“MauiTime, the Maui Arts and Cultural Center and venues here need to do more to foster the electronic music scene,” says Joti Mangat, one of three guys behind the Sandwich Isle Bass (SIB) group, playing this Friday at Charley’s. “Get behind it as a safe, creative scene. It’s not just underage kids taking molly.”
I’m receiving this lecture at an electronic music pow wow at Baldwin Beach Park with Sandwich Isle Bass, (Mangot, Darren Quinsaat and Rudy Castorina), DJ Vadim and Karen Be. Vadim, also known as Daddy Vad, is on his last stop for his recent US tour. In the last 60 days, he’s been to 40 cities in 35 states. He’s been doing shows with the Polish Ambassador, and says nearly all of them were sold out.
“I haven’t eaten a thing since Portland yesterday,” Vadim jokes. “I have been everywhere in the last two months. Jackson Hole was beautiful, the Donner Pass is covered in graffiti. Thirty of the 40 shows were with Polish Ambassador in their onesies.”
It’s been a year and half since Vadim was at Charley’s with Sandwich Island Bass. He says America has been great but they need to turn up the bass. Vadim’s home base is in London but he won’t be stopping there long–he says he’ll spend the next few months touring Europe, Greece, Turkey and India.
“When we were listening to Depeche Mode in the UK, the Americans were listening to Def Leppard and Van Halen,” says Vadim. “All the sound guys in the US are rock and roll–they don’t know what to do with a band with no guitar. I’m like, just turn up that bass!”
On Maui, the dance scene may not be as big as some of the mainland spots Vadim recently visited, but SIB says Jonathan Herman at Charley’s was one of the first to see potential. They say they will create a Tropical Bass Soiree this Friday night.
“I always play Reggae-influenced house–Troppy Step,” says Vadim. “Soulful with a bassline that makes the people move. I think people who live in the islands have a different taste [in music]. It’s more tropical.”
The guys throw out numbers like mathematicians of beats–108, 110 deep house, 90 to 110 and zouk bass. Everyone is publishing their music on Soundcloud.
“What’s Mumbaton?” I ask.
“Moombahton,” Castorina corrects me.
“It’s based on African folklore,” says Karen Be. “Also, Zouk bass, Zouk flute.”
“It’s tropical, Latin, Afro Caribbean–all these sounds influence Moombahton,” says Mangat. “DJs Tittsworth and Ayres are the lifeblood of Moombahton massive. T&A records are releasing our newest stuff.”
While Maui may not be a hub of electronic music, it certainly is a nesting ground. SIB is pushing the envelope with their own flavor of Zouk and Moombahton and gaining national clout with their sound, but getting venues to take notice is proving difficult.
“The problem is that we find the promoters that do shows on Oahu just won’t take a risk on local DJs,” says Quinsaat. “They want the international names that sell-out shows.”
In the not too distant past, electronic music was underground. EM followers had to hike out to distant cow pastures and crazy warehouse spaces, and venue shows were trite. But this Friday, you’ll only have to trek through the streets of Paia for a world-class lineup of DJs and dancing.
21+. $10 presale. $15 door. 9pm. Charley’s Restaurant and Saloon (142 Hana Hwy, Paia); charleysmaui.com/index.cfm