709.150 – The Final Episode
And So, The End Has Come
At some point in time, inevitably, all things must come to an end. For my 709Sessions monthly radio show, after twelve and a half years and 150 episodes, now is that time.
It’s been a great ride over that time, starting with the first episode on a little online station called Tribal Mixes in September of 2007. I never would have imagined I would be doing this show this many years later, nor would I have ever thought it would have the impact it did on my life as a DJ over that time.
I’d like to thank everyone who has tuned in and listened over the years, continually supporting the show. Thank you to the hard-working station managers, specifically the current stations – Johan Nilsson Lecander at Digitally Imported, Michael Kern at Progressive Beats, Giuli at InsomniaFM and Sergey at TM Radio. Thank you to all the guest DJs I’ve had on over the years when the show was two hours, and to all the record labels for the stacks of promos they’ve sent. Thank you to my friend Robyn Raymond who’s voice introduces and close the show each episode. And saving the best for last, a loving thank you with all my heart goes to my wife, Sarah Straub, who’s been supporting this crazy DJ adventure since its inception, many times keeping me motivated to continue with the show when my energy for it was dwindling. She’s been there for literally everything. I love you.
NOTE: This write up is a bit of a long one that includes also detailed track by track run through, if you want to scroll down further…
The Story of 709Sessions
The Start of Something
An extension to the Area709 brand, 709Sessions started long before the prominent days of on-demand audio streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and even Soundcloud. Instagram wasn’t even alive yet and Facebook was barely starting to take hold. Mixes were recorded live off of my turntables and CDJs, then streamed and broadcast by the handful of hard-working stations that carried the show.
In that time, as a DJ it was a big deal to be able to put together a perfectly mixed, solid show every month, and have it be broadcast around the world on stations like Tribal Mixes, Dance Radio, and even Digitally Imported – the biggest of the bunch.
Doing a monthly show was a unique, special thing. It wasn’t anything that anyone could just do, and as a result, it became something.
The Result of Something
What happened as a result of that doing that something was pretty incredible. I started to receive emails, messages and even phone calls from people around the world who had tuned in and liked the show. Sarah and I still remember the day when a random listener in a drunken state called from somewhere in Russia, from an after party, to talk about 709Sessions. The support coming from complete strangers from around the world was simply incredible – connecting through music.
On the gig front, I got to experience a small taste of the international DJ life as I started to get booking offers cities and countries outside of my hometown of Calgary, Canada, including a couple of repeat gigs state-side in Phoenix, AZ and Seattle, WA (a big shout out to Matthew Hinman and Jason LeMaitre here!). The show even had a small following in the UK, which eventually lead me to landing slots on Carl Cox’s Playground stage at Burning Man in 2014 and 2016 (thank you Micha El Miguel!).
At home (in Canada and in Playa del Carmen), with the help of many others, I was able to throw a few memorable underground events celebrating various milestones for 709Sessions, including the ‘Five’ year anniversary party in Calgary, Canada, and the 709.100 party at the legendary La Santanera here in Playa del Carmen, Mexico headlined by the progressive master, Rick Pier O’Neil.
Beyond gigs and events, I was able to foster great relationships with guest DJs I had on the show (709Sessions was a two hour show that included a guest mix for many years), eventually doing shows and playing gigs with some of them. I was also able to connect with up and coming record labels who were looking to get their music out to more people, and help them showcase some of the amazing music they were putting out.
709Sessions truly became something. And when I look back at it now, I’m really proud of that something. In my own little way I was able to make a mark on the world and connect with people through music.
There were moments along the way where it was not always easy to see the impact my show was having. Moments where I simply wanted to stop, not do it anymore, and end it. Thankfully Sarah was always there to say “No, you need to keep this going. Your show connects with people. You can’t stop now” She has been my biggest supporter throughout this adventure and I love her for all of it.
The End of Something
But as I said in the beginning, everything eventually has to come to an end, and it’s no different for 709Sessions. The tricky part about knowing is always knowing ‘when’, and for me, ending the show now at Episode 150 is it. I can feel it and I know it.
Let’s face it, the digital landscape has changed. With technology such as Ableton Live and on demand services / social media, anyone – and unfortunately everyone – can put together a monthly mix and put it up somewhere for people to access. The music world has become a very noisy place filled with anyone doing anything, and therefore a monthly online radio show is no longer something.
As a testament to how much things have changed, even this final episode was mixed in three chunks, 35,000 ft in the air on two different planes, with just my laptop running Ableton Live and headphones – far removed from the days of grinding out an hour live mix, analog style.
Well, first off, 709.150 is not the last mix I’ll ever put together. There will be a sprinkling of mixes throughout the year that I’ll post from time to time. Beyond that, my goal is to focus back in on music production, which has escaped me over the past two years, and just like 709Sessions, use it as means to be creative, to be expressive, and to ultimately connect with others – because that’s what music ultimately does.
The 709.150 Three Hour Mix
Approaching this final mix was a bit of a daunting task at first. With a library of so many unbelievable tracks – many with personal memories and emotions attached to them – it was difficult to decide how to approach it. I could pick out all the biggest bombs, or I could include a bunch of my own production work. I could include only recent tracks, or squeeze in a bunch of old stuff. So many options.
Ultimately, I ended up looking inward and pulled the tracks which have meant the most to me personally over the past dozen or so year. Tracks that weren’t necessarily the biggest, but that have had the most meaning to me. Deep, melodic, soul-driven progressive / deep trance sounds; the type of music that can give you goose bumps, bring tears to your eyes and punch holes through your heart at the same time. This is the music I love, this is the is the music of 709Sessions, and this is what this last episode is all about.
It’s a three hour journey through all of it. Tracks new and old arranged and mixed in such a manner that attempts to make genre and date indistinguishable, where the sum of the parts is greater than the parts themselves. I haven’t included any of my own original productions or remixes, as my own work humbly takes a back seat to some of the astonishingly incredible work other music producers have released over the years. These are the tracks that I aspire to write as a producer; the type of music I strive to be able to create one day.
I’m absolutely honored to be able to share this final episode with you now, and am forever grateful for your support and love you’ve given to the show since that very first episode in 2007. Thank you, with all my heart.
Three or Five
I really wanted to start this mix off properly and set the tone for the journey with one of my favorite ambient tracks from the past few years, and this one was perfect. Beautiful, emotive and uplifting, this piece of music is vintage ambient at its best.
Music To Please Friends
Another ambient composition meant to transition into beats, “About Her” from D.X.Xavier really acts as the true intro for the mix, with its brooding pad work and tones. This track allowed for a very long and seamless mix into the next track.
Nick Warren & Nicolas Rada
So much can be said about Nick Warren’s enduring presence in electronic music. From the Global Underground compilations in the late 90s to the revival of true progressive house in the past half decade with his label Soundgarden. A legend.
Eli Nissan Remix
The first of two remixes by the talented Eli Nissan, “Yotopia” gets into it right away. Big grooves, notes and percussion in this one.
Could Heaven Be
Ruede Hagelstein Remix
Lost & Found
Heavy remix by Ruede Hagelstein of Chicola’s “Heaven Can Be”. Blurring the lines between techno and progressive, this track rumbles along without any restraint.
Patrice Baumel, Audiofly
One of my favorite progressive techno tracks in the past few years is this one, and attached to it is the incredible memory of playing it at Burning Man in 2018 with my good friend Wilma Tunes in front live on the cello. What a moment to share!
Tribal Vision Records
A timeless track from the early 2000s, I had to include this one. Vibrasphere, specifically Rickard Berglöf, has been a big influence on many, especially years ago in the Calgary scene where we threw events with him headlining. Great producer and an incredible human.
Out of all the epic tracks from Eric Prydz, this more subdued and emotive piece of music is still my favorite (Sarah knows this well!). It starts off minimal, then in classic Prydz fashion blows the roof right off with big synths and pads. Goosebumps!!
Luis Junior Remix
All about the groove here as bass, percussion and sprinkled synths work together to create a pulsating field of sound. It’s been around for awhile, and can still be an essential part of any DJ set today.
One of the things I love about this music is that tracks you love can get remixed over and over again. The original vinyl of Manila Sunrise is buried deep in storage back in Canada, but this remix fills in nicely.
Tale Of Us, Mathame Remix
The Afterlife sound… Someday everyone will realize that they are actually listening to deep trance and not techno – but who cares, this is just simply incredible music to get lost in.
People, Be Nice
Eli Nissan Everlast Remix
Another nice remix here from Eli Nissan. This track has been a staple in many of my sets over the past few months with its hypnotic synths and beautiful breakdown.
Mariano Montori Edit
A fantastic edit / rework of an absolute stunner from David August. I still remember the original for its use in the BPM 2014 after-movie and how it captured the whole vibe of the festival that year. You can almost feel the sand and waves lapping against the shore.
The last track from what I think is one of the best full length album’s of 2019, “Radio Silence” from Tim, I know how much energy and emotion went into making this entire album for Tim, and it all comes out in “Rebirth”. Beautiful!
Blue Skies With Linda
An old one, but still relevant. “Blue Skies…” lifts you up and takes you to a very serene place. The sort of track that just makes you want to look around and smile.
Another older track more on the trance side, like everything Estiva has released, “The Kingdom” will bring tears to your eyes while making your skin tingle. This track is the epitomy of deep trance.
Sailor & I
Maceo Plex Remix
Taking things in a more driving direction, here’s a big time remix by Maceo Plex. Ripping layers of sound with a gloomy vocal come together in a way that can’t be pinned down to any one genre.
Jerome Isma-Ae & Tone Depth
Classic Jerome Isma-ae here as he teams up with Tone Depth. Throbbing basslines and crisp synths really create a swirl of energy in “Arise”.
It wouldn’t be the last episode without paying homage to one of the all-time greats, by including a remix of one of the legendary tracks of our time, “Xpander”.
Strong, current progressive sounds come out in Delum’s “Bithynia”, which has the daunting task of following the Sasha’s “Xpander”.
I’ve been a fan of Henri’s (Cid Inc) music for a long time now, with its distinct percussive, bass-driven sound that builds into sheer mayhem. Although an older track, “Spacegulls” for me is one of his best. I look forward to sharing the DJ booth with you again soon!
Another stellar example of what is so tantalizing about the simplicity of the Afterlife sound. “Horus” is only made up of a few elements, but like a great minimalist painting, those pieces together create a powerful and deeply eerie soundscape the whole way through.
Ruede Hagelstein Remix
Memories of a magical night on the playa at Burning Man in 2016, with Öona Dahl sending this out perfectly across the dust from the Robot Heart stage. This one is made for the outdoor early morning hours.
Gai Barone ‘True to Warm-up’ Remix
Two legends in progressive music come together! A warm, deep and thoughtful remix of Airwave’s “Ladyblue” from the talented Gai Barone.
Sound Avenue is one of those labels that remains under the radar while putting out quality music time and time again. Even though it’s a few years older now, I couldn’t pass on including “Buen Dia” in this mix.
Way Out West
Guy J Remix
What do you get when one master remixes the work of a couple of other masters? Quite simply, a bass-line driven, melodic bomb for the ages. Huge.
Starting to creep into the final tracks of the mix, “Budapest” is a percussive banger with sampled middle eastern style moans that really push the journey forward.
John 00 Fleming
Looking Back to Look Forward
A powerful remix of a killer original from one of my favorites, John 00 Fleming. He’s humbly one of the best, and is someone that anyone involved in the music scene can learn a lot from and be inspired by.
By Your Side
3 Access & You Remix
Another remix of a dusty record in the vinyl collection, “By Your Side” is a track that’s dear to my heart, slowed down to a sultry 120bpm (from 134bpm).
Going way back now… memories of ending off my set at Canada’s famous Shambhala Festival in 2006 on the portal stage as the sun rose over the mountains. One of those soothingly long progressive tracks that will forever be linked to a great memory.
Henry Saiz, Guy J
Big names all around here as Eric Prydz blows the roof off again with another remix for the second last track of the mix. Hands in the air as things are coming to a close.
Sol & Grimm
And, the best for last. The quintessential last track. Since “Pororoca” came out in 2008 and to this day, it’s always close at hand to finish those rare special gigs off. There’s no other way to describe it other than that you simply cannot play another track after this.
And with that, the end has come… thank you.