Phoenix DJs Offer Alternative to Scottsdale's Flashy EDM Scene

The prominent representation of electronic music in the Valley obviously is the club scene in Scottsdale. The biggest names in electronic dance music play around Old Town every weekend, and thousands of people flock to expensive bars in flashy clothes.

The opposite, that is, of what the members of Provisions DJ collective aim for.

"It's less about the music and more about how many people can you pack in the club to hear this one top 40 song," Tempe-based DJ Issa says of the Scottsdale scene.

Fellow Tempe turntablist Owen "Goonie" Taylor finishes the thought -- "or how much you can make it feel like fucking Ultra in Miami on your club night."

Goonie and Issa pride themselves on being early adopters, as far as musical taste goes, a common thread among the members of the Provisions DJ collective. Issa and Taylor's comrades in bass include Dehga, Ariel, Pablo Gomez, Eko, Ellery, Byron Fenix, and Heartbraks. The collective has been responsible for a monthly self-titled electronic music dance night at Phoenix's Sochu House over the past 11 months, but so far, the entire crew has never played together in a single night.

The collective is going to change that on August 16, however, with its one-year anniversary party. The eight DJs will team up in pairs for four sets to open for L.A.-based headliner Sweatson Klank. Klank will be the first ever out-of-town headliner for the usually local-centric event.

DJ Dehga, a.k.a. Demartell Woods, brought the collective together.

"I was trying to collect the dopest local DJs and people with the most history," Woods says. "I wanted reputable people that all had their individual shit crackin' and were forward-thinking, as far as their taste in music, their selection, and their awareness of new stuff. Also putting those people together in a sense that transcends genre, that surpasses that shit. I wanted people that were also digging for new stuff and looking for how to push forward."

Issa describes the night as a "reaction" to "certain scenes," adding "we are also about cutting edge forms of electronic music, pushing the envelope. We are not catering to the mainstream, what we are doing needs to have some level of thought process. But at the same time its completely danceable."

The night also generally features some form of visual artistry ranging from the talents of live painters like Dumper Foo and Angel Diaz to art installations built by resident artist Abe Zucca.

Above all else, Provisions prides itself on being an eclectic night because electronic music may sound like a narrow genre to the uninitiated. But to the proprietors of Provisions, it is as broad as rock 'n' roll. When asked about the genres of music they play at Provisions, all the DJs immediately spouted names like IDM, footwork, experimental polyrhythmic music, even some more common genres like hip hop, reggae, and dub step. They even described one form, known as "autonomic," as sci-fi-esque with futuristic sounds. "Perhaps we all get bored easily, but there is a lot of diversity in this one night," says Pablo Gomez. "It's not predictable."

Not to say no one shows up, but according to the DJs, the core of the patrons show up for the music as opposed to the scene.

"We have a small dedicated crowd, and it fluctuates up and down, but none of the nights have been dead," says Ellery. Gomez adds, "We may not have the hugest, club-packingest crowd. But we have a dedicated core following who are there every month who want to dance and have their minds blown. The night is about the fucking music. It's not about anything else. It's not about the drinks or who's there. It's about the music."

Provisions DJ Collective's one-year anniversary party is scheduled to take place at 9 p.m. Saturday, August 16, at Sochu House. The show is 21 and up and tickets are $5.

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Jeff Moses
Contact: Jeff Moses