Miami’s III Points Festival pulled out all the stops for its seventh run, taking place May 1 – 2 at Mana Wynwood. Rescheduling to make room for Super Bowl LIV, the festival’s 2020 lineup proves well worth the wait with The Strokes, Wu Tang Clan, Robyn, and Disclosure all commanding headlining slots, along with a thick supporting bill of electronic haymakers.
The lineup pulls from various ends of the electronic spectrum, with Chris Lake, Green Velvet, and Caribou rubbing shoulders with the likes of Kaytranada, Tycho, and Jimmy Edgar. III Points promises Amon Tobin’s Two Fingers showcase, and performances from Erol Alkan, 100 Gecs, Bedouin, Moses Sumney, and more. III Points ticket sales begin January 26, at 10:00 a.m. EST. See the full lineup below.
Dancing Astronaut is hiring — interested in joining a team of dedicated writers with an unwavering addiction to everything electronic? We are looking to bring on a well-rounded, experienced staff writer to assist in advancing our editorial team forward in covering daily news, music, and recurring weekly/monthly features. We’re considering news writers from all over the world, with a wide range of tastemaking and mainstream interests. Journalism or public relations background is strongly preferred, and the ability to work against tight timelines is a must. If you’re a skilled writer with a fresh, informed voice and a love of electronic dance music, hip-hop and pop culture, we’d love to see what you’ve got.
Qualified applicants looking to join the team, please email your resume and a short note briefly detailing your experience to email@example.com.
Electronic music consumers over the last two decades would be hard-pressed to pinpoint an individual who’s impacted the dance music event space harder than Gary Richards. Since the 1990s, Richards (also known musically as Destructo) has taken his talents miles above their subterranean roots, largely helping shape the Southern Californian rave scene, relentlessly seeking new ways to secure dance music a more tangible, industry-wide foothold. From championing a quaint little get together, now known as Electric Daisy Carnival (incepted under the ‘Magical Mickey’ masthead, from when the event series bore Richards’ earmark in the ’90s), to hatching the now-legendary HARD Events, which bred the still fervently attended Holy Ship! and HARD Summer, he’s exuded a visionary’s proclivity for predicting (and propelling) the next electronic it thing oozing the je ne sais quoi that really makes an event stand above the rest.
Richards not only has a promoter’s penchant for garnering the excitement needed to get ideas off the ground, but a masterful musician’s tact to make them stick. A desire to liven up a scene subject to cyclical staleness served as the impetus for Richards’ most recent brainchild, branded AMFAMFAMF (All My Friends).
“The landscape is very competitive,” Richards said of picking up shop in 2017 after a decade at HARD to breathe life into yet another new endeavor. “There’s a lot at stake now and business people don’t want to see new things pop up. But dance music’s all about new and fresh and that really can’t be stopped.”
Though, despite the daunting nature of starting over in one of the most volatile industries in existence, the All My Friends event train gained almost instantaneous headwind, perhaps due to Richards’ own reputation preceding him. The first edition of the company’s cornerstone party, FriendShip Cruise, amassed thousands for its four-night maiden voyage aboard the Celebrity Equinox to the Caribbean. With it, came a colorful stream of genre-traversing acts, from Boys Noize to Busy P, RÜFÜS DU SOL to Rico Nasty. Richards’ seemingly curious curation must have struck a resounding chord, as the 2020 cruise is already 70 percent sold out.
In addition to a stint captaining Def American’s A&R sector under the emphatically accomplished eye of pioneer producer, Rick Rubin, driving innovation in the music industry is in Richards’ DNA. His father, Barry Richards, a concert promoter and prominent radio personality of the late ’60s and early ’70s, made sure his son’s sonic sonar was firing on all cylinders before he hit puberty, ensuring his kids got to catch everyone from Rick James to Black Sabbath. Barry himself is known for helping to introduce progressive rock to East Coast radio stations in his time. Quite ironically and somewhat timelessly, Barry certainly imparted his intuition and curative periphery to his son, as they stood on the precipice of a consequential musical uprising Barry never saw coming. Barry, it seems, believed Eminem when he quite comically announced “Nobody listens to techno,” on 2002’s unforgettable “Without Me.” Little could Barry have known at the time that Gary would famously sample the line years later for for his 2015 club sensation, “Techno.”
“My dad was always like ‘Don’t mess with that [electronic] music cause no one likes it,’” Richards said. “20 years later, he called me up and was like ‘Hey, what’s a Major Lazer?’”
With this perpetual irreverence for convention as a promoter/organizer, so comes Richards’ success as DJ-producer, Destructo; a success which can be characterized as a career-long dedication to discovering strange new ways to merge the house and hip-hop domains, which historically has been tough to do properly, even despite the two genres’ inextricably shared origins. Richards maintains his success as a musician is innately linked to his success on the business side of the coin.
“I think when you’re just a concert promoter you’ve never really been in the artists’ shoes, so you don’t really understand the nuances—especially DJing electronic music,” Richards said of his entrepreneurial edge amidst a capitalism-catalyzed sea of eager competitors.
Securing collaborations with rap icons like Ty Dolla $ign, YG, Yo Gotti, and Busta Rhymes, Destructo’s music soon became something of a G-house archetype: flippantly feel-good tracks for a night out up to no good. However, his latest record, a Dancing Astronaut exclusive, strides outside the hip-hop-predicated mold of his most notable works, for what Destructo himself dubs his “hardest-hitting track yet.”
“No Surrender” is a bass-driven battle cry primed for the perennially raucous festival frontlines. Bolstered by Parisian bass house duo, Loge21, the track employs Richards’ own thunderous, Sparta-inspired vocal cut. Destructo isn’t asking this time; he’s just cutting to the chase and coaxing listeners directly to dance floors.
AMFAMFAMF recently announced dates for both its Seattle and LA dates— Seattle will see a July 4 affair with Chris Lake and Justin Martin in tow, while LA’s October 19 – 20 event roster still remains a mystery. Though, as Richards’ newest festival property continues to build brand equity within a heavily diluted electronic events circuit, Richards’ is already sure of All My Friends’ longevity, noting it is one of his most important entrepreneurial accomplishments so far. “With that it’s the same Gary, just a different name,” says Richards. And if the last 20 years of dance music events are any indication—if it bears Gary Richards’ name, it’s going to be a hit.
Recently Flume stopped by Reddit for an AMA (ask me anything) with fans. The Q&A couldn’t have come at a more opportune time, taking place shortly after the release of Hi, This is Flume—a surprise visual mixtape that essentially halted electronic music in its tracks on March 20. The AMA also came after the Grammy Award-winning beatsmith, born Harley Streten, was announced as a headliner at this year’s iteration of Lollpalooza. After abruptly ending his production hiatus with a momentous new mixtape that seemingly came out of nowhere, fans’ questions were understandably stacking up, and luckily Flume was there to answer a handful of questions—hyping what should be a banner year for the Aussie experimentalist.
The AMA was even the release platform for an additional new surprise track, “Friends” featuring Reo Cragum. Though, with the loads of exciting information alluded to in the online Q&A, it’s nail down the best part. Here are Dancing Astronaut’s top seven highlights from Flume’s Reddit AMA:
A Travis Scott collaboration could materialize.
One of the most common questions in the AMA thread was about collaborators. Flume has always been a highly collaborative artist—hearing him wrap his effortlessly fluid production style round different artists is a major element of his appeal. But one fan specifically asked Streten about his thoughts on Travis Scott and if he thought a collaboration was viable. Flume’s answer reflected interest in collaborating with the “Sicko Mode” rapper, who also has a penchant for innovative sounds. Since the two are already connected on social media, Flume suggested a link could actually materialize.
More mixtapes like Hi, This is Flume are on the way
The day Hi, This is Flume landed, the overwhelming nature of music’s collective reaction made it hard to tell—was this actually another showstopper from a once-in-a-generation talent or were people just really starved for new Flume? As it turns out…both. But something about the mixtape’s surprise roll out suggested more was underway from the Skin producer, and during the AMA he confirmed he plans of delivering additional mixtapes and this spring’s project wasn’t just a one-off home run.
Expect Flume to strike a different balance going forward
Occasionally artists need to create for themselves, not their audiences. It seems counter-intuitive in some ways, but after two full length records and the never-ending press junkets and tours that ensue, Flume needed to take a break, then ultimately come back and make one for himself. When asked if he’ll continue to lean in this heavily experimental artistic direction, Streten suggested he’s going to cover, “Both ends of the spectrum baby.” Expect chart-toppers like “Never Be Like You” to rub shoulders with more unconventional cuts like “Daze 22.00” more often going forward.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery
Back to the notion of one for the fans, one for the artist. Flume’s self-titled debut LP, and his sophomore follow up, Skin are rife with fearless experimentation and avant-gardism, but his recent mixtape delivery was a decided departure in style from his first two long plays. When asked about the stylistic switch-up, Flume gave a succinct, yet telling answer. “I get bored, I can’t do the same thing over and over so [I’m] forced to change. Also people copy me,” replies the “Helix” producer. Flume is often credited by fans as the father of the future bass genre, essentially creating it and then allowing it to permeate into something relatively different from his own sound over time. Flume himself however doesn’t take much credit for pioneeringanything on his own, though here he gives a rare acknowledgement to the copy cats in his answer, suggesting he’s aware of the competition and he’s clearly still two steps ahead of them.
Flume and Arca would be a match made in heaven
The obligatory AMA question about dream collaborations inevitably had to come up, but in classic Flume fashion, the answer wasn’t some legendary songwriter or heavyweight vocalist. Flume reveals his dream collaborator to be Arca, which, when said out loud makes total sense. The pair would be two peas in the same experimental pod. Arca, known for credits on Kanye West‘s Yeezus and Björk‘s Utopia would be an obvious complement to Flume’s production style—hoping this one actually manifests in the future.
Ideas flowed easily on mixtape, but attention to detail made production more complicated
The caliber of detail packed into Hi, This Is Flume is staggering. From the mixtape’s teeming tracklist to the visualizer’s vibrant optical complements, the project was an exercise in free expression. While Streten admits the ideas flowed more easily on the recent mixtape, operating completely under one’s own creative direction means the attention to detail is magnified on a molecular level. Despite Hi, This is Flume being a liberating project to create, having the label at his back on his first two LP’s to provide creative direction and feedback, actually made the construction of Flume’s first two albums easier than making a mixtape solo.
Obligatory advice from one of electronic music’s current greats
Throughout the entire AMA, Flume maintains that his sound, his aesthetic, and ultimately his success has all been the product of relentless tinkering. Just boundless trail and error sessions that have, over time, molded one of electronic music’s brightest torch carriers. When asked to offer advice to an online forum full of fans and aspiring producers, Flume kept it simple and sweet. “Find your own production tricks/techniques. Download the most random plugins.” One size doesn’t fit all, according to Streten. The next Flume won’t come from someone trying to make the next “Holdin’ On”—rather, the next Flume should be the first of an entirely different species of producer.
Despite this being their second gramophone, something about Justice‘s victory at the 61st Grammy Awards feels a little more special.
The duo were nominated for their debut album in 2008, the seminal †, and eventually would go on to take home the hardware the following year for their inescapable remix of MGMT‘s “Electric Feel” in 2009. But at the time, electronic dance music wasn’t the global phenomenon it is today, and despite having one groundbreaking studio record already under their belts, Justice certainly hadn’t attained the iconic status they now humbly entertain. In 2019 however, things are much different.
Justice took home a well-deserved Grammy Award for their most recent LP, Woman Worldwide, a live homage to not only their third studio album, Woman, but to their entire catalog. The record was a studio emulation of their live performances in support of Woman, though it covers recreations of their biggest hits, spanning over a decade. Now, Woman Worldwide has even inspired a film project, IRIS debuting this spring at SXSW. On February 10, Justice took home the Recording Academy’s Best Dance/Electronic album designation, during “music’s biggest night,” cementing the Ed Banger duo’s legacy as one of the greatest dance acts of all time. And while many of the trailblazing pair’s electronic contemporaries have brought home Grammy Awards in the years since † first landed Gaspard Auge and Xavier De Rosnay in the mainstream line of sight, few have done so with the degree of timelessness Woman Worldwide surely commands.
Four Tet will bring his immersive show of electronic music and mesmerizing lighting effects to London’s iconic Alexandra Palace on Thursday, May 9, 2019. Debuting the show on tour in support of his 2017 album, New Energy, the UK artist created a live show with an all-encompassing experience to match his engrossing music. With help on the lighting by UK company Squidsoup, Four Tet’s tour quickly became notorious for its setup that included floor-to-ceiling pulsating lights and a DJ set up in the center of each venue. After being such a hit in 2018, Four Tet will look to fill the historic London venue with enough lights for its 10,000-person capacity.
Ticket information for the upcoming show can be found here.
Electronic music’s technical stalwart Maceo Plex has stepped up to the plate to remix the latest single from Maribou State, “Nervous Tics.” The release marked the third single from the English electronic duo ahead of their forthcoming album release, Kingdoms in Colour, due out on September 7.
This new transformation sees the initially laid back track to an edgy, industrial piece that straddles the line between rock and electronica. With ominous synths hissing throughout, Maceo Plex’s re-up on “Nervous Tics” sees the track live up to its name with an uneasy power in its new form. Strong percussion layers across the remixed production recall reminders of electronic music’s early live days when groups like The Chemical Brothers and The Crystal Method were king. This remix of “Nervous Tics” is the first of many, with more coming from DJ Tennis and others.
DJ and producer Fluencee has broken through at a rate most artists would envy — and for good reason. The Los Angeles-based artist has caught the electronic crossover world’s attention with his music and its inspiration, largely derived from overcoming childhood bullying due to a lifelong stutter. After landing remixes with artists like The Chainsmokers and Paul Oakenfold early on in his budding career, Fluencee has been focusing on building out a catalog of originals and his fine tuning his live performances for the world to hear.
Now Fluencee has released his latest original, entitled “Foxgloves.” Following the success of his debut track “Better,” he’s brought the tempo down for his smoothest musical venture yet. Still true to his crossover style, summery synths and piano pair easily with its vocals and their relatable melancholy.