Bonded by a mutual love for music, Vanessa Wong and Shona Wercholuk know their stuff. The two Vancouver-natives co-own and operate AFTR DRK, a quality electronic music blog that doesn’t touch Skrillex with a ten-foot pole. When they first started the project in September 2012, I was part of the exclusive network of friends who followed the blog. Almost a year later, their readership base has grown exponentially,catching attention from music fans from all over the world. And although Wong and Wercholuk aren’t household names just yet, their dedication to finding new music and their deep connection with the industry will undoubtedly propel them into the blogroll of many more music fans.
Ever since its growing popularity, Hype Machine has become an online dumping ground for really bad remixes and mash-ups. With a niche needing to be filled for more obscure electronic acts, AFTR DRK was born. The blog conducts reviews of shows and shares new music by both well known, and obscure artists who dabble in the classic dubstep, house, electro, hip hop, and the occasional indie mix. Wong tends to put forth more ethereal tracks that you can sway back and forth and relax to, while Wercholuk offers catchier, jumpier tunes. The blog also discusses newer artists in chillwave, future garage, future bass, and future R&B. The duo first intrigued me with their feature on Melodiesinfonie and a review of Dada Life, and have kept me tuned in ever since by scoring some great exclusive guest mixes (like the mix by Shak and tracks by 1963).
For this issue of The Region, I wanted to introduce you to a quality electronic music blog that defies the idea that electronic music is just a static genre.
THEREGION: Tell us a little about yourselves.
VANESSAWONG: I’m Vanessa and I’m an aspiring artist with an affinity for good music, or so I hope anyway.
SHONAWERCHOLUK: I’m Shona and I’m an alcoholic. Actually I’m a UBC English grad, currently working for a non-profit organization. I’m also an aspiring writer.
REGION: When did you first get into music?
V: Probably as soon as Napster hit the Internet. I remember stumbling across Pantera in grade 10 and after that my search for music continued. Thank God for technology!
S: My Dad has always been really into music, and growing up that was a huge part of my life. I didn’t really start to appreciate music and steer away from my somewhat shameful addiction to Top 40 until my 3rd year of university I started going to local concerts with friends who were in the scene, which gave me a huge appreciation for live music. I’ve been hooked ever since!
REGION: What was the first concert you ever went to, and what was your first electronic show?
V: My first concert was, embarrassingly, Britney Spears in sixth grade. My first electronic show was Fake Blood.
S: I went and saw Shania Twain when I lived in Australia when I was 10. I was so proud to be in a foreign country, seeing a Canadian artist. As for an electronic show, Dada Life!
REGION: Who are your all-time favourite musical artists?
V: Deftones, because I’m a metal head and Chino Moreno’s voice was created by angels. Gangstarr, because smooth hiphop is smooth. Balam Acab, because he’s amazing. And everyone on the M | O | D collective.
S: I’m constantly changing styles and genres that I’m into, so this is really tough to answer. But in terms of an artist I’ve loved for years, and I think I always will: A Fine Frenzy. She has beautiful melodies, meaningful/touching lyrics, and a mesmerizing vocal ability.
REGION: Who are the most underrated artists in music this year?
V: CFCF, mainly because his production is movie soundtrack bliss, yet he isn’t as popular as he should be.
S: The artists I’ve chosen are underrated in North America–I know they’re are doing pretty well overseas right now. Electronic super duo What So Not; everything they produce is absolutely on fire, but they don’t seem to be gaining much notoriety in North America. Sixteen year old indie artist Lorde is unbelievably talented, and it really surprises me that she hasn’t increased in popularity. She’s from New Zealand and so she’s slowly been getting popular there, but there’s no doubt in my mind that she will.
REGION: And the most overrated?
V: Kanye. I mean, who names their child North West?
S: Daft Punk. I’m probably going to get hit for saying this, but I’ve never really been a huge fan. I won’t deny that they’re talented, I’ve just never gotten into them. And it seems their new album wasn’t just a letdown for people like me, but for super-fans alike.
REGION: What is your ultimate music guilty pleasure?
V: Brostep. That grimes bass music that all the bros love, like Excision and Datsik, because secretly…I’m a bro.
S: I have so many, I don’t know where to begin. I so–not secretly love listening to the radio & Top 40. The Backstreet Boys will always be my number one guilty pleasure.