Boulder’s music scene has been dominated for years by eighth-tier jam bands, wook bass, spiritually narcissistic folk and your typical flavor of college beer-pong jams. The existence of house music around the town's young demographic was more uncommon than a sorority sister on financial aid.
Even more exciting, local original productions are starting to emerge, some of which push the envelope further than what most Coloradans are used to, often to a feverous response by the same groups that would have ignored them not too long ago.
Daniel Longworth, aka Tripleset
, is a Boulder producer whose latest release, “Rainy Alleyway,” is heavily influenced by U.K. garage, or UKG. The style is similar to house in that they both typically use a 4/4 kick-drum sequence that pulses around 130 BPM, but what distinguishes UKG is its reliance on syncopation, which creates a "shuffled" feel. Off-kilter hi-hats, snares and cymbals drive the rhythm section as modulated, soulful vocals stutter in and out of the composition, with everything glued together by deep, infectious bass lines that capture the listener in its groove.
In other words, it's a style of dance music not common to us Yanks.
Longworth also helped found New Something Records
, a collective of talented producers who are doing exactly what the label’s name says: introducing something new.
We talked with Longworth about his sound’s positive reception, and about New Something and the collective's current residency at Boulder hot-spot Supermoon.
Westword: How did New Something Records come about?
At first, New Something was just a de facto label that I’d put under my releases back in the day in order to seem more legit. That being said, I’d had the idea in the back of my mind to establish a record label or artist collective if I could find the right people. I was longing to immerse myself in a community of artists that I wasn’t finding for the first couple of years making music in college at CU Boulder.
Finally, in January 2019 I approached my longtime friend and fellow producer Weir
, and asked him if he’d be down to start a record label. I threw “New Something” out there as a possible name for the project expecting a lukewarm response, but Weir was immediately enthralled by the whole idea. From there, we linked with a couple other artists we were buddies with from college and started building the company out. Since then we’ve thrown a charity music festival, launched a line of apparel, landed a local nightclub residency and thrown a takeover gig in Denver at Globe Hall
. None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t found my kindred spirits through New Something, and for that I’m very grateful.
How was it trying to get house-music gigs in Boulder when you were going to CU?
To be completely honest, the first couple years I was at CU, I had no intention of playing gigs; I was strictly making beats in my dorm room. And in those years, I sorta lacked direction with my style of music. I wasn’t exclusively making house yet, more just dabbling in whatever genre I felt like, from festival trap to downtempo electronica. Once I finally gained the desire to perform, it was challenging to find gigs for the first year or so. I had big shows promised to me that ended up going to a different DJ; one time I played for a practically empty room; I played a house set at a renegade Dubstep and Riddim festival.... The list of odd gigs goes on. Fortunately, those days are behind me, and I’m getting regular gigs here in Boulder and starting to break out more in Denver.
So this track is a U.K. garage-style track, which is hardly a sound that is well known on this side of the pond, let alone in Colorado. What inspired you to just say fuck it and make something risky?
Well, I grew up in England for the first ten years of my life and have family ties there, so I’m very familiar with U.K. styles of music. I’ve been a fan of more classic garage artists like Todd Edwards and MJ Cole for quite some time now and have dabbled in the genre. I actually released a 2-Step UKG release, “I Need You,” earlier this year. That being said, it’s only been in the last six months or so that I’ve started getting very immersed in the new U.K. garage scene via the Disclosure Discord Community and my friends and family across the pond. Garage is a style that feels really authentic and natural for me, and I find it exciting to be a part of what I believe to be a burgeoning garage scene here in America.
Recently, the label secured a Friday residency at Supermoon in downtown Boulder, which will typically attract college students. And you pretty much play whatever the hell you want rather than placating stereotypical tastes. How has the response been to more foreign sounds?
Yeah, we’re thrilled to be partnered with Supermoon as Friday residents; it’s a great little dance club that brings the vibes Boulder so desperately needed. The crowd is a mixed bag of college students and older locals who are looking for proper DJs who play cutting-edge dance tunes — mainly house and techno stuff. I think college students have some of the best ears for discovering the latest and greatest music, so when I play a ninety-minute set of UKG shit and sprinkle in five or six unreleased originals, the college kids who have good taste gravitate toward that energy and listen in. I’ve had a few savvy American college kids approach me after my set and tell me they’re fans of UKG and had never heard a DJ spin it in the U.S., let alone in Colorado. Hearing that gives me hope that garage has a future in the States.
Why do you think the response has been positive?
U.K. garage is just a subgenre of house music, so it’s not that surprising to me that many house and techno fans find it accessible. To me, it’s the most shuffle-y and danceable style of house music out there. People who know how to shuffle go absolutely nuts when I spin garage stuff. UKG tracks are typically upbeat, feature a lot of vocals and often have heavy bass, which are traits that cater to the many bass-music fans here in Colorado. On a more meta level, the U.S. has been importing and rebranding art and culture from the U.K. since the British Invasion of the 1960s, with some recent musical examples being dubstep and drum-and-bass. Once-underground U.K. styles have crossed over to the American mainstream numerous times before — why not UKG?
"Rainy Alleyway" is out on New Something Records, which has a residency every Friday with rotating label artists at Supermoon, 909 Walnut Street in Boulder.