Gutter Guts

| 11 Nov 2014 | 02:10

      DJ AARON LACRATE is the chief exporter of Baltimore “gutter” music, an uptempo dance form born of classically minimal club music. Built on the genre’s foundation of chants, hard drums and an urgent sense of fun, LaCrate’s production ethic seeks to push sound into a more complex realm of song craft. Given that his music also draws from vintage hip-hop, it’s fitting that he recently partnered with seminal rap label Delicious Vinyl to remix tracks from Tone Loc and Young MC. The popularity of the remixes—used-tobe electro artist Peaches also contributes— led to a new deluxe edition of remixes as well as a full-fledged imprint called Delicious Gutter, which is throwing “Rmxxology” parties across the globe (including LaCrate’s recent gig opening for pretty-boy DJ extraordinaire Mark Ronson).With the definite buzz of the moment around him, LaCrate doesn’t fall prey to his own hype and lets his music do the talking.

    “Gutter is the evolution of Baltimore club,” he explains. “Baltimore club has been around for years. It’s hard-hitting music, the rawest dance music you can get. [Production collaborator] Samir and I have our own line of club music with more song structure and new vocalists over the club sound as well as fewer samples. It doesn’t rely on the same four or five loops that a lot of other people are using. It’s definitely another level.”

    “There’s a lot of hype in all this right now,” he continues. “It’s kind of a popularity contest and music was never about that. I always liked the rawest, best music.

    I didn’t like it because of who made it. I didn’t like the guy who made the music more than the music itself. But that’s what the current state is at the moment... but as that dies down, great music will win out.”  

    LaCrate’s full of reverence for DJ culture.

    He’s from a generation that found its heroes behind turntables rather than guitars, so he felt the iconic power of intensely regional DJs in his early adolescence.

    “I loved the Technique 1200s, that turntable,” he recalls. “I thought it was the finest piece of equipment you could ever see. It was a beautiful object.To even buy those turntables really separated the men from the boys.To watch DJs spin on 1200s was very exciting for me early on, two copies, back and forth, the precision.”

    “The record stores in Baltimore had some of the best DJs working within a block radius,” he adds. “You could go to one corner and hear one guy and go to another corner and hear the next. It was already powerful for me on a personal level before a crowd or anyone else even got involved in it. Once I experienced the other side of it as well, it was over.” Starry eyed about his formative years, LaCrate is also aware of the big picture as he moves into the future and tackles new opportunities.The Delicious Vinyl remixes are just another step in his inspired direction.

    “Everyone is going toward more uptempo music,” he says in a humble but pleased tone. “Whether it’s pop or hiphop, R&B or straight dance music, it’s what people want at the moment.We have a very distinct version of it that’s very authentic.

    It combines hip-hop and dance music in a very realistic way.We’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

    > DJ Aaron LaCrate

    Oct. 24, Webster Hall, 125 E. 11th St. (betw. 3rd & 4th Aves.), 212-353-1600; 10, $10/$20.