For three days straight on the weekend of June 8, the city of Chicago was filled with deep beats, pop-inspired melodies, and bass that reverberated through the streets. This is Spring Awakening, Chicago’s premiere electronic music festival. Located in Addams/Medill Park, the festival attracted concert goers far beyond the city limits to include residents from
It brings me an ample amount of joy to make the following statement; 2018 is the best year dance music has had in a long time. Since the EDM bubble blew up in the late 2000s and the commercial and mainstream takeover we’ve seen in the 2010s, there has been a noticeable decline in the
This year, Chicago’s Spring Awakening Music Festival, the largest dance music fest in the Midwest, will return to Addams/Medill Park with another packed, meticulously curated lineup, including Tchami, Virtual Self, Tiësto, Alison Wonderland, and more across its three-day span. Dancing Astronaut has teamed up with the fest to get to know its standout acts a little better, just before SAMF arrives to bid spring adieu June 8-10.
Alexandra Sholler, aka Alison Wonderland, EDM’s token Aussie with the purplest hair and some the most massive bass beats in the game, is heading back to the Windy City for 2018’s Spring Awakening. Aside from her status as a globetrotting DJ/producer, Sholler is also a classically trained cellist, songwriter, and singer — her voice can be heard on nearly every track she writes. Last year, she made headlines for her stellar performance at Coachella, where she and Rezz were the highest paid females on the ticket — not to mention Coachella history.
Known for her transparency about struggling with mental health, Sholler has become something of an advocate in that domain for both other artists and her fans, often taking time out of her sets to speak candidly on the topic. Both her new album, Awake, and her 2015 album, Run, are weighted in unequivocal emotion, a redemptive motif encircling her momentous trap beats and intricate sampling.
A highly in-demand collaborator, Sholler has teamed with talent across the spectrum, including Lido, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, Chief Keef, and most extensively, fellow Aussies, Slumberjack, whom she speaks so fondly of with Dancing Astronaut before she heads to SAMF’s Equinox Stage June 8. She also divulges into inspiration for Awake, must-see sets at SAMF, and her at-home, one-woman DJ sessions.
How would you compare the Australian dance music scene to the US’s?
I grew up in the dance music scene in Australia. It’s what shaped my whole career as an artist. I feel like the festivals are different. I remember the first time I played EDC Las Vegas in 2015. I had never seen an electronic festival like that in my entire life.
Quite a bit of time elapsed between Run and Awake. Were you working on Awake for that entire time?
No I was not. I did a lot of touring off Run. To be honest, I didn’t expect Run to get the attention it did when I made it. I find it hard to produce and write while I’m on the road, so I started working on Awake when I had more down time in one place. I am also very inspired by my emotions, and Awake is about a pretty heavy series of events in my life. I can’t pick and choose when things happen to me or where I find creative inspiration, and I started writing awake to deal with those particular issues.
How have you evolved as an artist in that time span?
I am not sure. I feel like as I grow as a human, I grow as an artist. It’s very organic for me. I grow off feelings and intuitions. I am super bad at planning, so I think I just have more insight now. I don’t really think about how I have grown. I think I definitely am a better songwriter and producer. That’s the great thing about art: you can always learn new things.
Last time I saw you live, you got up on the decks and had so much enthusiasm. Do you still get that hyped about DJing?
100%, even when I’m alone I get hyped. I think this is the only thing I genuinely love, to be honest. I DJ alone in my house for fun. Once I played for eight hours straight at a house party I threw in LA. Ask Jai Wolf, he was there. I feel better behind the decks than in front of them. Every time I play I feel at home and it is super cathartic for me.
You’ve collaborated with Slumberjack on your past two albums. Tell me about your experience working with them.
I just f****ng love those boys. We really get each other musically. Everything just flows so easily. We always seem to make music in the most random places. “Naked” was finished in a hotel room with sh**ty laptop speakers and my iPhone as a microphone. “Sometimes Love” was made in a kitchen. I prefer collaborations that feel organic where there is mutual and equal respect. I work better that way. I mean everyone does. It is important to have trust in each other’s creative processes. I feel all of that with the Slumberjack boys.
What’s your favorite part of being on tour? Least favorite?
My favorite part is playing shows and feeling the adrenaline and connection with a crowd that comes with that. My least favorite part is the loneliness.
How does it feel to be returning to Chicago for Spring Awakening?
Amazing. I cannot wait. I love the crowd there.
What three sets would you recommend from the Spring Awakening lineup this year?
I would not miss Virtual Self, Bleep bloop, Oh and this loser. Her mother paid me $20 dollars to say this: Alison Wonderland.
EDC Las Vegas has been going off all weekend long and the IDs have been falling from the sky like rain in Seattle. So far we have heard unreleased music from some of the biggest names in EDM. When Jauz took the stage though, nobody was prepared for the heat that came with him. While
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Creamfields Beijing was scheduled to take place last night but unfortunately, fans got hit with a wave of intense weather. While some of the acts were able to perform the festival ended up getting called off before the headliners could take the stage. Martin Garrix was one of the artists whose set was bumped due
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Despite her fairytale moniker, things have not always been butterflies and rainbows for Australian producer Alison Wonderland. In fact, she’s made it her mission to be as honest and forthright about her struggles with mental health, emotional abuse, and battle with anxiety and depression as possible. As such, her new album, Awake, exposes the deeply personal experiences and struggles she’s overcome, through its raw lyrics and a channeling of unequivocal emotion.
But now, Alison Wonderland’s opening up about her experiences with an emotionally abusive relationship, her battling of both depression and anxiety, and getting to the point where she was at a place in her life where she had considered suicide in a new interview with Viceland.
“I was completely disintegrating,” she says, holding back tears. “It was a very tough time. I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t talking to anyone. It was literally destroying me. I couldn’t remember what was good about me, I couldn’t remember why anyone would even like me. I couldn’t remember why I was even here, and at my lowest point, I tried to kill myself.”
Following her powerful performance at sunny Coachella, Alison Wonderland unveils her new video, “Easy,” which finds her dancing her way through a storm, stalked by an unrelenting rain cloud that even follows her indoors. Wonderland came up with the concept for the video after connecting with a scene from the 1998 film, The Truman Show.
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Life Is Beautiful Music & Arts Festival is set to return to downtown Las Vegas with another comprehensive line-up, September 21–23, 2018. Now in it’s fifth year, the festival boasts some of the music world’s most sought-after headliners in The Weeknd, Arcade Fire, Florence + The Machine, DJ Snake, ODESZA, N.E.R.D, Deathcab for Cutie, Tyler, The Creator, and Justice.
If this group of star-studded talent doesn’t somehow tickle the ear drums, there truly is something for every musical taste this year. Also gracing the bill in 2018 is Bastille, Cold War Kids, Foster The People, and Wolfmother for the rock-minded music seekers. As the music industry’s most rapidly growing genre, rap and hip-hop is also well represented on the bill in Miguel, A$AP Ferg, T Pain, and more.
Of course, electronic artists continues to dominate the event with trap extraordinaires RL Grime, What So Not, DVBBS, tropical house saxophonist Sam Feldt, rising star Elohim, Galantis, CHVRCHES, Alison Wonderland, Cashmere Cat, Gramatik, Lane 8, Party Favor, and Chet Porter.
Tickets go on sale April 26th, with general admission passes starting at $295 + fees. All information can be found on the Life Is Beautiful website.
With Alison Wonderland taking the stage at weekend two of Coachella, no one quite knew what she’d do to honor the late DJ and producer Avicii. The Australian DJ performed on Friday just hours after news of Avicii’s passing broke. Vides seen below show Alison Wonderland standing on top of a table in front of
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Alison Wonderland has already had a landmark year in 2018. Every single she released from her new album was critically loved, and her sophomore LP, Awake saw literally a million streams a day directly after her release. It seemed like the woman wonder from the land down under had 2018 by the balls, making it
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