Ambition Fridays w/ Terry Mullan + Al Velilla
What are you doing Friday night? As last minute partying usually goes, we’re here to give you the 411 on an event happening at Z-Lounge. Terry Mullan is no stranger to the Z, as he hosts a weekly event there titled “Ambition Fridays”. He’s accomplished in both the US and abroad, having played at Coachella, Bugged Out, The End, Sullivan Room, Footwork and Ruby Skye, including many other world-renowned venues. His signature blend of acid house combined with scratching produce a sound that cannot be reproduced. He’s released projects under his own label, Catalyst Recordings, for the likes of Ian Pooley, Halo Varga, Mazi, Angel Alanis and TJR. His tracks have also been licensed to various DJ compilations. Basically, this guy’s got it goin on.
Dude isn’t the only guy on this bill that has it going on! The one and only Ryan Walsh, aka Local will be playing his first gig in about a year, in a style he calls a “hybrid live deejay set”. He’s asked for his bio to remain in the first person, so I’ll give you the unedited version a-la Mr. Walsh: “I’ve deejayed and performed for over 10 years, produced a lot of events, didn’t get banned from too many places. Now, my singular focus in music is to craft new tunes and mixes. The selection will be solid — I will be playing dub, proper electro, house, and techno. I perform using ableton live, using keys, controllers, pads, and 4 tracks of audio”. Sounds fancy! But really, Ryan’s a fancy guy – have you seen his side part lately? Pinkies up!
We had a chance to ask him a few questions, cos we’re tight like that. He hasn’t played out in Pittsburgh for quite some time, so we’re here to catch you up on what he’s been up to:
KS: What do you consider the advantages/disadvantages to using Ableton over turntables or cdjs? Have you always used Ableton? If not, what inspired you to do so?
RW: There is far more more flexibility. I played with two, then three, Technics until 2006 when I switched entirely to Ableton. Aside from being able to tightly integrate your own material or edits on the fly, I can mix 3-4 tracks together quickly and seamlessly without having to pitch them up. I feel like I paid my dues on learning to match pitch and moved beyond that and am still exploring what else is possible. For example, I have endless effects that are not as in-your-face as the Pioneer effects processors (also known as the ‘rave button’ on Pioneer mixers) or the Allen and Heath filters. Lots of fun. And, I’ll be frank, I always spent a ton of time monitoring pitch when I used turntables. Maybe I wasn’t that good at it, but it was annoying to have a great mix that you know creatively would work but because of a skip or a miss cue, it wouldn’t work.
KS: What is your most memorable Pittsburgh gig to-date?
RW: Opening for Detroit’s infamous Octave One for the show at the Moose in 2008. I had the most fun with track selection at that gig, plus it was the first time the Moose had been used in a while. Joshua Space and Thommy Conroy did interiors and an old school legend, Randy Glosclaude from 5-star, did lights. It was truly a production. As for my set, I started with a track from Thomas Newman’s score to the movie American Beauty and ended with one of the hardest techno tracks I’ve heard in years, a remix of Gura by Ida Engberg. One of those journey-type sets. Its on Soundcloud.
KS: Coincidentally, I met the infamous Mr. Walsh that night as well. I was like – who is that cute DJ!? A heartbreaker fo’ sho.
KS: What new music are you listening to these days?
RW: I am still all over the slow house stuff — Jacob Korn, some of the Art Department stuff is on the slower side. James Blake’s album isn’t new but its still on repeat. Ford & Lopatin’s Channel Pressure is a production masterpiece. They are my most anticipated performer at VIA. Plus, have you heard the new Bjork singles? Crazy good!
KS: Who are your primary influences? How have they influenced what you play?
RW: Weirdly enough, I’m gonna say Radiohead, Carl Craig and Innervisions at the moment. All of them have a level of detail and craft in their music that is genius, especially in their use of electronics. I met Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead once and I was floored by his brilliance. I hope to have 10% of that in something I write. They show me what’s possible.
KS: What’s up with the side part?
RW: This was step 5 in my 12 step program to become a german citizen. Step 6 is to be relentlessly clean and tidy at all times. Probably won’t make it past that one.
Elysium likes to get a bit more funky with his jams, which I’m totally down with. Fridays are for gettin freaky and funky. His style of house focuses more on disco, speed garage, funky, 2-step, jazz, hard and booty. He’s been booked alongside the likes of Carl Cox, Charles Feelgood and Bad Boy Bill. The last two deejays encompass a few of his influences, which also include Titonton, Duvante, Eric Morillo, MJ Cole and DJ Sneak. He also produces a lot of shiz with DJ 7up. Together, the duo have collaborated on projects for Patrick Norman of Rusted Root and Jes One’s Groove Shop Records of Chicago.
The star of the show is sure to be Al Velilla, who’s gracing Pittsburgh with his presence all the way from San Fran. This cat is on the label Smoke N’ Mirrors, an imprint of Om Records that focuses on underground house music, which is often considered avant-garde for the genre and responsible for consistently blurring the lines between the different categories of house. If you’re lucky to get there early enough, they’re giving away a limited number of Om Records promo CDs. Way to get the worm, early birds!
We’ll see you out tonight at the show. Be sure to get there early so you can catch all the sets!