Last Friday, We The Beat brought DJs Le Youth and Kedd Cook to EOS Lounge for what proved to be another addition to their track record of live show successes.
Doors opened at 9 p.m. and at $5, tickets were basically a steal. The audience was even delighted with a last minute surprise appearance by DJ aRod, who opened the show. Le Youth (Wes James) and Kedd Cook (Ian Alexander) were clearly carefully chosen for the night as both have a tendency of sticking to the old-school stuff.
Before Ian Alexander decided to DJ exclusively, he worked at Sound Nightclub where he now occasionally performs. He also helped co-found Modern Disco Ambassadors in 2008, which he dedicated to talent scouting, not the “music you want to hear” but “music you need to hear.” OC Weekly has credited him heavily for his knack of finding new and unheard electronic music that one usually will not hear playing on mainstream radio.
Although Wes James was raised in Ohio, he currently resides in Los Angeles and claims the “breezy California vibes” help produce his music. Whereas he may be stuck in the past when it comes to music, specifically the Clinton-era, nothing gets 90s kids more pumped on the dance floor than hearing the tunes you grew up listening to.
Wes James’s appreciation for the decade is distinctly apparent in the music video for “C O O L” which was directed by Renata Raksha (a fashion-based photographer whose works have been published in Teen Vogue, Nylon and Foam, among others). The music video features simple, retro cinematography, beginning with monochromatic silhouettes. It slowly transitions into color, following the sensual movements of a single female dancer. James makes it a point to set his electronic dance music apart from what he calls today’s “ongoing onslaught of dayglo-tinged dubstep”.
Kedd Cook was first to take to the deck on Friday. Named “The King of Deep House” and Orange County’s best DJ of 2010, he recently toured Southern California to celebrate his birthday week. He performed alongside acts such as
M A N I K, Amtrac, Damian Lazarus and even Lauren Lane (the Los Angeles-based DJ — not C.C. Babcock from “The Nanny”).
Throughout the set, Alexander kept the crowd going with his signature non-stop groovy beats, playing a more underground set. To hear Alexander’s music, his soundcloud page (found under ‘KeddCook’) contains a collection of the various live sets he’s played at popular clubs in Los Angeles. Music4Lovers.com also featured him in a segment called “Hometown Heroes”.
As the night went on, the comfortable spaciousness of EOS slowly became packed as more and more Le Youth fans entered, constantly asking when “L.Y. would be on.” Le Youth, née Wes James, is well-known for mixing R&B with house music from the 90s.
“C O O L,” his debut single, caught fire on the internet after its 2013 release and catapulted him into his current standing as an artist. “C O O L” samples the popular 2006 song “Me & U” by Cassie, and demonstrates his fusion of house and R&B.
Le Youth’s next single “Dance With Me” features rapper Dominique Young Unique and stays true to his unique technique. During the set, he included many of his own singles mixed with dance favorites such as Disclosure and Chromeo. Other tracks that James tweaked include Sam Smith’s “Money On My Mind” and Lana Del Rey’s song, “Ride,” which can be found under the title “Wes James remix”.
When the end of the night drew closer, James became more interactive with the audience, specifically, an especially hyper fan — and me. He invited us both behind the deck, and we got to see what the audience looked like from a DJ’s perspective.
Of course selfies were involved, but the most refreshing part of meeting James was his modesty. Prior to the show, I made a bracelet that read “Le Youth” and upon exiting, I gave it to James along with a hug. It is always a nice surprise to find big names humbled by small gestures. It definitely made my night to be surrounded by such good music and good vibes. With so much of the underground discotheque scene happening in Los Angeles, it was an honor to have some of that sent up to Santa Barbara.
A version of this story appeared on page 9 of Thursday, May 8, 2014′s print edition of the Daily Nexus.