It may have been Halloween, but at the Guitar Center Hollywood store, there was no “trick,” only “treat,” as the company celebrated its third day of a weeklong celebration hosting workshops, clinics and live performances to help launch the newly revamped 30,000 square-foot flagship Hollywood store located on historic Sunset Boulevard. Throughout the day, the store was visited by customers dressed up in their favorite Halloween costumes, including a spot-on Jimi Hendrix lookalike, and these patrons were curious to not only see the new store but also attend the comprehensive program of clinics and live performances that focused on hip-hop and DJing while honoring the rich music history of Los Angeles.
Once again, the day’s events kicked off with Christian James Hand, a British musician, music producer, radio personality and voice-over artist, who did a track breakdown of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to a packed house in Guitar Center’s new Vintage Room. Following Hand’s session, the focus shifted to hip-hop and DJing, with multiple performances/sessions, beginning with EDM producer Toy Box, whose production talents range anywhere from Future Bass to Melodic Downtempo – Toy Box distinguishes his sound with the folky compositions of his mandolin, providing a very unique live experience for lovers of electronic music.
Next up were Babu and Mr. Choc from the legendary Beat Junkies. Originally from Orange County, California, this crew of DJ virtuosos is originally composed of thirteen members: J Rocc, Melo D, Rhettmatic, D-Styles, DJ Curse, Babu, Shortkut, Mr. Choc, Icy Ice, DJ Havik, DJ Symphony, Tommy Gun and DJ What!? With countless musical accolades, including five years’ worth of world championship DJ competition titles, features on primetime radio mixshows for Los Angeles’ top radio stations for over a decade, and credits providing production and DJing support for some of hip-hop’s most notable recording artists including Dilated Peoples, Madlib, Cypress Hill and the Visionaries, the Beat Junkies have profoundly influenced and impacted the international music scene and DJ community since 1992. Babu and Mr. Choc took to the Guitar Center live stage and performed a blistering set on traditional turntables.
Following the Beat Junkies, Roland’s Daniel Lee gave the crowd a short overview on the Roland controllers (DJ-808 and DJ-202) and the introduced worldwide DJ and producer DJ Ease, who is one of the most musically versatile party rockers in today’s party scene, mixing together everything from hip-hop to EDM. With continuous bookings all over the U.S. & Europe, his style of mixing multiple genres has put him in high demand for party-goers around the globe. DJ Ease performed using his Roland DJ-808 DJ Controller, with which he imported various loops and samples while re-mixing live in real time to an enthusiastic crowd of onlookers. In support of the revamped Hollywood Guitar Center store, Native Instruments then presented DJ Mary Droppinz, who gave an insightful clinic on the new Traktor Kontrol S4.
Pretty Princess with Cosmos & Creature and guitarist Destiny Petrel were up next, and they performed a wide range of songs on the live stage. In addition, Pretty Princess performed solo followed by Cosmos & Creature (Brandyn Burnette and Molly Moore) performing several of their latest tracks. As heard on their breakthrough single “Young” – a 2016 release that debuted at #1 on Spotify’s us viral chart – Cosmos & Creature channel that pure feeling into progressive pop music that’s perfectly crafted but deeply experimental.
The evening was topped off with Roland presenting Battlecat, producer for such artists such as Snoop Dogg, Tha Eastsidaz, Xzibit, and many more, performing with J Rocc, founding member of the Beat Junkies and a seminal force in the rise of instrumental hip-hop. It also happened to be J Rocc’s birthday, which made the evening even more special. Completely unrehearsed, the two took the stage for close to two hours and performed on the Roland DJ-808 and Roland JD-Xi while the crowd enthusiastically looked on. When asked how they chose the material for tonight’s performance, Battlecat said “For me, there's always preparation. And music is a universal language, so grabbing the different genres of music is important to me. And it's a beautiful tool to use to communicate, bring people together. So that's basically the foundation that helps everything go. And then I know J Rocc is a librarian. When it comes to music, artists, musicians – he studies the history and everything about music. And that right there just has me so free in our performance, because I know that no matter what I play he would be able to complement me.”
When asked how they came to performing tonight at Guitar Center, Battlecat responded, “Daniel Lee at Roland saw an earlier performance of me and J Rocc, and he was so mesmerized by our showmanship, he said, ‘How would you guys like to perform here at the Guitar Center as part of the grand debut?’ And I remember just window shopping for years as a kid and just wanting to be a part of this establishment. So to combine both Guitar Center with Roland – It's a win-win situation.”
Featured Image: Shown L-R: J Rocc and Battlecat at Guitar Center Hollywood, using their Roland DJ-808 Controller. Photo by Ryan Hunter.