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Sound Review

Meet the Afghan Raiders

Ready for an Earth-shattering revelation?

It generally takes a certain type of person to enjoy dance music. Traditional bump-and-grind beats combined with pulsating, sweat-soaked dance floors made visible only by countless neon lights result in an intimidating atmosphere that many are unwilling to give in to. But every once in a while a group comes along that defies the norm and plows through traditional music barriers like a brick through a plate glass window. (And that cliche metaphor is not a far cry from their sound).

Las Vegas-based electronic duo, Afghan Raiders, otherwise known as Mikey and Beans, pride themselves on doing just that. Beans' infectious riffs and quirky electronic samples, supported by Mikey's punk-style vocals, all held together by a persistently pulsing bass line make it nearly impossible for any non-comatose person to remain motionless, not to mention keep their fists from pounding in the air.

The hometown boys have amassed a feverish following among the regulars in the local underground music scene and have rocked crowds at both the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City and at the SXSW Music and Media Conference in Austin, Texas. They are also currently scheduled to appear at two upcoming events in California.

The digital duo attribute their success to endless hours of band practice and their raucous live performances, where you will see a fusion of singing, dancing, balloons, costumes, and an outrageous amount of unchecked energy.

The Afghan Raiders' balls-to-the-wall approach to their music is continuing to turn heads in the music industry while their roots in the electronic dance genre are slowly converting entire cities into dance music drones.

And after much deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that Mikey and Beans have only two goals: to make you move with their brand of high-energy, rock-tinged techno, and to ensure that you have fun while doing it.

Soundgasms

DJ KMP first started spinning in high school, and this multi-talented, seasoned, industry vet is legendary amongst his fans and peers today.

"My inspiration was the World Supremacy Battle between DJ Joe Cooley and DJ Cash Money. That got me inspired to want to become a part of the hip hop culture," the Riverside, Calif. native recalls.

KMP has been known to DJ for some of the world's biggest celebrity artists such as Eddie Van Halen, Cash Money's G. Malone, Chino XL, Money B of Digital Underground, Dr. Stank, and the list goes on and on.

But spinning is just a drop in the bucket of KMP's deep accreditations, which include several other significant music-related roles in addition to his being a master in the DJ realm. Not only is he a music producer, but he's a radio show producer, and he's the music director for Las Vegas-based Swurv Radio.

KMP is the director of A&R for New York-based Brother's and Sister's Entertainment, beyond everything else he does elsewhere. He's talent on weekends broadcasting from U92.7 in Palm Springs, and he hosts "KMP's Playhouse" on the same station; plus, KMP co-hosts Power 106's "The World Famous Wake Up Show" and he is affiliated with other various syndicated radio stations serving roles, as well.

No matter who or what kind of music anyone listens to, with all those hard-earned qualifications, there has to be respect for DJ KMP's conglomerate - like it or not.

Humble in nature, KMP describes his style as "one that entertains."

"I like to adapt to each and every situation that I come across. Whether it is radio, a club or a private event, I will always entertain the crowd. My style of mixing is more of a radio/club fill that incorporates blending, scratching, with a sprinkle of party breaks and mash-ups when needed."

KMP, who seems to have a fair and just nature, described the characteristics of music that catch his ear and how he determines what's going to be a hit:

"When I listen to music, I need the beat to catch me when I first hear it. I listen to the structure of the song and determine whether it has potential or not. This process works for me because I don't always like what I hear, but if I think it is catchy and will work for my audience, I will give it a chance."

Some of the dedicated DJ's favorite, influential artists include Michael Jackson, Prince, Jay Z, E40, Crooked I and Chino XL.

I asked KMP to answer, without revealing too much, what role he sees Swurv Radio taking on in the upcoming years.

"In the next five years, Swurv Radio will expand into a media outlet on the Internet where you can listen to music and interact with artists and other listeners. It will be the next virtual online media source. That sounds big, but I really believe it is possible."

Everybody knows that the DJs get all the best music first, and KMP is no exception to that. So, listeners should be on the lookout for artists, who may be under the radar right now but who have KMP's stamp of approval.

"Von Sway, Young Keno, Dirty Birdy, Dr Stank, Big Steele and the rest of The Homeless Nation Crew," said KMP, suggesting the audience should check them out.

To hear DJ KMP in action, tune in to www.SwurvRadio.com every Thursday at 10 a.m. and again at 5 p.m. weekdays for Swurve Radio's "5 O'Clock Traffic Jam." On Sundays, catch him from 4 to 6 p.m. on U92.7's "KMP's Playhouse" on KKUU-FM.

Stay updated online with all of the celebrity DJ's events by following him on Twitter www.twitter.com/djkmp, or go to www.myspace.com/kmpmusic.

GiGi Capone hosts a Las Vegas-based radio show, writes for several trade publications and is the founder of "Hustle Hard TV" webcast on DropFaction.com.