Westport is as popular and healthy as it has been in years. New restaurants keep moving into the entertainment district, and the bars and clubs spill over with revelers most nights of the week. Also on the rise: electronic dance music. Right now is a very good time to have a DJ gig in Westport.
Or, in the case of Brent Tactic, many DJ gigs. It wouldn't be excessively bold to point to Tactic as the top dog of Westport's dance-oriented club scene. His ongoing DJ nights include MVMNT, a monthly first-Saturday foray at the Union; the Superb Bass Party every fourth Saturday and Frenzy each third Friday, at Gusto Lounge; and the biweekly Think 2wice Thursdays on the patio at the Riot Room. Tactic also took over booking recently at Gusto.
"It's been a wild three months so far," Tactic says. "I felt like it was a chance to put my stamp on a place with what I feel works within a given venue, and the level of creative freedom I've been given with Gusto is really exciting."
Late shifts behind the decks aren't Tactic's only musical pursuits, though. Through his label, Think 2wice Records, he's working to digitally distribute the work of like-minded producers and DJs. (SoundCloud pages are the primary currency in this world; Think 2wice's are at soundcloud.com/think-2wice. You can also find Think 2wice releases on iTunes and Beatport.) Tactic's dance-music interests are wide and eclectic, and Think 2wice's roster reflects that. The singles, EPs and mixtapes feature hints of moombahton, house, trap, juke and more. Think 2wice also isn't exclusively a Kansas City operation, though local figures such as Norrit, Spinstyles, DJ B-Stee and DJ Archi are all part of its roster. DJ Melo (Phoenix), Kovary (Budapest), Jon Kwest (D.C.) and Inflect (L.A.) have all released music through the label.
In late September, Think 2wice dropped its 16th official release: Nite Drift, an EP of slick, mellow house and garage beats by producer Andrew Sinclair. (It's free on Think 2wice's SoundCloud.)
"He just really gets it, how things should sound from an engineering and vibe standpoint," Tactic says of Sinclair, a relative newcomer to KC's electronic scene. "His ideas on melody and how to create a specific sound are pretty mind-blowing when you spend time talking to him about it. I can only imagine how much better he's going to be a year from now, five years from now."
Tactic is also keyed up to release work by Chromatic, a producer from New Zealand who has already had tracks hyped on BBC Radio 1 in England. Chromatic's sound is heavier, with some drum and bass mixed in. Tactic says he's open to just about any sound as far as Think 2wice goes. "Everything is fair game. If we feel it makes sense to represent our brand, and it's something we see being a nod toward what we feel is breaking out stylistically industrywise, we'll give it a go. There's always a reason to step back and look at [things] differently or even take the time to digest something you may have completely ignored or written off, to think twice about what you know and try something new and different. You never know how much you might be impressed and inspired by it."
Chris Milbourn is the founder of Demencha Magazine, online at demencha.com.