Injecting the energy of a real drummer into live EDM performances is nothing new. But if you catch the duo Drummer Versus Emulator headlining this week’s “Beats” concert (free shows every Saturday on Fountain Square presented by Cincy promo group Self Diploma), you will witness a genuinely unique show.
DvE is the work of veteran U.K. DJ/Electronic artist/producer Justin Drake and powerhouse drummer Jon Wilkes. Drake is noted for his work in House music, including his successful project with Clive Henry, Peace Division. Wilkes also has production experience and has DJed at clubs while touring with bands. But the Florida native is probably best known for his time drumming with successful Rock band, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (he left in 2011), and, more recently, Secondhand Serenade.
Just last year, Wilkes and Drake joined forces to create a throbbing mix of lively Dubstep, House and EDM. DvE’s acclaimed live show has helped create a big buzz for the twosome — they even got a probably well-paying gig earlier this year touring as part of Monster Jam, a motorsports tour known for its monster trucks.
So what’s so original about DvE? It’s the “Emulator” in the project’s name. According to maker Smithson Martin, the Emulator is “the world’s first and only multi-touch midi controller PC software for professional DJ and music, is the first real and useable Multi-Touch DJ System that allows the crowd to see exactly what the DJ is doing on a huge transparent touch screen.” Drake, sporting a robot-like outfit that resembles the graphics of the Emulator, DJs with the device, exchanging beats with Wilkes throughout the performance.
Some are calling the Emulator “the future of DJing,” which, given the speed of technology these days, may or may not be true. One thing’s for sure — with only a handful of these devices available worldwide so far, you’ve never seen or heard anything like DvE in person before.
DRUMMER VERSUS EMULATOR plays with Firecat 451, Black Signal and DJ Catchphrase Saturday, June 29 at Fountain Square Downtown. Check out performance times and get venue details here .