Desert Hearts’ joint-founders Mikey Lion and Lee Reynolds set to return to Toronto’s CODA Nightclub

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Desert Hearts’ joint-founders Mikey Lion and Lee Reynolds set to return to Toronto’s CODA NightclubHaunted Hearts Juliana Bernstein7

Known for their nomadic and intimate-natured musical gatherings, the members of Desert Hearts has carved the pathway to a mixture of house and techno bliss. Collaboratively founded in the heart of the Mojave Desert by Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Porkchop, Marbs, & Kristoff McKay, the transition from a party to an international collective and record label has successfully turned heads in major corners of the world.

Though the crew may not always perform as a whole, label-founder Mikey Lion and brother Lee Reynolds are set to gather at Toronto’s beloved CODA Nightclub on February 9, bringing forth down a night of colorful eccentricity, and grooving tunes. As the two stop in ahead of their performance in Barbado’s Vujaday Festival from April 3-7, fans can revel in house, techno and love in preparation.

Tickets available for purchase online.

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Photo credit: Juliana Bernstein

Meet the talent of Ocaso Festival: Lee Reynolds

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Meet the talent of Ocaso Festival: Lee ReynoldsLee Reynolds

Tamarindo, Costa Rica will ring in the new year with another dose of underground dance music with Ocaso‘s arrival on January 2 to the coastal town. The five-day festival has grown over the years into a veritable institution within the Central American house and techno scene, with curious travelers from around the globe visiting each year. 2019’s billing is a strong mixture of veteran and new performers per usual, with notable headliners including Jamie Jones, Damian Lazarus, Loco Dice, and Guy Gerber. Ahead of the festivities, Dancing Astronaut spoke to the artists to get to know them a bit better, and hear what excites them most about Ocaso.

Anyone who knows Desert Hearts brand is intimately familiar with the name, Lee Reynolds. Moving to California from his native England as a teen, initially for a career in BMX, he soon fell in love with house music and began DJing his local circuit. It was from there that he crossed paths with Mikey Lion, Porky, and Marbs years later — and subsequently decided to throw a renegade in the Mojave. A behemoth institution of House, Techno, Love was born that night and has since been named the “Best Boutique Festival of North America” by DJ Mag, expanded into a touring entity called City Hearts, and launched its own label.

Reynolds is a jovial character, whose virility and kindness have earned him the nickname, “Papa Lee” by fans. His joie de vivre is palpable behind the decks and on the dance-floor, where he’s seen dancing as hard as the audience he typically commands during his boisterous tech house sets. Prior to joining his fellow Desert Hearts on the Ocaso stage, he dropped by to tell us a bit more about his background.


Tell us about the moment/time period where you decided that a full-time music career was the only way to go.
Well, I became immersed in the underground dance music scene around 1992 and quickly started throwing events, honing my DJ skills and building a studio. However, I soon had two daughters to take care of and had to switch my focus to graphic design to pay the bills (a skill that would prove useful when we started Desert Hearts 20 years later). I never lost my passion for the music and continued to throw local events, building my body of music and dabbling in production, but it wasn’t until about 4 years ago that I was able to fully make the transition from graphics to music. My studio has really come together over the past few years and when I’m now on the road that’s where you’ll find me, often times collaborating with the many talent artists in San Diego and LA. It’s been a long time coming but that makes me appreciate that much more! 2019 will be the year for me to unleash some of these tunes!

What’s your favorite part about the Costa Rican dance scene, if you’ve played there before? If not, what are you most curious about regarding the crowds, club culture, etc?
This will be my 4th or 5th time playing down there and it just keeps getting better and better! As a DJ I thrive on peoples’ energy and Costa Ricans have and energy and a zest for life that feeds my fire. Being a fairly new scene it comes with an open mind and lacks a lot of the stale ideas and cliches that hold back some parts of the world. They want to have a ggod time a now how to do it, if you play great music from a good place in your heart you will be warmly received. So my favorite part of the Costa Rican dance scene is the people… the outstanding natural beauty and wildlife is just a bonus!!!

Which of your records are you most proud of, and why?
That would be my next release coming out on Desert Hearts Records on February 8th. This will be my first real solo release and and I’ve been working really heard in the studio to get my tracks to a point that I’m 100% satisfied with, so I’m especially proud of this one! Of the releases I currently have out I would say that my last collaboration on DH with Memo Rex (someone that was really helped me take my production skills to the next level) is my favorite.

What’s in your crate right now that is knocking the dancefloor off its feet?
I try to switch up my selections from show to show and have just taken a little month long hiatus from DJing to focus on my productions. We have out big annual Christmas party in San Diego this weekend (December 22), so I’ll be breaking out a bunch of new stuff. A couple of my upcoming releases ‘It’s On’ and ‘Something Else’ have been getting a great reaction from the crowd, I’ve also been pretty stoked on Relief Records lately.

What are you looking forward to most about Ocaso festival?
Partying with my Costa Rican homies! Everyone down there has been so kind and welcoming to me and make me feel like family. Ocaso fest is extra magical and of course the country is blessed with outstanding natural beauty… so many reasons to be excited for this trip, but number on is the people.

Which artists do you recommend most from the lineup, aside from yourself?
I’m really excited about the line up for our event on Jan 3rd and have a few friends playing that I have got to jam out with for a while. My Desert Hearts partner in crime Mikey Lion always brings the heat and usually plays a lot of unreleased tracks from our label which is always a treat! Andreas Henneberg, Nathan Barato, Jon Lee, Nikita and the Lisbona Sisters would also be in my top picks.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that audiences might not know.
When I started DJing in 1992 my focus on the ambient sounds of the time and I made a name for myself hosting the chill out rooms at local raves. 26 years later and I’m more known for playing tunes that get people on their feet, however the psychedelic and left field side of techno still has a huge influence on me and I always try and incorporate this sound into my sets. I also had a past career as a professional BMX ramp rider, but I think most people are aware of this. Oh yeah.. I also have three grandchildren!!!

MUCH LOVE TO YOU ALL.

 

Purchase last-minute Ocaso tickets here

Doc Martin and Desert Hearts take over Brooklyn’s Scott Ave warehouse

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Doc Martin and Desert Hearts take over Brooklyn’s Scott Ave warehouseDesert Hearts

After a remarkable few years of growth, Desert Hearts is now one of the most beloved house and techno labels on the west coast. Now bringing their Mojave Desert-inspired vibes to Brooklyn’s 99 Scott Ave warehouse, November 17 is a big day for the New York underground scene.

A follow-up to their March event at 1896 Studios, Desert Hearts residents Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs, and Porky are making a habit of making a home of Brooklyn’s most unique venues. The crew invite house mainstay Doc Martin to take over the space. Spinning deep, acid, and tech-infused house until six in the morning, the crew is sure provide a night full of surprises at the Teksupport hosted takeover.

Seismic Dance Event announces house-heavy inaugural lineup

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Seismic Dance Event announces house-heavy inaugural lineupAnna Lunoe Live 1

Seismic Dance Event is a new festival hosted by local Austin, Texas promoter RealMusic Events. Known for their house-oriented electronic lineups, Seismic Dance Event seems to the pinnacle of their love for hard beats and dirty grooves.

The lineup features house music heavyweights and newcomers, with big name talent like Anna Lunoe, Green Velvet, and Duke Dumont alongside some smaller, but still reputable names such as Amtrac, Hotel Garuda, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and more. Hosted at the scenic Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, this lineup and location pairing makes Seismic Dance Event one of fall’s most intriguing festivals.

Seismic Dance Event announces house-heavy inaugural lineupSeismic

 

Featured image sourced from Anna Lunoe’s Facebook

Get to know your Desert Hearts: Lee Reynolds & Egyptian Lover

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It’s hard to believe that Desert Hearts is already crossing into its fifth birthday. The Southern Californian transformational brand has grown from a humble, grassroots gathering into a veritable institution over its half-decade of existence, and only continues to thrive with its City Hearts offshoots. Now, Mikey, Lee, Marbs, and Pork Chop are celebrating their brainchild’s birthday in the most extravagant of fashions, holding the biggest festival to date and booking an equally immense lineup.

Damian Lazarus will be spinning a stirring four hour set, Doc Martin and Sublevel and SHADED will be bringing their live performances into the fray, and many other talented acts like Kenny Glasgow and Dance Spirit also making an appearance. Dancing Astronaut had the privilege of sitting down with a series of the talent on the bill, and hosting interviews that they conduct between themselves.

Two stalwarts join us for Round 2 of interviews. The first is an LA staple, known for his connection to house music and the underground scene. We’re referring of course to Egyptian Lover, who has dedicated his life toward helping the scene thrive and sharing his soulful and grooving sounds to the world. Outside the warehouse sphere, he’s releasing on the likes of Hot Natured, Ninja Tune, and more, and even earning his Boiler Room stripes.

He partakes in this series alongside “Papa” Lee Reynolds, the English transplant who has since become one of Desert Hearts most beloved leaders. There’s something so youthful and infectious about him that rubs off on those he encounters and inspires them to maintain a positive mindset. Catch him on stage rallying a full crowd of dance-loving individuals at the festival, or any of his brand’s offshoot events. Together, they share fond memories of past gigs, offer a glimpse into their inspirations, talk shop, and more.

 


Egyptian Lover to Lee Reynolds:

What’s the feeling you get when you play a song and people scream (in a good way)?
That’s one of the experiences that I live for and what I hope to achieve with every track I drop. Trying to hit that perfect vibe and frequency that gets the crowd totally in the moment, on the same wavelength and gives them a chance to detach from the all the bad news — we’re fed with the government controlled media. When I get the crowd whooping like a bunch of wild humans, I feel like I’m doing my job. One of the best feelings you can have! I’ve definitely been brought to tears during DJ sets from the energy I feel from the dancefloor.

I myself still play with vinyl records, what do you play with and why?
I mostly play CDJs these days for the ease of use and because I travel so much. It’s nice not to have to lug around a 50 lbs box and to know I’ve got a thousand plus songs in my coin pocket so I can take the party in any direction it needs to go. I’ve been playing vinyl for about 27 years and actually played my first all vinyl set in over a decade a couple of weeks ago, but I have to say that I’m officially addicted to the black crack again! Funnily enough I did play “Egypt, Egypt” which has always been a staple throwback track for me and gets worked into a set a least a few times every year. Having to dig through my collection to get ready for the gig was such an amazing trip down memory lane…many tears of joy and goosebumps were had!

If you could go back in time and be in the studio with any artist and do a Lee Reynolds Remix, who would it be with and on what song?
Great question. Wow, so many good ones. Kate Bush, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode (ate my first acid at a DM show in London), Siouxsie and the Banshees (my first candy-flip), Grace Jones, The Clash, Bowie, Talking Heads, Fleetwood Mac, Bauhaus, Art of Noise, Bjork, Brian Eno, Giorgio Moroder, Echo and the Bunnymen, Gang of Four, The Human League, Liquid Liquid, New Order, Dead Kennedys, Prince, Queen, The Specials, Can, The Stone Roses.. I’d give my left testicle to have shared the studio with any of those legendary artists and I know my old brain is spacing out on many others. But ultimately it would have to be The Cure, my greatest ever musical obsession! Really hard to pick one song from their incredible discography but I’m gonna say Other Voices.

You are paid $10 Million to DJ a super private party. What are the first 5 things you buy?
1- Dream home for my parents
2- Three month worldwide adventure with my amazing wife Zoe and our incredible girlfriend Dani
3- The ultimate nightclub in my hometown of San Diego
not sure if there would be anything left by this point 😉
4- A plot of land to start my commune
5- A 12 pack of lager

What’s your favorite drink when you DJ? What’s your favorite drink at home?
Lager, lager, lager!!! I grew up in the UK and I’m know to kill at least a 12 pack on a daily basis. I try to steer clear of the hard liquor but that seldom works as I do love a bit of Tequila!

Egyptian Lover – Photo courtesy of artist

Lee Reynolds to Egyptian Lover:

 

“Freak-a-holic,” “Egypt, Egypt,” and “Sexy Style” are the first three of your tracks that pop into my head and all jams that I still play when I’m looking for some proper old school electro. They all make me feel you were having a really great time in the studio, which one of these was the most fun to produce and why?
I would have to say “Sexy Style” was the most fun. I always go to the studio with friends and at the time, my band. But this one weekend everyone flew to Las Vegas with Rodney O. So I was alone and booked the studio. I went in all by myself and created this track and did the vocals and when my band came back I played it for them and they lost their minds when they heard it. I felt good about it. I then released it right away. It was out in the stores within a couple weeks.

We all know that you’re the boss of the TR-808 but what’s your favorite synthesizer and when/where did you pick it up?
The amazing Roland Jupiter 8. I went into the Guitar Center and asked what’s the best synth you have? The employee said the Jupiter 8 by Roland but it’s expensive. I said “I’ll take it” and add the Emulator as well. His eyes got so big as I had them delivered to the Studio and recorded with them that day.

You been on the scene since the very early 80s and have had a huge influence on myself and many others. What inspires you and who are a few of the artists that influenced to start this journey?
My biggest influences came from Prince, Kraftwerk and the song Planet Rock. That song hit me way deep down in my soul and I knew I had to do something like that. The rap style came from Prince and by putting both of these two together you get Egyptian Lover.

I live in San Diego and I know that this city has shown you a lot of love throughout the years. Do you have a favorite venue down here and any funny stories about performing in my hometown?
I played the Kava Lounge many times and I absolutely love it. Very intimate. Once I was shooting a video there and my cameraman’s wife’s water broke and had her baby in San Diego. I finished my show and we all went to see the new born baby.

We’re super excited to have you at Desert Hearts this year. Can you tell us a little bit about your live set up, what your favorite DJ mixer is and what we can expect?
I’m gonna just do what I do best and that is Rock the House to the Ultimate of Par-tay-stivity. You will witness the evolution of The Egyptian Lover. My crazy DJ set with turntable tricks, playing records backwards, and then playing my 808 Live. Then performing my own songs. I like 4 channel mixers like the Pioneer DJM. I can plug my 808 right into it and have full control over the volume.

Desert Hearts lets 2018 lineup loose, gives away free pair of tickets for the wait [CONTEST + ANNOUNCEMENT]

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DesertHearts2017_MichaelDrummond-8391

The time to enjoy three unhindered days of House, Techno, & Love under one Desert Hearts stage is imminent, with April 28 less than a month away. Accordingly, the beloved tranformational brand’s crew has unveiled potentially its most stacked lineup to date.

Damian Lazarus stands out as a veritable “star of the show,” with the wizard-esque DJ slated for a four-hour set. LA staples-turned-underground-icons Dance Spirit will be doing a special live set, as will Doc Martin alongside Sublevel. Other highlights include Tim Engelhardt, Lauren Lane, Kenny Glasgow, SHADED, and Nathan Barato. Of course, the Desert Hearts of Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs, and Porkchop themselves will be playing as well.

There’s more: since tickets to the weekend have already sold out, the crew have decided to stage a free giveaway as well to a loyal fan who might have missed the mark before the sellout. Mikey Lion has also made a celebratory playlist for the occasion. Simply follow the link for instructions on how to enter.


Desert Hearts
Photo Credit: Michael Drummond

Pan for gold with the Desert Hearts crew or jam out with Justin Jay ahead of their Goldrush Festival performances [Giveaway]

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This year’s inaugural Goldrush Festival is gearing up to take place ahead of Thanksgiving in Arizona, wrangling together a star-studded dance and hip-hop leaning lineup across November 18 and 19. The event’s first year headliners include Dillon Francis, RL Grime, Migos, and Marshmello with additional top-name bookings that include Claude VonStroke (and Barclay Crenshaw), Baauer and A-Trak doing back-to-back, Exision, Rezz, and Lil Uzi Vert. Embracing the Arizona spirit, the festival’s wild west theme goes further than just Arizona’s iconic scenic backdrops. Goldrush is offering fans the chance to pan for gold with Mike Lion and Lee Reynolds as well as a desert jam out with Justin Jay.

With Phoenix fans gearing up for another new festival this year, Goldrush is upping the ante with a fully immersive dive into the desert vibe, giving a few lucky fans the chance to get down wild west style with beloved Dirtybird affiliate Justin Jay and the Desert Hearts crew. Enter to win both meet & greets below.

Enter to pan for gold with Mikey Lion and Lee Reynolds at Goldrush AZ

Enter to jam out with Justin Jay at Goldrush AZ

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Goldrush Festival reveals eclectic, inaugural lineup and stage details