Phoenix, Arizona – The marquee Relentless Beats festival, Phoenix Lights, recently received a series of interstellar transmissions heralding a second wave of artists invading The Park at Wild Horse Pass, April 5 and 6, 2019. Celebrating the festival’s fifth anniversary, Arizona’s leading dance music and EDM promoter recently added 20 artists to any already stacked lineup. Newly announced artists include: Bailo; Big Gigantic; Dirt Monkey; Doctor P b2b Cookie Monsta; Elephante; HE$H; Jphlip; Lane 8; Minesweepa; Must Die!; Phantoms (DJ set); Sage Armstrong; Sikdope; Subtronics b2b Squnto; Svdden Death; Whipped Cream; Wingo and Yultron. Below is a full breakdown of artists by day, including previous artist transmissions received by Relentless Beats.
Friday, April 5 Arty; A$AP Ferg; Bailo; Big Gigantic; Dirt Monkey; Elephante; Excision; HE$H; Jeremy Olander; Mustard; Party Favor; Sasha; Shiba San; Sikdope; Spencer Brown; Subtronics b2b Squnto
Saturday, April 6 Claude VonStroke; Decadon; Doctor P b2b Cookie Monsta; GRiZ; Jay Lumen; Jphlip; Kaskade; Lane 8; Malaa; Minesweepa; Must Die!; Phantoms (DJ set); Sage Armstrong; San Holo; Svdden Death; Throttle; Whipped Cream; Wongo; Yultron
Phoenix Lights will again be partnering with Surreal to offer fans once-in-a-lifetime artist experiences with net proceeds benefitting Relentless Beats’ charity partner, ChildHelp The winner will receive a VIP ticket to Phoenix Lights for themselves and a friend, roundtrip airfare courtesy of Orbitz, hotel accommodations, as well as the opportunity to hang backstage with Kaskade and Excision. Running from February 14th through March 19th, fans can enter by submitting an donation through several different tiers. The package is valued at approximately $2,500 and donations start at $5 for any individual experience. Fans can visit www.givesurreal.com for full details and to enter.
General Admission weekend passes for Phoenix Lights Festival are on sale now for $169, before fees. VIP weekend passes will be available at two levels: Standard VIP, including everything that a GA tickets provides, plus express VIP entrance, a commemorative lanyard, access to VIP lounge, access to VIP viewing deck, premium restrooms and passed desserts in the VIP areas. Platinum VIP includes everything that the Standard VIP pass includes, plus: complimentary drinks, side stage viewing at the main stage, access to artist hospitality lounge, steakhouse quality dinner, exclusive festival gift bag and festival concierge. You must be 21+ to purchase Platinum VIP passes. All details and ticket types are available online at www.phoenixlightsfest.com and www.relentlessbeats.com. Phoenix Lights is an 18+ event.
Its not uncommon for inaugural festivals to run into obstacles in their first year, but the highly-experienced California Roots organization based out of Monterey, which will be celebrating 10 years of success this May, was able to spread their brand successfully to Arizona February 9-10, 2019. Arizona Roots featured some of the top reggae talents with headliners like Stick Figure, Dispatch, Trevor Hall and Rebelution, among other artists. Some reggae enthusiasts traveled from nearby neighboring states while others traveled from as far as the Dakotas. “I’m stoked the Cali Roots crew decided to start another festival and pick a different month because traveling during Memorial Day weekend is expensive,” said festival attendee, Mark Smart, from South Dakota. The festival boasted 5 individual experience levels to make your weekend as memorable as possible. They ranged from General Admission to Platinum VIP, which gave festival goers access to raised viewing platforms, private restrooms, catered meals with the bands, and complimentary drinks.
It is no surprise the headliners were the highlight of the event; you could almost feel the whole Rawhide Western Town teeming with excitement as crowds began to descend toward the main stage to see Trevor Hall. The brisk desert air didn’t deter the crowd but instead initiated warm conversations between strangers as people flocked to the outdoor heaters located around the stage to stay warm while enjoying the show. As the sun began to sink lower in the sky, a chorus of voices rose up singing along to Trevor Hall’s Lime Tree and everywhere you looked you saw relaxed smiles, bright eyes and positive vibes. J Boog took the stage after Trevor Hall and played a phenomenal set as a striking Arizona sunset lit up the sky behind the main stage. The clouded sky soon gave way to big, bright stars as festival goers danced and sung to music of Atmosphere and Rebelution. The fun didn’t stop there as all attendees were given access to the two night on-site after party which kept the crowd groovin’ to the musical stylings of various artist such as Dem Atlas, The Lioness, and Mellow Psychedelic Culture into the wee hours of the night.
Aside from the musical headliners, Arizona Roots hosted a number of artists and vendors. The vendor booths sold everything from CBD edibles to licensed Grateful Dead merchandise, while various artists live-painted murals. 8-time Burning Man art car, Movement of Jah People, greeted festival goers as they entered the venue. For those of you who have never seen Movement of Jah People, it has two levels, a built in bathroom, and a large metal roaring lion head covering the front of the vehicle. The tongue features a bench that seats two! MoJP’s second story allowed attendees unparalleled views of the stages and the beautiful Phoenix landscape. The lion’s head is covered in small Burning Man symbols that were plasma cut into the sheet metal, those drops were then given out to participants during the art car’s first few years on the playa. “You could own a piece of the art car,” remarks owner and Arizona local, Ian Liljeblad. Aside from cruising around Burning Man for the past 8 years, MoJP has been in a number of parades and hopes to frequent other regional burns and festivals.
Liljeblad also brought his recent creation and new art car: Big Willy. Big Willy is a replica of wartime Willy’s MB that is roughly two times the scale and is a fully functional trail-ready Jeep. If that wasn’t enough, Big Willy has been outfitted with pulsing LEDs that add a touch of spunk to this spot-on military replica. Between the blocks on the pedals that allow drivers to reach and the comically oversized steering wheel, climbing up into Big Willy’s driver seat will make you feel like a kid again. Thank you Ian for sharing your art with Arizona Roots!
If you find yourself looking for a reggae festival nestled in the desert mountains, Arizona Roots should be number 1 on your list, but don’t take my word for it, come check it out for yourself!
Atlanta-based dance music festival, Shaky Beats, has dropped its 2019 daily lineup. The festival, which takes place May 10-11 in Atlanta Central Park, includes a Friday host of RÜFÜS DU SOL, Big Gigantic, San Holo, What So Not, Snakehips, Lane 8, Boogie T, Solardo, SNBRN, Dombresky, Moon Boots, Whipped Cream, GG Magree, Dirt Monkey, Win + Woo, Paz, Mantis, Eddie Gold, and Movin’ Keyz. Saturday, the festival will see the likes of Martin Garrix, Galantis, Fisher, Gryffin, Chris Lake, Big Wild, Ekali, Party Favor, CloZee, Vanic, Squnto, Ducky, Cray, Slumberjack, Midnight Kids, Zeke Beats, Xie, PLS&TY, The Funk Hunters, DJ Zoe Gray, and Airwolf.
(Pictured above: Ravenscoon Performing at 40oz Wonderland, Photo by @ramonsview)
Before electronic dance music took the world by storm in the 2010s, it was generally considered a niche genre in the US, far removed from the radio and generally associated with social outcasts. But as artists like Skrillex, Avicii, Calvin Harris, and Swedish House Mafia gained in popularity, electronic music pushed further into the mainstream to the point where pop music became almost synonymous with a certain variety of electronic dance music. Its influence is unmistakably everywhere: on the radio, in movie trailers, consumer product ads, the X Games, and even at this year’s Indy 500 Snake Pit. Ten years ago, the idea that bedroom DJs and producers would dominate and reshape the world of music was unthinkable. While that commercial brand of electronic music, typically labeled as EDM, is unavoidable in the pop world, an entire subcommunity of producers, DJs, artists, and fans exists deep in the realm of the internet, dripping in talent and possibility.
While it’s typically considered a necessity for artists to
distribute their music through as many online platforms as possible, like
Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube, that’s not where you’ll discover this group
of independent artists. Instead, you’re more likely to discover these
underground artists on Reddit, Soundcloud, and in Facebook Groups, largely
untethered from the mainstream and removed from traditional label influence,
where a different set of rules exist. Prowling through these avenues is where
you’re likely to find Paul Conversano, better known by his stage name Ravenscoon.
Conversano, currently a San Francisco resident, had little
formal training, having only played the trumpet for two years in his elementary
and middle school years. Instead, he learned about music in the bustling scene
of Atlanta, where he is originally from: “I was born and raised in Atlanta. I
guess that’s where a lot of my inspiration and music tastes originally come
from. I grew up listening to everything from Sound Tribe Sector 9 to Gucci
Mane—completely opposite sides of the spectrum.” Although he was not a
traditional instrumentalist, Conversano’s depth in music knowledge is
impressive, which he attributes to his interest in the music and arts scene
from a young age:
“I’ve been messing around with music since I was a kid. I
collected CDs and even when I was like two or three years old, my Mom said when
I was at weddings I would run up to the DJ and request songs. So I’ve always
been into art and music and I just would share things that I like.”
In addition to his affinity for STS9 and Gucci Mane,
Conversano lists off a range of other styles and artists that influence him:
“Since I was a kid I’ve had a morbid fascination. I was into
death metal, grind core, emo, and punk music as soon as I first heard it. I
really loved the HEAVY stuff. Job for a Cowboy, Suicide Silence, As I Lay
Dying, and Old Bring Me The Horizon.
I made my Mom take me to the mall so I could go to Hot Topic
so I could buy all the black shirts that said shit like ‘I hate you’ and stuff.
She hated it. I was raised Roman Catholic, so it was a bit much for my Mom.”
He mentions that his first concert was Green Day on the
American Idiot Tour in 2004, which his Dad accompanied him to. “I always loved
anti-establishment music and music that got in your face.”
His preferences don’t just skew towards dark and heavy
music, however, explaining that while his peers in Georgia were listening to
country music, he was perusing Grooveshark.com and listening to trance artists
like Armin van Buuren. 2007 seems to be the year that really had a big impact
on him, as that’s when a friend’s sister introduced him to Bassnectar. He was
instantly hooked. Around that same time, he was discovering artists like Rusko,
Zeds Dead, and Pretty Lights, while exploring genres like early dubstep and
breaks. In 2010 he witnessed his first Bassnectar show at the Tabernacle in
Atlanta for New Year’s Eve, where face value tickets were selling for only
$15-20. Reminiscing on the show, he explains his excitement:
“I was super hooked. I had never seen anybody mix music like
that and I was like ‘fuck, I want to do that’ you know? I had never heard
anybody blending hip-hop, vocals, and bass music. I thought it was so cool.”
Attending his first Bassnectar show may have been the
catalyst for his music ambitions:
“Over time I started making my own mashups and stuff. I
think the mixing style is something that inspires me. There’s a couple of other
artists that I was also inspired by—like Nero, Minnesota, a lot of those guys
that were creating super rush bass music at the time. I want to say that
they’re my biggest inspirations and Bassnectar being one of them, but I don’t
want that to overshadow my music and what my sound is like. I think that’s
something that is difficult in the music scene—being inspired by something, but
not being a copy of it and making your own twist. Because everything is just a
twist on something else. Everything has been done before.”
As he started making his own mashups and remixes, he would
share his creations with friends, where he found encouragement to continue down
the music path:
“I eventually got more serious. I chose a name: Ravenscoon [an anagram of his last name]. I started uploading everything on the same Soundcloud. From there, it’s just really taken off. It really does help, especially being well connected in the bass music community and knowing a lot of people. I’ve been doing it for 10 years—going to shows and concerts. I guess I’m unashamed about showing people my music. I was never afraid to put myself out there. Tell me it’s bad. Tell me it’s good. I want to know what people think.”
A driving force of his popularity has been his mixes that he
curates, performs, records, and releases on Soundcloud, one of the more popular
ones being his Wrapped
in a Dream Mix. The mixes serve as an opportunity to display his
versatility, releasing mixes that focus on a theme, like Halloween, downtempo,
dreamtempo, heavy bass, and everything in between. They all feature a plethora
of song styles, acapellas, and mashups.
When it comes to creating mixes, he mentions that he
typically targets a specific energy: “Most of the time, I base the whole mix
around the first song and how the first song made me feel.” Once he gets the
first song in place, he says: “I look at it like putting a puzzle together. I
have that first piece and then I fill in the rest of the mix around it.”
He takes pride in his ability to mix things up:
“I’ve definitely been trying to showcase that I can do
different genres and that it doesn’t matter if it’s dubstep, trap, hybrid, or
weird bass or whatever they call it, or downtempo. I can do it and I can do it
well and I want to show people that. I also don’t want people to expect the
same thing from me all the time. … I want to do everything.”
When asked if he ever ran into legal issues due to his use
of acapellas, remixes, and mashups on Soundcloud, he explained that his first
Soundcloud account was just for fun: he was buying songs, downloading them,
mashing them up and uploading them to share with the world, with no ill intent
or profit motive. He uploaded a few mashed-up songs of a particular artist and
explains the issues that came as a result:
“At my fault, I didn’t properly credit him or ask permission. He reported my songs and my Soundcloud ended up getting deleted. He had messaged me first and asked me politely to take everything down. I hadn’t logged into my Soundcloud and seen the message, so I think he thought I was ignoring him. I was totally in the wrong. It was my fault. It was a learning lesson. I lost my Soundcloud. I had a couple of thousand followers. It was a wakeup call to do things the right way and be more original. That’s really when I got serious about what I was making and the project that I’m doing and making my own music. It was a good thing.”
Since then, he’s rebuilt his Soundcloud account, having just surpassed 3,000 followers. On top of that, he’s performed a number of live shows in 2018, including his debut performance in a national park on a beach in San Francisco, accessible via a mile and a half hike through the woods, culminating in a large staircase that winds down to a secluded beachfront. His friends help organize renegade parties; this one featured sound equipment, DJ tables, bonfires, and a crowd of about 50 people. They upped the ante a few weeks later when Bassnectar came to town for his September 2018 Be Interactive Charity event. Conversano and friends returned to the same secluded beach, where he was able to perform in front of a crowd of about 200 people. This gave him the confidence to play more live shows. With the help of his girlfriend, he created an email alias and started reaching out to promoters, eventually getting booked for a show in Denver at Your Mom’s House. He explains his experience in Denver and how things capitulated from there:
“Actually I was the headliner and ended up selling it out,
which was really cool to sellout my first headlining show and my first show at
a venue. After that, I started getting a bunch of offers to play shows. I
played 40oz Wonderland in
Orlando, which was a music festival. Super cool. There were a lot of
really awesome artists on the lineup, so being a part of that was great. I
played the pre-party
Bill for Bassnectar New Year’s Eve in Greensboro and then a week
later, turned around and flew back to Greensboro and played a show [Create
2 Year Anniversary] with TVBOO for the same
He recently signed with A 40oz Collective,
an independent label and collective based out of Orlando and has a mini tour
scheduled for later in the spring with dates and locations yet to be announced.
Prior to the tour, he will make an appearance at Bassnectar’s inaugural Deja Voom in Riveria Maya, Mexico, February
27-March 2, where he will have showcase his talents as one of twelve artists
selected for the opportunity to perform an Open Decks slot. He will also be
Motive Tour stop at
Aisle 5 in Atlanta on April 6, 2019, alongside Dofex Bos and Homemade
He balances all his tour activity and producing in addition
to his primary career (for now), where he works in digital advertising and
marketing. When asked how he balances his professional career with his artistic
ambitions, he responds:
“I just make time for myself. My girlfriend and I live
together. She works a lot at a restaurant, so when she’s not home, I’m working on
music. She works every Sunday so I work on my music for 8 hours. I get home
from work at 6PM and sometimes I’ll just work the rest of the night on music. I
just really have to fit it in where I can and when I can. … Sometimes I feel
inspired at work, so I’ll write little notes down about things I’m thinking or
songs that pop into my head. It’s definitely difficult but it’s necessary,
because San Francisco is so expensive and I’m not to a point where I can afford
to pay my bills off of music. But also it’s beneficial because I’m learning so
much about digital advertising and marketing that I can use that to help market
my art project Ravenscoon that I’m working on.”
After studying at college in South Carolina for his
bachelor’s degree in marketing, his work with CBS Media Company resulted in a
move to San Francisco, a change that he relished. He comments on how his experience
in South Carolina was a difficult time for him and that he had always wanted to
live in California, so when the opportunity to move there for work presented
itself, he was onboard; the move “was definitely for work, but also like a
He describes the San Francisco arts scene as a great place
to stay motivated and inspired, having met a number of like-minded people who
balance professional careers while also sharing his affinity for the arts:
everyone from graphic designers to event producers, painters, and fulltime
“It’s just really inspiring and nice to be around people that are artistic and talented. And seeing the city—there’s so much art, there are murals all over the buildings everywhere, there are people playing music in the streets. Bands that tour all come through San Francisco because it’s a must-stop for everybody big and small. I’ve seen everybody from Korn to Mindset at Wormhole which is this small weekly bass music underground scene that’s in Oakland every Wednesday. … It pushes me to want to express everything that I’ve been feeling and drawing inspiration from.”
Conversano’s personal, professional, and artistic journey
has brought him to a point of critical mass, where he’s ready to release his
first EP of all original music: Beautiful
Chaos. The EP consists of six songs, including two that have already been released
as singles: Moon Theory, Accelerated
Mortality, Broken Flowers, Beautiful Chaos, Slime Time, and Déjà Rêvé. He
makes note of some of the tempos and styles of his songs: Slime Time is a slow
120 BPM “weird trappy bass” song, Accelerated Mortality is 175 BPM “halftime
drum & bass with nasty growls,” Déjà Rêvé was inspired by his experience
with dreams and night terrors as a child, and some of the other songs are slow
and melodic 140 BPM dubstep tunes. With an opportunity to get an advance peek
at his track “Moon Theory,” Conversano’s trance influence is clear: the track “starts
off at 130 BPM with some arpeggios,” which give way to trance beats, eventually
kicking up the tempo to 136 BPM and culminating in a melodic dubstep drop, with
the remainder of the song weaving between trance and dubstep styles. The track
feels like a nod to an earlier era of music, where juxtaposition of heavy and
beautiful sonic exploration took precedence over the pressure of fan influence
to create the loudest and heaviest noises possible.
Conversano works closely with his friend Ariel, a
professional mixing and mastering engineer who is based out of Miami and goes
by the name of Andrumeda Music.
Conversano comments on his importance:
“He’s pretty much taught me everything I know about production. We’ve been going through the songs after I create them and the original idea is done. We break it down. He gives me feedback on the different sounds. Then he does the mastering work. … The mastering and mixing work that Ariel does is instrumental to me. I think everybody should have a great engineer that they work with.”
The EP is mostly finished, aside from some mastering work that still needs to be done. In addition to the music, each song has companion cover artwork that was created by Conversano’s friend Joe Hickey at DRIP Graphics. He originally planned to have separate artists create cover art for each track, but after Conversano got a look at some of DRIP’s designs, he liked them so much that he commissioned him to create cover art for each song, plus the album cover. In addition to the album cover, DRIP recently finished up the official Ravenscoon logo, which sports a pentagram overlaid with Baphomet—The Goat of Mendes, a nod to Conversano’s previously mentioned “morbid fascination.”
The official release date of the album is to be determined,
but expected at the end of February. The Ravenscoon platform of choice is Soundcloud,
however the album will be available on all major music platforms: Apple Music,
Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, and approximately 50 other online music
As the conversation with the mastermind behind Ravenscoon
came to an end, he had these words to share: “If you like what I’m doing, tell
your friends. I really appreciate everybody’s support so far. It’s just getting
started. There’s so much more to come.”
Phoenix, Arizona – A transmission was intercepted from the skies above late last year, as it was revealed that Kaskade and Excision would be leading the invasion of the fifth straight Phoenix Lights Festival at The Park at Wild Horse Pass, April 5 and 6, 2019. Produced by Relentless Beats, Arizona’s leading dance music and EDM promoter recently released a second transmission… confirming this time that we indeed are not alone. Arty (recently released Save Me Tonight video) A$AP Ferg; Claude VonStroke; Decadon; GRiZ; Jay Lumen; Jeremy Olander; Malaa; Mustard; Party Favor; San Holo; Sasha; Shiba San; Spencer Brown and Throttle have all been added to the first round lineup of this continually expanding festival. Additional artists will be announced in the coming weeks, as further transmissions are received.
“It is amazing to be celebrating the 5th anniversary for this marquee event and sets the stage for all the surprises we have in store for 2019,” says Relentless Beats founder Thomas Turner.
The Park at Wild Horse Pass is a venue experience, specifically created with Relentless Beats and its events in mind. The custom built park situated at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizona, is continues to be optimized in order to provide the best possible experience for the Valley’s biggest promoter of electronic dance music events. The park is situated adjacent to Rawhide Event Center, on an expanding grass plot able to handle the steady growth of Relentless Beats’ marquee events. Carrying the full support of the local community, The Park at Wild Horse Pass provides an experience that will be devoid of the sound and size restrictions that are often a hinderance at previous venues.
General Admission weekend passes for Phoenix Lights Festival are on sale now for $149, before fees. VIP weekend passes will be available at two levels: Standard VIP, including everything that a GA tickets provides, plus express VIP entrance, a commemorative lanyard, access to VIP lounge, access to VIP viewing deck, premium restrooms and passed desserts in the VIP areas. Platinum VIP includes everything that the Standard VIP pass includes, plus: complimentary drinks, side stage viewing at the main stage, access to artist hospitality lounge, steakhouse quality dinner, exclusive festival gift bag and festival concierge. You must be 21+ to purchase Platinum VIP passes. All details and ticket types are available online at www.phoenixlightsfest.com and www.relentlessbeats.com. Phoenix Lights is an 18+ event.
Hidden away in the northern cap of Finland is a place called Levi—home to the largest ski resorts in the country and known for being one of the few places on earth to spot natural phenomena like the Northern Lights and the midnight sun. During the off-season, Levi is home to fewer than 1,000 people, but during the holidays, the many restaurants and hotels (and one top-of-the-line dance club) open up to nearly 20,000 tourists hoping for a winter wonderland getaway.
When my boyfriend and his family invited me to spend the holidays in the Arctic Circle, I did not expect to find myself on the back of a speeding dog-sled or eating copious amounts of reindeer meat in a dimly-lit elvish cavern, but above all else, I certainly did not expect to run into one of Europe’s most famous producers of all time. Ville Virtanen, better known by his stage name Darude, was thrust to international stardom in 1999 with his hit song, Sandstorm. Although Virtanen hails from Finland, Sandstorm gained worldwide popularity, especially in the US, as it exposed many people to the world of dance music for the first time ever. While Sandstorm is one of the most widely recognized songs in dance music, Darude is still regularly producing new music and performing around the world. I had the opportunity to see one of his performances in Levi, while I also got some time to ask him a few questions. For clarity, my questions are formatted in italics, while Virtanen’s responses are standard styling.
Carlie: Coming from Finland, what’s it like getting to perform in a place like Levi?
Virtanen: I’ve actually played here numerous times. It’s an interesting place because there’s always a mixed crowd, but obviously it’s ski season, and it’s almost New Year’s Eve so the area is very festive. With this area you never know what you’re going to get. Not going to lie, I’ve had weird gigs here, like mid-week or Easter time where I’ll play for a small handful of people, but I’m always excited to come here because I love the snow, myself, and I think tomorrow I’ll probably go do some snowboarding, as well. The Hullu Poro Areena is a really nice venue. There’s great sound both on the stage and on the dance floor, so I’m very much looking forward to being back there.
One thing that makes interviewing you interesting is that you actually started making music the year I was born—1995—what are some noticeable changes you’ve seen in the contemporary dance music scene?
Well, I guess the big, main difference is that back then it wasn’t a big industry and it wasn’t mainstream like it is now. A lot of things contribute to that, but I’d say the internet and the development of technology—all the possible ways to create music and how it’s available to everybody— have not only contributed to people being able to share music, but also people being able to create music. Somebody like me, who back then and even now, I’m not that great of a live player. Unfortunately, I never took piano lessons or anything. I played ice hockey as a kid. But even people without live music playing skills have access to computers to make music. Now almost everybody who wants it or is interested in it has access. With all that, I think the awareness and the accessibility to dance music has become so easy and so wide that nowadays, we’re not talking about the underground dance music scene. It’s mainstream, it’s pop, and any big artist—the Armin van Buurens, the Calvin Harrises— they’re all basically pop. The dance records that end up on the radio or on the top of Spotify, those artists can still make harder or darker or more underground dance music, but what becomes their biggest hits are just clear-cut pop songs with an electronic beat.
Yeah, we have kind of started to see electronic music sprinkle its way into every other genre. There’s even electronic country music now.
Oh of course, exactly.
Who are some modern artists that you listen to— some of the younger artists that are coming up that have impressed you as an artist?
I don’t really know about younger. I don’t really know anyone’s ages and I don’t want to bring anybody down by bringing him up, but Avicii, to me, was kind of a younger kid who came after me and his rise to stardom was obviously one of the reasons why electronic music became big. He was one of the huge contributors. Like how you mentioned electronic country, he was one of the guys who fused, quite freely, different aspects of different genres and probably contributed to that melting pot. Martin Garrix has been around for a good while and has obviously established that he’s pretty much the biggest DJ in the world, according to DJMag Top 100. He’s done slow, ballad types of tracks, he’s done a little bit of trappy stuff, and a little of this and that, in addition to his sort of normal, festival-style bangers. Which, again, is one of the things that makes people more and more used to the idea of not having such separate boxes for what an artist can do. I like the idea of there being more freedom and people not shunning you for not always doing what people expect you to do. I made a track with Ashley Wallbridge this year called “Surrender,” and we had a singer called Foux on it. Ashley has sort of also been bubbling under for the longest time, but I think sometime soon he’s probably going to be a mainstream name. Definitely someone to look out for.
Who are some of the artists that first inspired you to get your start in electronic music?
Oh wow. I was actually listening to a lot of 80’s hair metal [laughs], like Bon Jovi and Twisted Sister. Around the same time a lot of German-style dance music like Bad Boys Blue and Modern Talking, that kind of stuff. None of it was really trance, but it was more of my generic background in melodic, sort of easy, mainstream music. That’s kind of what I’m about and really where I come from. In Finland, we never really got all the new stuff or all the big stuff, but we had a pretty decent dance music culture, even when I was getting into it. We even had some mainstream dance music on the radio, like Rhythm of the Night or Dr. Alban. After I started touring internationally, I realized that a lot of Europe had similar music to Finland, but America didn’t and that was weird to me. The US is a big country and when I was getting booked, it was always to these huge cities—LA, New York, Seattle, Miami—the cities are so big that even though dance music wasn’t even close to mainstream, the club scene was very good. To me, those club scenes seemed very similar to Finland, or Europe. What I didn’t understand was why dance music wasn’t on the radio at all.
Yes exactly. Even now, the music that my friends and I listen to— experimental bass music, future bass, even the big-name house artists, the ones on Dirtybird Records— you’re not really going to get any of that on the radio. We mostly listen to our music on Soundcloud. It’s just a great platform for less mainstream artists to share their work. Who are you listening to right now?
Hmm…[laughing] I sometimes feel guilty. I don’t really actively listen to music in my free-time. We might have some techno on Spotify on in the background, or just the other day I searched “uplifting house” and got a mix of like, techno and 120-125 BPM house. I enjoy it, but it’s not like I need to be listening to my bangers when I’m off. Some house or deep house, softly playing in the background is what I like. Rufus Du Sol, Fisher, stuff like that. When I first got into music, I was actively listening to it all the time. Exchanging CDs, recording on the radio. It was everything I did. Now I sit in front of a computer making music and playing in front of crowds, so when I’m off, I’ve just sort of hit my limit of actively listening.
What was the experience of having Sandstorm become such a hit like? Did you expect that to happen?
It’s funny, I wasn’t even really considering myself to be a musician at that point. I had one synthesizer, one computer, and one sequencer, and I was just using any and every little sound or gadget or software I could to put stuff together. I was really just having fun. I wasn’t trying to put myself down, but I was always thinking “professionals are up here, and I’m somewhere down there” and the gap was just so huge. I didn’t have any education in music. I didn’t have the right gear. I never dreamt about this life, not because I didn’t believe in myself, but I just never even saw this as a possibility.
Is it crazy now being one of the huge names and playing on lineups with artists that you once looked up to?
Oh, so let me tell you one of the things that blew my mind just a couple months ago… Pet Shop Boys played in Helsinki and I got to open for them. I did a soundcheck and had a chat with Neil Tennant (Chris Lowe wasn’t there at that point) and it blew my mind. I still have some of their tapes that I’ve recorded. We had a good chat and he was just such a nice guy. A lot of times people tell me that they started making music or that they got into dance music because of my tracks or something and that’s the biggest compliment ever to me. That’s the cool thing, if you end up getting to meet that person that you look up to, most of the time they’re normal people. It’s a nice thing to be able to sit down with someone who has a skill similar to your own, or just have a quick high-five and kind of recognize that they might be older or have more career experience, but that mutual respect is still there. Most of the time it’s the press or other people that put artists against each other, but most of the people actually in the industry are totally fine with each other, even embracing each other.
I actually notice that a lot, especially in the electronic music community. Instead of competition, there tends to be a lot of collaboration. With technology nowadays, you could sit here and have a collaboration with an American artist and never even meet the guy or girl that you’re working with. There really are limitless opportunities for artists to work together.
Oh, I know! My track “Surrender” with Foux… I’ve never met her.
Really? So you just went back in forth online, or?
The connection came through Ashley, who’s the other writer/producer on the track. He had a connection with her so he asked her to sing. They didn’t even sit in the same room while she recorded the vocals— he’s from England and she was all the way in America. It’s the same with my track “Timeless” that was released a couple months ago. Jamie Lee Wilson (JVMIE), who’s an Australian artist living in LA, we’ve never met face-to-face. I’ve chatted on the phone with her, but those vocals came from me sending her the instrumental and her saying “cool!” A couple of days later I had the vocals.
What are you looking forward to in 2019 with music?
Well, all going well, I should have six tracks come out next year, last year I only released two, I’ve been holding back for a big project that’s coming soon.
A new album?
Hmm… Not an album. But a project. When you see it… you’ll know! [Laughing] But I’m excited! I think there will be some guaranteed exposure. It’s a big thing… A good thing! Some people will definitely be surprised or weirded out by what’s coming, but what I like about the last ten years or so is that there has been a lot of collaboration and mixing of genres. I find that cool! After being around for a while, I feel that it’s necessary and healthy to venture out and be outside your comfort zone. That’s what I’m doing now… no country music for me though!
Sunset Music Festival will return to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL for its eighth edition this Memorial Day Weekend, May 25 & 276, 2019. Festival producers Disco Donnie are powering through after last year’s event ran into some issues caused by Subtropical Storm Alberto. The storm never directly hit Tampa, but its peripheral effects were enough to cause concern for the Tampa Sports Authority, the Tampa Police Department, and Tampa Fire Rescue. Ultimately, those three departments made the decision to cancel Day 2 of SMF 2018 due to the Tropical Storm Warning that was in effect until 5PM that day; the decision to cancel was not up to Disco Donnie or the SMF promoters or producers. It caused a lot of exasperation with fans, especially because the weather on Day 2 was all blue skies by the time the festival would have started.
This year’s event looks like SMF is returning to its roots after a very heavy focus on Bass and Dubstep in 2018. 2019’s event features some nice diversity in dance music, with a specific focus on House and Bass music and curated stages by Anjunabeats and Deadbeats. The initial lineup includes 12th Planet, Alison Wonderland, Audien, Bonnie x Clyde, Chris Lake, Destructo, Dog Blood (Skrillex & Boys Noize), Dombresky, Fisher, Flux Pavilion, Gabriel & Dresden, Gammer, Ganja White Night, Getter, Ilan Bluestone, Kaskade (Sunset Set), Lick, Liquid Stranger, Mat Zo, Omnom, Peekaboo, Rusko, Said The Sky, Steve Darko, Subtronics, Walker & Royce, Weiss, and Will Clarke. An additional phase of at least 20 more artists will be released in the coming months. In past years, SMF has released it’s Phase 2 lineup around the end of March.
2-day GA ($160.11), GA Plus ($180.71), and VIP ($252.81) tickets are currently on sale with a variety of purchasing options, including an option for a payment plan. GA Plus includes a GA pass with express entry, while VIP includes access to the VIP express entrance, VIP viewing platforms, air-conditioned VIP bathrooms, front row VIP pit access, and access to VIP bars.
New Orleans, LA – The BUKU Music + Art Project today announced a handful of surprise additions to the lineup as well as the daily performance schedule for the festival taking place on March 22-23, 2019 at Mardi Gras World in New Orleans. Two-day passes for the event are available now with single-day admission sales beginning on Friday, January 18th. A portion of ticket proceeds support the Upbeat Academy Foundation, a non-profit organization providing New Orleans youth with opportunities to study hip-hop and dance music production.
The latest additions to the lineup of performers include: lyrical alt-rapper and Odd Future co-founder Earl Sweatshirt; Swedish DJ and producer Kasbo; experimental dance pop band Kero Kero Bonito; experimental low-fi soul and ambient artist Yves Tumor; jam-funk trio SunSquabi; UK house DJ Mason Maynard; and New Orleans swamp funk band The Iceman Special. These artists join a previously announced roster featuring: Lana Del Rey, A$AP Rocky, Dog Blood (Skrillex x Boys Noize), Excision, Kevin Gates, GRiZ, RL Grime, Louis The Child, Ella Mai, $UICIDEBOY$, Playboi Carti, Dashboard Confessional, Fisher, Toro Y Moi, The Black Madonna, TOKiMONSTA and many more. Artists will perform across six unique stages at the venue set along the Mississippi River. The daily schedule is as follows and is also available here:
Friday, March 22 Lana Del Rey Excision Kevin Gates RL Grime NGHTMRE B2B Slander Playboi Carti Claude VonStroke Fisher Mayday Parade Toro Y Moi Death Grips Denzel Curry Ekali TOKiMONSTA Kero Kero Bonito 1788-L Rico Nasty From First To Last DJ Set (Matt + Travis) Yves Tumor Kidswaste SunSquabi Whipped Cream Dounia Mason Maynard sfam
VIP-Only Lineup: CharlesTheFirst Dabin Noizu AF THE NAYSAYER
New Orleans Artist + Showcase Lineup: bàwldy B2B Boarcrok Freewater The Iceman Special Klutch Lleauna TRAX ONLY Trombone Shorty Academy
Saturday, March 23 A$AP Rocky Dog Blood (Skrillex x Boys Noize) GRiZ Louis The Child Ella Mai $UICIDEBOY$ Dashboard Confessional Gunna The Black Madonna Earl Sweatshirt J.I.D Getter (Presents: Visceral) Yaeji G Jones Liquid Stranger Oliver Tree Kasbo Peekaboo Papadosio EARTHGANG Roy Blair Doja Cat We Came As Romans Mersiv
VIP-Only Lineup: Duskus Jantsen Kittens Xie
New Orleans Artist + Showcase Lineup: Dohm Collective Freewater James Seville Lil Jodeci Malik Ninety Five Thou Tristan Dufrene Unicorn Fukr Upbeat Academy
Inspired by the creative subculture of New Orleans, BUKU sits at the crosshairs of underground warehouse party and major urban music festival by fusing a progressive and diverse musical lineup with live street art, one-of-a-kind industrial art installations, local food vendors, and dozens of surprise “pop-up” performances.
Information on tickets offerings, travel packages and pricing can be found at http://bit.ly/BUKU2019Tickets. The first official BUKU 2019 after-parties will be announced in the coming weeks. The official 2019 BUKU Music + Art project trailer can be viewed here.
Imagine Music Festival, hosted by Iris Presents at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, went all out for their 5th anniversary this past September 21-23, 2018, featuring some of the most popular artists in the electronic music world. The Oceania Stage featured a slew of artists like Bassnectar, RL Grime, Zeds Dead, Kaskade, Galantis, Adventure Club, The Glitch Mob. The Amazonia Stage stayed true to its roots, hosting a variety of electronic fusion and jam bands like Griz, Zhu, Jai Wolf, Cashmere Cat, Shpongle, Eoto, and Lotus. Meanwhile, the Disco Inferno Stage featured some heavy-hitting bass artists on the first night, like Joker, Koan Sound, Shlump, Noisia, Boogie T B2B Squnto, before switching up to primarily House music on Saturday and Sunday nights. Disco Inferno played host to Green Velvet’s Lalaland on Saturday night, joined by Tiga, Walker & Royce, and Latmun. Sunday night was witness to Oliver Helden’s Heldeep Records takeover accompanied by Chocolate Puma, EDX, and Wax Motif. A slew of other artists filled in the gaps throughout the weekend, ranging from all sorts of genres like Trance, House, Dubstep, Freeform Bass, Drum & Bass, Electro Funk, and everything in between, including a silent disco that hosted artists late into the night when the main stages ended for the night.
Jai Wolf Performing at the Amazonia Stage at Imagine 2018
In its fifth year, Imagine made some noteworthy changes to the stage and visual design. The Oceania Stage got a significant facelift with the help of Algorhythm Designs. The new design featured a wide footprint with an aquatic theme, complete with sea-creature-themed dancers and performers, some of which performed from raised half-dome shaped pools on either ends of the stage. Because of the cost of the enormity of the 5th anniversary lineup, Imagine scaled back the scope of other stages, like Disco Inferno, Amazonia, and Aeria. The Disco Inferno Stage still featured stage design and pyrotechnics courtesy of Incendia, although on a smaller scale compared to last year. Similarly, the Amazonia Stage looked more like the design from 2016 than 2017, although still staying true to its Amazon-jungle theme with vines and foliage draped above the stage. Additionally, there was a smaller presence of live painters and artists that often painted in the vicinity of the various stages. While the toned-down scale of the stage design was a bit of an adjustment, many would argue that it was a worthwhile tradeoff, considering the depth of talent of musicians and artists booked for the weekend.
It looks like Imagine wanted to bring out the big guns for their fifth anniversary. From a music standpoint, they succeeded on that front. After that banger of a musical performance, it could be worthwhile to change things up and see what Imagine would look like in the future with a little less money spent on pricey headlining artists, while reinvesting that money into unique stage designs, art installations, and up-and-coming musicians and artists.
Phoenix, AZ – In an industry where festivals strive just to return consecutive years, CRUSH AZ stands a beacon as it readies to celebrate a decade as Arizona’s longest standing EDM festival. Expanding to two days, the 10th Anniversary of CRUSH AZ with return to the Rawhide Event Center on Friday, February 15 and Saturday, February 16 and will feature a lineup reflective of this milestone. Teasing a first round of artists that includes: Alesso; Blossom; Kaivon; Spag Heddy and Wuki, much more to be announced in the coming weeks.
Created by Relentless Beats’ founder Thomas Turner, the event has grown to include cities across the country under the Insomniac brand but always returning each year to its original home- Arizona. Featuring lineups that often lived bigger than its original, single-day format would suggest, past installments have featured: Kaskade; Porter Robinson; Dada Life; Borgeous; Black Tiger Sex Machine; Getter; Grandtheft; Bro Safari; Keys N Krates; DVBBS; GTA; Seven Lions; Jauz; SayMyName; Infected Mushroom; Tritonal; Laidback Luke; and Yellow Claw, amongst others.
“Relentless Beats has produced a myriad of events of all shapes and sizes, but there has always been CRUSH,” says Relentless Beats founder Thomas Turner. “It’s exciting to see it enter its 10th year and still be so well received by our fans. I can’t wait to reveal everything we have in store for the RB faithful.”
Rawhide Western Town & Event Center is situated on the Gila River Indian Community and is Arizona’s largest 1880s western-themed entertainment venue. Located just south of Phoenix, the venue is a mere 20 minutes from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Chandler, AZ. The venue hosts several marquee Relentless Beats events, including; Goldrush, BOO!, ORIGINS, this New Year’s Decadence and Phoenix Lights Festival.
General Admission passes go on sale on Friday, December 7th at 12 p.m. PT for $89. VIP passes, with access to preferred VIP viewing deck, premium restrooms, commemorative lanyard, express entry and passed desserts are available starting at $149. VIP is 21+ area. Purchase tickets online at www.relentlessbeats.com. Crush Arizona is an 18 and over event.