The San Francisco duo CyberSutra may be fairly new to the dance-music scene, but producers Scott Binder and Nathan Heal have wasted no time in making their presence known. Blending the hard edge of electro with the melodic expanses of trance, they incorporate unique vocals by some of the top vocalists in the field and present it all in live, high-energy performances. "We really wanted to mix the organic with technology," says Binder.
He and Heal are longtime friends, both lifelong musicians who studied music formally and played in rock bands. A few years ago, they decided to band together to start a different sort of project, an electronica outfit with the sensibilities of nonelectronic musicians. Early production took place between Binder in San Francisco and Heal in Seattle, with beats and tracks passed via the internet. Thus was born CyberSutra.
Binder being a drummer and Heal a keyboardist, the two sought to keep live instrumentation as a component of their music. And similarly, the inclusion of interesting vocals was a goal from the very beginning. "From the get-go, from our very first conversation," says Binder, "we were like, 'We want to collaborate with vocalists from all around the world.' "
Such is the case with "Lick It," the duo's first single, which was released in March 2008 and grabbed the attention of famed DJ Dan. The track's momentum also ultimately landed them their record deal with InStereo Records. The vocal work here was different from the impressive styling found on some of CyberSutra's other tracks, like "SummerSutra" featuring Tiff Lacey; "White, Trashy and Blonde" featuring Melleefresh; or their new single, "I See Fire," featuring Jacinta. Still, the playful coquetry between the robotic voices insisting "lick it" but "only if you touch it" is classic.
Still, the stage is where these two shine. Incorporating live keys and percussion along with turntables and guest vocalists, CyberSutra aims to keep taking its performances to the next level. "CyberSutra is not now where it's going to be in a year," says Binder. "We're going to keep expanding it and have lots of vocals and lots of instruments and just making it more of a live multimedia act."
Wednesday, March 25, at the Play Records party at Provocateur, 323 23rd St., Miami Beach. With Larry Tee, Dirty Retro DJs, Mellefresh, and Spider Brown. Party goes from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. Admission is $15. Age 21 and up. Call 305-674-4478, or visit provocateurmiami.com.
The Martinez Brothers
Thank goodness the Martinez Brothers in question here are not the same set of Austin taxidermist siblings who come up eventually on a Google search. I mean, who wants to concern themselves with "the Deer Season Special"? But just because our brothers hail from the Bronx rather than Texas and spin for a living instead of stuffing dead animals doesn't mean they don't have a little in common with the same-named Tejanos. Heck, a couple of weeks before hitting Winter Music Conference, these DJs blew up the Charlotte, North Carolina, Garden & Gun Club!
But that's where any similarities end. Because the only thing this dynamic duo will be mounting for posterity is records, preferably the kind that come in the colors gold and platinum. And if the reception of TMB's releases on Dennis Ferrer's Objektivity label are any indication, those awards will definitely be their due.
Listen to the pair's "Debbie Downer" and hear for yourself what all the hot fuss is about. The track was concocted in collaboration with label mate Argy, who brings his 21st-century Euro-cool to the turntable. The single simply has all the hallmarks of a house classic without sounding as if it came out of the past. It's a quiet storm of an anthem, the kind of track that's built both to move feet and blow minds. It riffs heavy with the sort of sampled voices that seem to spring straight from heaven, simply so they may bring the crowd down to its knees.
And noting TMB's past, that holy high is no accident. Now just 17 and 20 years old, Christian and Stevie Martinez were raised by a church-going ex-club kid to respect their DJ elders as well as the creator. They first started percolating in public at the Luke 4:18 Church in Washington Heights, where their father, Steve, got them a gig as in-house percussionists. Pops also happened to gift them with the love of a club culture that embraced the whole wild world and would never dare discriminate.
We're talking the halcyon days of house, of course, specifically as it cored the Big Bad Apple back during the time of Paradise Garage. Daddy Martinez was a regular in that legendary New York nightclub. And when he heard what his then-very young sons were doing with VirtualDJ, he called one of his old Garage connections and got them a couple of spots spinning downtown. In a hot minute, the Brothers got offered a slot at Shelter, and from that night on, it's been nothing but beats.
Much ado has been made about the age of these wünderkinds, and true, having played everywhere from Ibiza to Berlin before you're old enough to drink is something of a marvel. But when you're born with clubs in your blood, it doesn't matter how many birthdays you've got under your belt, just so long as you deliver the gifts of the gods. With the Martinez Brothers on the decks, consider the delivery signed and sealed.
Wednesday, March 25, at Pacha NYC at Park West, 30 NE 11th St., Miami. With Danny Tenaglia. Doors open at 10 p.m. Tickets cost $40 in advance. Age 21 and up. Call 305-350-7444, or visit stereomiami.com.
Fedde Le Grand
Fedde Le Grand is a busy man. When he's not collaborating with international music icons or wrapping up his latest record, he's touring the world, jetting from his home in the Netherlands to remote locales.
To say that his 2006 single, the homage to the mecca of techno called "Put Your Hands Up for Detroit," put Fedde on the map is a gross understatement. Across the pond, it won him an award for the "number-one summer anthem of Ibiza" and reached number one on the U.K. charts. He also picked up an MTV Award in Australia. Stateside, he took three categories in the International Dance Awards at the 2007 WMC.
His success wasn't instantaneous, though. Le Grand spent years cutting his teeth as a DJ and eventually started a label with friend and partner Funkerman to get his music out. "The funny thing is, at the time nobody really liked my music," Le Grand recalls. "That's why we started the label."
But he wasn't content with grabbing the electro world by the scruff of the neck — he's forayed into other genres as well. Recently, he's gotten the opportunity to work with Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am; and the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna. The latter not only used "Put Your Hands Up for Detroit" for her tour but asked Le Grand to remix her song "Give It 2 Me."
Although house music will always be his main thing, Le Grand says fans will get to discover some of his other tastes on his latest record, Scared of Me. "There's music on the album I just finished that would probably be defined more as pop music," he says. "I wanted to do a real party album, not a compilation of my latest house tracks."
This year's WMC offers fans multiple chances to see him live. He'll kick off on Wednesday night with a party he's presenting at Set called Flamingo Nights (named for his label). He'll be at Space on Thursday, and he's set to perform at Ultra on Saturday.
"I'm very excited to do my own night. But I did Ultra last year, and it was one of my favorite gigs of the year, so I'm really looking forward to that too. And it's nice for me to be able to do Toolroom Knights because I can kind of go back to where I started. I started a lot more underground than I am probably for a lot of people now."
Wednesday, March 25, at the Fedde Le Grand Presents Flamingo Nights party at Set, 320 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. With Tocadisco, Funkerman, and Patric La Funk. Doors open at 10 p.m. Tickets cost $30. Age 21 and up. Call 305-531-5535, or visit theopiumgroup.com