Little Mike (known to his mother and perhaps a few others as Mike Chapman) literally came of age as a longtime Church and Vinyl resident. By nineteen, he had already twice-won our Best DJ award, and as a member of the Casa del Soul Collective, was on his way helping to put Denver on the international club-culture map.
Casa del Soul released a slew of highly regarded tech-house productions in the late '90s and early '00s (several of which found their way onto Tyrant and Global Underground compilations, and the like), and, by mid-decade, Mike was booking and deejaying alongside world-class talent at his Basement Sessions shows downstairs at Vinyl.
When Mike moved to Berlin five years ago -- tempted by a job at Beatport, and, by, well, Berlin -- Crazy Larry (born Larry Ursini) seemed to pick up where he left off, throwing his own Udder Madness parties at the old Shelter (now Bar Standard) and countless warehouses before himself relocating to New York City, where he promotes parties and runs a record label in addition to producing and deejaying. We caught up with both Denver expats recently in advance of their return this weekend at 2200.
Westword: How've you enjoyed living in Berlin? I hear the nightlife is terrible.
Little Mike: Yeah, apart from a few local get-togethers, Berlin seems to be lackluster when it comes to going out at night. In fact, last weekend, my friends decided to just stay in on Saturday night, wake up and go out around 10:30 Sunday morning, as that was when things started to finally pick up at the local discotheque.
Did I say nightlife? I meant the weather.
To be totally honest, this is the first winter I've experienced in my five winters in Berlin that hasn't made me want to curl up into a sad little ball and cry. I seriously was admiring blue skies today around 3:30 in the afternoon, thinking this is the longest I've ever been through winter with some sort of visible sky. So, not complaining. Not one bit.
I also hear you've been playing with Catz 'N Dogz.
Well, I just now returned from dinner with Voitek -- one-half of the duo, plus I can name drop on a first-name basis, because I'm so cool -- and we were discussing how we both love watching Modern Family, and [are] fascinated by the transformation of the father of Malcolm In The Middle into the dark Walt White of Breaking Bad.
Gregorz lives in Poland so he wasn't able to attend dinner. I had Pad Thai, which was surprisingly good for Berlin standards. As far as music related stuff, the three of us will be playing together the Saturday after New Year's for their Pets Recordings party at a wicked little room no larger than Red Monkey Lounge [in the now-defunct B-52 Billiards], and just as messy. We'll also be pretending to drink too much.
Any other projects you'd like to tell us about?
My boyfriend and I are currently creating an entire Ikea showroom in our flat, which is quite exciting. Each time we go to Ikea -- which is the only place in Berlin to get semi-decent affordable furniture -- I think of the scenes from Fight Club and feel a bit sad, but fortunately my black Ikea desk has some electronic music making gadgets, which keep me distracted.
And Larry, how's New York treating you?
Crazy Larry: New York has been great. I've found you have to work twice as hard as [in] Denver, but it's definitely worth the extra effort. I can't believe I have been here three years now! With all the hustle and bustle, especially around the holidays, you almost forget that you're even in NYC. It's the little moments like when you take the J Train over the Williamsburg Bridge and see the unbelievable skyline that reminds you you're in the craziest city in the US.
Give us the skinny on your Time to Get iLL parties and label.
CL: Well, the parties have been going full force as of late. This year, I've had Robag Wruhme, Dixon, Ame [live], and Onur Ozer, to name a few, but I think next year I may slow it down a little bit and work on the label some more. As far as the label goes, I took some time off of that to try and get a good remix for my next release with Jay Tripwire. You will be the first to know that Martin Buttrich of Desolat fame has just finished a remix for that release, due out early next year!
After Denver, you're headed to the BPM Festival in Mexico, which is huge. Can you tell us about that?
CL: Well, simply put, the BPM festival is the best way to start out your year, period. In a nutshell, its a few great Toronto promoters [who] take over Playa del Carmen, Mexico for about ten days and do some great parties. There is no better way to start your year than with great music, good vibes and even better people. Eighty degrees in January is what I'm talking about. There is truly something there for everyone.
Musically, there are some great underground acts, as well as plenty of mainstream music for the younger generation. Every day there are one or two-day events that go with one or two-night events as well. If you want to escape the music and party scene and just relax, Tulum and the ruins are a short drive away, and that is true paradise!
Anything you'd like to add, Larry?
Well, the big news for me is the Martin Buttrich remix of Jay Tripwire for my label due out next year, but I also am working on some Time to Get iLL events outside of NYC as well. Stay tuned.
Who do you both, as DJs and producers, or as promoters, feel has taken up the torch in Denver since you left?
LM: Without a doubt, Bones, aka Nick Wilson. The dude gets the art of deejaying, has an open mind towards all the genres, is not hung-up on being the last person at the after-party and has more talent than anyone I know.
CL: Well it's been great to see Colin [Chmielewski of Afterhours Anonymous] and the boys start to do events again. It's good to see everyone sort of pitch in and "get 'er done," as they say. I know the Roots crew have been in there as well as the new Flatline crew. I only started doing events because I was bored and wanted to throw down like I knew we could, so it looks like more of that is happening!
How's it going down at 2200 on Saturday?
LM: You can expect to pay a small cover charge, come into a room with the lights darkened, order a drink at the bar -- alcoholic or non-alcoholic -- and listen to music that makes you feel all warm inside. Mostly of a 4/4 variety.
CL: As Yung Joc once said, "meet me in the mall, its going down, meet me in the club, its going down!" I hope all of your holiday shopping is already done 'cause were gonna buy the bar up and rage to some of the best music out there right now. I'm psyched I get to play with one of my all time favorite DJs in front of my home crowd.
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music