Anyone will tell you that Nicole "CHOICE" Jaatoul is a force of nature in the burgeoning Salt Lake City underground scene. One day she's dancing in front of every DJ booth in the city, the next, she's behind it, kicking ass like nobody's business. Choice knows her tunes and how to use them thanks in part to those years of watching and learning. She agreed to give NCM her best for installment no. 8 of our guest mix series and we couldn't be happier.
1. What’s in Your Head (Ali Nasser) by Archie Hamilton 2. Space Hood by Liou 3. Lindos by Huerta 4. Push Cat (Jorge Savoretti) by Felipe Galleguillos, Andre Butano 5. 4 Floors by Liou 6. Avira Dollars by Markus Kenel 7. Rules of Love (Dj Qu All Ova The Floor Retouch) by Joel Alter, Eric D Clark 8. Hello Cielo (Simon Baker) by Death on The Balcony 9. Epsilon (Nice ’n Trick) by Luky 10. Pineapple by Fabrizio Pugliese 11. Galapagos by Leo Tou 12. Splashes (Cheise) by Mark Sanders 13. SN Model by Livio & Roby, Enzo Siragusa
I first came to know you as the amazing hi-energy dancer girl who was at all the best parties... Tell us how you first got into dance music?
I first got into dance music in the 90's. My favorites were songs like The Bomb by Kenny Dope, Everybody's Free by Deee-Lite, I like to Move It by Reel 2 Real, Short Dick Man by Gillette. Basically anything in MTV's The Grind from 1996-1997.
What bands or artists did you worship in your formative teenage years?
As a teenager, I was obsessed with Pink Floyd, Bjork, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, and Radiohead. I was all over the place. Still am.
When was the ah-ha moment that made you want to learn to DJ?
At 17 I evolved into an underground hip-hop head as a street promoter, which led me to the underground culture of DJing. I was always intrigued by the DJ, but it wasn't until I met an all-vinyl DJ crew called the Funk Pirates when I was like "Oh, I can do that, and I want to, and I'm going to". Later I ended up working at Guitar Center and I made a friend who was a drum n bass DJ/producer. He taught me how to mix on a couple of old Diesel Boy records, which led me to slowly collecting records and eventually become a DJ.
Who and what does CHOICE mean to you? Where did that come from?
I never really had an alias as a DJ. In 2010 I was asked to play a gig at W-Lounge by Mama Beatz. At the time I needed a name for the flier and used my last name as a last minute thing, but shortly after decided to change it to Choice. I pulled the word from a quote in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. There's a scene where Ferris talks about driving Cameron's Dad's Ferrari and says "I love driving it, it is so choice. If you have the means I highly recommend picking one up".
How would you describe your taste in records, your style of mixing?
I enjoy collecting records that are vinyl only release, preferably minimal, deep house, and microhouse. I like to ride out the mix as long as possible without fucking it up, however cleaning up mix messes can be fun and I consider to be a huge part of the character of a mix.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not doing music?
Eat. Sleep. Music. Repeat.
Did you grow up in Utah? If not, how did you end up here?
I grew up in Detroit, MI, but I spent the majority of my adolescence traveling between Detroit and LA. Culturally, I've always been a little bit of mid-west and west coast. In my early 20's I lived in Mammoth Lakes, CA and worked as a lift operator. When the season ended a co-worker recommended I move to Salt Lake City—said I'd love the snow and the people and the music scene. A month later I moved here.
What are the best things about living in Salt Lake City versus other places you’ve lived or visited?
The fact that the mountains are so close and accessible to the city, but what I value most here are the relationships I have with the people of our scene. SLC underground is a really open-minded, eclectic, bonded community.
You’ve attended and been performing at a few festivals these past few years, most recently in Detroit during Movement (...repping NCM among others… thank you!). Tell us about the party you did there and how you got involved?
Thank YOU! Last year I was invited to Detroit to play the Girls Gone Vinyl 10 year anniversary at Mix Bricktown. This year I was asked to return and invited Artemis to join for a little b2b. Thanks to the ladies at Auxetic I was introduced to a lot of people and exposed to sounds that were new to me.
Do you have a favorite club, dance floor or festival memory from over the years?
Most recent was dancing to John Tejada at TV Lounge in Detroit. Locally my favorite floor memories are at The Fallout (now Switch). One of my older festival memories is when Club 75 (Busy P, Justice, Cassius, and DJ Mehdi) played in the Sahara tent at Coachella 2010. That shit was unforgettable, Rest In Peace DJ Mehdi!
What goals do you have for your future, musically or otherwise?
I have two goals for that I want to be accomplished by 2019. My first goal is to produce a 2 track EP. My second goal is to travel and play NYC, LA, Barcelona, and Berlin.
How would you describe the mix you made for NCM? The process?
Oh boy...well at first I wanted to put out a really fun house and disco mix, but after a massively inspiring month in LA, I decided I wanted to take my sound in a different direction. I was really inspired by the sexy, minimal vibes of the music I heard there and wanted to make a mix that people could really feel.
I had the pleasure of talking briefly to Vice's Thump Magazine about what makes SLC an LGBTQ destination. Had there been more time to talk up the amazing DJs, producers, promoters, politicians, straight allies, and mold-breaking Mormons (they're out there) who help make this city a dream scene, I would have. Shout out to you all. Let's keep this fire burning.
MAURICIO AND JESSE'S B2B SET FROM SUPERNATURE HAS BEEN POSTED (...AND RE-POSTED BY THUMP/VICE MAGAZINE AND OTHERS) THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CAME OUT. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN >
"PARTY OF THE YEAR!!! Absolutely wonderful!" — Alicia
"THE MUSIC AND THE VENUE WERE PERFECT!! ALSO big shout out to the bartenders!" — Felipe Q.
"That was something else... fucking fantastic! " — Nicole J.
What an AMAZING night! Thank you to all who came and supported Equality Utah. ...That party should be to Pride as to what the Bunny Hop is to Easter. Well done to all... Happy Pride!!! — Jordan S.
Special thanks to JUST & FUN for spearheading this event, BEER BAR for hosting, UINTA Brewery for contributing, Catalyst Camp for their one-of-a-kind sound system, the DJ's, and supporters for bringing the love and making Defenders 2017 a big success ...and to Serge for remembering to record the music. Learn more and support the ACLU of Utah here >
You just have to know.
SLC based dance music producers HooDoo2 first major release "Deux East" is out now as an exclusive on Beatport through Symphonic Distribution. Comprised of Lauren Hart & Frederick Bode the duo states that "Deux East is special EP... not just because it is our first major release, but also because we both experienced such intimate moments weaving through the composition. As the name implies, Deux East, represented an opportunity to draw inspiration from an array of multicultural elements, eventually giving rise to grounding beats, and melodic undertones."
HooDoo2 join the list of electronic artists putting out quality dance music from the great state of Utah. Part of a rising tide we see lifting all boats.
Watch some short videos of Mauricio Aviles (SF), J Godina and Corey Bolo, (among others) groovin' YOU at our 7th Annual Bunny Hop this past Easter Sunday. Check a few photos posted by Five Wives Vodka here (more to come). It was a packed house all day long, and yet another magnificent event thanks to The Garage on Beck, SLUG Magazine, KRCL Radio.
We appreciate everyone who came to enjoy the music, one another and to support the Planned Parenthood Action Council of Utah.
Electronic music production has come full circle following decades of evolving digital software, back around to classic drum machines, analog synthesizers, and vintage keyboards. Demand has been growing around the world for this vintage gear and it's offspring, for reasons that become clear seeing it used by the right hands.
Anyone can buy this equipment online but there's nothing like touching and hearing it in the person. Some are nothing short of works of engineering of art that come alive with the slightest knob twist or modulator nudge. And along with the number of physical storefronts has grown a community of electronics-obsessed enthusiasts looking to connect with each other and conquer the next frontier in music performance.
Squarewave Sound is Chris Nielson's answer to such demand in Utah. NCM popped in for some fun with filters, flangers, and feedback at his modest Brickyard adjacent shop to see what all the fuzz was about.
NCM: What was your inspiration for launching Squarewave Sound and are you the first synth/drum machine small business of your kind in Utah?
CN: It is the first of its kind in Utah although I'm not the guy who brought it to fruition. My now good friend, Phil Zinn, would be the one to ask that question. I think I can speak for him though when I say that Squarewave was born from a passion for electronic music and all things synthesizer related. There are many people like us here in Utah and all over the world for that matter. I think it's safe to say electronic music is worldwide at this point. The beauty of Squarewave is that it has brought together a community of people who wouldn't really have otherwise met. Reason being, is a lot of us are somewhat introverted. It has been great seeing everyone come out to share in our love for electronic musical instruments.
NCM: Tell us about your meet-ups and events (at Diabolical Records for instance). What do you see coming out of them, or any effects on the community at large?
CN: We have a few different meetups. We have our quarterly synth meet. This is an opportunity for us to share our instruments with each other. We set up multiple tables for anyone to bring gear to show off and play with. It is really fun to see all the different instruments people are using to make music with and talk shop. We also do a monthly event at a local record shop called "Squarewave Night at Diabolical Records." Diabolical Records has been gracious enough to let us take over their space every third Friday of the month to bring the best local electronic music live acts. We've featured a diverse selection of artists. Acts we've featured range from straight up electronic noise to synth pop. We like to showcase all genres in the electronic spectrum.
"I hope to see a steady flow of new talent emerge from all of this. Salt Lake needs to continue in its own electronic music heritage and hopefully will grow even bigger!"
NCM: When we visited your shop we had a ton of fun playing with everything we could get our hands on. Would you say this is typical of the average visitor? How would you describe walking into Squarewave to a novice producer or synth enthusiast?
CN: That is the goal! We want to make it as hands-on as possible. An instrument should be inspiring to its operator. Only by getting your hands on something can you realize this. I think it is great for the seasoned musician and the novice. We have instruments that are designed to be easy to use as well as some that satisfy the expert and everything in between. The overwhelming response right now is excitement. We are still pretty new and being that it is the first of its kind in Utah, I want it to be really fun for everyone.
NCM: You have performed yourself a bit and traveled extensively the past year to see, hear and share electronic music and machinery. How has that shaped your vision of the shop and it’s potential?
CN: I'd say it's just inspired me to work hard at running the shop here and has helped gain a stronger desire to help facilitate the continued development of an electronic music scene.
NCM: What are some of the brands you carry at Squarewave Sound?
CN: We carry some of the big brand names such as Roland , Korg and Moog as well as some really cool boutique brands such as Dreadbox, Make Noise and Vermona. The list goes on but those are the main ones. We will be adding Elektron later this year.
NCM: Which models are the most coveted or in demand in your shop? Do you take special orders?
CN: Recently Korg released a couple home run synthesizers. The Monologue and it's little brother the Monologue. Both are an incredible value as they are both inexpensive and have really fun features. Beginners and pros have been buying them all up quick! Yep, we do special orders! You can order anything we are a dealer of.
NCM: How long would it take for a first time tinkerer you think to make a fully realized song using some of the models you sell? It can seem quite daunting to mix analog with or without digital production techniques; what advice could you impart to young (or old) producers just starting out?
CN: I guess that just depends on the person and their amount of focus. It could take one week or one year. So many variations. My advice to beginners would be to start with one single piece of gear. I got my first piece of gear in 2002. I put all my focus into that one machine and filled the entire thing up with my own beats. In the process, I learned a ton about synthesis, sequencing, and midi. I'd also recommend a beginners book on synthesis and a book on midi while you use your gear.
I would also say prepare yourself to spend some time in manuals. (Don't let this scare you, though. Youtube is a treasure trove of tutorials) Each piece of gear you buy is its own animal. Trying to learn more than one piece at a time can be overwhelming and cause you to stop doing it altogether.
CN: Label head Karl Jorgensen and I met sometime around 2003 through mutual friends. We started making electronic music around the same time. (He would say he has me beat by 6 months or something but who's counting) We realized that we both wanted to create and perform electronic music so we started doing releases and shows together. We've been pals ever since and continue to be allies in electronic music in whatever form that takes.
NCM: What music or artists could aspiring producers dive into for inspiration and education with their music you think?
CN: I'd say whatever turns them on. Take your favorite electronic artist and find out who influenced them and go back a few generations. This will lead you to some of the pioneers. Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Brian Eno, Georgio Moroder, Throbbing Gristle, etc.
NCM: Thinking about the future, how do you see Squarewave Sound growing in the next year or five years?
CN: I hope to see the electronic music community grow in whatever form that may be. I hope to do bigger and better synth related events. I see a bigger and more internationally recognized electronic music scene in Salt Lake City.