The world’s largest dance music festival, Tomorrowland, returns to its usual stomping grounds in Boom, Belgium. Taking place over two exciting weekends to close out July, the festival promises attendees an unforgettable experience—in part due its massive lineup featuring most all of the electronic music world’s pre-eminent superstars like Hardwell, Martin Garrix, Nicky Romero and Laidback Luke among others.
Beginning at 12:00 PM EDT on 21st July, the live stream will be played across four channels, with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike closing out the ceremonies on Sunday 23rd July. Pulling live footage from the main stage throughout the weekend, the live stream will also focus on curated stages including Paradise, Drumcode, Q-Dance, and breakthrough label Monstercat. Tomorrowland can now be watched virtually anywhere, so be sure to tune in to hear all the latest from your favorite artists.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on in the mind of Lorin Ashton, better known as Bassnectar, then today is your lucky day. The electronic music producer has recently opened up in an interview with Westword, where he revealed a less-than-thrilled hot take on the dynamics of the current EDM scene, weighed in on his cult-like following, and more.
In recent years, Bassnectar has garnered a religious following of fans willing to travel far and wide to catch the artist’s sets. In the Westword interview, Ashton vocalizes a personal disconnect between his project and the way the world see’s his work. Speaking at great lengths about a multitude of topics, the artist provides a glimpse into his psyche. Opening up the interview with what he believes to be his place in the industry (or lack thereof), Ashton makes it clear he sees himself as an outsider looking in.
Well, to be clear, I 100 percent don’t feel like I’m any part of EDM any more than I’m part of hip-hop or rock and roll. And I don’t mean that coyly, like I’m dancing around the reality. I really, truly have never felt like I was a part of that.
But not only does the producer feel like an outsider, he’s also revealed that the collective EDM scene is failing to push out distinct content, stating:
I feel EXTREMELY — and you can put that in all caps — disinterested in EDM. There are very few EDM artists who I like musically. There are very few EDM artists who I’m impressed [with] or intrigued by their personality or what they’re projecting. But there are some artists who are making electronic music who are absolutely fantastic. And there’s more and more underground artists who — God knows what the f*ck to call them — are just very talented.
It’s becoming easier and easier to make music, just with technology evolving as it is. So, you know, whereas I used to collect and always collect promos and buy music and go treasure hunting, constantly crate digging for new records, in the last year, I’ll find a lot more good music than I did the year before. I think there’s a lot of good, inventive minds, but I don’t think they’re EDM. And I think EDM is something I just don’t know anything about. But it looks really silly to me.
Continuing the discussion on his disappointment in EDM as a whole, Ashton expressed great disdain for watching DJ’s stand behind a table pressing buttons in front of a crowd:
“I’m not saying this rudely to talk shit on anyone, but I truly feel so unimpressed by the concept of standing in a crowd and looking and one or two or three humans on stage dancing alone to music. It’s not that mind-blowing. Again, I’m not saying that all DJs suck except for me. I’m saying, me included, it’s preposterous.”
EDM is to reality TV era what Freestyle Sessions is to this different daydream. It’s this concept of interaction and participation. I don’t want to create a lot of expectations. I’m not trying to say this is better or it’s going to change your life or anything. It’s something that I know is meaningful to me that I don’t get to do. I don’t get to play music without being a spectacle. And I don’t get to play music to a smaller crowd. There are all these tiny little factors that I’m trying to put together to create this experience with other musicians and for the attendees. A lot of it has to do with the ergonomics of the event, trying to not centralize the focus, not have a stage.
Owning up to the idea that he is largely regarded as a granddaddy of the scene, Nectar offers his own take on how he will work to combat the issues in EDM. Using his event Freestyle Sessions this past weekend as an example, Nectar says:
“I really want to go to the opposite end of the spectrum and go super-special, super-intimate, super-creative, super-old school. It’s funny how many uphill battles you have to fight to get to do that. Getting them to let you play on the floor — like, I want to be on the floor, in a booth, and not looked at — not because I’m hiding. I want to provide people with this experience that I don’t think they necessarily get these days, which is just to be immersed in music and not be at a show, just to be at an event of dancing and immersion.”
Regardless of whether you adore Bassnectar’s music or can’t stand the bass, Ashton’s sincere devotion unto his craft and influence on the genre itself is unmistakable. Read the full interview here.
Wolfgang Gartner is a dance music veteran who has managed to adapt his sound to the changing tone of the industry. Despite a drop in release frequency over the past few years, Gartner’s sporadic releases have spanned myriad genres, from electro house to hardcore trap with “Borneo.”
With his latest release on Armada Trice, “Find A Way,” Wolfgang Gartner has continued his recent experimentation with this refreshing bass house single. Delving into the style of music that helped Jauz make a name for a few years ago, the seasoned producer has out a groovy single, complete with screeching synths and excess amounts of bass, perfect for club settings.
Sir Rosevelt, comprised of Zac Brown, Niko Moon, and Ben Simonetti, recently emerged within the country-pop space and has since gained heavy attention from the music world at large. Their debut single “Sunday Finest” has already amassed well over a million place, putting them on the map as a force to be reckoned with.
With any great band there comes a slew of electronic artists inspired to adapt their work to the dance-floor. Up-and-coming producer Gazzo rose up to the challenge in this case, maintaining the original’s country-pop aesthetic while adding a jubilant, electro-laced twist. Spurts of dramatic synths surround funky guitar riffs, leading into a post-breakdown cacophony of electronica that ignites the dance-floor.
Gazzo’s remix is now available for streaming on all digital platforms.
In an interview last year with Rolling Stone, Alex Pall of The Chainsmokers didn’t mince words when issuing his assessment of Lady Gaga‘s single, “Perfect Illusion.” “It sucks,” Pall bluntly stated. Even with the more diplomatic on of the two, Drew Taggart, stating “She’s a great artist,” the superstar EDM duo faced a firestorm of criticism, mostly from Gaga fans, but also from the queen of pop herself.
Enter Gaga with her latest track, “A-YO,” which premiered June 6. Gaga sent out a slew of tweets promoting the track — one of which was directed at The Chainsmokers, asking them light-heartedly (presumably?) whether her newest track met their standards.
Interestingly, on the same day as Gaga’s new single releases, The Chainsmokers went on air with Howard Stern to discuss a range of topics, including the original incendiary comment from last October, with Pall stating that it “came out so much worse” than intended.
Pall elaborated, “I’m 32 now and no one’s given a shit about what I’ve said for the first 30 years of my life…I felt bad because I don’t think it’s cool to make those sort of judgements [in public] anyway. Like, keep it to yourself.”
Gaga’s newest album Joanne arrives Friday. She will also be Saturday Night Live‘s musical guest this weekend.
Due to their meticulously rehearsed, top-notch live performance—resplendent with genre-bending trap, indietronica, and future bass—ODESZA aren’t exactly known for switching up their sets from stop to stop. Just one week after ODESZA premiered a new track ID at their home town global tour kick off, however, the Seattle-based duo delivered as many as 8 entirely new tracks while at their headlining show at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado.
Amid rumors of a new album in the works and plenty of chatter over whether the two would be dropping songs off the new LP at their latest two-night run, which took place May 27-28, the duo certainly delivered on this tacit promise to their fanbase. While both nights’ sets resembled the exact same order of song progression, what made ODESZA’s live performance so memorable and, indeed impressive, was just that: it was a live band experience. An immersive experience at that, complete with all the interchangeable moving parts of a well-cogged machine, including a dramatically choreographed drum line and a stunning visual production by STS9‘s former lighting designer, Saxton Waller, of Colorado-based Brown Note Production.
The direction ODESZA has taken is a clear step away from the EDM duo we’ve come to know, with the duo of Harrison and Clayton eschewing the drums and mixers for one more towards an electronic rock music aesthetic with the two front liners introducing their fellow bandmates on the guitar, trumpet, and trombone. Whether ODESZA plans to oscillate between DJ sets and live acts isn’t known, but make no mistake that the new album—which hasn’t been given an official release date—will contain all the classic musical elements that we’ve come to love about the ODESZA sound stamp: ebullient and ethereal, over a heavy low-end bass line foundation.
As dance music continues to move through cycles of divergence and subsequent convergence, progressive house is one of the many genres to fall down most producers’ pecking order, with many up-and-coming artists leaning heavily towards Future Bass and Deep House. But according to Nick Rotteveel – one of the spearheading producers behind the Dutch House invasion circa 2010-11- this shift in the production meta is part and parcel of an industry that is “constantly evolving.”
The veteran producer, who remains at the top of his game after a decade, had a humble beginning – as did many of his peers alongside him today. Music had a profound influence on Nicky Romero from a young age. He started off as a drummer in his band as a teenager, before making the decision to forge a career as an electronic music producer.
“I swapped my drums for a computer when I was about 17. My parents were not happy about it, but for me the future was with producing music digitally.”
Ever since dropping his first commercially successful track “My Friend,” back in 2010, Nicky Romero has continued to grow in stature, creating some instantly recognizable electro and progressive house tunes such as “Toulouse,” “Symphonica,” and “I Could Be The One” with Avicii.
His uncanny ability to produce easily marketable chart-toppers has allowed him to consistently headline the most prestigious dance music festivals like Tommorrowland, Ultra Music Festival and Sunburn Festival in India, while simultaneously creating one of the most loyal fan bases known to the dance music world.
His most recent single, “Crossroads,” is a far cry from his immensely popular festival anthems. It is a refreshing digression from the rapidly stagnating big room genre, and is a testament to Nicky’s ability to adapt and stay relevant.
“My latest single called ‘Crossroads’ was a collaboration between Navarra and me. I think it’s a great merge of sounds & styles, vocal chops and a progressive drop, kind of a hybrid.”
Rather than resting on his laurels, Romero dedicates a majority of his time to his cherished label Protocol Recordings, which “has helped [him] create a platform for [himself] and for other young artists that [he] like[s] to support.”
While most labels “shotgun songs into the world with 5 songs at the same time and see if there is a hit in there,” Romero’s vision and motivation is totally different: to create a brand that serves to expose his fan base to quality rather than quantity.
“We carefully release. It’s not always the best strategy financially but it works best for us as the finance side of things was never our motivation to start in first place!”
Initially created by Nicky Romero in May 2012, the label has evolved into one of the world’s leading artist launch pads, featuring prestigious names such as Blasterjaxx, Hardwell, Krewella and NERVO over its five year history, while also striving to discover fresh talent like Arno Cost and Volt & State. To celebrate the label’s fifth anniversary, Romero has lined up a mammoth party that will last until ADE in October.
To kick off the celebration, Nicky will live stream the 250th episode of Protocol Radio featuring the label’s best tracks and unreleased singles saved for the special occasion. This will be followed by a huge five-hour mix, containing the label’s defining sonic imprints. To cap it all, Protocol will release re-worked versions of the label’s greatest hits while “announcing the exciting release of a new single” by the Protocol head honcho himself.
A large part of Nicky Romero’s monumental success is due to his shrewd understanding of the trends prevailing in the dance music industry, where “music comes and goes so fast right now.” The scenario has changed considerably since Romero began, with listeners cycling through music at a much more rapid pace than a few years ago.
“When I started you could have a number one at Beatport and it could be there for a month. Now a song is old 5 days after its release! It creates a lot of space for everyone to drop singles.”
That being said, a large majority of popular DJs credit their success to the very industry Romero talks about, due to its constant state of dynamism, with opportunities being presented to new artists to try and differentiate themselves from an ocean of other producers – a factor which is generally missed by most fans. Romero once fell in this category as well, and believes that “we should appreciate the music that’s being released,” while also understanding the increasing difficulty in making a mark as “people are bored after three days” of songs that may take “a month or longer to finish.”
Another rather overlooked facet of being an electronic music superstar is the emotional difficulty that can plague the very symbols for spreading happiness and “good vibes” through their music. They have to constantly ignore their personal concerns in order to keep the act going. Nicky himself faced his fair share of problems including a chronic anxiety issue that almost ended his career back in the early days.
He has since managed to get his anxiety under control, but highlights the importance of taking regular breaks from his hectic schedule to unwind and relax.
“I still play drums, and really enjoy it!”
Also an avid fan of legendary Dutch soccer team Ajax Amsterdam, he had a few words regarding the Europa League final between Ajax and European giants Manchester United, with the match holding special importance for the English club in light of the recent terror attack in the city.
“I’m kind of tense about it all to be honest, especially after the awful Ariana Grande attack in Manchester. A good match is what I hope for, and of course I hope Ajax wins, but one of my good friends plays at Manchester United, Daley Blind, and I support him also! I think it’s gonna be a very exciting match.”
While Nicky could easily have taken time out of his busy schedule to watch his favorite team in action, he remains laser focused on his duties and obligations towards the entire community, drawing inspiration from Martin Garrix’s tireless endeavors.
“I think there is still a lot to achieve. I’m motivated by what Martijn does right now. He is, at his age, an inspiration to the whole DJ scene. I love to see that he’s opened so many doors for everyone, it’s inspiring!”
His parting statement captures what the person behind Nicky Romero truly stands for – a determined and humble operator, whose undying work ethic and desire to keep improving has helped him climb to the very heights of musical stardom. Adored by fans and respected by peers, Nicky Romero is a fitting role model for any aspiring producer.
Swedish dance music icon Alesso is kicking off February in style. The producer has made a world-renowned career in harnessing the premier aspects of his signature style and other tropes from chart-dominating singles, and his newest release is no exception.
Alesso’s “Falling” is a showcase of his versatility and proficiency. The song blends some of the best components of commercially appealing dance music, typified by lush chord progressions, sultry vocals and grooving bass lines. All of these elements combine to give listeners an ultimately danceable track. Expect “Falling” to blow up in the coming months.