BBD Podcast 094: Joe Grafton (Together Fest Experience Mix)

Getting the BBD podcast series back up and running again I wanted to enlist a good friend of mine, Joe Grafton, to lay things down for #94. Grafton was brought into the dance scene in a bit of an unconventional way, which makes his story a bit more unique than most. Instead of discovering The Prodigy, Skrillex or the Chemical Brothers on the radio, buying turntables and “never looking back” like most, Grafton was actually helping spearhead an entire music festival with little more than a passing curiosity towards the content the outfit in question, Together, sought to curate. 

“When co-founder David Day sent out an email detailing his initial vision to start Together, I was quick to reply. We had collaborated when I was directing Somerville Local First and he was editing The Dig,” said Joe in a recent Q&A we did over email. “I had recently been exposed to dance but didn’t understand everything at first. I couldn’t describe genres, couldn’t remember the names of artists or tracks. Meanwhile I’m helping run a festival geared towards, and surrounded by, DJ’s.” 

Grafton goes on to name-check Together’s Director of Operations, Gareth Middlebrook (aka General Motor), in helping influence his decision to dive deeper into the world of DJ’ing after a few years of involvement with Together. “Once he taught me, not only did my relationship to the music change, but also my ability to converse with the team. It’s become an amazing creative outlet!” Grafton exclaimed.

Even on a holistic level, not having the knowledge of a niche style of music can often be a language barrier to people who eat, sleep and breathe it 24-7. But having worked directly with Grafton myself every year on the festival, this barrier never seemed to pose a challenge to him. Willing to learn as quickly as he was able to lend a hand in other avenues, Grafton made the effort to embrace the culture rather than be shunned or intimidated by it. That didn’t happen overnight.

As the Chief of Operations, Treasurer and what David Day calls “the engine of Together”, how much influence does Grafton have when it comes to influencing who plays the fest? When asking this, Grafton is quick to enforce emerging talent. “While booking falls more on (CEO) Alex Maniantis, we try to recognize it’s not just personal preferences that matter; we try to focus on underground and emerging performers people may not be familiar with yet.” Grafton goes on to mention one more important fact: “We like artists who are about the music, first and foremost.”

So what does Together mean for Grafton anyhow? “A shit ton of work??” he started. “Just kidding…not really. It’s really about our name, about bringing disparate communities together to create stronger communities and share the joy that comes from the world-class experience in music, art and technology.” To dive deeper on his personal experience, Grafton mentions how the Together team is “very much family” and the annual team photo at the end of the week-long fest “his favorite moment every year, where we all celebrate the fact we somehow pulled it off again.”

If Grafton was not able to see eye to eye with his team it is likely he never would’ve taken the time to learn more about the artists that picque their interest. 

The podcast mix Grafton recorded for BBD is entirely comprised of first-wave artist announcements from this year’s upcoming installment of Together, which include Floating Points, KiNK, Jon Hopkins, and others) as well as past headliners. Working with a small palette of artists can be limiting when it comes to creating a fluid mix, but Grafton acknowledges his experiences of having seen many of these performers in years past actually enhanced it. “I wanted this mix to encapsulate what Together week is about - daily FOMO of having to choose one show or another.”

As multiple events happen simultaneously throughout Boston over the course of Together week, past attendees surely can relate to having to “miss out” on seeing one artist in favor of another, or leaving one party right in the middle to check another one. “I hope I was able to make something cohesive that flows well from a variety of genres, but that’s part of the challenge and fun.” 

Concluding the interview I had to ask Grafton if he had any goals as far as DJ’ing goes. “Well my #1 goal was to get a mix on BBD so I think I can retire now?” (If only I was able to do the same purely from this blog, LMAO!!) 

Grafton is not only involved in Together, but also a Partner and Director of Business at Delta Foodservice Group, the founder of Somerville Local First and Treasurer of the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts. He also is a resident on Cathouseattic, a weekly live-streaming video feed showcasing local and often lesser-known DJ’s. Now that’s a full plate. 

Third-tier tickets for the festival, which takes place May 15-22, are still available. Learn more on their website


Bob Moses - Far From The Tree (Together 6)
Frank & Tony - Breath Game feat. Black Light Smoke (Together 6)
Floating Points - Montparnasse (Together 7)
Mano Le Tough - Primitive People (Tale of Us Remix) (Together 6)
Daniel Avery (KINK remix) - Knowing We’ll Be Here  (Avery - Together 5, KINK - Together 7)
In Gold - Palms Trax (Together 7)
Abandon Window (Redsparrow remix) - Jon Hopkins (Together 7)
Henrik Schwarz + Ame & Dixon - Where We At - (Together 7)
Break 4 Life - Soul Clap (Multiple Togethers)
Justin Martin - Ruff Stuff (Together 6)
SBTRKT - New Dorp. New York (Solomun Remix) - (Together 2)
Trentemoller - Always Something Better (Together 2)
Martyn - Seventy Four (Redshape remix) (Together 6)
Beat Faster - Maya Jane Coles (Together 2)
SOHN - Bloodflows (Sonny Alven remix) (Together 5)
Fatima Yamaha - What’s A Girl To Do (Together 7)


Ticket Giveaway! CreateSpace Presents Overtime @ Middle East, 2.2.16

The CreateSpace collective have managed to make themselves at home in their new headquarters at the Middle East in Cambridge. With a string of monthly events over the past year that lean towards the classic template of American house and techno, CreateSpace continues to be a driving force in bringing the sounds of Detroit and Chicago to Boston.  

Instead of a flashy headliner, for this month’s edition CreateSpace has decided to showcase three local veterans who’s names should need no introduction plus Elisabeth Dalton. Dalton might be new to Boston, but was heavily involved in helping build the scene in her Montreal hometown, playing shows and hosting events on the regular there. And considering the fact Some Like it Hott, Elements and Social Studies are three of the most distinct and enduring underground nights in this city, it’s only logical to have Alan Manzi, Lenore and Alfredo rep them properly.  

Expect freshness coupled with a refined and mature music selection. This is pure adult business!

Thanks to CreateSpace we’re doing a ticket giveaway for this. What you need to do: “like” Beantown Boogiedown and CreateSpace on Facebook, and email me at to confirm your entry. I draw a winner this Friday at 12pm. Good luck.

Facebook event page


Let's Boogie! Upcoming Boston Events For February 2016 

Upcoming Events 

Trust Gallery Exhibition (Alexxxan, Nite Krawla & Joe Grafton) @ 228 Newbury St :: Boston MA :: 2.5.16 (7pm)
Shadows Over Boston (How Hard, Nevamore, Chaos D, Insight, Zydrate & more) @ Middle East Upstairs :: Cambridge MA :: 2.5.16
Flight 617 (Boltcutter) @ Goodlife :: Boston MA :: 2.6.16
Binary (Vanilla Ace) @ Wonderbar :: Allston MA :: 2.6.16
Serge Gamesbourg @ Middlesex :: Cambridge MA :: 2.6.16
Utopia (Bruno & Bmilk) @ Milky Way :: Jamaica Plain MA :: 2.6.16
Treasure Fingers & Landis Lapace @ Ascend :: Boston MA :: 2.6.16
Boston Beatbox Battle (Kenny Urban, Honeycomb, Gene Shinozaki & more) @ Middle East :: Cambridge MA :: 2.7.16
Techno Taco Tuesday @ 49 Social :: Boston MA :: 2.9.16
Vault (Bob Diesel) @ Middlesex :: Cambridge MA :: 2.9.16
Dream Atlas Premiere Party (Of The Trees, Spundose, Heiss & Caelis) @ Wonderbar :: Allston MA :: 2.9.16
Tale of Us @ Bijou :: Boston MA :: 2.10.16
Diehard on Decks (Lucius Natick, Weekend Dad vs Housewife, Cyb3rPunk & Reverend) @ Half Door :: Quincy MA :: 2.10.16
Elements (Kae Sharp) @ Phoenix Landing :: Cambridge MA :: 2.22.16
Jeremy Olander @ Bijou :: Boston MA :: 2.12.16
Frank White @ Middlesex :: Cambridge MA :: 2.12.16
PVRPLE (Amadeezy, Knife & more) @ Goodlife :: Boston MA :: 2.12.16
Overtime (Lenore, Elisabeth Dalton, Alfredo & Alan Manzi) @ Middle East Upstairs :: Cambridge MA :: 2.12.16
Nu! @ Middlesex :: Cambridge MA :: 2.13.16
Dark City Bass (Jakes) @ Goodlife :: Boston MA :: 2.13.16
Kidd & Madonny @ Royale :: Boston MA :: 2.14.16
The Wave @ Middlesex :: Cambridge MA :: 2.14.16
Cherub @ House of Blues :: Boston MA :: 2.14.16
Love is in the Air White Party @ Club Cafe :: Boston MA :: 2.14.16
H.O.M.E. Valentines Day Party (Bruno, Leo Alarcon & Househead Pete) @ Machine :: Boston MA :: 2.14.16
Toadface & Levitation Jones @ Wonderbar :: Boston MA :: 2.17.16
Make it New (Len Faki) @ Middlesex :: Cambridge MA :: 2.18.16
Elements (Skeptical) @ Phoenix Landing :: Cambridge MA :: 2.18.16
Feb PEM/PM Activate (A Tribe Called Red) @ Peabody Essex Museum :: Salem MA :: 2.18.16
Goldroom @ Bijou :: Boston MA :: 2.19.16
7L @ Middlesex :: Cambridge MA :: 2.19.16
Community Links (Herodot & VENDi) @ TBD :: Boston MA :: 2.19.16
Project Mixx (Mark Starr & Lux Groove) @ Vanderbilt :: Boston MA :: 2.19.16
Kon @ Middlesex :: Cambridge MA :: 2.20.16
Boombox @ Paradise :: Brighton MA :: 2.20.16
Claude Vonstroke @ Ascend :: Boston MA :: 2.20.16
Odyssey 617 Jam Hot (Bob Diesel, Evan Berube & Trip Report) @ Lilypad :: Cambridge MA :: 2.20.16
Martin Roth @ Bijou :: Boston MA :: 2.24.16
Make it New (Martyn) @ Middlesex :: Cambridge MA :: 2.25.16
Elements (Residents) @ Phoenix Landing :: Cambridge MA :: 2.25.16
Dirty Chocolate & Sober Rob @ Middle East :: Cambridge MA :: 2.25.16
The Floozies, Russ Liquid & SunSquabi @ Royale :: Boston MA :: 2.25.16
Maceo Plex @ Bijou :: Boston MA :: 2.26.16
Bear/Paul @ Middlesex :: Cambridge MA :: 2.26.16
Dusk Till Done (Clovis, Patrick Barry, Sudo & Johnny Vaz) @ Goodlife :: Boston MA :: 2.26.16
Mija @ Ascend :: Boston MA :: 2.27.16
@ Middlesex :: Cambridge MA :: 2.27.16


Ticket Giveaway! DJ Earl at Shake, 2.5.16

Nearing a half-decade after its global discovery outside its strong Chicago origins, juke and footwork continues to evolve and mature thanks to a new wave of talented artists. Waving the Teklife flag not just in allegiance to the sound but also to founding member DJ Rashad’s legacy, DJ Earl is currently one of the crew’s youngest yet most talented members. 

In his mid-20s, Earl has managed to build a library of samples extending as far back as more than twice his age. Building on top of a percussive foundation that ranges from juke’s atypical TR-808 kit to chopped breakbeats reminiscent of classic jungle, Earl works with a palette of obscure jazz, funk, disco and soul. While the sample-based workflow of juke and footwork has remained largely unchanged in the near two decades since its inception, Earl has proven that its rhythms, arrangements, and sources of influence continue to get more complex and interesting.


It’s no surprise that Shake managed to get ahold of Earl to have him come play Boston for the first time ever this Friday at Goodlife. As he finishes projects on an almost weekly basis expect freshness; alongside residents Fens, Damian Silva and Antonious Monk who are warming things up proper.

This is a giveaway contest so you know WTF to do…like Beantown Boogiedown and Shake on facebook, and email with a confirmation to be entered to win. Drawing is for a pair of tix to the show, at 12pm on Friday.

Facebook event page


Cool Free Stuff: SQUNTO-Parquet (feat. Bashar) (Dubstep)

I’m not a huge midrangey dubstep type of guy (unfortunately I’m just too old to hang at this point), but if I were to pick one person from New England who reps that sound better than anyone right now my vote would go to SQUNTO. From a production standpoint this guy’s sound design is completely on point, turning his bass synthesis into a science while putting an equal amount of effort into his pads, strings, and other bits that aren’t just the “drop”. “Parquet” is his latest concoction; his first of the year. Enjoying an ascending career which is almost entirely self-made, be sure to check his Soundcloud as he literally has like 50 other freebies on there as well. 


Cool Free Stuff: Ducky-Work (Party Jam)

Today’s workout jam comes to us courtesy of Club Aerobics, a three piece female-driven imprint featuring a familiar face from Boston: Bianca Oblivion. Alongside cohorts Ducky and SuspectBitch, Club Aerobic’s aim is to drop free party jams on us once a month. First up: “Work” by Ducky. A straight 150 bpm floor-filler reminiscent of DJ Funk in his heyday, this one’s got the vocal hook and the 909, which is all that’s needed really. It doesn’t have the bed-squeak sound, but plenty of that stuff already exists. Oh yeah, it’s also NEST HQ approved. Niicceee. 


Anjunabeats Touches Down in Boston Tonight; an Interview with Jason Ross & ilan Bluestone 

As the Anjunabeats collective embarks on the third stop of their North American tour at the House of Blues in Boston tonight, they come fully stocked with a surprise guest: Seven Lions. Playing alongside Andrew Bayer, Grum, ilan Bluestone and Jason Ross, this Above & Beyond-founded roster has been an important and enduring institution in the world of trance and progressive house these past few years. 

I had a chance to catch up with Bluestone and Ross via email to discuss some of their musical influences and production techniques in the studio. Read below to hear what they have to say about cultivating their signature sound!

ilan Bluestone

Nick: Like many labels, Anjunabeats surely is specific with regard to the type of song they would sign. Do you ever find yourself having to compromise your personal style to fit their expectations, or are they open to your vision if it strays from the course?

ilan: They’re open to my vision. I’m always trying to expand my boundaries and figuring out new sounds I want to explore. While I love the Anjunabeats sound, and always have, it’s not something I keep in mind when I’m making music. I let my own style and tastes guide my productions, and it just happens that they fit very well with Anjunabeats.

Nick: What are your thoughts on producing while on tour? Do you prefer the distraction-free environment of the recording studio, or are you able to work on projects while on the plane or tour bus? 

ilan: I’m able to work on my projects anywhere these days. I have a good laptop, quality speakers I can fit in my suitcase, and some portable equipment that’s easy to travel with. It’s a bit more comfortable producing in a home studio, but making music on the road isn’t an issue. Plus, traveling does wonders for my inspiration.

Nick: How long did it take for you to get to the point where you were making music you were fully happy with? Do you still find yourself constantly improving your techniques (such as mixdowns and EQ’ing) even after all these years?

ilan: There’s always ways to improve, and I’m constantly learning — sometimes from experienced veterans and sometimes from amateur producers. I can’t say I’m fully happy with my music, even now. I’ve really improved a lot as a producer over the last couple years but I still want to be better. There’s always room for growth. As a producer, if you’re not trying to improve your techniques then your music is going to stagnate, and if you’re music is stagnating then you’re falling behind.

Jason Ross

Nick: Who are a few of your biggest musical influences outside of dance/electronic music?

Jason: My biggest influences outside of dance music would have to be Sigur Ros, Jon Hopkins and M83 - artists that have styles outside the norm that hit you deeply. A lot of my influences can be found on my curated Spotify playlist.

Nick: The songwriting process can often be quite complicated, requiring many hours just to even get the chord progression and song structure in place. Were there any songs you completed where the opposite happened… they just quickly came together the second inspiration hit?

Jason: Totally, it’s definitely quite a process to get things right; so much goes into play. One track in particular that really just flowed was my track “Cairo.” I had a chord progression that I was super happy with - and everything just branched off of that. It was a beautiful thing, really.

Nick: What cities have given you the most musical inspiration in your travels?

Jason: Playing in Australia a few months back was very inspiring! Sydney, in particular, is a beautiful city, and I just felt so inspired and creative when I was there. It’s hard to produce on the road, but I came back with so much newfound inspiration, just waiting to draw out in the studio. :)

Tickets should still be available for tonight’s show, be sure to check here


Cool Free Stuff: Tone Ra-Smiley (Bass)

3 minutes of disorderly chaos from Lifted Contingency’s Tone Ra up for grabs here. Ironically titled “Smiley”, this frosty piece runs the output of an 808 plus a folder of miscellaneous samples through a blender, haphazardly creating non-repeating loops are anything but redundant. It goes without saying the kick gets a healthy dose of saturation and overdrive, because c’mon we’re talking 808s here. We crescendo and close with a cinematic string section, leaving listeners scratching their heads wondering how the hell he sequenced all that…well the producers of the lot at least.

Follow Tone Ra on Soundcloud


Cool Free Stuff: Cresce-Attraction (Future/Bass)

Some laid-back west coast thump from the likes of Cresce. “Attraction” is a brief flurry of bright stabby pads and a swirling de facto kit of 808s, set to fly at cruising altitude for a brief three minutes. Easily comparable to anything I hear coming out of the Soulection camp, I immediately figured this dude was from LA. Boy was I wrong…it’s actually the Netherlands! Just goes to show this tune was good enough to fool me, and did I mention “me” rhymes with “free”?


Cool Free Stuff: Aftermath-WRPN (Garage/Bass)

I don’t know how 3000 Bass manages to find a decent track by an obscure artist on a daily basis, but somehow less than two years in I could probably manage a set playing just tracks they’ve released and turn a party out. Most recent offering: “WRPN” by Aftermath. “WRPN” actually stands for “Weapon” but using consonants in track titles is sort of a faux pas now, heh. Either way, this is a nice slice of four-on-the-floor garage, complete with classic pitched vocal stabs culled from old dancehall records. Ravey minor seventh plucks add tension where needed, and the bassline takes little conviction to get its point across. Free download, and you can follow Aftermath on Soundcloud here.