This Saturday, May 27, Eric Prydz will debut his heralded EPIC 5.0 live performance, a development which his legions of devotees have fervently awaited since its announcement in November 2016. This past weekend, the Swedish savant honored the forthcoming event with the reprise of his EPIC Radio mix series for Beats 1. Throughout the progressive-leaning episode, Prydz premiered several new tracks – including the first on-air play of the Pryda remix for his Cirez D classic, “On Off.” Among the additional new music debuted on the program was “Feel,” from Jeremy Olander protégé Cristoph.
Today, May 24, Eric Prydz has revealed that the progressive prodigy’s track will become the first release on his new imprint, “Pryda Presents.” Though the announcement does not stipulate an intended release date for the single, it does include a particularly scintillating secondary piece of information regarding one of the iconic producer’s many aliases.
Though most think of Eric Prydz’s production characters as a trinity – his own name, Pryda, and Cirez D – the producer has a bank of more covert pseudonyms which are oft forgotten. One such alter-ego is Tonja Holma, who Prydz has announced will mark the second release on Pryda Presents.
Though Prydz has included selections from the rarely occurring alias in many of his mixes over the past several years, the forthcoming output will mark the first official release that the artist has ever provided as Tonja Holma. In preparation for the momentous label debut of the project, we’ve compiled three tracks credited to Tonja Holma in various mixes.
The much hyped nightclub HÏ Ibiza, replacing the legendary Playa d’en Bossa in Ibiza, is finally ready to open its doors to revelers who populate The White Island in the summer.
The club will be hosting its opening party on May 28, 2017, from 8pm, and promises to continue Ushuaia’s trend of creating some of the most extravagant live productions in the business. The night will feature some of best talent the underground dance music scene has to offer, including Black Coffee, Kolsch, Joris Voorn, Nic Fanciulli, among others, promising to be an unforgettable experience for attendees.
Axwell Λ Ingrosso have announced that they will be cancelling their UEFA Europa League finals performance in the wake of the Manchester terror attack that took place May 22. The duo was set to perform before the Manchester United vs. Ajax final tonight, May 24, at the was set Friends Arena in their hometown of Stockholm, Sweden.
Axwell and Ingrosso announced they would no longer be performing the show via their social channels last night. The duo stated that the cancellation was a mutual agreement between themselves and UEFA, and that continuing to play despite the tragedy of Monday night ‘did not feel right to continue.’ View their full announcement below.
When two heavyweights cross genres for a collaboration, there is no doubt it will turn some heads, especially when the song is in a major motion picture. After dropping their broadly appealing collaboration hit summer, Skrillex and Rick Ross‘ “Purple Lamborghini” has now received platinum certification from the RIAA.
The collaboration was a standout track on the Suicide Squad soundtrack, which included songs by Twenty One Pilots, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Action Bronson, and more. Featuring a cameo from Jared Leto as the Joker, the video has garnered nearly 260 million views to date. The track also made news after earning a Grammy nomination for “Best Song Written for Visual Media.”
Over the past few years, New York producer Nick Chiari has risen to the challenge of personally handling every aspect of music production on his own. A skilled producer, vocalist and musician, Chiari has released a string of strong tracks on Canadian label Monstercat and independently under his alias, Grabbitz.
Chiari’s musical inclination was obvious from early on — the producer wrote his first song before his age hit double digits. Since then, he’s produced everything from hip-hop to drum & bass to alternative tracks. The versatile artist’s style continually evolves each release, with the greatest example being his debut album, Things Change.
Released on May 19, Things Change consists of 12 markedly unique tracks. We caught up with the producer alongside the album’s release to discuss what went into this LP and he was excited to talk about the new direction he’s taking with his music.
“You can’t sacrifice your art for anything.”
Chiari’s previous release, the Better With Time EP, released on Monstercat in February 2016, is indicative of the vastly different angle he pursued on Things Change, which Chiari says is due to a realization of wanting to create a personally authentic sound.
“Things Change is a more drastic step into the direction I’ve been wanting to go in, which is more of a rock hybrid sound,” he says. “Better With Time still had its tiptoes in the dance world and, while there’s a little influence from dance music in the new album, Better With Time had more. This new record leans into the full song spectrum.”
Chiari says Things Change has been complete for nearly a year. Instead of releasing it immediately, however, he spent time planning and assembling a live show to accompany it.
“We realized these records weren’t DJ-able. We had to take a step away from it and build the live show and get the performance right. We also had to transition everyone who was expecting EDM at the time to accepting a different kind of sound from me.”
As an artist, Chiari says he’s constantly growing and exploring new sounds. Looking back at his productions from three years ago, he says he realized he was trying to “emulate the EDM-type sound [his] idols were making at the time.” Once he felt like he had perfected those sounds, though, Chiari recognized it wasn’t truly the music he wanted to make.
Grabbitz embraced his rock, alternative and hip-hop roots and the musical inspirations he grew up listening to, like Kurt Cobain, Alice in Chains, Led Zeppelin, Nine Inch Nails, and Eminem. These influences shine through in Things Change, evidenced by its embrace of a wide range of musical elements and a deliberate desire to not be confined to an EDM-constricted box.
Things Change is a 12-song musical journey about accepting change and learning to grow with it. It’s about being able to understand that things aren’t always going to be the way you thought they were going to be, Chiari explains. The name has a dual meaning, because the record is about that happening in his own personal life, but for the fans, it’s also what happened with his music.
“It’s a double meaning I take a lot of pride in. I overcame a really tough time and came out better, and now the music’s going to be come out better, too.”
Going forward, Chiari will be stepping away from DJing for the most part and focusing on his newly-developed live performances. Fans who come out to the live shows are going to be in for “a wild ride,” he says.
“I’m going to perform my heart out at every show,” he says. “I may still DJ at after parties, because that’s still really fun, and I love dance music.”
He also notes that the next album is “pretty much ready” already, and that he will be touring with his live show later this year.
The artist says that feedback on the album so far has been overwhelmingly positive but notes the importance of deeper, analytical listening. “I hope people get to marinate on it,” he says. “Everyone takes a certain amount of time to digest music, so I just want to give it time to sink in.”
Musically, Chiari has already learned an important lesson that takes some artists decades to realize.
“You can’t sacrifice your art for anything. When it comes to people wanting you to make a certain sound or make money of of you… You can never let anything like that control the art, because then you’ve already lost.”
As an artist, Chiari notes that he has the ability to make music that he truly feels and is passionate about instead of feeding into what the industry wants.
“That’s what’s going to set this album apart,” he says. “It’s not made for any specific reason or to try to appeal to a certain group. It’s just me.”
Read our full interview with Grabbitz below.
It’s been a little over a year since Better With Time came out. What are some key differences between Better With Time and Things Change?
Things Change is a more drastic step into the direction that I’ve been wanting to go in, which is more of a rock hybrid type of sound. Better With Time still had its tiptoes in the dance world. There’s a little influence from dance [music] in the new album, but Better With Time had more. This new record is a little more leaning into the full song spectrum.
How long has this album been in the works?
The album’s been complete for a long time, actually. It’s been a year, almost. We basically realized that these records weren’t DJ-able. We had to take a step away from it to build the live show and get the performance right. We also had to transition everyone who was expecting EDM at the time to accepting a different kind of sound from me.
Will we see more of a focus on your live performances going forward rather than DJ sets?
100 percent. You’re going to get a wild ride. It’s going to be a crazy show. I’m going to perform my heart out at every show. I may still DJ after parties, because that’s still really fun and I love dance music.
How would you say you’ve evolved over the past few years as a musician and producer?
I feel like I’m evolving all the time. I write music every day and naturally, everything just slowly grows and expands every day in different areas. Sometimes things get more experimental in certain areas and you get better at something. Over the last three years of putting out music, I realized I was trying to emulate the EDM-type sounds my idols were making at the time. Guys like Skrillex and people who gave the feeling of community where you can make these records and make the coolest wobbles and dubstep sounds. I was really into that. But when I felt like I’d perfected that, it wasn’t necessarily the records I wanted to make as a person. You only get to live one time, so I need to make the records I really want to make: full-blown songs.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned over those past few years?
I think the most important thing I’ve learned musically is you can’t sacrifice the quality of your art for anything. When it comes to people wanting you to make a certain sound or make money off of you… You can never let anything like that control the art, because then you’ve already lost. As an artist, we have the ability to make songs, and you’d better believe I’m going to make what I feel instead of feeding into some big money play or industry play. That’s what’s going to set this album apart. It’s not made for any specific reason or to try to appeal to a certain group. It’s just me.
Who has had the most influence on your music over the years?
I love Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, Alice in Chains, Led Zeppelin, Nine Inch Nails, Eminem, The Gorillaz… I get inspired by a lot of different people. My library contains an outrageous amount of music.
What’s the next instrument you’d like to learn how to play and why?
I can play a little bit of cello, but I would never in a million years that I’m a cello player. I want to master that. There’s a whole lot to master. It’s so much harder than it looks.
What has listener feedback on the album been like so far?
The feedback so far has been fantastic. A few of my really diehard fans that I love to communicate with have just been flipping out. That is very important to me. Everyone’s really digging it. I hope people get to marinate on it. Everyone takes a certain amount of time to digest music, so I just want to give it time to sink in.
What do you hope people take away from the album?
This album is about accepting change and learning to grow with it. Being able to understand things aren’t always going to be the way you thought they were going to be. That has a double meaning, because the record is about that happening in my own life, but to the fans, that happened with my music. It’s a double meaning that I take a lot of pride in. I overcame a really tough time and came out better, and now the music’s going to come out better.
What do you see for the future of your music?
I have the next album pretty much ready already. I have a new song coming up with Savoy. We’re supposed to be playing a couple of shows together, because our styles fit together and coincide in a way. I’m going to keep releasing content and music and videos. We’re going to be playing shows, so you can come see the live show later this year.
While artists may not be cashing in a substantial amount of the revenue made from streaming, a study done by Music Business Worldwide found that music labels like Universal Music Group, Sony Music and Warner Music Group are taking an astronomically large portion, cashing in at $9,000 for every minute of streaming.
Digging deeper into the numbers, this revenue works out to $540,000 per hour, and $12.5 million a day. With the booming growth of services like Spotify and Apple Music attaining a combined rate of over 100 million paid subscribers, and projecting to hit $5 billion of streaming sales in 2017.
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Christian Smith is one who’s certainly “been around the block.” Beginning his career well over two decades ago, he and his Tronic imprint have since become heralded as powerhouses in the contemporary underground dance space. Smith began pioneering the tech-house space before the subgenre came to be defined as such, creating Tronic in 1994 as a home for both techno and house DJs in addition to his own pieces.
Despite being doubted at first, singles like “Goldrush” and others that were considered “too soft” by distributors soon became mega-hits played by the icons at the time like Carl Cox, solidifying his and Tronic’s powerful entrance into the electronic sphere by the turn of the millennium.
Any career in the arts comes with plenty of risks and moments that require extreme perseverance. In Smith’s case, he had to deal with plenty, from growing his career and label to something he could live off of, to almost losing it, and to resurrecting it back into the brand it was after a three-year hiatus. The Swedish native discusses the arduous growth path he’s taken over his long years as an industry figurehead, and outlines his plans for the future ahead of his stop at this year’s Lightning in a Bottle festival.
Read Christian Smith’s OP-ED below, and grab tickets to catch him at Lightning in a Bottle here.
I started producing house and techno in the early 90’s. Back then making music was very expensive as you needed a proper studio to make tracks. I had a small studio, started experimenting, and eventually got my own sound and style. My sound back then was mostly techno with house influences. I did a few releases on other labels but felt that my sound did not necessarily fit on them. So while being at university in Washington DC I decided to start my own label to have an outlet for my music and have full creative control. Back when I started Tronic, it was mostly just a hobby and I did not take it too seriously. The release schedule was very inconsistent and I was also very disorganized.
Then, a few years later I approached an English distribution company called Prime so that one company could do all the distribution for Tronic, rather than dealing with many separate distributors myself. When I spoke to Prime I pitched the idea that Tronic is a label that both techno and house DJ’s can play. This was long before the term ‘tech-house’ was coined. The distributor told me that this would not work because my tracks would be too soft for techno DJ’s yet too hard for house ones. However, they took the risk and took on Tronic for worldwide distribution and gave me a P&D (production & distribution) deal. This was around 1997 and was the start of when Tronic would become a known record label. The very first release that I did with my new distribution partner, Prime was Christian Smith & Jean Phillipe Aviance – “Goldrush”
This release did ok at first but then suddenly became a big hit selling over 10,000 records. People like Carl Cox, Dave Angel, and DJ Sneak, were hammering it out and this was one of the releases that helped launch my international DJ career. From that point I was super motivated and became much more passionate about regularly working for the label. Tronic was still kind of a hobby, but then I managed to produce some singles and choose artists whose music people liked a lot all over the world.
I had a friend do the artwork for me, I chose the music, and then sent the DAT tapes to my distributer. They took care of the rest. It was a fairly simple procedure. For the next few years from 1998-2005 Tronic became one of the leading housy techno labels. My DJ career grew really fast, and when I was not touring the world, I was producing music and working on the label. I moved from Stockholm to New York, and enjoyed living in the States. I became good friends with John Selway with whom I ended up producing over 20 singles, countless remixes and an album together.
Tronic was very popular everywhere from Japan, USA to Australia, and of course Europe. The label had a bunch of big releases with artists like Vince Watson, Bryan Zentz, Misstress Barbara and Petar Dundov. There even was a release by Adam Beyer & Joel Mull, called “Capacity Unknown”.
Then suddenly out of the blue, I found out that my distributor went bankrupt. This was a big shock to me, because everything was going so well, and I generally had no worries with a packed DJ schedule, and solid releases flowing on Tronic. Suddenly I did not have the means to continue my label. Thankfully I quickly found another distributer, ELP, in Germany, and the releases started coming out regularly again. However this was around 2005 and the vinyl sales started dropping quickly due to MP3 becoming popular. It did not take very long until ELP went bankrupt as well. It was really frustrating. I never cared much about the money, but for me it was more of a passion running the label. So when the second distributor went bust I was a bit jaded, and decided to take a break with Tronic, releasing on other labels, and touring full time as a DJ.
After a three-year hiatus from the label, I got a manager, and we re-launched Tronic in 2008. We re-launched with new artwork, digital through Beatport, and also vinyl. For the first time I had a team of people helping me and se set up a regular release schedule. We started by re-releasing a classic that John Selway I released in 1999 on Carl Cox’s Intec label called called ‘Move!’. I asked Steve Angello to remix it. This was long before he went EDM.
Since 2008 Tronic has had a very regular output if releases. I remixed a few classics including Carl Craig – “At Les” and Underworld – “Dark & Long” and we had artists building their profiles, and releasing albums as well. Artists including Wehbba, Anna, Dosem, Macromism and Eric Sneo have all contributed a good amount of releases throughout the past few years. I also released 3 artist albums on Tronic since 2008. My philosophy has always been fairly simple. If I like it and play it in my sets it qualifies for a release on the label. I think one of the main reasons why Tronic is still so successful over the years is the fact that I have always been very open minded when it comes to the music that is released on Tronic. I like everything between house and techno. Even though Tronic is mostly known as a techno label, I’m not shy to sometimes release a house single. People love the pigeonhole artists and labels and follow trends, and probably because of this Tronic might not be featured on a lot of the “hipster” sites on a regular basis. But I can honestly say that am really happy the way the label has evolved over the years. I have a great team that help me run the label, as well as loyal artists that keep submitting music for the label.
A few years ago I had a big problem my old label manager who stole over 2 years of royalty income from the label. That sucked big time, but we rebounded stronger than ever. Now my team is amazing, and we are kicking ass! Tronic is currently the 2nd highest selling techno label in the world. What makes me happy about this is that it never was my aim to have a top selling techno label. We are now up to release number 246 and receive around 100 demos a week. Time flies when you’re having fun. Quality control is very tough now, but this is imperative for any successful label no matter what style. I feel blessed that we have such a big fan base and it keeps growing. For me it’s about releasing the music that I am passionate about, but at the same time I am happy to see that people appreciate the variety and consistency of the label.
This year we will have 4 albums on the label, 2 compilations, and a bunch of single releases. Even though the traditional album concept has become somewhat dated and does not yield many sales, I believe it’s a great way for artists to evolve and push themselves to being more creative. It’s easy to do singles with the same style over and over, but it’s whole different ballgame producing a cohesive album.
Forthcoming this year we are working closely together on bigger projects with Drunken Kong, Victor Ruiz, and Kaiserdisco. And of course still working with the regulars and close friends like Wehbba. For me it’s important to constantly seek new talent, while at the same time not forgetting the people who have been loyal! We will also focus more on doing Tronic branded events around the world. We are planning on doing around 30-40 Tronic events in the next 12 months. It’s a lot of work to put together these events, but I find it very rewarding because it gives me the opportunity to showcase talent that might not normally get booked in bigger venues. And also, I’m not gonna lie, it’s tons of fun to party with your friends ;).
Manchester police confirmed today, May 23, that the identity of the bomber who attacked Ariana Grande’s Manchester Arena concert last night as 22-year old Salman Abedi, New York Times reports. The bombing, which left 22 dead and 59 injured, is the deadliest terror attack in Britain since 2005.
Raising the nation’s threat level, British Prime Minister Theresa May stated, “…we cannot ignore [the possibility] that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.” One such individual could be the currently-unidentified 23-year-old male whom Manchester police arrested near the arena after the explosion.
With regards to last night’s incident at the Manchester arena, we can confirm we have arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, which came just ahead of Britain’s June 8 election.
Alongside last night’s tragedy, news has now arisen that Las Vegas may be a future target for the terrorist organization. According to Las Vegas Now, “The City of Las Vegas has emerged once again as a potential terror target in an ISIS propaganda video. In the video that calls for lone wolf attacks, several Strip properties were prominently displayed.”
US intelligence reportedly discovered the footage in question last week.
The local publication notes that, while it is unclear when the video was made, this is the second known instance of Las Vegas has appeared in an ISIS propaganda video, with the first occurring in June 2016.
Speaking on the possible uprise of extremism and terrorism within Las Vegas, Clark County Sherriff Joe Lombardo notes that, “I wouldn’t put a title in particular to ISIS. I would say any terrorism group would consider Las Vegas a target.”
As summer tourism and events are in an uptick for Las Vegas, news of the video is all the more harrowing. On the topic of vigilance toward a terror attack on Las Vegas, the Nevada Resort Association stated, “We are in regular, frequent communication on issues that impact our entire community, especially the Las Vegas resort corridor.”
Iconic English producer Aphex Twin has recently hinted at collaborating with online radio station NTS radio, after an inactive period of almost five months. An eerie website has recently made its way onto the internet, which features nothing more than a nearly unrecognizable animation of Aphex Twin’s iconic logo and a fluctuating number, possibly indicating some sort of encrypted countdown.
To further the hype, Aphex Twin shared a video via his social media account with the same visuals and vocals from his renowned track, “Can You Feel It.”
While the exact details of the collaboration have yet to be revealed, the most popular theory revolves around a live stream of some sort, once the countdown clock reaches its end.
Lightning in a Bottle has become a veritable institution over the past several years. Held annually in the expanse of Bradley, CA, the annual gathering has gained a reputation as California’s premier Memorial Day Weekend festival.
Upon the desert landscape (which will include a lake for the first time ever this year), musicians from across all areas of the electronic music realm. It’s a difficult exercise to single out a mere five artists to not miss, given the plethora of incredible artists slotted to perform at the event. Indeed, while there are innumerable exceptional artists which are not on this list, here are five artists which we recommend making a point to see.
Tickets for Lightning in a Bottle are available here.
Words by Will McCarthy and Michael Sundius.
Featured image by Daniel Zetterstrom.
5. Hernan Cattaneo
In the world of progressive house, Hernan Cattaneo is dancefloor royalty. The Argentinian veteran has been captivating audiences for multiple decades with his spell-binding, multi-hour DJ sets. With a keen sense for narrative arc, Cattaneo can lead a true dancefloor journey like no other.
Hernan’s US appearances are few and far between. Luckily, LiB has given him a proper platform to showcase his one-of-a-kind talent: the closing set at the Woogie on Saturday night.
In many respects, Bassnectar is an utterly obvious choice to include on this list. After all, the Sunday Lightning stage headliner has by far the largest US following of any artist on the festival’s lineup. However, Lorin Ashton is more than a simple large-typeface name on the LiB roster – he’s been a recurrent fixture on lineups throughout the event’s rich history.
In 2007, before he or Lightning in a Bottle had anywhere close to the renown they have today, Bassnectar was there – and he hasn’t been far since. While Ashton has been known to hop onto unofficial sets in disguise in recent years, 2017 marks the first time he’s been on the lineup in five years. The chance to watch him close out the festival, should prove to be nothing short of legendary.
3. Barclay Crenshaw
Known to most as Claude VonStroke, the Dirtybird founder took on another identity in the music industry in 2015: his own. Operating under his real name, Barclay Crenshaw has established a new reputation, veering away from the pounding club beats which define his famed imprint in favor of quaking, hip hop-driven percussion. Ranging from cerebral, to ambient, to formidable,
Crenshaw’s music resonates widely enough that he has begun to play many festivals under his birth-given alias in lieu of his renowned pseudonym. The eclectic musician proved his compatibility with the Do LaB during his set at Coachella last month, and stands as one of the most enticing billings of LiB’s Thunder stage this coming weekend.
2. Stephan Bodzin
Stephan Bodzin is easily one of the most riveting live performers in the electronic space. The German techno stalwart has the charisma of an inspired conductor, and performs his coveted live sets with a impassioned sense of bravado. His actions and gesticulations are matched in grandeur only by the dramatic compositions over which he lays command.
To catch Stephan Bodzin live is truly to witness a master at work. In the outdoor setting of the Woogie stage, Bodzin is sure to provide the kind of dramatic, awe-inspiring spectacle of which only he is capable.
1. Richie Hawtin
Richie Hawtin is a legend among legends. Indeed, modern day techno would not be what it is were it not for the veritably brilliant artist and his Plastikman alter-ego. At Coachella, the iconic artist debuted his avant-garde “CLOSE” performance – a technically dazzling showcase which conceptually paired the robotic nature of electronic music with its innate humanness.
Though Hawtin will not be bringing the CLOSE rig to Lightning in the Bottle, any set by the Canadian techno übermensch is essential to witness. Under the electric trees of the Woogie stage, Richie Hawtin’s set is guaranteed to be a spectacle to behold.