Touching Bass

By Chad Deal
Photos by Kristina Yamamoto, Greg Cali and Jeff “Turbo” Corrigan

If you’re a fan of Electronic Dance Music (EDM), you’ve probably heard of DJ Tristan D. The Jammin’ Z90 host blew the top off San Diego’s booming EDM scene in October 2012 with the debut of #ZDM, the first non-play-listed, all-EDM radio show in Southern California.

Hailing from Brighton, England, Tristan (the “D” stands for Dorlan) now lives in Little Italy. He made the move to San Diego after meeting his fiancée, Nicole - a resident of Pacific Beach at the time - while touring the West Coast.

These days, the 25-year-old rising FM star draws on his childhood obsession with pirate radio, his immersion in Europe’s forward-thinking electronic scene and his world travels as a DJ to bring San Diego the best of EDM, from groundbreaking underground producers to classic bangers and anthems. Local venues that have caught Tristan’s ear include FLUXX and Voyeur and, of course, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego’s Intervention Pool Parties. He’s also looking forward to the arrival of Avalon San Diego (on the former site of downtown’s 4th & B) later this year.

“Avalon Hollywood holds an internationally legendary reputation, which I envision becoming a game-changer over the forthcoming months in San Diego,” he says.

Tristan plans to attend the October 5 HiFi Festival 2013 at Petco Park, especially to see Above & Beyond spin the masses into a dance frenzy.

“I hold a lot of love and respect for the guys, not only as amazing performers and artists, but as truly nice guys,” he says. “Their music has truly defined an international Trance generation.”

As for what San Diego talent he’s got his ear on, Tristan calls out four local DJs: CaliParis, IDeaL, Innovade and Nomad.

And the beat goes on...

Catch Tristan D’s ZDM
Friday nights from 10 to midnight, on Z90 (90.3, XHTZ-FM)


(Adrian Budomo and Ken Lin)

Tristan says...
“Two guys that take after my own musical belief system - their style ranges in the more Progressive/Trance direction, with a hint of something dark and spooky. These guys are truly emerging, and their enthusiasm and energy is brilliant. I know the guys have been busy in the studio recently. I really hope to be signing some of their forthcoming material in 2013/14. Watch out for these guys.”

Innovade says...
“The San Diego EDM scene is basically going through puberty right now. There’s been so many changes and so much progress in just the past few years, and it’s only gonna get bigger, better and stronger as it matures. Because it is in its early stages, the scene primarily emphasizes Electro-Progressive/Pop House, which is smart, because it’s easily accessible, making it a great gateway genre into the dance music world. However, this preference effectively puts all other styles in the corner. So, now that EDM is catching more ears and moving more feet in San Diego, what we would like to see in the future is a wider range of styles being featured in EDM clubs and events. There’s just so much more good music outside of that mainstage sound waiting to be heard."-Adrian Budomo

Innovade’s Faves

EDM genre:
“Trance/Progressive. We believe that there’s more to dance music than jumping and clapping to festival bangers. And with its dynamic range of styles and tempos, Trance and Progressive sets can take you on a musical journey through a wide spectrum of emotions and moods, all while keeping that energetic, four-on-the-floor that we all know and love."-Ken Lin

Musical equipment:
“USB Flash Drives. These are crucial in helping us organize music for our gigs. They save us from having to spend time burning a ton of CDs, and they’re super portable."-Adrian Budomo

Five EDM acts:
Gareth Emery, Armin van Buuren, Cosmic Gate, Myon & Shane 54, Simon Patterson.

Five non-EDM acts:
Anberlin, Keane, Boys Like Girls, Snow Patrol, OneRepublic.


(Damon Hutt)

Tristan says...
“Stemming from the Hard Dance scene in the Bay Area, Nomad has made a radical style adjustment in recent years. Now producing and playing the deeper edge of Progressive Trance, his style is truly hypnotic. I hold big respect for this guy, a true ace at opening up for big Trance acts. I’m a big believer of the original values, which brought guys like Nomad into the scene. I’d definitely slot him into the ‘legendary’ category. My hope is to see this guy propel onto the bigger line-ups in S.D. over the next 12 months. He certainly deserves it.”

Nomad says...
“San Diego’s EDM scene is about to really take off, especially with the opening of the new Avalon San Diego. Plus, the quality of shows and talent that has come through this area within the last 12 months is really exciting to see. We are finally starting to emerge from the long shadow cast by LA and are starting to get the respect we deserve as a vibrant scene encompassing a multitude of genres within Electronic Dance Music. That being said, in order to keep the ball rolling, it would be nice to have a more active after-hours scene here in San Diego to match LA, New York, Miami and San Francisco. In order to distinguish yourself as having a truly well-rounded nightlife, a bustling after-hours scene is imperative.”

Nomad’s Faves

EDM genre:
“The most exciting genre for me at the moment would have to be Psytrance. The futuristic sounds and arrangement are so forward-thinking and original. I’ve been playing Psy for years, but it’s now finally emerging from the underground.”

Musical equipment:
“I can’t live without Pioneer CDJ turntables and a Vestax mixer. If I didn’t have those in the house, it would quickly drive me insane. I try to have a mix at least a few times a week.”

Five EDM acts:
Nick Sentience, John 00 Fleming, Phaxe, Maetrik, Pan-Pot.

Five non-EDM acts:
The Rolling Stones, Radiohead, Queens of the Stone Age, RJD2, and Del the funky Homosapien.

Cali Paris

(Leo Goldstein and Miguel Angel Rios)

Tristan says:
“This awesome duo came through the SDSU ranks, helping to showcase a raw edge of the emerging scene to a fresh audience. Their progressive, yet uplifting sounds always captivate the audience. Producing solid, original and exciting new music, these guys have created a cult following, to which I always tip my cap. I predict big things for the guys, and I’m undoubtedly behind them every step of the way.”

CaliParis says:
“We feel like EDM really blew up in San Diego around 2010 to 2011. At first, everyone was all about the big names coming from Europe, such as David Guetta and Tiesto. We feel like this phase is coming to an end. People want to hear something different now. They have developed a more skilled ear and are looking to differentiate from one another. People are way more open to underground house music, and we love to see that."-Leo Goldstein

CaliParis’ Faves

EDM genre:
“We have always loved groovy stuff with a good rhythm and warm bass lines. The Techno/Tech House/Deep House scene is greatly expanding, and the music being made by Europeans at the moment is mind-blowing. No doubt that San Diegans are going to love this music.” -Miguel Angel Rios

Musical equipment:
“Our computer and headphones. Our computers are the essential parts of our life - we use them to make music, find music and network with other artists all the time. Headphones, to keep working on music when we aren’t at our studio.” -Leo Goldstein

Five EDM acts:
Carl Cox, Hot Since 82, Leon Bolier, Khomha, Chiquito.

Five non-EDM acts:
Portishead, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Purity Ring, Massive Attack.


(Tomas Serrano)

Tristan says...
“Although he’s been on the SD scene for a while, IDeaL’s unique style of mixing and production sets him apart in a league of his own. I affectionately like to call him the Hispanic Eddie Halliwell. IDeaL’s prolific involvement with international EDM festivals such as UMF Miami, Pride and Life In Color, to name a few, has propelled him around the globe. His recent productions have also received plenty of support from the big runners.”

IDeaL says:
“I’m really excited to see what I call my home city, San Diego, blossoming the way it has been the last three to four years for the dance music scene. My roots in dance music come from when I started listening to it when I was 8 years old, to experiencing the rave scene in Northern and Southern California, as well as being involved in the late-'90s TJ/Baja house scene. Presently, San Diego not only feels like it’s catching up to the rest of the world... but it’s caught up and passing everyone quick. It’s amazing to see the city and venues embracing it so much, to have, at times, more headlining talent in SD than LA and Hollywood - or for events like Life In Color, Tiesto or Tramps Like Us to be selling out Valley View Casino Center.”

IDeaL’s Faves

EDM genre:
“San Diego has been really cool to watch, as it’s embraced the underground sounds more openly, like Deep and Tech House, as well as steady Drum & Bass nights. It’s also nice to know that there has been a weekly House Music event for over 10 years now at Bar Dynamite [in Mission Hills], which is a big feat in itself. But what excites me overall is seeing that DJs are finding their way through the dance floors to sounds and genres in their home studios, expanding beyond DJing and intro production. It really is the key nowadays, because long-gone are the days of artists being just DJs. If you want your name to be out there, representing whichever genre you are pursuing, others better be playing your tracks.”

Musical equipment:
“My essential gear to perform on would be three CDJ-2000s - so that I can mix two tracks and use the third effects and a capellas; it’s also the closest to playing on turntables, digitally - and a Pioneer 900 mixer and my Pioneer RMX-1000 FX machine that allows me to recreate tracks live. No laptop, no Serato, no Traktor or anything that pre-mixes or matches BPMs for me... nor distractions from being able to connect with the crowd.”

Five EDM acts:
Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox, Mace, PlexDann, Tenaglia, Erick Morillo.

Five non-EDM acts:
Bob Marley, The Beatles, Aerosmith, Snoop Dogg, Yanni.