Pop idol or mainstage act? DallasK combines divergent directions [Interview + Spring Break Playlist]

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DallasK Press

Orlando native Dallas Koehlke might not have been able to legally drink at 19, but that didn’t stop him from booking club sets across the country thanks to his infectious beats and mounting popularity within the electronic dance music scene. The young producer, better known as DallasK, followed his momentum and moved to Los Angeles with a plan to become the next big electronic music producer. If someone had told him that this move would lead to his production skills being the glue behind one of America’s hottest girl groups, and that his singing would be the one aspect holding his diverse roster of releases together, he probably would have found the idea outlandish.

Since Dallas’s move, now six years ago, the 27-year-old has continued to prove that his artistry can hardly be confined to a box. His diverse range of skills have opened doors for him to produce for pop’s biggest acts, release under his own moniker, and perform live as a vocalist. While his past is littered with heavy hitting electronic music collaborations with names such as Tiesto, KSHMR, and Hardwell, his future includes releasing a series of diverse singles that will singularly be held together with his vocals. Some will skew pop, others electronic, and his most recent release “Self Control” even has hints of the punk rock he listened to as a teen.

Koehlke spoke with DA about his unexpected entrance into the pop industry and how it is impacting his future in the electronic music scene. When asked whether he would like to be America’s next pop idol or a headliner at Ultra, the producer noted that his goal is to be a hybrid of the two. His ascent from electronic into pop is reminiscent of The Chainsmokers‘ journey, and it is not one we many artists successfully navigate. Despite The Chainsmokers’ immense success, the backlash they have received along the way as they have attempted to find relevance within both the electronic and pop fan communities has been severe.

Koehlke is optimistic about his future trying to bridge the two worlds together through his music, and if anyone is able to do it, he is a likely candidate. As someone who is ingrained in both scenes, Koehlke’s insights about the differences of a producer’s role in pop versus electronic music are unique. Read the full interview below, and check out DallasK’s exclusive Spring Break x Dancing Astronaut Playlist:

So tell me a little about your background.

I’ve been making dance music and touring as a DJ since I was 19 years old. I’ve done a lot of collabs with Hardwell, Tiesto, and Martin Garrix — people like that. When I moved to LA when I was 21, I met a lot of people and got into the producing songwriting world. I’ve been doing that in tandem with touring all of the time, making club records, and over the past year, I’ve been trying to figure out how I can combine those two worlds.

When I moved to LA, I never thought I would be writing songs, singing, and making pop songs for girl bands. That’s where I found myself, and I really enjoyed it. I figured as a DJ, I wanted to incorporate that because I felt like the music I was making as an artist wasn’t necessarily indicative of me as a person? So, that’s why I’m really happy with “All My Life,” and “Self Control,” because I think they are really indicative of my life. “All My Life” has all of the electro house and the drops, and “Self Control” is kind of indicative of the emo music I listened to growing up. Beyond that, the new stuff that is coming out in a couple of months will be similar and different, and I think my voice is the glue that ties is all together.

Was singing on your tracks intimidating for you? I know for a lot of people it is.

I think the thing that gave me the courage to do it is that my publishing company had an event where they wanted me to perform some of the songs I had written for other people. They were like, ‘you know you can accompany someone on guitar, or you can sing it, or someone else can sing it.’ I was of the mentality at the time that I wanted to challenge myself, and although playing guitar with someone else singing would have been cool,  I realized the way for this to be the most challenging was getting up there and singing. I had never done that before.

Even when I was in a band when I was younger, I would play guitar and bass. I was never a vocalist. So I kind of agreed haphazardly without really knowing whether I could do it or not. I practiced a bit, and then I performed “Work from Home” by Fifth Harmony, which I wrote the year before, and a Justin Bieber “What do you mean?” cover. It was pretty well received, and everyone on my team was like, “why don’t you sing- you should sing.” Then I backtracked and had all of this music coming out, and I was like, “well hey, why don’t I record these, and see if I like how I sound.” I’ve been producing for other artists, and all I’ve been doing is cutting people’s voices onto songs, so I have the knowledge of what to do. So I did it, and I was happy with the result. Everyone else was as well, so I figured that was the best way forward. It was still very nerve wracking with the live performance thing, and we are still developing the live show. Putting them out and seeing how people react is also very stressful, but it’s been good so far.

You’re career kind of began and was rooted in the electronic music world. Then you branched into pop production, and now you are even the vocalist on your tracks. In your ideal world, what does the future hold? Are you America’s next pop boy or are you headlining Ultra?

Um, that’s a really good question, and I think it’s some kind of hybrid that doesn’t really exist yet, but I’m working on it. I really do love djing, and I love the dance music community. The fans are so passionate. They always come to the shows, and they always come to the events. What I find with other kinds of music is that it is a more passive fan experience. There are alot of people online and around the world, and obviously everyone can’t be everywhere at every festival, but (with electronic music) I feel like it’s a real community, and I love that as like a live blueprint for where I see my show.

10 years from now, I hope I’m just still making dope music. I don’t know what the style will be. It’s hard to tell. If you told Kanye West when he made The College Dropout that he was going to make Yeezus 10 years after, and it was going to be all of this crazy production, and Daft Punk would be on it- he probably wouldn’t have been able to guess that. But yeah, I definitely see myself as some kind of a hybrid between a vocalist and electronic music producer. I think what I always really love about electronic music, especially with the live performance, is that it is just so powerful. Kind of like, it outperforms any other kind of music for me. I mean, if you’re at Coachella, and Arcade Fire is playing mainstage, and Skrillex is at the Sahara Tent — Arcade Fire is cool, but there is no contest. There is not going to be more energy at that stage than there is for Skrillex.

As electronic music becomes more mainstream and poppy, there has been real backlash from electronic music fans who claim that producer’s are selling out and the music is becoming formulaic. As someone who floats between both worlds, what are your thoughts on this?

I’m a fan of lots of different types of music. I see people who float between the two worlds because they are fans of music, and they don’t get caught up in a genre determining if they can like something or not. I see both sides, where people are like, ‘What is this- why are you making Revealed Records music?’ Then I’ve seen people be like, “Holy Shit, I love your old stuff, and this is really good too. I would have never expected you to make this and keep going with it.” But yeah, there are definitely people who are fans of one specific sound or one genre and want to be superiorist with that. I think with streaming platforms and people having access to so much music, genres are becoming a little less important, and that’s what makes it more feasible for someone like me to just make anything I want.

Is the creative process different for you when it comes to producing music for hip pop and pop artists versus creating your own releases? Or is it all the same creative energy for you?

It definitely has different energies, and I think in some ways making music for other people is more freeing because you aren’t restricted. If you’re the voice of something, it all comes back to you, and you are essentially responsible for that. But, if you are making a song for somebody else, and it has a sound you may not have as an artist, but it’s something you think is cool, it gives you the freedom to do that. I will say it is definitely more fulfilling releasing music as an artist, and that’s why I took this time to build my artistry as a singer and songwriter. When you give a song to someone else it becomes their song, and if you really do feel connected to it, but then it is theirs, it’s a weird kind of gray area where it can be very rewarding and very disenchanting in the same way, so making music as an artist is definitely more fulfilling for me. It does come with more challenges with what do I want my message to be, and what do I want to say. It is my voice and my songwriting on top of just making crazy productions and bangers. They are both fun. I enjoy both, and they both have their challenges, but I think being an artist is my favorite thing, and my way forward. If I write a song, and it’s pretty dope, but it’s not right for me, then that is pretty freeing because I have a million outlets to send it to. That gives me the ability to take more risks as an artist.

You’re also in a unique position when it comes to your perspective on the electronic music industry because you’re a part of the electronic music and pop music industries. Do you have observations on how these industries function differently or similarly to one another, and what that looks like?

I think the last few years, with streaming really becoming the way that people consume music, this has led to the music industry really getting turned on its head. Pop has always been focused on radio, right? That’s the way you would break an artist. Radio is still important, and it has plays, but streaming broke down the barriers and allows artists to reach millions of people easily and effectively. Even as an independent artist, you can do this without having a million dollar radio budget. That’s what was cool about electronic music. Because of the internet and YouTube, you’d go to a festival and hear a song, and other DJs would play it, it was kind of like this other way you’d view success instead of going down the radio path, which was like, you know how you became a mainstay in music in general.

With pop, they are more concerned with touring, radio plays, radio shows, and building fans online. That’s important to both worlds, but I think now, it’s the Wild Wild West. You just try stuff, and people connect to it, and if they don’t, you try something else. You know really quickly if it works. I think people have the freedom to do that now, which is really really important. Going back to dance music- a pop artist would make an album, and spend 6-8 months, and $400,000, and that album may not have any hits that people connected with. Then it’s going to take them 6-8 months, a year, 3 years, to do another album, and the record label probably isn’t going to want to put as much money into it because they didn’t make their initial investment back. With dance music it’s like, kids on the computer, going to shows, put something out, if it gets really big then great. If it doesn’t then great- I have another song that I am going to put out right now, and I think that’s the most exciting part of how that’s permeated to pop music now, and that level of quickness.

Is there a particular artist who, if you were to collaborate with this person, you’d be like- this is the pinnacle of my career, and I’ve made it?

Definitely Daft Punk, for sure. Kanye West probably too. But yeah, between those two and M83, that would be my big “wow, this is like as good as it gets.”

What can we expect from you in the next year?

Definitely more singles. I don’t have any plans for an EP or an album or anything like that. Like I said, I like the ability to move fast and see if things work, and I think my goal this year is to release more music than I have in all of my other years of making music combined, and just being able to like, put stuff out and feel like it has a home. Next couple of months it will be single after single, and I’m really excited about it.

In the meantime, Spring Break is upon us, and DallasK put together the perfect playlist to celebrate. Check out the playlist including his new single “All My Life.”

Creamfields announces Steel Yard London Lineup

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As anticipation builds for London’s Steel Yard Creamfields — set for Saturday, May 26th and Sunday May 27th — the official lineup for this year’s weekender has been unveiled.

Group Therapy visionaries Above & Beyond will headline the festival on Saturday, while Tiësto will make his exclusive London performance on Sunday. Other notable acts on the bill include Steve Angello, and a rare DJ set from Faithless , to name only a few. This years lineup is eye catching to say the least and, considering Creamfields track record, the event is certain to be one of the unmissable festivals of the summer.

Spring Awakening Music Festival shares stacked phase one lineup

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Chicago’s electronic summer staple, Spring Awakening Music Festival, will return to the Windy City’s Addams/Medill park for its seventh iteration Friday, June 8 through Sunday, June 10. The largest all-electronic music festival in the Midwest, Spring Awakening has released phase one of its 2018 lineup, a sizable roster of mainstream talent topped by Afrojack, Hardwell, Kaskade, Steve Aoki, Tiësto, deadmau5, and more.


Championed as “one of the most seismic lineups for Spring Awakening yet,” the shock waves spurred by the festival’s first phase  only increase in intensity given the reveal of the event’s six branded stage showcases: Trance Arena, Bass Kitchen, the techno oriented Requiem, Sunday School, HELDEEP, and DJ MAG.

3-day GA and VIP passes to Spring Awakening’s seventh edition are now available for purchase, here.

Beyond Wonderland SoCal drops stacked lineup including Tiesto, KSHMR, Alesso & more

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Beyond Wonderland Lineup

Insomniac is bringing Beyond Wonderland back for its eighth rendition in Southern California this March, and the two day festival just released a stacked lineup. The four stage festival will host over 60 artists with headliners ranging from Alesso and Seven Lions to Tiesto and KSHMR.

With artists specializing in bass, trance, techno, trap, house and hardstyle, this lineup almost certainly has something for everyone.

Beyond Wonderland Lineup

Beyond Wonderland will take place at NOS Events Center on March 16 and 17, and fans hoping to attend this year’s festival can purchase tickets here.

MOGUAI & Zonderling – Lee

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MOGUAI has teamed up with Dutch house duo Zonderling for a new release, “Lee,” out now on Heldeep Records. The German producer is no newcomer, with a career that spans over two decades and collaborations with the likes of Tiesto, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, and Kaskade among many others.

The track’s commanding house drop is merged with a groovy vibe and a catchy melody — the result a perfect dancefloor house track.

“Lee” is MOGUAI’s first release on the Heldeep imprint, and it certainly does not disappoint.

5 & A Dime returns with new single ‘Flying High’

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5 & A Dime quickly turned heads back in 2013, as he hit the road with Steve Aoki & Kendrick Lamar, to say nothing of the support the producer received from top radio platforms like Tiesto‘s Club Life and BBC Radio 1.

The Philly native makes his 2018 debut with “Flying High,” which features Yashar Gasanov on vocals. The track is a bit more chill than his typical hard-hitting bass, with groovy, mid-tempo synths and a refreshing bass-line.

With a curveball to start the new year, fans should keep an eye on his output as the producer is currently working on a groundbreaking, modernized live performance project.


1001Tracklists identifies 2017’s ‘top 101 producers’ in mammoth new list

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When it comes to a record of the most widely supported producers of today, 1001Tracklists offers a look through a retrospective lens, releasing its list of the “Top 101 Producers of 2017” a little over a week into 2018.

The “world’s leading DJ tracklist database,” 1001Tracklists accounts for mixes, radio shows, and club and festival sets alike, maintaining a quantitative musical log that tracks the frequency with which a given producer’s works appear across tracklists. 1001Tracklists’ meticulous strategy to measuring producer prominence across mixes, radio shows, and sets results in a precisely ordered list sees Skrillex at the very peak of the “Top 101 Producers of 2017” list, coming in at first place with a “Total Unique DJ Support” of 1,463. 1001 Tracklists’ “Total Unique DJ Support” represents the total number of times that a release crafted by the producer surfaced.

Don Diablo trailed Skrillex with a support of 1,198, followed by Axwell with 1,007, Diplo with 1,002, and Hardwell, rounding out the top five with 997. The broad list sees BROHUG, Tiesto, EDX, Eric Prydz, and more place within the top 20. The complete list of the most heavily supported producers of the previous year can be viewed here.



H/T: 1001Tracklists

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Hakkasan Group extends Tiesto’s Vegas residency into 2020

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The saying “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” can be interpreted with a new meaning as the Hakkasan Group extends Tiesto’s residency at Hakkasan Nightclub and Wet Republic, ensuring that Tiesto will ‘stay’ in the entertainment capital from now until 2020.

CEO of Hakkasan Group Nick McCabe lauds Tiesto in his recent statement regarding the residency’s continuation. “Since our Hakkasan partnership began in 2013, Tiesto has been an artist who delivers an amazing experience for our guests time and time again. We are thrilled to continue this relationship and are excited to kick off his return with a weekend-long birthday celebration, and have several surprises in store for him to enjoy alongside his fans.”

The feeling is mutual for Tiesto, who notes that “Vegas has come to feel like home.” Tiesto’s 2018 run of Hakkasan supported performances will begin on January 11. Those looking to transition into the new year to the tunes of Tiesto can purchase tickets to the shows here.

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Tiesto is engaged!

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Tiesto is engaged!

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Those who follow Tiesto have become accustomed to his 21-year-old girlfriend Annika Backes popping up in his posts and stories as the two travel the world. The American model has been on the road with Tiesto for almost two years now, and yesterday the producer made it official that she will be joining him on the road for the rest of his life. Tiesto popped the question in the Maldives, and the two are now engaged!

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 12.49.14 PM

Everyone from festival organizers to artists themselves have taken to social to express their congratulations to the couple. Oliver Heldens has even gone as far as to prompt fans to retweet him 5,000 times so that he can make a Tiesto and Annika meme account.

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A big congrats from Dancing Astronaut to the newly engaged couple.

Photo: Tiesto’s Instagram



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Tiësto announces momentous 2018 Australia and Europe tour

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After a monstrous slew of sold out shows in China under his belt for 2017, Tiësto has just announced two upcoming tours for Australian and European in 2018 — which may prove to be the biggest year for one of dance music greatest innovators yet.

The maestro’s momentous announcement also includes an enormous London show in May of 2018.

Dubbed the Northern Lights Tour, Tiësto will make several stops in Norway at Trondheim, Bergen, Tromsø and Stavanger plus an additional show in Reykjavik, Iceland from January 16–22, 2018. The intimate run of shows also marks the artist’s follow up to his sold-out tour of the region in 2016.

Shortly after, Tiësto will carry on with an array of shows in Australia, where he’ll be playing the country for the first time since December of 2014. The artist will be hitting Festival Hall in Melbourne February 3, 2018, and Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on February 10, 2018.

The run of shows arrives on the heels of Tiësto’s latest release, CLUBLIFE VOL. 5.

Tickets and more information are available here.

Tour Dates:

JAN 16 TUE- Scandic Lerkendal Trondheim, Norway
JAN 17 WED- USF Verftet Bergen, Norway
JAN 19 FRI- Fløyahallen Tromsø, Norway
JAN 20 SAT- Sørmarka Arena Stavanger, Norway
JAN 22 MON- Harpa Reykjavik, Iceland
FEB 3 SAT- Festival Hall Melbourne, Australia
FEB 10 SAT- Hordern Pavilion Sydney, Australia
MAY 27 SUN- Finsbury Park London, United Kingdom
JUN 1 FRI- World Club Dome Frankfurt, Germany

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