[ELECTRONIC] In the past 20 years, there have been at least three upswings in the popularity of electronic music: the rave/ecstasy period of the early ’90s; the big-beat and trip-hop explosion of the early ’00s; and, more recently, the embrace of bass-heavy genres like juke and dubstep. But while some folks are prepared to unload their Crystal Method and Utah Saints CDs once the buzz dies down, others, like DJ-producer Danny Corn, have ridden every wave and lull.
“I think everything moves in cycles,” Corn says. “Interest will wane and come up again. Through it all, there’s been a steady bunch of people that has always loved it.”
The 38-year-old artist has been enjoying the current boom time. He spent most of 2012 out of town, either DJing at parties or helping stage-manage electronic festivals around the country.
And here in his adopted hometown of Portland, Corn has kept up a steady schedule of club dates, including PDneXt, the monthly showcase he and fellow producers Natasha Kmeto, Plumblyne and Graintable host at Holocene. For those nights, each of the four organizers play a short set, while also inviting a musician or DJ from out of town and one from the local community to throw down.
Corn’s busy schedule has allowed him to explore many different avenues of the electronic music world. One night, he can reel off a laptop DJ set of deeply felt downtempo and screwed hip-hop, and go full-on funky the next, using a vintage 808 drum machine and an iPad.
This catholic approach to beat-driven music is at the heart of everything Corn has done since stumbling across a rave nearly 20 years ago in his native Los Angeles.
“I was listening to a lot of punk at the time,” he remembers, “and the scene was really violent, a lot of gangs. What I loved about it was the energy. I went to this party and they had a rave stage, and I noticed that the energy was just as intense, but I didn’t have to worry about getting beaten up.”
Since then, Corn has followed the thread of dance music from its techno/house roots to the jagged squalls of drum ’n’ bass and dubstep’s wobble and rumble. What he hasn’t had much time to do is make a lot of his own music, tending to work up edits or remixes of other folks’ tracks to fit into his DJ sets.
Corn is looking to change that in 2013. He has an EP on the way, and plans to stick close to home and spend time in the studio hammering out some bangers of his own creation. Until then, he has the one-year anniversary of PDneXt to worry about (featuring sets by Massacooramaan and Chicago’s DJ Rashad) and his first time headlining Bubblin’, another monthly party, at Mississippi Studios.
The fact that the otherwise folk- and rock-focused venue would host such an event indicates how the popularity of electronic sounds has grown. When that gets brought up to Corn, he agrees, but again emphasizes the genre’s cyclical appeal.
“I’ve seen lots of
ups and downs,” he says. “But as a DJ and an artist, I can’t waste time
paying attention to that. I have to focus on what I’m doing and
hopefully come up with something that’s unique and original, but
contributes to the continuum of dance music.”
SEE IT: Danny Corn plays Bubblin’ at Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., with Gulls, Josh T and Drumplestiltskin, Lincolnup, and Ben Tactic, on Friday, Jan. 4. 10 pm. $5. 21+.