dublab preview

September 10, 2011

originally posted here


If you believe the press release, Saturday’s all-day music event and fundraiser at {open} is where “L.A.’s Beat Scene Comes to Long Beach.” That was the headline.

And we do believe. The funds raised by at-the-door donations go to Los Angeles-based online radio station Dublab, and the music will be created by DJs from the station, as well as L.A.’s enfant terrible beat night Low End Theory.

But that’s not all we believe. After talking to Markus Manley—longtime local promoter and organizer through his Robots and Angels collective—the event is clearly so much more than a scene’s for-a-day relocation.

The addition of local talent—such as indie-jazz band Feed the Feeble and {open} owner and DJ Shea Gauer—ensure that the musical lineup will be as eclectic as the city that’s hosting the event.

Greater Long Beach sat down with Manley over a dark beer and began asking questions—about Robots and Angels, Long Beach bedroom artists and why this Saturday is already his favorite show he’s done.

What is Robots and Angels and how did it start?
Robots and Angels actually started as an event back in 2004. It was just a one-off event, and the whole concept was to mix music and art and bring people out and expose some of our friends, who are amazing artists but didn’t have a platform. Overall, it was a group of artists working together—from music to visual to performance art. And what was funny was that we got hold of this warehouse space in downtown L.A., and we’d only printed about 400 handmade flyers, thinking we’d get 300 people. But throughout the night, we had over 800 people, and it was pretty fucking awesome. After that, I thought Robots and Angels was a cool name and decided we were going to keep producing events under that name. Because it was the one I felt kept with both the music and also art shows.

What other events does Robots and Angels do?
Right now I have a gallery space called Alley 425. We had the opening a few weeks ago and I have an amazing lineup of new shows coming through. We’re also doing Night Dive at the Aquarium on October 28. We partnered up with the employees of the Aquarium and are going to be assisting them with some of the lineup and promotion.

Why does Long Beach need something like Robots and Angels?
We’ve always discussed how Long Beach has a great art scene but no one knows about it and there aren’t really places that support and show artwork. That’s why I like to go heavy on Long Beach artists and mix in some L.A. and Orange County. It’s about presenting all different types of art that are in Long Beach. That’s really my mission in continuing with this.

You’ve mostly made a name as a music promoter. How did you get into other art forms?
It was just an extension of that. Typically, the way I find a lot of these people is from my own explorations and digging, and also from my surrounding group of friends. There are so many bedroom artists in Long Beach. I’d go to people’s houses and see all this cool art and say, “Wow. This is great! Where are you showing?” And they say “Nowhere.” And people that want to excel always just got up and left the city. They’d say that Long Beach doesn’t really support its local artists and whatnot. This is on the visual side. On the music side, this city is really supportive.

How did Dublab come into the picture?
I used to hang out at their very first space on Melrose back in the late ’90s. I used to go there with my friend, Con Artist—who is now known as Edit—and I was really good friends with Frosty and the rest of the group. What was cool was they were the ones that were really always pushing that eclectic, cutting-edge sound. They helped spawn such groups as Brainfeeder and Low End Theory.

That’s why I’m excited because Jonwayne is going to be performing. We have Matthewdavid and some of the Dublab DJs that will be coming through, too. And there is a whole variety of local DJs that are going to be throwing down in the mix.

So this weekend’s event is going be an exciting event to even be happening in Long Beach.
A lot of people are really surprised about Dublab coming down here, but that’s one of the things we try with Robots and Angels. Besides helping out local artists, we seek out new groups and new artists to bring to Long Beach.

So bands and DJs are going continuously all day?
Yeah, it starts at 2 and ends at 10, and all the money is going towards Dublab and their online radio. Because, like KCRW, Dublab does it without commercials or advertising. We need to keep art alive. Keep progressive art alive, for sure.

Do you think this is the start of more L.A. artists bringing their stuff down to Long Beach?
Yeah. I mean, this is already one of my favorite events I’ve ever done and it hasn’t even happened yet. I have so much respect for Dublab. These guys have really held in there and done exactly what they set out to do. And they continue to be on the forefront of new music.



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