Interview & Review: Umek @ Pacha NYC 10/19/13

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What’s better than seeing your favorite tech house producer on your birthday weekend? Chatting with him before the show and then partying in the booth behind him for the best three-hour set ever… that’s what! I promise not to sound too biased because I’ve already prefaced this with Umek being one of my personal Top 5 DJs, and that this was my birthday celebration night, just two days before my actual birthday. Come and let me take you on a journey behind the iron curtain as I tell you a few highlights from Saturday night, October 19th, as Mr. Umek Uros made his gigantic (pun intended) return to Pacha NYC.

I arrived in the green room around 12:45 to have a quick chat with Umek before his set would start at 2am. While waiting for him to finish another interview, he looked over and gave me a big smile, remembering me from his three previous 2013 performances at Pacha, Webster Hall, and Rumor in Philly. Needless to say, I was thrilled to have him back in NYC a fourth time for the year, rocking my custom made “1605” black v-neck t-shirt. He wrapped up his chat with the previous reporter around 1am, stood up from the sofa, and the 6’5-ish Slovenian teddy bear bent down to give me a warm hug as I reintroduced myself, to which he replied, “of course I remember you“.

We sat down on the sofa to catch up on his music updates since we last spoke at the end of June in Philly. I didn’t record the interview because I like to selfishly keep a lot of the things we discuss to myself and just let you in on a few sprinkles of the good stuff. Besides talking about his busy tour schedule, making music on the road, my all-time favorite “Behind The Iron Curtain” podcast, his widely successful 1605 label, and several new artists to keep an eye out for, I wanted to find out a few interesting tid bits about him. For starters, he told me that he has an incredible designer who does all the unique artwork for his tracks, and that he’ll be coming out with some fresh new merchandise soon. Also, I couldn’t help but to ask about his four oversized black skull rings that perfectly matched his skull cross t-shirt, and he said that they represented everything he wasn’t. He also mentioned that 1605 was his birthday (May 16th) and the one new artist I should listen for was Heartik. I also took the opportunity to tell him again how much I loved Groovebox, and how I’m hoping he’ll get booked here in NYC soon. That might have had a slight influence on him because there were several Groovebox tracks in the set later that night. I thanked him for his time, and he thanked me for mine, then I followed him down to the booth.

Once we entered the booth, my concerns about Prydz and Loco Dice being in town on the same night had vanished as I looked out to see that the club was completely full and ready for the hottest night of tech house possible. Over the next three hours, Umek unleashed all of the best weapons stored behind his iron curtain, shaking the ‘house’ from the floors, to the walls, to the roof. Once a Pacha employee assisted Umek in unhooking the air horn cord caught up on a lightbox overhead, he gave it a tug and the crowd unanimously approved as we all jumped on board his tech house train. Even Deniz Koyu showed up in the booth to enjoy the beats, along with his new tour manager and my dear friend, Rocco. Not a single person in the club wasn’t dancing to the sounds the Titan played.

Here’s a partial tracklist from his monstrous set:

• “Black Magic” (Original Mix) -Paul Rodner
• “Plaster” (Original Mix) -Guille Placencia
• “House Circus” (Original Mix) -Peter Brown
• “Yeke Yeke” (Original Mix) -Vlada Asanin, Yas Cepeda
• “Finder” (Original Mix) -Ninetoes
• “Looking For Some Action” (Original Mix) -Marco Lys
• “Gamemaster” (Original Mix) -Guille Placencia
• “Cause and Effect” (Original Mix) -Umek & Groovebox
• “Work The Track” – Kevin Andrews & Jason Chance
• “Revolution (Nothing To Testify)” (Original Mix) -Julio Posadas
• “Metrum” (Umek Remix) -Fedde Le Grand
• “Only Bass” (Original Mix) -Do Santos
• “You Can Do It” (Original Mix) -Groovebox w/ Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” acapella
• “Rock It Out” (Original Mix) – Umek & Groovebox
• “Can You Feel It” (Prok & Fitch Remix) -Todd Terry, CLS
• “Wistful Memory” (Original Mix) -Heartik

After his set, NYC’s Jean Pierre stepped up to continue the party. I gave Umek another hug and told him how much I loved the set. He graciously took photos with my boyfriend Matt, and my friend Mike, then made his way out of the booth around 5:30am. The music was so good, we couldn’t leave, so we continued to dance to the sounds of Jean Pierre for nearly another hour before we were exhausted. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him several times, and he’s definitely one of my favorites. Here’s a few tracks he played:

• Butch – “Desert Storm”
• Jean Pierre -” In the Woods” (Unreleased)
• Peter Bailey – “Come Get It”
• Bimas – “Your Time” (Original Mix)
• Green Velvet – “Bigger Than Prince” (The Martinez Brothers Remix)

With the dance floor still going strong at almost 6:30am, I said one of my favorite expressions, “he ain’t lettin’ NOBODY leave“. Jean Pierre, like a magnet, kept pulling us back in with his killer closing set. I stopped to say hello to my great friend, DJ Giovanni , along with DJ Uch, and then finally made our way out of the club and went around the corner to grab a few slices of 99-cent pizza at 41st and 9th; the perfect ending to a perfect night!

Thanks to Umek’s awesome Tour Manager, Bizzy, the man himself, Umek, Jean Pierre, and everyone who shared in what was an unforgettable birthday night for me at Pacha NYC. As always, I look forward to my next trip behind the iron curtain.

Until next week, bye bye” – Umek

Nicole “Swedeheart”

 

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