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p0gman Talks Dubstep & More in Interview

p0gman

Dancebreak recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Dubstep legend p0gman. Hailing from Wolverhampton, UK, p0gman brought the bass to Electronic Tuesday at the Cervante Ballroom in Denver, CO.

Dancebreak commentary is in italics, while commentary from p0gman is in normal text.

Where did you just come from?

What I’ve been doing is spending all of my downtime in LA. I just did Boston, Detroit, here now, back to LA tomorrow, Friday I go to Bloomington, Saturday I go to New York, then I go to Toronto for a week, stay with some friends, then I play Toronto, Chicago, then I go home. It should have been a much longer tour, but we had some visa problems, I had to cancel seven shows, it was fucked, but at least it got sorted in the end.

How did you get into dubstep?

I used to be into death metal, I used to be in a death metal band for three years but the whole time my brothers and cousins were listening to garage music, drum and bass, stuff that I hated at first but the one thing that I really liked was bass lines. Then a couple years later, one of my friends came down, who was also in a death metal band, who was into dubstep, and he showed me “Diary of an Afro Warrior”  which was Benga’s first album (2008)… and then I was like, “what the fuck is this?” ‘Cause it was just all bass lines, so I really, really liked it. So I started to get into it more, then the band split up and I just wanted to carry on in music and I thought I could do something solo instead of carrying on in a band. I challenged dubstep and it flourished from there.

Did you teach yourself?

No, I went to uni for five years. I started to self teach myself, but then, it was kinda like, I was doing things that kinda sounded good and I was so wrong, so I went to uni to get the technical side of everything, I studied Music Tech at uni. I came out of uni and got signed to a label, the last four years has been up and up!

How long have you been producing?

I started in late 2010. Made an EP in 2011, that’s when I found my sound. So six years, time is flying!

When you found your sound was it [an ah-ha moment?]

I was really into the deeper side from listening to Benga and stuff like that, and then SkreamMalaHorsepower, all the originals. That was all the heavy stuff that I was really about. Then Caspa and Rusko released Fabriclive.37 (2008), then I was like “Shit, this is the sort of music I want to make!” But I still wanted to [meet] kind of in the middle. So that was where that wobbly sound kind of came. Then just kept pushing it from there. My sound has evolved a lot now, it’s a lot heavier than it used to be, but I still got that P0gman sound. No matter how heavy I go, people still know it’s P0gman. I am still trying to evolve with the sound because I want to keep relevant to trends and stuff like that, so I try to keep it as fresh as I can.

Do you find it difficult to keep up with the trends?

New styles are coming out all the time, there are certain things that hit me, and I’m like, “that’s sick! That’s where I want to take my sound but keep my element.” The sound that’s the rage at the moment is that Never Say Die sort of sound, so I am reeaaally about that. Disciple are really pushing it as well, and I have had relations with both of those guys, so they are supporting what we’re doing as well. Trying to take it to that next level. So, yea, Never Say Die is a big influence at the moment. All those guys are just fucking killing it.

How did you come up with your name?

After I made my first song, I was sitting around with one of my oldest friends, and if I was going to start producing I needed a name. I wanted to have something that was not so serious but not so stupid at the same time. Do you remember pogs (aka milk caps game)? I just loved pogs, as a kid, so I said fuck, I’ll be called “p0gman,” the character was called pogman, and so I’ll probably get sued one day, until then it’s ok… I put a number in it for some reason, because it was cool.

We recently just rebranded everything, that went really good [sic]. (The number 0 has been modified with a large “X” overlaid on top). I got myself a new manager about eight months back, and that guy’s killing it as well, so it’s really good. The zero thing ended up paying off.

Is there a particular track that makes your set or do you feel that there is a particular influence in your set?

Well, the thing I have tried to do on this tour, is because obviously I am really enjoying that new sort of sound, the Never Say Die stuff. A few years ago I wouldn’t have really played that stuff because it was too heavy for my style. But now, on this tour what I’ve tried to do on this tracklist is from straight down to the old school riddimy sound that I use to make straight through Skrillex [and new released] tracks, just trying to cover the whole board. I am really enjoying it ’cause I think as dubstep has come along, it’s become much more energetic. So you need to keep that energy in longer sets and that’s where that new sort of style helps because it’s energetic as fuck.

There’s really not one sort of track, maybe the one I enjoy playing the most is “Wooboost” by Rusko, I fuckin love playing that track ’cause you can play it anywhere in the world and people just know it straight away, it’s nice to just put a little bit of that old school back in there… especially somewhere in Denver where I know, for a fact, every single person in the crowd is going to know that track.

What is your favorite venue or festival you have played at so far?

I played at Rampage in Belgium last year and that was fucking unbelievable, that was crazy. But I am also into the small intimate sort of venue, that’s why I really like Webster in New York, it’s got a nice crowd, Denver’s exactly the same. The reason I like these sort of crowds is that you guys are here to listen to the music and that’s what good about it, they really appreciate it. Sometimes it’s better to play to 200 people opposed to 2,000 people because I would rather play to 200 people where every single person is enjoying it, than 2,000 where you have people [completely immersed in the music] up front and the rest of the crowd is dormant. One of my favorites in the whole world is Perth, in Australia. I played a show at a place called Bassment, that was actually where I met my manager. It’s fucking unbelievable. There’s like 1,500-2,000 people there, but they are all about the music, so it’s like an intimate show on a bigger level. It’s fucking amazing, so sick. There are lots of places, the first time I played in LA, in Hollywood, it was my biggest show and it blew me away. As long as people are enjoying the show, I don’t care where I am playing to be honest.

Do you have a piece of advice you would give producers?

When I was telling guys at the clinic earlier, a big thing that changed my outlook on everything was I would work on a tune and get to a point where I fucking hated it ’cause I would listen to it so much. Then something clicked in my head, I was like, “well, I’ve listen to it for days, but nobody else in the whole world has heard this song.” So I started getting to the point where I was putting it on my Soundcloud to see what the reaction was like. Some of the songs that I didn’t necessarily think would do that well, ended up doing really fucking really, really well, so I think you really need to believe in what you’re doing. The beauty of music is that it is not wrong or right, just do what the fuck you want to do, and believe in what you want to put out. Don’t be worried to put something out if it’s a bit different because it could open a whole new fanbase that never liked you before. If you’ve got true fans as well, they will stick by you with whatever you do. Just keep pushing, keep fucking exploring the sound and everything, don’t worry about not putting something out because only a few people might like it, because yes, 10 people might think this is a bit different, but 100 people might think “this is fuckin sick!”

Sub.mission’s mission statement is to “move people through music not hype,” what is your mission?

My ultimate standard for everything is, if you believe [in yourself], you can get it no matter what. That’s what I did all the way through. I always said from day one, I am going to be on the big stage one day and I am going to be pushing my own records and it’s gonna happen. But I think if you’ve got enough passion and enough belief in yourself, you’ll fuckin do it, no matter what anybody tells you. If somebody tells you, you’re shitty, don’t even listen to that. That’s in any walk of life.

I tell myself every year, I set myself goals on what I want to achieve that year, sometimes it doesn’t happen, sometimes it does and you just gotta keep pursuing, to not be scared; just take a leap into something that you may not be that comfortable with. If you think it is going to progress you in the right way, then do it, definitely, fuck yea.

https://pro.beatport.com/artist/p0gman/195995/tracks

Boys Noize Announces New Ablum: Mayday

Boys Noize

Techno legend Boys Noize announced his fourth studio album, Mayday, which will be released May 20, 2016. The album will feature collaborations with POLIÇA, Hudson Mohawke, Benga, Remy Banks, and Spank Rock. “I always try to challenge myself as a producer and a musician,” says [Alexander] Ridha AKA Boys Noize. “Keeping the purity of electronic music but taking it somewhere new is the most difficult, and most motivating. MAYDAY is me taking the music I love to the future, no matter how uncertain the future seems.”

Several songs from the album are already available for preview, including Starchild ft. POLIÇA, Euphoria ft. Remy Banks, and Overthrow, which is available for free download.

The album is available for pre-order via iTunes. Boys Noize will be touring around Europe this summer, following his album release.

https://www.instagram.com/boysnoize/
https://www.facebook.com/boysnoize

Sunset Music Festival 2016: Lineup & Info

Sunset Music Festival 2016

Sunset Music Festival returns to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL for its fifth year this Memorial Day Weekend (Saturday May 28 to Sunday May 29). This year’s lineup will see some familiar faces like Hardwell, The Chainsmokers, Jack U (Skrillex previously played a solo set last year, but will be joined by Diplo this year for Jack U), Mija, Claptone, Sam Feldt, Thomas Jack, Cash Cash, Borgore, Funtcase, and more. Newer names include Snails, Seven Lions, Vanic, Jai Wolf, Jauz, Matoma, Marshmello, Lane 8, Claude Vonstroke, CID, Louis the Child, and more. Additionally, although this is pure speculation, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that Justin Bieber might make an appearance for Jack U, especially considering that he doesn’t appear to have any conflicting events booked for May 29. Check out the full lineup here.

The previous two Sunset Music Festival events drew crowds in the neighborhood of 40,000-50,000, in spite of some of the temporary weather difficulties the festival has faced. Expect this year’s festival to be, at a minimum, on par with previous years in terms of attendance and production value. Tickets are currently on sale with General Admission tickets going for $159 (plus fees), while VIP passes are $234 (plus fees). Make sure to check out Sunset’s information, including their guide, location, and safety. We hope to see you there!

Big Wild Shares Inspiration in Exclusive Interview

Big Wild Performs at Okeechobee

In the days leading up to Okeechobee Music Festival, Dancebreak put together a list of artists that we were most excited to see, which included Jackson Stell, also known as Big Wild. Big Wild performed Thursday night at Aquachobee Beach, the night before the majority of campers arrived at the campgrounds. In spite of this, Big Wild still drew a large and enthusiastic crowd and put on a performance that got patrons ready for an unforgettable weekend. When he took the stage, he addressed the crowd with a tone that was giddy with excitement. As he jumped between instruments during his performance, it became clear that Big Wild is someone who is appreciative of the opportunity to share his talents with the world. After his show, we had the opportunity to sit down with Jackson and discuss his upcoming spring tour, his inspiration, his background, and what we can expect from Big Wild in the future.

Dancebreak commentary is in italics, while commentary from Big Wild is in normal text.

Welcome back to Florida. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. It seems like you’re in a really exciting point in your career. To start, the name Big Wild, where did that come from?

It kind of originated during my first trip to California. It was maybe three years ago now. I went to Big Sur and camped there for a couple of nights and I was just really surprised by the landscape and the natural beauty of the whole area and it kind of, for whatever reason, gave me insight as to where I wanted to take my electronic sound from there. Because up to that point, I had kind of been shooting in the dark with what I wanted my sound to be. I decided from there that I wanted to be adventurous and blend electronic and acoustic elements. That name just came about naturally.

You said that you’re originally from Lancaster, MA, right? And you’ve since moved out to Venice Beach. When did that happen?

Well I lived in San Francisco for five months. I moved out there in April 2014, and after that I moved to LA. I’ve been there ever since.

Was that primarily because you wanted to focus on music?

Well I got kicked out of my apartment, because they were jacking up the rent. There was a lot of drama. But also because of the music scene, and my girlfriend was going to UCLA, so there were all these things telling me to move there.

You’ve previously supported Gramatik, Odesza, GRiZ, and others on tour. This month you’re embarking on your own headlining tour, two of the shows are already sold out. Congratulations on that. What’s different about your headlining Spring Tour? How does your preparation for headlining shows differ from supporting acts?

It’s tough for me to say, because I’ve never really headlined. Actually I’ve headlined one show so far. It was just a random charity show I did in Austin. But I think what’s going to be really cool now is I feel like I have more freedom to carry out my full vision of what I see myself doing on stage and performing. I’m going to be using more new music that I’ve been producing lately and this is kind of going to be an exposé for all of that. I’m going to be able to control the visuals and everything. It’s awesome to fully use your vision. Whereas when you’re support or direct support for an opener, you kind of have to fit in the mold of whoever is the headliner. Because it’s their show. But now I have that privilege of being the headliner. That’s the best part of it.

It sounds pretty exciting. Are there any specific locations that you’re excited to play at, or are you going into this kind of blind?

I’m definitely going into it blind. I’m really excited to do the San Francisco show. It was the first one to sell out and it’s at a venue called The Independent, which I really like. I’m really excited to perform there because I have a really solid fan base there. Whenever I play in San Francisco, they really vibe with my music. That being said, I’m really excited to perform pretty much everywhere. I’m just excited to tour the country and play my music.

Before you started producing music, were you ever a patron at The Independent?

I did play there once. I opened up for this group called Digitalism and then I also saw a show there, Slow Magic, which was really fun.

I asked you a little bit about your preparation, what kind of equipment do you typically use for live shows? What instruments are you normally playing?

I have my drum pad, my piano, a Cajón, which is kind of a wooden box, percussion instrument. Then I have a MIDI interface where I trigger things off my computer. I have a mic for whistling. And that’s pretty much it. It’s kind of like a small one-man band.

Big Wild Performs on Cajón

Big Wild performs using a Cajón

What kind of software are you using?

I use Ableton. And I use Kontakt to trigger my drum sounds off the drum pad.

What about in the studio? I previously read that you started out making hip-hop beats using FL Studio. Are you still using that?

I used that for a while. I switched over to Ableton about three years ago. That’s what I’ve been using ever since.

Has that affected your creative process at all?

I think a little bit. I think for me, warping samples and sampling in general is a little easier in Ableton. So it’s gotten me a little more into that world compared to when I was using FL Studio. Overall, it hasn’t changed my perception of music. My work flow is a little different, but not crazy different. I think at the end of the day a lot of it is very similar.

What were you doing before you started producing? What’s your background? Did you play traditional instruments growing up?

I played piano for about two years, then I played trumpet for six years. But it really wasn’t until I started to produce music, when I was in 8th grade, when I really started to get in to music. Before, I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t really all about it. It wasn’t until I started to song-write and produce where I was like “this is what I want to do.”

You seem to occupy this really cool place in music where there’s a fusion of modern electronics and technology with traditional instruments. It seems like these days the definition of a musician is a lot more fluid as a result of that. Would you say it’s an accurate assessment to call you an instrumentalist, a producer, and a DJ?

I think at the end of the day, the most accurate thing to call me would be a songwriter, because, while I am producing, I’m making music in a program, I’m writing the melodies and writing the drumlines. I’m basically crafting a song. For me, that’s my greatest skill. That’s what first got me into music. Then once I started to play more live, that’s when I was like “ok let’s start to work on my instrument performance ability.” That’s when I started to go back and re-learn all these instruments again. I would say that the labels you gave me are fair, but like you said, there’s a lot of gray area in terms of what qualifies as being a DJ and what qualifies as being a producer. I think a songwriter and a musician is the most barebones definition of what I am. Then you can kind of expand it to more modern names like DJ and producer.

Similar to how you have sub-genres of music?

Exactly.

How do these different skillsets affect your music persona? It sounded like you started out doing songwriting and then moved more into live shows. Did that retroactively effect how you were crafting music?

Definitely. You definitely get a different perception of how people listen and understand your music when you play it out live. Especially—you have to do a lot of different scenarios. You have to be able to play at festivals, small gigs, big gigs, and tours, to really understand how people understand your music. When I’m behind the computer, making music, sharing it on the internet, I can never really get that perspective. Ever since I started to tour a lot more, I’ve really been able to basically understand how people—when I make something, I have a better idea of how people are going to understand it and how they’re going to hear it, as opposed to before, I feel like I was just kind of guessing.

I previously read that you used to focus on music that just sounded good, but now you want to make music that inspires people. Is there a track of yours that you find particularly inspiring?

I think that’s been one of my goals for almost every song I’ve made under the name “Big Wild.” I produced a lot of beats before that, but I think just by trying to make something different that people can still relate to, it’s kind of a key to making someone inspired. It’s easy to bite a trend or get involved with what’s current and I think that’s fine, but I think it’s really important to do it with your own style. That’s kind of what I wanted to inspire with other people—to have your own perspective, have your own individual style, and to bring them another world and show people.

What other non-music related people, places, or ideas influence your music?

I’m really big into—I used to hike all the time growing up and I reflect on those times when I was hiking in the mountains a lot. There are these very peaceful memories that I have. For the songs that are more serene that I make, that are less dancey, that’s where I try to go to. I base it off of feeling, usually I reference how certain moments in the past made me feel and represent that in the song I’m making and channel that. I do that all the time. It usually comes down to times when I was outside and important conversations that I have with people that made me feel a certain way, like really big events in my life. If you can distill that moment to a specific feeling and then if you can capture that feeling in a song, everybody that you play that to can feel something off of that. That’s what I’m trying to do.

I can relate to that. There have certainly been songs of yours that kind of felt outdoorsy to me. I know that’s a weird label to use for music, but the whole persona of it would bring up memories of going out hiking and exploring nature. I’d say you’ve been successful in that regard. That’s all I had for questions for you. Is there anything else you would like to add?

I’m working on a lot of original music right now. I plan on releasing it all throughout the year. There’s a lot of big things to come. I think people are really going to like it because I’m taking a slightly different approach than what I’ve done in the past. I’m working with more vocalists. I’m trying to create a really good mold of my production, with a vocalist, like a more well-rounded song I would say. I’ve been working a lot on that recently, because I haven’t put out too much recently. I’ve spent more time working in the studio, working on music. I would like people to know that I’m working on a lot of music to be released throughout the year.

So you’re bringing in external people to do vocals?

Ya, it’s kind of like expanding this project of Big Wild beyond just me. I don’t want it to just be about me. I just want to make great music. I think I’m finding the right people to make that happen.

When you look around and see the artists that are really successful, it’s usually the ones that have cultivated a certain culture around what they’re doing, as opposed to just making it about themselves.

Right, and that’s what I’m trying to build right now

Thanks so much for your time. Good luck with the rest of your tour.

Euphoria Music Festival 2016: Lineup & Info

Euphoria Music Festival 2016 Lineup

Euphoria Music Festival returns to Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, Texas for its 5th year. The event takes place from April 7th-10th and features artists like The Polish Ambassador, Bassnectar, Eric Prydz, Above & Beyond, Cherub, Dillon Francis, STS9, Jai Wolf, SNBRN, Wave Racer, Autograf, Break Science, GRiZ, Lettuce, Shiba San, The Motet, and many more.

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Find your purpose in life. #FindYourEuphoria

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A range of ticket options are still available, including 3-day GA tickets ($159 + fees), 3-day VIP tickets ($249 + fees), single day tickets ($54 + fees). Unfortunately, GA camping tickets are currently sold out. There are other amenities available including tent and RV rentals and locker rentals.

Euphoria is an all-ages event. Children under 12 will receive free admission. Minors under 18 need to be accompanied by a legal guardian. For more information about Euphoria, make sure to check out the FAQ and travel information pages.

Paradise Lost: Celebrating 50 Years of Dub Music

Ask an average EDM festival attendee when electronic music was created and many of them would probably suggest that it’s only been around for a very short period of time. Artists like David Guetta, Skrillex, deadmau5, and Avicii undoubtedly helped bring EDM to the masses within the last 5-10 years, but in reality, dance music has been around for much longer than that. One genre in particular can’t be ignored when looking at the origins of electronic music: Dub music. Dub music grew out of Reggae in the 1960s and has since had an massive influence on all genres of music, particularly EDM, and it has become the basis for drum and bass and dubstep.

For this reason, festival curators have decided to celebrate the roots of EDM by throwing a three day music festival at Grizzly’s Plantation Cove in St. Ann, Jamaica, called Paradise Lost. The festival will see some big names performing, like Tiesto, Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, Zion I, AlunaGeorge, King Jammy, and more. The festival aims to bring about 75,000 people to St. Ann, Jamaica for three days from March 10-12. If you submit your information at the website, you will be notified of pre-sale tickets, which begin Nov. 17.  General tickets go on sale Nov. 23. The festival has a variety of ticket options, from single day, two day, VIP, or general admission. 3-day general admission tickets are start at $299.

An Interview with MARTyPARTy

Recently at Imagine Music Festival, Dancebreak had a chance to sit down with bass slangin South African goofball, MARTyPARTy. Fresh after his killer after-party set the night before and right before his daytime set, we had a chance to ask the man himself a few questions about himself and his music.

DB: We saw you at Electric Forest and you fucking crushed it. Was that your first time playing at Electric Forest and how was your experience?

MP: I arrived and my manager had rolled me a joint. We got stoned and rolled up to the [Jubilee] tent, and I had no idea where I was. I just got off the plane and was like ‘I dunno where I am’. I didn’t know what gig I was playing or what to expect. My manager was like ok let’s go and I was just like “fine okay let’s go play for this little hippie camp or whatever’ and when I walked out it was a GIANT purple fucking tent! And I’m a purple guy! So I was like is this a joke? So I went in and it was the most giant sound system I ever saw. There were like five people there. I started it up and it was the weirdest empty sound but then everyone started coming down that hill. By like the 5th song, that place was fucking packed. That place was packed for an hour. The production was insane.

DB: You said you’re a ‘purple guy’. What’s the origin of that?

MP: I mean, I dunno. I don’t know if it’s purple anymore. Everything’s just a movement for me. Now its red.

DB: Now it’s red?

MP: Yeah it’s my color.

DB: What type of mentality are you usually in when you write music?

MP: I like having fun with my music. I don’t like my music to get serious and all deep. I’ll listen to other people’s deep music. If I make deep music it takes me to sad times in my life, it brings it there, to my house. I’d rather make it lively and happy because I’m more that kind of guy when I’m hangin in my house or whatever. I make a song cause I’m like ‘WOO!! I just washed my car! I feel good! Let’s go make some music! Smoke weed’ ya know.

DB: So how would you describe the MartyParty experience?

MP: I think, you know there’s nobody else really doing what I do. I’m a really big fan of myself and I never really know what to expect when I get on stage. If anything, I’m dancing. I don’t really see a lot of people dancing these days just a lot of swaying back and forth. But yeah so I try to bring a lot of unique sounds, add a lot of interesting noise, and then the drops. Crazy dubstep. Weird crazy shit. So yeah, that’s the vibe.

DB: Hell yeah man. And you crush it at making that vibe.

MP: I’ve never heard anyone say it so well. I crush it at making that vibe, I like that.

DB: Does living in Florida influence the kind of music you make?

MP: Yeah man Florida’s all about their tropical music vibe, together with bass. I’m trying to get back to that. You’ll just be jamming out on the beach and some guy in the white supremacy and a four-wheel drive barrels past and you’re just like ‘whoa! You got to chill!’ It’s just so weird.

DB: So can you walk me through your live setup? When you’re performing live what do you have going on up there?

MP: I make all my tracks in Ableton. When I’m writing the tune I have maybe 20 to 30 tracks that I need to mix together. Then I edit the tune and render it. Then I load the full song into Ableton, all my tracks, hip hop acapellas, some one shot samples, some lazers, then I load it all onto a Trigger Finger so I can trigger them as I go. I keep just loading my new shit into the template and go. When I’m djing I use filters a lot. Throw in some acappellas. Give it a hip hop vibe. When I’m mixing songs I always just rely on my ears. I always test my songs on a bunch of different systems, like my Bluetooth speaker when I’m at the beach. I always ask myself “what does it REALLY sound like”. If it sounds good on my little Bluetooth speaker I know it’s done. I really aim for a full sound. It’s always full. When I’m writing music sometimes I feel like I’m getting really weird in a lab. Full experimentation.

DB: Occasionally you’ll link up with Ooah of The Glitch Mob and play as PantyRaid, how’s that going?

MP: Good man. He was here yesterday, we hung out on his bus, he came to my show.

DB: I was half expecting him to come out during the after-party for a surprise PantyRaid set.

MP: Yeah he was there and I was like “stand up!” and he was like nah cause he’s with the Glitch Mob you know? He doesn’t want to confuse people. He’s on the Glitch Mob tour right now. We’re like ‘whatever’ cause were just dudes you know? We don’t really care but you got to please the crowd dynamic. This music scene is like a giant ship. Even when you pump the brakes it takes twenty years for change to happen. So you can’t really influence it that much you just got to go along with the biggest swell. With yourself, with your own character, but it’s gonna take a long time. We want to do PantyRaid next year, but we want it to be a special thing. When you buy a ticket we want you to be stoked. We don’t people to be like ‘should we go? I dunno.’ We want people to be like ‘DAMMN LETS GO!’.

DB: So what’s in the future for MartyParty?

MP: I think I want to open a club in Miami sometime next year. I’m probably going to play every week, with guests. I’m going to have everyone play with me. It’s gonna be some real shit.

Until next time MARTyPARTy!

Imagine Music Festival 2015: The Aftermath

Imagine 2015

The weekend of August 30th and 31st has come and went and the second annual Imagine Music Festival is officially in the books, and what a weekend it was. There was incredible music, amazing vibes, tons of friendship and good times were had by all. I was curious to see how the festival would handle the increase in the crowd’s size that would be inevitable as a result of the stacked lineup, and as a whole it was handled very well. I’ll review all the acts I saw over the course of the weekend as well as the positives and negatives of the festival I experienced (not that there were many negatives but there were a few).

First off a disclaimer to all those reading this: I am a bass head to the core. I live for those gnarly crushing bass lines that smack you in the chest and make your face contort as if it were hit by a sledgehammer. I live for unique and original sounds, concepts, and rhythmic patterns, anything that catches me off guard and keeps me on my toes. So with every festival I attend that’s what I hunt for. If you’re looking for reviews of Morgan Page or Dada Life you can just stop reading this article now. I respect house artists and what they do, but I can listen to approximately 6 seconds of four on the floor music until I’m too bored to deal with it. SO without further ado, my weekend went a little something like this:

We arrived at the festival just in time to catch the up-and-coming melodic bass producer Illenium. I had heard some good things about the young gun so I thought I’d check him out. He wasn’t disappointing necessarily but I was very far from impressed. The all too familiar major chord progressions over basic bass lines left much to be desired. His tunes were pretty, sure, but he didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. Using a drum pad to add some percussive elements to his set was a nice touch, but it wasn’t enough to make it memorable. Followed by Illenium was the trap king Buku. Having opened for Buku myself as well as seeing him at last year’s Imagine Festival, his sound was very familiar to me, yet still very get-down worthy. His fat beats and fun synth lines always make Buku shows a good time and I was not disappointed with what he brought to the table, despite it being an early set.

Then came iLL.Gates vs. KJ Sawka and this is where it starts getting real good. ill.Gates kicked things off with the most absurd mash up I’ve ever heard of, his tune I’m Eel, Ice by Corporate, and a slew of other epic bangers perfectly stitched together to make everyone in the crowd effectively lose their shit. ill.Gates continued to bring massive amounts of heat including his super epic remix of Monkey Crunk by Opiuo, as well as some unreleased bangers that left multiple faces lying in a puddle on the floor. KJ Sawka was decent but trying to battle ill.Gates is like trying to battle Yoda in a light saber battle, you just stand no chance. ill.Gates is a certified Ableton instructor, mentor to Bassnectar, conductor of the fattest beats, and just an overall genius. KJ Sawka is an incredible drummer and as a member of Destroid is the single greatest at what he does, but directly next to ill.Gates his set seemed sloppy and unimpressive. Had he been his own separate set he would have been more appreciated for what he was doing, but side by side with the Phat Conductor just left me feeling like I wanted an all ill.Gates set and KJ Sawka should stick to what he’s best at which is being an epic drummer.

G Jones was nothing short of epic. He was one of my top acts to see and not only did he meet my expectations, he surpassed them. Hearing G Jones on a great sound system really allowed appreciating the genius of the young producer. You could really hear every subtle detail in his productions, the epic vocal panning, and experimentations with reverbs, crazy delays. Despite the speakers only being in front of us, it sounded like his music was coming from every direction. Listening from the mindset of a fellow producer, it really felt like getting to hear a master at work. The future is incredibly bright for G Jones and I can’t wait to see him again. Following G Jones was the always-incredible Griz. With the sun setting in the background lighting up the sky a brilliant orange hue, the moment couldn’t have been more perfect. Griz played the perfect collection of soulful sax-filled tunes and crushing bass bangers that had everyone in the crowd getting their boogie on. It was one of the more magical moments that life has to offer and it was amazing to share it with so many other people.

After Griz ended we made our way over to Shpongle, mostly just in anticipation of Tipper. Despite never really knowing what exactly is going on during a Shpongle set, I enjoyed it nonetheless. The lasers on the Amazonia stage were on point and watching how different people dance to Shpongle is massively entertaining. As Shpongle was coming to a close we steadily crept into an ideal spot for Tipper and Android Jones. If you’ve never heard Tipper’s music on a great sound system before, it’s something you should do if you ever get the opportunity. I truly believe everyone should attend at least one Tipper set in his or her life if anything to appreciate the genius that is Dave Tipper. The man is the king of glitch hop, a sonic wizard. The dude makes sounds that are so out of this world and hearing them on a big sound system really accents all the subtle details that makes his music what it is. Android Jones’ visuals were nothing short of incredible. The man is a true artist and it was a distinct honor to get to experience the combined genius of Tipper and Android Jones to close out day one of the festival.

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Day 2 for us started with the representatives from the Pretty Lights Music label Eliot Lipp and Paul Basic. Both playing their signature hip hop beats and original music, which was a great way to get day two started. After Paul Basic, we left for our interview with MartyParty (full interview to come soon) and then rejoined the festivities. Here is one of the few moments in which Imagine could have done better. Lil Jon had to cancel his set due to health concerns and as a result all of the sets on the Oceania stage were moved back an hour and there was no notice whatsoever. There was no email or announcement of any kind informing the patrons of the schedule change and as a result there was massive amounts of confusion. We were very excited to see 12th Planet but thanks to the unannounced schedule his set was moved to the same time as MartyParty’s so we had to skip 12th Planet. Luckily he played at the afterparty so it actually worked out. MartyParty’s set was a great time, playing some of his signature tunes like Greedy and V8 and just slamming the crowd with his crushing bass lines.

Once MartyParty had finished playing he came out into the crowd and jammed out to Papadosio with us. Papadosio absolutely crushed their set. I have seen them a few times before but this was definitely the best Papadosio set I have seen to date. They debuted one of their new songs for us and it was absolutely incredible. I highly recommend seeing Papadosio if you get the chance. Crizzly absolutely blew me away. Another act I’ve seen a few times before but also the best time I’ve seen him. Something about Imagine Festival brings out the best in artists I guess. His mixing skills were so on point and the transitions were flawless. His blend of hip hop and grimy dubstep is unique and satisfying to a wide range of people. Datsik brought the heat too, playing banger after banger to close out the festival. With fireworks shooting off from the main stage and Datsik hitting us with wave after wave of heavy bass music, it was the perfect way to end a perfect weekend.

The only other negative note I have is that the festival ran out of water towards the end of the second day, which obviously posed a huge safety hazard for those in attendance. Hydration is incredibly important and not having water available exposes the festival to potential lawsuits if anyone were to suffer dehydration to the point where hospitalization was necessary. So for next year as long as they ensure they have enough water for everyone and keep those in attendance well informed of any changes in the schedule, I think they’ll have a perfect festival on their hands.

EDC Orlando 2015 Lineup

EDC Orlando 2015 Lineup

Electric Daisy Carnival returns to Tinker Field in Orlando for its fifth consecutive year. EDC’s Orlando festival is quickly turning into a national, if not international destination festival. Every year Insomniac seems to step it up with increased production and attractions. Last year’s EDC Orlando saw the introduction of the Kinetic Cathedral in Orlando, the same stage setup that was used in EDC Las Vegas 2014. There are two other stages, in addition to the Kinetic Field: Circuit Grounds and Neon Garden. All three stages typically have a specific genre that dominates a day, ranging from headliners at the Kinetic Field to other genres including bass, trance, house, and more.

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This year’s festival has booked artists of Bassnectar, Calvin Harris, Slander, Eric Prydz, Kaskade, Flux Pavilion, Tiesto, Paul van Dyk, Excision, Ferry Corsten, The Magician, Carnage, Gorgon City (Live), Seven Lions, and many more. The lineup has a good range of major headliners, mixed in with some new faces and up-and-comers.

In addition to artists, EDC also features free carnival rides for all attendants, art installations, performers, food vendors, merchandise vendors, and free water refill stations. Tickets are still on sale, which are currently priced at $189.65 (including fees) for a two-day general admission wrist band and $312.75 (with feees) for VIP. Don’t forget to check out the Insomniac’s guidelines and frequently asked questions for more information.

Zen Awakening 2015

Zen Awakening

Zen Awakening, a music and arts festival will be returning to Orlando this November 20-22 2015. After its inaugural year in 2014, Zen Awakening is expanding its music, art, and reach. The three day festival includes camping, art installations, themed villages, yoga, food vendors, Cirque performers, fire performers, a 20 foot water slide, and much more. As the name might suggest, the festival aims to integrate music with art, nature, and spirituality.

This year’s musical performances include Eoto, Thriftworks, Govinda, Archnemesis, Sugarpill, and more. Early bird tickets have already sold out, but three-day general admission camping ($89) and VIP TeePee camping passes ($500, includes four passes) are still available. Make sure to come prepared by checking out the rules and guidelines and camping info.