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Need & Necessity are finding old ways to build Denver's dance-music scene

Hey Deneé
Hey Deneé

Matt Friedman and Ross Kiser, co-founders of Denver-based Night Supply Records, are making quite a name for themselves as house duo Need & Necessity, doing everything from playing house parties at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where they went to school, to curating shows with The Hundred founder Brennen Bryarly (aka option4). On the production end, the East Coast natives are creating sounds similar to those coming out of the U.K. With roots in hip-hop and funk, Need & Necessity is part of the latest wave of house-music producers helping to make the Mile High City a go-to spot for great dance music. They play on Saturday at Vinyl with Kevin Saunderson

Westword: Why do you think that so many rising producers are rooted in hip-hop?

Ross Kiser: From a musical standpoint, I love hip-hop and the lyricism, but the art behind the beats really caught my eye. A lot of the sounds that are used in old-school hip-hop beats and late-'90s hip-hop -- a lot of those sounds got implemented into house music with the Roland 808 drum machine. I think that the tie is between the sounds. A lot of the hardware is the same, but aside from that, the idea of house sped up hip-hop beats with the breaks.

Matt Friedman: I wouldn't link it right there, but I think that the connection is in being fascinated with how beats are put together. I think it's an interesting thing to look at. Not everyone I know who produces dance music and likes dance music is rooted in hip-hop, but a lot of the people do have their roots there.

What are you producing with live? Are you using turntables?

MF: When we play out -- we have residencies at NORAD on Fridays and Saturdays at Vinyl, and those are parties that we've been doing with Brennen Bryarly from The Hundred and Home Denver -- we use CDJs or turntables. We used to use Traktor and a laptop, but we ditched that a couple years ago. We got rid of what is, in our opinion, unnecessary to the deejaying process.

 

Deejaying without a laptop and just using CDJs and turntables really forces you to use your ear and mix from what you're hearing rather than what you're seeing on a screen. It forces you to get more into the mood and vibe. The first time we played out and ditched that, we both instantly noticed how we interacted with the crowd, each other and the music. It was a lot more organic and fluid.

Do you guys ever go crate-digging? What's the first section you go to?

MF: We go straight to the house section. We're big on collecting records that mean a lot from a house standpoint, ones we would use for spinning on turntables, and some other stuff we look for are typically "vinyl only" releases. Those give our DJ sets a unique feel from some other people who might not be on their game with that. A lot of old R&B records have a cappellas on them, and those are good for sampling in your sets.

RK: We're always checking out the new dance-music records. I'm a big fan of digging in old R&B and pop vinyl to sample in our [productions]. I think that's a big part that is lost on this younger generation of music producers who are making music by neglecting the art of digging in crates and finding samples and inspiration that way.

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