$5 in advance/$10 at the door
9:30pm doors/10pm showtime
hosted by Juke Nukem
"In an almost cult-like fashion, the word Teklife has become a household name in the international dance music community. What started as a tight group of friends with a common interest in the homegrown Chicago culture known as footwork, eventually morphed into a network of artists working in many mediums across the globe. While the beginnings of this art form date back three decades to the early days of house music, the last five years have been some of the most fruitful times in the history of the genre, especially with its widespread expansion from its place of origin into the homes of audiences worldwide.
While the roots of Teklife were planted when its founders DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn met in high school homeroom class in the mid 90s, a huge step in launching their movement was the formation of the Ghettoteknitianz in 2006. At the time, the group consisted almost solely of DJs with affiliations to footwork crews such as Terra Squad and Taliban. Along with seasoned vets, the leaders began recruiting some of the younger producers such as DJ Manny and DJ Earl, to both mentor them, and to help secure the future of their craft for the next generation. The tight knit crew was the most feared in the footwork world, and membership was only given to those who could prove themselves worthy through their music. In the late 2000s the word “Teklife” became a term to refer to those who fit that description, but also dawned a larger movement, one that would take their culture from the streets of Chicago to the rest of the globe.
As the Ghettoteknitianz name was somewhat phased out a few years ago, the newly formed Teklife family grew into a worldwide collective of DJs, dancers, visual artists, vocalists, and more. Rashad, Spinn, and the rest of their peers saw their art form growing legs, and Teklife became a multimedia movement that has reached almost all corners of the globe. While Chicago will always be the epicenter, footwork is no longer restricted to the Midwest, as membership in the group now exists everywhere from Denver to Belgrade. Students of the music from afar were taken in and turned into soldiers of this new revolution in modern dance music, creating new hybrids and expansions on the original format birthed from Chicago.
Unfortunately, the community surrounding this music has recently suffered the great loss of one of Teklife’s founders and most essential figures, DJ Rashad. While with a heavy heart we have mourned his premature death, friends and fans from all over the globe continue to keep his legacy alive by continuing to spread the Teklife name worldwide. I can’t even go out to a party anymore without seeing at least one shirt brandishing the movement’s name. While we can’t physically interact with him anymore, anytime I see an audience of people throwing L’s up in his honor, it’s proof to me that the man and what he started is never going anywhere soon. We miss you Rashad, you left this earth too soon, but you’ll never be forgotten."
When I met Feng Meng Vue, he mentioned that he had never found a real electronic music scene in Eau Claire. It’s possible that’s all about to change. Vue – who releases music as sloslylove – just put out Tendencies, a ten-track tape and digital album that carries a level of polish that is nearly unmatched among local, short-run releases.
Tendencies moves deftly between modern production and throwbacks to the glamorous 80s, with heavy synth lines, shimmering transitions and Phil Collins-esque drum fills, and mostly maintaining a steady, danceable pace. But sloslylove is just as good in his more ambient, emotional moments, such as album closer “*summer is forever.” Voice samples from old TV shows or audio books are peppered throughout the record, adding a cinematic feel to the tracks. Vue began making music – not counting earlier attempts at piano lessons – in 2005 in his senior year at Memorial High School. “At the time I started, I would make really bad melodies and resample them and slice them up to recreate new ideas and melodies,” Vue said. “From there I started sampling found sounds from other sources.”
Since then, sloslylove has put out a variety of digital releases (many of which are still available for free download) leading up to Tendencies, which is digital and on cassette tape. “I put it on tape because I wanted to see if I could do it,” Veng said. “The designing, beat making, printing, folding, ordering blank cassettes, dubbing, all that stuff. It’s definitely not easy doing it all yourself.” And that design is another perk for Tendencies. The casing of the tape –and the tape itself – are beautifully orchestrated and match the jovial music inside. Besides sloslylove, Vue also plays in a new Minneapolis based project, Vandaam. “It’s a different sound from my current project, but it still holds many of the same elements I use.” Currently, sloslylove isn’t active as a live project, but Vue says there could be shows in the near future. As for recording, Vue will keep busy. [Volume One]