Illenium‘s breakout arguably career occurred when the Denver-based melodic producer was named winner of Kaskade‘s “Disarm You” remix competition. Fast forward three years, and Nick Miller continues to rise to domination on the festival circuit — most recently bringing his Awake Tour to Dallas’ Lights All Night and San Diego’s OMFG! New Year’s Eve Festival.
While in Southern California, Miller awed his NYE crowd as he unleashed quite the heavy-hitting surprise during his notable Kaskade remix. Armed with an ODESZA-influenced trap style drop, followed by 808 kicks in halftime, the live video edit (above) is being dubbed Illenium’s VIP remix. In so doing, Illenium further poises himself as an artist focused on taking a living approach to his live performance, all the while proving that he’s not just interested in pressing play, but pushing the boundaries of his sound and experimenting with evolving styles.
5 musical moments that shook the crowd at Suwannee Hulaween 2017 (Event Review)
Suwannee Hulaween has just turned five, but that’s not the festival’s only accomplishment in 2017. The Silver Wrapper and Purple Hat-partnered event has cemented itself as the south’s premiere fall festival; held inside the eminent musical venue of Florida’s Suwannee Music Park at Spirit Lake, the event boasts four days of expertly-curated jamtronica, underground bass, and unique house music offerings. In today’s over-saturated music festival market, standing out among the rest takes one part true tenacity and a pinch of good luck. Yet, the “spirit of Suwannee,” as many refer to these sacred grounds, runs deep into the roots of its towering moss-covered trees.
Fresh off last its conclusion, we’ve compiled 5 unforgettable moments from Hulaween’s 2017 that made it’s audacious fifth anniversary its most bright, prosperous, and wildly auspicious event to date.
All photos courtesy of Suwannee Hulaween
The String Cheese Incident’s infamous Saturday night set
The String Cheese Incident is known for having a heavy hand in curation at their mainstay festivals. For the long-time alum of Hulaween and other transformational gatherings, the talk of the weekend centers around Cheese’s Saturday night “shebangs” — and for good reason. With six full sets on the bill, the coveted show of the weekend was SCI’s Halloween-themed “Night Of The Loving Dead” performance. Their love-themed set included renditions of iconic songs like Sublime’s “What I Got,” Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love,” and of course, both the Bob Marley and Beatles’ original by the same name, “All You Need is Love” amidst fireworks, confetti blasts, and giant inflatables began making their over a sea of plastered smiles. As an undeniable bridge between the jam scene and electronic scenes, String Cheese’s vision of bringing a multi-genre bill to life runs deep into the spirit of Suwannee.
Space Jesus’s secret set at the Indendia Stage
Stumbling across the Incendia stage at 2 am is as much of a treat as it is a must. Famous for its birthplace at Burning Man in 2013, the mobile artistic installation and interactive stage consists of six geodesic structures, all featuring a spellbinding propane flame effect ascending from atop its modular ceilings. Incendia has made its way across the US over the years, and is better known to Floridians as Okeechobee‘s secret set locale for artists like Snails, GRiZ, Ganja White Night, and more. Hulaween was no different. As attendees made out like children wandering through the iridescent woodland playgrounds of Spirit Lake, the unmistakable inter-dimensional wubs of Space Jesus drew late night wanderers like a moth to a flame — bringing truth to the idiom “not all that wander are lost.”
GRiZ’s secret sunrise set in the campgrounds
After closing out the Meadows main stage with an elating funk-driven set, GRiZ took to the campgrounds in the wee hours of Monday morning, thereby confirming the rumors his family had been clamoring about all weekend. As the sun peaked through the trees, the All Good Records label head played up-close-and-personal for a crowd of roughly a hundred people. The sunrise set would become the memorable moment of Suwannee Hulaween — for those lucky enough to attend, that is. For all others, GRiZ’s secret campground appearance was the most heartbreaking affliction of the weekend (Watch it here).
Manic Focus bringing out Space Jesus and Break Science
Taking to the Amphitheater stage on Saturday night, Manic Focus (aka “JmaC”) elevated his new wave hip-hop infused electro-soul act to new heights. The All Good Records producer served fans a hearty helping of tracks from his most recent genre-defying LP, Minds Rising, as the All Good family poured down the stage’s narrow steps. JmaC’s fiercely spirited performance culminated to the point when he brought Space Jesus onto the stage for some heavy back-to-back play, capped off with another rare Break Science showing alongside Lettuce drummer Adam Deitch.
The five songs that dominated the dance floor
Walking through Suwannee felt like blasting back into time. The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” was agreed upon by attendees as the most played song of the weekend, imbuing the sacred grounds of Suwannee with an authentic Woodstock vibe. Michael Jackson’s 1980s hit “Thriller” was another popular stage anthem, creating an appropriately spooky vibe for the Halloween weekend event. Deep within the forest’s Spirit Lake stage, Dirtybird boss Claude Von Stroke treated his audience to his retro-house redo from two 80s classics, “The Rain Break.” A solid trap mainstay of the festival came courtesy of Minnesota with his recently-released, long-awaited track, “HiLow,” which was heard heavily across the bass stages. Finally, Bassnectar premiered his unreleased collaboration with Digital Ethos, “Slather,” which was broadcasted across his 2017 traveling stage set-up.
Perhaps the biggest strength of Suwannee Hulaween lays in its manageability of it’s sheer size. Set in an expansive venue, capped at 25,000 attendees of all ages and sizes, the festival values keeping the authentic transformational vibe alive over notorious expansion and maximizing profit. This vibe scuttles deep into the spirit of the festival grounds, across its swampy sands and panoramic landscapes.
Indeed, even purists from festivals like Electric Forests Forest often end up finding themselves more at home within this more intimate, yet equally magical venue. With a well-curated line-up and a smaller, more intimate venue, its no wonder Suwannee Hulaween has blossomed into the shiny new jewel of the jam, bluegrass, and bass scene.
When the LA production team um.. — made up of Ben Bruce and Dylan Gold — released a cryptic video titled “this is our last song” on October 19, fans and critics took it as a break-up announcement and subsequently skeptical questioned why such a promising rising talent would be parting ways so soon. As it turns out, um..‘s new (and apparently last) release was a media stunt all along. The eccentric bass music duo has just announced over their socials that the whole thing was a Halloween trick.
The guys disclose in a rather bumbling Facebook video that they were simply participating in a round of “trick or treat,” beginning with the trick of breaking up. Their treat to fans is that new music is officially out now. Um.. also go on to allude to their Pay Attention EP in the video, followed by an awkward joke session.
Tricked you, we’re getting back together. It was a trick and we’re back. If you didn’t see that coming then you haven’t been paying attention, gotta say. We saw it coming…and we’re not even paying attention. Also, if you were sad, sorry that you were sad but we’re back so…we didn’t mean for you to be sad. But also, don’t forget to be sad sometimes. It’s totally on-brand for us to say that, so embrace the sadness.”
A considerable amount of time has passed since the Oregon Eclipse Gathering, but exclusive sets continue to appear online as artists upload their live acts or, in some cases, even go as far as to re-record their sets.
Now former attendees and eclipse chasers from around the globe can now enjoy sets from the likes of Bassnectar, Minnesota, CloZee, and many more, organized into stage-by-stage playlists thanks to one SoundCloud user. From the deep, dark tech house of the Sky Stage, to the psytrance of the Earth Stage, to the festival’s bass head haven at The Moon Stage, over 50 live and re-recorded sets are available for stream from Oregon’s Global Eclipse Gathering, held Aug. 17-23, 2017.
Though international eclipse festivals are often based around trance and downtempo, make no mistake that the bass, jam, and house acts are actually considered guests in this awe-inspiring, transformative festival experience. Relive sets from the Global Eclipse Gathering’s Earth, Moon, Sun, and Sky stages below.
Pretty Lights is slowly & successfully building his movement (Event Review)
When Pretty Lights announced his record label was evolving into the newly-minted Pretty Lights Movement, many caught a tiny glimpse into what Derek Vincent Smith had in store for the evolution of his growing family. It was around the time of his Episodic Tour: Season Two Premiere at The Gorge Amphitheater – followed by a series of constantly evolving, innovative live band performances that took place across the nation.
Dancing Astronaut was invited to attend the final episodic event of the tour at Whitewater Amphitheater in the small hill country town of New Braunfels, Texas, wherein we witnessed the raw energy of the live band, the regional beauty of small town hidden gem of a venue, and the sheer vitality of the Pretty Lights Family. Here are five reasons why Pretty Lights Live is more than a mere musical experience, but a way of living.
All photos courtesy of Press Pause
1. The Pretty Lights live band experience
Smith’s creative decision to put the decks on the back-burner (and, yet, keep them front-and-center) takes his live shows to the next level. The stylings of the live band – made up of Brian Coogan, Borahm Lee, Alvin Ford Jr. and Chris Karns — are spotlighted, as each member aids Smith in bringing the organic analog aspect of his musical stamp to life. In addition, each show features a heavy dose of amazing special guest talent. Whether the heavy bass beats of Ganja White Night, the soulful stylings of up-and-comer Maddie O’Neal, or the funk-driven glitch-hop of Aussie producer Opuio, the Episodic Tour was jam-packed with amazing talent conforming to a clear sound stamp and an accompanying vision of which direction these shows are driven.
2. The PL Family
A heavy sense of family, community, and kindness among this close-knit group of Pretty Lights followers permeates the parking lots and showgrounds alike. The sheer feeling of euphoria and jovial admiration for their leader and their lifestyle is easily one of the most genuine and welcoming that any newcomer to this scene will experience. Take the Pretty Lights Illuminators, for instance, who are tasked with creating special activities, caring for their fellow attendees, or just generally spreading the good energy around each gathering. An emphasis on the small (yet out of this world) aspect of the crowds along these Episodic Tour stops likens them to an early Bassnectar following before it became too big to manage. Hard as it is to capture in words, experiencing is truly is believing with the PL Family.
3. A sense of heady spiritualism pervades
Smith freestyles about crystal children, hyper-dimensional space, positive vibrations, and metaphysical energy whilst refracting light with crystals on stage. Essentially, his antics and overall outlook on life embodies the spiritual self-awareness that guides Pretty Lights shows and the people living within these spaces. Burning Man principles like radical inclusion and self-reliance, gifting, and communal effort guide social interactions at these Episodic Tour stops.
4. The venue(s)
The Pretty Lights team chose a wildly picturesque venue in Texas’ Whitewater Amphitheater for the final stop of Episodic Tour. Its breathtaking hill country views, fresh smells of nature, its friendly easy-going staff, and its setting along the Guadalupe river made the experience feel almost surreal, wherein attendees would float into the venue with new stranger-friends as they shouted their hellos to Smith himself across the river banks. Couple this with other world class venues such as Washington’s legendary Gorge Amphitheater, and one has a series of shows where attendees are guaranteed a weekend of re-connection with the earth.
5. The production value
Pretty Lights’ Episodic Tour is not a typical large-scale electronic music festival, but the production value sure feels like it. For one, every stop along the tour offers rare tracks and unique flips catered to each location. The lighting show — courtesy of LazerShark — is one “not to miss” in the electronic music realm. Whether it’s the wall of lasers projected across the stage, the abstract, psychedelic visual displays, or how they become amalgamated into one with the analog sound, these creative, oft-times improvisational elements are at the forefront of cutting-edge performance in the electronic music world.