The second weekend of this year’s Mosaic Fall Music Fest launches tonight at Mosaic Wine Lounge, with Brooklyn-based tropical-bass pusher Geko Jones
behind the decks. Jones will likely pick up where DJ Mes’ gushing house set left off last Friday, with the exception of jacking-up some of those deep bass lines with snappy cumbia
licks and tribal melodies.
On Saturday night, the festival closes out with the restless rave grooves from Good For You Records’ Justin Schumacher
. The last time that Schumacher played in the Triangle, at Chapel Hill Underground, he barrelled through his techno-house bunch until the two worlds coalesced into a supernova above the dance floor. He’ll have to do the same on Saturday night in front of a remarkably different bunch, whose expectations are based on Mosaic Music Festival’s history of first-rate bookings.
When Mosaic Wine Lounge’s doors first opened in 2006, its then-owner, Samad Hachby, handpicked longtime Raleigh DJs Keith Ward and Steven Feinberg (Mosaic’s current owner) as the lounge’s resident DJs after seeing them spin at both Helios and Aries Lounge (now Ugly Monkey). Six months later, the three established what Ward calls “a music policy” for the lounge—mainly Latin, Arabic, Brazilian, house and electronic music.
Shortly thereafter, the trio vacationed down to Miami’s annual nine-day Winter Music Conference. It was there that Feinberg suggested to his partners that they plan a smaller but lengthier festival back home in Raleigh, using their lounge as the main hub. Some of the country’s top underground house DJs had already played Mosaic, so, conveniently, a festival would function as an extension of those one-off parties.
Eventually, they extended the festival to two 11-night seasonal sessions—one in the spring and one in the fall. Hachby believes that it’s the world’s longest music festival.
“How it became 11 nights, I have no idea,” says Ward. “It has been and still is very niche and boutique, because it’s not widely represented even though electronic music’s acceptance has grown.
Ward says that the original philosophy behind the festival was a “build it and they will come" mentality. But he also admits that it oftentimes felt like a “you have to build it for them” situation—pointing out that, as architects of a particular branch of Raleigh’s dance scene, they’ve had to extend their own olive branch as tastemakers and music authorities.
It’s not an easy task, especially since underground house and electronic music’s history in the Triangle is limited to the two or three dance music luminaries that have, at one point or another, resided in the Triangle—-mainly, well-known gospel house star, Kenny Bobien, and house music vocalist Julie McKnight. Only recently has Raleigh seen an upswing in it’s electronic music scene
, but by and large, the scene’s lifeline has been sustained by a contingent of dedicated bass, house and trap DJs and producers who’ll play all night in area venues regardless of the local demand.
“We have eight DJs—four inside, four outside—for the entire night. You won’t even find that in Miami,” says Hachby in his deep and assertive Moroccan accent. Even if that’s not entirely true, Hachby’s enthusiasm to create one of North Carolina’s (if not the world’s) most enterprising electronic music festivals speaks volumes to he and his partners’ ambition.
You can check out more about the Mosaic Fall Music Fest here