After surviving some financial troubles in 2018, including the bankruptcy of Silver Wrapper Productions (the original producer of Hulaween), Hulaween is due to return to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida this October 24-27, 2019. The 4-day event has announced their phase 1 lineup, including artists like The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Anderson .Paak, Jason Isbell, Big Wild, Flying Lotus, Greensky Bluegrass, Jai Wolf, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee, Manic Focus, The Funk Hunters, CloZee, and many more.
A variety of ticket options, including 3 and 4 day General Admission, VIP, RV, and car camping are all available from the ticketing website.
(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.”
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.
Suwannee Hulaween continues to impress after releasing another all-star lineup for this year’s event. Suwannee Hulaween is a three-day music and art festival that takes place along the picturesque Suwannee River in Live Oak, Florida, October 26-28, 2018, with an additional pre-party day on October 25. The festival is the brain-child of The String Cheese Incident and features a variety of music styles including jam bands, rap & hip-hop, reggae, funk, electronic, and everything in between. This year’s event will feature three nights of The String Cheese Incident; as well as headliners Odesza (having just wrapped up their incredible A Moment Apart Tour); Jamiroquai, the British jazz-funk band currently on their first US tour since 2005; and R&B/hip-hop singer and rapper Janelle Monáe. Meanwhile, the underbill includes a slew of other artists like Tipper, Vulfpeck, STS9, Rezz, Gramatik, NGHTMRE, Action Bronson, Lettuce, Stephen Marley, Emancipator, Snakehips, Manic Focus, Clozee, Break Science, Sunsquabi, and many more.
Hulaween is a unique festival that combines set and setting with an incredible diversity of live music that attracts all sorts of music listeners, combined with a plethora of art installations, allowing attendees to get lost in an artistic wonderland for a weekend. This is one festival that you will not want to miss. Tickets are still available from the ticketing website.
Sunset Music Festival returns to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida for its seventh year, this May 26 & 27, 2018. The lineup is bass-heavy this year and features headliners Marshmello, The Chainsmokers, and Excision, with artists like Anna Lunoe, NGHTMRE, San Holo, Herobust, JOYRYDE, Slander, Space Jesus, and more rounding out remaining spots. Weekend tickets are currently on sale with GA selling for $164.95 (plus taxes and fees) and VIP selling for $259.95 (plus taxes and fees).
For more information, read up on the official press release:
Sunset Music Festival has become the staple in its hometown of Tampa, Florida at Raymond James Stadium. What started as a single day event grew to a two-day fest by its third year and now Disco Donnie Presents and Sunset Events, purveyors of the festival in the Sunshine-State, are announcing an unprecedented lineup-up for their 7th consecutive year.
Sunset Music Festival returns under the Floridan sun for an electric Memorial Day Weekend on May 26 & May 27. Pushing boundaries, this years’ line-up represents the many facets of the festival and its inclusive and innovative spirit, adding R&B and Hip-Hop talent to the best of the best in dance music.
The Chainsmokers, Marshmello, and Excision are announced to headline the two day fest and will be joined by “Goresteps” own Borgore, Destructo, Anna Lunoe, Bonnie x Clyde, Canadian trap queen DJ Cray, Australia’s GG Magree, K?D, Baltimore’s GypZ and Elephante + many more.
Disco Donnie comments, “This year’s SMF lineup includes a lot of firsts to make the lineup our biggest yet — three top tier headliners, new genres like hip hop, a focus on female artists, back to back sets, stage takeovers by All My Friends and Brownies & Lemonade, plus some new surprises in store in coming weeks.”
John Santoro of Sunset Events adds, “I feel that we really dialed in the operations last year and can’t wait to show all the added toys we put into the festival this year for our family to enjoy. I hope everybody’s ready for an unbelievable festival. From the start in 2006 to now is simply amazing how our fans love for this festival made it grow to what we are all going to experience this memorial weekend. Can’t wait for memorial weekend and for all the memories to be made.”
Leading up to the festival, SMF released a series of comedic teaser trailers, featuring Levi & Flynn, a tale of two aspiring musicians, living in a RV in Tampa, who were mistakenly convinced they were booked to headline this year’s event, since the duo shared the same name as one of the 2018 artists, Hippie Sabotage. The videos were the work of Agata Alexander, Jason Kaye, Rob Michaelson, creators of the Hard Music Festival trailers.
This year will see the debut of two exclusive stage takeovers, where electro meets hip hop featuring Destructo & Yo Gotti at the All My Friends stage, plus A-Trak and YehMe2 will headline the Brownies & Lemonade stage. The two recently declared “We’re open for festival season” and they’ll be bringing their impressive energy to the party.
Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival returns to Sunshine Grove in Okeechobee, Florida for its third year this March 1-5, 2018. The star-studded lineup includes headliners Arcade Fire, Bassnectar (two sets with a special full moon beach set), Halsey, and Travis Scott, as well as Khalid, Foster the People, Leon Bridges, The Flaming Lips, Zeds Dead, Slightly Stoopid, Tipper, Big Gigantic, STS9, Local Natives, Gramatik, Illenium, Blackbear, Thievery Corporation, Tycho, Sylvan Esso, Judah & The Lion, Kyle, Misterwives, Sofi Tukker, Magic!, Lettuce, Billie Eilish, Ganja White Night (Live Set) B2B Boogie T and Dirt Monkey, Jai Wolf, G Jones, Big Wild, Denzel Curry, Pouya, Quinn XCII, Allah-Las, Nightmares on Wax (Live Band), Twiddle, and many more. As usual, Okeechobee will feature a PoWoW! Superstar Mashup set, consisting of many of the aforementioned artists. This is just the first phase of artist announcements, so expect more artists to be announced in the coming months. A range of ticket options are currently available for purchase from the ticketing website.
Suwannee Hulaween returns to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park & Campground, this October 27-29, 2017 for a three-day Halloween celebration. The full lineup has just been released, and it includes an all-star list of artists including The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Griz, Portugal. The Man, The Disco Biscuits, Claude VonStroke, Lettuce, Beats Antique, FKJ, Moon Taxi, Keys N Krates, Destructo, Shiba San, Manic Focus, and many more. 3-day General Admission tickets and Thursday pre-party tickets are still on sale, however, VIP tickets are sold out. For more information, make sure to check the festival website and FAQs page.
III Points Festival has released its 2017 lineup, which takes place this October 13-15 at the Wynwood Convention Center in Miami, FL. Featured artists include The XX, Gorillaz, Richie Hawtin, Bonobo (Live), Lane 8, Rufus Du Sol, Kaytranada, Danny Brown, and many more. III Points curates a line-up of cutting edge international performances paired with the best of the Miami’s music scene. Over the three days of the festival and 85+ performers, III Points takes over the town with lectures, labs, tech talks, music & gallery showcases and a fully immersive main festival ground. Tickets are currently available, with 3-day General Admission tickets starting at $190 (not including taxes and fees) and 3-day VIP tickets starting at $295 (not including taxes and fees). For more information, check the festival website and frequently asked questions.
Sunset Music Festival returns to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL this May 27-28, 2017. The lineup includes artists like Major Lazer, RL Grime, Above & Beyond, Zeds Dead, Cedric Gervais, Dusky, Gareth Emery, G Jones, San Holo, MaRLo, Slander, SNAILS, Aly & Fila, Kill the Noise, Louis the Child, Yellow Claw, and many more. Tickets are currently available with 2-day GA tickets going for $159.95 (plus fees) and 2-day VIP tickets for $259.95 (plus fees). Included on the ticketing website are various other merchandise and offers, including locker rentals. Make sure to also check out SMF’s info pages, including their guide, safety, and location information.
Tipper & Friends Nocturnal Edition returns to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park & Campground this May 19-20, 2017. This year’s event will feature an eclectic mix of art and music, including 3 sets of Tipper, Shpongle (Simon Posford Live), Cut Chemist, Shield, Klo, LTJ Bukem, Jade Cicada, Hullabalo0, Vinja, Charlesthefirst, Detox Unit, Ovoid, Sortof Vague, and Foxtail, and visual artist Android Jones. Tickets are currently available, with GA + Primitive Camping for $99, with some camping upgrades available. This is an all-ages event; children 12 and under may attend free when accompanied by an adult. For additional information, make sure to check out the FAQ page.