The man behind the laptop

For those who know me, I'm an absolute purist. I like my hot things hot and my cold things cold, my cars fast, and my rock n' roll loud and heavy. Well, not really, but guaranteed you all know a dude with a similar motto. Maybe he changes your oil or gives your bike a tune-up while AC/DC is playing in the background. Or maybe he's your cashier at the video store who never fails to suggest you rent more Andrew Dice Clay videos.

In Boise, it's still common to see clans of middle-aged ponytails in Ozzy Osbourne-esque shirts scamming chicks at the KFC, or a mentally degenerate butt rocker hopelessly waiting for the metal band to take the stage at the Neurolux, sulking at the lack of Pantera in the jukebox, and yearning for the day Boise had some "edge." People like this actually still exist, milling about like cockroaches in the woodwork, looking for a place to party like it's 1993, and leaving in their wake a scattered mess of buttrock sawdust. You hear me? We're dealing with some serious buttrock sawdust here.

But I don't want to talk about the bad side of Boise, or the side of Boise that refuses to grow up and progress. I'm here to talk about a musician who has grown up so much musically he's far ahead of the game. A man who admits to be inspired by sounds of the past, but remains keenly focused on the sounds of the future.

Tucked neatly in the midst of our small but flourishing music scene is Jake Hite, an artist who has been creating and performing electronic music as Discoma right under our noses for close to seven years. I say under our noses, but it's not as if he has gone unnoticed. Hite forged a path and carved a niche in this area as only a true pioneer can, and despite the inundated electronic scene, filled with technoheads who make music just because the technology is more accessible, Discoma shines like a beacon in the mist. He was doing laptop music before making laptop music was easy, and long before it was "cool."

Hite studied percussion in high school and college, and soon found himself playing in a variety of local rock bands. If you remember the days Boise bands Hard Luck Shovel and Graveltruck were rocking the scene several years ago, and you found yourself at one of their shows, then you've seen him. He was the dude behind the drum kit. It was during his time playing drums for Wirehead, an electro-goth-techno band, that Hite began to take interest in computer generated music.

"They (his bandmates) never let me touch the computer gear." he said. "I was just the drummer to them." This brought on feelings of curiosity and a desire to challenge himself with new things, and soon Hite was drawn into the "forbidden" territory of techno, after he purchased his own equipment. At the time, software was limited, so he relied on keyboards, samples and machines to produce his music.

Today, catchy hooks, dark undertones and complicated, glitchy beats serve as a foundation to Discoma's music. Hite has seven years of experience under his belt, and has moved on to a laptop and a wide assortment of hi-tech futuristic effects processors, making it easier to put a whole lotta "freaknik" (that's my description, not his) into his tracks. It's dance music for the pure of heart.

To see Discoma live is to know paradise, to know what it feels like to forget about everything else, and to get your socks rocked like there's no tomorrow. A Discoma show is nothing short of ethereal, as long as you keep your eyes closed and body moving. If you choose to watch earnestly instead, it's quickly apparent Hite works his ass off on stage as he fiddles with his laptop and tweeks his machines- taking most of the fun out of it. The point of a Discoma show isn't about the showmanship or the image, although it is interesting to watch. Discoma is all about making the crowd feel the music, take it in, shake it out, and walk home drenched in sweat. It's music that makes you think while you groove-exactly what we need to rid the scene of all the buttrock sawdust mentioned above.

Hite wants locals to get more active in this progressive clean-up act. "Whenever I play out I'm the only electronic artist there, but I know there are hundreds of kids around here producing music out of their bedrooms," Hite says. "Where the hell are you? Play out more often!" If you aren't quite ready to play in front of a crowd, he hosts an occasional drum machine circle in his home, where a few folks gather round their gadgets in true electro hippy fashion to beat down the moon. Contact Hite if you're interested in either attending or having him play a house party or wherever at Discoma@gmail.com, or at his Web site at Discoma.net, and look for his new EP titled This Is My EP I Will Name It What I Want. It's mind-blowing. Check it all out, especially his shows, and remember to tell him who sent you.

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