American hardcore is a limited scene; the high BPM can be off-putting to those used to the rhythm of mainstream house or dubstep. As its influence spreads, however, the artists pushing the sound begin to experience the recognition and opportunity found in many other genres of EDM. This was exemplified at the Church in Denver on Friday night. Auditions for local DJ support at Global Dance Festival showed a variety of talent, but one of the stand out acts was PepperJack, a resident DJ of the 303 Family.
PepperJack worked to provide an enjoyable experience for both the loyal supporters of the local hardcore scene and those experiencing the genre for the first time. He started his set with Rescue BO Booty Remix of Deorro’s Yes, a track that has been integrated into a number of genres. His treatment of the track worked well, even if loyal fans felt it to be too mainstream.
As he proceeded through the set, PepperJack incorporated a track commonly utilized by the 303 Family, a remix of Keep It Mello. The trap track set to a hardcore rhythm provided PepperJack with the familiarity needed to reach his normal level of comfort. He began confidently directing the audience through builds and drops as though performing for his usual crowd. His undeniable ability to hype the audience resulted in the packed floor shaking with the palpable energy of the pumped up crowd. Through each build, the spirits of those present soared, as appropriate in the environment provided by the Church.
By the time PepperJack was closing out his audition, the audience was full of members dancing and jumping with hands in the air. The remix of Satellite had the voices of loyal hardcore fans and newly-exposed audience members raised in unison. As he finished the track, applause and chants of “PepperJack” filled the building. With a giant grin and respectful bow, he left the stage with admirable grace. As he left, the dance floor emptied a bit, indicating that the crowd was converted to the high BPM and wildly upbeat tracks.
The results of the competition also reflect the audience’s preference. PepperJack finished third in the competition, granting him a spot on the Red Rocks stage during GDF. Sunday, July 10th, American hardcore will be on one of the most recognizable stages with PepperJack representing. To show your support, check out Global Dance Festival.
Written by guest writer Tanya Stere