been around the Boston scene for a lot longer than most people I showcase on BBD, myself included. He chats a bit about our scene compared to San Francisco’s, the challenges he faced when he moved and had to re-establish himself, and the label. Kershaw speaks pretty candidly here, so it’s a great read!

Andy back in his innocent raver days circa 2000

Nick: Old school heads around Boston know you have a pretty long resume of events you played at around town in the late 90s and early 2000s. What were some of the more memorable ones you still recall? Any crazy stories from any of those parties that are safe enough to publish on here?

Andy: Oh wow, there are quite a few that come to mind. Without question, the top gig was one Sunday evening at The Phoenix Landing in 2000. Dutch from San Francisco was in town and I had the closing slot. I remember being very much in the zone the entire gig, and by the end of it, the windows in the front were completely fogged up. I let my last track play out, just after 1am. The crowd was demanding an encore (including one of the owners) so I pulled out a nice long banger of a track and just let that play out too. I think it was 1:20am when the music finally ended, which as most of you from Boston will know, is stretching it! Others that stand out were all the Vermont gigs that I played for Justin REM and Patti. The crowds there were totally into what I was playing at the time. One of the more “infamous” gigs for me, and this applies to MANY an older-skool Boston/New England DJ, was surely Freedom 2000 up at Mt. Ascutney in Vermont. I think I will just leave that one alone.

Nick: San Francisco has been your home for around five years now. In what ways is the electronic music scene there similar and different to Boston’s? Was it tough to get gigs early on after moving there, in the sense you had to network and do a lot of self-promotion before establishing yourself?

Andy: I can best describe San Francisco and Northern California as pretty much exactly what the New England scene could have been had there not been such an anti-rave/late night movement (the struggle that New England still continues to face). The culture in general is quite different out here. Not only is post-2am simply a non-issue, but the day parties here (such as Sunset and the Dirtybird BBQs) that take place really impressed me and made me wonder why those types of parties are not something that Boston was able to reproduce. The scene also differs at the level of segregation between the genres. Boston and New England tend to have mixed-genres for their one-offs, whereas out here there’s probably at least 4 to 5 scenes that have all their own events and there really isn’t a lot of crossover. Depending on your own taste, that can be a good or a bad thing. I generally think of it as a very good thing. 

What really struck me on the DJ tip was just how much of an effect those extra hours have. The local DJs out here were just levels beyond what I was used to in terms of having different sets (i.e. openers, mid-party, and closers). Just how many of the locals I have met that have moved on to a global stage is inspiring. I feel like in New England, with mixed genre parties or weekly nights that are only 4 hours, DJs tend to represent their genre and play sort of a peak level set for their particular genre, regardless of when they were playing. Essentially, I had to ‘start over’ in two senses - one being new to this gigantic scene, and two re-learning exactly how I buy tracks and build sets for much broader lineups. 

It was only until 2012 that I really felt like I started to get some proper gigs here, beginning with Adnan Sharif’s Forward AM Sessions. This is another difference from Boston: the 6am parties. Meaning, they start at 6am and typically go until 1pm or 2pm (which Forward AM Sessions was). I feel like that gig was comparable to the Phoenix Landing gig I described earlier. I was slated to close out the “night” from 12noon-1pm. 1pm came and Adnan just told me to keep playing until 2pm. A couple hours later, he texted me and offered me the residency. Not bad for what was essentially my first “real” club gig in SF. But yeah, I can never see myself being satisfied with what Boston has to offer in terms of nightlife now that I’ve experienced SF. The promoters here, such as As You Like It, Kontrol, Forward, and Sunset just really wow me on a regular basis. That and the music I want to see typically take place on weeknights in Boston, whereas here it’s weekends. That was always difficult with a bright and early day job. Work is the curse of the dancing class! 

Nick: Tell us a little bit about the label you are about to launch. What’s its overall aesthetic, and what types of artists are you looking to include on your roster?

Andy: 3AM DEVICES is the label. The entire thing had its genesis back in July of 2012. I was a few weeks out from a large weekend-long campout that I was involved with that, to sum up, went very sour. I have had events go poorly in the past, but this was very much different and I was not finding that I had the same drive to bounce-back and move on to the next one. A text came in from an old friend that I grew up with back east with a request to check out his new tracks. I was really into what I had heard, and a long phone call later we had decided to go for it and start a label. I’ve been a musician all of my life and it’s something I definitely let slide for far too long. Getting back in the studio and making music was what I had always envisioned and this opportunity was serendipitous for sure. 

Larry (aka Ménage à Moi) and I spent nearly a year on the branding of the label, and jumped headfirst into how to do this properly for long-term success. We had plenty of help from many different people along the way. The culmination is that 3AM DEVICES was picked up by Baseware Distribution, which is something that we are very proud of, especially being a new label with new to fairly unknown artists. 3AM DEVICES has a varied sound, but I can generally point it to the deeper, darker vibe of both tech-house and deep house. We do, however, have a sub-label in mind for 2014 to launch that will be geared more to the sunnier vibe of house, deep house, and nu-disco. One thing that we have heard a lot of while promo-ing material is “new sound”, which we take as a good sign.

Nick: Are you doing any production of your own right now, or are you focusing more on developing the label and refining your style as a DJ?

Andy: I do have plenty of productions in the works. The majority is geared towards next year and the sub-label I mentioned, although I have some remixes and edits that I have been playing out that likely won’t see a full release due to copyright issues. Larry and I have collaborated on the remix for release 2 (Tracing My Calls), so that will be the first track ever released that has my name attached. This is the third from the last track on the podcast and releases on Beatport on the 10th of June! I would say that development of the label is certainly my top job at the moment, while also ramping up getting me out there DJ-wise is also a top priority. I did pair that down for a good chunk of time while working on the label, and coming back into DJing from a label perspective (and being able to play a host of our tracks to boot) is definitely a nice experience when compared to simply being part of a DJ-gang (aka crew).

Nick: Describe how the style of what you play has changed or evolved over the years. (You used to play hard trance back in the day, right?)

Andy: My style has changed immensely, to say the least. In the heyday of 1997-2002, I was gigging once to twice a week under the “Kaotik”/”Andy Kaotik” moniker and I was certainly known as being the “go-to” NRG/hard dance DJ around New England. I was at Satellite Records every Wednesday and I had amassed a gigantic collection of vinyl from that genre. As I got a bit older and was getting more exposed to proper techno and house music, my taste certainly changed. A key night for this was when Mario and I (as Audio Dream Control) brought Chris Liberator to the Boston area. I started to switch over to the London Acid Techno sound fairly quickly as I was really beginning to feel bored with playing NRG and the like. The genre was just so formulaic, that I was becoming quite bored with playing it. Or, as my close friend Tom would say, I “mastered” it. 

I moved over from acid techno to the more contemporary techno of the day (Primate Records, Swedish stuff, etc.), which coincided with a drop in gigs…as well as a general drop in the amount of parties happening in New England. So, while I sold off nearly all of my vinyl collection, I continued to follow current music and ramped things up when I moved to San Francisco. Coupled with what I described earlier about the differences in DJing out here, I would say my style can range anywhere from deep house to tech-house to techno, depending on what gig I have and what timeslot. I must say I have a fondness for always throwing in classic tracks in with brand-new stuff and making it work. Closing sets are definitely my favorite. While I have not had a huge quantity of gigs overall in SF, the gigs that I have had have been quality. The crowd reactions have consistently been positive and it gives me a very positive feeling about moving forward into the future and whatever opportunities the label and production work afford. :)

Beantown Boogiedown Podcast 046: Andy Kershaw (House) by Beantownboogiedown on Mixcloud


On the Boogiedownload :: Andy Kershaw (House)

1) The Syrup - Ménage à Moi (3AM DEVICES) (mid July release)
2) Dub Resistance - Blue Soul (3AM DEVICES) (release: 07/01/2013)
3) Jack On The Rocks (Sante_s 90s House Jam Remix) - Sidney Charles (Off Recordings)
4) Nobody (Original Mix) - S!LK (Elite Records)
5) Faux De Baux (Original Mix) - Real Connoisseur (Purp & Soul)
6) Adam F Circles maybe (*TRACK INFO CLASSIFIED*)
7) Technoir (D-Nox & Beckers Remix) - David Laveij (Suara)
8) Tracing My Calls (TJ’s Fortress Of Bender Mix) (Tron Javolta remix) - Ménage à Moi (3AM DEVICES) (release: 06/10/2013)
9) I’ll House You (Club Mix) - Jungle Brothers (Idlers)
10) Hiphouse (Original Mix) - Lauhaus, Kabale Und Liebe (Rejected)

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