Alejandro Cohen, left, general manager, and Mark McNeill, director of… (Mel Melcon, Los Angeles…)
It's a foggy morning in late September at the Internet radio collective known as Dublab, and Mark "Frosty" McNeill and Alejandro Cohen are diligently prepping for the Monday Music Meeting, a show featuring the staff's five favorite new songs.
Located above the Little Temple bar in East Hollywood at the corner of Virgil Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, the Dublab office is a microcosm of the group's obsessions and its effect upon the experimental music life of L.A.; the scruffy vintage concert posters plastering the walls are a backdrop for the tangled cords, speakers and various musical instruments everywhere in the office space. It's immediately clear that Dublab doesn't just curate music, it creates music and produces some of the area's most happening live DJ events, including the recent Listen to Art event at LACMA and its own stage at the annual Eagle Rock Music festival.
The collective is throwing a block party Saturday to celebrate 12 years of such inventiveness. The event, put on at the Atwater Crossing & Innovation Complex, or ATX, will feature a fair-like atmosphere with live music and DJ sets by a raft of Dublab faves, plus food trucks, and is angled at an indie crowd -- as evidenced by its live-screen paintings, photo booth and bike valet.
Jonathan Buck and McNeill, who met at USC's KSCR, founded Dublab in 1999 with some KLMU alumni. The station was made from scratch, and despite its birth during the dial-up era, it has always been an Internet-only station. It enjoys strong word-of-mouth promotion from its listeners, a significant number of whom do not reside in the United States. Cohen was living in Buenos Aires when he first heard the station.
According to McNeill, "Fifty percent of our funding comes from our listeners, which is indicative of the Dublab listener's commitment to the station."
Dublab shows that good taste is as powerful as blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Dublab DJ Alfred Weisberg-Roberts, a.k.a. Daedelus, says of the collective, "Since inception they've been strong supporters of Los Angeles' very sprawling music scenes and a center from which it has been spilling onto the global stage."
The station enjoys ties to artists like Devendra Banhart, Animal Collective and Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio. In addition, some of L.A.'s best DJs and beat makers, such as Flying Lotus, lend their spinning skills to the station's broadcast. Beyond the club nights and local bars and theaters, the collective also produces events at the El Rey, the Getty Center and the Hollywood Bowl.
While McNeill, Cohen and chief engineer Jake Viator work on the station's programming and event production, USC film school grad Alexandra Pelly cooks up the visual component. On one such video, "Secondhand Sureshots," several of Dublab's DJ colleagues are given $5 to purchase thrift-store vinyl, which in turn are sampled to create a beat.
"Dublab constantly proves that there's always something new and beautiful to listen to," says Lainna Fader, 22, an editor at L.A. Record, "and no one works harder to bring new and inspiring sounds to the L.A. community and beyond."
Dublab 12-Year Anniversary Happening
Where: Atwater Crossing, 3229 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village
When: 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday
Price: $10 donation, all ages