Last saturday night, I made my way to Stache in downtown Fort Lauderdale to hear DJ Patrick M, a part owner of Xima Records and a Space Miami resident. The sidewalk outside the '20s-style speakeasy/nightclub hybrid buzzed with the pulse of the bass coming from inside. I could feel it before I could hear it. Thick, pulsing, instrumental tech-house flowed from the speakers. Inside, Patrick was all smiles and so was the crowd. Upstairs there was another bar, and a few VIP tables filled with people dancing, having drinks, and laughing. This is not the sound you would typically associate with downtown Lauderdale — which is sad.
Because music like this is designed for a live setting. You can listen on your own but it sure isn’t the same as hearing it in a club full of people. This is usually why its hard for many to understand dance music at first — until they have that one fateful night at some club where it all clicks.
Hearing this deep, instrumental tech house being played in a club environment is a rare thing in this town. Typically you’d have to be somewhere in Miami to hear it. Sure, you could hear it being played in lounges and poolside, but a dance party in a nightclub is a different thing. There’s many people involved in making parties like this happen. And even more need to be involved in order for a real scene to grow. But there is a faithful band of folks in our own backyard who are doing everything they can to cultivate an underground house scene in Broward and Palm Beach Counties: The team behind Miami and West Palm Beach's Xima Records.
German Garcia, Shayne Pilpel, Donnie Lowe, and Patrick M are all out there making it happen in our area, playing gigs, producing music, and throwing events. Patrick M and German Garcia are the founders of Xima records. Pilpel, originally hailing from Canada, is a DJ who hosts Xima's radio show, and he is also the label’s A&R. Lowe, a North Lauderdale native, releases tracks on the label, DJ’s Xima's shows, and helps put on the events. Patrick M, born in Argentina, plays all over South Florida, is a member of Dj Chus’ legendary Stereo Productions crew, and tours internationally. Garcia, who came to South Florida from Uruguay, produces tracks, scouts the talent, and DJs parties. We spoke with all four of the major players about Xima Records, their future plans, and what it takes to carve out a deep house paradise in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
New Times: How did the label project start between you and Patrick M?
German Garcia: I was fortunate enough to play a bunch of gigs with Patrick a few years back and we became good buds, so one night at a gig he actually mentioned to me that he was looking to get a label started, and at the time I was looking to get one started myself, so after a few meetings and throwing some ideas around, Xima came about.
The sound of the releases you have put out is very much deep and tech. That sound is much bigger in other parts of the world than America. Do you find the music gets a better reception worldwide than locally?
I feel that it is changing at a slow pace, but people are becoming more aware of what is going on in the world and are becoming a bit more open-minded. We do put out dance-floor-oriented music mainly for DJs to play, but if I find a great indie/electronica demo we will definitely put it out. For us, quality is quality.
Where do you see the underground sound headed locally? Will it find more venues at home and maybe start bringing in out of town talent from places like Miami?
I must say that what we call local is not so local anymore. I feel South Florida became a big DJ community and is not so much the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach scene individually but a bigger thing. There is a lot of amazing talent coming out of South Florida, and some of the guys and girls are putting releases out on great labels and playing great shows all over the map. There is enough talent in South Florida to keep every dance floor in every club in the area moving. Hopefully we will see the "local" guys that have been laying down the groundwork getting the same support as the guys that just fly in for the night to play their two-hour prime-time sets, get big checks, and move on.
New Times: What is the goal for Xima records? What does success look like for you guys?
Patrick M: Our Goal at Xima Records is to give a chance to new upcoming producers. There are a lot of fresh and talented people making great music out there, but not everybody can put out a track right away, so we are building a family here. The Xima family wants to do showcases and give these guys the opportunity to show their skills and of course have fun at the same time. For us, success would be having the chance to generate more work and grow as a label to be able to help our artists in everything we can. We are very selective. We are a team, but most importantly we love working as one.
Any advice you have for young DJs? Not many people have the longevity that you have had in this industry, being a top local DJ at some of the cities' best clubs and also keeping a steady rotation of outside gigs.
My advice is keep working hard, guys. This is not an easy career. People often think that we only work one or two days a week when in reality it is a very time-consuming job. Be consistent, and don't give up.
Tell me about the Xima event you guys put on during Miami's Winter Music Conference. It looked like a huge success.
Oh, that was a great party! It was our second XIMA records showcase at WMC. It's a daytime party at an awesome rooftop. Nothing better than good music and the sunshine overlooking the beautiful Miami coast. We couldn't ask for more. We had a great lineup, and we had an amazing turnout. There were people there from all over the world having a great time. One of the most rewarding things about this career is getting to know amazing people with different backgrounds united for the love of music. So, yes it was a great success for us.
As a world-traveling DJ and one of Miami’s most consistently successful resident DJs, I am curious how playing in West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale differs from playing other cities.
Well, I have been saying for the last two years that the scene has grown significantly in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Naples, even Tampa. It is amazing how people became educated with the music and the way they welcome you when you come to their town. To me personally, it is very rewarding.
Playing in other cities around the world is a great experience. No matter where you go, people are there for one reason: music. So there is really no difference except for playing at different venues and meeting and seeing different people. Each place has their own special thing, and of course you learn so much when traveling.
New Times: You seem to bounce back and forth between gigs in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Do you see a big difference in the crowds?
Donnie Lowe: I do see a big difference in crowds. Miami is definitely a bit more educated and mature in the music they listen to, mainly because of the bigger scene and the endless amount of forward-thinking music coming through every week. Fort Lauderdale just needs that time to grow and develop to find a more off-the-beaten-path sound than what’s being force-fed to them by radio and bigger clubs. Thankfully there are places like Stache and our friends doing parties at Elbo Room and Sandbar that are bringing in great locals and bigger acts that are helping smash barriers of sound in Lauderdale.
What are the best weekly or monthly parties going on locally to hear good deep and underground music?
In Miami right now, Steam is bringing in a bunch of great music. You also have places like the Electric Pickle, Trade, and Treehouse that consistently bring in forward-thinking music. Shameless plug here, I do a couple parties with my partner Brock Lambert. Sunday Social pool party, the backyard BBQ party, and Picnic For Misfits. Sunday Social takes place at Congress Hotel and then Picnic for Misfits we do at Steam Miami Patio which is better known as Lot14. For the most part, we hand pick locals that we think are the best fit musically for these events. They are always two of my favorite parties of the month and not just because we are involved but because of the vibes we have worked hard to build.
What is the best out of town gig you have played so far?
This is a hard one since I’ve had so many solid bookings here and internationally. I played an insane party in Montpellier, France, last year that went till 7 a.m. or so. I recently just played Sandwich Bar in Orlando and that was truly great. The vibe and people made that party mental! It’s nice being able to experiment with records during a gig to see how they work out on the dance floor.
Do you see the deep/underground scene growing in this area?
The scene has grown massively — in Miami at least. I also think there is going to be a mass exodus to what people call deep house. It seems that will be the new fad especially since you have big EDM guys now making what they call deep house. It’s cool with me though, some of the stuff is decent. I really hope the kids keep digging and looking for new music. I wouldn’t really call it much of an underground any more when you have supposed underground guys playing the main stage at festivals. That’s not a bad thing but it’s tough to be underground when you’re in the spotlight. It’s cool to see the music we like becoming big. We just have to keep the substance.
I know you and I share a love for G-House. Are there any new artists or tracks you’re playing that I may be missing out on?
I always have a proper love of G House because I’m a hip hop kid at heart. Honestly I’ve been a bit out of the loop as to finding new sounds and such because I’m going a different direction musically right now. You can always count on Amine Edge and DANCE to produce some proper stuff though. They also have a label CUFF that makes tune after tune. Another label I search around on is Sleazy G. They’ve been putting out class as well.
New Times: What is your role within Xima records?
Shayne Pilpel: Xima is owned by German Garcia and Patrick M, we are what I consider a boutique label. I handle the A&R responsibilities. In reality though, we all work together when it comes to releasing a great product.
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Do you think the underground dance sound is growing locally?
I think the underground scene is really building momentum in some areas and almost non existent in others. Club owners I think are afraid to commit because it takes time to build and most are looking for immediate results which doesn’t always happen.
What are the local clubs between Broward and West Palm where you can consistently hear good deep house music?
Well, the way I define deep house is very specific, so if you want to know where you can find good quality underground music, in my opinion, there are really only a couple venues that really focus on quality music. Saturday nights at Bar Stache has become the spot hands-down. Resident DJ Roland, Angel Candelaria, and Jonny Adler have really made this party special. The sound system is second to none and they are constantly bringing top quality talent, local and international. Chus & Ceballos will be playing there in June.
One other party that comes to mind in Broward that happens on a monthly basis is Mike Miro and Friends at Sandbar. In West Palm, Sketch Lounge on Fridays is located upstairs at Pawn Shop on Clematis Street. Friday is the only day of the week where you can find proper underground house music. Myself and German Garcia have a monthly residency at Sketch Lounge. It's a very intimate venue with great sound and visuals. Paul Brown did an amazing job designing this space. You can catch Boris, Patrick M, and Oscar G gracing the decks on a regular basis. German Garcia, Jason Brown, and myself are in the process of putting together a few events as well. So find me on Facebook so you can see what we are working on.