Cryptocurrency creation continues to grow more prevalent among producers active in the electronic sphere, as evidenced in Years & Years’ development of their very own currency. The British band’s gravitation towards digital currency mimics that of 3LAU, Don Diablo, and Gramatik, artists who’ve exhibited interest in crypto-currency. 3LAU notably wrote his own beginner’s guide to cryptocurrency, while Don Diablo and Gramatik devised their own currencies, HEXCOIN and GRMTK, respectively.
Years & Years are clearly in good crypto company as they introduce the ‘official cryptocurrency of Palo Santo,’ YearCoin. Participants in the group’s digital currency will have the ability to ‘mine’ YearCoins by performing tasks relative to Years & Years’ catalogue. Streaming the artists’ single, ‘Sanctify’ on Spotify, pre-ordering their forthcoming sophomore album, ‘Palo Santo,’ and sharing the cryptocurrency online, for instance, all count towards users’ YearCoin counts. Once a player garners 1,000 Year Coins, that user will earn a ‘Palo Santo’ ID card.
Zeds Dead put their own “Touch” on the track of the same title from 3LAU’s debut album, Ultraviolet. As with all productions bearing the Zeds Dead stamp, the take is one of high caliber.
The emotive original gains a quicker bpm count and bass laden additions in Zeds Dead’s remix. Joined by tasteful percussive accents and some gritty, dubstep-esque sounds leading up to each drop point of the revamp, the elements that Zeds Dead add to the Carly Paige assisted original amplify the affective power of the tune, while preserving its poignance.
3LAU swaps the retro synth orientation of the original fan favorite for a festival suited take that involves magnified, high energy percussive elements and a blown up beat that harnesses intensity and runs with it for a thrilling three-minute stretch.
3LAU had a big year thanks to the release of his widely anticipated LP, Ultraviolet. The album amassed over 40 million streams so far, and the Las Vegas-based DJ and producer is also set to release a full remix album of Ultraviolet, with two remixes done from the producer himself. The first is now out, and it is his DnB take on track “Star Crossed” that ramps up the energy with a hectic drop playing off of the soothing vocals.
Ultraviolet Remixed contains another remix from 3LAU, as well as remixes from Zeds Dead, ZAXX and others. Stay tuned for the full album release coming on May 18th.
When stars sonically align, a NOMAD remix follows.
NOMAD counters 3LAU’s electronic drums and synth wave assisted single, “Star Crossed,” with a take that lends an edge to the pop infused fluidity of the original. Equally vocally centered, NOMAD’s flip involves the addition of a gritty bass line that intensifies 3LAU’s progressively oriented vision, in its conversion of the retrospective reflective piece to a far punchier spinoff.
Listeners can enjoy a free download of NOMAD’s reformulation, here.
Justin Blau has toured the world, created a record label, and raised enough funds to build four schools in Guatemala. Despite having done all of this by the age of 27, he will dismiss compliments about his achievements in favor of discussing what he will do. What he has done is never enough. What he will do is what he finds interesting. The Las Vegas native can now add releasing a full length album to his list of accomplishments, and for many fans, the fact that this is only his inaugural album comes as a surprise.
More popularly known as DJ and Producer 3LAU, the artist is one who “early” adopters of electronic dance music claim as their own. His ascension began after releasing hit remixes and touring colleges throughout the country while he attended Washington University in St. Louis. After gaining momentum through his remixes, he starting releasing originals, leading to breakout single “How You Love Me.” The track took the electronic music world by storm, and Blau became a major player in a scene that was coming into its own within mainstream America. To this day, he maintains that his success is partially a product of the transition that the industry was going through at the time he started his career.
As electronic dance music cemented itself as a pillar of American pop culture, Blau joined the ranks of artists like Steve Aoki, Audien, and Dillon Francis who withstood the test of time by being able to evolve and grow with the changing industry. DJs and Producers were suddenly the faces of major brand campaigns, scoring their own TV Shows, and selling out stadiums. Blau rode this wave with the best of them, and has done everything from featuring NFL star Rob Gronkowski and WWE Personality Mojo Rawley in his music videos to being the face of a Marc Jacobs x GQ fashion mini doc.
Many artists reflect upon their ascension into notoriety once they have ‘made it’ as inevitable. Blau discusses his career with a refreshing sense of realism when it comes to his decision to pursue music full time. He admits that, for all intensive purposes, his life was planned out for him, and that plan culminated in a career in finance:
“Everybody has to be realistic. Right? We can’t bet on our passions all of the time. We can focus on our passions when we have free time, but we can’t plan on them to have a sustainable lifestyle. It just so happens that when I was in college, I got very lucky. Both my business passion and my music passion converged, and I took the opportunity because I knew it was the only shot I would ever have.”
Blau had an academic full ride at Washington University in St. Louis, and his parents and professors became increasingly concerned when his grades began to decline rapidly Junior year. A’s and B’s became C’s and D’s as Blau left town every weekend to play at colleges across the country. This was the beginning of the end for his corporate finance career, and the birth of the musician we know today.
The 3LAU of today, though, is very different than the bright eyed kid who dropped out of college to risk it all and pursue his dreams. His new album, Ultraviolet, is an unapologetic expression of his frustrations with the music industry, and his desire to play by his own rules.
“I make music because I want it to touch people on a very deep level. I don’t make music to be famous. That is not a goal, and that has never been a goal. Having a fan base is a by product of creating music that touches people.” – 3LAU
As many artists have revealed, there is a certain pressure when a career is gaining traction to create the next hit, and to keep that momentum going. For the first time, Blau discusses, he has created music with no regard to the popularity or radio-worthiness of the tracks. Ultraviolet is the essence of him in aural form, and he makes it very clear that the album was his chance to do everything his way.
Even the album’s release strategy did not adhere to industry standards. Tracks off of the album were released over a year and a half long period before the full Ultravioletrelease. To give context, a typical album will tease a few single releases 6-8 months out from the full release, making Ultraviolet’s runway almost double that of the typical album.
“For the first time of my career, my goal was just to make something that I wanted, and I hoped other people would like it too. The vision of the album was created in 2016, but it took so much time to actually figure out how I wanted to achieve the vision sonically.” – 3LAU
“Fire” was the first track that contained the combination of instrumentals and electronic production the producer was going for, and he states that he finally created the full embodiment of the sound he was aiming to achieve in track “Star Crossed.” From there, the creative process became much quicker.
It becomes clear upon listening to Ultraviolet that a vast majority of the tracks have the capacity to become their own separate and distinct radio hit. Blau has managed to create music that can appeal to the most passionate electronic fan and the most mainstream pop fan.
This cross-appeal would usually signify a compilation of tracks with formulaic dance chords and enamoring vocalists complemented by one or two authentically electronic songs. For Ultraviolet, this is not the case. It is an experimentation of instrumentals, disco, bass, and the best of commercial house. No two tracks are alike, and none blend into the background.
Despite the energetic nature of the album upon first listen, Blau points out that if listeners really absorbs the lyrics and undertones of each track, they will discover that the album is really quite dark:
“It’s very emotional and talks about being lost in friendships and relationships. It’s about all of the positives of feeling lost, because you can feel invincible when you are on your own. But there is also this disconnection, so the album is a parallel of the struggle you feel when you feel alone.”
The concept of ultraviolet light itself is that it reveals things that are not normally there. For Blau, the title was an embodiment of his relationship with dance music, and the album was his way of breaking free of this.
“Ultraviolet light exposes secrets, and in many ways the album releases my frustration with dance music. It releases what I really wanted to do, but what I used to be too nervous to do because I was scared of what the public might think.”
Despite his concerns about the reception of the album, Ultraviolet hit number one on the electronic music charts within 24 hours of its release, and “Touch” skyrocketed to the number one single. In many ways, the album’s success is an indication that electronic fans are no longer looking for another easy hit with a three chord drop and a catchy vocalist. It is also a confirmation that, if the music is good and authentic enough, an artist doesn’t need a major label to make their music hit number one. Blau has continually pushed the envelope of what it means to take electronic music mainstream, all while finding a way to do this without losing the integrity of the music itself.
*Ultraviolet is out now on Blau’s own label, Blume Music. All profits from the releases on Blume go towards a selected charity, and in Ultraviolet’s case, all profits from the album will go towards Fuck Cancer.
The track marks a different direction than his previous releases with major retro synth vibes. The catchy melody enthralls the listener from the start, and is another track indicative of the quality of the releases that will be on Ultraviolet.
The full release of Ultraviolet is set for February 16, and 3LAU will be kicking off an accompanying tour with the album release.
After hit release “Raindrops,” Kevin Andrew Chapman’s career took off thanks to his house hits and dynamic live performances. The LA-based producer, who is more commonly known as SNBRN, has releases that span from deep to tropical house, giving fans from a variety of genres something to like.
Dancing Astronaut spoke to Chapman about everything from his favorite book to what he has in store for 2018, and his responses prove that the producer is more than meets the eye. When he is not creating music, SNBRN is an avid reader and family guy, noting how much he loves playing in San Francisco because family is able to come to his shows.
The enigmatic producer has performed all over the world — including fulfilling his teenage dream of playing at Coachella. He is performing on the sold out Groove Cruise this year alongside the likes of Markus Schulz, Dada Life, Thomas Jack. With a new EP on the way, and upcoming tour dates with 3LAU, the house connoisseur is setting the stage for a big year ahead.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW: You recently tweeted “Reading books is sexy!” What is your favorite book?
Now that’s a tough one! My favorite book to gift that I’ve read a million times is Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, and my current favorite book is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.
You became interested in music and music production at a very young age. Who and/or what genres of music were some of your inspirations for this interest?
My inspiration as a kid came from rock music- Queen, Led Zeppelin & Sublime. As I got more into electronic music, Fatboy slim and Moby pretty much became my idols.
Do you have a favorite city and/or venue to play at?
I would have to say San Francisco. Always an amazing vibe, and my family comes to every show.
What has been the most exciting moment for you in your career so far?
Playing Coachella last year takes the cake! That has been a huge dream of mine since I was 16 years old.
What do you have in store for us in 2018?
I have passion project EP of tech house coming out early this year that I am really excited about. I’m also exploring new sounds and tempos for some bigger vocal singles coming out later in the year.
3LAU fans can expect the producer-philanthropist to debut his latest re-imaginative undertaking on his North American Ultraviolet tour: a remix of Alesso and Anitta’s recent release, “Is That For Me.”
3LAU’s take amplifies the sonic sexual appeal of the original through a sultry, low toned bass line that pulsates throughout the duration of the song. The “Is It Love” hit maker layers metallic synths over the bass line at the drop’s build, effectively deepening the track’s pitch while tempering Anitta’s soaring vocal. 3LAU’s remix is an alluring flirtation with an edgier sound than that exhibited by the original.
Since setting up his landmark non-profit label Blume, Las Vegas’s own 3LAU have made fans of the electronic dance act seamless philanthropists along the way. Having dropped album lead-in single “Star Crossed” earlier in the year, the young artist returns this month with the album’s second single and news of an extensive North American tour for 2018, with support from SNBRN, Throttle and ELEPHANTE. Kicking-off in his hometown on December 30, the Ultraviolet tour leaves few national stones unturned, mustering 20-dates across the country and concluding on April 27. The announcement lands just days shy of latest single ‘Walk Away,’ with the landmark album anticipated to be out by the time 3LAU concludes this national romp. Catch the full itinerary of the Ultraviolet 2018 tour below and stay tuned for the new single this Friday!
ULTRAVIOLET TOUR 2018 Dec 30 – Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl Feb 08 – Bloomington, IN – Kilroys Feb 09 – Chicago, IL – Prysm Feb 10 – Columbus, OH – Dahlia Feb 16 – Atlanta, GA – Opera Feb 17 – New York, NY – Terminal 5 Feb 22 – New Orleans, LA – Republic Feb 23 – Philadelphia, PA – Noto Feb 24 – Washington D.C. – Echostage Mar 02 – San Francisco, CA – Regency Mar 03 – Los Angeles, CA – Belasco Mar 10 – Seattle, WA – Sodo Mar 16 – Toronto, ON – Uniun Mar 17 – Montreal, QC – New City Gas Apr 06 – Denver, CO – Fillmore Apr 13 – Boston, MA – The Grand Apr 14 – St Louis, MO – Ryse Apr 20 – Houston, TX – Spire Apr 21 – Dallas, TX – Lizard Lounge Apr 27 – Portland, OR – Roseland