June 25, 2018

Live Report: The Union Show

A couple weeks back, Julian Gray (of Julian Gray Media) played his first show as a Mau5trap artist, in support of Heyz. Also making their full live debuts were LV friend Sysdemes and Blind5pider. Hanz spoke to a few of those involved and brings you this detailed report...

By: Hanz Ford


2018 has been a year of rapid growth and milestones for the community. Newly formed labels making their presence known, debut releases from incredibly talented producers, and the long nights spent perfecting one’s sound paying off with the reward of playing your own music live in front of an audience. Which brings us neatly to the June 8th show at Union club in LA.  Where talented and aspiring producers Sysdemes and Blind5pider played their debut gigs alongside Mau5trap heavyweights Heyz and Julian Gray.

I was unable to attend this night of epic firsts and unreleased gems, but our good friend Garrett Finn, aka Rhyot, went to support the cause. I caught up with him after the show to hear about his journey and how the night went  so you (the reader) could vicariously enjoy the show from the comfort of where you are now.

Hanz Ford: So Garret, how was the journey to the show, I heard it was a bit of a trek for you.

Garrett: Oh, wow, yes. It was a bit crazy because of the travel itinerary! I had been in Toronto for the week looking at condos but my flight was out of Detroit. I caught a bus out of the city on Friday (day of the show) at 01:00am, arriving in Detroit at 05:15, there were no nearby Uber or Lyft, so I took city transit from the bus station to the airport…

Due to Garret arriving at the airport less than 45 minutes to takeoff he had to do a bit of sweet-talking to check in. 4500 miles or 7242 kms later and our friend is enjoying the Hollywood strip, counting down the hours for the main event of his journey. As the sun sets and night fades in, the doors open to that in which so many of us reading would have loved to enter through. Union club. I was eager to hear what Garret had to say and in his words.

G: The best part of the show were the artists, which should go without saying. Watching Blind5pider and Julian doing their stuff was worth the trip, but the main objective was to go support Sysdemes. We put out, what (I believe) was his official original music debut release on Emercive, with a few other tracks, and then he booked the show, then we put out his Eldritch EP, then he won the Structures [by Dom Kane] [remix] contest… so it was a lot of progress for him in, like, two and a half months! It was great meeting Blind5pider whom I had chatted a bit with in the weeks before; he’s developing his style and sound, building his production - wonderful person. Julian is a great dude as well, and literally maybe the most excited person to play music out that I’ve seen since like, 2012? It was great finally meeting him. ”

Photo: Rhyot & Sysdemes


Photo: Rhyot & Sysdemes

G: … and then Sysdemes, who had a more comfortable performance than debuts I’ve seen from some in currently higher places. The highlight of the night for me was hearing an hour of music that was new to my ears from one of my favorite producers, (it’s why we signed the dude, he makes great stuff that invokes a lot of energy in different ways from an audience). It was awesome being there, to watch him share this music with people. The set was wonderfully arranged, beginning heavier to carry off from Heyz, and ending with a super lengthy twisting and emotional downtempo electronica ID. It was very much worth going.

Sounds to me as though the night was packed full of amazing music played by creative people, who spend long hours manifesting their dreams and fasting on ambition. Garrett gives us the setting and mood to the night, a canvas for us readers to watch as the performers themselves paint the picture of the experience in their own words. First off, I also had the fortune of speaking to Blind5pider about the night and discovered that the Union club was a bit of a RE-union…

HF: How long have you been DJing and producing and where did you link up with Julian?

Blind5pider: I’ve been producing for 2 years and djing for 3 years. Funny story, the first time I met Julian was at The Union on a random night that I went. A week before that event I had discovered Julian’s remix of Kaskade’s “Disarm You” and become a fan. That’s where I found him on Youtube and all that. So that night I was just head-banging to some Riddim and out of nowhere I see Julian wearing his Julian Gray t-shirt [laughs]… I was fan-girling so hard. I was like “what is he doing here, he lives in Maryland?” … So telling my friends that’s Julian Gray, I approached him and told him I loved the Kaskade remix he did. He then gave me his number and to tell you I have never been excited to get a dude’s number in my life [laughs A LOT]. So yeah the rest is history.”

Photo: Brady Lavigne

Student & mentor working the tools of the trade

Photo: Brady Lavigne

But the meat of the experience was the feeling of playing one’s music in front of an audience. A feeling many dream of and only a deserving few experience. For Blind5pider it was:

B: The best feeling in the world to play YOUR music live to a crowd. Seeing people dance to your music is pretty sweet. That night at the Heyz show i played 6 originals and one remix. Never in a million years I would think I would be creating my own music and playing it live.

Photo: Brady Lavigne

Blind5pider getting the crowd warmed up

Photo: Brady Lavigne

Spoken like someone who cherished every second of the night. Storing the memory in the realms of the mind, where a path of moments and devotion lead to its creation. When asked what he would like to improve on for the next time he finds himself in front of a crowd, he said that he would like to “play more originals”, having left out two songs that weren’t ready yet. Look forward to seeing what lies ahead for this guy!

The room was warmed up and ready for the progress-o sounds of Julian Gray, and the heavy techno vibes spun by the one and only Heyz. Julian Gray is becoming a house-hold name, and was the guest on Episode 5 of the Podcast. In talking with him then I could feel how excited and passionate he is about music and media, a shining example of hard work and determination paying off.

From videos of the night, it is apparent Julian radiates joy on stage, playing his hits to the ever growing amount of fans. Having recently had his debut Mau5trap release ‘Resident Try Hard’, the only way is up from here. A recent tweet from him asked where people would like to see him play, a good chunk said Toronto (me included), so let us hope that becomes a reality! I had the chance to get a few words from him about the show:

Julian Gray: The night went incredible! A lot of preparation went into it from all parties, and I’m glad it went smoothly. All the artists absolutely killed their sets. I’m very fortunate to have been a part.

The main act of the night was Heyz, and from what I was told, he had a crushing set! Who could expect less from a producer with something like his colossal Schedule 1 EP in the arsenal. “Beauty & Power” is how he describes his music and videos of past performances relay a message that Heyz hits hard with techno when he gets behind the decks, and this night was no different. Sysdemes tells me the crowd was pumped to see him play, and ending his set with some acid house tracks really crowned the set. Heyz is definitly on my list of Djs to see, hopefully one of these days the write up will be written in first person. As Heyz played out his last track, it was our good friend Sysdemes next up to bat. Long hours spent and snack foods ingested while locked into the zone, as the brilliance flows from mind to DAW, all leading to this day.

HF: So Sysdemes, how did you prepare for the show?

Sysdemes: I started preparing my set with the goal of playing as many originals as possible. I always admired artists that played as much of their own music as possible, and wanted to follow in those footsteps. Basically for the three months leading up to my set I was making the tracks I was going to play. I even played a track I made the night before. The other thing I did to prepare was I made club edits, longer drum intros and outros to make mixing easier, and arranged the tracks so there would be no awkward key changes.

Much time spent preparing, grinding every midi note to perfection. Some take months, some take weeks to finish a club worthy track, Sysdemes was able to make one, 24 hours before the show. To some that might seem a bit ill-prepared, but to those who know him know he is efficient with production, and works best under pressure.

HF: And how did you feel the night went?

S: I think the night went great overall. Everyone had great sets and the energy in the room was good. Not gunna lie I had a pretty big mistake in my set, but I still think I did decently for a first performance. I definitely want to play more shows soon, it’s awesome to hear your tracks played loud

Photo: Brady Lavigne

Sysdemes at work

Photo: Brady Lavigne

HF: I know i speak for many when i say, more Sysdemes shows need to happen! I am curious what your mistake was - they’re always the most important lessons in life…

S: I learned to make sure tempo lock is turned off! ( Lol) For real though, I learned that mistakes are no big deal and to just keep playing. As nervous as I was to play it all went away once I got up on stage, so I know that I can play shows now. Before I wasn’t sure if I could handle it because I’m pretty introverted.

“Mistakes are no big deal and to just keep playing” I think are words of wisdom one can apply to life itself. To hear our friend feel at home once getting behind the decks is an encouraging sign, one i think we all should pay close attention to. As with all of the artists on that night’s venue, I think we are all witnessing the birth of bright futures. Make sure to find these guys on their socials and to follow them! They all have big things planned.

Photo: Brady Lavigne

The line-up and promoter ... Black outfits mandatory

Photo: Brady Lavigne