The Jules Levine Interview
Local Beat is a new monthly club night at Brillobox that will be showcasing Pittsburgh’s finest producers, DJs, and electronic music artists. Curated by Jules Levine (Ag Ag Lady, Broke Whore Records), we couldn’t help but notice how bad ass the line up on the first installment is! Featuring Dominant Force (Mr. Owl and DJ Spaed), RIVKA and Wise Blood, this night is sure to be a banger. For only $5, we can’t think of anything better to do on a Thursday night on the cheap. We had a chance to ask Jules a few questions about the inspiration behind starting this night, as well as some of Ag Ag Lady’s/Broke Whore Records’ projects. This cat is makin’ moves!
Kymbo Slice: Can you tell us about your history of involvement with the Pgh electronic music scene? What other events have you produced prior to Local Beat?
Jules Levine: Plenty of parties I don’t really remember and countless hours listening to WRCT. I spent hours wondering how they made those sounds. So I started making tunes, which lead almost inevitably to developing the record label and throwing shows. I stumbled into working on a renegade Beaux-Arts Ball at CMU in 2010, which drew nearly 800 people to see 14 artists perform on two stages without official oversight or approval. I ran sound on both of those stages and performed in two of the acts. It was a blast. Then I got involved with the VIA festival as a sound engineer & stage tech – just wow. If you missed those incredible shows I don’t know what to tell you.
KS: What was your inspiration for starting Local Beat? Why Brillobox?
JL: Playing a bunch of shows around town and touring nationally has been an eye-opening experience. Many cities lack the infrastructure, both over and underground, to support their local artists. Pittsburgh is actually incredible in this regard. Watching local promoters operate has been inspirational. Fuzz at BBT, Neon at Belvederes, Lazercrunk at Brillo. Brillobox is an intimate venue with an awesome sound system. I can’t imagine a better place to hang out with local creative movers and shakers and dance to fresh homegrown.
KS: What is Broke Whore Records’ involvement with this event? Do you plan on booking broke whore artists for Local Beat in the future?
JL: Broke Whore Records is a front for providing development, publishing & support to Pittsburgh artists. We may occasionally use Local Beat for album release parties, but Local Beat is designed to expose a wide variety of Pittsburgh artists – not just showcase the artists we are already involved with.
KS: How did you select this first batch of artists for this impressive lineup?
JL: RIVKA was an easy choice. Reggie filled in on keys for one of my shows a couple years ago. Then I saw this video for Kid Animal and I was convinced. Had to book them.
WISE BLOOD’s Chris Laufman was a happy coincidence. I happened to ask RIVKA for help with a show in Pittsburgh right when Local Beat was happening. Right place at the right time.
DOMINANT FORCE was crowd sourced through Facebook. I wanted to focus the first edition of Local Beat on artists I’m not already affiliated with. There will be plenty of Broke Whore Records action either way. I was immediately struck by Mr Owl and DJ Spaed’s impeccable turntablism. Their conscious downtempo flow sits quite nicely next to RIVKA’s chill waves and Khris Lufton’s woozy pop.
KS: What are your influences as a DJ/Ag Ag Lady? Any projects in the works?
JL: My biggest debt is to the tradition of pop that Andy Warhol left in Pittsburgh. It’s all over our design, our lifestyles, our repetitive functions in the modern world. These things are all reflected in the music we create and consume. Local Beat is my latest effort to bring these unique creative visions into clearer view. When you watch an artist create their performance live on stage, whether with turntables, a laptop, or a table covered in esoteric hardware, you become enmeshed in the emotional journey of the tune – the CRAFT – the raw creative spark that powers every real artist I’ve ever met. It’s a contagious and sustaining energy that drives the underground to excellence.
We wish Jules the best of luck in an effort to “drive the underground to excellence” and are looking forward to see what Local Beat brings next month! Another fine example of the direction our scene is taking in the Pgh, this event pops off at 10PM, this Thursday at the Brillobox.