DAT Music Conference


This was the official website for the DAT Music Conference.
The new electronic music conference DAT
(Digital & Analog Technologies) made its debut in 2014.
The content is from the site's 2014-2016 archived pages.






• Welcome reception -  Terrace Suite
• Evening Showcases - Stage 112,  Real Lounge


• Workshop, Film Screening, & Brunch Reception - Roxy Theater
• Evening Showcases
Missoula Winery Event Center, Real Lounge


 • Education & Forums/River Float/Park Party -Caras Park
• Grand Finale Dance Party - Plonk



DAT takes place in Missoula, Montana, the jewel city of beautiful western Montana. Our region is famous for its stunning natural features, incredible wildlife, and laid-back western hospitality with a decidedly progressive vibe. The city is home to the University of Montana campus and is near the Idaho border. We are just under 500 miles from Seattle and just over 500 miles from Portland. 



Missoula International Airport (MSO)

Missoula is on I-90, about 8 hours east of Seattle

Taxi Service
Keep in mind that taxi service is limited during peak hours, plan ahead if you are trying to be somewhere at a specific time.
  • Yellow Cab
  • Green Taxi
  • Airport Shuttler


We highly recommend staying at the Red Lion Inn, a fabulous hotel within walking distance of conference events and a DAT partner from day one. We 3 Red Lion!

Other options include:
  • Holiday Inn Missoula
  • Airbnb
  • VRBO



No fear of pop

“DAT is a premiering powerhouse fueled by passion for music, techno lifers, regional and international artists, and a whole bunch of what it takes to make you think differently.”

07 Jul 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

I wrote about Missoula once before in an essay about what its like to see electornic music in a rock town that thinks it has it made. Relatively, Missoula does have it made, since its the single best spot in the state for music and art. Now its time to announce its techno side. Next month, Missoula will host a three day electronic music conference, which displays a brilliant line-up, including John Tejada, Natasha Kmeto, Lusine, and Nordic Soul. Yet, the DAT will do more than bring quality electronica out from different corners of the states, and join them in this particular corner few people have ever heard of: it is bringing to the fore why a place like Montana is a hitherto under-considered most excellent location for experiencing techno, as its geography has the potential to poetically complement aspects of electronic music culture.

This year on August 1st to 3rd, the Digital and Analog Technologies Music Conference, or DAT, will launch in the small city of Missoula. While the acronym is colloquially catchy and urban, and the spelled out name seems rather relevant but not overtly laudable, the unique thing about this conference does not reside in the name. Or does it?

Like anything, we easily do but usually shouldnt judge a thing by its name. For example, what about the name “DAT” says Montana, rural electronica, and celebration of how both digital and analog technologies have shaped dance music? Does “DAT” by itself equal to what Wolfgang Voigt once called “adult techno”? Yes, this conference proudly calls itself a “conference” rather than “American rave” or “Burning Man” or “EDM Party of The Northern Rockies,” which is one way of clearly stating its mature and intellectual intentionality, even though, jokingly, "dat" is baby talk for "that." In what way does this event really display its polygonal complexity?

According to an outsider, Missoula, a town of about eighty thousand occupants, seems like an unlikely hub for electronic music, nor does it appear as a destination for discussing the integration of digital and analog technologies. At the same time, Missoula is a likely hub. Its the most city-like, artistic community in the state, although worldly and fascinating individuals pop up just about anywhere throughout this expanse of breathtaking land. Montana, if you arent sure, can be found north of Wyoming, south of Alberta, northeast of California, and west of everywhere else. With its statewide population only recently reaching one million, Montana offers unexpected geographical, as well as cultural, diversity. Yes, some of the redneck stereotypes are true, but until you see whats going on here, you may not be able to conceive of the majesty, true-spiritedness, and capacity for the diversity this place possesses.

First of all, theres space. Montana gives you space, whether you need a cultural break, are seeking out a concentrated utopia somewhere off of the mainstream radar, or escaping into the mountainous wilderness (be careful because there are loads of bears, wolves, lions, and moose out there, so lets not over-idealize); or if you just need a long drive, bike ride, or horseback tour out on the plains that lead up to the Rocky Mountain Front; or if you need space for throwing expansive festivals, pow-wows, for building ranches, a new self, etc. Not sold yet? Unsure of how electronic music would fit into this equation, especially now that Ive mentioned horses?

Seeing as how this is a space-giving destination, there is of course plenty of space for cultivation of not only of crops, but also dreams, imaginings, individual development and methods for diversification. Be that as it may, we do not take kindly to developers - especially if from out of state – conducting their business here and forcing property taxes to reach the sky; we see not only exploitation in this prospect, but also unsustainable triviality, and this observation is a symptom of the attitude here, part New Age, part cowboy: it is an attitude that accepts stoically the fact that, in the end, the mountain wins.

Montana has been diverse even before the white man made it this far northwest. This landscape has been the home for various Native American tribes for centuries upon centuries, reaching back to the mystical pre-time world, where they lived with, hunted, utilized, and celebrated the diversity of wildlife available at the time. Today, Montana is one of the states with the most federally recognized Indian Reservations, and one of few states to proudly enforce Indian Education for All curriculum within the public school system.

Among many noble perspectives of Native tradition is the one that calls on us to remember what the land means, and how the landscape can inspire stories, ancestry, and growth. With that in mind, and in recalling the idea of a space-giving, imagination-cultivating location, we begin to assemble thoughts on how Montana and music, especially instrumental, ceremonial music, can go hand-in-hand, as music with little to no lyrics certainly leaves plenty of space for imagination by minimizing verbal disruption in listening. One of the chief characteristics of quality techno, as we well know, is the extraneousness of lyrical verse. We need more beat and less conceit! What this amounts to is the possibility that Montana is actually an unbelievably ideal place for listening to and experiencing electronic music.

Tara Emery, co-creator and head curator of the DAT, met me for coffee recently at one of local bakeries, where one goes to acquire the best espresso in town. We laughed about how some of the artists booked for this first year might be expecting a truly rural setting, where theres a town that tourists pass through in the blink of an eye, and that the showcases will be out on leased acreage, Summer Of Love style. “Let them think that, so they can have that Montana surprise!”

Emery was born and raised here in a “hippie household,” she says. She graduated from Hellgate High School (Thurston Moores favorite high school in the country purely due to its name (it refers to the canyon barricading the east side of the valley)), spent time in Pacific Northwestern cities, and is a mother, as well as a grandmother. I asked her when it was that she first realized that she was surrounding herself with everything electronica, despite the fact that she and her family are happily planted in rock-loving, small-scale Missoula. “Id say late 90s. It was The Orb.”

For years, Emery was geared toward participating in festivals dedicated to tilling and expanding techno culture hubs. After several years of regular volunteering with family festivals like Communikey in Boulder, Colorado, and Decibel in Seattle, she realized what drove her to be so involved: it was about gaining inspiration, experience, and general know-how, for curation of her own festival. Thus, its DAT time.

Apart from their love for the music, Emery and her partner in DAT curation, Logan Foret, share the dream of a mature techno culture in the States, as well as a more substantial one in Missoula. Deliberating on how to benefit that cause from Missoula, they are calling the DAT a “conference” rather than a “festival,” which reserves the more intellectual experience, somehow. By announcing Missoula to the techno scene, Emery and Foret wish to simultaneously awaken the reality that techno can be anywhere, even in Montana, and perhaps this can temper the overall American attitude toward techno.

Wait, we have to back up again: other than this being a special conference in a small city surrounded by bear-infested mountains, and besides it being Emery and Forets maiden launch of their long-in-the-making brain child, this festival carries a feminist, egalitarian hue. From its purple and pink banner, to its greater mission to nurture the growth of this sub-culture, like a mother, the DAT is undeniably feminist, and proudly expects that, by its second flight, the artist line-up will be at a fifty-fifty gender ratio. If you have read any of our pieces on the topic of gender in electronica, you will already know that NFOP finds this commitment highly important and supportable, as does Natasha Kmeto, who is booked to blow the DAT away. More broadly, the geographical factor of the DAT persuades us to realize that, while we advocate gender equality in electronica, some of us may have biases when it comes to where to experience quality music, culture, and art. The DAT awakens city/rural prejudice and engenders some consideration for smaller communities that have hub potential.

Conclusively, what is remarkable about this conference, besides it being in Montana, an adult-techno party, gender-aware, and nationally recognizable, is that its name quite simply testifies against any conservative, black or white attitudes that may arise when considering any kind of duality, and in this case, the future of electronic music: will it be digital, or can it still have an analog turntable at the stand. Shit, why not both?

So throw out your stereotypes and put your leather boots or rubber sneakers on! The DAT is a premiering powerhouse fueled by passion for music, techno lifers, regional and international artists, and a whole bunch of what it takes to make you think differently. The premiere line-up includes the legenadry John Tejada (Kompakt), Lusine (Ghostly International), and a NFOP favorite, Natasha Kmeto (Dropping Gems). There will be live visuals from Albertan soundwave artist Clinker, and a spout of sets from Seattlites Cyanwave (Innerflight), J.Alvarez (Hypercolour), and Decibel Festival daddy Sean Horton aka Nordic Soul (Basic_Sounds). On the roster we also have Chicagos Sassmouth (God Particle), local techno pundits Kris Moon, Hendawg, and Mike Stolin, and other people, like yours truly.

If you happen to be passing through the area at the end of July or at the onset of August, or feel inspired to go out of your way, you can find more information and purchase tickets on the DATs website.



“Everything about the inaugural Digital Analog Technology (DAT) Conference... felt like the polar opposite of what the modern day “EDM” festivals seemingly strive for.”


“On the list of Montana music festivals, the DAT Conference stands out with a shiny, forward-looking sheen.”

July 27, 2015 4:27 pm  •  By Cory Walsh

On the list of Montana music festivals, the DAT Conference stands out with a shiny, forward-looking sheen.

The event, short for Digital and Analog Technologies, is likely the only festival dedicated exclusively to electronic music in a state peppered with events that consider "analog" to mean acoustic strings, not modular synthesizers.

Organizers Tara Emery and Logan Foret designed the festival, marking its second year this weekend, to introduce underground electronic music to Missoula and show off the city to performers.

This year's lineup is headlined by Akufen, the recording name of Marc Leclair, a Montreal resident who was influential in micro-house, a minimalist revision of the classic genre.

Mike Huckaby, a Detroit-based DJ and producer, will spin deep house and techno.

He's a "consummate Detroit legend as far as the techno scene goes," Emery said.

They hope to pay "some homage to the old school, while also giving a nod to the younger up-and-comers," she said.

Marea Stamper, also known as the Black Madonna, is one of the former.

"She's an artist I've been watching for quite a while," Emery said. They're "really fortunate to have here," as she's traveling as far as Japan and Croatia to perform these days.

Foret grew up in Chicago, another birthplace of dance music, where Stamper was the talent buyer at SmartBar.

He said they made it a point to invite female artists, who he said often get left out of the conference and festival circuit.

Evelyn Malinowski, who records and performs as Experimental Housewife, will return to her former home city as well.

There are more under-the-radar artists in addition to influential ones like Huckaby.

Take Tasman Richardson, whose completely blended the audio and video elements of his sets.

"He uses a technique that he invented himself over 10 years ago," Emery said. "He makes the music out of these short video edits. "So the video you're seeing is actually the music that you're hearing."

It's not dance music, she pointed out. Instead DAT includes the broader world of electronic music – artists like Richardson or ambient and down-tempo producers.

One of the returning DAT artists this year is Sean Horton, aka Nordic Soul, who founded Seattle's annual Decibel Festival in 2003.

Horton sees a kindred spirit in DAT, which also focuses on club-level shows instead of massive stages; emerging artists in favor of pricey headliners; and educational workshops that can demystify the nuts-and-bolts of the technologically sophisticated productions.

He said there's only a handful of festivals in North America that have DAT's size, scope and "a similar venue-based, urban curatorial sort of format."


The locale, too, sets DAT apart from other events.

"I think Missoula has such a unique culture, being a college town, having places like Ear Candy Records, which is one of the best record stores in the country if not the world," said Horton, who's performed in the city eight times going back to 2005.

Plus, there's the unique combination of audience and venues; and perks like the outdoor activities, such as the pool party, scheduled for the Broadway Inn on Sunday, and the float on the Clark Fork River – not a common feature of electronic music gatherings.

"I don't know of any other festival that has a river float," he said.

Last year, there was a party at Caras Park. It was booked this year, so they're moving to the amphitheater at the base of the "M" trail on the University of Montana campus.

"You can't have a more beautiful backdrop than that," Emery said.

The lineup for that event is more on the ambient, dub and IDM end of the spectrum, in keeping with the title, "Sonic Sunset."

The volume of different activities is one reason for using "conference" instead of "festival."

The educational workshops at DAT are designed to educate listeners on how electronic music and art are made.

The workshops this year feature a panel, "Women in Electronic Music Talk About Women in Electronic Music," led by Malinowski, a staff writer for the Berlin-based website No Fear of Pop. Another will show off techniques for laser visualizations during live performances.

Paul Dickow, who records for Kranky Records under the name Strategy, is giving a primer on Audiomulch, a performance and production software program that hasn't caught on as widely as Ableton Live.

Lastly, Michael Bierylo, a professor and department chairman from Berklee College, will talk about the modular synthesizers' past and current roles in music. (He'll be performing as well, under the name eMBee.)

In the future, they'd like to partner more with UM to highlight the educational side.