Lemon D, co-founder of the bass-heavy Valve imprint, is in town to celebrate the Bass By the Pound ten-year anniversary. Valve’s releases showcased the darker production style of Lemon D and Dillinja, and epitomized the sound of the late nineties. Lemon D’s DJ style runs the gamut from funk and jazz-fueled breaks to angry, dirty bass lines. Expect the speakers to rattle and the scene’s long departed to make an appearance at what should be a capacity event. Rumor has it a prize is in store for those who dust off their favorite “Seminar” t-shirt.
It is staggering how much can occur within the span of ten years. A decade. “Wow,” is a statement that may capture the emotion, but not nearly the breadth of accomplishments or challenges an individual or organization may face. Consider the Bass By the Pound (BBP) crew and their presence in Chicago nightlife. Drum ‘n’ bass music has grown from a second-room phenomenon to a well-defined niche under their watch, whether via “The Seminar,” their weekly Wednesday event, or “Dynamite,” their monthly Saturday. Originally booking weekly shows at Big Wig (where Lemon D made his first Chicago appearance), BBP now boasts ownership and creative control of the Small Bar venues, as well as the updated Lava. Says Phil McFarland, “If you told me in 1997 that we would still be here, I would have said, ‘No way.’”
“The Seminar” moved its home a number of times, traveling to Red Dog and back to Big Wig, to the original Lava Lounge on Damen Avenue, to its current locale on Milwaukee. Vision, Sonotheque and the Metro also hosted BBP events, and McFarland credits their success to the crew’s focus on a few sounds, and not the financial end of big-city promotions. Additionally, BBP has spread the work around, adding well-known champions of the drum ‘n’ bass scene to the team. “After this many shows,” he says, “you can’t do it all. We’ve been lucky to find good people to work with.”
“For ten years, it’s always been how to improve and reinvest. It gave us the ability to do bigger shows and now, we have ten years of work to feel good about.” (John Alex Colon)
Lemon D joins Carbide and Poolside at the 10-Year Anniversary of Seminar at Lava, 1270 North Milwaukee, (773)342-5282, December 19, 10pm-2am. $10.