More Low End Theory Oral History From Those Who Helped Build It
See Also: Low End Theory Anniversary: The Story of the Influential Party From Those Who Created it
The Low End Theory Crew Paul Dimalanta
This week we published our oral history of the Low End Theory, the Lincoln Heights weekly club night that has spawned a constellation of internationally hailed electronic musicians and rappers.
Due to space constraints, much was excised. Here, then, are some of the best anecdotes from the cutting room floor. Topics discussed include Flying Lotus's switch from rap beats to techno, Low End precursor Sketchbook, and the eerie parallels between the club and the rise of medical weed.
Daedelus: Three or four years ago I spent a Halloween at Low End. There's a DVD of that night that came out later, but the DVD can't capture the energy in the room. It was when the club used the outdoors space, and there was crowd surfing and moshing -- the sort of stuff that kids heard about from their older siblings who went to hardcore shows. Low End had people bundling that into electronic performances. Kids with baby faces were experiencing music for the first time on their own terms. They were singing along to songs that I had just written. It felt like we were on the same page to the 10th power. Everyone was present.
Dibia$e: Before Low End, there was Sketchbook, organized by DJ Kutmah at Little Temple. We'd go every Tuesday night and I'd post up outside with my boombox and everyone would play what they made that week. This was when we were still playing tapes and guys like Ras G, Sacred, Flying Lotus, Ta'Raach, Take, Daedelus, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Exile would come through on the regular. Everyone would play their new stuff and then come back the next week and do it again. Then they stopped doing Sketchbook. It was never really crowded but it had a strong following. We all eventually found our way to Low End.
Nosaj Thing: Obviously, everyone was interested in hip-hop and electronic music but it's also the product of music technology. Production software and equipment is just so much more accessible now, and all a sudden we had access to these songs and tools and ended up bringing that to the sound itself.
DJ Nobody: In the first year or two, I was really into the early beat stuff like Dabrye, Daedelus, and Prefuse 73. Plus, Dilla all day and 90 BPM beat stuff like Take and Ras G. Kev was mostly on the hip-hop tip for a bit. [Gaslamp Killer] was all over the place, playing instrumental beat stuff from the 90s, hip-hop, psych and just weird shit. Then dubstep kind of crept in, and we all slowly incorporated that and eventually found our own niche, I went with more modern hip-hop. [Gaslamp] played more psychedelic. And Kev is so hard-core deep into the beat shit that I can't keep up with him.