Originally raised on British drum and bass, Dark Arps now rocks packed venues around Vancouver with his special brand of booty-shaking beats that get every dancefloor moving, and is a staple of both the SHAHdjs and the Soundproof crew.
“I was producing a track and was labeling my sounds. I named one part ‘dark arp’, an abbreviation for an arpeggiated melody—that means a melody that runs up and down a scale,” he says in an accent that is two thirds British, one third Canadian, and entirely sexy. And so the name Dark Arps was born.
The man behind the moniker is Jonathan Bierman. “I was inspired by the early emergence of electronic pop music, especially in the U.K., there was a lot of dance pop like ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’; all [that] cheesy electronic pop music, and I loved that stuff. I was 13 years old.” But it wasn’t until he was 16, as a teenager in the U.K., that he had the opportunity to use computers at school to create his own electronic music. He was totally hooked, and spent the next ten years immersed in Britain’s thriving drum and bass scene. In addition to touring the UK as a founding member of Keiretsu – the first truly live 10-piece live breakbeat band – he expanded his musical education by collaborating with the classically trained composer Rich Meehan, in the duo Beamer Grande. “Listen to ‘Your Wife Hates Me’”, Bierman recommends with a mischievous smirk.
“I’ve always been making breaks, techno and house. I make music that is effectively 130 b.p.m., sometimes a little faster, sometimes a little slower, and it’s either got a broken beat or a four-to-floor kick, like techno and house – or sometimes, both.” On his newest EP, Real Age (releasing on March 13th via Steamtown Records), Bierman shows that he’s not afraid to combine the two, and proves that this is an entirely delicious mix especially in “In Flux”, where progressive breaks collide with techno to create a subtly hypnotic dance track. Arpeggiated melody shapes a dreamscape constructed with downtempo techno and hip hop in “Kingdom”, and the EP’s title track, “Real Age”, is an upbeat and fun exploration of funky techno that teleports you back to summertime playgrounds. Needless to say, Real Age is definitely worth a good listen or three, with tons of mixing potential.
See www.darkarps.com for release details and upcoming shows.
By Liz GoodeBC, British Columbia