The DETOUR Interview
A few months ago, MTV Hive did a story on homegrown dance scenes popping up in places one wouldn’t expect. Cities such as New York, Chicago, Detroit and the like are easy to count on when you want to find a solid dance night or event, but when our own Pittsburgh Track Authority received a nod in MTV’s article, our city’s party goers were proud to acknowledge something they already knew. Anyone who has attended a Humanaut, VIA or any number of other progressive dance promoter’s parties knows that there’s something special going on around town. DETOUR, a new collective of individuals dedicated to making an impact on an already healthy scene are the newest addition to Pittsburgh’s electronic dance movement. This Saturday, they’re bringing Boston’s B-Tracks, the other group mentioned in the same MTV Hive article alongside PTA, to drop some nasty beats on some fresh faces. After a very successful launch, this is Detour’s second event and it’s sure to bring the heat. We had a chance to ask a few of the fellas from DETOUR some questions about their formation and what they’re planning for future events. Check it out.
With such a bustling dance scene already in place, the first question that comes to mind is do we really need another promoter in Pittsburgh? Aren’t there enough? Or are there populations who are under served – pockets of Pittsburgh that remain untouched by the guerrilla attempts highly visible in the neighborhoods of Lawrenceville, East Liberty and the South Side. “DETOUR came about as a result of a what-if conversations,” claims Alex. “We were all WRCT members, and we all had this little tradition of DJing the WRCT parties and other parties around town, and looked toward the work that VIA, Humanaut and Obvious were doing in Pittsburgh, but they’re pretty inaccessible to the 18-plus folks and the students, which is a shame, because the explosion of Pittsburgh’s electronic music scene is something a lot of people miss out on. We felt strongly about the potential of exposing a pretty diverse crowd to some real quality electronic music, and at some point, we got excited enough to pull the trigger and just make it happen.”
Rather than a generic electronic dance party format that’s highly accessible to the out of touch ear, Alex claims, “We’re dedicated to delivering the intersection of house and techno to a burgeoning electronic music scene, but we’re also very ad-hoc, so who knows how we’ll change in the coming year. Regardless of the music, our goal is to help facilitate a respectful and open minded atmosphere where people feel like they can be themselves and dance their asses off.”
Their first party took place back in September at the VIA-operated 6119 space in East Liberty. According to Juan it was “Kick-ass! We had over 200 people come out, a fantastic environment, and great music. I think it went better than any of us had expected. I’d guess that for a lot of these folks, especially the students, it was really their first exposure to house and techno; yet, they were ready to stay out past 2AM and dance the night away.”
While it might seem coincidental that DETOUR is bringing B-Tracks as their first headliner, one member, Mirko, was acquainted with the group. “I grew up in Ithaca, New York, where Soren (half of B-Tracks) went to college. He was a real staple in a town with a techno scene much bigger than you might expect, so I’d played a few shows with him in the past, we’d throw tracks around, remix each other. He runs Supply Records with John (the other half of B-Tracks) and Blank Slate, a new project that I’m on, which technically makes him my label boss. To me, it was purely coincidental that B-Tracks was featured next to Pittsburgh Track Authority, but it just seemed logical that we bring them down and introduce them to Pittsburgh.”
In terms of the future, Mirko seems optimistic and ambitious. “As far as parties go, we’re talking with promoters about booking some other folks. We won’t tell you who, but we’re aiming pretty high these days. We’ve also talked with a couple other folks who are interested in bringing the DETOUR brand out to other cities, but we’re not really putting any weight behind that idea yet. There’s a lot of energy and optimism in our group, and there’s been some talk about putting out some records under the DETOUR name in the future. So, a record label, perhaps. Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.”
Their next party is about as far ahead as we’re thinking. Join the DETOUR crew for their second banger at 6119 this Saturday, November 17. B-Tracks + Kamal & Mirko + Sensitivity & Naeem. 9:30PM. $7 at the door.