Joey Beltram is a techno pioneer, heralded as one of the scene’s biggest stars.
In 2009 alone Beltram had a Beatport top 10 with his remix of Oliver Huntemann’s Shanghai Spinner. Then there was his huge vinyl releases like the Scorpion on Drumcode, Shaking Trees on Harthouse (a Raveline track of the month), and a killer remix of Abe Duque’s Let’s Take It Back that had rave reactions across the board including MANDY, Dave Clarke and Hell. There was also his run of headline slots at festivals, which in 08/09 has included Coachella, both of Italy’s Play the Music Festivals, BLOC in the UK, Hungary’s Bonusz, Awakenings, Planetlove Ireland and Rockit Open Air in the Netherlands, plus club gigs from Berghain to the 10,000 capacity Fabrik in Madrid to Fabric UK’s sister club matter, Ministry of Sound and numerous appearances in Germany, the US, Spain, Holland, Canada, Malta and more. Check out the videos of huge festival crowds on YouTube.
What’s his secret? Continued experimentation and an unparalleled run of influential tracks. Beltram grew up in Queens, one of the toughest boroughs of New York – the equal to Detroit for rough times but very different in its musical roots. At 12 years old Beltram was DJing hip hop and electro, playing roller rinks and block parties to buy records, studio gear and decks. He released his first tracks before age 18 on New York labels Nu Groove and Easy Street, and by 20 he caught the ear of Belgium’s now pivotal R&S label with his track Let It Ride.
R&S invited Beltram to Europe and techno history was made. Beltram arrived with a new track he’d completed a week before travelling. Energy Flash, released on R&S in Europe and Derrick May’s Transmat in the US, is still one of techno’s pivotal classics – Muzik Magazine’s Track of the Decade, and a track whose title has named any number of record stores and books on dance culture. Energy Flash and its follow up Mentasm with Mundo Muzique made Beltram’s name and took the 21-year-old right around the world, playing major events in the UK,
Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Germany and holding down a residency at the notorious Limelight in New York.
Not content to rest, Beltram has continually toured at the major festivals around the globe treating the crowds to the full force of his inspiring sets. He’s also continued releasing seminal tracks, his ’93 and ’94 tracks Aonox on Visible and “the Beltram re-releases” on Trax, the Caliber EP on the UK’s legendary Warp (home of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher), and his ’95 LP Places and ’96 single Ball Park on Tresor were huge hits – each being one of the biggest techno records of that year, along with the LP following, Close Grind on Novamute, with the pivotal releases Believer and Forklift.
In ’99, he launched his own label STX with Arena, while he continued to release under Code 6 and JB³, as well as headlining events like Awakenings, Coachella, Nature One, Mayday and Dance Valley. Returning to Tresor in ’04, his album Rising Sun included several of that year’s biggest techno releases. And he has kept the innovative tracks coming since on Womb, Harthouse, Drumcode, MB Electroniks, and Bush.
Which brings us to 2010, this is the year STX will return, both as a label and a touring show, with Beltram having put the call out to the cream of European and US techno producers to join him. Beltram will continue with the festival headline slots, but an intimate club tour is planned for venues with the right sound systems.