EMAS WEEKENDER: 2/7/2016 What So Not & A-Trak

What So Not & A-Trak @ Metro City

by Chantelle D’Souza

After missing out on What So Not last year by a day (Yes I turned 18 the day after his show), you can say that I was extremely keen to see him this time around!! A-Trak absolutely killed his set, showing off his amazing scratching skills, he definitely pumped up the crowd and raised the energy levels. What So Not opened up with a few big songs and then went into a more chill style, his beat matching skills at the start weren’t that great, but as the night went on he drastically improved and we were able to see why he is WSN. My first favourite mix of his was when he played the Eprom Remix of M.A.A.D City by Kendrick Lamar, and then dropped in Diva by Beyonce, only to go into Lotus Eater by Mura Musa, the crowd went off. The first song of his own that he dropped was his Get Free Remix, which as soon as the first beat came on everyone knew what was coming up. He played heavier stuff than he usually does which was good, but every time he dropped an original you could hear the crowd scream. Touched and Death Drive were some originals that he dropped earlier in the night, and when they came on the crowd went crazy.

He also dropped his new song Buried ft George Maple and Rome Fortune, but that didn’t get as much of a crowd reaction, possibly because it is such a chill song. After this his set definitely got more intense and hit a faster pace, with him then coming back down and dropping the 4B remix of Middle into High You Are. What So Not then stopped to tell us to go harder, because “out of everyone in the world perth goes harder” and “I’m seeing that you’re being a little quiet tonight”. To get the crowd to go wild and harder, he only had to do one thing and he did it, he dropped his Innerbloom remix from the start to the finish and he definitely got the crowd reaction he wanted. He then played some cool sounding base tracks before dropping more songs of his own like Oddity, Arrows and Tell Me with a twist. Instead of it dropping into a normal drop it went into some weird heavy metal version. It was interesting to say the least but I was extremely happy that the second drop was normal and even happier when the third drop was the Baauer remix. When we thought he had peaked at tell me, he dropped that into Lone and the crowd just got even happier. After Lone that was when What So Not’s set got more intense, he dropped Alright by Kendrick Lamar into Purple Rain by Prince and I honestly was not expecting that, but the crowd loved it.

After we thought he ended his set everyone was a bit disappointed, because there was one song missing and we all knew that it was Gemini. With disappointment some of the crowd started leaving but the rest of us waited in anticipation that he would play Gemini, and he did. Starting off with a piano version, he then went into the real song and it was the perfect end to the night. It was probably one of the best live gigs i’ve ever been to and I would definitely go see What So Not again sometime soon.


by Jerry Dibble

I still remember the very beginning of the epic duo What So Not where Harley Stretton was still a part of the act before leaving sometime last year. Despite this, Chris Emerson has managed to uphold and transform the What So Not project into something truly unique and beautiful under guidance of the OWSLA label. I still remember their early tracks such as Jaguar coming out in 2014 where it gained mass success as a more party-infused project as Flume said he managed to channel his drive for club-friendly music into this outlet. When Harley left What So Not, I vague recall people in comment sections whining or raising unnecessary doubt as to how much Chris could uphold such a high standard from such a popular name as many thought the talent was coming from Flume. How wrong they were.

Circo presents A-Trak touring with What So Not and when I saw the announcement for this, I spiritually ejaculated in excitement to see one of my biggest inspirations in electronic music today. My friend managed to cop me a spare ticket and even though I had already seen What So Not at Groovin’ The Moo, it didn’t stop my enthusiasm and nerves to see him again. Couldn’t get any enough of the legend.

Before A-Trak came on, the infamous duo from Time Pilot played a surprise set that was not announced on the event page. That was cheeky. I bet a disappointing majority of people were not aware they were seeing them live given their somewhat unpopular status despite being adopted by the Pilerats company. They played a bunch of chill trap and chucked in some pretty heavy trap tunes in between. I could tell they were holding back. But, they played their latest remix of KUCKA’s Honey that is arguably their most iconic track. That song still rings in my ear from time to time. They were a good intro into the night, I felt like their act was a good transition slash choice for the two big names. Their cool and light blend of chordy trap was a relaxing transition into the funky scratches that was to be A-Trak…

To be honest, I am not that familiar with A-Trak apart from knowing he is one of the members for Duck Sauce. They wrote that Barbra Streisand song? Ooooo ooo oo o oooouh? That fucking one. Prior to the show at Metro City, I had quick squiz of A-Trak online and the general vibes I got from it was kind of disco-house, EDM vibes. I wasn’t a big fan of it. However, his live performance blew me and my friends away as we stood on the top floor balcony and feasted our eyes upon his whack scratching! Shit’s insane! I’m pretty sure he had a Native Instruments setup or something along those lines by the looks of it with his two vinyl decks and the laptop. I had never seen a scratch performance live before so this was definitely a treat. It was awesome to see a DJ to that classic ‘thing’ in the digital age of Rekordbox, XDJs and CDJs today. It was truly sick watching him shred the vinyl and he would even do builds and risers with him scratching some white noise in between. A-Trak managed to truly captivate the crowd as they stood in awe of his crazy skills and tricks. Scratching was honestly so cool to see live and A-Trak managed to deliver it on a platter that was palatable to an audience. It was too far fetched. He played a lot of disco-house, moombahton and a shit-tonne of Twerk. Several dank twerky jungle beats for all that booty-shaking and slut-drops in the club. The crowd was pretty into it I would say. It was a ‘fun’ genre of music to hear and despite my fondness for his style, I still enjoyed his set and could appreciate the talent he showcased. Definitely a big contrast to what was next.

Then…the moment had come where all the juvies and basic bitches had been waiting for as the stage faded to darkness and the equipment was set up. The beautiful man that was the one and only Chris Emerson took to the microphone with his luscious blond hair-every follicle perfectly in place ready to turn the fuck up. The crowd screamed in sexual awe of his presence. He said something at the introduction but I was too stunned to even pay attention. He started off his set playing this song I have heard in many of his sets he plays live in videos online. It starts off at a slow BPM but gradually speeds up and hits super hard with a bunch of saw wave synths that give a dark and badass vibe. You’ll know what I mean when you hear it. What So Not’s set was very cool and honestly a bit of a surprise to me. He didn’t play as many bangers at he did at GTM and I still loved it. It was somewhat an emotional and moving experience as me and my friends were frothing. Don’t get me wrong, during the iconic tracks of their Major Lazer remix, Jaguar, Touched, High You Are, Tell Me, and Gemini, people raved harder than usual. He does that usual remix or change-up during the drop of Tell Me into a grungy-rock version before swapping back to the original in every set I’ve seen. It’s tight. But I think, the vibe and energy I got most away from this What So Not performance was that, it was very musical, lovely and kind of emotional. It was awesome hearing tracks by Mura Masa and he even played the piano cover of MYRNE interpreting Gemini. Immediately, a friend of mine texts MYRNE himself of this radical occurrence. You’d never expect that from a club set and I think many people overly have this mindset that What So Not is a party act. He’s not. He’s a musician, more than a DJ, he understands music and you can really see it in his sets. From this performance, he played many mellow and relaxing tracks but also a satisfying amount bangers. But for the most part, he played more chilled tracks that resonated with me and it was cool. During the performance, you realize, shit-this is the guy that has been writing all those famous overly-played tunes which have made their way easily up the charts. It’s What So Not. Halfway through his set, I reflected on this and made me realize that this is the man behind all those songs because its easy to forget how many of those iconic songs you hear, he wrote them. My favourite moment of the night would probably have to be when he played Death Drive which created a cool jungle-adventure vibe in the club. It’s such a unique and melancholic song. When he dropped Lone, I went pretty hard too and it was epic hearing that song in a club. I still remember when the crowd went mad at GTM too when he dropped that. Towards the end of the night, he played some 80s-vibe song where everyone joined together in a slow-dance as the lights turned into a romantic red. I had never seen a love-orgy of good vibes and hugs in a club. Strangers began hugging each other in circles on the dance-floor and people were putting their arms around each other. Tell you what, only such a lovely human being such as Chris could pull off such a thing and it not come off as corny. If that happened in Metro City, I’m sure you could figure out and get a rough idea of what I meant by him playing a more musical, spiritual and emotional set with a unique and satisfying list of songs. A metaphysical and spiritual journey through sound. The crowd was honestly kind of more dull than usual that night but fuck them, I made up for them going hard enough. Maybe because the crowd seemed more tame than usual, he turned it down and played more chill tunes. Still enjoyable and pragmatic nonetheless.

This was definitely a night to remember. Many lollipops were licked and many chewing gums chewed. I will never get enough of What So Not and even after seeing him for the third time, I can only say I can’t wait to hear his music live again. I hope the rest of What So Not and A-Trak’s tour goes well and that they continue to give listeners an experience they will never forget.



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