Earlier this year, Elephante spoke with us about some recent changes in his sound that he had been focusing on. “I’ve really turned back and looked at all the influences that have gotten me to where I am” he stated. “With dance music, the biggest challenge is really finding your own sound and being unique
Tim Wu, better known as DJ and producer Elephante, has released his latest single titled, “Diamond Days.” He first debuted the track during his set at Lollapalooza earlier this summer, and the release notably features Wu’s own vocals. “Diamond Days” plants Elephante’s vocal work front-and-center, complemented by an artfully light, airy break.
Wu spoke to Dancing Astronaut about the release, noting,
“This song has been the creative center of gravity of everything I’ve been making for the last year. I finally feel like I know what kind of sounds I want and what kind of stories I want to tell, so ‘Diamond Days’ is really setting the stage for all my new music and the tour this fall – everything from the stage design to the new visuals to the new set and performance – and I can’t wait to show everyone how it all comes together.”
Wu will be embarking on a Diamond Days tour this fall, and fans hoping to see Elephante this fall can see a full list of dates here.
Last year, Clubhouse Festival, which is based in Maryland, had its inaugural event last year and left a mark on all those who attended it. Featuring artists like Steve Aoki, Tyga, Rich The Kid, Sam Feldt, and more, it was definitely a lineup you couldn’t forget. Today, the new festival has released the phase 1
The Stronach Group, The Maryland Jockey Club, and Club Glow evince the power inherent in collaboration via their presentation of the first phase of the 2019 Clubhouse Festival lineup. Jointly produced by the three entities, the event’s second annual installment touts the artistic trappings of a strong sequel to Clubhouse’s inaugural edition: REZZ, Madeon, Two Friends, and Elephante.
The electronic talent that Clubhouse features, however, will be but one component of the festival. Clubhouse 2019 will concurrently host the Maryland Million when it returns to Laurel Park race track on October 19. With a one-day stakes card offering purses totaling one-million USD, the Maryland Million showcases nominated stallions in the state in a thoroughbred horse race. This facet alone distinguishes Clubhouse as the sole event to merge horse racing with a music festival in the region.
“We’re excited to bring Clubhouse Festival back for the second year as part of the Maryland Million Day. Building on the success of last year, Clubhouse Fest is back to combine world-class racing with an elevated entertainment experience featuring the best in music and brand new immersive food and beverage offerings.”
Jimmy Vargas, Executive Vice President, Entertainment, The Stronach Group
Clubhouse Festival will additionally cater to craft beer enthusiasts via the introduction of its Beats & Brews Greenhouse, stocked with a selection of Maryland’s top craft brews. Those who are 21 years of age and older will have the opportunity to take part in unlimited beer tastings, while enjoying expedited entry through a dedicated admission lane, private charging stations, air-conditioned VIP bathrooms, a premium stage viewing area, and a private VIP viewing area dedicated to the Maryland Million race day action, among other amenities.
Tickets to Clubhouse Festival’s second iteration are now on sale, and can be purchased here.
Few moments are more sacred than the reprieve Saturday night provides from the daily grind of school and work. Its importance is meant to be emphasized, and thus, a feature dedicated to “doing the night right” was born. Saturday Night Sessions are set around energizing mixes meant to get the party started. New or old, each episode has one cornerstone thing in similarity: they serve as the perfect backdrop for the weekend pregame.
Every artist has a unique story when it comes to their foray into music. Some come into notoriety carrying out their lifelong dream of becoming an artist and others stumble into the career accidentally. Tim Wu, who is more popularly known as DJ and music producer Elephante, found himself sitting alone in a music studio at 25 through neither of these paths. He admits that, would he have been able to go back and tell his 16-year-old self that he would end up becoming a DJ and music producer, he wouldn’t have believed it.
Wu grew up an avid John Mayer fan, which ultimately inspired him to play in bands and write songs that he would perform on the acoustic guitar at local showcases in his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Music has always been an incredibly big part of his life, but Tennis ultimately landed him at Harvard University where he played and locked in a career in consulting after graduation. When he wasn’t at his consulting job, Wu discovered electronic music production, and he became hooked. The more he produced music, the more miserable he became at his job to the point where he quit. He was so concerned about his parent’s reaction that he spent over a year lying to them about the decision to became a full time musician.
He reminisces on telling his parents he had stopped working as a consultant to pursue music, stating, “I think they were mostly confused, and obviously worried. Like what do you mean you’re gonna be a DJ? Can you get healthcare doing that? But at the end of the day, I think they knew how unhappy I was and that it was something I had to do, and were mostly just hoping I didn’t get hooked on heroin or something. I mean, can you imagine moving to a different country, working your ass off your whole life to give your kids a better life, and then having said kid tell you they were quitting their job to be a DJ? I would have murdered me. Now though they are super stoked – I brought them on stage for a couple shows and fans were asking for pictures with them and stuff, so I think they get a kick out of it. My mom still reminds me every time we talk not to do heroin though.”
The rest is history with Wu’s production career, although those who are familiar with the producer’s music would hardly be surprised to learn that Wu’s artistry grew out of his love of songwriting as a teenager. In a world where commercial crossover releases dominate the charts, Wu has found a way to bring vocals front and center in his releases without producing a stream of three note drops that leave the vocals and vocals alone to differentiate one track from the next. His body of work spans for folky “Come Back For You” featuring Matluck to beautiful “Catching On” featuring Nevve.
Wu recently released his own cover of “Shooting Stars,” which is the second release he has put out with his own vocals. Wu speaks about the decision to utilize his own vocals on his music, noting, “I was a singer-songwriter before I started producing music, so I’ve been singing for forever. But it was really important that my voice was the right one for the song, and I wasn’t just singing it for vanity’s sake. If someone else could sing it better, I’d have them do it instead.”
Those who have seen Wu perform live will recognize his rendition of the track, which has been cut in and out of his live performances since he made the cover in 2014. Now that he has begun to release music with his own vocals, Wu has developed a stream of covers that he will be putting out over the next few months.
Wu gives fans insight into his decision to utilize his own vocals, which is a decision more producers have seemingly been making over the past few years thanks to artists like Calvin Harris and The Chainsmokers singing on their own original releases. He states, “Especially after The Chainsmokers had so much success with Drew singing – there were a bunch of DJs who were like ‘oh I can sing too,’ and some really can, and others were like… should you though? And I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just doing it for the sake of it. Producing the songs I sing feels somewhat different, just because I know I always can go back and change the line.”
2019 will be a big year for Wu, who notes he has multiple projects in the pipeline. For now, he is still inducing euphoria through his live sets and original releases, including a high energy and genre-bending Saturday Night Session that takes listeners through a dynamic journey. When asked what kind of a Saturday night the mix is going to get listener’s ready for, Wu states, ” The best Saturday night of their life!!! You were planning on taking it easy, but instead you listen and are inspired to go out and you meet the love of your life and go get pizza with them and on a whim buy Powerball tickets and you win a billion dollars. That kind of Saturday night.”
Where do you draw inspiration from when you sit down to produce music? Can you give us some insight into your creative process? Honestly, sounds and melodies and lyrics kinda just pop into my head at random times, sometimes in the shower, when I’m about to fall asleep in a hotel, when I’m listening to music or reading or whatever. I have no idea where exactly it comes from though. I’ve learned to write down or record a voice memo any time one of these little moments strikes, so by the time I’m sitting down in the studio I have a bunch of ideas that I’m excited to work on. Once I’m there, it’s all about just really diving in an exploring that idea – I’m always asking myself what comes next? What would be cool with this? I try to work away from the computer as much as possible – playing piano, jamming on guitar, writing/drawing in notebooks, whatever. And I just try to keep finding that next little cool moment, that next little sound, and then on the good days I come to 8 hours later and something exists that didn’t before. On the bad days the voices in my head are silent, and it’s like well, guess I’ll try again tomorrow.
“Glass Mansion” was your first time singing on one of your songs, and rumor has it you’ll be doing this more often moving forward. Were you nervous at all to jump into also being a vocalist? Does producing a track with your own vocals feel different than producing a track with someone else singing on it? I was, but for different reasons than you’d expect. I was a singer-songwriter before I started producing music, so I’ve been singing for forever. But it was really important that my voice was the right one for the song, and I wasn’t just singing it for vanity’s sake. If someone else could sing it better, I’d have them do it instead. So it took a long time for me to write a song that I knew I absolutely had to sing, and really feel confident in that, and “Glass Mansion” was the first time I was like, ‘I have to do this.’ Especially after The Chainsmokers had so much success with Drew singing – there were a bunch of DJs who were like ‘oh I can sing too,’ and some really can, and others were like… should you though? And I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just doing it for the sake of it. Producing the songs I sing feels somewhat different, just because I know I always can go back and change the line, or change the phrasing or whatever, which can actually be kind of a negative. But over the years I’ve gotten better at understanding what works and really building the song around the vocals, whether it’s me or someone else, and not just slapping a beat over an acapella.
Do you have any guilty pleasures? Yes, eating almond butter out of the tub. I’m doing that right now actually.
When you aren’t touring, what does a normal day in your life look like? Ideally I’ll play some pickup basketball in the morning, then eat and hit the studio. I fucking love the studio. It’s what I’d want to do even if I wasn’t making a living doing it. You know how when you’re a kid you have things that you had to finish your homework before you can do, and that’s the thing that gets you through the day? That’s making music for me. It’s so much fun I’m still kinda baffled that I get paid to do it.
You have a really interesting story- you went to Harvard, got a consulting job, and then quit to pursue music full time. You didn’t tell your parents that you quit for a while though. How did they react when you first told them, and how do they feel about your career as a musician now that you’ve become so successful? I think they were mostly confused, and obviously worried. Like what do you mean you’re gonna be a DJ? Can you get healthcare doing that? But at the end of the day, I think they knew how unhappy I was and that it was something I had to do, and were mostly just hoping I didn’t get hooked on heroin or something. I mean, can you imagine moving to a different country, working your ass off your whole life to give your kids a better life, and then having said kid tell you they were quitting their job to be a DJ? I would have murdered me. Now though they are super stoked – I brought them on stage for a couple shows and fans were asking for pictures with them and stuff, so I think they get a kick out of it. My mom still reminds me every time we talk not to do heroin though.
What is one thing your fans don’t know about you? I’m allergic to bees? And dogs and cats and horses and pretty much anything with fur. Which sucks cuz I love dogs. Can’t have it all.
What kind of a Saturday night is your Saturday Night Session mix going to get listeners ready for? Best Saturday night of their life!!! You were planning on taking it easy, but instead you listen and are inspired to go out and you meet the love of your life and go get pizza with them and on a whim buy Powerball tickets and you win a billion dollars. That kind of Saturday night.
The festival announced to fans on social media that this year’s 21st iteration of the event will feature a brand new immersive experience featuring extended sets, later hours, and expanded festival grounds. Tickets are still available, and fans can purchase them here.
See Ultra Music Festival’s full phase two lineup below.
Earlier this year, Elephante released his nine-track EP, Glass Mansion, and set out on an accompanying US tour. Title track “Glass Mansion” marks the producer’s debut as a vocalist, and “The In Between” featuring Anjulie has been one of his most-streamed songs to date. Now, he’s back with another surprise: a 10-minute animated video taking viewers through his actual “glass mansion.” The video is aptly titled the “Glass Mansion Open House.”
Speaking to Billboard about the project, Elephante said: “I wanted people to be able to see and really feel what it was like to walk through the house, not just listen to the music. All my favorite music transports me to a different world, so I felt that having a visual representation of each song really brings the Mansion to life. Each song is different, so all the rooms have a different vibe and artistic style — just like you might decorate rooms differently based on what you’re going through at the time. The Mansion is the fulfillment of everything you’ve ever wanted, so if you want a pool in your living room, that’s chill; and if you want a portal to another dimension in your closet, that’s even better.”
In Glass Mansion, no two tracks are similar, and the video captures that the entire way through, taking viewers inside the “room” represented by each track. Elephante enlisted the talent of Caegan Meagher of Kvlt Magik to help bring his concept to life, and they have created an astounding visual piece, bringing the thematic of each track to life and taking viewers on a visual and sonic journey.
Being a touring DJ for over ten years is like being a professional football player at the age of 40. Most people can’t sustain the career for more than a few years, so for those who hit the 10, 15, and 20-year marks, they are often revered as the anomalies of the industry. The DJs and producers who have successfully it through the commercialization of the field are few in number, though Morgan Page is certainly among that class, building a decorated career on the key ingredient that dozens of others have failed to master — consistency. His journey has seen fair ups and downs, but since his breakthrough release “The Longest Road,” in 2008, the Vermont-native EDM mainstay has managed to remain relevant amid electronic music’s rapid global boom. He continues to release a steady output, and as a result, manages a brimming itinerary of shows at some of the top venues and festivals around the world year over year. Morgan Page recently sat down with Dancing Astronaut to look back on the last decade of non-stop touring action.
A Grammy-nominated producer, Page is the first to admit his career has not been free of strains. Page says he recognizes he is where he is today because he has not been afraid to reach for that he most desires. In fact, he attributes his Grammy nomination to his own self-cultivated initiative, explaining,
“I got [myself] my Grammy nomination. I submitted it myself; the label did not submit it. You have to take things into your own hands.”
While a Grammy nomination is no small feat, it is his personal life that has brought what he considers “his greatest collaboration yet,” to fruition. Not a song or sold-out tour, but his now-four-month-old daughter, Bea. Page spent years persevering his way to the innermost holdings of the industry, and countless more working to steady that spotlight — to stay relevant. However, Page says having a daughter has reconfigured his entire outlook.
Page says all the toiling and tumult behind him are most gratifying in that they have laid out immeasurable opportunity for his daughter. While he has resolved not to be a “stage dad,” he is optimistic that raising her in a musical environment will prove worthwhile.
“I’m going to do a lot to encourage her to do music. She can do whatever she wants, but I am going to encourage her not to settle for a realistic job. I’m definitely going to raise her my style. I just think it’s a very unique situation to have a kid in these times. There is this great studio right downstairs. Why not use it?”
Unsurprisingly, Page says his memories of walking his daughter down to his private studio are among his fondest to date, rivaled only by the experience of introducing her to his own music. In addition to growing up with state-of-the-art equipment just a stone’s throw from her bedroom, Bea will also have access to her father: a model of resolve and improbable success, as well as a wealth of industry knowledge.
Page speaks about his path to becoming an artist in a revelatory lens, bringing a formerly untapped dimension to his career retrospection. It’s both hope and hindsight that had yet to surface when Dancing Astronaut sat down with him a year ago. At that time Page did not know he would soon become a father. His reflections now posit his own efforts to secure success beside hypothetical musings of his daughter’s chances at a similar undertaking.
“It’s such an unlikely career, but I want to make sure it is possible. I never expected to make a living. I was never the resident DJ, and I was never given those opportunities. No one was like, ‘hey do you want to play in Avalon in Boston and see how it goes?’ No one gave me the time of day,” reflects the “Against the World” producer.
As an artist who has amassed a fiercely loyal following over the last decade, signed to an international label, that has managed to deliver a continuous output of music, Page is among an elite breed of industry players who have learned to navigate the circuitous industry staircase. He is not reluctant in the least to speak on the near impossible feat of attempting to make a living in this space without help from the record labels and management companies. Page asserted that of all the dizzying idiosyncrasies at work in the music business, the most complicated mechanisms at work here are humans. “I think human dynamics are harder than anything,” admits Page — an interesting acknowledgement from a career entertainer.
Human dynamics are the most challenging part of collaborations, Page shares. Two well-known artists co-producing music isn’t always (or even frequently) born out of a happenstance encounter or coming to an agreement upon one party’s first inquiry; there are often other forces at work. Creating the music itself together, he says, can be the easiest part of the entire process. Management usually has their own ideas about how collaborations will come to life.
“If artists actually worked with one another it would be so much more simple. [With] management, it’s all a block because they are like, well my artist is worth ‘x,’ and then it’s a counter of what the other manager is saying their artist is worth. I think the hard part about collaborating is usually who stands in the way when two artists genuinely want to work together because the management will get into an over-protective ego war.”
The dance music industry may flaunt a lustrous exterior, but the behind the scenes, interactions are not always so resplendent. According to Page, artists often find themselves at a standstill while their teams go to war about what point font he or she is on a lineup. When it comes to a collaboration itself, the collaborators don’t even always get to sit in a studio and work together. Co-productions are also susceptible to dizzying artist schedules and personal preference.
“My collaboration with Swanky Tunes was fine, for example, because there was only one person I was dealing with. But it’s difficult. Everyone is touring. You don’t hear back for a month, and if you don’t hear back, either someone doesn’t like [the music] or they are busy,” recalls Page.
Page’s recent song with Swanky Tunes is a diversion from Page’s typically melodic style, and showcases how working with new producers can push an artist’s personal boundaries. The collaboration is an example of the shift of his personal interests when it comes to what satiates him sonically. He has been focusing on outreach with fellow producers, mentoring younger artists, and even returning to remixes, which Page admits he distanced himself from for a while.
“Some of the remixes are so off the mark, and from good producers too. The dynamic has changed a lot now where I think people don’t want to do remixes because stuff gets denied or things are done on speck. People will hire emerging names, and many are like, well unless it’s Rihanna and I’m getting $10 grand, people are so finicky. I’m like, it doesn’t matter, and I will go find an emerging name while I’m playing my radio show.
Not only is Page taking on remixes of his own again, like his reboot of Elephante’s “Come Back for You” featuring Matluck, but he will be releasing a remix package for “The Longest Road” in honor of the iconic track’s tenth anniversary. The first The Longest Road EP features three remixes: a brand new take from Steff Da Campo, the 2012 bootleg remix from Vicetone now receiving its debut official release, and the song’s most famous edition, deadmau5‘ unforgettable 2008 remix.
While Page’s life remains in a constant state of flux both personally and professionally, he was immediately able to peg the catalytic record that catapulted him out of unnamed monotony, the fittingly named, “The Longest Road.” He stands firm that his daughter is by and large his greatest collaborative effort, but ascribes “The Longest Road” a close second. Like the electronic arena he knows and loves, Page’s priorities shift. His interests broaden. Yet, Page remains an unpredictable and immovable force in this inconstant arena.
Each week, New Music Friday sweeps through with torrential force, showering streaming platforms with immeasurable amounts of new tunes. Just like Dancing Astronaut rounds up 25 of the biggest songs of the week for the Hot 25 Spotify playlist each New Music Friday, Lunar Lunes serves as a landing pad for SoundCloud users who want a whole new dose of tunes to kick off the work week.
In this week’s installation, WAVEDASH continue their run on SLANDER and NGHTMRE‘s new label, Gud Vibrations, by tapping frequent collaborator QUEST. Maurice West is bringing big room back with his latest, “The Kick,” and Chris Lorenzo teams up with Taiki Nulight on the latter’s new album, Murky Manor, for “Sinner.” Robbie Rivera‘s new album recently hit the airwaves, dishing up the fine house music he’s been generating for decades, and he thrills with the carefree “We Don’t Care.” Vintage & Morelli have returned with a gorgeous trance rework of Aly & Fila‘s “Paralyzed” with Hailene — and that’s just skimming the surface of the array of selections we’ve gathered this week.