In the past, I’ve heard some criticisms that Moogfest didn’t do much in the way of supporting local talent- but it’s looking as though they’ve listened to complaints. Raund Haus, a Durham-based beatmaking collective, has secured its own local showcase at this year’s Moogfest. I actually met the group’s cofounder, David Huber, while volunteering in a warehouse at Moogfest in 2015- the festival’s first year in Durham after moving from its previous home of Asheville.
I spoke with Raund Haus ahead of this year’s festival about the local music scene, the festival itself, and more.
WKNC 88.1: How did you end up getting involved with Moogfest?
RAUND HAUS: Raund Haus’ formation was in-part inspired by Moogfest. In December 2015, Moogfest hosted its first official event in Durham called Dialtones at The Shed. After a workshop and an experimental set by Made of Oak, a series of local performers including Gappa Mighty, Trandle and other Triangle-based musicians played mini-sets. A few months later, this format of forward-thinking electronic and beat-music artists performing short sets at the Shed was used by the founders of Raund Haus for the first event. Since then, Raund Haus worked closely with Moogfest over the past few years with many of the members working directly and indirectly in the production of Durham edition of the festival. 2018’s Raund Haus Stage is the culmination of this partnership which allows the collective to exhibit a wide range of talent from throughout North Carolina to reach the national and international audience of Moogfest.
WKNC: How do you find promising local musicians? How did you select artists for your local producer showcase?
RH: As soon as the idea to create a place for bedroom beat makers and producers to play in public here in Durham was put into motion, people just kept popping up in all honesty. There were artists who wanted a stage to perform on and that is what Raund Haus gave Durham. As soon as the first event happened, it created an excellent, not only scene, but community for beat makers in the area and this allowed for connections to be made and introductions to more artists came naturally. Luckily, artists wanted to be a part of it as well and many people, upon hearing what was going down, even reached out to us. So, it’s better to look at it largely as the talent found the stage and Raund Haus worked to build that platform. This has continued and we look forward to growing in that same open and organic way.
The artists we selected this year were largely a collection of artists who have worked closely with Raund Haus over the past years and some that popped in for an event or two and really brought a good time. An entire festival could be comprised of the vast array of talented artists in the area who could fall under the electronic genre, but we mostly stuck with some of the usual suspects and folks who have rocked with Raund Haus in the past.
WKNC: In your opinion, what has Moogfest’s effect been on Durham’s music scene or the city in general?
RH: Moogfest has brought attention to electronic and experimental music that would otherwise be overlooked in the area by hosting some pretty insane talent in Durham which any fan of that genre should be extremely grateful for. The focus of the festival on the future has also brought up some really interesting conversations on what the future of Durham as a rapidly growing city could and should be for those participating creatively in shaping the Bull City. With the local-focused Raund Haus Stage, we hope that some people from outside the community, but also those within it who just haven’t been exposed to our experiment yet, will appreciate what we are trying to accomplish with beats, electronic and forward-thinking music and subsequently support us.
WKNC: Tell me a little bit about what visions you have for Raund Haus in the future
RH: Raund Haus has strived to provide an outlet and platform for artists who may not have found a home in the Triangle music scene otherwise, so hopefully that has served Durham in some way that didn’t exist before and we hope to continue that goal. The Raund Up events hosted at at Bull City Records where producers are challenged to create a beat or production out of vinyl from the bargain bin has been a way for producers to meet and congregate and has been extremely rewarding to all involved, so look out for more from that series. Raund Haus is going to continue to release some really exciting projects throughout this year through our label that has already seen quality records from FootRocket, RGB, Treee City, and Calapse.
WKNC: What artists (part of your showcase or not) are you most looking forward to seeing this year?
RH: Jon Hopkins just put out an amazing album and his multiple sets should be nothing less than stellar. JRocc is one of the most talented DJ’s out there and it’ll be quite the treat for anyone who catches his set. Waajeed is a criminally under-recognized producer and will kill it in the spatial sound venue at the Armory this year. Suzanne Ciani has offered an incredible experience and journey in sound in past years, so excited to see where we get to go this year. Shabazz Palaces is an incredible look into evolution in hip hop and music in general, so it will be fun to get shipped into the future while reminiscing over nickel bags of funk. Anyone who missed Sun O)))’s set, which was a wild experience, can catch Stephen O’Malley this year and we can’t wait to get lost in that sonic canvas. The list goes on and on as its near impossible to see such a wide range of musicians all in one place; with electronic music being a genre that has spanned in all directions and crept into most other genres of music, the possibilities are endless and it will be exciting to learn and experience the artists we are unfamiliar with as well.
The Raund Haus Stage will be hosting its free local producer showcase at Parts & Labour located at 723 Rigsbee Avenue in Durham. For the full schedule, go to Moogfest.com.