Take the chance to brush up on your Greek mythology as you groove to “Maenad,” a new track by local producer Alex Ho Mégas.
“Maenad are the female followers of Dionysus who would follow him into his roaming parties,” Alex, who prefers to go by his stage name, says over a recent phone interview. “The maenad were part of Dionysus’ advisors or followers—a party called Thiasus. The reason why I decided on maenad was because it translates directly from ancient Greek into ‘the raving ones.’”
Dionysus, the god of wine, held riotous rituals where the maenads, possessed by the god, roamed into the surrounding mountains and forests performing frenzied dances.
“‘Maenad’ is that sort of unfettered sense of freedom and revelry,” Alex says.
The producer says he’s had a connection with Dionysus since learning about the god in seventh grade.
“He seems to embody the freedoms that I love: mainly festivity and theater,” he wrote in a blog post in September. “I even keep a metal effigy of him next to my bed.”
The slow-burning, lo-fi house track “Maenad” is the first the producer has released under the Alex Ho Mégas moniker, having previously composed swirling downtempo tracks as Fckdsko. The song “Dusk,” released in 2019 under the former stage name, evokes comparisons to producer-wunderkinds Bonobo and Amon Tobin, blending sounds from around the globe with a touch of industrial crunch, all laid over a relentlessly smooth groove.
“Maenad” is decidedly more straightforward in its approach to house music.
“Fckdsko was basically my Jackson Pollock sort of project,” Alex explains. “You know, close my eyes and spin the paint brush around and see what the hell happens—very experimental, me just wanting to really push limits.”
But the subdued aesthetic of fckdsko felt limiting to Alex, who found himself mostly playing off-kilter art events.
“Artsy things are cool, but I want to party,” he says with a laugh. “So that was really the impetus for it. It’s just revelry. The song isn’t a banger by any means, but it’s for groovin’. It’s a nice backtrack to hedonism, which we don’t have any more after last year.”
But the Alex Ho Mégas project has even deeper philosophical roots. While watching a segment on televangelists on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, it occurred to the producer that ravers could use religious laws to create tax-exempt organizations that, in many cases, don’t have to abide by many of the same rules as other organizations.
“If you watch that John Oliver episode, you will see that as long as you have a place of worship (an afterhours club), a board (resident DJs), and scripture (Dionysus has over 3,000 years of scripture), then you can declare yourself a church,” he writes in his blog. “In churches you’re free to practice what you believe in, often skirting pesky noise ordinances, and permitting.
“Now, I’m not saying that I want to start a church because I’m not insane. But it did get me thinking about how funny it would be to use the culturally oppressive force of religion to do something that frees people from the shackles of puritan morality. So, instead of founding a church around a 3,000 year old religion, I decided to start Alex Ho Mégas.”
The first track from the new moniker has received attention from some of the top names in house music, with Release Promo verified downloads from John Digweed, Solomun, Roger Sanchez, Above & Beyond, Ame, M.A.N.D.Y, and Agoria, and others.
On the bill: Alex Ho Mégas. 10 p.m.-close. Supermoon, 909 Walnut Street, Boulder. Free.