NMF Roundup: Oliver Heldens remixes CHIC, SLANDER and Spag Heddy team up, Ray Volpe flips Ookay + more

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NMF Roundup: Oliver Heldens remixes CHIC, SLANDER and Spag Heddy team up, Ray Volpe flips Ookay + moreOcaso Festival Tamarindo By Pablo Murillo 06 01 2018 0525

It’s most important day of the week: New Music Friday.

This week’s releases are true stunners. After announcing a collaboration with Lights back in July, deadmau5 has finally unveiled “Drama Free” as part of his mau5ville: Level 2 EP. Oliver Heldens throws it back four decades by remixing CHIC‘s 1978 hit “Le Freak,” adding in a pounding bass to accentuate the original’s groovy beat. Bingo Players and Bali Bandits bring the funk with “Body Rock,” and SLANDER and Spag Heddy waste no time setting “Running to You” on fire. Ray Volpe puts his own spin on Ookay‘s “In My Mind,” while Party Favor taps Naïka for the hefty “Blame.” As part of What So Not‘s Not All The Beautiful Things remix package, AC Slater‘s put his signature bass-fueled house spin on the famous “Goh.” Kill Paris has put his own laid-back twist on Alison Wonderland‘s “Easy,” and Ross From Friends thrills with a take on Thundercat‘s “Friend Zone.”

As each week brings a succession of new music from some of electronic music’s biggest artists, here’s a selection of tracks that shouldn’t be missed this NMF.

Photo credit: Pablo Murillo

Ookay drops heavy beats again in new Jay Rock remix

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From trap-heavy beginnings, California-based Ookay has proven to be quite the versatile producer as of late with a more electronic, pop-leaning sound. This was most evident on his debut Wow! Cool Album! and continued on for a remix of Portugal. The Man‘s “Tidal Wave.” His latest single, “Bad Habits,” has received widespread approval and was accompanied by a fall tour announcement, putting him in a great position to round out 2018. Despite this streak, the multi-talented musician is taking no breaks in releasing a rework of Jay Rock‘s “Win.”

The Top Dawg Entertainment veteran climbed through the ranks this year with features on Kendrick Lamar‘s Black Panther soundtrack, causing Ookay to hop on the bandwagon. However, he’s decided to revert back to old ways for a second, complementing the bass-heavy hip-hop beat of the original with some pounding trap and dub hits on the remix. A live audience won’t know what hit them when the second drop comes to fruition, consisting of straight distortion and occasional robotic synths.

Ookay will embark on his “Bad Habits” fall/winter tour in November, with special guests Bonnie X Clyde, DNMO, and more.

Ookay talks haters, rehearsing for 12 hours, and new single, ‘Bad Habits’ [Q&A]

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Ookay talks haters, rehearsing for 12 hours, and new single, ‘Bad Habits’ [Q&A]Screen Shot 2018 10 08 At 4.58.45 PM

Wow! Cool Album! is more than just a project title — it’s Ookay‘s whole personality. Hailing from Chula Vista, Abraham “Abe” Laguna is not the average producer. Beyond his warm and friendly personality that exudes positive energy, a rarity in the music sphere, he’s also one who puts his vulnerability on full display in multiple facets of his life. One such bit of himself he’s exposed is his stylistic evolution, in which he’s been documenting his transition from heavy trap, house, and big room into more mainstream, pop-friendly sounds.

Exploding on the dance music scene with his 2016 single, “Thief,” Ookay has since continued to perfect his craft as a singer, songwriter, DJ, producer, and performer. Dancing Astronaut caught up with Ookay ahead of his sold-out show at The Fonda in Hollywood.


For those who don’t know, who is ‘Ookay,’ and where does he fit in the realm of dance music?
Ookay is a little Mexican boy from San Diego, who makes music in his bedroom. Gets to play for pretty much the world. I’ve been DJing for about four or five years. I recently started doing a live show with my new album, which is something we’re debuting for the first time. A little bit of the new album I’m working on currently, and the stuff people know and love already.

My sound little bit of everything: trap, future, pop, dance elements — there’s dubstep, even. To be able to do all these different types of things like singing, songwriting, producing, and performing, I’m pretty much a one-man band.

How has your sound evolved over the years?
When I was making this album, it came to a point when I was playing shows and DJing where I wasn’t able to play the songs I was making anymore. It just wasn’t fitting what I was playing prior because of the songs that people knew me for. I needed to take a second approach to what I do and how I perform my music.

Why did you feel it wasn’t a fit for you to perform?
Just because of my background and what I have already created a fan base doing. It’s more like put your hands up, rave, drops, buildups, and all that. To go a new direction was something that I had to teach myself. I had to project to people in a way that ended up being a live show. For me, I didn’t really have a choice almost. I had so much good music, but no way of playing it — properly, in the right setting. I couldn’t go from a heavy super Excision dubstep track and then play “Fight 4 U” or “Loved or Lost.” What I did was I took some time off to focus on finishing the album and work on this live set, which took a lot of my life span.

Wow! Cool Album! is your first album. How long did it take you?
It took me three years. It’s a collection of all the music I’ve made in three years, that I was unable to play. Being able to finally do this was great.

At what point did you realize it was good to go?
We didn’t. What happened was I got a booking for an Ookay live show before I even created it. I started to panic and thought, ‘Well now I have to figure this out!’ [laughs] I was kind of put on the hot seat and the spotlight, but it gave me the motivation I needed. The pressure really helped me finally put this together. Being able to sing, practice all the instruments, play everything and perform on stage, it was something I had to practice every day for 10 to 12 hours. Even yesterday, I rehearsed for 10 to 12 hours. That’s just how long it takes.

“Thief” has more than nine million views on YouTube. Did you foresee it blowing up like this?
No way! I made that song probably a year or two before it even released. I was always really nervous. I remember the first time I played it was with GRiZ on New Year’s Eve. The only reason was because I knew he played saxophone in his set. I was like, ‘Oh, I think the crowd would enjoy a song with saxophone.’ That was my first time ever playing that song, and I closed with it. I remember thinking, ‘I really hope this goes well.’

I had to stop all the music because at that point, that song didn’t fit in my set. That was my whole problem, I was making music that I couldn’t play. To be able to end on that song was my first step to seeing the potential it had. People really liked it and they were talking about it on the internet. I remember my first supporter on that song was actually Mija. She was the first person to ever play it live, that wasn’t me. She gave me the push to actually put it out. I didn’t think it would turn into what it is now, but I’m glad it has. It’s given me a platform to make a lot more amazing music and reach a bigger fan base.

What do you say to people who call you one-hit wonder?
I don’t see it. I don’t even hear that. I think it shows with how much work I’m putting in. I think “COOL” is an amazing success. Wow! Cool Album! has been great. “Lighthouse” has done really well and to me, is a fan favorite. All the new music I’m working on now that I’m not even performing yet, is some of the best stuff I’ve done. So when I hear things like that, I’m glad people feel that way because it shows a little bit of either jealousy or anger. If you don’t like me, it means you’re thinking about me, and I’ll take that as a compliment.

Talk about your upcoming remix with Portugal. The Man.
Tidalwave.” I’ll be performing that one tonight. It’s one that I was really excited because I actually got to see them during this festival season, before I even got the offer to do the remix.

At Coachella?
I think it was Coachella, actually. I was able to go as just a fan. I didn’t even get to play. I just went to go see people and get inspired. Coachella was one of the first places where I realized a live show would be amazing. To be able to do something on that platform would really help me as an artist and as a creative. It would challenge me. With their music and what I’ve seen them do with just rock and becoming one of the biggest artists in the world, to be given the opportunity to remix one of the songs on the album, I took it. I was like ‘absolutely.’ I already loved the song originally, but to be able to give my own twist on it… I kept a lot of the elements that were very important in the original song, but also made it very Ookay.

How did you guys link up?
One day, I just woke up and it was in my email. I played it at Osheaga in Montreal. They reposted, retweeted, and hit me up saying it was amazing. I was like, ‘I know, it’s an official one!’ [laughs] Because they hadn’t heard it. They heard me working on it, but never heard the finished product being played for thousands of people.

What’s been your favorite collaboration thus far?
There’s so many good ones. The one with Fox Stevenson was incredible. Working with Sara Skinner on “Time Warp” was a really cool experience. It was cool to work with other songwriters because for me personally, I’ve been writing everything myself. That was something new for me. Oh, and “Chasing Colors.” Working with Noah Cyrus was amazing, and Mello and I are just like best friends. We were just hanging out one day. I was playing him a demo I had in my car, just on SoundCloud. He was showing me stuff he was working on and vice versa. I was like, ‘Oh, I have this thing just sitting here, let me know what you think.’ It was just the baseline and intro. He was like, ‘I love this! Can you send it to me?’ Eventually, we finished the instrumental and added Noah later on. It just made the song complete. It felt right. To be able to work with good friends on top of make good music, is one of the most rewarding things.

We noticed your tattoo that says “keep your circle small.” How has fame been treating you?
Fame is good. I guess I’m pretty popular. I’m here at The Fonda, hello? [laughs]

Keeping my circle small doesn’t mean keep people out of my life, which is nice. I try to be as inviting and kind to everyone, whether it’s to someone who doesn’t like me to someone I’ve never met before to someone I’ve known for a long time. I just keep people I find very dear and important to me. People who know my best interests as not just Ookay, but Abraham, the guy who performs as Ookay. Even the people I work with are some of my best friends. To have that circle is important. To keep it close is even more important, because what you input is your output. When I feed into my circle and do what I can, whether it be my family, best friends, or people I work with, it all comes back around.

Do you prefer playing clubs or festivals?
I haven’t done a club in a long time, so it’s really biased for me to say festivals. This is the first venue show I’ve done in a while.

What does it mean to perform at The Fonda in your hometown?
I remember I came here for JAUZ about two years ago. I’d never been to the venue prior. This is a really cool place, and I haven’t been able to come back since. I really hoped I’d get the opportunity to either come back to see a show or perform. Now, that’s exactly what’s happening. To be able to do it in LA is important. My first headlining show was in LA.

What venue was that?
It was at Los Globos, in a small room. Again, full circle. I’m back and able to do it all over again. It was one of my first moments where I realized I had fans. It was crazy.

Best encounter you had with a fan?
It was at this past EDC. I brought out Kenny G. I was really stressing because it was the first time I was doing a live show at EDC. I was up all morning doing soundcheck. As a DJ, you have the ability to show up, plug in and play. It’s so awesome. But then I realized, ‘Oh my god! I totally forgot to buy an outfit.’ I had nothing to wear at EDC.

I walked out of my hotel already exhausted, and it was hot outside. I went to Urban Outfitters, wanting to just get something and walk back. This guy was wearing an Ookay shirt and had Ookay bracelets. He was like, ‘I came here just for you, and you’re just walking in the streets?!’ We ended up taking the same cab. I got dropped off first and paid for his cab. He was like, ‘This is the best day of my life!’ Out of all my exhaustion, I was still able to touch someone’s life.

Three things you need in the studio?
Really cool lighting, good headphones, and snacks, so you don’t have to leave as much.

Who’s the most-played artist on your phone?
That’s a good question. I’m going to say D’Angelo. I actually named my dog after him.

Dream collaboration?
I’d really love to do stuff with ODESZA. I love everything Illenium is doing, and San Holo. If I could have a dream collab with any human being, definitely Prince. Maybe not even collab. I would love to pick his brain, and ask him, ‘What’s your direction in your mind when you’re working on music?’

Take a step back in time with Lost Lands Music Festival — photos by Chris Stack

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Take a step back in time with Lost Lands Music Festival — photos by Chris StackDJ Diesel Lost Lands 2018

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These are 10 hype-building songs to listen to ahead for Moonrise Festival 2018

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These are 10 hype-building songs to listen to ahead for Moonrise Festival 2018Moonrise

Moonrise Festival 2018 is shaping out to be one of Baltimore’s most exciting events of the year. The two-day festival — held at the Pimlico Race Course – is preparing for its 5th installment, which will feature a wide and diverse range of artists, catering toward fans of almost any dance music sub-genre. Performers include Kaskade, Zeds Dead, 3LAU, JOYRYDE, Ookay, GRiZ, Illenium, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Ekali, MK, and more.

In honor of the upcoming festivities, we’ve compiled a 10-track playlist that includes tunes from some of the weekend’s most anticipated acts — perfect for any pre-game or long road-trips to Baltimore.

1. Silk City (Diplo & Mark Ronson) – “Only Can Get Better”

The latest single from Diplo & Mark Ronson’s newest side project Silk City. This is definitely a collaboration attendees will hear during Diplo’s headline set at the Stellar Stage Saturday night. Ronson has since teased their second upcoming release, so maybe he’ll give fans a little taste at the festival?

2. DJ Snake & Mercer – “Let’s Get Ill”

One of DJ Snake’s hottest 2018 collaborations saw linking up with Mercer for a rapid, future house heater. Check out Snake headlining the Stellar Stage Saturday night alongside Kaskade, Diplo, Zeds Dead, and more.

3. Marshmello – “Rooftops”

Marshmello recently released his Joytime II album, which has been very well-received by the Mello Gang. “Rooftops” a groovy one from the album where the DJ/producer throws on his own 90’s punk rock-sounding vocals. He’ll take the Stellar Stage Sunday night and will likely close out the weekend.

4. SNRBN – “If I Can’t Have You” feat. Harloe

The LA-based DJ/producer, who will also be taking over the Stellar Stage on Sunday afternoon, where he will more than likely take his audience out of the racetrack an instead place them on a mental beach. His latest single “I Can’t Have You” accomplishes this feat in mere minutes.

5. Two Friends – “While We’re Dreaming” feat. Kevin Writer

We enjoy this 2017 throwback from the duo, who will be treating their guests to a heavy dose of their cheery brand of dance music.

6. Galantis – “Mama Look At Me Now”

“Mama Look At Me Now” is one of two tracks from Galantis’ latest EP release, and it gives us a taste of what’s in store for the mischevious Swedes’ infectiously raucous Sunday set.

7. Cashmere Cat, Major Lazer, Tory Lanez – “Miss You” (Akira Akira & Hikeii Remix)

This is one of the most poppin’ remixes of his hit collaboration “Miss You” with Major Lazer and Tory Lanez. Festival goers can expect to hear either the original or an assortment of remixes, yet knowing Cashmere Cat, he often has a strictly Jersey club section of the set, to which this fits perfectly. Check out his set at the Lunar Stage on Sunday.

8. Rezz & 1788-L – H E X

Rezz is blowing up the scene with dark synths and heavy beats that are nothing short of an innovative sound. Check out her latest release, which she’ll most likely use to destroy the Solar Tent atmosphere on Saturday.

9. Chris Lake, Chris Lorenzo, Anti-Up – “Pizza”

Anyone want pizza? No? How about after a few hours of constant movement and house beats at the Celestial Stage? Chris Lake will be headlining the house-geared stage Saturday night and will probably trap listeners into his set right as they’re deciding to leave for some pizza.

10. Eric Prydz – “Liberate” (Lane 8 Remix)

This remix for Eric Prydz’ “Liberate” is one of Lane 8’s hidden gems released back in 2014. He’s pushed out a lot of new music since then, but it doesn’t mean we have to stop showing this perfect blend of deep and melodic house some love. Check him out headlining the Celestial Stage Sunday night.

Purchase tickets via the Moonrise Festival website and if this song selection didn’t do justice, check out the festival’s 2018 Spotify playlists, which are curated by stage.

 

NMF Roundup: QUIX breaks down the barriers of bass with Matroda, Tourist channels massive ODESZA vibes, Ookay raps & more

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Amsterdam Dance Event

The most important day of every week: New Music Friday. As each week brings a succession of new music from some of electronic music’s biggest artists, here’s a selection of tracks that shouldn’t be missed.

Daktyl enlists MOONZz and lets his creativity run wild on “Weather.”

The Him keeps it simple. The Spinnin’ Records release, “Broken Love” delights with its simple loop and chord progression.

For the kids: Jonas Blue taps the former Vine stars, Jack & Jack, for the bright and bouncy “Rise.”

Said The Sky paints cinematic soundscapes with the Matthew Koma-featured “Over Getting Over You.”

Moodymann dives deep into Detroit funk with his bass-heavy Nightmares On Wax rework.

Just A Gent traverses the interplanetary realm at light speed with Thandi Phoenix on the rave-inspired floor filler, “Space Odyssey.”

Nitro Fun gets personal on “Time Goes By,” which he says was inspired by some personal realizations about time, love, and the universe.

Ashley Wallbridge releases a trance track fit for the Greek mythology pantheon it references.

QUIX switches it into high gear with Matroda as the two break down the barriers of bass with the burgeoning “LAMBO.”

Not for the faint-hearted: The quickly ascending Duckworthsound, who’s already got releases on Klash, Insomniac, and Tchami’s Confession label, drops off the secret weapon of the summer.

Tourist draws early-ODESZA comparisons with absolutely ethereal Rostam rework.

Space Laces is throwing massive elbows in sinister, cinematic track “Kaiju.”

MUST DIE! marries future bass and dubstep, carrying SLANDER and SAYMYNAME‘s heavy-hitter to unforeseen heights.

Ookay switches lanes, and releases his first rapping foray. There’s a hot summer of hip-hop on the horizon, and if “Desperado” is any indication of where Ookay is headed, he seems sure to corral some excellence.

Ookay demonstrates ingenuity on debut LP, ‘Wow! Cool Album!’ [Stream]

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Ookay exhibited playful, whimsical youth on “Thief,” the 2016 single that made a name for producer and made its way around the festival circuit, its saxophone assisted drop solified as one of the most easily recognizable — and pervasive — hooks of the electronic circles. Ookay has since commanded a presence in his release of singles — think “Cool” and “Help Me Out” — leading up to the arrival of his debut album, Wow! Cool Album!.

A production that lives up to the heightened anticipation that enveloped the album prior to its release, Wow! Cool Album! couples Ookay’s own vocal talents with eclectic sounds and tones that further evince the producer’s original approach to melodic constructions and beat writing. The twelve-track offering morphs in tone from song to song, making for an album that remains refreshing and distinctly of its own groove, an accomplishment in the current context of dance music, where all producers vie to establish and develop their own sound.

Ookay unleashes colorful ‘Help Me Out’ ahead of album

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One of the scene’s most seasoned trap talents, Ookay, has unveiled another offering, “Help Me Out,”  to precede his highly anticipated upcoming album. This is Ookay’s third original release of the year, following “Loved or Lost” and “Cool,” both of which align themselves with the light, effervescent style the Spanish producer has adopted since his 2016 smash-hit, “Thief.”

“Help Me Out” is a bouncy trap tune that emulates his recent releases, featuring pitched-up Marshmello-style vocal chops and accordion-like synths. The song’s emotionally charged vocals take a back seat to the airy, carefree instrumentals. The track is likely to be heard this summer in a myriad of high-profile festival sets.

Ookay recently took to Twitter to announce his 11-track album will be released May 4.

Tomorrowland adds impressive wave of artists to its already enormous 2018 lineup

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Tomorrowland has announced another new wave of artists for its flagship Belguim event slated for two weekends in July.

Joining the collection of already astonishing talent includes Afrojack, Alan Walker, Benny Benassi, Blasterjaxx, Chuckie, Craig David (Presents TS5), Duke Dumont, Erick Morillo, Galantis, Gui Boratto, Idris Elba, Nicole Moudaber, Ookay, Quintino, Ricardo Villalobos, Salvatore Ganacci, Tujamo, and Ummet Ozcan.

While the festival has yet to deliver on its potential Swedish House Mafia booking, time shall tell whether the festival delivers on the “unexpected,” as it has confirmed plans to continue rolling out artists into the week.

Follow the announcement on Tomorrowland’s Twitter.

NMF Roundup: Headhunterz returns to hardstyle, Marshmello links up with Logic, and Ookay drops off bouncy new single

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The most important day of every week: New Music Friday. As each week brings a succession of new music from some of electronic music’s biggest artists, here’s a selection of tracks that shouldn’t be missed.


Chopped vocal samples and hip hop-inflected rhythmic additions make for an eccentric sound on Hanz‘s “Clutched.”

Progressive mastery is alive and well on “Keep My Light On,” a single that sees DubVision and Raiden team up for a release on Martin Garrix‘s imprint, STMPD Records.

Headhunterz makes his return to hardstyle production via a massive new LP, The Return of Headhunterz.  

Anjunabeats entity, Jason Ross puts forth his first single of 2018, “Through It All,” an uplifting number that harmoniously balances Fiora‘s soaring vocal with the song’s ascending synths.

Black Tiger Sex Machine make a statement on New Worlds, an album that sees the Canadian trio wield trap, bass, and electro production elements.

Dance music’s saccharine sweetheart Marshmello links up with Logic for “Everyday,” a single that epitomizes the carefree vibe characteristic of Friday.

Gareth Emery and Ashley Wallbridge jointly take on Signum and Scott Mac‘s “Coming on Strong.”

Paris Blohm and Myah Marie prove to be a collaborative dream on “Body High.”

Element constructs the quintessential filthy drop on his hard-hitting new release, “Needles.”

A soothing guitar melody complements Nevve‘s fluid vocal contribution on Boombox Cartel‘s latest, “Whisper.”

Ookay channels the bouncy synth work that has come to be characteristic of a Marshmello production on his whimsical new offering, “Loved or Lost.”

QUIX and JVMIE’s “I’ll Give You The World” is an expert example of lush future bass production.

Reminiscent of Foster the People and Portugal. The Man, the vocals in Lemaitre‘s “Machine” create an indie-infused groove.

Tisoki takes on Oliverse‘s “Leave Them Behind,” flipping the track into a smooth-gliding dubstep rendition.

KDrew and KVNNIBVL bring the weekend vibes with a smattering of falsetto-like vocals and a lighthearted, bobbing beat in “Body of Gold.”