EDM has come to Zaphod's: Interview with Lowpass and Eugene Haslam

Zaphod's has been around for a long time and has seen its fair share of musical trends come and go. I remember when I used to frequent Zaphod's at the time when the Strokes were at the top of their game and all of the kids were dancing around wearing their skinny jeans before it was cool.

The music has always been eclectic at Zaphod's as the DJs would effortlessly mix in anything and everything they wanted on any given Saturday night. But let's face it, Zaphod's is really well known for catering to the indie music scene and hosting live bands as the establishment has gained the reputation of being fiercely independent due in part to the guidance of its owner, Eugene Haslam. So when Zaphod's announced an EDM night I thought it was a really big deal and everyone should take note. Lowpass will be the DJ of Electronic Mondays which will debut this Monday (July 30th)!

This is the very first interview conducted by EDM Ottawa so I hope you all enjoy:

In previous interviews you have described your club as "fun, fresh and forward thinking" with the emphasis on "good music, no boundaries". Will you have the same attitude going forward with Electronic Dance Music (EDM)? 
Eugene: I look at my job as a curator in some ways. An artistic endeavour in its own right. Much like an art gallery presents artists according to its mandate, we do the same at Zaphod's, bringing in musicians and DJs we believe the audience will appreciate.
Lowpass: Very much! Zaphod's is all about keeping abreast or even a little bit ahead of what's going on in music and Electronic Mondays will continue that tradition. There's no time to bother with boundaries.
Tell me a bit more at how this 'Electronic Monday's' event idea came about. 
Lowpass: Once Monday nights opened up I think Eugene was waiting for the right DJ to come along. There's a lot of really excellent DJs in Ottawa but my speciality has always been brand new electronic music. Back in 2008 I started a mix tape/podcast series (mixes.lowpass.net) where each episode is made of music that's new to me since the last one. Over 57 episodes and counting it's forced me to built up a pretty good repertoire. That music combined with some classic favorites and whatever other cool shit is what I'll be playing at Electronic Mondays. 

Eugene: Lowpass was recommended to me by my staff. As with most of Zaphod's staffing we tend to hire people that hang out at the club, so they know the club's history and vibe and bring their own spin to it. What struck me about Lowpass is his range of tastes and his genuine desire to create something new in his own right.
What kind of music do you plan on spinning at Electronic Mondays?
Lowpass: When we were discussing how to promote the event I tried to come up with a list of all the generes I like. I came up with "Breakbeat - Disco - Dubstep - DnB - Moombahton - Trap - Electro - 2 Step - UK Funky - Big Beat - Jump Up - Garage - Acid - Deep - Progressive - Tech - Italo - Baltimore - Baile - Bassline - Grime" but there isn't anything I won't play as long as it fits the vibe in the room. No gabber? No promises. I probably won't play Levels. 
With your focus on playing brand new electronic music, do you plan on using your event as a platform to educate the crowd as well as entertain it?
Lowpass: I just want people to have time of their lives! Any eduction is incidental. I think it's a huge part of the job to try and figure out what's new and good and what's just too damn weird for the dance floor right now.
What do you think of all of these upcoming genres like moombathon and trap? Do you think they will become as prevalent as other well heeled genres such as progressive house and trance one day?
Lowpass: Been digging on the moonmahton for a minute and trap is *so* fun it's becoming dangerously addictive. Progressive/Trace/Tech/House is great too. I think it'll all meld together and the distinctions between the generes will continue to get more and more ridiculous; which is fine with me.
If Electronic Mondays becomes a hit, do you see the possibility of it becoming a weekly event or possibly taking a weekend time slot at Zaphod's?
Lowpass: If the first few monthlies go well I think there's a serious possibility of moving to a weekly event. Personally I like the Monday slot, it leaves me free to go to other shows on the weekend. 

Eugene: Heck, I'm already thinking this should be a weekly! Audience response will drive this forward.
Do you ever see Zaphod's one day booking a major EDM DJ act to come play at your club like at Barrymore's and Babylon?
Lowpass: Zaphod's is the place to see acts before they become major, but booking the right up and coming producer/DJs is certainly something they'd do. 

Eugene: Anything is possible.

How do you feel about this year's Ottawa Bluesfest experiment with EDM? 

Lowpass: I had a blast! A lot of pleasant surprises, no disappointments and they did an admiral job at booking excellent local DJs too. Looking forward to next year!
What was your favourite EDM performance at Bluesfest?
Lowpass: Paul Oakenfold, Diplo and A-Trak. Many other AMAZING performances but those three sets were my favorites. It can be hard to get a good vibe at bluesfest with all the daylight and what not but I danced my face off to those three sets.

What do you think of the EDM phenomena in general? Is it here to stay? 

Lowpass: Yes, but like any style it will continue to change and evolve. Dance music has always been most at home in the club and that isn't going to change. EDM is struggling though an awkward time with the whole 'just pressing play' issue at festivals but I'm confident it will find its feet there too. 

What do you think of the notion that EDM might become the new Rock as suggested by a recent article in The Atlantic?  http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/07/buy-the-hype-why-electronic-dance-music-really-could-be-the-new-rock/259597/

Lowpass: I thought that was an excellent article. I read so many knee jerk responses to musical culture that it's SO refreshing when an author actually knows the history of american music in 20th century. EDM might be the new rock but it's not like the old rock is going away any more than any other genere goes away. There's still a huge classical music hall downtown and Ottawa hosts folk, country and chamber festivals.

What are your thoughts on these major EDM DJs and do you think they can be thought of on the same level as other major bands or musicians? 

Lowpass: A very hard question to answer that without raising somebodies ire. I don't think it's an issue of levels. Music, like any art, shouldn't be judged that way.
Favourite Producer?
Lowpass: There's dozens and dozens of them but for favorite producer of all time no question it's Theo Keating AKA Fake Blood AKA DJ Touche. Guy has been producing totally amazing stuff since the 90s and continues to be right on point with every track today. Plus he's an epic DJ, can and does scratch vinyl live, does bonkers cool graf, runs a great label and still manages to be a generally classy dude. Really big fan.
Favourite track?
Lowpass: The one that feels right. That's never static. 
What's the best set that you heard in Ottawa so far in 2012?
Lowpass: We're 8 months in, that's getting hard to remember but a couple come to mind from the last few months. Bauuer and Ryan Hemsworth at Babylon. Dillon Francis and Tommy Trash at Escapade. Diplo and Tokimonsta at Bluesfest. Paul Oakenfold blew my mind. A-Trak never disappoints. Any given Tribe Called Red or Jon Deck set.
My special thanks to Lowpass and Eugene for taking the time to do this. If you want to listen to some Lowpass mixes then head over to his Soundcloud or Lowpass' own website to get his monthly mixes.
Twitter: @lowpass, @eugenehaslam, @zaphods_ottawa, @EMZaphod

Location: Zaphod Beeblebrox, 27 York Street, Ottawa, Canada

Time: 8:00 pm - 2:00 am

DJ: Lowpass (Breakbeat - Disco - Dubstep - DnB - Moombahton - Trap - Electro - 2 Step - UK Funky - Big Beat - Jump Up - Garage - Acid - Deep - Progressive - Tech - Italo - Balitimore - Baile - Bassline - Grime.)

Tickets: Free Admission

Note from the Facebook event page:

"Very happy to announce the guests for the inaugural edition of Electronic Mondays at Zaphod's! Your evening will begin with outlaw guitar toucher Lefty McRighty, freshly returned from his week long song writing sabbatical in the dark woods of Petawawa. After Lefty we've got space surf trip wave sensations The Yips!  And then round 11 ol' Lowpass will play a bunch of crazy music for your dancing pleasure. Surrounding all of this fun we've got the ever surprising, always alluring, SIN SISTERS! Monday's gonna be a blast!"