Mite, Distal make a stop in Durham

CorrespondentNovember 7, 2013 

Distal will perform with the Embassy Recordings Tour.

DAN WILTON — Courtesy of Dan Wilton

  • Details

    What: Embassy Recordings Tour, with Mite, Distal, Clicks & Whistles and DJ Shahzad

    When: 10 p.m. tonight

    Where: The Bar … Durham, 711 Rigsbee Ave., Durham

    Cost: $10 ($12 at the door)

    Info: 919-956-2929 or

These days, DJs are so quick and ready to drop music, it seems whatever they’ve done lately is always one download click away. But later in November, the guys who run the Atlanta-based Embassy Recordings label are going to take it way, way, way back and release an EP – on cassette!

“It’s gonna be really cool because we partnered up with a headphone company called NOX Design,” says DJ and Embassy co-founder Michael “Distal” Rathbun, 29, on the phone from the ATL. “The first ten people that order the tape are gonna get an actual Walkman and headphones. And, then, the first 20 people to order the tape are gonna get headphones.”

So why has the label decided to go that old-school for their latest release? From the way Distal explains it, the label wanted to release something that wasn’t going to be as obstacle-laden as when they release something on vinyl, which can be an expensive gamble, especially if you’re shipping vinyl releases overseas.

“It’s not that we didn’t want to do vinyl – we definitely like to do vinyl,” he says. “But the thing is, it’s like, these tapes – we can get them locally made, and it’s about half the price and it’s still a physical product. We want artifacts to be left behind, you know.”

The EP, which will also be released digitally, will have one side of music from Distal and the other side from Embassy’s other co-founder, Ethan “Mite” Anderson. Both Mite and Distal have been spinning records since they were teenagers growing up in Georgia’s capital city.

“We went to high school together, and we grew up kind of surrounded by DJs at our high school,” says Distal. “It’s kind of a little, tight-knit community of dance-music DJs. It was kind of rare at the time, to have that many high-school kids into dance music and being DJs too.”

They didn’t get the idea to start up a label until after college. “You know, we just kind of wanted to make Embassy a safe haven for people that were like us,” he said. “Because out of all the DJs at the high school, we were the two guys who kind of would play everything. We didn’t really have a specific thing.”

Embassy has been around for 3 1/2 years, with the boys releasing electronic dance music that can vary from dubstep to two-step.

“The main thing I want to get across is that we don’t have a specific genre,” says Distal, who refers to Embassy as “a no-genre kind of label.”

Mite and Distal are currently on an East Coast tour, which will make a stop in Durham tonight. They will also be joined by Embassy label mate Petey Clicks, part of the Charlotte-bred EDM trio Clicks & Whistles.

Together, these Southern gentlemen are out to give audiences decent, distinctive dance music, whether it’s on wax, on tape or on a USB drive. Says Distal, “We’re just trying to be our own, you know what I mean? We’re trying to be original.”

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