John Templeton is one of a growing number of Colorado-based musicians bringing national and international attention to Denver's burgeoning electronic music scene. A prolific producer, remixer, DJ and live performer, he's also the man behind the first annual Great American Techno Festival (GATF), which will coincide with the Great American Beer Festival, September 29 to October 2, at multiple venues, including Casselman's, Bar Standard and Beta.
The festival features some of the biggest names in American techno: Tim Xavier, Camea — who runs the highly regarded Clink Recordings — Brooklyn's Tony Rohr, and Audio Injection from Los Angeles. GATF will also showcase many talented local artists, such as breakout acts Daegon and the Missing Link, who are making names for themselves beyond Denver's city limits.
Templeton hopes to tap into the large crowds that flock to Denver each year for the well-established craft beer festival (and who sometimes complain about the lack of post-Beer Fest entertainment options). We spoke with him about the state of electronic music in Colorado, and what locals and out-of-towners alike can expect at the inaugural GATF.
Westword: How did you come up with the concept for the Great American Techno Festival?
John Templeton: The idea came up two years ago when I had some friends in town for the Great American Beer Festival. They'd go to the beer fest and then go to various breweries around town — and that'd be it. They'd be here for the weekend, and there'd be all these people here, but there wasn't much to do other than the beer festival. The idea was to give those people something more to do, even though they might not be very big into techno or electronic music. We're serving good, local craft beer at our events to appeal to people who may not be into techno but they're into beer, and so hopefully we'll get them in the door and listening to techno.
Can you tell us a little about the artists who are performing?
Basically, it's Tim Xavier, Camea, Tony Rohr and Audio Injection — those are our big main four. They write music, they deejay, and they're also very integrated into the American techno sound, especially overseas. Clink Recordings is a German label, but it's run by Americans. Tim, Camea, Tony and David [Flores, of Audio Injection] have been leading this new American techno sound over the last five or six years, and it's something we really enjoy.
What sets GATF apart from other electronic-music festivals?
We have an all-American lineup, and we're trying to embrace American artists as well as local artists. Techno is more appreciated outside of the United States, but we want to do something that says the American talent is appreciated here, too. We really appreciate what the other festivals are doing, and we're not trying to compete; we're just trying to embrace our local talent and our national talent and combine it with craft beer. In our first year, especially, we want to do something a little atypical, and also keep things very cost-effective. The entire festival is made up of five events, three of which are free.