Karl Kamakahi is one of the gold standards of house music in Seattle. Founder of Seattle’s De La Creme crew, Karl learned to DJ in 1989 in his home Pearl City, Hawaii, taught by legendary Hawaiian DJ James Coles. He began experimenting with freestyle, transitioned into techno, and eventually felt the most at home with house music in the early years of the house movement in 1992. Playing parties and residencies Minneapolis, Denver, San Francisco, Portland, Madison, and St. Paul, Karl’s latest efforts in Seattle caught the notice of Brian Lyons and Wesley Holmes of the world-renowned Flammable crew. Karl was asked to join as resident DJ several years ago, and released the first ever mix CD to represent Seattle’s flagship house music party, now the longest running house music night on the west coast, nearly 20 years of house magic.
In Seattle, Karl has played and created terrific parties in venues such as Re-bar, The Woods, The Cuff, Electric Tea Garden, Expansions on KEXP, The Underground, The Baltic Room, Havana, The Monkey Loft. In addition to Flammable Sundays at ReBar, Karl is the creator of Seattle house pillars like Proper at Baltic Room and Soft Option at Monkey Loft.
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If you don’t know Flammable’s Wesley Holmes, you should. And if you do, you know Wes will be serving the children gorgeous house music with fat, chunky basslines for days.
I downloaded Wesley’s new mix “Resistance4” this weekend, co-produced by his eminence and homie’s homie Gene Lee, to my phone and found myself screaming in my car when the bass hit. Great stuff–GET IT. Love these boys…among Seattle’s finest and a credit to our burgeoning electronic music community.
Flammable’s Brian Lyons doesn’t often post mixes for listening–usually you have to go to one of his shows to hear his particular, delicious viewpoint on house. So it’s a treat to have this rare live mix from Flammable representing one of Seattle’s finest playing at the Re-bar homebase. Hit that…you won’t be sorry.
Flammable’s Brian Lyons threw this out the other day and I can’t stop listening to it and reliving the early 90s house vibe.
BIO: Almost 20 years in the DJ booth doesn’t lie, and neither does the dance floor…which is where Xan Lucero has spent the last two decades playing house and techno music. He has spent the better part of the last 15 years traveling America exploring its DJ booths and dance floors playing a global brand of underground dance music, both on solo adventures as well as with his partner Atom Bryce as The Control Freeks. Together with Atom and on his own, Xan has held residencies all around America, made parties, thrown raves, run record stores, started discos, helped with various record labels and has generally lived his life playing music for people that want to hear it.
Xan has recently relocated back to Seattle and is enjoying a packed schedule of holding down resident duties for legendary west coast house music institution, Flammable, and has been picked up by the northwest staple brand, De La Creme, as well as hosting his own monthly and weekly parties. He continues to guest and tour around America.
Photo/meme by Christina Wright
You’ve probably heard of the Train Car House Party by now, a free party held in a set of conjoined train cars attached to Orient Express, a Chinese restaurant in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle. TCHP is run by the fabulous Erin O’Connor-Drew, Patrick Hernandez and Bryan Jarr, who wanted to create something in a kitschy, unknown venue simply for the love of house music. Since then TCHP has become both an institution and a bit of a who’s who in the Seattle house world. Where else can you come get drunk on gay bar-strength cocktails to some of the best house music in down…on a frickin’ train? read more …
Robot Heart is my favorite deep techno roving art car on the playa at Burning Man, or pretty much anywhere. Hosting techno talent on the playa each year all week on their speaker-lined bus, their deep playa sunrise parties are the stuff of legend. In 2011, when my theme camp Conception took Flammable resident Karl Kamakahi to the playa for the first time, he returned Saturday morning around 10 am, dusty and wide eyed with wonder from an all night dance bender. When asked, he reported that Lee Burridge‘s sunrise set had just changed his life and was the most excited he’d been about music since he started DJing twenty years before. “One of the top memories of my life with the sound and the sun blending together as it rose over the ridge and on to the playa … Fucking AMAZING !!!” Burridge is a London DJ and playa superstar, and has recently released a remastered version of this 2011 set, which has become implanted in my phone as if it’s now in charge of the thing. read more …
So much underground talent in Seattle, and our local treasures are many. One of the shiniest is DJ Hyasynth, member of the De La Creme posse and frequent guest at Flammable Sundays, Q, Electric Tea Garden, and anywhere else where house music is played. A dancer and instructor, her sense of music is natural and seemingly effortless, and her mixing is always en pointe.
Hyasynth, aka Karen, is respected as headliner and style maker, bringing a unique voice to house music. Here’s a set she did for Robby Clark’s Emerald City Brunch internet radio show, which recently accompanied me on a desert journey, but is at home pretty much anywhere:
And another mix on Soundcloud (free download) from last summer, which we loved so much we played it in our Burning Man camp even in her absence. That last track, “Gain on Top” just gives me the shivers.
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Look for an exclusive Hyasynth B40 podcast coming in the near future…I am excited!!
A quick, not all-inclusive preview of what looks to be a gonzo weekend in Seattle. We’ve got visiting Chicago legends, Burning Man all-stars, queer west coast bitch house & techno upstarts at leather bars, pop stars turned DJs, parties in warehouses and on train cars…and that doesn’t even include the big downtown venues or most of our fabulously talented local resident DJ nights, or Flammable’s guest whom I don’t even know yet. Really Seattle? What are you trying to do to me? Really?