HARD Summer 2018 has come and gone — the festival’s first year without founder of the HARD brand Gary Richards (a.k.a. Destructo) at the helm — and all seemed to go as planned. Recruiting some of today’s top talent in house, future bass, dubstep, and hip-hop, the weekend featured some powerhouse back-to-back sets from Dillon Francis & Diplo, Zeds Dead & Jauz, and A-Trak & Baauer. Travis Scott celebrated the release of his new album, Astroworld, and Mija dropped another set that completely embodies her “Fk A Genre” mantra.
With more sets from Marshmello, Ghastly, Louis the Child, and others, this weekend marked the beginning of a new chapter for the HARD organization. Check out some of the top sets of the weekend below.
“Ascension” is a journey into a world defined by both the beauty and conflicting dangers of technology. In the dystopian world, conception has been forcefully evolved into a machine-driven process, scored by an unreleased cannon of Big Wild’s computer crafted, metallically enhanced production, and synth prowess.
In Big Wild’s own words:
This art piece tells the story of an advanced society that’s become so mechanized and ruled by technology that it’s neglected the natural environment, which it in turn has to now rebuild. The painful irony of this situation brings to question our infatuation with technology and an increasing detachment from the natural world.
We wanted to create our own world and convey a simple but powerful message. I really wanted to experiment musically and collaborate with visual artists to create something unique. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!”
After a pair of releases on ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective, White Cliffs has returned for a third single: “Daisy.” A dynamic production from the Brooklyn-based musician, “Daisy” combined groovy guitar riffs with psychedelic electronic elements to create one of his best tracks to date. It’s not only an ideal jam for a summer drive, but
From Montreal’s Igloofest, to the gone-but-never-forgotten Brrrrr Winter Music Festival in Toronto, Canadians are incredibly fortunate to host a plenitude of outdoor-winter events throughout the years. Though winter is close to being over and the inaugural start to festival season approaches, Snowbombing Canada is here to remind everyone that there’s never a wrong time to party in the snow.
Fusing the worlds of winter-sports and dance music into a winter-wonderland for four days and nights, Snowbombing Canada takes place from April 5–9 amidst Sun Peaks Valley; one of the hidden treasures of Canada’s West coast. With success in booking distinguished and complementary dance/hip-hop headliners, last year’s event saw Kaskade and Ludacris close out the event.
As the 2018 edition nears, fan-favorite duo ODESZA and hip-hop queen Cardi B are set to headline the “Forest Stage”, appropriately located in between the panoramic views of snow-capped mountains and towering trees. Boasting a plethora of additional acts like Black Tiger Sex Machine, Gorgon City and Troyboi, Snowbombing has curated a detailed lineup that suits the festival’s exuberant vibe.
Snowboarders and skiers are treated to the best of both worlds; shredding during the day and dancing at night. Activities like ‘Alpine Yoga’, ‘The Snowlympics’and some cheeky ‘Chair Life Speed Dating’ add unique attributes that turn guests from attendees, into Snowbombing veterans.
Festival passes, accommodation and transportation are all available online.
Bonnaroo announced stage programming for The Other ahead of the festival’s 2018 edition. The newly added dance tent likely formed as Bonnaroo’s answer to Coachella‘s storied Sahara Tent. Last year, Bonnaroo debuted the new stage concept — which replaced the festival’s beloved Kalliope Stage — and featured a diverse range of EDM acts such as Claude Vonstroke, G Jones and Getter, to name only a few. The addition was welcomed by attendees and The Other appeared to be one of the most frequented attractions throughout the four day weekend.
Now, the festival has released this year’s lineup for ‘The Other.’ Featuring acts like Kaskade, Virtual Self, Alison Wonderland, What So Not, Big Wild and Shiba San, the festival is taking a forthright step into the electronic programming that’s become so popular at festival’s nationwide. It appears such programming has paid off, too, as the Tennessean reported last year the festival’s attendance had rebounded following a dull turnout in 2016.
Accompanied by the re-release of his previous single, “On Call,” Brooklyn-based producer White Cliffs has joined ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective with “Heart Start.” The “Heart Start / On Call” double single arrives just in time to support his new label mate Big Wild on a 22-city tour across North America, too! And as a guitarist
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.
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 Harris‘ iconic 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Opusin 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Those questioning whether electronic music producers are “real musicians” say no more, because Daktyl is here to silence naysayers. The UK-born, LA-based artist performed his track “Unseen,” a selection from his The Act of Hesitation EP, live with instrumentals while JJ Draper performed vocals. The producer plays the guitar, the keyboard, the xylophone, a MIDI controller, and pad among other instruments during the performance — in addition, he also provides some vocal contributions of his own.
To say the performance is a spectacle would be an understatement, as Daktyl displays mastery of more than six instruments throughout the course of the video. Daktyl will be on the road with Big Wild this winter where fans will be able to see him perform live.
When Big Wild first remixed Hundred Waters‘ “Show Me Love” two years ago, he admitted to feeling initially intimidated because of the sheer quality of the original recording.
“After trying a bunch of different ideas, I finally composed the one you’re hearing, and I knew it was the one,” explains the artist on his SoundCloud. The lyrics, after all, spoke to him so deeply that he felt called to mix the track.
Fresh off the heels of his Invincible EP and supporting tour, Big Wild has long used the bootleg in his sets — and has now garnered the attention of Hundred Waters themselves, as the band has authorized the producer’s take as an official remix.
Big Wild’s treatment of “Show Me Love” is a mellow and vibrant undertaking, wisely allowing Hundred Waters’ vocalist, Nicole Miglis, to lead the way. The track represents everything we know and love about Big Wild’s unique sound design, with its atmospheric tone and its sporadic — at times glitchy — musical structure.
Along with the track release, Big Wild has announced a 23-date winter tour with stops in Boulder, St. Louis, Toronto, Portland, Pittsburg, and more. Tickets are on sale now.
Additional 2017 Tour Dates
Fri, Oct 13 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits (Festival)
Sat, Oct 14 – Dallas, TX – Boo! Dallas (Festival)
Sun, Oct 15 – Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara Bowl w/GRiZ
Fri, Oct 20 – Vancouver, BC – PNE Forum w/GRiZ
Sat, Oct 21 – Monterrey, MX – Live Out Festival
Thu, Oct 26 – Columbia, MO – The Blue Note w/Big Gigantic
Fri, Oct 27-29 – Suwannee, FL – Suwannee Hulaween (Festival)
Sat, Oct 28 – St. Paul, MN – Myth w/Big Gigantic
Fri, Nov 3 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium w/GRiZ
Sat, Nov 4 – Washington, DC – Anthem w/GRiZ
Sat, Dec 30 – Phoenix, AZ – Decadence (Festival)
Sun, Dec 31 – New York, NY – Terminal 5 w/Gramatik