SuperCity: Hawaii Gets De Lux
BY CHRISTA WITTMIER / Special to the Star-Advertiser
What kind of duo gets so much buzz over their upcoming EP that they are repeatedly proclaimed the Best Band of 2014 before the year is even half over?
Presented by Spells Hawaii
» Where: Nextdoor, 43 N. Hotel St.
It’s fitting one of those publications is the Guardian out of the U.K. Listening to De Lux, I immediately thought of British legends The Kinks (but only from the vocals).
The lively rock sound these two produce is timeless, drudging up tons of nostalgia from when I had the Talking Heads’ “Speaking in Tongues” on repeat as a kid.
De Lux is a band with a refreshing sound full of instrumentation. They are signed to Innovative Leisure, which is known as a prodigy label as far as independent record labels go. Starting out as more of an art project, the most familiar names (besides co-owner Jamie Strong of The Do-Over) would be Classixx, Noasj Thing and crooner Rhye.
The label is a product of three partners, two of which are Strong and Nate Nelson, who worked together at Stones Throw Records but needed a more creative outlet than what the underground hip-hop label owned by Peanut Butter Wolf offered.
As Innovative Leisure, Strong and Nelson, along with third partner (and HUF Creative Director) El Khatib, are able to stretch their wings. They’ve signed a roster of some amazing talent, including the most notable project in the company’s four year history, El Khatib’s “Can’t Win Them All,” which was picked up for an Audi commercial during the 2013 NFL Super Bowl. That deal paid for the production of Khatib’s album before it was even released.
De Lux was discovered in Los Angeles by DJ Delve at the Echo; the set he heard was electrifying and he was so blown away by their performance that he turned Spells Hawaii promoter Ken Selders on to them.
Delve is sort of like E.F. Hutton when it comes to music; a tastemaker with an endless catalog in his brain of every genre that exists.
“I’ve heard this before,” and “I love this” are common reactions when seeing Delve play.
Watching him spin when there’s not a huge crowd is by far the best time to hear what he can do, as that’s when he really flexes his muscles and displays a never-ending appreciation for music as a whole. He can flawlessly go from Diana Ross to Slick Rick to Hot Chip to Cypress Hill, then back to the Four Tops.
Spells is known by many as the curator of unique listening experiences within the city. Artistic visuals paired with acts most would only dream of seeing sets the crew apart. You only need to know its their show — not necessarily who the headliner is. Their most notable shows include Tokimonsta, Com Truise and most recently, Machinedrum.
De Lux will be in good company on Saturday night, as local dream team Alt/Air will help warm up the crowd. Producer Brandon Udani has been busy working on tracks on Soundcloud, but is also making new music with vocalist Aly Ishikuni for their long-running music project that usually features lasers and robots.
Also on the bill is DJ Delve and Spells resident DJ Seeko.
Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young’s Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular “Bacardi Pool Party” on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.