Saturday Night Session 028: Justin Caruso reflects on the past and lays out his hopes for the future as he enters the next stage of his music career

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Saturday Night Session 028: Justin Caruso reflects on the past and lays out his hopes for the future as he enters the next stage of his music careerJustin Caruso Press

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.

Justin Caruso has only been releasing music for two years, but in that short time period, he has already made a name for himself on the touring circuit and on the radio. A commercial crossover producer through and through, Caruso started his electronic music career with one of the best mentors an aspiring artist could ask for with Justin Blau, better known as 3LAU. The two went on tour together in 2016, and Caruso hasn’t looked back since.

The now 23-year old proceeded to amass over 50 million streams on streaming platforms across his collection of releases, and he has since gone on tour with the likes of Tiësto, The Chainsmokers, and now Loud Luxury. Few acts have the opportunity to tour with such a heavy-hitting roster of artists at the initiation of their careers, and its a tribute to the quality of Caruso’s original releases and remixes. When asked which tour Caruso would repeat aside from his own previous headlining tour, he notes, “I’d say I would repeat my first ever tour with 3LAU. It was such a wild feeling playing shows for the first time, and I’ll forever remember that tour!”

Caruso’s first headlining tour was in 2017, which he dubbed the ‘Can I dropout yet?’ tour. The producer, who was enrolled in University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, did ultimately make the decision to put college on hold in an effort to focus on his music career. He notes this is one of the hardest decisions he has ever made, stating, “This was very difficult not only for me, but for my parents as well. They weren’t fully on board at first, but once music became a full time job, they began to understand I needed to drop out. It really hit me when I physically had zero time to go to class as I was too busy touring.”

Caruso is out with new release “Can’t Live Without” featuring Wyn Starks ahead of his fill Good Parts Tour. Opening with soft keys and a melody that compliments the velvety vocals of Wyn Starks, ‘Can’t Live Without’ serves as the ideal end-of-summer track. The smooth transitions from silky melodies into an upbeat, future-pop driven sound shows Caruso’s strength at enlisting a top of the line vocalist and blending their voice with an atmospheric backdrop that creates a melodic whole.

He speaks on the new release, stating, “I couldn’t be more excited about this new release! I think ‘Can’t Live Without’ expresses the most raw form of love possible, and a lot of people can connect with that.”

Caruso also crafted his Saturday Night Session to highlight the best of his own releases blended with dance-worthy pop releases. The end result is an infectious mix that the listener can sing along to just as well as they can dance to. According to Caruso, his Saturday Night Session prepares the listener for a Saturday night that is, “whatever they want it to be, but for me, I’d say meeting up with your best friends and having a fun night you all always look back on.”

Photo credit: nexus

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You’ve been on tour with some pretty great acts- The Chainsmokers, Tiesto, and 3LAU to name a few. If you could only choose 1 tour to repeat (not including your headlining tour), which one would you do again?

I’d say I would repeat my first ever tour with 3LAU. It was such a wild feeling playing shows for the first time, and I’ll forever remember that tour!

Have you always been musical/what got you into music in the first place?

I’ve always loved music, but I didn’t really grow a passion for making it or DJing until highschool after a basketball leg injury. I had so much time to kill laying in bed that I started to mess around making mashups on my computer, and thats where the love began.

The theme of your previous tour is “Can I drop out yet?” We know you made the decision to put school on hold in order to focus on your music career. How difficult of a decision was this for you?

This was very difficult not only for me, but for my parents as well. They weren’t fully on board at first, but once music became a full time job, they began to understand I needed to drop out. It really hit me when I physically had zero time to go to class as I was too busy touring.

Let’s go into the future and imagine you are now 40 year old Justin. What kind of a career are you hoping to look back on?

I’m hoping my career is still going, and I’m owning a label at that time. I want to look back on a career that made me happy and something I can be proud of. I hope to continue to make music I love and enjoy.

What is something about you that your fans probably don’t know?

I’m a big gamer, and basically any free time I have goes towards video games. I usually bring video games on the road too!

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

One of my guilty pleasures would be loving Taylor Swift’s music, especially her new album

What kind of a Saturday Night is your Saturday Night Session getting fans ready for?

Honestly whatever they want it to be, but for me, I’d say meeting up with your best friends and having a fun night you all always look back on.

ORBIT: KSHMR elects a list of heaters in preparation for Imagine Festival

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ORBIT: KSHMR elects a list of heaters in preparation for Imagine FestivalKSHMR ByPatBeaudry 003 Resize

Big room savant KSHMR put together an exclusive Orbit playlist in preparation for his upcoming Imagine Festival set on Saturday, September 21 in Atlanta. The selection of tracks matches his performance style, filled with booming festival anthems and crafted melodies that one would expect to hear from the artist.

From vocalistic ballads to big room numbers, the frequent mainstage occupee welcomes tracks from Dharma label friends like Asketa & Natan Chain’s “Magic, morphing into cuts from his four-cut ‘Paradesi’ EP and international bounce anthems like Ummet Ozcan‘s “IZMIR”. Similar to his high-energy sets, the ORBIT playlist is closed out with Mike Williams “Day or Night”, complementing the carousel of singles in this festival pregame playlist.

This is the sixth rendition of the Imagine as the festival looks to celebrate its theme “What Lies Deep at the Bottom of the Ocean.” Take a dive into KSHMR’s aura below and catch his set Saturday night on the main Oceania stage at 9:30pm.

Photo credit: Pat Beaudry

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 109

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Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 109Deters Beat Lab@0.

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.

Listen in playlist format here


When Haywyre‘s “Tell Me” first came out last November, I was immediately hooked. It’s effortlessly funky, incorporating Haywyre’s own vocoder-filtered vocals and array of bright and blissful synth and keyboard elements. As part of a set of remixes, Notaker is the latest to take on the groovy tune. The St. Louis producer has put his own moody, atmospheric spin on the original, packing a serious punch with dramatic builds and hefty bass. It gives an entirely different tone to the piece, and it’s breathtakingly powerful.

Disco overlords Goshfather and Aylen are at it again. The duo have a joint two-track EP out, featuring the previously released “Found You” and the debut of “Coastin’.” The tune seeks to continue the effortless, sun-soaked tone of the summer months, incorporating a retro melody and carefree lyrics to move the steady bassline along. It’s hard not to move your feet to this one.

Liquicity mainstay Maduk is back with new heat. The Dutch producer teamed up with Calixte to create a truly infectious tune. “Everytime” seems subdued enough in the beginning, but steadily builds into a mighty drum ‘n’ bass song. A piano melody and rushing beat carry Calixte’s vocals beautifully from start to finish. “Everytime” is a tune that’s as alluring as its hypnotic cover art.

Fans of Metrik have long anticipated the arrival of “Gravity.” The release is the first time Metrik has ever featured his own vocals, and the addition rounds out what I believe is one of his best releases in recent history. “This track represents a new wave of music I’ve been developing using my voice, guitar & synthesisers and is the purest expression of my sound yet,” Metrik said of the release.

UKF is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and with it comes an exclusive set of singles and EP from the notable platform. The latest of these is Kove‘s “Le Retour,” a drum ‘n’ bass number with cheery horns and an irresistible overall retro style. It’s quite a swerve from its predecessor, “Motor,” which had a decidedly darker feel to it, but the difference in the songs just demonstrates Kove’s ridiculously wide range when it comes to production and sound design.

Wax Motif on new label, debut album, and the G-house movement [Q&A]

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Wax Motif on new label, debut album, and the G-house movement [Q&A]Wa Motif 1

From sourcing the sharpest sounds of the sonic second through his House of Wax radio show, to harnessing the same up-to-date energy into his own house music productions, Wax Motif (Danny Chien) is always up to something to keep his act fresh. An incisive remixer and prolific collaborator—known for his work with EDC, Holy Ship!, and HARD Summer founder, Gary Richards (Destructo), OWSLA/Mad Decent all-star, fellow Aussie, Anna Lunoe, and most recently Diddy (yes, that Diddy)—Chien recently released the seminal track to jump-start his new label, Divided Souls.

The eponymous, “Divided Souls” features a DJ-directed, emotionally charged vocal cut, compliments of Diddy (Sean Combs), praising artists who play out lengthy (“20-minute versions”) extended cuts of tracks in their sets. The track is the first single to arrive from the “Fly Kicks” remixer’s forthcoming, debut album, which will see release on the newly minted imprint.

Though he’s been a pivotal purveyor of the hip-hop/house hybrid sound—known as the G-house movement—Wax is never wary to veer off the trodden sonic pathway, harnessing nu-disco, heady bass, and electro into into his cornerstone four-on-the-floor formula. Chien says for the album, though, he’s both updated his old tricks, and tried to focus on songwriting as ardently as possible. Dancing Astronaut caught up with Wax Motif to talk new label digs, G-house, and what to expect from the LP.

Tell me about how “Divided Souls” came together/How you got in contact with Diddy…

It was an old recording that never got released. My friend passed it over and I just started messing with it. In just like a minute, I had a one-bar drum loop, then added a bass loop. I sent it back to him, and he sent it over to Diddy, who was like “Yeah, fire. I’m down.” And then we got it cleared pretty quickly, actually. 

So what’s your goal or mission statement with the new label?

Honestly I just want to put out good songs: obviously club-focused stuff, but stuff you [can listen to any time], kind of like in the morning when you wake up and in the club. I feel like a lot of club stuff is just really really club-or-festival-oriented. I definitely want to find a better balance of songs that you can play in the club as well. 

Is it mainly going to be a housing for your own recordings, or will you feature other artists?

At the start, I feel like it’s just for me mainly, just so I can be able to build the right vibe around it and take it in the right direction. Then I’ll open it up—hopefully next year. 

You’re known for both your prolific, all-embracing DJ-ing/mixing abilities (seen through your radio show) as well as your comprehensive compositions as a producer. Which skill do you feel comes more naturally to you?

I think they go hand in hand. I’m never trying to put anything out that I wouldn’t play in my sets every night. Testing the music in a live setting is an important part of making the music, in a lot of ways. So really, both. Right now, I’m just having a lot of fun making tracks and playing them in my sets that night. 

You’ve worked with Destructo (Gary Richards) a number of times. It seems you share a similar ethos regarding blending hip-hop and house music, or what’s known as the G-house movement. Can you expand on that?

Our tastes are definitely similar. We started working together, and it just came naturally—building on music we liked. It’s growing now, as well, where lots of young kids like Bijou and Dr. Fresch are making stuff of a similar [nature]. 

A lot of my early stuff was really geared [towards G-house]. A lot of it now still is too; it’s just evolved. If you look at my Tinashe “2 On” remix, my YG remix, Young Thug, I think I was definitely one of the first people to start remixing all that new type of rap and R&B stuff into house records. 

Who do you feel are some other newer faces freshening up the scene and bringing nuance to their approaches? 

Right now I’m definitely feeling NOIZU, Matroda, NuKid. I was just working with Matroda actually because we have a song coming out. I think it’s going to be the second track off my album. We’re just putting together the artwork right now. 

What can you tell me about the album? 

It’s gonna be fire. 

**Both laugh** Any details you can share?

I don’t want to say too much right now. I just want to let these songs come out one-by-one and see what people think. This [last song] was kinda me testing the waters. “Divided Souls” was a little more underground in terms of more techno in the drop than what I normally do. When you think of an album you normally want something more diverse. There’s definitely going to be music that people expect and want [from me], but then there’s also going to be song-oriented, house records. 

*This transcript has been slightly edited for clarity and readability

Photo Credit: Leonardo Kaczmarek

Good Morning Mix: Wake up with Carl Cox at the Opulent Temple at Burning Man

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Good Morning Mix: Wake up with Carl Cox at the Opulent Temple at Burning ManCarl Co Medium

Carl Cox‘s torrential techno reign has foraged Black Rock City for over a decade, and this year was no disruption from tradition. The global DJ veteran recently released his hour-and-a-half set at the Opulent Temple stage at Burning Man. Cox brought his unequivocal energy to the majestic desert playground with a set strewn with melodies riding percussion.

With various IDs and tracks from Audiojack, Kenny Dope, wAFF and more, the set is best-spent reminiscing the fleeting nature of time or simply lavishing in the array of long-form buildups and celestial hooks.

Burning Man may only last for a week, fragments of the elusive weekend continue to surface—reminding the rest of the music community of the desert-dwelling spectacle’s all-embracing artistic artillery. Below is another unearthed memory from the depths of debauchery entertainment, delivered by Playground BRC.

Wooli and Excision converge on ‘Evolution’ EP for an exhibition of bass variance [Review/Q&A]

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Wooli and Excision converge on ‘Evolution’ EP for an exhibition of bass variance [Review/Q&A]Ecision Wooli At Bass Canyon 2 Credit Oh Dag Yo

When the old and new titans of the bass world coalesce on a distinctive vision, the witnesses quake in anticipation of its residual impact. In the case of Excision and Wooli, their latest collaborative project Evolution has demanded the inexhaustible attention of bass fans not just for its impeccable sound design, but for its decisive showcase of stylistic colors in a formidable four-tracker EP package. The burgeoning Wooli is capitalizing on his momentous rise in the heavy bass scene, and Evolution both dictates a pivotal act of artistry in his career while heralding the continuum of his genre-morphing inclinations as he looks forward to his next move.

Cementing his early status in a portfolio of “briddim” and hard dubstep, Wooli, born Adam Puleo, first broke onto the scene with his remix of Excision and Dion Timmer‘s “Her” and rapidly accumulated a fanbase devoted to his production prowess in thrashing bass music. His imposing sound earned him the weighty support of mainstay Excision following the latter’s inclusion of Wooli’s track, “Wave It Up” in the 2016 iteration of his iconic Shambhala mix.

Dancing Astronaut spoke to Wooli about all the creative elements that shaped his journey to present day, including his relationship with co-producer and dubstep behemoth Excision.

“Excision was one of the first people to ever support my music at that kind of scale. He’s actually really easy to approach as far as sending music. He’s been supporting my music his last two or three tours and playing probably anywhere from three to six of my songs per set. Then, it transitioned into me playing a lot of the shows on his tours. So that’s where we finally met. It was just a natural relationship that evolved. As long as you find some way to become friends with that person, it comes pretty naturally wanting to write music with them later.” 

The rest is history; since then, Wooli has collected a stacked set of songwriting, sound development, and tour experience in a short time—embarking on Adventure Club‘s Death or Glory tour, debuting two tracks on Seven LionsOphelia Records, and gracing festival circuits from the likes of Electric Forest, Bass Canyon, Electric Zoo, and more. Now, the Rochester native acts to prove his fledging reputation is no act of luck, but a culmination of sheer talent as he simultaneously takes on his own headlining tour, The Voyage, alongside peer Trivecta and releases his joint Evolution EP with Excision.

“It started with just one song. We wrote “Evolution” with Sam King and we had some more ideas for different projects that we either started, never finished or just had in the back of our head. He had me come up to his house up in Canada, we wrote up there for about five or six days, and pretty much finished the EP there.”

Evolution spans four tracks each characterized by their respective tonal marks and constructed by idiosyncratic intentions. The EP opens with “Lockdown” —the only track devoid of features— for a heavy-hitter signature of screeching synths and pounding bass; the ensuing dubstep production is exactly what listeners expect from the combined forces of Wooli and Excision. Titular track “Evolution” also echoes the chaotic menace of the opener, its foreground perforated by the growls of mammoths while Sam King‘s vocals pave the way for a deadly drop. With primal instincts and raw energy, both numbers will be destined as crowd favorites for the live stage, undoubtedly seizing their full potential with the capabilities of bass-thundering sound systems.

“The most fun to make was “Lockdown” just because it was me and Excision in his basement/mega studio and it was my first time ever working in the studio; I always just work over the internet. It was a really fun experience and he’s got like the loudest, biggest, bass-iest speakers you could buy.”

As much as “Lockdown” and “Evolution” epitomize the expected product of a Wooli and Excision collaboration, the rest of the EP signifies a dynamism outside of their supposed expertise that grants endless bounds of excitement in relation to the former. Finding middle ground between melodic and heavy, “Another Me” lies on the cusp of genre nuances. Although driven by Seven Lion’s imprint on melodic dubstep, Wooli and Excision’s own taste of elbow-throwing soundscape make their presence equally known.

“‘Another Me’ was a favorite personal song just because I’ve always wanted to work with Dylan Matthew; his vocals are amazing and he’s an amazing artist. Then, obviously there’s Seven Lions who I’ve worked with before; we always just kill it together when it comes to the melodic side.”

However, the star of Evolution is Trivecta triple-collaboration, “Oxygen” and its poignant rendering of Wooli and Excision’s softer productions. Vocals from Julianne Hope reflect the emotive lyricism: “Swimming in the deep end / Breath away from drowning / Kiss me like I’m oxygen”. A clear divergence from its adjacent tracks, “Oxygen” trades a dubstep drop for future-bass inspired crescendos; the resulting product is breathtakingly beautiful. Exercising minimalistic instrumentals, keyboard chords and guitar strums pepper the delicate structure before the track builds into a sublime melodic drop and ephemerally descends into melancholic repose again.

“I’m really happy with the EP and response. My only concern was how open people were going to be specifically to the song “Oxygen” because there’s not a dubstep drop, but the fans…they kind of get it and they like it. I’m just happy with everything right now.” 

Evolution‘s selection of songs leaves no question for Wooli and Excision’s collective versatility and its sonic range may leave some fans curious, others disappointed, but many hungry for more. However, treading outside his staple comes as no surprise to Wooli himself, whose path to dubstep first found its origins in other forms of electronic music.

“Drum n’ bass was basically my first introduction to bass music when I was a lot younger. It was something my brother would listen to in the car when he was driving me around. In my city Rochester, New York, there’s no local dubstep scene. It was either tech house or drum n’ bass. Those were the only two things that people would listen to and if you wanted to be a DJ locally you had to play those kinds of genres. So when I learned how to start DJing, —before I was making music, just wanting to be a DJ— I was mixing drum n’ bass a lot.” 

More importantly, the inherent risk-taking in juxtaposing the harsh, heavy-hitting productions with melodic territory reflects Wooli’s own personal goals with where he believes he can take his music and where his motivations have always resided. Unconfined by the arbitrary lines of sub-genres, Wooli intends to carve his own visionary definitions of quality music into the bass scene. While his previous releases have harbored traces of experimentation, they act as playing ground in comparison to Evolution—the large-scale release of which has validated Wooli’s concrete ability time-and-time again to step with ease into any musical area he wishes to explore. Evolution ultimately showcases equal parts stylistic breadth and depth, refusing to relinquish Excision and Wooli’s beloved hard dubstep in light of new directions. Now, welding another massive collaborative project under his belt, Wooli finds himself at the crux of another jumping point in his artistic growth and overarching career.

“I’m going to keep on exploring what I could do with combining the melodic and the heavy. If not melodic and heavy, just two different genres like with my single “Psyclone” where it was heavy and psy trance. Anything that I feel like would keep the listener guessing to what’s going to happen next is what I’m really interested in and focusing on who I can get as far as a vocal feature to elevate the songs to the next level. My whole goal now is to make music that’s going to feel more like a complete song rather than just a dubstep drop.”

Stream Evolution below.

Photo Credit: Oh Dag Yo

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 108

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Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 108Deters Beat Lab@0.

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.

Listen in playlist format here


I really, really love Mamma Mia. It’s fabulous, and so is its soundtrack. In the rare moments when today’s electronic music scene acknowledges the greatness of ABBA, I rejoice. So this week, I rejoice in Kramder‘s “disco tool” edit of “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” It’s just way too fun.

Aero Chord‘s new EP, The Sound, arrived Sept. 12 via Monstercat, delivering four songs of broad sonic range. The collection’s title track bursts into the listeners’ ears with anthemic production, booming with powerful, trap-oriented goodness from start to finish.

Unexpected drum ‘n’ bass is the best drum ‘n’ bass. I certainly wasn’t expecting it when I saw Manic Focus had released his sixth studio album, but I was pleasantly surprised when the first track had a racing beat. “Star Sweeper” still contains many of the groovy, jammed out elements fans have come to expect from a Manic Focus track, but they’re incorporated in an unexpected way.

Duskus‘ new original is a relaxing piece, leading the listener to sonic bliss with a subdued beat and filtered vocals. The orchestral interlude brings a different form of calm, delivering an almost therapeutic sense of peace.

Direct and Matt Van are an iconic duo, consistently delivering impeccable sound design and production when they get together. Their newest, “Cold Ground,” is no different, bringing their fans a flawless, mellow experience. The artists seem to implore the listener to get lost in the passion they’ve put into their music, and it’s easy to do.

Armin van Buuren details harnessing the many ‘Moons Of Jupiter’ [Interview]

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Armin van Buuren details harnessing the many ‘Moons Of Jupiter’ [Interview]ADE2018 GAIA PRESS

“With GAIA we said ‘Look, what do we really need?’” – Armin van Buuren

The answer: a kick drum, a bass line, six synths for pads and arpeggios, and a sequencer for the drums—nothing more, nothing less. It was with these select few elements that Armin van Buuren and Benno de Goeij would produce their inaugural GAIA album, Moons Of Jupiter. The 21-track LP sources all of its sounds from one soft synth, a Native Instruments MASSIVE, copied over six channels.

“I take pride in that, because we limited ourselves, and that actually gave us creative freedom,” van Buuren said in an interview with Dancing Astronaut before his Main Stage set at Electric Zoo 2019. “I have access to all these plugins and synthesizers in my studio and sometimes it drives me nuts looking for one plugin because I have to scroll through all these menus,” he added. “[With this approach] you didn’t think ‘Oh that plugin can create that sound.’ You had to dig deep under the hood of the MASSIVE. It felt like a relief, not having all of those choices.”

The selectivity of van Buuren and de Goeij’s combined constructive approach to Moons Of Jupiter is just one way that the album-making process would veer from more trodden electronic pathways. The inverted structure by which Moons Of Jupiter came about is another. Normally, producers would go into the studio, create tracks in a sequencer, mix and master them, release the subsequent album, and tour in support of it, van Buuren explained. Not so, however, with Moons Of Jupiter.

“We started with the touring and created the tracks literally on the fly,” said van Buuren of the project’s serendipitous jump start.

The songs that attendees would hear live—and later, would go on to comprise Moons Of Jupiter—were loops that van Buuren and de Goeij had collaboratively amassed over time.

“We always work on two DAWs; one person may be arranging on one screen, while the other is doing something else,” van Buuren said. “Instead of letting all the works that we didn’t use go to waste, we made a deal with ourselves: we would save the midi and whatever else we had made and would throw it in a folder.”

That folder got “bigger and bigger and bigger,” according to van Buuren. The pair eventually put their stock of loops into an Ableton project. Although the GAIA members typically work in Logic, van Buuren and de Goeij set to work in Ableton to prepare their live set for their forthcoming show in Paradiso at Amsterdam Dance Event 2018. They had six months to finish their set up, and no finished music.

What we’ve done with GAIA is we’ve basically created loops,” van Buuren said of his finished product. “That’s why I came about the idea of planets, because planets rotate. As a kid I’d always been fascinated by space. I saw a book about the planets of Jupiter and I thought, ‘That’s a great concept [for an album]. Imagine if you had a spaceship and could travel between the moons of Jupiter: what would that sound like, what would the soundtrack be? That was the ambition.

With a litany of loops at their disposal to manipulate, GAIA gurus built their own custom equipment to perform the set, including mini sequencers. Although the experience was admittedly “scary” for van Buuren, it, too, was exciting, in part because it offered van Buuren “a release” from his primary project, Armin van Buuren.

“I love being Armin van Buuren and I love to do the Main Stage sets, but there’s another side of me that feels the need to experiment and travel to uncharted territory for myself, steering a little bit off the safe path,” he explained.

Whereas Armin van Buuren is “more commercial [and] more radio-driven” in sound, GAIA, by contrast, is unorthodox by nature. Indeed, GAIA is far from an alias designed to garner voracious streams or contort to meld to other meters of commercial achievement. This, in addition to the absence of samples and collaborations on Moons Of Jupiter is precisely what allows GAIA to “go a little bit against the grain,” to be “the opposite” of what Armin van Buuren does, and how electronic releases broadly operate.

GAIA is a statement that music can be so exciting if you try to go across genres,” van Buuren said.

However, listeners shouldn’t mistake GAIA or Moons of Jupiter as an opposition to the way that the electronic music sector runs.

“GAIA is not an anti-EDM statement, [we didn’t make it] because we want to be anti, hell no” van Buuren said. “For us it is an homage: we wanted to make this album because this is who we are. It’s a monument to the early sounds of dance music.”

van Buuren explained that Moons Of Jupiter also honors his childhood, when he was first be exposed to electronic music around the age of eight- or nine-years old. He recalls how his father would often play a sundry of early electronic artists, Jean-Michel Jarre, Kitaro and Vangelis, whose music would all prove pivotal to the development of the young producer. Back then, in 1988 and 1989, when van Buuren was just becoming a fan of dance music, the genre was in a markedly different state than it is today. It was a time when sub-genres such as bass and trance were not defined, or as van Buuren puts it, when “the rules were not set.”

For van Buuren, Moons Of Jupiter and GAIA more broadly represent the chance to “go back” and revisit these foundational electronic artists who inspired him.

“I always promised myself that if I ever got to the position where I am now, I would go back to my roots and say to my fans ‘Look guys, I will never forget where I come from,’ and I think you can hear that in the album,” van Buuren told Dancing Astronaut. “GAIA shows you the core of me.”

In experimentally harkening back to a nascent time in the history of electronic sound, Moons Of Jupiter does not embody current stylistics. Many people have even told van Buuren that the LP reminds them of the ’80s and ’90s, due in part to the album’s drum programming, among some of its other technical approaches. Though the work remains largely epoch-less.

“It’s not the sound of now, let’s face it,” van Buuren said, “but it’s probably my favorite album that I’ve ever done.”

For van Buuren, the significance of Moons Of Jupiter arrives not from its reception—although the album has fielded no shortage of favorable reviews—nor from the number of streams that it may attract, but rather from the artistic journey that it represents. The significance of “journey” in this context is two-fold, in that it encompasses both the growth of Armin van Buuren as a producer over time and the crafting of the LP. Moons Of Jupiter embodies the musical wisdom that van Buuren has gleaned with each track he’s made to date.

“Every track teaches you something for the next,” van Buuren said. “There’s some DJs who say ‘Oh I made that track in two-hours.’ Well, you didn’t, because you take all of the experience from your past tracks and put them into the next track, so each track is a step in the journey to the next one.

What does the future hold for GAIA? Well, unsurprisingly, more journeys. van Buuren said that he and de Goeij have “plenty more loops standing by.”

“Jupiter has 67 moons and there’s only 21 tracks on this album. There’s still moons to be discovered,” he noted.

With GAIA and with their ensuing albums, van Buuren will continue to “go back” to the early electronic sounds that motivated him to go into music in the first place and to the younger van Buuren who lent his ear so attentively to the productions of the dance pioneers of his father’s instrumental influence.

“You have to always go back to that little kid that fell in love with dance music the first time, because that guy is probably the most important guy. That guy guides you to your own sound,” van Buuren said. “If you can listen to that guy and stay loyal to that guy, then there you go.”

*This transcript has been edited slightly for clarity and readability

Saturday Night Session 026: From being a die-hard Tiësto fan to playing on the mainstage, GATTÜSO talks about his entrance into electronic music

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Saturday Night Session 026: From being a die-hard Tiësto fan to playing on the mainstage, GATTÜSO talks about his entrance into electronic musicGATTUSO STUDIO 2

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.

The journey of becoming a successful DJ and producer is different for everyone, but almost always unified by years of hard work. It’s a grind, and for many, an uphill battle to get booked, grow a fanbase, and score radio placements. Reem Taoz is as familiar with the hard work part of this story as the best of them, but the electronic music industry seemingly woke up one morning and decided that he was going to be a household name. Taoz arrived to the forefront of the electronic music scene the second he got into the studio, and this is almost certainly thanks to his infectious spin on progressive house and club music.

Taoz performs under artist alias GATTÜSO, and the Israel native actually credits legendary producer Tiësto as his inspiration to become involved in the electronic music industry.

He mentions, “I have to credit Tiësto as my biggest inspiration.  I heard him play first in Israel, and when I first started to really travel – it was to go to a Tiësto show, and I ended up following him to shows around the world.”

This led him to Peru, where he started working in the nightclub industry. The more time he spent around the music, the more certain he became that he needed to start creating his own. In 2017, a now New York City based Taoz stopped everything to focus on making music. Two years later he has 12 remixes and seven originals under his belt with 10 new original releases in the works. He has released music on Dim Mak, Armada, Enhanced, and he has his own record label called T&T Records. He has also done official remixes for an extensive list of tier one artists including forthcoming remixes for Galantis, Yellow Claw, and Sam Feldt among others.

The sheer volume of music Taoz has put out despite being a music producer for only two years is impressive. His output begins to make more sense after discussing the amount of time he spends in the studio and what he does outside of work to unwind. He notes, “The past month, I spent 300 hours in the studio, which hasn’t left a whole lot of time…I really try to spend every minute outside of the studio enjoying food, family, and staying healthy.  I’ve said it before, but Im a HUGE fan of sushi, and working out, and I hit the gym and run at least a few miles every day.  I also love tequila and champagne, although I try not to do that every day!”

For those trying to figure out what led to Taoz’s meteoric ascension, one stunt comes to the forefront. Taoz chose the artist name GATTÜSO because he was a huge Genaro Gattuso fan, who is an Italian soccer player from AC Milan.

When asked how he chose his artist name, he explains, “It’s ironic, because the name just came to me one night.  I wanted something that sounded strong and forceful.  I’m a huge football fan (soccer), and I knew that there was a former player for AC Milan, who was a major star, and then went on to coach the team.  I figured that somewhere down the road, we might cross paths, and as it turns out a huge AC Milan fan, with a big instagram account, realized that we had the same name, created a bunch of buzz on it, and we ended up collaborating on a song called ‘Scuza Gattuso,’ which started as an inside joke and went on to be featured in tons of global press outlets, featured on top playlists, and brought me a loyal fan base of Italian listeners.”

GATTÜSO’s inside joke has certainly garnered him a strong Italian fanbase. He also touts an ever-expanding group of loyal listeners in the U.S. and throughout the world. When asked what kind of a Saturday Night his Saturday Night Session will get listeners ready for, Taoz comments, “Life with GATTÜSO is always a party.  Life is meant to be enjoyed – every minute of it, especially this Saturday night! So get ready for good vibes and a playlist you’re going to play again and again.”

______________________________________________________________________________

You kind of came out of nowhere- releasing your first original in 2018, and all of the sudden you’re doing remixes for major artists and your originals are amassing millions of streams. Tell us about your entrance into dance music and why you started producing. 

I have to credit Tiësto as my biggest inspiration.  I heard him play first in Israel, and when I first started to really travel – it was to go to a Tiësto show, and I ended up following him to shows around the world.  Thats what led me to Peru, where I spent a few years in the nightclub business.  The more time that I spent around dance music and DJ’s, I realized that it was time to turn my passion for music as a fan into finding myself as an artist.  I played music as a kid and had messed around with some production software over the years, but in 2017 I stopped everything and turned to focus on producing full time.  My first original releases, “Who We Are” and “Dance Stay High” were really personal songs for me, as was “I Will Play.” This writing was directly from my personal life and was very cathartic for me.  Seeing these songs with millions of streams now is very satisfying because I think it shows that other people feel the way I do, and I’m happy to see my music resonating with people around the world. 

How would you describe your musical style to those who haven’t heard you before?

I love progressive, with big drops, catchy melodies, and driven by memorable vocals and great songs.  Thats what I try to do! I balance this out with club tracks, and Im going to be releasing more of those in the near future, since I have a lot of fun making them. 

Given your first original came out in 2018 and you have since released a plethora of remixes and originals- you must spend quite a lot of time in the studio. What do you do to unwind? 

As of this week, Ive actually released about or exactly 12 remixes and 7 originals. I have another 10 originals that I’m working on now, and about 5 are ready to release.  The past month, I spent 300 hours in the studio, which hasn’t left a whole lot of time.  That said, I love to enjoy my life, and I make sure that I carve out time to do that.  I love making music and that time is very special to me, but I really try to spend every minute outside of the studio enjoying food, family, and staying healthy.  I’ve said it before, but Im a HUGE fan of sushi, and working out, and I hit the gym and run at least a few miles every day.  I also love tequila and champagne, although I try not to do that every day 🙂 

How did you choose the artist name GATTÜSO?

It’s ironic, because the name just came to me one night.  I wanted something that sounded strong and forceful.  I’m a huge football fan (soccer), and I knew that there was a former player for AC Milan, who was a major star, and then went on to coach the team.  I figured that somewhere down the road, we might cross paths, and as it turns out a huge AC Milan fan, with a big instagram account, realized that we had the same name, created a bunch of buzz on it, and we ended up collaborating on a song called “Scuza Gattuso,” which started as an inside joke and went on to be featured in tons of global press outlets, featured on top playlists, and brought me a loyal fan base of Italian listeners.  

Do you have any specific releases or remixes coming out soon that you are particularly excited about?

Yes! All of them.  August was a huge month for me, with 4 remixes back to back. There’s a Two Friends remix coming this month, “Dollar Menu” (Dim Mak 9/6), and then Im finishing up great remixes for Icona Pop (who I have always loved), and Starley, which should be out in October. It’s been amazing to work with such great songs and artists, that I’ve been following and listening to for some time now.  They have all inspired and influenced me, so its really awesome to have these kinds of opportunities.  I’m in the process of finalizing some label deals on a handful of originals, and I’m going to release one this month on my own label, T&T Records, called “Love Is Not Enough.”  I LOVE this record and the singer S.A.L.E.M just kills me.  She’s amazing, has something very special I think, which is hard to find.  

I just did a swap with Mark Sixma.  He’s awesome.  My song with Disco Killerz, “Million Things” was on Dance Rising with his song “Million Miles.”  I loved his style, and when I released “When In Rome” on Armada in July, when it came time to get remixes done, I hit him up and we decided to trade.  Really excited for that to come out September 20th.  

Other releases and remixes I have coming out:

Breathe Carolina X Asketa & Natan Chaim “Get Away feat. Rama Duke” (Spinnin Records)

Steve Void & Louisa – Aint Got You (Strange Fruits/Universal 8/23)

Sam Feldt – Post Malone (Spinnin Records 8/29) 

Galantis & Yellow Claw – We Can Get High (Big Beat/Atlantic 8/30)

What is your favorite song of all time?

Thats a tough call.  Lets go with top 3

Radiohead “Creep” 

Dash Berlin “Till The Sky Falls Down”

R3HAB “Lullaby,” and I was fortunate to do a remix for that one.  I have always been a big fan of Fadil’s and he has now become a friend.  

What kind of a Saturday night is your Saturday night session going to get listeners ready for?

Life with Gattuso is always a party.  Life is meant to be enjoyed – every minute of it, especially this Saturday night! So get ready for good vibes and a playlist you’re going to play again and again.  

Photo Credit: Richard “Parlay” Copier @OneiPhotography

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 107

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Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 107Deters Beat Lab@0.

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.

Listen in playlist format here


Goldroom is less than two months away from the arrival of his new LP, Plunge/Surface, and continues to share snippets of what fans can expect from the two-part album. The latest of these is “Running Wild” with former collaborator Nikki Segal. This relaxed piece ushers the autumn season in with ease.

RÜFÜS DU SOL blessed their fans with a new set of remixes for Solace on Sept. 6, sharing among them Gerd Janson‘s vocoder mix. The German producer brings a sparkling, bright new atmosphere to “Treat You Better,” putting a twist on the original’s vocals by incorporating a vocoder.

Fox Stevenson has been hard at work on his live show, a documentary, and his debut album, so it’s crazy to see the amount of material he’s been releasing. The latest in a string of releases is “Dreamland,” a vocal-powered drum ‘n’ bass-but-otherwise-hard-to-define song. He calls it “maybe [his] favourite song [he’s] ever made,” and it’s easy to see why.

deadmau5 and Kaskade‘s iconic “I Remember” is chillingly haunting in its original format, so when BLOODTONE got his hands on it, he somehow found a way to make it even more so. He’s given it what he calls “a dark warehouse feel” and plunged it to the depths of the shadows in a thrilling way.

The opening notes of RL Grime‘s “Core” are undeniably some of the most recognizable in today’s EDM scene. The 2014 tune has received a frantic drum ‘n’ bass facelift from Flite, and it’s nearly three minutes of pure energy. It’ll make your head spin—but in the best possible way.