The fella to your left is none other than Curtiss Porter, aka Depth One to those of you familiar with the DNB circuit. A FUZZ! resident and veteran of the scene, Curtiss has some rich history here in the PGH. As someone who isn’t into heavy bass music or DNB at all, I can honestly say his sets are the closest I’ve come to truly enjoying that genre of music. If that doesn’t speak to his level of talent, perhaps this interview might. We had a chance to ask Curtiss a few questions about his history, influences and new project HYPE! Which debuts this Friday at Shadow Lounge.
Curtiss’ party-throwin roots date all the way back to 2002 when he and Adam Ratana did a night called “Life Support,” an open turntable night where his friend and well-known local dubstep producer RSK got some of his first reps on the wheels. Life Support also saw talent such as Kid 606 from Tigerbeat6 and hometown hero Andy Sine. 2005 saw the birth of Curtiss’ next project, a drum ‘n bass crew called Strength Beyond Strength with Blunt MC and fellow DJs Chronic Logic, Trichrome, and Morriscode in which he threw series of shows called Solid at the short-lived Prana Gallery. Curtiss claims, “Solid saw the Pittsburgh premier performances of some of the country’s top drum n’ bass acts, including arQer and Realtime, Think Tank, and Evol Intent for what was their second performance in Pittsburgh.”
Other names Curtiss has brought to town include Corrupt Souls, Mayhem, Catacomb, Genr8, and Robot Death Squad aka Hybris. “All are some of the best producers in the neurofunk sub-genre of drum n’ bass” – a genre very close to his heart. ” Those who’ve seen me develop over the 10+ years I’ve been playing out here in the ‘burgh, know of my (still!) intense love of neurofunk drum n’ bass. Artists like Ed Rush & Optical, Matrix, Noisia, Phace, Cause 4 Concern, Teebee, Klute, Bad Company, Billain, Dose, The Upbeats, Gridlok, and the artists I’ve mentioned previously define neurofunk and are just a select few of the guys whose sound really does it for me. Now that I’ve progressed as a DJ to include a more varied range of bass music into my sets, that dark, dirty, hard-edged, funk that drew me to neuro is what you’ll hear whether I’m playing dubstep, juke, electro, moombahton or anything else that might be in my crate. I also love Detroit techno. Stuff like Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin, Underground Resistance, and local hero Shawn Rudiman have always been favorites, so you’ll also hear that influence in a lot of stuff I play.”
Curtiss’ wide-ranging taste in music and years of experience curating shows has brought him to his newest project, HYPE! “I created HYPE! to be an anything goes bass party, that will feature international to regional DJs that are at the top of their game and pushing things forward in their respective genres. You’ll hear dubstep, drum n’ bass, hip hop, juke, footwork, future bass, UK funky, moombahton, and nearly anything else that’s considered bass music.” This time, however, he’s working with people he’s known his whole life. “HYPE! is produced with the help of Kyle “Keilay” and Brandon “B.L.A.” of the P.O.P. crew, of which I am also a part of. You can consider HYPE! a family affair because Kyle and Brandon are also my younger bros, and with their help this idea of mine has finally come to fruition.”
This first installment of HYPE! is a mix of both familiar and new faces for Curtiss. He’s been cool with Mayhem for years and hasn’t met Noah D yet, but has been a fan for quite a while and is glad to be bringing him to the PGH for his first appearance. “Both guys are killing it right now – Mayhem with recent production (along with Diplo and Heroes x Villains) on the FKi crew’s latest mixtape Transformers N The Hood, a drum n’ bass LP Into Oblivion on his own Shadow Law Recordings, and a dubstep EP First Blood forthcoming on Dieselboy’s Subhuman Recordings. Noah D is coming to Pittsburgh in support of his latest LP Perspective, releasing on the country’s premier dubstep label, LA’s SMOG Recordings.”
As for future, HYPE! events, brace ‘yoself! “HYPE! will continue bi-monthly on the fourth Friday of that month. On 4/27 we bring Pittsburgh the long awaited return of two amazing DJs – Distal, America’s top future bass producer, who will be visiting in support of his forthcoming LP on the highly regarded Tectonic Recordings, and Joe Nice, America’s dubstep ambassador, who will be blessing the wheels with nothing but exclusive dubplates from the UK’s most respected producers. Get HYPE! Pittsburgh!”
I know we here at NYO are pretty hyped for Friday. Props to Curtiss and crew for keeping the electronic music community of PGH on its toes and for always keeping it fresh!