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  Local Artist Profile | Keiran
Photos by Ryan Harvey and Tim DeGroot

This feature marks the first of a series of local artist profiles on Lunar. The Atlanta area has an incredibly wide array of talented DJs and producers, many of which do not receive the recognition they so deserve. One of these artists is Keiran of Earthtone Soundsystem. Originally from England, Keiran has been an Atlanta native for almost 12 years and has been instrumental in pushing quality house music in Atlanta.

DJ Keiran.  Photo courtesy of Ryan Harvey DJ Name - Keiran

Real Name - Keiran James Neely

Years DJing/Producing - I have been spinning records for about ten years. I produced my first track in 1997, although my production work has definitely been less intense than my DJ work. This is changing though. These days, it's a must for a DJ to be in the studio.

Affiliations - Earthtone Soundsystem

How Earthtone Got Started/Past Events/Future Plans - A missionary priest from South Africa who loved house music formed the Earthtone Soundsystem in 1842. Only joking. ETSS was formed in 1995 by a group of friends who felt that representation of their music was zilch. This fact, in combination with Gary Johnson's sound system, brought the whole thing together. The DIY aesthetic was basically born out of necessity. We HAD to do it ourselves. Back when the only dance music events were raves played solely by out of town talent, we had no other choice. We began throwing our own events. We had all elements taken care of: DJs, a sound system, sound techs, graphic designers and promoters. From there we just took one step at a time.

Earthtone in the Park.  Photo courtesy of Tim DeGroot Free Sunday parties at Piedmont, Grant, Candler and Woodruff Parks. Our parties at Piedmont were amazing. Not just to big up my crew, but they were nothing short of amazing. Folks still talk about those days. We have pictures of more than 200 folks bustin' a move, with a huge dust cloud floating across, with another 300 watching. We were kings for the day. One of our favorite elements of those gatherings were the folks who didn't know, who were just in the park for the day with their kids or walking the dog, bobbing their heads, and eventually shakin' their hips. It felt very satisfying to project a communal message, to bring many groups together like that.

Earthtone in the Park.  Photo courtesy of Tim DeGroot Anonymous late night warehouse sessions, and of course, the Westend Warehouse Project. The WWP was another period of magic in the ETSS history. We were given the opportunity to throw some of the most free-spirited and outright debaucherous parties I have ever witnessed. An absolute, no holds barred environment, where dancing and the music came to provide a home away from home for the Atlanta house massive. It all came to an end, but not ETSS. For the past year or so, we have become somewhat fractured. Some of our original members have moved on and are pursuing other avenues. Some have moved away and represent us as satellites. Eric Zheno, for example, recently moved to San Francisco. Josh lives in Boulder. Shiva and Marty B both hold it down in NC. Our current local roster of 3 DJs consists of Adam, Gary and myself. We're currently working on our new website, and of course, continuing our public park adventures, which continued at Piedmont on Sunday March 17th with great success. Anyone who was there can attest to that! On the DL, we have more and better to come! Stay tuned!

Residencies - I currently host and play a monthly event at MJQ called Jelly Jazz. Based on the way I feel about the lack of "up for it" dancers and lukewarm midtown vibes, I started this night in an effort to get away from the whole "serious night out" and more towards getting back into the fun aspect of the party. The format is pre-90s classics and obscurities—basically the music we grew up to. Everything from Michael Jackson to The Tramps to Wham to Salt-n-Pepper to Chakka Khan to Barry White.

Styles - Better than yours! Although firmly rooted in house, I love the garage, Paradise that is. Basically anything you can dance to.

Influences - MAW, Romanthony, Larry Levan, Doc Martin, Cassio, Francois K, Ron Hardy, Frankie Knuckles, Tony Humphries, Roy Ayres, Fela, to name a few.

Upcoming Gigs - Need to be updated.

Contact Info - keiranearthtone@yahoo.com

For Bookings - Roberto Torreggiani (OverBookings) - agent@overbookings.com - 404.219.6214

Online Sets - Coming soon at our new website.

Mixes Available - My newest mix, "OH YES" is available from Rewind Records. My older mixes, like "Dance With Me" and "Live at Lush," you can get through me directly.

Tracks Produced - "Another Day" and more recently, "Vacuum Cleaner" and "Coal Minor," both with Bryan at IPM.

Thoughts on the Atlanta Scene - Where are the hands in the air events?

Favorite Gig Ever - Too many to name. Piedmont Park, Westend Warehouse, NYE 2001 at the Dougout, Memorial Day 2000 at Loca Luna, and Lush to name a few.

Strangest Request From Someone While Playing - Want a booty bump?

Place of Work Outside of DJing - CARA Recording Studios.

Something We May Not Know About You - I am presently attending GSU, double majoring in AudioRecording and Music Management.

Advice for Other DJs/Producers - [for DJs] Work on style. It sets you apart from the next. [for Producers] Stop DJing if you're crap.

Current Top 5 Chart - No particular order:

  • MAW vs.Marcus de Lewis - "Work" rmx
  • Pascal + Mister Day - "Shelter"
  • LTD Exchange - "Corazon" Idjut Boys rmx
  • DJ Sneak - "I Dropped My Glowstick"
  • Groove Armada - "My Friend" K&D rmx

5 Favorite Tracks of All Time - No particular order:

  • Dinosaur L - "Go Bang"
  • Romanthony - "Let Me Show You Love"
  • Chaka Khan - "Ain't Nobody"
  • Grace Jones - "Feel Up"
  • Cultural Vibe - "Ma Foom Bey"


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