Dubstep in Connecticut: Shmallen
This week’s subject of our ongoing feature series of Connecticut based electronic acts, “Dubstep in Connecticut,” is Glastonbury’s Allen “Shmallen” Hansrisuk who is well on his way to establishing himself as one of Eastern Connecticut’s premiere DJ and production threats. Although he learned to read music and some basics on the piano as a child, and although he essentially taught himself to play guitar in high school, it wasn’t until he stepped on UConn’s Storrs campus that Shmallen finally found his niche and was able to fully express his passion for music. Anyone who has attended the University of Connecticut’s main campus knows what a dominant party atmosphere exists there (what else is there to do when you’re surrounded by open pasture?) and as EDM continues to tighten its subversive grasp on the Mansfield area this has only intensified over the last few years. It was this environment that lead Shmallen to start Dj’ing and creating his own music.
Increasingly interested in sharing new kinds of music with the masses and in making bodies move, Shmallen began DJ’ing shortly after beginning his freshman year. By the time he returns to campus this fall as a junior, Shmallen will have been owning the decks for nearly two years. This longevity, however, was hard fought; after battling it out alone for a while he joined forces with some of the most notorious electronic music makers in Storrs and formed Team’d Up Entertainment. After owning the excellent philanthropic effort that is the Huskython Dance Marathon Fundraiser, and consecutively destroying the fun new tradition of the annual UConnaroo Music Festival, DJ Shamllen is now one of the most visible and sought after live acts at UConn. While he has no problem finding a booking around the UConn scene, he has recently begun to seek out employment at local clubs as well.
Still, spinning, – which this young musician and entertainer correctly respects as an art – is not the only weapon in Shmallen’s arsenal. Following his emergence onto the Storrs scene, Shmallen began producing his own music. He put together a beat tape that caught the attention rising Glastonbury rapper and our friend, Kid Dop3; these two local mainstays teamed up to create a twosome called G.O.L.D Club and released their debut mixtape Welcome to the G.O.L.D Club in July of 2011. After further immersing himself in the EDM culture, Shmallen spent his entire winter learning how to make house music. Thus, in 2012, Shmallen has entered a new chapter to his auditory journeys; he’s relying less on samples and more on his own musicianship and has his originals, remixes, and live act pointed towards producing the best house yet to be seen in CT.
Let’s get into the actual music by sharing a couple of our favorite tracks from Shmallen’s collaboration with Kid Dop3.
Shmallen isn’t finished working with Kid Dop3. Just today, a track by DiYo appeared that features Dop3 and includes DJ Shmallen on the mix. While it has been some time since he made a foray into hip hop, Shmallen’s skills seem to have only improved after putting so much additional effort into conquering the difficult practice of music production.
Though he has a full year of production under his belt, only a fraction of that is dedicated towards making house music. Still, this only makes the level of professional composition to be found below all the more impressive. Should Shmallen continue on his path of combining a concerted, concentrated effort to improving his music with already obvious inherent skills, he’ll soon be at the forefront of electronic music makers to be in found in Connecticut and the region as a whole.
First up from Shmallen’s continually growing catalog of house hits is one of his original attempts at breaking into a new genre. His remix of Florence and the Machine’s “You’ve Got The Love” is an excellent slice of progressive house. Shmallen’s intro is prolonged, beginning only with a beat and gradually adding ambience, keys, and vocals. In an ear-pleasing turn the artist allows his melody to sound in open space before adding deep rolling bass lines that carry out from the drop. “Love” hits its stride as additional leads bubble up to carry the melody. The vocal break builds tension as we are gradually brought back to the uncompromising dance groove that Shmallen established earlier; with a couple of tweaks to the song’s latter half, Shmallen has served up quite the impressive piece of free music.
With “Citrus” Shmallen makes an attempt at creating a house original and ultimately succeeds with gusto. A fairly easy going introduction leaves the listener slightly unprepared for the majority of the track. Once again carried by an expertly executed beat, “Citrus” soon becomes dominated by heavy, bumping, big room bass sounds. With deep basslines matched against upbeat sounds and an all around sunny demeanor, this tune is a dance floor destructor that beams positivity. This entire track is noteworthy, but a personal favorite aspect has to be break which is both perfectly timed and thoroughly laid back.
In a nice creative stroke, DJ Shmallen makes the vocals the least significant aspect to his remix of “Leave The World Behind.” While he does choose to repeat the refrain, this remix is much more about beats, bass, leads, and this musician’s emerging mastery of his craft. Deep, full, low register sounds and sparkling, bright, upper register sounds combine to make for a head nodding, body moving jam session. There are some well performed change ups to be had later on in this one, and the pumping bassline is again hard to ignore, but this remix should be celebrated as a choice rearrangement of a modern house classic before anything else. Listen below and don’t forget to take your own personal copy.
Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” is still unavoidable. Anyone who has already become tired of the pop anthem will find their interest fully refreshed with Shmallen’s bootleg remix. At nearly a month old, Shmallen’s latest creation reworks the tune entirely and gives it new life. This remix maintains the cheerful vibes of the original but adds some romantic, melodic swings courtesy of Shmallen. While this bootleg draws from a big room house style that Shmallen is already well on his way to owning outright, this remix is without a doubt his most thought out and well designed yet. This makes us crazily curious about the Blink-182 remix that our artist currently has in the works. Give “Call Me Maybe” a listen, cop a free download, and ponder the potential of this pending pop punk production.
We’re pleased to have introduced you to this up and coming performer and producer. DJ Shmallen makes music just for the fun of it, offers his creations for free, and appears a genuinely dedicated musician. Now with some experience under his belt when it comes to making house, anyone who will be up in Storrs this fall should look forward to a new setlist of tunes to be played out live as the hard at work Shmallen refers to his summer break only as, “grind time.”