How Gary Richards’ FriendShip cruise is sailing ahead of the pack

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How Gary Richards’ FriendShip cruise is sailing ahead of the packFriendship1

Gary Richards (widely known as Destructo) has proven time and time again he can curate a festival with uncontested competence and flair. Though he’s remained humble enough to know even he can outdo himself. From his decisive efforts in erecting the first iteration of Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) to forging the most formidable dance music brand on the West Coast, HARD Events (HARD Summer/HOLY SHIP!), by now, Richards’ emblem is synonymous with success in the national festival circuit.

His latest and most personal entrepreneurial endeavor yet, his All My Friends label/event series, truly comes alive through its sea-bound fixture: the FriendShip cruise. With the unsullied success of HOLY SHIP!—which bred the feverishly familial “Ship Fam,” the festival’s subsequent seafaring sense of community—under his belt, Richards has sought to bring the intimacy of his previous endeavors to newfangled heights aboard FriendShip. And the Navigator of the Seas, touching off in Miami and coursing through the Caribbean, is the vessel fit for the venture.

With fun firing on all fronts, the Navigator of the Seas is a festival-goer’s utopia. From glow-in-the-dark laser tag, to surf simulation, to its sprawling 17 on-deck bars, the ship is stocked to satiate virtually any itch that may arise aboard its four-night (January 6-10, 2020) charter. But aside from the full-scale waterparks and fully loaded culinary accommodations, music is paramount—of course.

Richards requires that each artist enlisted for the maritime mission embrace the experience as the ticket-holders do. Immersion is key. This mindset comes alive in his newly incepted “Dial a DJ” attraction, in which attendees can quite literally order a DJ to their rooms like On Demand. Plus, with two private island anchor drops at Coco Cay on the 2020 FriendShip agenda, more music and more AMF-approved nonsense aren’t just expected, they’re guaranteed.

The last installment of FriendShip saw an unorthodox, genre-traversing musical makeup, ranging from Boys Noize to Busy P, RÜFÜS DU SOL to Rico Nasty. His towering tenure both behind the decks and in the studio has equipped him with the aural awareness of an entrepreneur, an attendee, and a musician alike. Though Richards has yet to officially announce the 2020 cruise’s lineup, it’s safe to assume an all-bases-covered unveil.

With a 90% return rate for FriendShip alone, and over two decades of experience in the exceedingly competitive event arena, Richards sat down with Dancing Astronaut to expound on his vision for FriendShip, what to expect, and paramount updates he and his team secured for the affair’s upcoming voyage.

Tickets to FriendShip are still available here.

In what ways does FriendShip eclipse other festival cruises? 

The fact the we are able to use so many unique spaces on the boat to have shows really makes it special. We have a service called ‘Dial a DJ’ that was a massive hit with the fans where people can order a DJ to the room like room service. For 2020, shippers can expect a more enlarged menu to choose from. The community that we all have all built over the years with Shipfam is incredible. The bonds are strong and always continue to thrive and live on well past the events.

What do you think Navigator of the Seas and Coco Cay offers that prospective attendees should keep in mind? 

Navigator of the Seas and Coco Cay have received a combined 365 million dollars in upgrades this year. Royal Caribbean delivered something so over the top.

The improvements for FriendShip are going to be felt throughout the entire experience from better venues on board to longer hours spent at Coco Cay (private island) complete with massive water slide parks, wave pools, and swim-up bars. The Sunrise Sermon will take place on Coco Cay this year so we can all watch the sunrise together from the private island. I could not even have dreamed of something this amazing to present to the family. We get to stay at Coco Cay two days in a row and have the island all to ourselves with with longer hours and so many so many fun things to do.  I cannot wait for everyone to experience it.

What goes into curating an atmosphere for a festival cruise?

The key ingredient on the ship is amazing music and most important the people who attend the event. FriendShip family are the ones who make the party so special and are always on the same page. Last year we had zero damage to the ship. I appreciate so much that our group is so respectful. We have a plus 90% return rate so we are doing something right.

What’s your vision for the lineup?

The main key is booking artists who are going to immerse themselves in the event. People who I know are going to get involved with Shipfam and be part of the party. We want artists who are excited to DJ in peoples cabins just as much as the main stage. If they just want to hide in their room then they should just stay at home. I am also looking for a variety of styles music. Obviously the main style is always electronic, house, and, bass but this year we are going to add a little more hip-hop and even some reggae. I have been really getting into the reggae vibes lately. We are also going to expand with other types of entertainment with burlesque, comedy, and maybe even a little magic.

Would you consider FriendShip the cornerstone AMF event? How is it emblematic of your brand as a whole?

Yes it really embodies the essence of All My Friends. People meeting new & old friends through music and events. There is no better way to do that then on FriendShip.

How Gary Richards’ FriendShip cruise is sailing ahead of the packGary
How Gary Richards’ FriendShip cruise is sailing ahead of the packFriendship
How Gary Richards’ FriendShip cruise is sailing ahead of the packFriendship Island

How Gary Richards’ FriendShip cruise is sailing ahead of the pack

This post was originally published on this site

How Gary Richards’ FriendShip cruise is sailing ahead of the packFriendship1

Gary Richards (widely known as Destructo) has proven time and time again he can curate a festival with uncontested competence and flair. Though he’s remained humble enough to know even he can outdo himself. From his decisive efforts in erecting the first iteration of Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) to forging the most formidable dance music brand on the West Coast, HARD Events (HARD Summer/HOLY SHIP!), by now, Richards’ emblem is synonymous with success in the national festival circuit.

His latest and most personal entrepreneurial endeavor yet, his All My Friends label/event series, truly comes alive through its sea-bound fixture: the FriendShip cruise. With the unsullied success of HOLY SHIP!—which bred the feverishly familial “Ship Fam,” the festival’s subsequent seafaring sense of community—under his belt, Richards has sought to bring the intimacy of his previous endeavors to newfangled heights aboard FriendShip. And the Navigator of the Seas, touching off in Miami and coursing through the Caribbean, is the vessel fit for the venture.

With fun firing on all fronts, the Navigator of the Seas is a festival-goer’s utopia. From glow-in-the-dark laser tag, to surf simulation, to its sprawling 17 on-deck bars, the ship is stocked to satiate virtually any itch that may arise aboard its four-night (January 6-10, 2020) charter. But aside from the full-scale waterparks and fully loaded culinary accommodations, music is paramount—of course.

Richards requires that each artist enlisted for the maritime mission embrace the experience as the ticket-holders do. Immersion is key. This mindset comes alive in his newly incepted “Dial a DJ” attraction, in which attendees can quite literally order a DJ to their rooms like On Demand. Plus, with two private island anchor drops at Coco Cay on the 2020 FriendShip agenda, more music and more AMF-approved nonsense aren’t just expected, they’re guaranteed.

The last installment of FriendShip saw an unorthodox, genre-traversing musical makeup, ranging from Boys Noize to Busy P, RÜFÜS DU SOL to Rico Nasty. His towering tenure both behind the decks and in the studio has equipped him with the aural awareness of an entrepreneur, an attendee, and a musician alike. Though Richards has yet to officially announce the 2020 cruise’s lineup, it’s safe to assume an all-bases-covered unveil.

With a 90% return rate for FriendShip alone, and over two decades of experience in the exceedingly competitive event arena, Richards sat down with Dancing Astronaut to expound on his vision for FriendShip, what to expect, and paramount updates he and his team secured for the affair’s upcoming voyage.

Tickets to FriendShip are still available here.

In what ways does FriendShip eclipse other festival cruises? 

The fact the we are able to use so many unique spaces on the boat to have shows really makes it special. We have a service called ‘Dial a DJ’ that was a massive hit with the fans where people can order a DJ to the room like room service. For 2020, shippers can expect a more enlarged menu to choose from. The community that we all have all built over the years with Shipfam is incredible. The bonds are strong and always continue to thrive and live on well past the events.

What do you think Navigator of the Seas and Coco Cay offers that prospective attendees should keep in mind? 

Navigator of the Seas and Coco Cay have received a combined 365 million dollars in upgrades this year. Royal Caribbean delivered something so over the top.

The improvements for FriendShip are going to be felt throughout the entire experience from better venues on board to longer hours spent at Coco Cay (private island) complete with massive water slide parks, wave pools, and swim-up bars. The Sunrise Sermon will take place on Coco Cay this year so we can all watch the sunrise together from the private island. I could not even have dreamed of something this amazing to present to the family. We get to stay at Coco Cay two days in a row and have the island all to ourselves with with longer hours and so many so many fun things to do.  I cannot wait for everyone to experience it.

What goes into curating an atmosphere for a festival cruise?

The key ingredient on the ship is amazing music and most important the people who attend the event. FriendShip family are the ones who make the party so special and are always on the same page. Last year we had zero damage to the ship. I appreciate so much that our group is so respectful. We have a plus 90% return rate so we are doing something right.

What’s your vision for the lineup?

The main key is booking artists who are going to immerse themselves in the event. People who I know are going to get involved with Shipfam and be part of the party. We want artists who are excited to DJ in peoples cabins just as much as the main stage. If they just want to hide in their room then they should just stay at home. I am also looking for a variety of styles music. Obviously the main style is always electronic, house, and, bass but this year we are going to add a little more hip-hop and even some reggae. I have been really getting into the reggae vibes lately. We are also going to expand with other types of entertainment with burlesque, comedy, and maybe even a little magic.

Would you consider FriendShip the cornerstone AMF event? How is it emblematic of your brand as a whole?

Yes it really embodies the essence of All My Friends. People meeting new & old friends through music and events. There is no better way to do that then on FriendShip.

How Gary Richards’ FriendShip cruise is sailing ahead of the packGary
How Gary Richards’ FriendShip cruise is sailing ahead of the packFriendship
How Gary Richards’ FriendShip cruise is sailing ahead of the packFriendship Island

Kiesza reflects on the meaning of ‘Sweet Love’ [Interview]

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Kiesza reflects on the meaning of ‘Sweet Love’ [Interview]Kiesza Press Shot Credit Rasmus Luckmann

Kiesza became in instant star in 2014 when her impassioned vocal tune “Hideaway” caught America’s ear and became a smash radio hit. Marquee talents rushed to work with her, and soon we saw the rising Canadian talent’s name appearing alongside projects like Skrillex and Diplo’s Jack Ü, Duran Duran, Djemba Djemba, and Bakermat. It’s clear that she’s poised to be an enduring force within the pop and electronic arenas.

Life hasn’t been free of struggle for this singer, however. Before becoming a full-time musician, she knew a life of heavy discipline and grit via training in her home country’s military. Hardship also struck right as she hit her prime, when a terrible car crash left her with a near-career-ending brain injury and no choice to but to take a couple years off to focus on returning to full health and stability. If we know anything, however, it’s that Kiesza is an enduring character—and her unrelenting passion for her craft ultimately translated to an inevitable return to the arts.

“Sweet Love” thus serves as powerful comeback single, and a public expression of Kiesza’s shift in paradigm. Her recent struggles have given way to a different outlook on life and what’s important, and as a result, we see her taking a more stripped-down, raw, and emotive approach to her music making. “Sweet Love” is simultaneously haunting and wistful, allowing her crisp voice to take center stage while subconsciously communicating a hopeful message. It’s interpretive accompanying video is a visual manifestation of this new direction.

We caught up with Kiesza upon her new tune’s release, digging into her new inspirations and direction, her artistic journey, and beyond.

“Sweet Love” is a bit of a change of pace for you sonically. What led you down this direction, and how was the process in choosing a producer/collaborator that could help you realize your vision?

On this next musical chapter, I’m taking my audience on a more expansive musical journey. I came up as a songwriter on the New York music scene, so pushing boundaries with writing and dipping my toe into uncharted genres has always been second nature to me. That’s why I felt it was necessary to go independent for this next leg. I see this as a chance to evolve and expand in so many directions. But don’t worry, there is lots of dance music on the horizon! “Sweet Love” is a special song. I wrote it with the same baritone opera singer that sang with me on the first of my Halloween series, “Phantom of the Dance Floor.” His name is Philippe Sly and I asked him if he would ever be interested in writing a song together. He hesitated at first, but what I love about Phil is that he is so open-minded, and ultimately he just dove right into it with me! My friend Kid Harpoon joined us in the writing room. It was an amazing songwriting session and I have always loved this song. I struggled to put it out while in the major label system, so releasing this is so exciting. It needs to come out of hiding!

When it came to producing “Sweet Love,” it just so happened that while I was in Denmark, I showed the demo to the production duo Namafalcon, and they immediately had ideas that were aligned with my own vision for the song. I always go where the enthusiasm is strong and where the creativity starts to flow. Once we got going, it was effortless, and I love how it turned out.

The lyrical content and the dancing in the music video give off a very nostalgic, “young love” type of tone [in our subjective opinion]. Was this inspired by an early love in your life, or a profound experience where you really felt “love” for the first time?

It’s definitely painted with those emotions, both “young love” and even “forbidden love.” The feeling of already being so deep in, that you know there’s no turning back, while all-the-while trying to reconcile with the sense of underlying risk that comes with it.

Do you feel your sound evolving toward this softer, more sentimental direction or do you think you still might be involved in the dance music sphere as a vocalist in the future?

It’s about to become quite a musical rollercoaster ride, as I’ve been on a rollercoaster myself, both in life and in the industry I’m in. I think by now I’ve felt almost everything there is to feel on some degree. Extreme love, unimaginable loss, the fulfillment of dreams and the rush that comes with it, self confidence, self doubt, winning and then losing, an open road that ran straight into a brick wall, and then the sense of being derailed completely and without warning, followed by the struggle of fighting my way back. I have a lot say now. A lot to express. To vent. But also a lot to be thankful for.

Dancing has always been my medicine, and for this reason I will always continue to write dance music. But now you’re going to have a bigger window into who I am, as the songs unveil themselves. I’m sort of moving in all directions at once I guess…expanding.

You’ve definitely been stepping into your own power artistically as of late. What advice can you offer other young musicians who might be struggling to find themselves or assert themselves in this crazy industry?

True, as difficult as it is to cut through all the noise, it’s ultimately an amazing time to be an independent artist. There are so many avenues and unique pathways for new musicians to share their art with the world. The secret is to just keep at it and be willing to work harder than you ever could imagine. When you feel like giving up, you just keep going. And it’s important to be critical of your own music. That may sound harsh, but no one writes a hit song every day. I write bad ideas all the time. You just have to have the guts to throw your work away when you know it isn’t strong enough. And simplify as much as possible. There’s no getting around hard work. And be willing to adapt as the winds change. Expect the unexpected, and give it right back.

As a songwriter, do you have any particular routines or techniques that help you get the lyrics flowing when working on a project? What do you do when faced with writer’s block?

Movement in general helps stimulate ideas. Going for a walk, or riding a bike. Even taking public transportation helps me come up with ideas, believe it or not. Anything that puts you into a flow state.

Let’s poke a bit more into your past here, as we’re a dance site and we first learned about you through your numerous high profile collaborations. How did you first end up getting involved in this side of the music world, and what methods did you use to get your self out there and get noticed by the likes of Jack Ü, Bakermat, Djemba Djemba, etc?

“Hideaway” was my bridge from the realm of the unknown into the limelight. It was that song that paved the way for all the collaborations that followed. When it comes to collaborations, I just go with what feels right. I usually collaborate with people that resonate.

What is your favorite aspect of the dance music scene in general, and the crossover/pop world you’ve found yourself in more recently?

Dance music brings people together, and it makes people happy. Even if it’s just for a moment, when you’re dancing, you always feel good. You don’t have to think about the things that are weighing you down. In that moment, it’s just complete suspension. The new music I’m releasing knows no boundaries. You’ll never know what’s coming next. Sweet Love is a song that allows me to tell a story. It harkens to that familiar lure of lust becoming love. Sometimes the purpose of a song is to be heard. And some of my music in this upcoming chapter will be those songs. Songs with stories, or messages, where the lyrics matter. I try not to make my dance songs too complicated lyrically, for the simple reason that I myself prefer dance songs to be simple and light hearted, when I’m dancing to them. But I have a lot to say, and the time has come to go deeper. I want to share more of who I am with the world.

Finally, the number one question: what’s coming next down the Kiesza pipeline?

For starters, I have more songs written then I know what to do with. But once I get started, there’s no more stopping. I’m really looking forward to lots of collaborations, and expressing so many different sides of my personality through the upcoming music and performances.

Photo credit: Rasmus Luckmann

Producer Sessions 013: The Bloody Beetroots release a ‘Heavy’ extended play of new sounds [INTERVIEW]

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Producer Sessions 013: The Bloody Beetroots release a ‘Heavy’ extended play of new sounds [INTERVIEW]Enlight329

Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo, better known as the brainchild behind The Bloody Beetroots, has released his new Heavy EP. The Italian musician teased his new extended play with two collaborations: one with G-House hero, Dr. Fresch, called “Fkn Face,” that throws down as hard as the name implies and the other with Ephwurd, “Wildchild,” featuring heavy electro bass mayhem with guitar fills.

The Heavy EP is the first project since The Bloody Beetroot’s The Great Electronic Swindle in 2017, which merged rock elements with electronic music for a more electronic take on heavy metal.

Rifo took some to answer some questions about producing the EP.


What made you take the EP in this direction?

I felt the need to steer the project into a more electronic space. I love experimenting with new genres and finding a sound that belongs to me. That really resonates.

Did you have any inspirations for the album?

Just the music. It always drives me. I really explored with the new contemporary electronic texture and mixed it with the original TBB sound. I had a lot of fun.

What made you chose your collaborators?

Innovation and originality. The guys are on the EP are great!

Do you have a typical production process? If so, what is it?

I hate being in the studio for more than two hours a day. I’m a musician first and producer second, so all my ideas come by talking to people and living a life full of passions and hobbies. I start with a story, then I randomly mess around with synths and samplers on Ableton until I get a solid draft. That’s the foundation and I move from there.

What song took you the longest to make and why?

I don’t like to overthink it. I prefer to get straight to the point and feel it. The Heavy EP was quick to do. It’s simple, effective, and I wanted something to serve and support my DJ set. My collaborations with Dr. Fresch & Ephwurd were quick as well. They’re amazing producers with a lot of empathy for real music.

What was the most difficult melody to conquer and why?

I believe I spent more time with my graphic designers choosing the right artwork instead of overthinking on the perfect melody. I don’t know how to explain that, but music is very natural for me. It’s in my blood and it comes out so easily that i can’t even find the right words to express how I feel about it. It’s me, I guess.

What was your most memorable in-studio moment while producing the EP?

Definitely in the studio with Dr. Fresch. He didn’t have a functional keyboard to play. I was so bummed out, but he managed to make it work like a pro. Immediately following, I wrote that “Fkn Face” bassline with a smile on my face. Thank you, Tony.

Do you have any unique studio habits?

I like jamming before I start anything serious, and sometimes, I forget to open a session because I get lost in the jamming.

What hobbies do you have outside of music?

I have a second job as a photographer (thecultofrifo.com)—I’m also a certified CrossFit trainer Level 1. I like riding cars and motorbikes. Sometimes, I like to go to BBQs with friends.

What was it like creating the music you make in your in the small town of Bassano del Grappa?

I moved to LA three years ago, Venice Beach precisely as it feels like a small town. Bassano Del Grappa is where I spend my free time to recover from all this crazy business. It’s sane, it’s small, it’s cozy, and I love it.

What is your next endeavor as The Bloody Beetroots?

I’m excited to see where this new electronic journey will take me.

Photo credit: Chris Stack

Chatting with Cheat Codes: Trio dishes on their new single, working with Kaskade, + more

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Chatting with Cheat Codes: Trio dishes on their new single, working with Kaskade, + moreCheat Codes Live Credit Chris Gateley At Mustang News

Cheat Codes, comprised of Prince$$ Rosie, Trevor Dahl, and Matthew Russell, have always appreciated a consistent air of mystery to be kept about them, their output, and their live performances. Dynamism is key to their sound: the outfit has been quite vocal about the aforementioned desire to remain aesthetically unpredictable and undefinable, and their ongoing catalog only reaffirms their commitment to musical exploration. When it comes to traversing new sonic territory, the title of Cheat Codes’ 2018 tune, “I Love It,” applies. “We kind of play around with everything and see what sticks,” Dahl told Dancing Astronaut, “One way we keep you guessing is [that] we don’t even know what we’re going to do next.”

In their productive play, Cheat Codes have found formulas that have indeed “stuck.” Their 2017 Demi Lovato-assisted single, “No Promises,” peaked at number 39 on Billboards Hot 100 chart following its debut, cinching Cheat Codes’ very first Hot 100 hit. “No Promises” remained on the Top 40 charts for six months, while the group collected gold and platinum certifications for a number of other originals, including “Feels Great,” and “Sex,”in the meantime. The next goal for Cheat Codes is to expand the subgenres that fall under their catalog’s purview via a collection of upcoming urban records. They made sure to mention that they even have “a few Latin records in the works.”

While the expression goes “three’s company,” Cheat Codes think with a “the more the merrier” mentality that’s evident in their collaborations ranging from Kaskade, to CADE, to Danny Quest. Their creative interplay with Kaskade resulted in “Be The One,” which materialized as a tasteful amalgamation of Cheat Codes’ ear for momentous drops with magnetic appeal, and Kaskade’s house sensibilities.

Cheat Codes and Kaskade traded several records, sending options back and forth. A triplet drop that Russell describes as strikingly “unique” in its sound caught Cheat Codes’ ear. The trio added what they call some “Stranger Things sounding chords” to the fledgling production. The chords went on to inspire the vocals, as Cheat Codes’ then recent performance in Tromso, Norway had a hand in some of the lyrical content that would follow.

We played a show in Tromso, Norway which is famous for the aurora borealis. That sparked the line ‘I wanna kiss you underneath the Northern Lights.” The concept of the lyrics is having all of these one of a kind experiences with a significant other.”

-R

Later, the Redux producer and Russell would go on to run a 5K in Miami together following “Be The One’s” release.

I Feel Ya” appeared as a formidable follow up to “Be The One.” The offering sourced its vocals from Ina Wroldsen, and saw Quest link once more with Cheat Codes to produce the track. One of Cheat Codes’ “best friends,” according to Russell, Quest is also an artist on the dance trio’s Too Easy imprint. “We were able to knock out production really quickly,” Russell said of the process that preceded the “I Feel Ya” that listeners now stream.

Everything came together super quick, we love when things flow like that.

-R

The rapidity with which Cheat Codes and Quest pieced together “I Feel Ya” is a credit to Quest and Cheat Codes’ creative synergy, which was first audible on 2018’s “NSFW.” While Prince$$ Rosie, Trevor Dahl, and Matthew Russell cite Quest as a close friend—and, clearly, an effective studio presence in the context of the collective’s musical invention—Quest was, not long ago, one of Cheat Codes’ roommates.

“NSFW” was born out of this living situation: “‘NSFW’ came together [while we were] literally eating breakfast and thought of this funny vocal tag,” Dahl said, “‘it’s nasty, it’s dirt, this sh*t ain’t safe for work.’ We were inspired by Reddit, they have a special section titled ‘Not Safe For Work,’ so people [browsing and] working 9 to 5 jobs don’t get in trouble.”

Moving forward, Cheat Codes hope to one day collaborate with Daddy Yankee, Willy Williams, and J. Balvin on the Latin side, and Blackbear, Trippie Redd, and Drake in the hip-hop sector. While time will tell if these powerhouse musical matchups come to be, fans can count on Cheat Codes to keep their material continually forward thinking, consistently innovative, and fresh, long after any given release. In the fashion of their name, the trio has uncovered the ‘cheat code’ to first creating, and then maintaining a distinctive sense of youthful presence in modern dance music circles: unceasing stylistic curiosity, and the drive to try anything at least once.

Photo credit: Chris Gateley / Mustang News

Techno Tuesday: ‘A Night In The Life Of’ Boxia

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Techno Tuesday: ‘A Night In The Life Of’ BoxiaTechno Tuesdays

Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.

UK climber Boxia has asserted himself as a key talent in house/techno’s new guard. After honing in on his ferocious, big room take on underground music, it didn’t take long for Adam Beyer to notice the burgeoning talent and adopt him into the Drumcode fold. Since then, his name has become ubiquitous in the global sphere, and with good reason. A lifetime of DJing and producing experience under his belt has given Boxia a unique edge and ability to read his crowd, and adapt with chameleon-esque standards. Constant curiosity and will to self-improve is also a huge aspect of the producer’s ethos, which is why his music remains an ever-evolving force despite its overall cohesion under his signature sonic aesthetic.

This musical evolution is what eventually birthed Boxia’s upcoming album, A Night In The Life Of. It’s his first project of this type, naturally backed by Drumcode, serves as an aural expression and memory log of characters Boxia has met throughout his time on the dancefloor and beyond the decks. This isn’t so much an at-home listen, consume in one go type of LP; instead, it’s mostly club-focused, making the format more accessible and danceable. Curious to know more about the inspirations behind A Night In The Life Of, how Boxia brought his characters to life in song, and his overall process, we sat the producer down for Techno Tuesday to dish on the details.

Order a copy of ‘A Night In The Life Of,’ out June 3, here.

Techno Tuesday: ‘A Night In The Life Of’ BoxiaBoia Presspack 8122 Copy

Your album carries a melodic motif to it. What has led you to this sonic direction, and how does it play into the overarching theme of you recounting your rave days?

Thanks, very good observation. I love to be moved by music. It can happen in all kinds of methods and sounds in production, but a melody to pluck away at nostalgia as well as being something interesting can add new dimensions to a track.

Each of the album’s songs are ascribed to a certain club character you’ve encountered, correct? Can you pick out a couple of these characters in particular, the song that represents them, and how you expressed their personalities in musical form?

Yes, that’s right some characters, some situations. The track ‘Where Are Your Friends’ is about a close friend who’d always go missing when we go out. The melody from that is my interpretation of how he was feeling when he was bouncing around the place having the time of his life on his own!

The track ‘Under The Bridge’ was more about a situation when I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen for 10 years at the first Junction 2, they arrived around dusk and we were walking up to the main stage but unable to see the crowd yet, buzzing full of anticipation, sound resonating from the distance. Then you first catch sight of what’s in front of you from the top of the slope and it’s a sight to behold. It was a moment I shared with a friend I’ll never forget.

Why is now the right timing for you to release your debut studio album?

Erm, I guess this is different for everyone. I’ve always had so many ideas for tracks, and a good idea on how to make an album tracklist flow and the opportunity came up. I worked as hard as I possibly could for a year to deliver something I felt was right for now…

Were there any tracks that were especially challenging to complete? Why?

Yes, most of them! ‘Ephenomenon’ stands out though. I had a massive wobble quite late on and changed the entire track – high and low drums, lead, and even the melody. The first version just sounded so dated the more I played it. I’m really glad I persevered and changed it.

Tell us about a rave memory that helped secure your goal to become a full-time member of the dance scene.

There are so many. I had a quite successful career before I decided to drop everything, make some sacrifices and give this my full attention. It’s not a memory as such, more an experience. There’s a level of passion in this industry whether you’ve just got into it or been in it for years. It’s really nice surrounding yourself with people at both ends of the scale, as it exposes you to both new ideas, and experienced opinions.

How has the raving affected your outlook on life over the years?

I didn’t have the best teenage years. I really struggled to grasp any purpose at that time of my life… Then I went raving week in, week out for as long as I could do it and my whole outlook completely changed. Everything made sense after that, I owe it all to those times.

You’ve ascended the techno ranks quite quickly, becoming a notable member of Drumcode’s newer generation. What are some obstacles you’ve overcome to get to where you are today?

There are so so many obstacles, every corner and every day. Something which is an everyday thing for many artists on the up, is the trap of comparing yourself to others. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what’s going on around you, wondering how this person does this, or how they got that show. You have to respect what happens around you and concentrate on your own thing. The super talent Honey Dijon articulates it so well in this post

On the note of Drumcode, what factors make you and the imprint such a good match creatively/sonically?

One of the things I love is that you just have to scan the back catalogue to see how the label pushes forward and I like being a part of that. Adam pushes me to deliver the best I can, and you just can’t argue with his level of experience, ha. The whole team is extremely professional to work with too which is a blessing.

Now with charting club singles, and album, and heavy touring under your belt, where do you see yourself headed next in your career?

Oooo, let me think…

I will hopefully tour more. The challenge of playing in new territories is something I really love. I’d like to do some collabs in the near future too. I have some bits I’m working on I can’t reveal too, you’ll have to wait for that!

What else do you have in your pipeline at the moment?

I have a remix coming on a new vinyl label called APE-X from the UK of an artist called ‘Markse’ which is produced by Man Power (Me, Me Me). The release also includes a remix by Spencer Parker. Other than that, I’ve just changed my entire studio workflow and setup so I’m knee deep in learning again while at the same time writing new stuff. As for the rest, you’ll just have to watch this space.

Exclusive: Hannah Wants talks new music and label developments, delivers lush, hour-long mix

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Exclusive: Hannah Wants talks new music and label developments, delivers lush, hour-long mixHannah Wants Press Shot Dancing Astronaut Credit Insomniac

Birmingham-born Hannah Wants (real name Hannah Alicia Smith) has proven herself a formidable force on more fields than one. A former professional soccer player on the English national team, Smith traded in her cleats for CDJs after a happenstantial run of showings in Ibiza nearly a decade ago. She soon began racking up eminent breakout DJ awards just a handful of years after.

Known worldwide for her SoundCloud mixtape series, Smith has made her meticulously crafted mark via the bassline-predicated, garage-y house strain that Brits are so ubiquitously known for. This style has caused her to continuously collide in her come up with the likes of fellow house habitue, Chris Lorenzo, who assisted in Smith’s hallmark club cuts, “What I Want” the Daft Punk “Technologic”-sampled “Rhymes,” as well as a length of others.

Smith recently took the next natural step in her ever-expanding career, establishing her own label, Etiquette, largely focused on housing her own most momentous releases. Dancing Astronaut recently got a chance to touch base with Hannah Wants, to find out about both her long-term and more acute vision for the Etiquette imprint, the genesis of her latest single, “Love Somebody,” as well as how she harnesses motivation from staying physically active, transferring her organic flow of endorphins the best way she knows how: into music production. Want-ing more? Open wide, because she’s also curated an hour-long, tech and bass-brimming mix specifically for the occasion.

What made you decide you were ready to start your own label?

Running a label was always something I wanted to do, but I’m a big believer in things rolling out at the right time. If you’re gonna do something, you’ve gotta do it properly and there’s actually a lot of background work to put in before you start. So I guess Etiquette had been a plan in motion since 2017.

Having my own productions at a level that I was finally happy with was also a big part of the label birth. “Bamboozle” was the opening track for the label and it was the first solo production I was 100% proud of and played in my sets.

Where did the inspiration for “Love Somebody” come from?
You know what, it was a super sunny day and I was listening to “Good Love” in my car and the vocal hook got stuck in my head for days. So, I wanted to translate the vocal and some good vibes into a track for my sets.

Any short-term developments on the Etiquette front?
I guess just that I’m super proud of the opening nine months of the label. We managed to sign one of my favorite producers in the game in that of Kevin Knapp, it was a proud moment to welcome him to the Etiquette family, and I’m hoping it won’t be the last we hear of him on the label. We’re consistently and heavily featured in the Beatport Hype charts which is a great look and we’ve got so much fire in the pipeline. It’s exciting times.

What’s the long-term goal with Etiquette?
To be a familiar main base for what I believe to be by far my strongest productions to date and to represent and push both up-and-coming producers as well as already established names in the game. Our music policy is bass-influenced music across a wide and varied house genre.

What’s been your proudest moment in your professional career thus far?
This is a very difficult question to answer as I’ve had many proud and happy moments over the past decade. In general, I’m just extremely proud on a daily basis to be doing what I love for a living. I’ve been in the game professionally for nine years now and it still feels like I’m just getting started, I got lots more I’m striving for in the next five to nine years.

Who or what has been your biggest non-electronic influence lately and why?
This might be an unusual answer, but am I allowed to say the gym? It’s not a person, but hitting the gym daily or as regularly as possible contributes massively to my mood and motivation. When my brain has clarity, my avenues for influence and creativity are better, fresher, and wider. The stepping machine I’m currently on while doing this interview may have been an influence for this answer, also.

Techno Tuesday: Catching up with Moscoman on the ‘New Tel Aviv Wave,’ Gather Outdoors, and more

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Techno Tuesday: Catching up with Moscoman on the ‘New Tel Aviv Wave,’ Gather Outdoors, and moreTechno Tuesdays

Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.

Record label owner and global sound purveyor Moscoman is an artist who needs little introduction. First becoming a pillar of the Tel Aviv underground, his sound that effortlessly smudges the lines between disco, electronic, global music, and house have since made him a subject of international intrigue. He eventually made Berlin his home base, where he launched Disco Halal in 2016. In just a few years, the imprint has earned a high reputation, playing an ever-increasing role in the rise of left field dance music with notable signings from Chaim, Red Axes, Trikk, and more. Moscoman also made waves in 2017 with his hybrid imprint/eight-part series, Treisar.

The artist has continued to build upon his recent successes in 2019, putting out well-received EPs from Trikk and Nicola Cruz & Auntie Flo while stopping by fellow avant garde leader DJ Tennis’ label Life and Death for Wave Rave. Like its name, the eclectic four-tracker is rife with new wave/1980s influences—with futuristic overtones. His and his artists’ output remains impeccable, and it’s clear that Moscoman has fully stepped into his own as an artist,

He also follows a busy tour schedule, with one of his key upcoming dates being Gather Outdoors. The festival, organized by New York scene shapers Teksupport, is putting on its first edition at the Holiday Mountain Resort in the Catskills region of New York. Moscoman joins the likes of Francesca Lombardo, Brian Cid, Audiofly, and more at the festival’s Members-curated Oak Stage.

Curious to know more about his take on the rise of global sounds in dance music, lessons he’s learned through his long-reaching career, playing Gather, and his curatorial influence, we had a brief chat with Moscoman for this edition of Techno Tuesdays.

Techno Tuesday: Catching up with Moscoman on the ‘New Tel Aviv Wave,’ Gather Outdoors, and moreMoscoman Press Creidt Nuphar Blechner
Photo credit: Nuphar Blechner

Learn more about Gather Outdoors and get tickets to the festival here.

If you weren’t able to DJ and produce for a living, do you think you’d still be working in the industry full time? We saw a Twitter exchange about publicity?

Ha, the PR tweet was a joke amongst friends, but i’m super into everything around this industry!

I would do something maybe in management or any other way to help out artists, and of course my daily label work is one of my favorite things.

‘Disco Halal’ has been described in the past as “a very Berlin based label” – can you give us a rundown on how your sound has changed and evolved since moving to Berlin from Tel Aviv?

I reckon that only in Berlin I really found my voice, and thus begun this era of New Tel Aviv wave. Both happened at the same time simultaneously. Disco Halal is a Berlin Label, but its influences are worldwide. There isn’t really a play-by-play of what happened. But in terms of content, it moved from editing remixing other people music to releasing originals and giving people a platform to release their truth.

On a similar note, you’ve also advised that Berliners tend to have a more restricted mindset. But in recent years with artists like yourself, Acid Pauli, Powel, etc, it seems as though the city’s mind has “opened” more toward world sounds and more melodic material. What do you think has led to this change?

Tourism, inwards and outwards. More DJs playing outside of Berlin and more outsiders play in it all became a melting pot, people need to dare more to standout these days (and throughout history for sure).

Why do you think people connect so deeply with your sound? It’s been crazy to see how much you and your brand have grown over the past few years.

I believe people connect to us because its very Mediterranean in its core. It’s like your mother’s cooking, its something you are familiar with or something you want to be familiar with. It comes from the heart and soul of all of us, its a story of unity somehow.

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned since launching your own labels [Treisar project and Disco Halal]?

Not to want too much too fast, and everything has its moment. The smart ones know when the moment is right (I’m still working on that point!)

Do you ever feel as though you’ve sabotaged yourself at times in your efforts to release other artists’ music over your own on Disco Halal? Why not?

No, in life you give and get back, and never directly. This label is not my personal playground, it’s made for the music, for the fans and of course for the artists that are helping us to create and develop it.

Who are some artists you’ve signed as of late that are particularly noteworthy, and what makes these artists unique?

I have a personal relationship with all my artists, and I love to hear what they say and what they’re after. No one is after huge success really, and all are after their true artistic selves. That can be annoying as a label manager, but as an artist myself so i can also understand it. Ultimately every person is unique, but only a few standout.

Having lived in two distinct music towns, what are the similarities and differences you’ve noticed in terms of innovation, support for the arts, etc between Berlin and Tel Aviv?

You can’t really compare stuff. Tel Aviv has been about survival, Berlin invented many of the rules of this scene, when I moved I had no idea that things will pan out they way they are so I didn’t really notice too much. I would say that there’s great music from every city, and party wise there are better parties in Israel at this point, because the Berlin club market is over saturated which makes stuff a little bland. That said, the key clubs still hold their own.

How do you determine when the timing is right to release a certain track, or EP? Thinking about how you waited until the right moment (2018) to release your debut EP on Disco Halal.

I go with my gut, to be honest, no magic. I don’t live within patterns so I honestly do whatever i want all the time. It’s not always right, but it’s never quiet.

What inspires you the most creatively these days?

Free time.

You’re about to play the debut Gather Outdoors festival, which has a very specialist/underground lineup. What do you think this says about the US dance scene as a whole?

I love the change. From the first time I played in the US ’till now its been a crazy ride and I’m so happy that there’s place for people like me in the US Scene.

What excites you most about playing Gather?

The amazing line up, friends, and of course visiting the borscht belt for the first time!

Gary Richards on where he’s been, what he’s learned, and starting over, premieres ‘No Retreat’ with Loge21 [Interview]

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Gary Richards on where he’s been, what he’s learned, and starting over, premieres ‘No Retreat’ with Loge21 [Interview]6E258AEB46AA40EFB93BCEB4B99FD32E

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.

Gary Richards on where he’s been, what he’s learned, and starting over, premieres ‘No Retreat’ with Loge21 [Interview]Destructo3

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.

Gary Richards on where he’s been, what he’s learned, and starting over, premieres ‘No Retreat’ with Loge21 [Interview]Destructo1

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?’”

Gary Richards on where he’s been, what he’s learned, and starting over, premieres ‘No Retreat’ with Loge21 [Interview]Destructo2

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.

Gary Richards on where he’s been, what he’s learned, and starting over, premieres ‘No Retreat’ with Loge21 [Interview]Destructo Busta Rhymes Fkin Sht Up

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.

Learn more about AMFAMFAMF’s Seattle and LA dates here.

Elohim opens up about mental health on ‘Braindead’ EP [Interview]

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Elohim opens up about mental health on ‘Braindead’ EP [Interview]2019 BW 1 Tiziano Lugli E1557506429148

Los Angeles-based Elohim has released her new Braindead EP in celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month. The extended play delves into Elohim’s mental health obstacles, a centerpiece of her artistry dating back from “Xanax” in 2016 through “Hallucinating” in 2017 to “Panic Attacks” featuring Yoshi Flower in 2018. Braindead takes listeners on a roller coaster of emotions, through energetic panic, distraction, sedation, meditation, and brain fog. She ends the project with her version of Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta” featuring AWOLNATION, a song about society driving its members mad.

For the month of May, all proceeds from streams on the Braindead EP will go to a selection of charities focusing on providing outreach and support for those suffering from mental health issues. Elohim has also released a series of breathwork videos for each song on the EP as a form of guided meditation. She will also release a docu-series about the EP to be released in the coming month on her YouTube channel.

Elohim is Skrillex‘s muse these days, co-producing with the storied producer on her recent two singles, “Buckets” and “Connect” on the OWSLA imprint’s limited output. The rising producer also hit high marks on “Sleepy Eyes” with Whethan and “Love Is Alive” with Louis The Child. She will also hit the road on tour with Blackbear this month. Find tour dates here.


Can you tell us about your mental health obstacles and when you began realizing you had them?

I had my first memorable life-altering panic attack when I was 7 years old. It seemed to start there, and then everything changed. The following year, I couldn’t go to school without having a panic attack. I would be at the market, and if I was alone in the next aisle over from my mom, I would go into sheer and utter panic, which instantly made me think, “I’m going to throw up.” When I was a child, it was hard to control the physical nature of it, and I would often dry heave or throw up.

My parents never put me in therapy or identified it as anxiety or panic, so I was lost until I became old enough to understand. I was OK throughout high school and a couple years after, but as soon as I created Elohim and started performing, it kind of all came back to me full-force. I felt 7 again. I am not sure what exactly triggered it again and brought it all back, but I went through some incredibly difficult times.

What steps have you taken to alleviate your symptoms?

I began therapy, and that is helping tremendously. The idea was to work with my therapist (she specializes in trauma) through my issues without the use of medication. After consistently working with Susan for a year and a half, she suggested I see a psychiatrist and try full time medication, while continuing to see her. That is when my life clicked into gear and totally changed for the better.

I also started taking vitamins, developed healthier eating habits, and I try to stay consistent with physical activity.

What industry or life battles are you currently facing with respect to your mental health obstacles?

Everything has a way of being a trigger at times, but for me, it is important to recognize that and be smart about it. I have to tell myself it is OK to take the “me time” that I need.

What is something you’ve learned about mental health that you wish you knew earlier in your diagnosis?

I learned that it is OK to take monitored medication. I was so scared of any medication for years. I have become more self aware of what I am going through and have realized that hundreds of thousands of people also feel these feelings, which makes me feel a lot less isolated. Having that sense of community is remarkable.

What steps are you taking to raise awareness and build your community around a positive discussion about mental health?

The first steps I am taking are to start real and honest conversations. Every aspect of it: no frills, no sugar coating. We are ALL HUMAN! I don’t know where it comes from or why we are programmed to keep things a secret and inside. I want to tell my story so other people are brave enough to tell theirs. I want people to know that it is not something to be ashamed of, and it is OK to ask for help.

Why did you chose to cover Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta?”

I was driving one day, and I think KROQ in Los Angeles was doing a flash-back hour and they played it. I had the chorus in my head all day after hearing it, so I got home, sat down at the piano, and started learning it. I looked up the lyrics, and as I was singing it, in that moment, I was kind of floored with how relevant the lyrics were to my life right now. I had no idea they were speaking about mental health! It was serendipity at its finest.

How has your courage been lately?

I am feeling really good! I feel strong and ready to conquer all. I am consistently working with my therapist and being proactive about taking care of myself. It is important to take what you learn in therapy and incorporate it into your everyday life. Keep yourself on a schedule. Everything takes practice and work. I know that at any moment of any day, I could sink back down but I keep pushing forward and collecting tools to make that experience less traumatic for me.

Photo credit: Tiziano Lugli