Illenium‘s breakout arguably career occurred when the Denver-based melodic producer was named winner of Kaskade‘s “Disarm You” remix competition. Fast forward three years, and Nick Miller continues to rise to domination on the festival circuit — most recently bringing his Awake Tour to Dallas’ Lights All Night and San Diego’s OMFG! New Year’s Eve Festival.
While in Southern California, Miller awed his NYE crowd as he unleashed quite the heavy-hitting surprise during his notable Kaskade remix. Armed with an ODESZA-influenced trap style drop, followed by 808 kicks in halftime, the live video edit (above) is being dubbed Illenium’s VIP remix. In so doing, Illenium further poises himself as an artist focused on taking a living approach to his live performance, all the while proving that he’s not just interested in pressing play, but pushing the boundaries of his sound and experimenting with evolving styles.
What will Coachella’s EDM programming look like this year?
Coachella‘s status as a music festival has grown to become larger than life since its humble, European-inspired beginnings in 1999, and their yearly lineup is both a cultural statement regarding the current state of music and a presage to future trends.
The behemoth brand has always integrated electronic music into their programming, with artists like The Chemical Brothers, Paul Oakenfold, Moby, Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin, and even Daft Punk helping to shape its reputation as an audacious tastemaker when it comes to curation. Until Coachella, electronic music had a hard time making it across the pond — it certainly never occupied such prime real estate as desert fields filled with upwards of 60,000 attendees.
Coachella’s longstanding relationship with EDM has been as mercurial as the multifaceted genre itself, with its programming interests shifting in conjunction with the tastes of festival attendees. 2010 saw Tiësto occupy a sub-headlining set, playing after Muse on the festival’s main stage. Swedish House Mafia’s seminal 2012 performance has become solidified as one of mainstream house’s defining moments as a genre. Calvin Harris‘ iconic set in 2016 marked the first year that an EDM artist has headlined Coachella, a precedent that has since shaped the festival’s programming ethos. Its most recent iteration saw the most electronic artist names in both the second line and undercard areas of its lineup in its entire history.
So, what will EDM look like at Coachella 2018?
As always is the case, Coachella’s internal forums and sub-Reddits have been crawling with speculation around the lineup since the end of last year’s festival in April. However, 2018 has been more silent in terms of credible rumors than in recent years. 33 names on the 2017 bill were confirmed by this time in 2016, including all three headliners. This year, a mere 8 names are confirmed, with only Beyoncé confirmed as a headliner due to her unexpected cancellation.
The Chainsmokers‘ potential elevation to headliner status catalyzed a lot of buzz earlier in the year, for example, but these rumors have since been proven insubstantial at best. Such hypotheses beg the question: Who aside from Calvin Harris does have the EDM star power to headline a festival as large as Coachella? One could only name a few potential candidates, really: the new ‘it boy’ Marshmello, Daft Punk, Zedd, and maybe Major Lazer or Skrillex off of a new album.
The Sahara Tent
Most of the Coachella’s EDM selection tends to be confined to one of North America’s most storied destinations for the genre: the Sahara Tent. Since the festival’s recent attendance expansion, it has gone to great lengths to increase the amount of space between stages, removing bottlenecks and increasing traffic flow. However, it failed to predict that the jump in attendance would largely be from those looking to quench their collective thirst for EDM.
Massive acts like DJ Snake & Martin Garrix were placed one after the other in 2017, rather than being scheduled in conjunction with one another to help ease crowding. The same was true of Sahara mainstays Dillon Francis and Steve Angello, both of which played there once more at peak hours.
The likely reason for this lack of counter programming stems from the fact that fans pay a great deal of money to see as much of their music of choice as possible, so directly countering EDM with more EDM would likely upset Coachella’s core demographic. Still, the Sahara Tent is nearly uninhabitable after sundown, and fans can’t even break into the tent to catch their favorite sets if this scheduling methodology persists.
Coachella’s online forum users have pointed towards the prospect of the festival adding another gargantuan tent similar to the current Sahara Tent, which could showcase similar styles of music while lessening the bottleneck effect in the Sahara. A more plausible option, though, would be the expansion of the current Sahara Tent to accommodate a larger number of attendees.
Regardless of how they tackle it, Goldenvoice must, and likely will address the overflow of wide-eyed festival goers flooding into the Sahara Tent in dangerous fashion.
With so many dance titans occupying the second line of Coachella’s roster over the past couple years, its seems like the event has almost jumped the gun just a bit. Booking so many of EDMs hottest names means that there are now far less to look at for 2018, assuming there are no repeats — quite the conundrum indeed.
ODESZA appears to be one of Coachella fans’ most sought-after artists. Fresh off of a new album and accompanying tour, which saw them incorporate a drum line and other exciting elements into the mix, the seminal indie/pop electronica duo is likely going to claim one of Coachella’s top spots come Spring of next year. One could even go so far as to wager that they will fill the third name on the second line and occupy the same main stage sunset spot that Porter Robinson & Madeon occupied in 2017.
Since Kygo’s ascension to national stardom that essentially began in 2015, the Norwegian giant has garnered hundreds of millions of streams and has since gone on to popularize the “tropical house” sound and captured the attention of the masses. A key second line slot seems fitting for Kygo in 2018 — a step up from his 2015 booking — and the artist certainly has the clout to headline the festival’s second biggest stage: the Outdoor Theatre.
Eric Prydz is another name that hasn’t played Coachella in years, and has since accrued a massive increase in popularity among the dance music community. With the release of Opusin and the debut of his new Epic 5.0 stage setup, Prydz is certainly a candidate for high placement on Coachella’s 2018 poster — there’s even a good chance he could occupy a similar after-dark set on the Outdoor theatre, à la Justice in 2017. Or, perhaps Prydz could headline the legendary Sahara Tent during a main stage set from The Chainsmokers.
One of trap music’s most elusive figures, RL Grime, has been on his headlining Nova tour for the last two months, which features groundbreaking visuals that are rarely seen in the trap world, or EDM world at large. The LA native, who has redefined trap music’s fundamental style, always ensures his sets are filled with a tangible verve. He could very well close out the Sahara Tent or perform second to last on Coachella’s Outdoor Theatre, especially if he releases an album in the foreseeable future.
Finally, after their meteoric rise to mainstream recognition since Group Therapy, Above & Beyond is also primed to their long-awaited return to the Polo Fields — maybe for 2018 after the release of their Common Ground album. The trio is known for filling their sets with tear-inducing moments aided by sentimental visuals, and like RL Grime, would make for perfect counter programming in the Sahara Tent or placement at the Outdoor Theatre.
GRiZ has never performed at Coachella and, fresh off of the release of his newest album Good Will Prevail, the Michigan DJ and saxophone master is definitely evolving into an excellent booking choice. With live, instrumental-centric sets that are full of insurmountable energy, it’s only fitting that GRiZ occupies a coveted slot on the lineup. GRiZ seems to be on the cusp of second liners — he may be closer to filling a high spot on the third line — regardless, he might make his debut at the 2018 iteration.
Yuma Yuma Yuma
As Coachella’s electronic programming progressed through the years, organizers soon felt a need to incorporate a tent that captured the essence of the underground dance niche. Thus, the Yuma Tent was birthed in 2013. The stage’s indoor setup features awe-inspiring lighting schemes, air conditioning, a giant disco ball, and even giant beds that sore feet can head to rest and soak in the sounds of top underground talent.
In years past, the Yuma Tent has featured such legendary acts as J.E.S.u.S (Jackmaster, Eats Everything, Skream, and Seth Troxler), Richie Hawtin, The Belleville Three (Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson), Bicep, and Ben Klock, to name just a few.
So who will DJ in the legendary tent this year? Our bets are on the return of artists like those that comprise J.E.S.u.S. Others that are due for a return include Maceo Plex, Carl Craig, and Dubfire.
Coachella’s Yuma tent selections continue to break ground within the electronic side of the festival sphere, but it will need to expand upon its current scheduling methodology in order to keep up with the growing factions that divide ‘popular’ underground leaders — like Hot Since 82, Solomun, and The Martinez Brothers — and their lesser-known counterparts.
Will bookers finally decide to pay homage to such pivotal acts as Len Faki, Amelie Lens, Rødhåd, Detroit Swindle, and The Black Madonna? The aforementioned underground acts have not typically made the cut in recent years; whether this is due to them not receiving an offer, or simply not wishing to play a mainstream festival like Coachella, is entirely unknown.
One thing that is for certain is that they would do well to expand their horizons in terms of the styles of techno and house they book, given the apparent lack of diversity in the Yuma Tent’s recent years. Ultimately, the stage is still defining its identity after only half a decade of existence, so who knows what it will have in store come April 2018.
Coachella’s most consistent aspect is its stellar undercard, and electronic music within this area of its roster continues to act as an integral force in its success. Acts like Nicolas Jaar, Tycho, Galantis, Kaytranada, Jai Wolf, and Four Tet all occupied its undercard last year. When one considers that even some of electronic music’s most established and hottest acts didn’t even make the second line, the festival’s depth becomes entirely apparent.
This year’s bill has the potential to showcase an array of tantalizing dance music up-and-comers. Some acts we predict will appear on the 2018 undercard include Virtual Self (Porter Robinson’s alter alias), Ekali, Big Wild, Gorgon City, Malaa, and Oliver, to name a few.
A Cultural Phenomenon
Coachella holds strong in the festival sphere of influence, continually expanding its attendance rates and selling out each year thanks to bookings like Lady Gaga, Radiohead, Outkast, Kendrick Lamar, and more.
The festival is a glaring manifestation music’s current state and where its headed: this is especially true for its electronic programming, in which its talent buyers are faced with a more arduous task than ever to remain cutting-edge for the upcoming rendition.
Coachella’s upcoming lineup is most definitely going to be incredible no matter what, and we’re excited to see who makes the cut.
SOCAN, the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada, have teamed with Pioneer to better track what is being played in clubs and venues across the country and, in turn, better distribute royalties to the proper artists.
Dubbed KUVO, the device plugs directly into the performer’s mixing board and collects the metadata from the tracks that are being played. In doing so, KUBO can then send the information directly to SOCAN who will then distribute royalties to the proper artists. This is a vast improvement over DJs providing their own playlists, as many don’t plan their sets out in advance and are then liable to forget a track or be unable to provide a list at all.
SOCAN is set to begin the roll out the KUVO devices to clubs, venues, and festivals starting in Toronto — entirely for free.
In the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in US history, the dance music community has come together in an effort to combat the hatred and evil associated with an act of this tragic degree. Acts on concert spaces signify a threat to community and love, which, in an increasingly lonely and isolated world, is a threat to all we’ve got—one another.
Artists have shared their sentiments and thoughts on togetherness of Twitter which we’ve compiled below:
Emerging from the resurgence of “underground” bass music are two producers — G Jones and EPROM — who carry a similar artistic ethos and musical directionality. In the spirit of collaboration, the two have joined forces yet again on a brand new genre-bending single titled “Hysteria.”
The track comes as a high-intensity, experimentally-driven bass gem that takes frantic twists and turns in every sonic direction. It’s glitchy, it’s dubby, it’s trappy, and, all the while, the driving force holding the track together are the very things that shreds the listener into pieces. “Hysteria” is the first single from their forthcoming split EP, titled Acid Disk, which features this collaboration, along with two solo productions from EPROM and G Jones respectively.
It’s likely that anyone familiar with the Indian EDM scene has read a multitude of articles that serve to highlight the “vast” scope of electronic music in India, or how India will become the next “trending electronic music destination.” There is, indeed, no shortage of pieces dedicated to discussing the topic in this light— citing the paradigm shift in music played at metropolitan nightclubs and the growing attendance at Indian dance music festivals as a yardstick for the same. In fact, EDM in India stared to gain media popularity post the year 2013, which was around the time when Sunburn Festival started to gain significant traction in the international community and found its way into a number of top 10 global festival rankings. This basically reflects a ‘herd mentality’ when it comes to writing about Indian EDM; one agency writes an encouraging report, and the rest follow suit.
However, a crucial problem with such opinion-based articles is the fact that they are generally written by mainstream Indian journalists who have little or no knowledge about the genre, and are therefore unable to communicate their justification in an efficient or eloquent manner. Another rather amusing issue arises when said journalists do manage to get hold of an eminent DJ or franchise head, and proceed to ask them the same dreary questions on the same dull topics that have been continuously rehashed ad nauseum. Such monotony has become commonplace over the past several years.
Yet, despite lackluster reporting, there is absolutely no denying the fact that India really does have the raw material to dominate the EDM industry — a fact that has been reiterated by the co-founder of Tomorrowland himself. Most importantly, it has a huge population of about 1.3 billion, around half of which is below the age of 25, which lies in the “Goldilocks zone” of EDM consumers, as studies have shown.
A giant crowd congregates at Sunburn. Photo courtesy of RUDGR.
Another pivotal factor behind this growth is how well developed India’s tourism sector is, ranking a respectable seventh in terms of tourism revenue in Asia. The emphasis on the travel industry in India can easily be seen in the vast international attendance at prospective dance music festivals held in the country. Thanks to the formidable reputation that Sunburn festival has established for itself over the past decade, for example, it’s easy to spot ravers from countries like America and Russia in the event’s massive crowds; for a frame of reference, the Goa-based festival drew over 350,000 fans to its 2015 edition.
Unsurprisingly, electronic music in India started to grow around the same time as Sunburn began to gain international traction. in fact, Sunburn has not only brought EDM to India, but has facilitated a musical culture change in certain areas of the country as well. For starters, elements of Big Room can be found in the songs of almost all mainstream Bollywood movies, including Diplo’s much hyped Bollywood debut with “Phurrr” for Shah Rukh Khan’s film, Jab Harry Met Sejal.
Homegrown DJs are also getting their fair share of fame. Mumbai-based DJ Chetas used his unique hybrid of Bollywood-EDM tracks to climb to a lofty rank of 33 in last year’s DJ Mag Top 100 poll 2016. Delhi-based producer Nucleya debutedRaja Baja album in front of a crowd that filled Mumbai’s NSCI dome — the same venue where Armin van Buuren held ASOT Asia in 2015. These factors, coupled with Ultra Music Festival’s eagerly awaited India debut this September and Sunburn’s recent expansion to Australia, are enough to sway anyone into believing that India is destined to become the spiritual home of EDM in the coming years.
However, it would be irresponsible to believe this is the case, as there are still a number of problems that need to be overcome, and quickly, lest the genre lose traction in India as it has been the case worldwide. Firstly, the current popularity of the genre is not nearly as widespread throughout the country as one might be led to believe. This is mainly because EDM seems to have not yet made it into the playlists of most rural populations, which make up close to 70 percent of the Indian population.
In my own experience, I’ve encountered countless people hailing from villages who hadn’t heard a single track from the Western world — let alone, a dance music track — before coming to IIT(BHU) in Varanasi, one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges in the country. It’s worth noting that television acts as the predominant source of communication for the rural populace, rather than dance music’s greatest circulator, the internet. Additionally, the top 5 music channels featured on Indian television play exclusively Bollywood music.
Because of this informational imbalance, rural Indians (who make up around 70% of India’s total population) have severely limited exposure to EDM, and indeed, Western music in general. As a result, most of this demographic gravitates toward the Bollywood music which pervades their media intake. Meanwhile, the exact opposite trend is in effect in major cities like Mumbai & Delhi, which are home to a large number of India’s top DJs and producers, and wherein dance music thrives.
Another big issue for dance music’s presence in the subcontinent is the linguistic diversity that for which India is so well-renowned. India has 22 official languages, and English isn’t one of them. About 125 million Indians are capable of conversing in English, while only 360,000 of them prefer to use it as their first language, as per reports.
Furthermore, the number of internet users in the country stands at 450 million — so, even if we consider all forms of English speakers to have a working internet connection, it makes up a measly 10% of the entire population. This statistic is of particular relevance because most dance music publications, are based off the internet and are in English. So, if the current model is to be followed, only 10% of the Indian population will ever get authentic dance music news from credible sources.
But perhaps the biggest impediment to the growth of the industry is the lack of critical support infrastructure and musical knowledge that producers so desperately need. Despite the ample opportunity for producers with the emergence of all-Indian dance music labels and with Sunburn’s policy of having at least one Indian performer at every festival, there isn’t a single world-renowned producer to come out of India.
This abysmal statistic is a direct reflection of the lack of musical expertise present for Western music in the country and has somewhat of a snowball effect, specifically since Indian consumers aren’t exposed to the same quality (and quantity) of EDM as their Western counterparts. A majority of Indian dance music enthusiasts prefer to listen to the rapidly stagnating Dutch big room sound, forcing producers to create within the saturated genre in order to gain national recognition. However, this is a major stumbling block on the international platform as most listeners have a more eclectic taste, and tend to ignore Indian releases due to their lack of originality.
Martin Garrix performs at Sunburn in 2015. Photo courtesy of RUDGR.
In fact, EDM in India will probably never reach the standards it possibly could, unless the genre adapts to Indian listeners’ tastes. At first thought this may sound absurd, but it has already been put into action in South America, where a large portion of electronic tracks feature distinct elements of Samba, Latin Dance and other popular genres of the region.
A similar tactic could be especially successful in India, as most mainstream songs are produced specifically for Bollywood films, and are able to find their way to a significant portion of the public. Although this has taken place to an extent, it’s been limited to big room, which is but a drop of water in the prophetic ocean that is dance music spectrum. So, by integrating the myriad elements of all the sub-genres of electronic music into Bollywood, a much larger portion of society would get acquainted to the genre, and would help boost the popularity of local producers as well as Indian music festivals.
Another way to ensure the long term survival of the genre in the country is to facilitate contact between talented Indian producers and internationally-renowned taste makers who will help expose them to international audiences. However, this will only take place if producers expand their genre pool, which is directly dependent on Indian dance music consumers wanting to hear more forms of electronic music. The opinion-forming process has been helped to a large extent by the increasing popularity of streaming platforms, which have helped expose a growing number of Indians to foreign music. However, it can be further expedited if the Indian public has easy access to credible information about worldwide electronic music trends, in the regional language of the area.
So, will traditional EDM ever become mainstream in India? This seems unlikely, especially if it is viewed as a competitor to established Indian musical genres. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the industry is destined for failure. Its salvation lies either in artists “Indianizing” their music to suit local tastes (as Indian superstars DJ Chetas and Nuleya have effectively done), or by educating Indian music consumers through proper levels of exposure, so that they can enjoy the broad spectrum of dance music to the fullest.
Sources: Indiatimes, Business Standard, BW Business World, Insider, Livemint
With the Ultra franchise’s ever expanding “Road To Ultra” series poised to make its India debut just around the corner, we’re taking a look at seven tracks likely to be featured throughout the weekend from the lineup’s hottest artists. From the woefully overplayed to the delightfully new, they’re all right here.
Curated by Dancing Astronaut’s International Editor Kanvar Kohli
Rezz – Drugs
While not currently a household name in Asia, Rezz is genuinely one of the most talented artists in current rotation, and would be performing in India for the first time on September 8. ‘Drugs’ is exquisite, bass-heavy collaboration with 13, taken from her critically acclaimed new album, Mass Manipulation.
The Chainsmokers – Closer
The Chainsmokers’ viral hit ‘Closer,’ which has racked up over 1.7 billion views on YouTube in just over a year— and also gained significant popularity in India in the process, will also surely get some Ultra airplay this year in Mumbai. Given its extreme popularity and instantly recognizable lyrics, ‘Closer’ will undoubtedly be played at some point during The Chainsmokers’ headline performance.
Slushii x Marshmello – Twinbow
Another artist making his India debut is Slushii, who will seek to enthrall festival attendees with his unique melodic dubstep style. A song to keep an eye out for is his collaboration with Marshmello, titled ‘Twinbow’ which the producer often plays at his kinetic sets. Fans in attendance can look forward to also hearing tracks from his recent debut LP, Out of Light.
Sam Feldt – Show Me Love
‘Show Me Love’ is Tropical House maestro Sam Feldt’s greatest ever hit, with more 250k likes on SoundCloud alone. The slick track features melodious chord progressions, delicate live-sampled sounds, and sensual vocals, making it a perfect reflection of Feldt’s subtle style.
Getter- Head Splitter
Getter is somewhat of a surprise inclusion in the festival’s line-up, given the stark contrast in his music as compared to the other performers. The best way to describe his bizarre music would be ‘one big acid trip,’ which extends perfectly to ‘Head Splitter.’ Despite the songs extreme weirdness, there is no denying the dubstep producer’s talent.
Lost Kings – Look At Us Now
Another group looking to make a name for themselves in Asia is Lost Kings, who released their collaboration ‘Look At Us Now’ with Ally Brooke and A$AP Ferg a couple of months ago. The track echoes firm future bass and pop influences, making it perfect for a modern festival setting.
The Chainsmokers & Coldplay – Something Just Like This
Rounding off the list is The Chainsmokers’ monster collaboration with Indian fan favorites Coldplay, ‘Something Just Like This.’ Playing this track is an absolute no-brainer, given Coldplay’s almost religious following in India, especially following the band’s maiden performance in Mumbai in November of 2016.
Although GRiZ released a full 13-track Good Will Continue (Remixes) project just a little more than a week ago, the Colorado-based future funk artist has been busy in his home studio collaborating with some of his friends. After all, Grant Kwiecinski, the man behind GRiZ, is known for regularly hosting live studio feeds on his Facebook page for his beloved fan base, the most recent of which was a jam session hosted at his flat in the Rockies.
“Smoke That,” out Aug. 28, is lighthearted downtempo track that truly speaks to Grant’s love of the ganja. Produced on the national 4/20 holiday with close collaborators ProbCause and Jaye Pryme, the track features all the beautiful funk elements GRiZ has become widely known for, including a saxophone melody and futuristic synth chords, along with some chill candy-glitch samples. The result is a fun and lovable ballad that highlights Pryme’s angelic chorus vocals and ProbCause’s hip-hop lyrics on the verses.
Despite revealing to his fans on March 29, 2016 that he was retiring from a rollercoaster career in music, global progressive house juggernaut Tim Bergling vowed to “never let go of music.” Amidst rumors of addiction, career burnout, and illness, earlier this year, the producer resolved to return to music with a world class album.
In a move that’s been months in the making, Bergling announced on August 3 a new EP along with a Hollywood spectacle-style trailer. Interestingly, the promotional video — posted to his social media accounts — features some dimly-veiled dates for what turns out to be the EP’s actual release time in the cities of Los Angeles, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Reykjavik, London, Stockholm, Moscow, Mumbai, Tokyo, and Sydney.
This year over 400,000 people descended upon Boom, Belgium for the two-weekend 2017 edition of Tomorrowland. A staple of the electronic music community, the festival features the highest profile artists along with the hottest up and comers, covering a vast swathe of talent across the EDM spectrum. The festival’s high reputation and large international fanbase naturally translates to intense pressure for the artists to bring their A-game to each gathering, and this year’s roster certainly had no issue inspiring frenetic dancing among their crowds.
Many times in these eclectic shows, patterns emerge. That’s especially so when a producer creates a work that resonates deeply with so many others that it finds its way into many, many sets without losing its glimmer. The following playlist is a sampling of such tracks, which could be heard all throughout Tomorrowland on both weekends.
While featured tracks such as “Boom” by Tiesto and Sevenn and “Pump” by Valentino Khan were to be expected, A-Trak‘s “Heads Will Roll” has proven once again that it can withstand the test of time as one of EDM’s greatest festival hits ever made.
Tiësto & Sevenn – BOOM (Radio Edit)
Chainsmokers & Coldplay – Something Just Like This (Don Diablo Remix)
Mike Cervello & Cesqeaux – SMACK!
Skrillex & Habstrakt – Chicken Soup
Kungs Vs. Cookin’ On 3 Burners – This Girl
Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix Radio Edit)<br />
JOYRYDE – HOT DRUM
Jack U – Jungle Bae (feat. Bunji Garlin & MX Prime)
Pitbull Feat Lil Jon Amp Will I Am Amp JD – Put Your Fuckin Hands Up Acappella<br />
Renegade Master – MAD M.A.C vs Jamis(Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike Edit)