Dancing Astronaut’s 2017 Breakout Artists of the Year

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Runners-Up

san holo

San Holo

by Bella Bagshaw

2017 has landed Sander van Dijck – more widely known as the Star Wars-alluding San Holo – in the throes of prosperity. This year alone, the Dutch artist embarked on an international tour amongst sold out crowds, continued to experiment both sonically and with his live aesthetics, and worked to facilitate the success of his budding label, bitbird.

After making his rounds through Asia and Australia, San Holo spent the latter half of the year on his extensive, North American Gouldian Finch 2 Tour, accompanied by emerging Aussie, Just A Gent and bitbird buds, DROELOE, whom van Dijck has taken under his wing on the label. The two parties also collaborated this year on bouncy chill-trap track “Lines Of The Broken.”

Although his breakthrough single “Light” was released at the tail-end of 2016, the effervescent song remained a smash-hit through the following summer, racking up more than 86 million streams on Spotify. The genre-resistant track paved the way for a steady stream of fresh, avant-garde releases from van Dijck—including his radiant “I Still See Your Face,” which unprecedentedly incorporates his own vocals, along with the melodically tender, serenely-lyricized “One Thing.”

Amid his ample touring and studio time, this year San Holo also saw his label launch its own radio series, as well as release a compilation to accompany the Gouldian Finch 2 Tour, with “I Still See Your Face” as the lead track. The compilation also features bitbird favorites Taska Black, Eastghost, and DROELOE, all of whom corroborate van Dijck’s steadfast assertions that genre is nothing more than an outdated pretense.


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KAYZO

by Josh Hymowitz

Hayden Capuozzo had a sudden revelation towards the end of an aspiring professional hockey career. What was once his biggest inspiration for games, producing electronic music, was now his passion that lead him to move out to LA to learn full-time. After just nine months of honing in on his skills, he submitted a mix and was later chosen as the winner of Insomniac’s “Discovery Project” challenge, giving the Houston native a chance to perform at Escape From Wonderland Festival in 2012. This marked his first ever DJ gig and major career breakthrough.

Since then, KAYZO has climbed the ranks to become one of the most diverse producers in the game, showing off a variety of different production styles. Over the past year, he’s dabbled in trap, dubstep, happy hardcore and a bit of psytrance on his track “Holy,” a collaboration with the powerhouse duo Slander. He even delved into some melodic house on his Monstercat release “Over The Edge” with upcoming producer Gammer.

In addition to his 2017 discography, KAYZO has seen support from A-list producers like Diplo, with a guest mix for BBC Radio 1’s Diplo & Friends, and participated in the most notable live set from Holy Ship! 2017 in going b2b with Herobust, Jauz, Ookay, Getter and Slushii.

KAYZO’s highlight for 2017 was headlining Bassrush’s Doghouse Takeover, where he sold out the Hollywood Palladium in 24 hours and proceeded to put on a stellar performance. Capuozzo decided to spice up his second annual appearance at the Takeover and surprised attendees with guest appearances by Sum 41 and DJ Snake.

Although vague on the details, Kayzo should have a lot in store for fans come 2018, as he is planning a debut solo bus tour to kick off the New Year.


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Cristoph

by Bella Bagshaw

Since his plunge into life as a DJ-producer at the ripe age of 18, Cj Costigan, better known as Cristoph, has been working to perfect his unique brands of progressive deep/tech house and making his ascent in the Newcastle nightlife arena. His first momentous release came in 2016, when he was the first artist to be featured on Hot Since 82’s Knee Deep In Sound 8-Track album series

In 2017, the blossoming young artist signed with both John Digweed’s illustrious Bedrock imprint, as well as iconic, grammy-nominated DJ-producer Sasha’s Last Night On Earth — both of which housed prominent releases this year from the flourishing Cristoph.

Soon after, none other than Sweden’s own Eric Prydz inaugurated Cristoph’s bouncy progressive track “Feel” as the first official release on his new label Pryda Presents. The track was initially unveiled on Prydz’s heatedly-anticipated resurgence of EPIC Radio’s Beats 1 tenure. Cristoph returned to Pryda Presents with jolting, minimal progressive track “EPOCH.” Prydz and Cristoph have a growing history after teaming up for several of Prydz’s tour dates in the US this year, as well as joining forces for EPIC 5.0 and various Ibiza slots over the summer.

With support from such a vast, esteemed collectives of sound, Cristoph is in impeccable position for massive expansion in 2018.


ekali

Ekali

by John Flynn

Ekali‘s rise to stardom over the past three years has been a wildly rapid ascent. The Canadian producer originally began to gain traction in 2014 when he was the only Canadian applicant to be ushered into Red Bull Music Academy Tokyo in November 2014. The Vancouver producer and DJ catapulted himself even further in 2015 when Drake sampled his song “Unfaith” on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late for tracks “Preach” and “Wednesday Night Interlude.” According to Ekali, he wasn’t even sure how they found the tracks in the first place.

Ekali’s unique modus operandi when it comes to production enables him to take structural risks on his tracks, with carbonated synths and thickly layered bass he flips the script on contemporary trap music by injecting his own ethereal sonic touch. A versatile producer, Ekali creates tracks that are overflowing with eastern influenced strings (“Unfaith”), remixes that take a more ominous approach like his collaborative remix Jack Ü’s “Mind” with Gravez, or truculent future bass festival anthems like the recently released “Babylon” with Denzel Curry.

Ekali is wrapping up his North American tour with the last date planned for New Years Eve in Asheville, North Carolina at the U.S Cellular Center—for reference, the venue holds more than 7,000 patrons, not bad for a breakout artist. Ekali is certain to be one of the biggest names in electronic moving forward, and it would come as a shock if he wasn’t slated to perform at more than a few festivals this summer.


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Crankdat

by Farrell Sweeney

Christian Smith, otherwise known as Crankdat, may not be old enough to drink, but in 2017, he caught the attention of clubbers and festival attendees with his epic sets and dynamic releases. The Ohio native gained a following thanks to his infectious remixes, and his popularity was on the rise with his breakout single alongside Lookas, “Game Over,” in 2016. 2017 certainly served as the turning point in the young producer’s career as he not only earned his first festival slot, but he also went from opening shows to headlining his own tour through Asia and North America.

While on his Gear Up Tour, Crankdat performed at iconic dance music venues such as Omnia in San Diego, Webster Hall in New York, and Hakkasan in Las Vegas. After completing his first-ever festival performance at Numbers Fest in April, he landed on lineups of major festivals including Electric Zoo, Breakaway Music Festival, and Global Dance Festival as well.

In addition to booking major shows, Smith released some heavy-hitting collaborations including a track with Jauz, “I Hold Still” featuring Slushii and a collaboration with T-Pain called “In the Air.” His solo release “Dollar” amassed nearly a million streams on Spotify alone, and his remix of Gryffin and Illenium’s “Feel Good” featuring Daya hit an incredible 1.5 million streams, making it his most streamed release of 2017 on Spotify. As Crankdat continues to tour and release new music, we predict that 2018 will be the year that solidifies Crankdat as an industry mainstay versus a new force on the scene.


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Winner – k?d

by Austin Evenson

Any long time dance music fan will fondly remember the ascension of veteran artists like Porter Robinson, Zedd, Madeon, and more with their ‘complextro’ sonic identities that balanced elaborate melodies with gritty, aggressive bass and driving percussion. As the various sub-genres have continued to expand, only a select few producers have successfully resurrected this combination of elements with a modern twist.  However, when the initially-anonymous k?d hopped onto the scene, it appeared complextro might be resurrected into a new light.

Originally emerging on SoundCloud and Hype Machine in 2016 with major remixes of Manila Killa, Daft Punk, Illenium, and more, k?d — real name Patrick Cybulski — had an immediately distinctive style, blending intricate melodic synth arrangements in a grandiose fashion attached to anthemic percussion.

Towards the end of 2016, the 20-year-old Miami native took his first real moment to flex his production chops and offer a darker, heavier side to his production capacities with his remix of Huntar’s “4AM.” The remix resembled the crashing percussion and growling synths that bass favorite REZZ pioneered, and fans planted the idea on Twitter for the two to join forces on a collaboration. Lo and behold, k?d and REZZ teamed up at the top of 2017 with their debut collaboration, “Fourth Impact.” A combination of extraterrestrial melodies atop a lurching bass line, “Fourth Impact” marked a major transition for k?d and played in instrumental role in setting up his biggest year yet.

To counterbalance the bass-heavy release, k?d turned to Swedish imprint PRMD — notable alumni include CAZZETTE, Syn Cole, Hotel Garuda — for his next string of original releases . The first single, “Lose Myself” featuring Phil Good, leaned in a more commercial direction of dance music yet still kept his sonic fingerprint and sound design present. Simultaneously, k?d drew a major co-sign from dance titans The Chainsmokers as he took over their Nice Hair Radio for its 32nd episode and then supported the duo on their stadium tour across North America.

For the back end of 2017, k?d released collaborations with fellow rising stars Medasin and Varien, continued his string of releases on PRMD with “Distance” alongside vocalist Blair, before finishing the year in a massive way with an official remix of The Chainsmokers‘ “Young.”

With an incredible year on the music front, its also important to note k?d’s meteoric development on the touring front with major festival appearances at EDC Las Vegas, Electric Zoo, and Nocturnal Wonderland as well as sold out headline shows at Exchange in LA and 1015 Folsom in San Francisco. The enigmatic young producer also supported the likes of Tiesto, REZZ, Jauz, and more on their headlining North America tours.

In terms of what we fans can expect from the Miami prodigy in 2018: he hasn’t alluded to much other than new music, bigger shows, and continuing his upward trajectory at full force. For fans of Porter Robinson, REZZ, Illenium, Adventure Club, or any sound in between, be sure to jump on the k?d train sooner rather than later.

k?d is Dancing Astronaut’s Breakout Artist of 2017.

Dancing Astronaut’s 2018 Draft Class

Every year, a new class of artists make their way into the spotlight. With a number of young, talented acts emerging, we’ve decided to pick a select group who we believe are destined for breakout years in 2018. Behold, Dancing Astronaut‘s Draft Class of 2018.

1. Petit Biscuit
In the space of chill electronica, 18-year-old producer Petit Biscuiit has become a force-to-be-reckoned-with after his original “Sunset Lover” went viral back in 2015. In 2017, the French wunderkind broke out the one-hit-wonder category with his debut album, Presence, that received rave reviews upon its release and will surely set him up for another massive year.

2. DROELOE
San Holo proteges, DROELOE, truly defined their sonic identity and presence in the future bass world with groundbreaking releases on Monstercat, Lowly Palace, and Holo’s bitbird imprint. With a prime slot at SnowGlobe Fetsival to kick off 2018, this Dutch duo should certainly be on your radar for acts to step into the spotlight in 2018.

3. Gammer
UK trailblazer, Gammer, put hardcore on the map this year with a number of versatile releases, from originals and collaborations to powerhouse remixes of Marshmello & Slander. With his latest EP, THE DROP, out now via Monstercat, the Northampton native also capped off the year with a massive Diplo & Friends Mix and will surely continue to push the hardcore movement even further in 2018.

4. FISHER
Predominantly known for his work as one half of Australian tech house duo, Cut Snake, FISHER launched his own solo project via Dirtybird and saw an incredible response upon his first release, “Ya Kidding.” With his electric personality and thumping singles, FISHER is sure to continue bringing the party in 2018 and be one of Dirtybird’s most promising rising talents.

5. WAVEDASH
The next generation of up and coming bass music producers can’t be discussed without WAVEDASH included in the forefront of the conversation. The Austin, Texas trio are a classic come up story who started out as playground pals who were all gaga for Skrillex. Now, just barely out of high school, Luke, Gavin, and Michael are actualizing their dance music dreams behind a growing catalog of blistering remixed beats and punishing original products. With their idols quickly becoming their peers, WAVEDASH are positioned for a major moment, and who knows where it’ll take them, deservedly landing them a spot in 2018’s draft class.

6. Luttrell
Among Anjunadeep’s lineup of deep house young guns, Luttrell is becoming the frontrunner as he carves out his own niche in the deep house and electronica space. The producer’s tunes are already gaining support from Pete Tong and Annie Mac. His Generate EP in the summer served as a milestone for the San Francisco producer’s sonic development, and Anjuna fans can certainly expect more from the rising talent as he follows in the footsteps of label success stories like Lane 8 and Yotto.

7. Sullivan King
Bass music is having a surge in popularity, but Sullivan King has taken the wheel at bridging the gap between bass music and its predecessor, metal. Whether it be his revered set at Lost Lands, his Monstercat-backed EP with Dirtyphonics, or even his recent collaboration with Slander, Sullivan King proved bass and metal will coexist in the future and he will be the one to prove it in 2018.

8. um..
Enigmatic producer duo um.. are primed for a breakout moment in 2018. The Los Angeles-based beat makers’ commitment to their spontaneous brand of unconventionally strange electronic music plants them firmly in line for the recognition they deserve. The pair provide a nuanced sound that playfully teeters a line between avant garde and offbeat indifference, and they’ve already caught the attention of fellow experimental sound designers like Skrillex, Josh Pan, and others. Watch for Ben Bruce and Dylan Gold next year; fans are ready for something different, and um.. is primed to shake things up.

9. Oshi
A few short years into his career, up and comer Joshua Brennan is defined by his enormous wealth of potential that seems to be more finely tuned by the day. The London-bred teenager, better known as Oshi, is growing into an international DJ sensation as he continues to carve out some of the most intriguing and infectious electronic productions out there right now. Rumored collaborations with the likes of Baauer and Skrillex sit under the hood, as Oshi positions himself at the head of next year’s pack. Of all the bright production talent emanating out of the UK, Oshi is ready to up the ante, and 2018 is likely to bring a ton of new music from him our way.

Read more:

Dancing Astronaut’s top radio series of 2017 are…

Dancing Astronaut proudly presents the 2017 Label of the Year

Dancing Astronaut’s Breakout Artist of 2

What will Coachella’s EDM programming look like this year?

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What will Coachella’s EDM programming look like this year?

Coachella‘s status as a music festival has grown to become larger than life since its humble, European-inspired beginnings in 1999, and their yearly lineup is both a cultural statement regarding the current state of music and a presage to future trends.

The behemoth brand has always integrated electronic music into their programming, with artists like The Chemical Brothers, Paul Oakenfold, Moby, Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin, and even Daft Punk helping to shape its reputation as an audacious tastemaker when it comes to curation. Until Coachella, electronic music had a hard time making it across the pond — it certainly never occupied such prime real estate as desert fields filled with upwards of 60,000 attendees.

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Coachella’s longstanding relationship with EDM has been as mercurial as the multifaceted genre itself, with its programming interests shifting in conjunction with the tastes of festival attendees. 2010 saw Tiësto occupy a sub-headlining set, playing after Muse on the festival’s main stage. Swedish House Mafia’s seminal 2012 performance has become solidified as one of mainstream house’s defining moments as a genre. Calvin Harrisiconic set in 2016 marked the first year that an EDM artist has headlined Coachella, a precedent that has since shaped the festival’s programming ethos. Its most recent iteration saw the most electronic artist names in both the second line and undercard areas of its lineup in its entire history.

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So, what will EDM look like at Coachella 2018?

As always is the case, Coachella’s internal forums and sub-Reddits have been crawling with speculation around the lineup since the end of last year’s festival in April. However, 2018 has been more silent in terms of credible rumors than in recent years. 33 names on the 2017 bill were confirmed by this time in 2016, including all three headliners. This year, a mere 8 names are confirmed, with only Beyoncé confirmed as a headliner due to her unexpected cancellation.

The Chainsmokers‘ potential elevation to headliner status catalyzed a lot of buzz earlier in the year, for example, but these rumors have since been proven insubstantial at best. Such hypotheses beg the question: Who aside from Calvin Harris does have the EDM star power to headline a festival as large as Coachella? One could only name a few potential candidates, really: the new ‘it boy’ Marshmello, Daft Punk, Zedd, and maybe Major Lazer or Skrillex off of a new album.

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The Sahara Tent

Most of the Coachella’s EDM selection tends to be confined to one of North America’s most storied destinations for the genre: the Sahara Tent. Since the festival’s recent attendance expansion, it has gone to great lengths to increase the amount of space between stages, removing bottlenecks and increasing traffic flow. However, it failed to predict that the jump in attendance would largely be from those looking to quench their collective thirst for EDM.

Massive acts like DJ Snake & Martin Garrix were placed one after the other in 2017, rather than being scheduled in conjunction with one another to help ease crowding. The same was true of Sahara mainstays Dillon Francis and Steve Angello, both of which played there once more at peak hours.

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The likely reason for this lack of counter programming stems from the fact that fans pay a great deal of money to see as much of their music of choice as possible, so directly countering EDM with more EDM would likely upset Coachella’s core demographic. Still, the Sahara Tent is nearly uninhabitable after sundown, and fans can’t even break into the tent to catch their favorite sets if this scheduling methodology persists.

Coachella’s online forum users have pointed towards the prospect of the festival adding another gargantuan tent similar to the current Sahara Tent, which could showcase similar styles of music while lessening the bottleneck effect in the Sahara. A more plausible option, though, would be the expansion of the current Sahara Tent to accommodate a larger number of attendees.

Regardless of how they tackle it, Goldenvoice must, and likely will address the overflow of wide-eyed festival goers flooding into the Sahara Tent in dangerous fashion.

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Second Liners

With so many dance titans occupying the second line of Coachella’s roster over the past couple years, its seems like the event has almost jumped the gun just a bit. Booking so many of EDMs hottest names means that there are now far less to look at for 2018, assuming there are no repeats — quite the conundrum indeed.

ODESZA appears to be one of Coachella fans’ most sought-after artists. Fresh off of a new album and accompanying tour, which saw them incorporate a drum line and other exciting elements into the mix, the seminal indie/pop electronica duo is likely going to claim one of Coachella’s top spots come Spring of next year. One could even go so far as to wager that they will fill the third name on the second line and occupy the same main stage sunset spot that Porter Robinson & Madeon occupied in 2017.

Since Kygo’s ascension to national stardom that essentially began in 2015, the Norwegian giant has garnered hundreds of millions of streams and has since gone on to popularize the “tropical house” sound and captured the attention of the masses. A key second line slot seems fitting for Kygo in 2018 — a step up from his 2015 booking — and the artist certainly has the clout to headline the festival’s second biggest stage: the Outdoor Theatre.

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Eric Prydz is another name that hasn’t played Coachella in years, and has since accrued a massive increase in popularity among the dance music community. With the release of Opus in and the debut of his new Epic 5.0 stage setup, Prydz is certainly a candidate for high placement on Coachella’s 2018 poster — there’s even a good chance he could occupy a similar after-dark set on the Outdoor theatre, à la Justice in 2017. Or, perhaps Prydz could headline the legendary Sahara Tent during a main stage set from The Chainsmokers.

One of trap music’s most elusive figures, RL Grime, has been on his headlining Nova tour for the last two months, which features groundbreaking visuals that are rarely seen in the trap world, or EDM world at large. The LA native, who has redefined trap music’s fundamental style, always ensures his sets are filled with a tangible verve. He could very well close out the Sahara Tent or perform second to last on Coachella’s Outdoor Theatre, especially if he releases an album in the foreseeable future.

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Finally, after their meteoric rise to mainstream recognition since Group Therapy, Above & Beyond is also primed to their long-awaited return to the Polo Fields — maybe for 2018 after the release of their Common Ground album. The trio is known for filling their sets with tear-inducing moments aided by sentimental visuals, and like RL Grime, would make for perfect counter programming in the Sahara Tent or placement at the Outdoor Theatre.

GRiZ has never performed at Coachella and, fresh off of the release of his newest album Good Will Prevail, the Michigan DJ and saxophone master is definitely evolving into an excellent booking choice. With live, instrumental-centric sets that are full of insurmountable energy, it’s only fitting that GRiZ occupies a coveted slot on the lineup. GRiZ seems to be on the cusp of second liners — he may be closer to filling a high spot on the third line — regardless, he might make his debut at the 2018 iteration.

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Yuma Yuma Yuma

As Coachella’s electronic programming progressed through the years, organizers soon felt a need to incorporate a tent that captured the essence of the underground dance niche. Thus, the Yuma Tent was birthed in 2013. The stage’s indoor setup features awe-inspiring lighting schemes, air conditioning, a giant disco ball, and even giant beds that sore feet can head to rest and soak in the sounds of top underground talent.

In years past, the Yuma Tent has featured such legendary acts as J.E.S.u.S (Jackmaster, Eats Everything, Skream, and Seth Troxler), Richie Hawtin, The Belleville Three (Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson), Bicep, and Ben Klock, to name just a few.

So who will DJ in the legendary tent this year? Our bets are on the return of artists like those that comprise J.E.S.u.S. Others that are due for a return include Maceo Plex, Carl Craig, and Dubfire.

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Coachella’s Yuma tent selections continue to break ground within the electronic side of the festival sphere, but it will need to expand upon its current scheduling methodology in order to keep up with the growing factions that divide ‘popular’ underground leaders — like Hot Since 82, Solomun, and The Martinez Brothers — and their lesser-known counterparts.

Will bookers finally decide to pay homage to such pivotal acts as Len Faki, Amelie Lens, Rødhåd, Detroit Swindle, and The Black Madonna? The aforementioned underground acts have not typically made the cut in recent years; whether this is due to them not receiving an offer, or simply not wishing to play a mainstream festival like Coachella, is entirely unknown.

One thing that is for certain is that they would do well to expand their horizons in terms of the styles of techno and house they book, given the apparent lack of diversity in the Yuma Tent’s recent years. Ultimately, the stage is still defining its identity after only half a decade of existence, so who knows what it will have in store come April 2018.

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Undercard Hopes

Coachella’s most consistent aspect is its stellar undercard, and electronic music within this area of its roster continues to act as an integral force in its success. Acts like Nicolas Jaar, Tycho, Galantis, Kaytranada, Jai Wolf, and Four Tet all occupied its undercard last year. When one considers that even some of electronic music’s most established and hottest acts didn’t even make the second line, the festival’s depth becomes entirely apparent.

This year’s bill has the potential to showcase an array of tantalizing dance music up-and-comers. Some acts we predict will appear on the 2018 undercard include Virtual Self (Porter Robinson’s alter alias), Ekali, Big Wild, Gorgon City, Malaa, and Oliver, to name a few.

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A Cultural Phenomenon

Coachella holds strong in the festival sphere of influence, continually expanding its attendance rates and selling out each year thanks to bookings like Lady Gaga, Radiohead, Outkast, Kendrick Lamar, and more.

The festival is a glaring manifestation music’s current state and where its headed: this is especially true for its electronic programming, in which its talent buyers are faced with a more arduous task than ever to remain cutting-edge for the upcoming rendition.

Coachella’s upcoming lineup is most definitely going to be incredible no matter what, and we’re excited to see who makes the cut.

5 musical moments that shook the crowd at Suwannee Hulaween 2017 [Event Review]

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5 musical moments that shook the crowd at Suwannee Hulaween 2017 (Event Review)

Suwannee Hulaween has just turned five, but that’s not the festival’s only accomplishment in 2017. The Silver Wrapper and Purple Hat-partnered event has cemented itself as the south’s premiere fall festival; held inside the eminent musical venue of Florida’s Suwannee Music Park at Spirit Lake, the event boasts four days of expertly-curated jamtronica, underground bass, and unique house music offerings. In today’s over-saturated music festival market, standing out among the rest takes one part true tenacity and a pinch of good luck. Yet, the “spirit of Suwannee,” as many refer to these sacred grounds, runs deep into the roots of its towering moss-covered trees.

Fresh off last its conclusion, we’ve compiled 5 unforgettable moments from Hulaween’s 2017 that made it’s audacious fifth anniversary its most bright, prosperous, and wildly auspicious event to date.

All photos courtesy of Suwannee Hulaween

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The String Cheese Incident’s infamous Saturday night set

The String Cheese Incident is known for having a heavy hand in curation at their mainstay festivals. For the long-time alum of Hulaween and other transformational gatherings, the talk of the weekend centers around Cheese’s Saturday night “shebangs” — and for good reason. With six full sets on the bill, the coveted show of the weekend was SCI’s Halloween-themed “Night Of The Loving Dead” performance. Their love-themed set included renditions of iconic songs like Sublime’s “What I Got,”  Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love,” and of course, both the Bob Marley and Beatles’ original by the same name, “All You Need is Love” amidst fireworks, confetti blasts, and giant inflatables began making their over a sea of plastered smiles. As an undeniable bridge between the jam scene and electronic scenes, String Cheese’s vision of bringing a multi-genre bill to life runs deep into the spirit of Suwannee.

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Space Jesus’s secret set at the Indendia Stage

Stumbling across the Incendia stage at 2 am is as much of a treat as it is a must. Famous for its birthplace at Burning Man in 2013, the mobile artistic installation and interactive stage consists of six geodesic structures, all featuring a spellbinding propane flame effect ascending from atop its modular ceilings. Incendia has made its way across the US over the years, and is better known to Floridians as Okeechobee‘s secret set locale for artists like Snails, GRiZ, Ganja White Night, and more. Hulaween was no different. As attendees made out like children wandering through the iridescent woodland playgrounds of Spirit Lake, the unmistakable inter-dimensional wubs of Space Jesus drew late night wanderers like a moth to a flame — bringing truth to the idiom “not all that wander are lost.”

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GRiZ’s secret sunrise set in the campgrounds

After closing out the Meadows main stage with an elating funk-driven set, GRiZ took to the campgrounds in the wee hours of Monday morning, thereby confirming the rumors his family had been clamoring about all weekend. As the sun peaked through the trees, the All Good Records label head played up-close-and-personal for a crowd of roughly a hundred people. The sunrise set would become the memorable moment of Suwannee Hulaween — for those lucky enough to attend, that is. For all others, GRiZ’s secret campground appearance was the most heartbreaking affliction of the weekend (Watch it here).

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Manic Focus bringing out Space Jesus and Break Science

Taking to the Amphitheater stage on Saturday night, Manic Focus (aka “JmaC”) elevated his new wave hip-hop infused electro-soul act to new heights. The All Good Records producer served fans a hearty helping of tracks from his most recent genre-defying LP, Minds Rising, as the All Good family poured down the stage’s narrow steps. JmaC’s fiercely spirited performance culminated to the point when he brought Space Jesus onto the stage for some heavy back-to-back play, capped off with another rare Break Science showing alongside Lettuce drummer Adam Deitch.

 

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The five songs that dominated the dance floor

Walking through Suwannee felt like blasting back into time. The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” was agreed upon by attendees as the most played song of the weekend, imbuing the sacred grounds of Suwannee with an authentic Woodstock vibe. Michael Jackson’s 1980s hit “Thriller” was another popular stage anthem, creating an appropriately spooky vibe for the Halloween weekend event. Deep within the forest’s Spirit Lake stage, Dirtybird boss Claude Von Stroke treated his audience to his retro-house redo from two 80s classics, “The Rain Break.” A solid trap mainstay of the festival came courtesy of  Minnesota with his recently-released, long-awaited track, “HiLow,” which was heard heavily across the bass stages. Finally, Bassnectar premiered his unreleased collaboration with Digital Ethos, “Slather,” which was broadcasted across his 2017 traveling stage set-up.

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Perhaps the biggest strength of Suwannee Hulaween lays in its manageability of it’s sheer size. Set in an expansive venue, capped at 25,000 attendees of all ages and sizes, the festival values keeping the authentic transformational vibe alive over notorious expansion and maximizing profit. This vibe scuttles deep into the spirit of the festival grounds, across its swampy sands and panoramic landscapes.

Indeed, even purists from festivals like Electric Forests Forest often end up finding themselves more at home within this more intimate, yet equally magical venue. With a well-curated line-up and a smaller, more intimate venue, its no wonder Suwannee Hulaween has blossomed into the shiny new jewel of the jam, bluegrass, and bass scene.

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Watch The Knocks make a ‘Knock-Tail’ as Supply NY debuts the first episode of its new content series, Buzzin

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Posters thickly plastered on New York City surfaces are rarely the visual centerpieces of its metropolitan landscape — nor do they elicit the attention of the throngs of passersby in pursuit of their respective destinations. However, in 2013, a visionary walking though Chinatown on his way to the Tribeca Grand took notice. Griffin Camper’s gaze drifted to a sign denoting the existence of a supply shop one day while walking past Canal Street. Not long thereafter, he’d stroll into Tribeca Grand’s lobby to utter a brand-shaping suggestion to the business partners that awaited his arrival: “Let’s call ourselves Supply.”

Their then in-nominate initiative centered around Camper and his colleague Andrew Smith’s propensity to host an event together. The concept was initially conceived over rounds of beer, as the partners contemplated the best ways in which to approach the event industry. Supply materialized as a natural route, given Camper’s understanding of event orchestration and access to talent, and Smith’s connections to New York venues and broad social network. Once officially christened with a name, their ideas gained an identity that would later bespeak industry presence as growth soon became unprecedented.

Last, and what would prove to be a crucial element, would be the innovation of the event’s promotional material. A friend of Smith’s, Jordan Lister, was known in certain circles for both his creative and music experience — a reputation that led Supply to tap Lister to brand their inaugural event. Years later, Lister would join the team as it full-time Creative Director to help build out its content and digital strategy side. Supply has grown from a concept forged among friends to an award-winning culture agency that radiates its own distinct vibe.

“I think from the beginning it’s always been about bringing our community together in fun and interesting ways. The best thing for us is that we’ve worked in this industry for four to five years now, so we’ve really started to build that community, and not just in the people that come to the parties or the individuals that consume content, but the artists, venue owners, and industry professionals as well. Having performed globally now, we have a lot of friends and partners that we can call on.”

Much remains in store for Supply as the brand expands its reach through its event series and content strategy, boasting Sony Music, DJ Mag, and Tesla as a sampling of its considerable list of partners. One such example of this new expansion is Buzzin — a new content series on the forefront of the company’s innovation and core development.

Buzzin centers around providing a personal snapshot of artists’ lives while on the road, choosing a different act to feature each month. “I think the big piece here is thinking about the ingredients of a musician’s life, and then incorporating that with the on the road element,” Smith says of the content series.

The first installment of Buzzin features The Knocks, the feature somewhat of a nod to Supply’s history — the founders have known The Knocks for four-years now, with James Patterson (“JPatt”) of the electronic duo having played Supply’s introductory party on June 6.

Buzzin observes The Knocks as they craft their signature go to drink while on the road, “The Knocktail,” the drink’s inspiration being as Smith puts it “If you just got done with a gig and you have access to nothing but a 7-Eleven, what would you make?”

The content of Buzzin, however, will not be limited to artists’ favorite on the road concoctions. “It doesn’t have to be alcohol,” the founders note of Buzzin’s material. “It could be food, it could be a hardware product, it’s the ingredients of the artists’ lives that make them perform better or simply enjoy themselves after a long-day.” Supply emphasizes that the personal element of the series as a whole is derived not solely from the featured item’s centrality to the artists’ daily life, but from the artists’ ability to spotlight an element of their own choice. “I think the big thing here is it’s [Buzzin] led by the artist, and not informed by any brand or partner,” Smith states.

Those interested in learning more about Supply and the culture agency’s new content series may visit Supply’s website here.

 

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Sacha Robotti dishes on living and breathing music, sloths, and tour life [Interview]

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When one’s passion is ardent enough, that which ignites it will eventually take over all aspects of life. Sacha Robotti — Dirtybird’s well-loved, Belgian-raised clan member — is an embodiment of this idea, having come to a realization well into his professional life that he was meant to pursue a career as an electronic musician.

Music had clearly been something that ran deep in Robotti’s veins, as evidenced by his professional pianist sister. “I played music [classically] until I was about fifteen or so,” the tech house commander recalls when discussing playing cello in his youth. “Then, I started DJing.”

 

Sacha Robotti

 

Robotti’s tone subtly lights up when he mentions his beginnings as a DJ, and anytime the topic of his current profession arises in the conversation. His dedication and love for his art is infectious, and shows up in all manifestations of his being. This feeds right into his steadily-growing fan base, who revel in and return the enthusiasm with full force. He would be serving as a counselor to a raucous crowd at Dirtybird Campout in just a few days, and continuing a lengthy Slothacid tour right afterward — a testament to how a genuine attitude and talent can carry one far.

Before taking the leap of faith into DJ and producerhood, he faced an all-too familiar crossroads when moving into the young professional part of his life. “I had always felt there was a possibility I could make it as a musician,” Sacha began when asked why he didn’t decide to test his luck in the electronica waters straight away. “However, at the time architecture seemed like a more sensible career path, so I persisted down that road,” he admitted. 

“In my opinion, you truly get better at something when you’re passionate about it, and ultimately my passion is music.”

He felt satiated for a brief while: “It was definitely a great field at first, because it made me travel and look at the world from different perspectives. I feel like you perceive everything differently once you know how certain things are built, and how people move around.” Having been born to an Italian father, a German mother, and being raised in Belgium, a tendency toward cosmopolitan habits is as ingrained in Robotti as music was.

Another thing that has remained unchanged is his selfless interest in creating a positive impact for others. Sacha let his creativity flow through some conceptual design work, but most enjoyed “participating in an area of architecture that was really useful to those who needed it.” Before turning to music, he had been working on a reconstruction project in a war-affected area of Afghanistan.

The former architect is a strong believer of sustainable development as well. To him, it’s “the direction we all need to go in to save the planet, especially with all the pollution and destruction happening right now.” He continues on: “We need to shift to a different outlook, and start building with more recycled materials and other power and water-saving supplies that don’t consume as many resources.” One day, when he’s ready, he’ll be building his own house in such a manner.

 

 Photo credit: Chadwick Morris

Sacha’s turning point came in 2005, when he “got invited to apply for a master’s in music at this institution in Berlin.” The sign he’d been looking for had finally arrived. “When I got accepted, I knew my path was to do music full time,” he affirmed. 

His followers know the rest of the story. Influenced by the underground and other electronica influences that swept his home town of Brussels, Robotti built his own unique personality through highly danceable sets and thumping tech house works that caught Dirtybird attention in 2012. Through his music, he’s once again able to travel around the world and view things from different perspectives.

I live and breathe music right now. I try to embrace everything that I can, and take any opportunity I get to travel, network, and see different places with my work. I find it particularly interesting to learn about new cultures and people all around the world!”

In music, he also gets to continue down a path where his output is something of use to people. While architecture manifested utility on a more physical scale, his music offers people a playful escape from the real world — always a welcome gift.

An innate desire to sweep people off to a pleasant place happens to tie into his association with sloths as a spirit animal and personal brand. When throwing a warehouse party one day, where the goal was to create a place “where one could feel comfortable, relaxed, and have a good time — unlike a club-type setting,” he decided to use a sloth logo. Fans soon started tagging him on all things sloth-related, and thus he became a “sloth man.”

“Like the sloth, I like to take time to balance everything in life. They really are a positive spirit animal for me, in a sense.”

The conversation ends on a gleeful note, as Sacha names off the new cities he’s played thus far on his successful Slothacid tour, where he’s looking forward to playing next, and of course, his favorite things about Dirtybird Campout. That weekend, he went on to be lovingly welcomed by his campers, where he returned their positivity with a wild set that shattered their self control and left nothing but dancing as a result.

Photo Credit: Sacha Robotti - Facebook

 

Let’s dive a bit into your background now with architecture, the field you were in before music. Can you give us some details on how you got into it?

Sure! I studied architecture in Scotland and Berlin. It was definitely a great field at first, because it made me travel and look at the world from different perspectives. I feel like you perceive everything differently once you know how certain things are built, and how people move around. After eight years in the field, however, I realized that it wasn’t for me.

One big takeaway from my years in architecture is that I know for certain that I want to design and build my own house one day. Hopefully I’ll be able to do this soon!

 

Are you saving up for land and materials and such?

I wish, but not right now. Sometime in the future, I hope I can start.

Honestly, my life is just about music right now. I live and breathe it right now, and try to embrace everything that I can, and take any opportunity I get to travel, learn about new cultures, network, and see different places with my work. I find it particularly interesting to learn about new cultures and people all around the world!

 

What led you to study architecture in the first place instead of diving right into music?

I played music streadily until I was about 15 or so, and then I started DJing. My sister was a pianist as well, so in a way I always felt there was a possibility I could make it as a musician. However, at the time architecture seemed like a more sensible career path, so I persisted down that road until I realized it wasn’t more sensible for me. In my opinion, you truly get better at something when you’re passionate about it, and ultimately my passion is music.

 

Totally agree. If you’re passionate and driven enough about something, you can make it work! So, when was your turning point when you made the transition to being a full-time musician?

In about 2005. I was in Afghanistan working on a re-construction project. I got invited to apply for a master’s in music at this institution in Berlin, and when I got accepted I knew my path was to do music full time. I got a master in “music communication,” which is more or less a “deluxe” version of sound design. It was a more artistic side of the field though, with more theory.

 

Let’s get into some more music-related things. Tell us about your Slothacid tour!

It’s been great so far — I’ve been able to play in cities I haven’t been to before. There’s also Dirtybird Campout, which I’m super excited for. I’m playing at Sky Bar in Chicago too, along with another round of interesting places. I have about 20 more cities to hit in the next couple months. I’ll be travelling with some support as well — Kevin Knapp is coming, Rybo will be there, J. Worra, Pezzner, and Fancy Fox. I’m really looking forward to that!

 

Which cities are ones you’ve just played at for the first time, and which have been your favorites?

Vancouver is one, and I also haven’t been to Edmonton (British Columbia), Kelowna, Washington DC and a few others. I played in Boston as well, which was really nice.

 

Moving onto Dirtybird Campout – you’ve been to every one. What are your favorite things about it, and what sets it apart from other events you’ve played at?

The campout theme itself makes it different from every other festival I’ve been at. The boy/girl scout spirit, the games, the music being all Dirtybird, and the intimacy are all things I love to it.

 

Feature photo credit: Get Tiny Photography

 

 

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Slow Magic asserts clear artistic vision and transcends place in third studio album, ‘Float’ [Interview + Album Review]

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Music lovers around the world are familiar with the legendary Colorado venue Red Rocks. Artists dream of playing the world-class outdoor venue for sometimes their entire careers.

Slow Magic is one of the lucky ones chosen to share his music there as an opening act for ODESZA, and he vivdly recalls the myriad of emotions coursing through him as he stepped up to the stage amidst a sold-out crowd.

“I was actually just telling myself throughout the set, ‘This is really scary, and crazy, don’t mess up,’” he announced in a conversation a few days ago.

The clean, crisp elevation air chilled the audience’s skin, as the Mile High sun set over the Rockies. That’s when Slow Magic stole the show last May with his energetic showmanship and impeccable production skills, balancing live and electronic instrumentation.

“It was an incredible experience,” continues the enigmatic producer, “and after the show it kind of all sunk in.”

 

It wasn’t always this way. Before the young musician was playing Red Rocks, Slow Magic was still learning his instruments of choice back in 2011.

“On my third [ever] show, my laptop completely fried just before my set so I handed an iPod with all my tracks to the sound guy and borrowed a drum from my friends who were also playing that night. I had played drums for a really long time but never connected the dots until that moment. I played the drum in the center of the crowd for the whole set and by the end my hands were a bit bloody.”

Armed with his instruments of choice — a computer, a MIDI keyboard, and a couple of drums — Slow Magic has become known for his unmistakable sound and his imaginative, animalistic persona. “Music by your imaginary friend,” reads his Twitter bio.

His image, a tribal-inspired live ethos, has become synonymous with his sonic identity, with its ethereal mix of distorted vocals, swirling synths, and light jazz.

Yet, it has been three years since the release of his sophomore project, How To Run Away, which the producer says was focused around themes of escapism, and of disconnecting from a sense of place.

October 4 marked another milestone in Slow Magic’s career as he releases his third studio album, Float, on the Sony-distributed imprint Downtown Records. And, while he’s far past the point in his career of having to explain why he chooses to stay hidden beneath the neon zebra mask, the 13-track LP lays out his innate, authentic sound while asserting a clear artistic vision for where he’s been (and where he’s going).

“Its also an album about Love, in a happy and a realistic sense, even sometimes in a dark sense.”

Work for Float  began during Slow Magic’s time in Iceland. Referring to the album’s major underlying message, Slow Magic points a similar theme of his last album: “To me its about escapism, wanting to float away. Not exactly to disconnect but to float above.” Yet, on Float, Slow Magic refers to his newly-minted vision of ‘escapism’ in the transcendental sense. It is about transcending physical place, rather than a need to disconnect from it.

Once the instrumentals began to take shape, Slow Magic turned to vocalists Peter Silberman (from The Antlers), Kate Boy, Tropics, Toulouse, and MNDR to add more layers to Float.

Speaking to his vocalists, which he alluded to as a completely new challenge, Slow Magic lightly quips about his collaborators never having met him in person.

“Funny enough I realized that I never was in the same room with any of the collaborators, which is fitting as no one knows who I am anyway.”

One artist Slow Magic lamented on not being able to work with in person was MNDR, who’s laid down vocals for the likes of Feed Me and Flume. “MNDR is amazing, and her vocals have a lot of depth to them. The song really came together naturally, and I think it’s because her vocals were so strong from the start.” Standing as the album’s fourth track, “Shivers” spotlights MNDR’s Grammy-winning vocals, with it’s airy, narcotic allure, pulling them together into a distinctly chill track with distorted synths and Slow’s signature budding drum work.

When one thinks to Slow Magic’s theme of escapism, and how it resonates across multiple albums, it speaks volumes to the spaces with which Slow Magic lives and inhabits. Elaborating on the Float‘s theme further, Slow Magic mentions how “its also an album about Love, in a happy and a realistic sense, even sometimes in a dark sense.”

He elaborates, “It’s kind of a balance on the whole album between happy and sad or dark emotions.”

One track he cites at the center of this thematic is the Peter Silberman-assisted ballad, “Belong 2 Me.” The album’s centerpiece track is haunting and mysterious, yet relaxed and unrestrained, speaking to the yin-and-yang duality in which Slow Magic calls attention to. “Love is something powerful and sometimes uncontrollable,” he finally reveals.

Looking to the future, Slow Magic says he would love to see himself working with a distinctly eminent type of artist – from DNTEL and Ben Gibbard to Sufjan Stevens, Sigur Ros, and Yung Lean.

As for the extremely well-rounded vocal talent on Float, Slow Magic seems drawn to certain type of vocal quality — airy and atmospheric, bright and elegant — for which the producer says adds to the particular kind of aesthetic he’s working to create.

slow magic

“Since it [Float] was my first time working with vocalists for features, I approached it very carefully. I think the challenge is to bring a lot of people in on the project but still to keep it cohesive sonically, and I think it ended up working very well. All of the vocalists compliment a each other in some ways.”

From the sprawling warmth of “Light,” featuring Tropics, to the 80s indie-pop throwback style of “Mind,” featuring Kate Boy, Slow Magic’s thoughtfulness to vocals really shines. There is a keen balance between his erratic, raw sounds and what each vocalist brings to the track.

Take, for instance, Kate Boy’s energetic pop-sensible style that calls on the “shoegaze” style of late 80s/early 90s British indie-rock. One almost feels as if they’re center stage in an angsty John Hughes teen movie. For “Mind,” Slow Magic wanted to take a step back from the original sound of his debut album, Triangle, while still doing something new.

Perhaps what makes the entire Float LP come together so coherently are the album’s instrumental tracks. The album’s first couple of instrumental tracks — “Valhalla,” “Skeleton Pink,” and the previously released “Drums” — string together the entire first half of the album so seamlessly that the tracks begin to take on a quality of their vocally mastered counterparts.

Yet, the album’s twelfth track, “Midnight Sun,” may just be the standout instrumental track of the album. Equipped with quirky synths, changing tempos, and a fun and elegant song structure, the track is light-hearted and laid-back. Its the type of piece one would find themselves chilling out to in a hammock down by the creek or gearing up for a night of partying with the friends.

One cannot speak about the musicality of Slow Magic’s third studio album, Float, without speaking about his visceral live production. The experience is so authentic and imaginative, so ethereal and raw, that one is transported to another time and space. Perhaps that is the kind of full circle experience of his cross-dimensional appeal. To listen to the Float LP in full is to be certain of an eventuality that one will see the songs performed live somehow, someday soon.

As an artist, though, the break-out producer says he’s always looking for new ways to grow his live production set-up. “The more I think of expanding the more and more i feel like I can do with the simple set up and the more I want to challenge myself.”

Watching Slow Magic on stage, as he balances the many moving parts of multiple instruments, is as intimidating to think about doing as it is an impressive sight to behold. “I am working on a ton of new things for my upcoming tour though, things I can’t say at the moment. So I’m always thinking of ways I can make the show a better experience.”

“I tried to stay away from listening to current electronic type music while I was working on this record.”

Above all, Float is transcendental, creative, and other-worldly. It is at times soothing and melodic, while, at others, staccato and upbeat. What stands out most about the album, however, is how it stands in complete opposition to itself. Like the yin-and-yang, the album reminds us of the duality of the human experience. It is both light and dark, gritty and soft, imaginative and real, both deeply conflicted and profoundly enlightened – and, ultimately, Slow Magic’s message is about learning to love ourselves in all those spaces.

Slow Magic will embark on a world tour in support of Float this fall. Stream the full Float LP below.

 

 

AC Slater obstructs the norm in debut album ‘Outsiders’ [ALBUM REVIEW]

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The premier innovator of the revolutionary party brand Night Bass Aaron Clevenger — otherwise known as AC Slater — defines his creative integrity in the form of his debut album, Outsiders. Hailed as ‘the king of heavy bass house in America,’ the artist has grown his creative brand from the ground up, rising above the ranks and succeeding in constructing a genre-driven movement.

After getting his start partying and DJing in the late ’90s, AC Slater would soon find himself joining the Brooklyn-based label Trouble & Bass in 2008 to release his remix of “Turn the Music Up,” a track that would introduce his stylistic severity. Today, after years of building one of the most globally respected dance music institutions, Clevenger seeks to further break through the fold in the highly-anticipated release of his first full-length record. 

Ac Slater

 

AC Slater’s meteoric rise, however, did not rely on appealing to the masses, but instead of the overhaul of the mainstream allure of electronic music. The Night Bass brand started off as a monthly party series where the avant-garde beatmaker could play out his own deep, bass-centric rhythms as well as bring in similarly fresh talent from across the globe. Fast-forward a year later, the trailblazing collective took to the road in 2015, introducing his hypnotic, bass-fueled brewery of experimental music to all corners of the country.

Within that framework, AC Slater’s progressive status was in full effect, and he extended the party series into a full-blown record label that would go on to procure releases from the likes of Jack Beats, Sindin, Shift K3yWax Motif, and more.

Devisive, yet unconfined, the vanguard was determined on setting himself outside the realm of normalcy, seeking out a vision that integrates creative self-direction with communal rebellion.

“I follow my instincts. Everything coming out on Night Bass is signed literally because it’s something I would play out, or something I really believe in. I just want to do cool things with cool people: that’s the ethos behind Night Bass. Visually I just want it to be very recognizable, and the events and DJ bookings simply just have to make sense for our sound.”

Night Bass

As for his debut album, Outsiders stands as a resounding encapsulation of AC Slater’s built up accreditation in the dance music realm. All of Clevenger’s characteristic tonalities in the 11-track record are present— the bone-rattling bass, the sweat-inducing UK garage tempos, and the infectious accessibility — all wrapped up into one vastly-accomplished project. Adding to the piece’s thematic element, Outsiders also features a roster of respectable talent that fall along a wide spectrum of pioneering tastemakers.

“There’s a range of people who inspired me like Sinden and Herve up to newer artists who are carving their own lane like Rome Fortune. Everyone on there is super talented and I think each could even be labeled as “outsiders” themselves, and I mean that in the best and most positive way.”

When asked which track out of the album embodies the message behind the record best, AC Slater finds that “Misfits” encapsulates the message behind the project the most. “The instrumental is hype, bubbly and sneaky sounding. If the beat sounds right and the bass feels nice, you know we’re gonna go all night” just capture how I feel about music: I try not to get caught up in the hype, just do what I enjoy and not what is popular or trendy. That’s what the album is all about.”

“I’ve always felt like an outsider when it comes to the music industry, even one as small as the rave scene once was before the EDM phenomenon. It’s my first album so I really wanted to capture my personal experience within that context.”

AC Slater does exactly that in Outsiders, weaving in his personal development into each song with perfect finesse. The record is filled to the brim with the producer’s most fundamental and expressive work. Starting off the album, “Ring the Alarm” reigns in a confident and assertive demeanor, fortifying the LP’s domineering edge. “Dealer” highlights the producer’s musical versatility, calling upon the resilient lyricism of Rome Fortune alongside hints of Tchami‘s future bass flair. Appealing to his more grungy side, “Taking Off” with Shoffy features gorgeous UK Garage elements, while his track “Dope Slinger” stands out as an unapologetic party anthem, filled with booty-bouncing bass lines and riotous fervor.

It goes without saying, every aspect of Outsiders is held up by the smallest detail. “As far as the album art, I wanted to capture an image of a group of younger kids that are outsiders, who have been drawn to each other to build their own family. I wanted it to have an underground feel. […] They’re outsiders, they’re literally outside of the box on the album art,” stated Clevenger on the more visual aspects of the LP.

Outsiders is a testament to self-revival; an autobiography of Aaron Clevenger’s urge to break boundaries and bring people together through a new force of music. AC Slater’s debut record celebrates the vision of non-conformity, the unsettled elite, the blazing individuals who seek out the bigger and louder personas in life. As for the artist himself, the avid producer hasn’t lost his touch, providing us with his most cohesive bass house catalog that can be appreciated by those who readily choose to position themselves outside the norm.

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AC Slater & Sinden – Heavyweight Sound (feat. Dread MC) [Original Mix]

5 reasons to never miss a Bassnectar curated event [Event Review]

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5 reasons to never miss a Bassnectar curated event

BassCenter has cemented itself as Bassnectar‘s most-anticipated event of the year among his cult-like family following. Set inside the famed indoor venue of Hampton Colosseum in Hampton, Virginia this year, the event offers 3-days of top-notch “underground” bass music curation to fans, alongside a plethora of other live acts and interactive community building activities. Every single detail is finely tuned with utmost scrutiny by none other Lorin Ashton himself, according to a Bassnectar Reddit AMA he’d done.

For such a prolific annual gathering, topping it from year to year is no easy feat. Just last year, for instance, BassCenter pulled 25,000 fans to Commerce City, Colorado. Such inflated numbers eventually led its hair-thrashing visionary to make the executive decision to pull in the reigns a bit for his brainchild’s 10th iteration, with an aim to make it a smaller, more intimate affair. Indeed, is what unfolded at Hampton’s sold-out 10,000 limited capacity venue, a space dubbed “the Mothership” by bass heads, dead heads, and Phish heads alike.

Fresh off last week’s conclusion, we’ve compiled 5 reasons why one of Bassnectar’s special events should be in your travel plans soon.

All photos courtesy of Reston Campbell Photography

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1. An abundance of impressive, up-and-coming bass music

At each and every Bassnectar event, there is a slew of opening talent that Ashton hand picks with specific purpose. Yet, since BassCenter is the premier event of Bassnectar’s year, both creatively and communally, artists seem to really bring their A-game to each of their sets. Bleep Bloop came to impress with his usual brand of weird space bass. Clozee is becoming a mainstay of Bassnectar’s events, making her second appearance in two months, with her organic Eastern-influenced line of bass music. Direct openers for Bassnectar were Mr. Carmack and Cashmere Cat, who brought something different to the table, pumping in a lot of his melodic productions for Ariana Grande, while delivering heavy sub bass to get the crowd in the right space for Bassnectar.

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2. Live roaming performers, pop-up acts, and vendors at every corner

From official vendors lined up along the outside of the venue to the more organic sales of homemade goods by passionate, artistic festival-goers, one should bring their pocket book armed to any Bassnectar event. Even the hotel lobby turns itself into a market place for selling shirts, pins and gifts, and all kinds of merchandise. Those who also chanced upon The Lot’s musical musings were fortunate enough to discover a hoop squad grooving and spinning to heart thumping bass music from The Librarian, Dorfex Bos, and The Fungineers.

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3. The production quality is second to none

Cutting edge technology what makes Bassnectar events so special. The sound in itself is a physical, visceral, emotional rollercoaster that can be seen and felt as it reverberates throughout the entire body. Paired with the visuals, which are also carefully planned by Lorin and his team, the event becomes a psychedelic and communal experience. As if the sound and visuals weren’t enough to overload the senses, there were also points at which rose petals fell from the ceiling and large inflatable animals were released into the crowd. Ashton conjured up three completely distinctive, “full-throttle” sets for the weekend, complete with all his favorite music that he adapted to fit a more contemporary frame. The themes for each two-hour-long performance were Space, Earth, and Ether, whereby the iconic figure structured thematically around fan requested songs leading up to the event.

More notably, Bassnectar brought special guest Chase Iron Eyes during his Earth set, onto the stage. Iron Eyes is an American Indian activist and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and he donated his time onstage to give a conscientious speech about the continued protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. He then ended his stirring monologue with a powerful chant that resonated with those watching through out the weekend, “Water is Life!,” before providing a number for guests to contact so they could assist with the ongoing protests.

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4. Activities and art at every corner

BassCenter additionally provided an endless amount of options to pass one’s time outside of just the music. From games and booths to massages and a gift alter in The Haven, every corner of the Mothership seemed to provide a new adventure. The Lots was an enhanced gathering space outside the venue, was complete with renegade sound systems, pop-up arts & crafts fair, and guest performances. The Center itself was akin to a teeming bazaar of art, with painters showcasing their work live to a backdrop of curious spectators buzzing about.

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5. The passionate community of bass heads is one of a kind

BassCenter is not a typical large-scale electronic music event. For one, it boasts an exceptional amount of love for community. Across all three days, you’ll see selfless bass heads practicing random acts of kindness and treating others with respect, gratitude and equality. Gifts from random strangers are a regular occurrence. Meeting your new best friend in the host hotel’s elevators is not unlikely. Trading kandi, smiles, and hugs with police officers is routine social practice. Any given show feels like Ashton’s very own pop-up hippie commune. These unified ravers are not only committed to chasing Lorin’s music all over the country, but to spreading his message of love and acceptance.

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There’s Bassnectar festival sets, and then there’s Bassnectar curated events. The proof is in the pudding with BassCenter X, and seeing is believing if one wants to know – truly know – what this immersive community is really about. The next chance to commune with the progressive, fun-loving and wildly ostentatious Bassnectar community is New Years Eve in Atlanta, Georgia!

Featured photo courtesy of aLive Coverage

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Walker & Royce dig deeper, discuss the art of the album, & Dirtybird Campout preceding upcoming album ‘Self Help’ [Interview]

This post was originally published on this site

“Birds of a feather flock together” — so goes the proverbial phrase for those whose indistinguishable interests, ideas, and characteristics converge. 

In the pantheon of propelling tech and bass house to unforeseen heights lies the nest of a rather zany flock of birds. The Dirtybird nest — overseen by the venerable Claude VonStroke — hosts all kinds of crudeness, lewdness, depth, and darkness. For those unfamiliar, it helps to think of this crew as an eccentric ostentation of peacocks, really, over a stark flock of birds. The label cultivates a truly idiosyncratic array of artistry, whose ethos is exemplified in its artist’s stylistic differences. Indeed, Dirtybird soars in its artist’s abilities to create outside of the box material, seize a moment, a feeling, or fill a room with insatiably booty-clapping tunes.

Exemplifying the Dirtybird ethos is none other than the rising Brooklyn-based tech house duo Walker & Royce, comprised of Samuel Walker and Gavin Royce.

Walker & Royce

“I think what works is that our sound fits in with Dirtybird, but it’s not what people think of when they think of Dirtybird. I think that’s what Dirtybird and Claude VonStroke likes about us,” Sam Walker articulates of the duo’s unique output.

Together, the two operate like a well-oiled machine: relaxed and respectful in each other’s presence, interrupting one another when they speak only to double down on a point, get a laugh, or finish one’s sentence. It’s safe to say they’re most definitely birds of a feather.

Naturally, Gavin Royce continues on Walker’s sonic comment:

“We do try to bring in a little bit of disco, or a little bit of techno, or a little bit of other things from time to time so it’s not just straight up bass house. And a lot of times the breakdowns are these little things which happen to come together accidentally so a lot of this stuff is accidentally put together…. Happy Accidents. “

Happy accidents are something the two know quite well.

Walker & Royce got started in the DJ circuit in 2011, gaining attention for their unique track structure from a vast array of talent. With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, the outfit has bridged the sonic gap in tech house in-between outwardness on the dance-floor and inner contemplation at home. Their tunes additionally explore an altruistic and diversely passionate style of production known by few others, manifested through penning songs through a creative process normally utilized by vocalists.

Among their very first of releases as an entity was when Crosstown Rebels’ boss Damian Lazarus noticed their remix of SAARID’s “Future Lately,” on Nervous Records. The two were then recruited to the famed label with their EP You’re Not Welcome,  and with that,  launched into the dance music spotlight.

Around this time, the boys also went on to release a track on OFF Recordings that went on to become the house anthem “Connected.” The song was played in heavy rotation and even went on to become a mainstay in Solomun‘s performances. Thinking back on the sonic differences between their early releases, it’s easy to see that Walker & Royce was setting the stage for their diverse range of sounds that would follow. Their debut EP on Moda Black entitled Sister, released in 2014, was even picked up by tastemaker Pete Tong as his Essential New Tune, in turn becoming a staple festival track. Walker & Royce’s remix of Baunz’ “Out the Window” on Pets Recordings garnered support from many of the biggest artists in electronic music, further building off the success of Sister.

The duo have since found themselves in Claude VonStroke’s seminal Dirtybird Records’ nest, with a series of multiple releases under their belt. Tracks like “Boy,” “Hit Dem Draws,” and more, have continued to cement their standing as a strong force within the next generation of tech house greats. While the two admit they’re too close to their music to see it, their unconventional take exemplifies exactly what a subgenre that can at times sound all-too-similar needs. Walker & Royce’s output consistently surprises their fans as they come into their own sonically, but such is what they’ve come to know and love about the two. Fans are ensured that their creative process is cyclical.

Recent times have seen the two have buckled down forging an brand new body of work, a debut album, that is for both the dance-floor and home listening. “We want artists to challenge themselves to do a body of work like this, and I feel like it made us write music that’s a little bit different than what we usually do,” advised Royce.

Self Help is thus a career-defining moment for the two. The immensely clever project is sure to lure in listeners with its club-ready grooves, only to leave them in the numbers of sly contemplation. Take even just the project’s lead singles for example: “Take Me To Your Leader,” featuring Dances With White Girls, dominated the festival circuits late this summer. Meanwhile, a Green Velvet-assisted “Rub Anotha Dub” featuring Green Velvet is also on its way to anthemhood.

On Self Help, Walker & Royce invite music aficionados of all genres to get lost in the flowing constructs of their imagination while they search for the constantly evolving remedy of what it means to help one’s self and others in an ever-evolving musical world that’s always in need of some companionship.

Our goal was to have people that aren’t just dance music fans listen to this album. Dirtybird has such a huge fanbase and they’re so amazing, but we wanted to push them a little bit to listen to some different music and we also wanted to bring people in who didn’t necessarily listen to Dirtybird music in to listen to ours….” – Royce

Dancing Astronaut got together with Walker & Royce prior to the two embarking on their Self Help tour to discuss the new work, the art of the album, its place in an industry driven by singles and EPs, happy accidents, and of course— the Dirtybird Campout.

Read our full interview with Walker & Royce below.

Walker & Royce

 

Congratulations, first, to you two on your latest single, the earworm-inducing “Rub Anotha Dub, ”which has admittedly been stuck in my head since its early September release. What was the process like passing along your unconventional track structure to Green Velvet?

 

[Walker] It was kind of like making a recipe without all of the ingredients, and then to finish it later. We sent him [Green Velvet] a bed, he sang over it, and we totally reworked it. It was one of the last tracks we finished for the album and of course, it was a lot of pressure. We didn’t want to let him down, to be honest.

He’s got to be a tech house hero of yours.

 

[Royce] Yeah. But with Curtis, or Velvet, it was a little hard for us to get him off the celebrity, DJ thing. I mean I grew up listening to him. He had a track in 1991 that I grew up listening to, or like when I went to the Junior High Dance. I used to breakdance to him. He’s somebody we’ve looked up to forever. Before we even started making music.

Had you thought of reaching out to anyone else for the track?

He [Green Velvet] was definitely the first person we reached out to for the album and he was definitely the last guy to turn in a vocal for the album.

What was the collaboration process like?

At first he was really into doing the collab but then things come up and it really looked like it wasn’t going to happen. But we played a festival with him in Mexico and Sam had gone back with him to the hotel after the gig and I had hung out with him for a bit and he said, “Look I really want to get on the album.” I said, “I’m going to text you three times a day until you send us a vocal.” He said, “ok do it.” And I did and we had a vocal a week later. It was a lifelong dream to collab with him, a career-long dream I guess you could say.

I noticed on the cover of the single as well as the forthcoming Self Help there’s a peace sign, a yin-yang, as well as an Om from the teachings of Hinduism— and that the two of you despite what some may gather from your track titles— have long incorporated elements of introspection into your music. Is this cover an outward testament to those beliefs in any way?

[Walker] The yin-yang perfectly encompasses our relationship. Gavin and I have this very complementary relationship where all the things I suck at he’s good at and vice versa. We need each other and fill in all the gaps that the other person is missing. As for some of the other things and coming from being DJs, our idea with production was to write music we thought was missing. This is our Self Help, we’re writing the music that we can’t find. No one’s writing this music so we’re going to have to write it ourselves. I go back to when progressive house got really stale and I was still into it but I felt like I ran out of records to buy. Of course, though, it’s a little bit open to interpretation.

How personal is this concept of self help for you two?

[Royce] It means a few different things. Its both us laughing at the idea of self help, but also as we’re getting older it’s also us embracing it. I mean I do yoga now. Years ago things we kind of laughed at we’re into now. It’s also very much an, ‘if you want something done right you gotta do it yourself, you gotta believe in yourself kind of thing.’ In this line of work, you have a lot of people who are like what are you doing with your life and you definitely have got to believe in yourself to get where you want.

Definitely.

[Walker] You have to push through it. Especially if everyone’s telling you it’s wrong, because at the end of the day only you know what’s right.

Sort of a testament to your own career.

[Royce] Yeah definitely

[Walker] The one thing I want to qualify though is that we don’t want to take credit for everything that’s happened. We’ve had a ton of support but at the same time, there has to be something to support, right? Really things have only taken a good turn in the past year or two. We’ve had some successes but nothing’s really caught on. During that whole time when we were ready to give up and throw in the towel before these opportunities started happening, I feel like it was especially important at that point that we believed in ourselves. We felt so isolated. There were people that liked what we did but it didn’t seem to be taking off.

[Royce] We had friends and family members hinting at throwing in the towel and definitely us thinking we should throw in the towel and we pushed through ourselves. It means a lot of different things and of course, the artist interpreted self help. We didn’t demand that any specific symbols be on there, but he incorporated it all in its own right.

Did you have an audience in mind when you were first working on the record?

[Royce] The album is definitely a dance album but it’s us taking a step towards expanding our fan base. Trying to reach different people. We’re not trying to make pop music but we’ere trying to have more vocals and we didn’t want this album to be just club banging tracks, or just like a 10 track EP. We wanted this to be a body of work that worked from beginning to end as something that people listen to in full and at home not just at dance clubs.

Keeping in mind that more and more tech house artists are becoming well known—Dirtybird‘s garnering more fans by the day—and the tunes are reaching more audiences than ever before, how are you two as Walker & Royce maintaining your unique essence as a duo, specifically on the new record?

[Walker] I think what works is that our sound fits in with Dirtybird, but it’s not what people think of when they think of Dirtybird. I think that’s what Dirtybird and Claude VonStroke likes about us.

[Royce] We do try to bring in a little bit of disco, or a little bit of techno, or a little bit of other things from time to time so it’s not just straight up bass house. And a lot of times the breakdowns are these little things which happen to come together accidentally so a lot of this stuff is accidentally put together. Happy accidents. You talk to any producer and they’ll know.

There’s so much beauty in that…Happy accidents.

[Walker] Exactly. Yeah. Even on a side note the last couple weeks I’ve been looking through Beatport trying to find music to round out our set. A lot of our set, especially the shorter sets of ours, we play mostly our own material. So we want to branch out from that and it’s tough to find stuff that fits in with what we’re writing. We’ve got a lot of friends and other producers that occasionally give us tracks and we like them a lot but in general, I feel like this weird disconnect with the stuff that I’m hearing. And I don’t know if that means that there’s sort of a weakness or an opportunity in the scene but I feel like that’s where we fit in…

I think of older tracks of yours like “Sister” on Moda Black or “A Perfect Sound” with Louisahhh that saw out your rise to where you are now and the full attention of Dirtybird. Those early tracks feel much more sonically open, even on your Justin Martin’s “Feels” reworking the tunes feel more instrumental, more indie if you will. You’ve appealed to such a wide spectrum of artists in dance music and your music has stylistically evolved so much. What type of sonic space are you aiming to occupy in your new music?

[Royce] Since this is an album we wanted it to be different. We talked even years ago about it.

[Walker] One of the guys I used to work with Dennis DeSantis said, “I don’t make music. I make machines that create happy accidents for me to make music with.” And so with that in mind, the writing process is not always direct for us. You have to just let yourself write what’s going to happen and if it turns out really well then great. We’re trying to create these moments. We want to create moments on the floor. That’s a guiding principle for us. We’re trying to create a setup and then a moment but how to do that is always shifting. We go in with an idea like here’s the vibe we’re trying to do and when we finally hit it we’re like ok save the project now from here we have to finish it.

And when did you first begin working on Self Help?

[Royce] January. We had one track done when we started.

[Walker] We had some unfinished material that wound up becoming some of the tracks on the album. Once people sang on them. Some of the songs came from the same project although they’re wildly different, where the writing process forks. So yeah the whole thing took about eight months.

Papa Claude [VonStroke] played a role in the record, which has definitely got to be a treat, how specifically was he involved?

[Walker] We would send the music almost straight away to him.

[Royce] It was his idea that we did it. I think us as artists if you’d asked us ten months ago, if we were ready to write an album, I would have said no.

[Walker] Yeah.

[Royce] I would have been like yeah maybe another year. But he was the one that pushed for it and was like no I want you to do this and we were kind of like well I don’t know let’s think about it. He definitely was the one that pushed for it and as we talk about self help he was somebody that believed in us. So that was a huge confidence boost for us.

Did he A&R the album?

[Royce] Yeah. He’d tell us if this was good or if something needed to change. We thought about maybe collabing with him but if you notice on the album all the vocalists are features. That was kind of the line we drew early on. Instead of doing just a bunch of collabs we wanted this album to just be features.

[Walker] On that note too, the album gave us a bit of clout to pull in some really good vocalists. If you’re just doing an EP if you talk to someone that’s a really good singer maybe they won’t want to be interested, but because it was an album we got to tap into that. A lot of these things wouldn’t have happened without the album’s gravity.

But you two were the ones who chose the respective vocalists?

[Walker] Green Velvet definitely, and Dances Gavin goes way back with.

[Royce] We had actually meant to do something together for awhile and he actually was the first person to get vocals back to us.

[Walker] He turned them around in like two days.

[Royce] If you notice there’s two songs with him on the album.

Right.

[Royce] He actually wrote another song on the album. It’s his lyrics that we had somebody re-sing. So he really had three songs on the album.

Oh wow…

[Walker] That guy is writing machine. If you give him enough beats, beds or demos he wants to get you like ten different songs in a day. “Take Me To Your Leader,” he only did one time through. He did it the first time through. We thought about having him do it again and he said no. *Laughs* He literally sang it that one time through and never sang it again. His voice is so good and it didn’t any reworking or re-singing. Everything was clearly intelligible through the speakers in a club.

What’s the name of the track he wrote?

[Walker] “Pass That” with JPatt on the vocals for it. Dances came up with the concept and JPatt is a really good friend of both of ours and also Dances.’JPatt’s in The Knocks who’re Brooklyn homies of ours.  We had talked about collaborating with The Knocks for the album and it didn’t end up happening so I had JPatt sing that song and he was cool to do it.

Collaboration with The Knocks would have been incredible and I’m sure JPatt’s is alone, but that’s a nice direction.

[Royce] There’s a few collabs that didn’t happen that I think are gonna happen in the future. There’s a lot of stuff that’s coming out of this album. We have a couple songs that didn’t get finished the way we wanted that we’re gonna put on some other stuff and we have a couple of collabs that we wanted to make happen before that we’ll make happen here in the future.

That’s exciting.

[Royce] Yeah yeah a little exciting cause it’s like ok we didn’t get in the studio with those guys but we can still make it happen anyway because everyone wants to do it so that’s kind of cool.

How’s it been working with the entire Dirtybird Crew more recently? They’ve got to be like a family at this point.

[Walker] That’s exactly what it is. It feels right for us. It’s the one home where we fit in really well, we’re friends with everybody, and it really does feel like a family, as cliche as that can be. We’ve been involved in other labels and they just didn’t feel right like this one does. I definitely don’t think that we’re like the typical kind of Dirtybird artists but I think that’s also what makes it better.

Family Reunion, Dirtybird Campout coming up right in the middle of your Self Help Tour. What’s cookin’?

[Royce] We’re kind of debuting the album! We just confirmed, and you can announce this, that Dances With White Girls is “hosting” the set. Not MCing the entire time but he’s gonna perform a couple of the songs live during the set which is going to be really cool. He’s more than welcome to talk whenever he wants we told him during the set. *Laughs*  I don’t think it’ll be too much though I don’t think he’ll be like “ok everybody put your hands in your air the whole time. But I think Campout is great because we’re a couple of guys in our thirties and festivals are fun but I can’t stand to be at a festival longer than a few hours even if it’s even a day. *Laughs* I’m old, there’s too much noise. What I love about the Dirtybird Campout is that there are all these other things to do to keep you kind of fresh. You don’t have to be in front of a speaker the entire time. People don’t have to be hammered, intoxicated the entire time. We’re going Thursday, so the night before, and staying until Monday. I’m excited as anything about it. I think it’s going to be fun. It’s the only festival I’ll do that for and I know maybe I’m biased but they create an environment that’s unreal. It’s different.

Anything special planned? To attain as intimate of a performance as you can, sort of akin to the festival ethos… removing the wall from artist and attendee.

[Walker] We’re doing a couple things. We have a couple events lined up, a meet and greet and there’s definitely going to be specific self help stuff lined up at the campout. As for our set, we want to touch everything. I want to get in there and make custom edits of everything. There are a couple tracks that aren’t the same bpm as everything else so maybe what we’ll do is sort of bring them up and make them a bit more energetic so everything works in between.

Old and new tunes?

[Walker] Well and that’s the other thing, you had mentioned “Sister” earlier and we hadn’t been playing that one in awhile so I want to go in there and throw in special edits of older tracks like that. Some of the older tracks are so far out from what we’re doing right now and not connected. But definitely, the stuff that started this whole thing like some of the Pets material we want to do something special, something memorable, and something where you can’t just go out and buy [it] yourself. The album’s out on October 20th so people won’t have the album by then.

Speaking more generally about the Self Help tour, what are some of the things you’re hoping to emanate?

[Royce] A couple of stops on the tour we have some extended sets so we’re hoping to really flex our DJ skills on the tour. We’ve headlined a lot of clubs are parties but this is also the first time we’re doing an actual tour. Getting into this, we were DJs first, and so for me the longer we have to play the better. I’m really looking forward to be able to play these parties and digging a little deeper. Not just playing the obvious tracks. Definitely showcase the album but also a lot of the music that we’re into, where we’ve come from. I love DJing so much so I’m excited for that.

What track, if you had to pick right now, that’s not your own would you have to throw in your circuit?

[Walker] That Justin Jay Time song. *Uuuuhh in unison* We both love it. We want to do a remix of it. I don’t know if that’s going to happen with all the other modifications of other tracks we want to do before the tour starts but hopefully, we can do something with it.

Looking at the album now in hindsight do you plan to do another down the road?

[Walker] Definitely. I almost prefer the album. In the immediate future we’ll probably put out some EPs and we have remixes that are set to drop but the album process is great. You sort of knuckle down and create a whole bunch of content. You create a lot of material for yourself to rework like we were just talking about. These album tracks can turn into other remixes which we can delve back into. Rework the vocal into a totally different remix and now we’ve got two tracks where one may really work on the dancefloor and the other’s different. It’ll just be a constant cycle. Maybe taking a breather once in awhile but not much…

Anything else you want to share about Self Help, the record or the tour?

[Royce] I have a goal of getting people to listen to Self Help from start to finish. The thing that made us most nervous about doing this is we definitely do not live in an album world. Everything is singles and EPs and I think that was a big risk that we had to decide to take. Like we were talking about earlier if you had asked me ten months ago if we were ready to write an album I would have said no because I don’t think we live in a world that album’s really exist anymore. When I was younger it was all about the album, and it’s really hard to get people to listen to things now that are more than a standout track so I’m hoping people listen to it start to finish because we’ve arranged it and the tracks in a way that make sense, at least to us. I also hope that the album does come back…

Absolutely.

[Royce] We want artists to challenge themselves to do a body of work like this, and I feel like it made us write music that’s a little bit different than what we usually do. Like you said before, I think the material now has a different sound than what we’d done before and we didn’t necessarily purposely do that, we wanted to make this album about more vocals, but I think that forced us into a corner we’re releasing a bunch of tracks all at once and it kind of changes things.  Our goal was to have people that aren’t just dance music fans listen to this album. Dirtybird has such a huge fanbase and they’re so amazing, but we wanted to push them a little bit to listen to some different music and we also wanted to bring people in who didn’t necessarily listen to Dirtybird music in to listen to ours.

Walker & Royce’s debut album Self Help is out Oct. 20 on Dirtybird. Find them on tour here.  

Photos courtesy of Walker & Royce.

Read More:

Meet the counselors of Dirtybird Campout: Ardalan

Walker & Royce link with Green Velvet on tech house earworm ‘Rub Anotha Dub’

Walker & Royce share groovy, extraterrestrial visuals for ‘Take Me To Your Leader’

 

 

The 2017 Oregon Eclipse Gathering: An event in totality [Event Review]

This post was originally published on this site

As thick dust clouds covered the secluded desert terrain of Big Summit Prairie, Oregon, flocks of eclipse chasers converged onto Ochoco National Forest with its 360 degree views of mountainous pines for the Oregon Eclipse festival that would soon unfold. Their ultimate mission was to view the magic of totality, which occurred between 9-10am on Aug. 21, 2017, among thirty thousand like-minded people.

In an off-year of their globally renowned festival, the producers of Symbiosis Gathering teamed up with 13 of the world’s premier independent festivals — Lightning in a Bottle’s Do LaB (California), Rainbow Serpent (Australia), Sonic Bloom (Colorado), Origin (South Africa), Envision (Costa Rica), Beloved (Oregon), and many more—for a seven day global synaesthesia of art, ideas, music, dancing, community, and profound transformation.

Jacob Avanzato - Oregon Solar Eclipse

Photo courtesy of Jacob Avanzato

An international melting pot of people were represented at the festival, including infants perched atop their mothers’ chest, families of four or more enjoying “Kids-biosis,” and retired burner folks with their decked-out light-up walkers. In addition, strangers speaking every language from French to Japanese at the Sky Stage as it pumped deep desert house, and Native American tribes and spiritual leaders from the countries of Ecuador, Columbia, and Peru were in attendance.

Tribes from Standing Rock also traveled to Ochoco to give political demonstrations at the organically constructed arena, 1Nation Earth, as well as to ignite the three sacred fires placed throughout the festival grounds. One female shaman even journeyed from Okinawa to conduct ceremonial water blessings, in which she anointed willing participants.

Every installation paid such keen attention to detail that it was hard to believe most of Oregon Eclipse’s structures were constructed from raw materials used from the very land that housed each structure. Old moss covered branches and rocks formed the pathways and walls of the festival’s many temple-esque domains, with curtains draped from the ceilings, and walls of stained glass windows suspended into thin air. Sacred geometry artwork was the centerpiece of most installations. Live painters abounded, while Burning Man installations made guest appearances.

Juliana Bernstein - Get Tiny - Oregon Solar Eclipse

Photo courtesy of Juliana Bernstein

Symbiosis’ bold endeavor far exceeded any expectations, despite having never received money from a sponsor — ever. The production was massive and breathtaking, because this independently-assembled team of unique global collaborators constantly pushed out maximum effort to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience during the entire process. It’s safe to say they achieved their goal. Installations and exhibits were being completed all throughout the week, even as attendees arrived day-by-day. Construction never really ceased, nor did the grounds ever stop growing. Ochoco remained a constant collaborative community at all times, whose psychedelic installations came alive at night.

As for the festival’s music lineup was held across seven stages: one main, four slightly more specialized stages, and two stage dedicated solely to live performance.Its main musical attraction, dubbed The Eclipse Stage, was utilized as a gigantic harp suspended from the tips of the stage onto its side structures that also would become integrated into live performances throughout the week. This stage hosted Bassnectar, Beats Antique, Emancipator, Random Rab, TroyBoi, The Glitch Mob, and many more.

Jacob Avanzato - Oregon Solar Eclipse - Eclipse Stage

The Eclipse Stage, photo courtesy of Jacob Avanzato

The infamous Desert Hearts clan participated in a 5-hour takeover on The Sky Stage, pumping deep, dark tech house into the forest and hypnotizing house heads there with pulsating shamanic drum rhythms. Meanwhile, Dirtybird player Justin Martin delivered a 4-hour extended set of soul-penetrating house and techno that lasted into the wee hours of the morning.

Juliana Bernstein - Get Tiny - Oregon Solar Eclipse (0)

Photo courtesy of Juliana Bernstein

But, make no mistake, the house stage DJs were guests in this global arena of trance and downtempo. International eclipse festivals are generally based around trance and downtempo insofar that the bass, jam, and eclectic circus acts were actually guests in this experience. In fact, The Sun Stage, which housed the beautiful blue spaceship-like structure used at the LIB gathering, pushed psy trance until 6am everyday. Even if you didn’t come for the trance, as one attendee put it, you were getting dosed with it daily anyway — courtesy of the full FUNKTION ONE system populating the stage.

Photo courtesy of Jacob Avanzato

Photo courtesy of Jacob Avanzato

While the sun baked the Prairie well into the high 80s each day, The Earth Stage pumped world-influenced glitch into the freezing desert nights, which reached into the low 40s. The Moon Stage served as the festival’s bass head haven, housing Bleep Bloop, French glitch supreme Clozee, EPROM, Minnesota, and, of course, Lorin Ashton’s coveted secret ‘West Coast Lo Fi‘ set.

Photo courtesy of Jacob Avanzato

Photo courtesy of Jacob Avanzato

As far as transformational festivals go, the Eclipse Gathering raised the bar on all counts. In workshop spaces like The Parlor and The Hub, lectures and dialogues ensued over mind-expanding topics ranging from permaculture, nutrition, and consciousness, to elemental alchemy, psychoactive substance, sexuality, and astrophysics. Entire structures were dedicated to yoga and dance shala, where hourly sessions were held of everything from bass yoga and vinyasa flow to belly dancing.

Juliana Bernstein - Get Tiny - Oregon Solar Eclipse (2)

Each interactive installation offered diverse round-the-clock activity at every turn. The Mud Dance Experience, for example, invited attendees to strip down to their skivvies and bathed each other in wet clay. The Sound Immersion Experience, housed hammocking meditators in a 360-degree healing cocoon of sound emanating from surrounding gongs and dijiridoos.

Perhaps the most inspired interactive digital attraction was Android Jones’ MICRODOSE VR dome installation, which opened up each night after dark. Participants would enter the large, white structure for a 30-minute sensory-engulfing cinematic experience featuring Android Jones’ psychedelic artwork coming to life before their very eyes. The kicker: the ‘film,’ of sorts, was being controlled by four audience members in virtual reality.

Photo courtesy of Jonkillz Photography

Photo courtesy of Jonkillz Photography

Then, of course, there was the main event. Most attendees stayed up through the night to experience the event in totality. An early Random Rab sunrise set was going off just before, as ecstatic hippies performed yoga in the morning sun. Hot air balloon rides peaked over the trees as they tethered over the grounds’ massive lake. Picture-ready burner clans turned up decked out in their flashy garb, as giddy festival goers filed the space between the sacred Sun and Moon Temple grounds wherein the native tribes lit their final sacred fire.

As morning turned into night, birds scattered, temperature plummeted, the sky went dark and eyes swelled as a ring of fire filled the sky. Attendees stood in awe as if a portal had opened up into another universe. A Woodstock-esque character shook his maracas. A young infant looked bewildered in his stroller. Delirious party-goers clanked their mimosa glasses. Strangers embraced, tears fell, and a deep sense of gratitude filled the air — Oregon Eclipse attendees had finally manfested what they intended to do, learning that the power of intention was the most important takeaway on these sacred grounds.

Juliana Bernstein - Get Tiny - Oregon Solar Eclipse (4)

Photo courtesy of Juliana Bernstein

Oregon_Eclipse_2017_Jacob_Avanzato_28

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Avanzato

Read More:

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Envision’s 2018 lineup features Manic Focus, Bob Moses, DJ Tennis and more