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In Dallas, listening to electronic music usually means sitting at home with the headphones, shaking your ass in the privacy of your own bedroom. (Translation: not much fun and sort of pathetic.) The dance clubs where most DJs perform are places where the music comes in a distant third behind drinking and hooking up, if it even ranks that high on the list. Raves offer pretty much the same scenario, except everyone is 10 years younger and standing in a field, waiting for their parents to pick them up in an SUV. And both are too expensive, at least for what you get in return. When people bitch about the lack of an electronic-music community in Dallas, it's hard to argue. It's not that there aren't enough DJs and musicians around; there just isn't any place to hear them.
Which is why Tony Edwards (second-in-command at One Ton Records) and Don Relyea and Bobby Maloney (both members of Jump Rope Girls and its more experimental offshoot, Rope Lab) decided to create a new place for electronic musicians to be seen and heard. Last month, the trio held the first installment of Sub-Tronic Theatre, an outlet for local electronic bands and DJs from the area, at the Liquid Lounge. The response was good enough that they've decided to make it a regular event, happening the second Thursday of each month. It's not much, but it's a start.
"It's just kind of something we started together," Edwards says. "Basically, me and Don were tired of paying $20 to go to a rave to see really good bands, and we didn't feel like going to The Church. So we got together with a couple of these bands and started this thing where we do it once a month right now. It's kind of cool, because we're actually starting to get this buzz going on, to where people are starting to ask when the next one is."
Edwards says the group is really building toward the third edition of Sub-Tronic Theatre in March, a joint effort with the Artificial Intelligence Collective. They hope to have five live bands and four DJs performing, and Artificial Intelligence is pressing up sampler CDs of the groups involved, anything and everything to get more people out to support Sub-Tronic Theatre and the music it revolves around. As for Edwards, he just wants a place where he can listen to the music.
"We're bringing this music into the regular clubs in Deep Ellum, instead of having to go out to Decibel or another crappy warehouse like that," Edwards says. He laughs. "With a bunch of 13-year-old girls on X or something."