“The first time I met Monsieur Frazier was at this dope clothing store around the corner from my house called Blackmarket. An awesome grooving, house track was playing in the background and I went up to counter to ask someone about the song. Less than a second after I asked the question he piped up and said, “Well Wishers by Julio Bashmore!”. We got to chatting and realized we knew a lot of the same people, and of course a lot of the same interests in music. Mike’s enthusiasm for his craft shines everytime he’s behind the decks. After a time partnering up as duo act he’s finally broken out on his own and has already found himself on a host of awesome lineups in and around LA as well as some of our favorite festivals. It’s our pleasure to have Monsieur Frazier on the weekly mix this week as we kick off.
MR PUZ: Bonjour Monsieur and welcome to our weekly mix series!
Monsieur Frazier: Bonjour Alex! Thank you so much man! glad we could finally do this.
MP: What have you queued up for our listeners today?
MF: I wanted to make a mix that showed the full scope and range of the sounds that I play, as well as my versatility as a selector. The mix contains some new cuts, some old cuts, and some personal favorites that usually show up in my sets, I wanted the sound and style of each track to vary for the most part, but also still retain this sort of warm, sexy, intoxicating feeling, with funky grooves that will have you absolutely lost in the club, or even listening in your room, in the car, or on headphones.
MP: DJing is a lot about the art of selection, and working the crowd. How do you usually prepare for a show?
MF: My prep for a show usually starts with research of who I will be sharing the bill with… since my sets can be so varied stylistically it’s important for me to know what kind of set to prepare before hand. Once I find out who I will be playing with, I can start to build a set, which I do by making playlists in iTunes. From there, I copy the sets into Virtual DJ (yes Virtual DJ) and begin practicing, seeing what songs work well with each other, which songs will go together, harmonically, or melodically, or which songs sort of have a similar vibe that will blend together and create something totally new within those songs.
Once it’s time for me to actually get behind the decks and start playing… it becomes sort of a freestyle based on knowing which songs work well together, if that makes any sense. I can kind of pick and choose what songs I’m going to play next based on crowd energy, and how the crowd may be reacting to a particular sound. This way of preparation allows me stay organized, which actually really allows my creativity to flow when I am playing, because I can think very clearly about what I am going to do next, and what I want to do next, and not a second is wasted overthinking. I can bounce back and fourth very freely between my ideas.
MP: How did you first get into DJing and who were some of your earliest music influences?
MF: I honestly can’t even remember when I first got into DJing, but it must have been some time around high school. I just know it was something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always thought I’ve had really great taste in music, and finding new music is something that has been a very natural easy thing for me. So for me, naturally, sharing, and curating the cool music that I find is something that I’ve always wanted to do as well. Also, I love performing, and being in front of big crowds expressing myself. When I went to my first proper dance music show. It just confirmed my thoughts that this is 1000% what I want to do with my life. It was all very natural.
As far as my earliest music influences go, some of the first music I clearly remember learning and remembering was Dr. Dre “The Chronic”. I was two years old when that album came out and 92. The LA riots had just happened earlier that year, and it was crazy time growing up in inner city LA. I can very clearly remember ‘Nuthin but a G Thang’ always playing around the house and on the radio, and I think that song, and that time, and that album have always stuck with me, as they are some of my first memories ever as a human. Another really big influence of mine was, and still is the one and only, Michael Jackson. My mom has the videos of my brother and I when we were 3 years old dancing and trying to sing the words to “Remember The Time” when we were in our living room, and it is such a funny video, but I think that his sound, and the warmth and soul that it had is something that always has, and always will, stick with me forever.
MP: LA’s underground scene has had an awesome resurgence and there are a number of brands old and new that are pushing the scene forward. What is your perspective on the broadening popularity of private events and warehouse style events?
MF: I think that the resurgence that we are seeing is a natural backlash against California’s 2 A.M. laws, as well as LA’s bottle service culture. I also think that while the underground is THRIVING, and it is an amazing time to be here right now. I think that warehouse scene is very susceptible to over saturation in the same way festival culture was. I think more and more people are going to start seeing brands like us at Understated, and Mixed Brains, and think to themselves, “oh, I’ve got some money! I can do this too!” while not necessarily knowing the scene, and the small nuanced things it takes to throw parties, which will ultimately lower the quality, and safety of the parties, and start drive people away. Now I haven’t really seen that yet, but it is certainly a scenario I can imagine happening. So I just think that we should all try to do our part in pushing the scene forward in a healthy, organic way, so that we don’t tip the scale into over saturation.
MP: Community is everything in music. Do you feel like the underground scene has that or is something we could all improve on?
MF: Honestly, yes and no. Things could always use improving, and hing is ever perfect, and this underground scene in LA is far from it. At the same time though, I will say that the underground scene in Los Angeles is one of the most close-knit music communities in the world in my opinion. It sort of reminds of my a small high school where everyone is friendly for the most part, and everyone knows each other. And the support that other promoters show each other by going to each others events, and collaborating is a beautiful thing. I think that if everyone stays supportive of each other, and doesn’t get overly competitive than things will continue to grow, and improve, and everybody can win, and coexist.
MP: You guys are celebrating 1 year of Understated already. Congrats! You’ve put together quite a lineup for this one. For those that don’t know about Understated tell them a bit about your group?
MF: Thank you! Thank you! Understated is a brand that was founded in Los Angeles in September of 2016 by Micah Smith, Zach Piehl, and myself. the brand initially started as a way for us to throw parties for our friends that we thought deserved more shine and should be playing more gigs around Los Angeles. In a way to sort of uplift the scene and create local pride for our scene, and while we are still doing that, the parties and brand have become so much more to us and our amazing team, and the attendees, and it has been a truly wonderful thing to see.
As far as the group goes, the group consists of Micah, Zach, Myself, and our team who consists of Andrew who also help runs the label, as well Menglin, Mekenna, and our incredibly talented in-house visual artists David. We also have a loose collection of other artists and friends who are very helpful who are sort of like our associate family, people such as our resident DJ, Hannah Monica. Artists such as, Anakim, and Von Gold, Jamie Rosenberg, who is our resident photographer, and Peter Kallman, who is sort of of an every man for us, and helps with everything from promotion to just being there for general needs. Shout out to all of you! I love you guys!
MP: In some of the bios about the group it says ‘seven friends came together’ to create Understated. How did you all meet each other and decide this was something you wanted to pursue? How does everyone contribute to the brand?
MF: I would say we will know each other in various ways, but Micah for the most part is sort of the nucleus. He built this team from the ground up. He just sort of naturally knew the right people to ask if they wanted to be a part of this when he was seeking help. We just wanted passionate serious people that wanted to create something memorable, and knew what it would take to pull something like this off. Its pretty amazing actually how Micah put this team together. It’s almost hard to put into words, but quite simply everyone for the most part just does the right thing, or tries to do the right thing, works really hard, does not slack off, and holds themselves accountable. You couldn’t ask for anything more out of people really.
Everyone contributes in their own unique ways though by playing to their strengths, and doing what they are good at. It also very collaborative though, and we just bounce lots of ideas off each other until things stick, and we hold each other and ourselves accountable when things go wrong, and try to figure out has a group how to fix it, improve, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
MP: We just had quite the weekend LAMPing and we’re glad you could finally make it to our special little gathering. I’m curious to know what you thought of it all. If you were to describe it to someone else in your own words, what would you say?
MF: I’m so glad I got to finally attend and play at LAMPing this weekend! thank you! It was fucking great! I fucking loved it and a blast! I cannot wait to do it again. If I were to describe it though, I would say think of all of the desert rave folklore you hear about, but with a much more intimate small family vibe. That is the best way I can describe it, at the same time though its pretty indescribable, and I think it is just one of those things you need to experience for yourself!
1. Cajmere ft. Walter Phillips – Midnight
2. Eats Everything & Lord Leopard – Song For (Original Mix)
3. Tyree Cooper – Nuthin’ (ZDS Bang Mix)
4. Marquis Hawkes – Feel The Music
5. M People – Excited (MK T Mix) (Homero Espinosa Nu-School Dub Edit)
6. Kim English – Nite Life (Armand Van Helden Mix) ( Roog & Dennis Quinn 2016 Re-work)
7. Johnick – Open Up Your Eyes (Original 12″ Mix)
8. Detroit Swindle – Can’t Hold It
9. Fouk- F3000
10. Different Gear vs. The Police – When The World Is Running Down (Homero Espinosa 2015 Edit)
11. DJ Romain – All Day, All Night
12. Aly-Us – Follow Me (Erik Hagleton Rework)
13. Mall Grab – Thinkin’