Making electronic music is more complicated than you might think. The virtually endless spectrum of sounds capable of being produced by a computer is matched only by the equally broad variety of kits, patches and plug-ins tailored for each piece of production software — an often daunting wormhole suited only for those seeking a truly immersive music-making experience.
When Jordan Atkins-Loria — better known as Lucky Date — first dabbled in production at age 13, the hard-hitting DJ/producer experienced the same roadblocks that millions before him already had encountered. So he took to the Internet in search of instructional videos, yet found little outside of some simplified, text-based tutorials. As he began to learn the nuances of production on his own, the now 23-year-old uploaded his own demos to help like-minded visual learners.
He had no idea at the time, but this foray into teaching would become a launching pad for one of America’s most established purveyors of house music.
“My first release, I was able to put out to a large group of people that were there based on only the fact that I made tutorials,” Atkins-Loria said. “That helped me out because I didn’t have to start from scratch; I already had what you would call a fan base. Even though the fan base wasn’t for my music yet, it was still people I could reach out to.”
Lucky Date began as a hip-hop producer in California’s Bay Area — a region in which the genre is deeply embedded. He’d make some beats and sell them to local rappers as a means of establishing himself and refining his compositional chops.
But it wasn’t until he moved to Chicago that he discovered the spiritual powers of house music, with roots firmly entrenched in disco, gospel and soul.
“In the Bay Area, it was all about raging and going crazy, but in Chicago, I first experienced house music in a really soulful way, in a funky way,” he said. “And although my music’s not the most soulful or funky, it influenced me a lot to really try and get into the scene.”
Atkins-Loria describes his sound as “classic American electro that’s becoming more European progressive house” — two styles that have played a pivotal role in the ascension of electronic music as a whole, both in America and abroad. As the genre continues to increase in popularity, the role of the DJ, too, is constantly evolving.
“It’s completely hit the mainstream. And with that, everything has changed, especially the way the DJ performs,” he said. “It used to be a lot more about the mixing and how you took the crowd on a journey, and now it’s a lot more about the performance.”
As such, this new model for performance is much more interactive than in years past: Today’s house DJs often jump up and down and talk into the microphone to get a crowd going, establishing a connection between audience and performer capable of transcending the music itself. It’s a bond that inspired Atkins- Loria to teach — and, consequently, perform — a style of music so heavily contingent on interconnection.
Having made numerous trips to the metro under his Lucky Date moniker, he is continually impressed by the enthusiasm of those who attend his shows. What the local scene lacks in size, Atkins-Loria said, it makes up for in an eagerness to open up to the performer.
At Kamps 1310 Lounge’s next Robotic Wednesday event, he’ll assume the role of spiritual mentor once more.
“It’s places like Oklahoma City that actually have some of the best scenes,” he said. “Even though you guys don’t have the biggest festivals or whatnot, your local party scene — especially Robotic Wednesdays — has built such a rich culture there that the kids have so much fun. It makes every show really special, and every kid puts their all into each show they go to.”