Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the year

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Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the yearMiami Music Week

Every year without fail, Miami Music Week draws some of the dance music’s strongest talent and most raucous crowds for its seven-day frenzy, this year notwithstanding. From Virtual Self‘s acclaimed Clubsystem set with support from Boys Noize to over 30 Diskolab hosted parties, including Green Velvet‘s curated La La Land series, showcases and special sets will run rampant from March 25-31. In addition to the omnipresent and immaculately curated live parties, the week also features the Winter Music Conference (WMC), which hosts industry-revered speakers and hot-button programming galore.

With a global array of DJ talent, producers, and multifarious talent from the music industry at large flocking to the city every year, the cultural significance of Miami Music Week simply can not be overstated. By reaching out to a spoonful of the week’s top performers, Dancing Astronaut was able to discover, from the artists themselves, why the event series is such an impactful celebration for electronic music patrons worldwide.

Tony of Above & Beyond:

Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the year9769 F2 Bw“Miami hosts the most concentrated, crazy, event-filled week in the year. What with Ultra, the conference, spring break, and all the shows around town it’s a unique chance to see anyone and everyone in the world of electronic dance music. It’s like the whole Ibiza season in a few days, a chance to escape the winter weather and dance in the sunshine, by the pool, on a boat or in a club. We’ve been doing our own shows in Miami for more than a decade now and they are always up there with the best of the year.”

Above & Beyond play Diskolab x Above & Beyond Miami 2019 on Thursday March 28th

Gorgon City:

Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the yearOGR2026
“We’ve been going to Miami music week for years. I actually first went when I was 19! It’s a crazy place with countless parties. There’s people from all over the world in one place and that’s what makes it so special and important. We can’t wait for this year as we’re playing some amazing events.”

Gorgon City play Diskolab x La La Land on Saturday March 30th

Riva Starr:

Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the yearNEIL FAVILA EN8A7543 Paint
“WMC time is when I get to meet all my DJ and industry friends in one place. No names attached to an email but real faces, being able to chat face to face about our world is priceless. It’s still one of the best windows to showcase your sound.”

Riva Starr plays Diskolab x SOLA vs BLOW! on Thursday March 28th

Green Velvet:

Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the yearDSC 1932
“I have been going to the MMW since the ’90s. It is a longstanding tradition that marks the beginning of the festival season.”

Green Velvet Plays Diskolab x La La Land on Sat March 30th

La Fleur:

Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the yearPatricebrylla Lafleur 2978 Lowres
“WMC, a week when everyone from all over the world comes together in sunny Miami for some of the best parties of the year. You never know where you’re going to end up, clubs, rooftops, pool parties, boat parties, the list goes on. Aside from the party atmosphere, it’s a valuable opportunity to discuss some of the hot topics and issues in the industry. There are few events throughout the year where the music world gets together, so we should make the most of them. For us Europeans, it’s also a valuable time of year for us to connect with fans, promoters, other artists, labels and industry professionals who are based over the pond that we might not necessarily get to see as often.”

La Fleur plays Pete Tong Pool Party on Thursday 28th at Surfcomber and Ultra Resistance on Saturday 30th.

Doorly:

Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the yearEp Fabric 2

“MMW is an institution for me. I have rarely missed it since first coming around 15 years ago. Literally everybody in house music is there somewhere or another and for a week Miami turns into this magical playground where the whole city becomes one big festival in what’s already one of the coolest cities on the planet.”

Doorly plays Diskolab x La La Land on Sat March 30th

James Zabiela:

Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the yearJames Zabiela 2019 Photo Credit Dan Medhurst 6309

“Although there are many electronic music conferences now, Miami is the original one for me and still relevant in that you will always discover a few electronic gems or maybe find some inspiration from a random set somewhere on South Beach. Ultra, of course, remains a great gateway for young new recruits to the electronic music scene especially with them investing so much into their Resistance brand of which I’m very fortunate to be a part of this year.”

James Zabiela plays Ultra Resistance on Sunday 31st

Hector Couto:

Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the yearIMG 0755

“MMW is a hub for labels and all different types of artists and genres to congregate together. It’s definitely the place to be.”

Hector Couto plays Diskolab x SOLA vs BLOW! on Thursday March 28th

Danny Howard:

Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the yearMIK0628

“I think any event that brings together the world’s best DJs in one place at the same time, to connect with people on the dance-floor is a special moment, and Miami is one of those moments. However, Miami is the original showcase of our beloved dance music that’s rich in its heritage and legendary in its purpose. Miami Music Week is the time when we hear the music we’ll be dancing to all summer long.”

Danny Howard plays Diskolab x SOLA vs BLOW! On Thursday March 28th

Nathan Barato:

Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the yearNATHAN BARATO 18

“MMW still matters because it’s one of the best stretches of a week when you can hear hundreds of the world’s best DJs in a short amount of days. And, for the DJ community it’s a great time to meet, hang, inspire and even break new music.”

Nathan Barato plays Diskolab x elrow Miami on Saturday March 30th

Matthias Meyer:

Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the yearMatthias Meyer By Marie Staggat 1

“MMW is one of the few times of the year that the music community comes together for a week of some of the best parties, networking, and just general good times. For me, as an artist it’s a chance to play at some super cool parties. This year I play Do Not Sit – always a good time. It’s also a chance to meet up with my friends from the industry who come to Miami from all around the world – there’s a good vibe in Miami that makes everyone a little wild.”

Matthias Meyer plays Diskolab x Do Not Sit By The Pool on Tue March 26th

Cassy:

Exclusive: Why Gorgon City, Green Velvet, and more believe Miami Music Week is one of the most important dance events of the yearCassy KR 3505

“Miami is still important because it’s not so important, so whoever is a hardcore fan or a lover of it will go. I meet so many people from around the world, and there is a combination of parties and acts you cannot see anywhere else. Miami is a party place, home to house music and house music artists, and so many parties and trends started there. I have been playing since around 2005, so it’s now a ritual for me, and very important to me personally. I’ve met and formed close friendships and partnerships over the years. I love it and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Haywyre unleashes his creativity in six-part ‘Panorama’ series [Interview + Photos]

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Haywyre unleashes his creativity in six-part ‘Panorama’ series [Interview + Photos]Haywyre2

For two decades, the piano has been Martin Vogt’s forte. He’s been tickling the ivories for the majority of his 26 years and has been releasing under the name Haywyre for a decade this year, incorporating elements of jazz, funk, electronica, dubstep, and more across a wide catalog of music.

In recent years, the classically trained pianist has been particularly fond of creating concept series, first exploring comprehensive themes over the course of a body of work through his Twofold LP series on Monstercat in 2014 and 2016. With a slew of releases on the Canadian label spanning four years under his belt, Vogt has now opted to strike out on his own for the time being.

Haywyre unleashes his creativity in six-part ‘Panorama’ series [Interview + Photos]Haywyre10

Photo by Zachary White/Dancing Astronaut

“[Monstercat] helped me in my career big time, but I wanted to put myself in a position where I’m thinking more independently, and that meant working more independently,” Vogt said.

He began working on a new set of music: a concept series called Panorama that he planned to self-release, but it was “tough to get the ball rolling” at first.

“Seeing the difference between, for example, Panorama: Discover and Panorama: Form has been substantial in terms of reception,” he said, speaking to the first and second parts of the ongoing concept series. “People are more organically engaging with the content. I feel like I’m getting a better understanding of who listens to my music, and that really appeals to me.”

Vogt revealed near the end of last year that the initial Panorama release, Panorama: Discover, was only the first in a set of six EPs that would comprehensively make up the Panorama series.

“I’d been writing a bunch of different music for about two years, so between my album Twofold Pt. 2 and the first chapter of Panorama, I’d been coming up with all sorts of different ideas… everything from six-second loops to full-fledged pieces,” Vogt said. “They were just so different and so all over the place, and I started wondering how to piece it together. After putting some thought into it, I came up with this six-EP series.”

Vogt started sorting the songs into different categories based on how they complement each other, noting the importance of their order and how they guide the listener through the Panorama experience.

“There’s a definite ebb and flow that’s intentional,” he said. “[Panorama] is supposed to be listened to from beginning to end, more or less.”

Vogt kicked off the Panorama series with the release of Discover’s “Tell Me” in mid-November and was met with wild enthusiasm from fans who’d been waiting two years for new material.

The remainder of Discover followed a few days later, spanning from the effortlessly groovy “Stepping Stones” introduction all the way through to a full-fledged jazz number, “Blind Faith.”

Giving fans a few months to digest the new material, Vogt returned in early February to reveal the funk-laden “Let Me Hear That,” which he released with an accompanying one-take music video.

The four-track Form EP saw its official release a few weeks later, at which time he struck out on the Discover/Form Tour. In the weeks since, the tour has taken him across the United States, joined by friends like StayLoose, Balkan Bump, JNTHN STEIN, Jenaux, and K+Lab for select dates.

“Tour’s been very cool,” Vogt said. “It’s been surprising because I haven’t done a headlining tour in a long time. I hadn’t really had a chance to engage with Haywyre fans in this way for at least two years, and it’s been a really refreshing reminder that there are these real-life people that enjoy watching me perform my music.”

Unlike most of today’s electronic and dance music artists, Vogt doesn’t DJ—and doesn’t know how. His performances are purely live and dynamic, giving fans the chance to see how quick he is on the keys up close. On his Discover/Form Tour, Vogt delivers his performance on the keyboard (tilted toward the audience so they can watch him play), keytar, and vocoder-filtered vocals, making for a captivating set from start to finish. His passion for his music and for performing is unmistakable during his live performances as he switches seemingly effortlessly between instruments, showing just how far he’s come over the past decade.

“I’m more in touch with priorities creatively and what it means to me to be a musician… what it is beyond a potential lifelong career, but also what impact I want to have and how I want to be engaging with the people that are listening to my music,” Vogt said.

When he finishes his current tour, Vogt will be getting back into the studio to work the next two parts of Panorama, which he says we can expect later this year. Before that, though, he’s going to focus on some remixes and collaborations that’ve been on the back burner.

“I’ve been working on so much original content that I think it’d be cool to just switch things up for a little bit and work with [artists] I’ve talked with for years,” Vogt said. “It’s going to be exciting to see some of those come to life.”

All of that comes to fruition via the piano for Vogt, which has been the tool he’s been channeling his creativity into long before “Haywyre” was born.

“The piano is the closest thing I have to translating ideas in my head directly into something concrete,” he said. “I don’t have that kind of relationship with anything else.”


Catch Haywyre his remaining Discover/Form tour dates:

Haywyre unleashes his creativity in six-part ‘Panorama’ series [Interview + Photos]Haywyre3

Photo by Zachary White/Dancing Astronaut

Haywyre unleashes his creativity in six-part ‘Panorama’ series [Interview + Photos]Haywyre5

Photo by Zachary White/Dancing Astronaut

Haywyre unleashes his creativity in six-part ‘Panorama’ series [Interview + Photos]Haywyre8

Photo by Zachary White/Dancing Astronaut

Haywyre unleashes his creativity in six-part ‘Panorama’ series [Interview + Photos]Haywyre7

Photo by Zachary White/Dancing Astronaut

Haywyre unleashes his creativity in six-part ‘Panorama’ series [Interview + Photos]Haywyre1

Photo by Zachary White/Dancing Astronaut

Haywyre unleashes his creativity in six-part ‘Panorama’ series [Interview + Photos]Haywyre6

Photo by Zachary White/Dancing Astronaut

Dillon Francis and Allison Wonderland Lose Their Mind at the Anthem in Washington DC, Photos by Chris Stack

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Saturday Night Session 015: Armin van Buuren discusses how his heart will always be with trance music and teases a return of his ‘classical’ Armin sound later this year

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Saturday Night Session 015: Armin van Buuren discusses how his heart will always be with trance music and teases a return of his ‘classical’ Armin sound later this yearULTRA MIAMI BY BART HEEMSKERK

Few moments are more sacred than the reprieve Saturday night provides from the daily grind of school and work. Its importance is meant to be emphasized, and thus, a feature dedicated to “doing the night right” was born. Saturday Night Sessions are set around energizing mixes meant to get the party started. New or old, each episode has one cornerstone thing in similarity: they serve as the perfect backdrop for the weekend pregame.

Dutch DJ and producer Armin van Buuren has been called many things. ‘Trance legend,’ a ‘godfather’ of modern day electronic music, and ‘musical icon’ are a few of the many descriptors that he has amassed throughout his 20 year career. The artists who do end up becoming global headliners typically ride the five-year wave of being at the top before they either burn out or the next new act comes and takes their place. Van Buuren has found a way to maintain his stature in the industry over the long term while also balancing teaching a masterclass, touring, releasing copious amounts of new music, and most importantly, having a family at home.

Those who have been fans of the producer for the longer term know he has continued to innovate sonically and push the boundaries of what is considered ‘his style.’ While Trance is the genre van Buuren is most closely associated with historically, his releases over the past few years have become increasingly diverse. In 2019 alone, the producer has released hardstyle, DnB, Trance, and Big Room singles.

While it may seem that van Buuren’s increasing sonic diversity and musical experimentation have been a purposeful and strategic decision, the artist clarifies otherwise. Van Buuren states, “As an artist, I’m always looking to reinvent myself, to try new things and get creative. I don’t want to be a prisoner of my own style. Sometimes, that means I create music that some people may not expect or even encourage.” He continues, “But it’s not even about wanting to change it up. It’s not as if I decide to create a certain style of music even before I set foot in the studio. Instead, I just let inspiration take me into the direction it wants to. My heart will always be with Trance, but I need it to explore my boundaries to innovate.”

Van Buuren recently released a new single, “Turn It Up,” and he explains that the track was created for the sole purpose of inciting energy in a crowd during a live performance. When asked if fans could expect to hear new music coming out that is a closer listen to the ‘old school’ Armin style versus the ‘new school’ releases such as “Turn It Up,” he explains that the answer to that question would entirely depend on one’s definition of his ‘old school’ style.

He notes, “Music is always evolving, so to reach back for that classic sound of, say, the early ‘90s or early 2000s might not even work in today’s scene. That being said though, I still love Trance music as much as I did back when I first started out, and I still love creating it. So I’m definitely up for it. That’s why later this year you will hear more “classic” Armin sounds coming out of my studio. Let’s just see what happens!”

While the prospect of the ‘classic’ Armin sound returning makes it nearly impossible to be patient for his new music coming later this year, van Buuren’s Saturday Night Session throws the listener straight into A State of Trance set, showcasing his finest and most energetic Trance work.

When asked what kind of a night his Saturday Night Session is getting listener’s ready for, he notes, “A Saturday night you won’t forget for the rest of your lives! All funny business aside though, it’s a very energetic mix perfect for the bigger stages. Could even be a mainstage set for an A State Of Trance event! Hope you guys like it!”

Photo Credit: Bart Heemskerk

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The music you’ve been putting out is becoming increasingly diverse in genre. What made you want to start changing it up?


As an artist, I’m always looking to reinvent myself, to try new things and get creative. I don’t want to be a prisoner of my own style. Sometimes, that means I create music that some people may not expect or even encourage. But it’s not even about wanting to change it up. It’s not as if I decide to create a certain style of music even before I set foot in the studio. Instead, I just let inspiration take me into the direction it wants to. My heart will always be with trance, but I need it to explore my boundaries to innovate.

Can you tell us more about your new song?

“Turn It Up” is a real club/festival track made for the sole purpose of making a crowd go crazy. And, judging by the response of the ASOT Utrecht 900 audience when I played it, it does it’s job quite well. You could say it’s a follow-up to “Blah Blah Blah,” but I also feel it’s a solid mainstage banger in its own right.

Can we expect to hear any more ‘Old School’ Armin Trance releases in the near future?


That would mostly depend on your definition of ‘Old School’. Music is always evolving, so to reach back for that classic sound of, say, the early ‘90s or early 2000s might not even work in today’s scene. That being said though, I still love Trance music as much as I did back when I first started out, and I still love creating it. So I’m definitely up for it. That’s why later this year you will hear more “classic” Armin sounds coming out of my studio. Let’s just see what happens!

Are there any up and coming artists who you feel are rising superstars?


I really like what Fatum are doing, but also Avao and Maarten de Jong.

The amount of music you have been releasing is impressive, especially when considering you were teaching a masterclass, touring, and you have a family at home among the many other things you do. How do you manage to do it all?

It’s quite a tough act to balance, that’s for sure. Luckily, I’m surrounded by wonderful people and an amazing team, all of whom look out for me. I also have a wonderful wife who helps me keep both feet on the ground. It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be able to do all of this without them.

What are you listening to right now? Outside of your own music, of course.


It largely depends on the mood I’m in. I tend to enjoy many different kinds of music and always try to keep an open mind. For instance, some of my favorite all-time dance tracks range from Jules Verne’s mix of L.S.G.’s “Netherworld” to The Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up” – I still can’t believe we lost Keith Flint so suddenly – to the Ben Liebrand remix of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” So there’s not a specific artist or genre I’m listening to at the moment, but rather a lot of different tracks and styles that I just find very enjoyable right now. If a record strikes a chord in me, I like it, no matter which genre or style is. Currently I’m listening to Derelicts by Carbon Based Lifeforms.

Did you grow up listening to electronic music? What spurred your love for it and made you want to make this a career?

I actually grew up listening to lots of different kinds of music. My mom and my dad both enjoyed various styles of music, from Jazz to Classical music to The Beatles. Electronic music was barely a thing back when I grew up. The first time I heard dance music was when a friend of mine gave me a cassette tape with a mini mix from Ben Liebrand on it. I was sold ever since. I spent all of the money I earned with my paper route on buying new records and experimented a lot with mixing and sequencing on a computer my mom had won when I was ten years old. That was the start of it all for me.

Do you have a favorite year or era of electronic music?

Not really. One of the things I truly love about electronic music is that it changes so frequently. There are genres that merge, styles that evolve, and even new musical waves that just seem to come out of nowhere every few months or so. I love it. It’s what make this whole scene so unique. And that’s also why I don’t have a favorite. Each “era” has its own small wonders.

Are any of your children interested in being a music producer like you? Would you encourage them to do so if this is what they wanted?

I don’t think they’re interested in being a music producer as of yet, but they’re also still quite young. And, as any dad, I just want them to be as happy as they can possible be throughout their lives. If that means they want to pursue a career in music, I’m okay with that and can probably teach them a lot about the lifestyle and all. If they’d rather pick something else, I’m perfectly fine with that as well. I’ll support them no matter what.

What kind of a Saturday Night is your mix getting us ready for?


A Saturday night you won’t forget for the rest of your lives! All funny business aside though, it’s a very energetic mix perfect for the bigger stages. Could even be a mainstage set for an A State Of Trance event! Hope you guys like it!

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 82

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Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 82Deters Beat Lab@0.

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.

Listen in playlist format here.


Nora En Pure kicked off her year with the release of a beautiful new Spinnin’ single with Ashibah, “We Found Love.” A few months later, she’s released a small set of remixes for the track, including one she put together with Passenger 10. The pair have opted for a more understated take on the song, ditching the original’s bright melodies and piano for a more subtle atmosphere—one that would seem more appropriate pulsing through a hazy club than its radio-friendly predecessor. This version creates a dreamier environment and paints Ashibah’s vocals in a whole new light.

It’s been many months coming, but the wait for new Goldroom music has finally ended with the release of “Cocaine Girl.” Fans may recognize the intro to the track from his June “Saguaro” mix, which kicked off with what would later become his first release of 2019. “Cocaine Girl” features the blissful, sunshine-soaked melodies and beats we’ve come to know and love from Goldroom. It seems like this track might be the first release of many this year, as the artist wrote on his social media accounts: “Thank you for being so patient with me while I found myself. Shall we go on a journey together this year? There’s a lot of new music to share…”

2019 sees the return of Habstrakt in his finest house music form. He first burst into the new year with the moody “Darkness” on Spinnin’ in January and now returns with a mighty new house heater, “All Night.” Out via Musical Freedom Records, the track is Habstrakt in his classic form: cranking out a bassline that’s irresistible matched with catchy vocals. Prior to these two tracks, the last offering listeners received from Uncle Habby was the trap-centered “All Night” in October, so fans of his infectious house stylings likely rejoiced with his return to the moody pulsing beats.

CRi debuted on Anjunadeep last year with “Remember You” and makes a splendid return with his new EP, Initial. I gravitated toward the EP’s last track, “Hidden Places,” right off the bat because it’s different from the first two tracks. Instead of a house beat as a backbone, “Hidden Places” features an alluring and gradual build that seems to take place over the entire length of the song, giving the entire piece an introspective feel. The song seems to leave space in between the breakbeats and the contemplative melodies for the listener to truly dig deep into their emotions.

Bakermat follows February’s pop-oriented “Trouble” with a spirited rework of Beatchild and Justin Nozuka’s “The Only Difference.” The Amsterdam-based artist backs the soulful R&B track with a spirited dance floor-ready beat and plays up the lively piano melodies. The song works beautifully in both formats, never losing its passionate core. Bakermat continues to bring the party to whatever he’s producing, putting his unique stamp on songs of all shapes and genres.

DA Exclusive: ANDHIM spin an hour of cinematic soundscapes before heading to Barbados for Vujaday

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DA Exclusive: ANDHIM spin an hour of cinematic soundscapes before heading to Barbados for VujadayAndhim Vujaday 2019 1

Germans are nothing if not ardent about their electronic music; and Cologne’s ANDHIM are no exception to the rule. Their vastly fluid emotional palette has led the duo to dub their ever-oscillating sound “super-house.” Just a few years ago, the two artists cemented their multi-national success by establishing their own record label, the aptly named Superfriends, through which they released their own, impeccably received Tosch EP as the imprint’s first offering.

Before taking their talents this spring to the lush island of Barbados for Vujaday Festival at the top of next month, ANDHIM have woven listeners a mix adorned with an hour of getaway-friendly selects; though they’re hardly your run-of-the-mill, tropical tracks. ANDHIM assume their rightful role as tour guide through playful techno terrain, brooding experimental brush, and even sinister sonic corridors for a rich, evocative hour of anticipatory Vujaday listening. There’s certainly nothing to dread about this pre-fest homework assignment.

Vujaday will land in Barbados for five days, April 3-7, of multi-site performances and island-immersive activities. Tickets and additional festival information can be found here.

DeWalta talks literature, fatherhood, ‘Lyra’, and tropical getaways [Q+A]

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DeWalta talks literature, fatherhood, ‘Lyra’, and tropical getaways [Q+A]DeWalta Press Shot

In a highly saturated music market, DeWalta manages to stand out. The saxophonist, french horn player, and producer has been deeply involved in music since the age of six, and was already performing in local jazz clubs by the age of 13. However, classical and jazz weren’t in this budding musicians cards; electronica was. By the time he graduated from Berlin’s prolific Musikhachschule Hanns Eisler conservatory, he’d already fallen in love with the art of music production and promptly began churning out house and techno records whose quality rivaled that of artists who’d been around far longer than he. It wouldn’t take long before he became a fixture in the Berlin, and eventually the global scene, hitting clubs like Watergate, Fabric London, and The Apartment in Barcelona, to name a few. His expertise stretches far beyond fine-tuned sound design, however; in 2007, he launched his reputable imprint Meander, where as an A&R and mentor he’s helped grow the careers of Amorf, Cristi Con, and more.

DeWalta’s creativity certainly isn’t a static force. He’s constantly evolving, with his newest album Lyra serving as a sonic marker of where he’s at musically. His most expansive project yet, Lyra arrived as a double LP. Its first part showcases his club sound across six sultry, mesmerically deep tracks that are highly expressive despite their stripped-down nature. Lyra π explores textured, ambient soundscapes for a truly immersive listen that pays homage to his musical roots. Both discs are celestial in tone, much like the constellation they’re named after.

The stalwart is also playing SXM festival, which is just kicking off its 2019 iteration. Based in the picturesque Saint Martin, the festival has become a top destination for global underground aficionados. We nabbed him right before he hopped on a flight westward to ask him more about Lyra, his favorite pieces of literature at the moment (he’s quite the reader), how he’s changed since becoming a father in January, and of course, playing the Caribbean.


You’ve mentioned that writing ‘Lyra’ signalled a new beginning for you. How have you evolved/improved musically in penning it?
I do have the feeling of currently going through a particularly transformative time, yes – maybe more so than during previous times I have released albums. I like to believe that anyone’s state in life heavily affects their output and art and therefore `Lyra` does play its role in the bigger picture of my current life. However, I am not sure if the album, the work itself has signalled a new beginning in my life or if the changes in my life have shaped the album – if that makes any sense.

Regardless which way around; The creative process is not a static and fixed thing. Creativity hopefully changes and constantly morphs and evolves over time. So, my approach to composing, writing and producing music has indeed changed quite a bit over the past 10 years (into ways of more playful, less DAW based, more hands on creative experimental, modular patching, outboard, jamming but multi-tracking). I feel like every release and especially every album along the way can be seen as a mark, snapshot and somewhat special moment in a career of an artist. `Lyra` came together quite differently than my previous albums partly because my approach in the studio, as well as how I write in general, has changed quite a bit. I have realized that environment and location have a huge impact on the created content in my case. Living in Berlin since my teenage high school years, I am now also seeking different places (like Portugal) to compose and find new sources of inspiration while of course maintaining my Berlin studio for most of the work as well as mixing, engineering and post production. Of course, also my private life, the act of taking more responsibility for people close to me; prticularly having a child has transformed how I look at the world and eventually also how I write music. Taking real care and responsibility for someone besides yourself can indeed be the most liberating thing.

It seems you’re an avid reader. What are some of books you’ve read over time that have shaped your outlook on life and music the most?
I would not consider myself a real avid reader, since I have some friends who are real bookworms, compared to me… I spend too much time in the studio (and reading manuals for synths) to be a proper worm, but I do like to go down the rabbit hole if something catches my attention.

I’m not gonna lie: in recent times my outlook on life has been shaped by:

1. either reading mostly upsetting news on various topics such as Climate change, over population, poverty, inequality, bigotry and idiocy, nationalism, trump-ism, brexit-ism etc – turning a blind eye or the refusal to learn from the past – respectively reading about the negative impact of humans on earth, or
2. on the contrary, reading educational content, books or papers on concepts and ideas how to work on humanity’s current challenges not leave a devastated world behind for our children. To learn how to make things better or to understand why things are the way they currently are.

One author in particular has impressed me: Yuval Noah Rarari and his trilogy of “Sapiens”, “Homo Deus” and “21 lessons for the 21st century” shines a light on what humans have done on earth over a very, very large time-span to survive and what the impact of homo sapiens has been on earth, other species and ourselves in the big, very big picture. It’s basically a modern, Anthropocene approach on how to look at issues caused by ourselves… and how to learn from the past.

I don’t think that music itself necessarily needs to be political or should always carry some kind of political message, however I do believe that artists can and maybe should use their output and art to work on current challenges, maybe raise awareness or simply create a space of dialogue or sensitivity for larger issues than just the next party.

What does your live setup currently look like while on tour? Have you encountered any challenges in road testing it?
Besides DJing with Vinyl and CDJs I am going to start playing LIVE solo again this year and I’m currently working on the setup for that. It´ll most likely be a few Elektron devices along with a eurorack modular system. I prefer to really work with machines LIVE on stage rather than playing prepared clips, so it’s quite a lot more work to get comfortable with synthesizers and machines on stage compared to a prepared Ableton-clip-set. I simply wouldn’t be comfortable playing clips in a slightly different order each show and calling it LIVE. The electronic music scene needs more bold moves, more risk and real creativity with electronic music instruments (including turntables or CDJ´s being used creatively) and less show-men (and women) throwing their hands in the air while some track or clip is playing… DJs are becoming superstars within a few months now with help of large social-media campaigns on Instagram, while the music itself, creativity and sound-quality take the back-seat. It’s not something I am interested in and I want to support. Nothing against the industry or social-media at large, but music is and always has been the focus for me – period.

You’ve just become a new father, in addition to launching your brand-new Horizon Pi label. Have you adopted a new routine or made any changed to your workflow to help you find balance?
I have always wanted to release electronic, synthesizer-music to be listened to and enjoyed at home while relaxing, in the car or in more calm and easy situations. Meander is the perfect platform to also release such music besides our DJ dance music. It was just a matter of time until we’d start the “ambient series” and ‘Lyra Pi’ seemed like a good moment for that.

I often start writing music with an idea or outline of a modular-synth-patch in mind. It’s an audible process searching and experimenting and sometimes these experiments turn into songs. I´m sure that the changes in my private life and becoming a father are directly affecting my creative output and the way I make music. My inspiration often comes from things outside of music
As a new father I am forced to find a new work-life balance as I want to take my responsibility as a father seriously while still doing what I love – making and playing music. These challenges however keep being a musician interesting and I won’t give up either of these two things!

It could be a coincidence that my first “listening only” or “non-dance music” record is coming out at the same time as becoming a father, but a holistic approach would probably think it’s all connected. I tend to think the latter 😉

You’re about to play your second SXM Festival. What excites you most about playing this festival, and the Caribbean in general?
Because last year’s SXM couldn’t happen due to the terrible destruction of hurricane Irma I am quite excited and thankful to be invited back this time again. The beautiful location and the easy, loose and relaxed atmosphere as a result plus the fact that so many friends and colleagues of the music scene are on this island makes this festival a really fun one!

Aside from yourself, who else from the line up would you recommend checking out?
I’d definitely recommend checking out Zip, Ricardo Villalobos, Fumiya Tanaka and our beach party right after their event. We’ll be playing together on the XLR8R stage with my friends John Wander and Luke Cheadle, Cristi Cons, Vlad Caia as SIT, Digby and myself. Maybe I’d check out the FUSE stage with the usual suspects as well as my friends Apollonia, who are always fun to hang out with.

What’s coming up next for DeWalta?
I Took a baby break for 2 months so I’m just going back on the road now and will be touring quite a bit this year playing lots of DJ- and some Live- shows. There are also going to be some remixes coming out as well as singles. An EP is in the works for later this year as well. Plenty of exciting work with new music.

 

Order a copy of ‘Lyra’ here

Saturday Night Session 014: Oyster Kids refresh listeners in ways they didn’t know they needed with exclusive mix

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Saturday Night Session 014: Oyster Kids refresh listeners in ways they didn’t know they needed with exclusive mixOysterKids DancingAstronaut Photo

Few moments are more sacred than the reprieve Saturday night provides from the daily grind of school and work. Its importance is meant to be emphasized, and thus, a feature dedicated to “doing the night right” was born. Saturday Night Sessions are set around energizing mixes meant to get the party started. New or old, each episode has one cornerstone thing in similarity: they serve as the perfect backdrop for the weekend pregame.

It’s seemingly summer all year round for Oyster Kids, whose moodiest tunes have a hint of refreshing optimism shine through the instrumentals and smooth vocals. The LA based music producers and instrumentalists may not be a household name in the electronic music community, but the founder Andrew Eapen’s musical accolades are lengthy, including the fact that he has helped score a Disney movie, and has been featured on shows like “Shameless” and “Jane the Virgin” among others.

Oyster Kids began as a home recording project for multi-instrumentalist Eapen, who writes, records, and produces the music. On tour and in the studio, Eapen (vocals, guitar) is joined by Jonathan Bradley (drums), Robbie Gullage (bass), and Roy Tanaka (keyboards).

When describing why the name Oyster Kids was chosen Eapen notes, “As kids, you have the whole world at your fingertips and nothing to lose. You can be anything, and nothing can hold you back. For me, the name Oyster Kids embodies this ideal. As we all grow older every day, I don’t want to ever forget that wide-eyed feeling that we can do anything we want to do.”

The group is set to release an EP this summer, but that isn’t stopping them from dropping new tracks along the way. “Losing My Mind” is the latest from Oyster Kids, and the new song is the sound one didn’t know they needed in the middle of a gray winter day. Echoing vocals are juxtaposed with strumming guitars, and its sonic warmth transports the listener to a day with friends driving down a country road with the windows open.

When speaking to Eapen about how the Oyster Kids sound is characterized, he answers, “people have described us as: infectious melodies, strong grooves, and a melancholic atmosphere. I can live with that.” The group put together an hour long mix for Saturday Night Sessions, and the vibe of the compilation can be described as just that.

As Eapen puts it, “my mix is all about dancing around the house in your socks, with close friends and some good wine. Centered around chill grooves with an Indie feel. Hope you like it as much as I do!”

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What inspired you to start making music?

Creating music has always been an outlet for me to express my emotions and create the moods that I want to feel. When I’m sad, I tend to write more uplifting music – and when I’m happy, I tend to write sadder songs. I started writing when I was 8, and I’ll continue doing it for the rest of my life. Writing music lets me feel a sense of relief from the every day.

Which artists are you drawn to/influenced by?

I like anything that has a strong pop sensibility and a good vibe. Whenever I hear a beautifully written vocal melody, I become an instant fan. The artist I’m obsessed with currently is Sigrid. I looove her vocal melodies!

How would you characterize your sound?

People have described us as: infectious melodies, strong grooves, and a melancholic atmosphere. I can live with that.

Least favorite and favorite electronic music song?

My friends that know me best would agree that my favorite mood is lounging in a pool on a hot summer day, listening to some deep house. For this, I’d recommend anything by Parra For Cuva. On the opposite end, a song that I’ve never understood the allure of is that Kungs Vs. Cookin on 3 Burners track – I don’t know what it is, but its never sat right with me. Oh well, just proves that music is so subjective.

How did you choose the name Oyster Kids? What is the story behind this?

As kids, you have the whole world at your fingertips and nothing to lose. You can be anything, and nothing can hold you back. For me, the name Oyster Kids embodies this ideal. As we all grow older every day, I don’t want to ever forget that wide-eyed feeling that we can do anything we want to do.

Which artist would you most like to collaborate with?

This answer is difficult for me because there are soo many. I love the art of songwriting, and I most respect the people that can tell a story and create a mood really well. Currently, Id love to work with Sigrid, Leon, MO, Kacey Musgraves – the list could go on forever…

What kind of a Saturday Night is your mix getting us ready for? 

My mix is all about dancing around the house in your socks, with close friends and some good wine. Centered around chill grooves with an Indie feel. Hope you like it as much as I do!

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 81

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Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 81Deters Beat Lab@0.

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.

Listen in playlist format here.


Bishu‘s sixth Monstercat single comes at the listener swinging. He taps songstress Mister Blonde on the anthemic “Get To Know Me,” a booming future bass track that’s refreshing in a genre saturated with repeated sounds. Just like in last spring’s “Machine,” Mister Blonde’s sultry vocals again complement Bishu’s production perfectly, as she leads the listener up to a booming drop. “Get To Know Me” is part of the Canadian producer’s forthcoming debut EP, The Hali 2 Cali EP.

Since bursting onto the scene just two years ago, Midnight Kids have garnered support from some of the industry’s biggest names. From massive remixes to their debut original last June, this duo has shown no signs of slowing down—particularly with their newest remix: Porter Robinson‘s iconic 2010 “Say My Name.” Hardcore Robinson fans might be a bit wary of any remix of this notable track, but Midnight Kids have done it justice by focusing on the melodies and playing up the emotive aspects of the track. “Porter Robinson changed the way we look at making music,” Midnight Kids noted in their song description. “Without this record coming out things could have been different for us.”

I was obsessed with The McMash Clan’s swing-oriented moombahcore “Swing Break” in 2013 but had a hard time finding any other tunes that incorporated a swing element as flawlessly as that one. When I found out Teminite and Swing’it Dixieband had teamed up for a funky electro-swing track called “Party Like it’s 1923,” I was thrilled. Straight out of a Great Gatsby scene, this track employs bold horns, a swinging electro beat, and retro vocals for an overall classy and brassy aura. Teminite continues to demonstrate his versatility as a producer, giving fans the collaboration they never knew they needed.

Mazare returns to Monstercat after his October remix of Hailene with a gorgeously emotive collaboration with vocalist RUNN. The Italian artist also recently created an otherworldly drum & bass remix for Seven Lions and only continues to improve with each new piece of work. This new top-notch single has fans raving about the impeccable blend of RUNN’s flawless vocals and Mazare’s meticulous production—and rightly so. It’s one of the most blissful pieces of music to hit the Monstercat airwaves so far this year.

UKF has been showcasing some exceptional music so far in 2019, the latest of which is a collaboration of two drum & bass powerhouse acts: Hybrid Minds and Koven. Koven member Katie Boyle’s voice positively drips with emotion in this piano-fueled drum & bass number. It’s a vulnerable piece, and though the track is backed by a racing beat, it maintains an ethereal, wistful atmosphere the whole way through. The artists’ passion for their art form is raw and unguarded in “In Your Arms,” and it’s beautiful to experience.

Rinzen’s third EP is a cinematic ‘Prologue’ for what’s to come [Review & Stream]

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Rinzen’s third EP is a cinematic ‘Prologue’ for what’s to come [Review & Stream]Rinzen Prologue Press Shot

Over the past two years, Michael Sundius has become a mau5trap fixture. His brand of cinematic, progressive techno as Rinzen has earned him numerous releases on deadmau5’s esteemed imprint, as well as the coveted honor of opening for Zimmerman himself at shows around the globe. And, while this success, for many, would mark the culmination of a musical career, Rinzen’s newest release suggests that he sees the past as a precursor for what’s to come.

Entitled Prologue, his third EP acts as a conceptual work, which Sundius notes is “inspired by [his] fascination with literature and storytelling.” He further asserts, “I believe this to be my most cinematic work yet.”

It’s not difficult to understand how Sundius feels this way, either. The two-track offering works almost as a reflection of itself. Both songs — “Prologue” and “Sorcery” — stand exactly at six minutes in length, but each builds a world that is almost diametric to the other.

In the “Prologue,” Rinzen explores mellifluous leanings, weaving a wistfully hopeful sonic scape, punctuated occasionally by purposefully strident, albeit subtle synth-work.

As one would likely expect from its title, “Sorcery” dabbles in the dark arts. While the melodic influences of the titular track remain ubiquitous in the B-side,  they take on a supporting role. At its core, “Sorcery” is driven by haunting bass arrangements, diving into the umbral aesthetics that pervade the most intriguing cinematic scores.

Earlier today, March 8, Rinzen communicated the following to his fan-base, regarding the conceptual nature of Prologue:

“This is the story of my new EP. Ready? ‘Prologue’ is an ode to my love of literature. It’s about myths, poems, and fairytales. I wanted it to be a living scene, like a still frame from a movie. The EP is also a metaphor for my journey as an artist. This is my ‘prologue.’ This is my beginning.”

With his newest record, Rinzen has put forth a score that would find itself as at home in the club as at the cinema. If this is his prologue, his first chapter should prove to be a sound to behold.