The block of M Street immediately northwest of Wisconsin Boulevard in Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown should be considered the U.S. embassy of electronic dance music. Within this block are the offices for Deep Dish and Yoshitoshi Recordings; Buzz nightclub; and powerhouse attorney Kurosh Nasseri, lawyer for BT, Deep Dish, Richie Hawtin and Paul van Dyk. But the focal point of this area for dance-music fans is Yoshitoshi Records, the capital's most popular store for buying the latest electronic music on vinyl.
Minutes before Remix is scheduled to meet up with Saeed Younan and Palash Ahmed, Washington, D.C.'s most rapidly rising production and DJ duo, a convoy of motorcycle cops, ominous SUVs filled with machine-gun-toting Secret Service gorillas and a black limousine carrying the president blasts by the shop. Unfortunately, G.W. isn't on his way to pick up the latest Thick Dick CD or to discuss S.2633, the RAVE act, with Buzz's Scott Henry. In fact, he's probably not even aware of the existence of the capital city's most recent Grammy Award winners, Deep Dish, who own the Yoshitoshi shop.
But the customers inside Yoshitoshi are just as oblivious to the presidential motorcade as the government officials are to Ali Shirazinia and Sharam Tayebi of Deep Dish. “There's nothing better than a record shop that's owned by DJs,” says Saeed. “Ali and Sharam know what's going on in the scene. The staff here knows our sound, and they put aside records for us that they think we will like.”
Saeed and Palash first joined forces in 1994 after individually working their way up the ranks in D.C.'s underground scene. The duo quickly gained notoriety for their hard-hitting tribal, tech-house sound, gaining early support from Deep Dish (Palash went to high school with Tayebi) and Danny Tenaglia. In 1998, Saeed and Palash started the Addictive label, releasing their own productions (“Doom's Day,” “Beats for Your Head,” “Losing Control”), as well as singles by MV, Audio Essence and Devol. They also produced a variety of acclaimed remixes, including Celeda's “The Underground,” Luzon's “The Baguio Track,” Steve Lawler's “Rise In” and Bedrock's “Voices.”
Recently, Peter Rauhofer's Star 69 Records released Saeed and Palash's two-disc mix CD, Tide:Edit:07. Saeed and Palash mixed each CD individually instead of collectively: Saeed's disc (CD 1) features tracks by Peter Bailey, Blackwatch, Noel Sanger and Lee Coombs while Palash's disc (CD 2) includes tunes by Sub Project, Oliver Klein and Althea McQueen. The duo is currently working on their debut artist album.
Saeed and Palash's current sound is “techy, percussive house with nice, fat bass lines,” says Saeed. “We're leaning away from progressive. I want more of a groove.”
“I like to play the whole spectrum,” adds Palash. “I prefer deep, melodic records with catchy vocals, as well as harder tracks to get the crowd going. We've had that dark stage for so long, and now it's time to make things sound a little bit happier.” Here are a dozen records that Saeed and Palash found that fit that sound:
Alphawezen vs. Terry Lee Brown Jr.
“Gai Soleil”/“Electricity Drive” (Plastic City)
Plastic City is an amazing label. They keep pumping out a lot of great stuff. You can't go wrong with the Timewriter Mix or Terry Lee Brown Jr.'s track on the other side. Both tracks are amazing. “Gai Soleil” has a great female vocal. It came out a while ago, but they just re-pressed it. I think that this pressing sounds better than the first one. The Timewriter remix on the flip side is great for a smaller intimate club. There's a club in D.C. called Red that we play at regularly, and this would be an ideal record for that venue.
Bidlo Presents Rock, Scissors, Paper
Shinichi is Yoshitoshi's new baby label. This is one of its first releases. It's an amazing track. This is a double-pack, and all the mixes are great. I like the Bassic Dub of “Wildlife” and the Cannibal Mix of “Hope.” They're both very bass-heavy, simple and stripped-down and are great to get the dancefloor going.
“The Issue (Piliavin and Zimbardo Mix)” (Honchos)
These two guys have been pumping out some amazing stuff. They're not new to the scene, but they're new to me because I haven't noticed a lot of records by them until recently. Everything they've put out has nice tribal percussion that grooves your ass. Imagine yourself on a big full dancefloor like at Space in Miami — this record will rock the dancefloor. Everything about this record is great: the production, the pressing, the track, the sound quality. You can't go wrong with it.
“The Wall” (Star 69)
This is one of my favorite tracks of all time. When Peter Rauhofer approached us to remix it, I was so happy. To remix it was a great honor. This is my favorite remix that we've done to date. We took the original and gave it a facelift: We kept a lot of the same elements and structure as the original but used our own keys, pads and drumbeats. Some tracks you just don't want to mess up too much.
“Do U Feel” (Four 01)
Four 01 is one of my favorite labels. They've been pumping out some really good percussive, tribal, techy, progressive tracks. Their records have more of a techy house feel than a progressive feel, though. This has lots of percussion and nice little buildups here and there to get the crowd going. My favorite mix is the Paranoid Jack Funky Cyborg Mix, which has that tribal element and grooves all the way through. In the middle of the track, the bass drops; then, out of nowhere, it comes back in and rides you.
Laurent Wolf and Michael Kaiser
“Right All” (Darkness)
The Darkness label is an imprint of Cyber Records. This is a very effective record for a big dancefloor. It's very drum heavy and has more of a techno drive. I haven't heard a lot from these guys, but they're starting to put out some good stuff. It's become so easy to put a studio in your house that we're seeing a lot of great newcomers.
Audio Soul Project
“Free Falling (Jamie Anderson Mix)” (NRK)
This song is very minimal and doesn't do much, but it has a nice, solid beat that drives and keeps going and going. This is the sound that we want and are playing at the moment. When the hi-hat comes in, the energy goes up. It has a great groove and energy. I'd use this track to make a transition from something deeper to something harder in the middle of the night.
“What You Do in Life … Echoes” (Shinichi)
It's a deep track, and it has some nice keys. Behrouz is a good friend of ours in San Francisco. He plays great sets. I heard this song a long time ago, but it's finally been released. It's some of his best work.
Dee Magic + Da Robotz
“Cookie Monster”/“Rise, Rise, Rise” (white label)
I just discovered this record. They sampled from our remix of “The Underground” by Celeda for the beat at the beginning, and I also think they sampled Petra and Co.'s “Just Let Go” and put a nice vocal on top.
This is the type of record that I'd play earlier in the night. This locks people into a nice groove. It has a light, techy tribal feel, but it's not very hard. The kick drums are not superoverpowering. It's nice for building up your set. I really like Joeski's housey tracks, too. They have a nice swing. This weekend, we're playing at Spin in Miami, and I can picture playing this track there.
Medway and Sean Cusick
The Fiscal EP (Saw)
This is a tech-house record with a nice, strong flavor. It could work early in a set or even at the peak. Medway is one of my favorite producers, and Sean Cusick is doing a lot of good stuff. I really like the things that Sean has put out on the Fluid label.
“Boneyard”/“Boneyard (Terry Francis Mix)” (Eye 4 Sound)
This is good for the middle section of my set, when the groove is building faster. It has a really fat bass line that I love, and the beats are harder than the Joeski track. I like both tracks on here. I would play the Terry Francis version earlier in the night.