Audio

Life is Beautiful 2016 Lineup

Life is Beautiful returns to Las Vegas this September 23-25 for its fourth year. Started in 2013, Life is Beautiful regularly features a healthy mix of hip-hop, alternative, rock, indie, and dance music. This year’s boasts one of its most robust lineups with artists like Bassnectar, Mumford & Sons, Flume, The Temper Trap, Third Eye Blind, Crystal Castles, Galantis, Die Antwoord, Chromeo, G-Eazy, The Shins, Duke Dumont, Gryffin, and many more.

On all three days, the festival opens at 2PM and ends at 1AM. Tickets are currently on sale with 3-day general admission tickets starting at $285 and 3-day VIP tickets starting at $655. A range of other ticketing options are available.

The event touts itself as a “movement,” a “soul collective” of “dreamers and doers.” Because of this, the festival boasts a number of attractions in addition to music, including art installations and learning workshops. The event looks like it will be a spectacular experience. For more information, check the Life is Beautiful website.

Sunset Music Festival 2016: Artist Preview

Sunset Music Festival is just around the corner (make sure to get your tickets!) and with that in mind, we wanted to let our readers know of artists that we’re excited to see. This year’s lineup is pretty star-studded with the likes of The Chainsmokers, Jack U, Galantis, Hardwell, and other big names. However, we like to shed light on some of the lesser known artists that are busy making fresh waves in the ocean of music. If you don’t already know about these artists, make sure to keep an eye out for them as their following only gets larger.

Team EZY

LA-based Team EZY AKA Drew Gold spent the last five years touring with Skrillex in various management roles. His debut single (Pretty Bye Bye) released earlier this year was a collaboration with Skrillex. Now he’s starting his own artist venture and Sunset Music Festival is one of his first stops. His music style ranges from chill and liquid to hard and raw. The influence from Skrillex and OWSLA on his music style is evident, yet he still brings his own special touch that brings his bass music to life.

Lost Kings

This duo consisting of Robert Gainley and Dr. No have been blazing their trail through the dance music scene over the last year, most recently inking a deal with Spinnin’. These make some really fun music and seem like they really know how to have a good time on stage.

Jai Wolf

Jai Wolf has been making moves in the dance world lately, having done official work for Alesso, Dirty South, ODESZA, and more. His style brings in hip-hop, pop, and bass elements, resulting in some smooth and euphoric tunes that fill the room and capture the moment. His remixes of Miss U, Heroes, and Say My Name are all great examples of his ability to take a popular song and put his unique feel-good spin on it.

Vanic

British Columbia native Vanic AKA Jesse Hughes has been absolutely crushing the bass music scene. With a wide selection of originals and remixes, his style is a nice balance of rowdy and euphoric. Vanic knows how to bring the party atmosphere, so definitely check out his set at SMF!

Louis the Child

This duo hailing from Chicago says their goal is to make music that makes people happy. With releases on Skrillex’s label OWSLA, the two have enjoyed widespread critical acclaim with their single “It’s Strange” having been featured on popular radio shows like BBC and Triple J. The two set the atmosphere with their chill bass beats.

Bonus: Claude VonStroke

Ok, so Claude VonStroke is not up-and-coming by any means, but he really needed his own little shout-out. He has been a dominate force in the house music scene for over ten years. This is one of those artists that knows how to produce, but if you ask me, he really shines while on the decks. His technical skills when it comes to DJing will leave you floored. His set will undoubtedly get the feet moving!

Mysteryland USA 2015 | Solving the mystery

Bringing together eclectic music, extraordinary art installations, and overflowing with positive vibes, Mysteryland USA 2015 smoothed out many hitches from its initial year in Bethel, NY and left attendees with smiles on their faces, candy on their arms, and one of a kind memories in their minds. Mysteryland’s mindful curation and diverse line-up, brought alive by a gregarious, fun-loving crowd, immersed attendees in a fantasy world of their very own. A land of mystery where barriers are broken and magic is not only real, but apparent just about everywhere.

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THE ATMOSPHERE

Nearly everyone I spoke to at Mysteryland experienced a moment that sent chills throughout their body, brought on by the spirit of music lovers both now and of the past. Mysteryland USA is held at historic Bethel Woods, home of Woodstock ’69, and the energy from this monumental event remains. To stand atop the rolling hills and farmland that changed music forever is a truly remarkable opportunity. Now home to a gorgeous pavilion with bright green grass marked with colorful Mysteryland flags billowing in the wind, the impact of this history on the overall atmosphere was not taken for granted. The festival grounds of today are minuscule compared to the expansive hill of Woodstock’s past, humbling onlookers, and evoking an immense feeling of gratitude for all that came before. At the same time, this historic site was contrasted with futuristic displays of art, including a giant teddy bear and a life size Mouse Trap game, making you feel like a storybook character straight from a wild fantasy world.

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THE MUSIC

One of my favorite parts of Mysteryland was the extensive variety of artists represented. While many festivals are inclined to a specific genre of music, Mysteryland purposefully showcases an expansive array of music, represented through the different stages, many hosted by notable pioneers of their given genre. For instance, the Boat was hosted by trap powerhouse Bro Safari on Sunday. The boat stage hosted heavy hitters in dubstep, funk, trap, and all things bass, and as a self-proclaimed basshead myself, by the end of the weekend the boat definitely felt like my home away from home. All types of electronic dance music fans were able to find acceptance at the stage of choice, with new and old friends, joined by a common love for music, dancing, and connecting with others. Many displayed their genre of choice with flags or totems of their favorite artist or stage. Notably represented were Q Dance paraphernalia and costumes for the famed hardstyle themed stage on Saturday. For those not inclined to a specific genre, the numerous acts to explore made the festival a smorgasbord of sounds to taste test. The stages were uniquely built to fit to the music played there as well. The gnarly nautical boat was a proper match for bassheads, while the Main Stage, complete with two massive, brightly colored horse heads, matched the degree of talent and larger than life acts which graced the stage. The Main Stage held memorable performances by Dillon Francis, Diplo, Porter Robinson, and Netsky.

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Curated by the Brooklyn venue and hosted by THUMP, the Verboten Spiegeltent was held in an enclosed house of mirrors and wooden floors. On Sunday, Verboten presented the notorious Flying Circus party with Ibiza mainstays The Martinez Brothers, Audiofly, and Guti (live) that awed onlookers. Another NYC venue, Webster Hall, hosted a stage on Sunday as well, a favorite location for the heavily New York based crowd. The Owari No Nai stage by Sin Sida was another site to see. Meaning “No Exit” this was a unique party that lived up to its name by enticing individuals with outlandish acts. Complete with geisha girls, dancers, and other performers, I found it beautiful that while some stared at the stage with confusion others found it to be their home for the weekend. There was truly something for everyone.


NOTABLE SETS

Space Jesus

Space Jesus was the first set on Saturday at the Boat and whoever was able to squad up in time soon found it was worth every effort. Playing at the height of the afternoon, with the sun shining in a cloudless blue sky, Space Jesus took the crowd to space church, tantalizing fans with his signature sounds of bass with heavy hip hop influences. The vibes at this set were unbeatable and he got the crowd jumping and moving in every which way. A notable set and artist to keep your eye on.

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Netsky

Netsky was a highly anticipated set this festival weekend, and although this legend had lofty words to live up to, together with his live band, the drum and bass DJ/producer delivered ten fold to a massive crowd at the main stage on Sunday evening. Live instruments, an energetic MC, and their impeccable drum and bass mastery awed the audience. I enjoyed the end of this set in the front row, and let me tell you, that was an experience I will never forget.

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Beats Antique

Having seen Beats Antique before I was excited, but thought I knew generally what to expect. Boy was I mistaken. They were relentlessly mind blowing throughout their set, playing an array of beats from tribal to breakbeat to dubstep and more! Their unique style was not lost, but amplified with a fullness and expertise that only Beats can continuously deliver in the way they do. A spectacle to see and hear alike, they blew die hard fans away with their fresh set and gained many new followers.

Doctor P

One of the original dubsteppers and hailing from the UK, Doctor P did not let up for a minute to deliver his heavy hitting baselines, high energy beats, and dirty drops. Everyone went GORILLAS. Nuff said.


SOLVING THE MYSTERY

While I may have got ship wrecked at the boat, I ultimately realized that that is the true beauty of this festival. Everyone finds a home of their own. Everyone enters as nomads and organically makes a family over the weekend. You are able to connect and camp with people from all different places and who may have favorite artists you never even heard of. You are able to see your personal picks while discovering new artists and even new genres all together. Because overall, every single person came together for one underlying reason, the love of music.

The theme of Mysteryland, and slogan “Yesterday is history, today is a gift, tomorrow is a mystery,” was notably strung throughout the festival experience. Attendees were encouraged to be present, cherishing each magical moment and intimate interaction, while keeping in mind that the future is yours and can take you anywhere your heart desires or mind imagines. Overall, I learned the mystery is never completely solved…and that is the beauty of this life.

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PHOTO CRED

1.Atmosphere: Danilo Lewis for Mysteryland
2.Teddy Bear: Julian Cassady for Mysteryland
3.Mainstage: tomdoms.com for Mysteryland
4.Space Jesus: Andrew Rauner//@AJR_photos for Mysteryland
5.Netsky: Danilo Lewis for Mysteryland
6.Sign: Julian Cassady for Mysteryland

Artist Interview | MaRLo at SMF

In 2015, we are now fully immersed in the digital age of music. As a result of the changing tools and resources available to DJs and producers, there are a variety of paths to musical stardom. At Sunset Music Festival, which took place during Memorial Day weekend, we had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Australian trance artist, MaRLo. From his humble beginnings living on two-dollar noodles, MaRLo has become a world-renowned trance artist. Take a closer look at MaRLo’s musical beginnings, his inspiration, travel experiences, and more in our exclusive interview.

Dancebreak commentary is in italics, while MaRLo’s responses are in normal text.

Thanks for taking the time to meet with us today and welcome back to Florida. How does it feel to be back?

Awesome man, it wasn’t that long since I was in Miami and the crowd in America has been so warm and friendly. I think I’m pretty new in the US. I’ve been playing all over the world, like in Europe, Asia, and Australia for quite some time, but I’ve only been playing in America for like a year or eighteen months, so it’s exciting for me.

Ya, you played at Ultra for the first time this year, right? Congratulations, that seems like a pretty big milestone.

It was big, ya, it was good.

That’s awesome. So far how does the Tampa atmosphere feel different from Miami?

I only just arrived. It’s a lot wetter here. A lot more rain.

(laughter)

I think it could just be the time of year. This is your first time at Sunset, is there anything in particular that you’re excited for that you think would be different from other festivals?

I’m not sure. I’ve only just arrived, I don’t know what to expect. Gigs like that are the best, where you don’t know what’s going to happen. I haven’t even looked at the crowd yet, so when I’m up on stage, I’ll just go with the flow.

That’s fun, sort of like opening a new present on Christmas day.

Ya, sort of like that, so we’ll see what happens.

Are there any sets that you’re excited to see as a fan here or do you not really have time to do that?

A lot of these guys that are playing at these festivals, we tour all the time and I see them constantly. So I’ve seen most of the DJs I’d like to see play lots of times already, but of course it’s great hanging out with all your friends.

You’ve already mentioned that your wife, Jano, is not here with you. Your collaborations are great, it’s so cool that you’re able to work together like that.

Ya we’re actually working on a track together called The Dreamers, which I’ve played an intro/teaser version of at ASOT [A State of Trance]. But I’m working on finishing that as a whole track, so that’s going to be cool.

I’ve seen that you’ve previously talked about how Armin van Buuren was one of your earlier influences and now you’ve done quite a number of remixes of his music. How does that feel to go from having someone who’s one of your big influences become one of your peers that you work with quite a bit?

I’ve played at a lot of his events and would definitely consider him a friend by now with the amount of times we’ve seen each other and hung out and stuff like that. But he’s amazing, you know what he’s managed to achieve in the industry first of all. Not only as a DJ, but also I think he’s a real ambassador for the sound and for dance music as a whole, but also especially for trance. I think he’s definitely the leader and he’s very supportive of new talent. I think without him, a lot of new talent would never get heard, because he has a radio show with so many listeners, like millions of listeners every week, so when he plays your track, even if you’re an unknown DJ, suddenly you can create your own little buzz from the momentum he can give you.

I kind of get the feeling like he makes a big effort to try and play the up-and-comers.

It’s really simple, he plays what he likes. So he doesn’t care if you’re a big name or not, he plays the tracks that he likes.

I also read that you don’t prepare for your sets and you go with the vibe of the crowd. That’s great, how do you do that and what do you think of DJs that don’t do that, for example some DJs that might have a whole pre-recorded set.

I think everyone’s different and everyone’s performance is different. I’ve been DJing for quite a long time and I’ve played to a lot of different types of crowds and I’ve learned to adapt on the spot. For me, that’s very important, because every crowd is different and if I prepare a certain style and it doesn’t work—well, I need to have the flexibility to be able to change it up every track. I don’t even know what I’m going to be starting with today yet. I’ll just go up there and as soon as I’m plugged in, I’ll look for the first track. It also depends on what the other DJ finishes with. That’s the other thing, what if he plays two or three tracks that I had planned to play? Then I’m screwed, right? I try to do it very spontaneously and go with the flow.

Some of these artists that have more pre-planned sets, I think they put more of an emphasis on interacting with the crowd visually and vocally, but not as much with the music. What do you think about that? How do you balance the visual and vocal part, while still DJing?

I think everyone’s performance is different. I don’t think one is better than the other, or more valuable than the other. The actual mixing part, the actual part of getting two tracks to play at the same speed is not the hard part anyway. The hard part is creating a good atmosphere and getting the crowd moving. If you can do that with your pre-planned set or you’re comfortable that the DJ before you is not going to play the same tracks as you, why not? I don’t see the problem with it. It just doesn’t work for me though.

I think the line between DJs and producers these days is getting a bit blurred. Can you comment at all on the distinction between the two and is it necessarily important that a producer DJs and a DJ produces?

Yes, I do. It’s very, very, very difficult to just be a producer. There’s hardly any money in sales. Everyone either illegally downloads the music, or even if they do buy the music, it’s only for $1.99 on iTunes. In the old days, when producers would make tracks, a vinyl record would sell for $22 and the wholesale price was $10, so there was $12 profit to make between the label, the artist, and the distributor. So there was a lot more money from the start to go around. And sales, everyone bought the vinyl, so you could sell 50,000 vinyls no problem. So there was real money to be made as a producer without DJing. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to make a career—as in, not have another job—out of just producing, unless you’re also ghost producing for other artists and they’re paying you fees to make their records. They’re never going to recoup the money they invest in the track, but they’ll make it back on their gigs. So you need gigs to make a career out of music, you need to DJ to make a career out of music and quit your day job. And on the other way around, you won’t get invited to DJ at a big festival unless you do have tracks to your name. It works both ways. How I see tracks is a lot like a business card or a flier, where you’re sending them out around the world and people are downloading your music, whether it’s illegally or legally, whatever, but that actually doesn’t matter. If people are consuming your music, then they’ll buy a ticket to see you at an event. People wouldn’t know who I was if I didn’t have tracks. They’d have no idea, even if I was a great DJ technically. You need one to be the other. You need to be both.

Dance music seems to go through trends pretty rapidly now. But it seems like trance music has been popular for quite some time. What do you think makes trance different? How do you keep it fresh and interesting and maintain the connection with your older trance fans, as well as developing new connections with up-and-coming fans?

I think trance is such a broad genre. To me, the meaning of trance is that quite often it has a pretty emotional response. It’s quite an emotional genre. I think everyone likes feeling something, especially when they’re out at an event and it’s about unity, experiencing the moment together. I think trance is very good at bringing people together like that.

Were you always a fan of dance music? What were you listening to when you were young, like 10-16 years old? What was your taste in music?

At first I liked rock. Then I liked hip-hop for a while. Then when I heard some of The Prodigy’s early stuff and Aphex Twin and some of those top acts, I was like, oh this is cool. Even some of Daft Punk’s very early stuff. When I was old enough to go out clubbing myself, then I got into trance.

Who or what have been some of your biggest influences unrelated to dance music?

Like unrelated to music?

Well, anything really.

Aphex Twin was a huge inspiration. His music was so experimental and weird that I had no idea how it was made first of all. He makes a lot of his own instruments and stuff. It’s really out there. And that experimentation attracted me to try it myself. That you didn’t have to follow rules that you didn’t have to be able to sing, you didn’t have to be able to play guitar. Because I can’t. I can’t sing or play guitar. Electronic music was something that anyone can actually do. You can express yourself musically without having to be able to read notes or play an instrument, and for me that was really exciting.

Do you play any other musical instruments?

No. Well, I mean I play the keyboard, I know my chords and things like that, but no.

In your course of music, did you ever have an “Aha!” moment where you realized that you could turn music into a career?

I didn’t have an “Aha!” moment where I could, I had an “Aha!” moment where I said, this is all I want to do with my life. So it wasn’t like “oh hey I can do this,” it was more like, “I want to do this,” no matter what. Even if I was completely broke, I would have done this. I was for a long time. I was struggling to pay my rent, I worked shitty day jobs that I hated. But then as soon as I got home, I’d stay up to four in the morning every night, just working on refining my craft and getting better and better and better and playing more and more and more gigs on the weekend as a DJ and getting to know more people. My mom once asked me, “Marlo, what are you going to do if all this doesn’t work out? Like what’s your plan B? Are you going to go to university, are you going to learn how to do something else?” I looked her dead in the eye and I said: “Mom, my plan B is to try plan A again.” It took a long time before I could quit my shitty day jobs that I hated. It took a long time.

That’s quite a bit of perseverance. I know some people wouldn’t have the drive to do that.

I was living on two-minute noodles and borrowing money off my mom and my friends just to survive, just to pay rent. I was really broke. But there was never a question of maybe I should do something else, because this was all I wanted to do with my life and if I was still working crappy day jobs, I’d still be producing at home every day, like this is what I love to do.

You have a lot of great singles, but no album.

No album.

What’s it like being an artist in the digital age that’s focused more on music streaming? Do you feel pressure to make more singles?

I don’t feel pressure, I just enjoy making singles. I would like to make an album one time, but I’ve got really good momentum happening. With singles you have to make a track that everyone is going to play and that’s going to get people jumping. I’m enjoying doing that for now, so maybe in a few years I’ll sit down and do an album, but I’m not even sure if the album would be only tracks that make people jump up and down, because what’s the point of an album if you could just do them as singles anyway? If I did an album, it would be more like an artist album where I express a different side of me I suppose.

I like seeing that. You see artists that are quite different live and then they’ll put out an album that’s a different style; it’s a different mode of expression.

Exactly, it’s more for listening at home and listening in the car or for putting on when you’re going to sleep, not necessarily just for jumping up and down. An album would be a different thing for me.

You’re quite the world traveler these days. What’s been one of your favorite traveling experiences you’ve had while on tour, that’s not related to music?

The times where my wife does get to come with me are awesome. Last time she came with me to Mexico, after EDC Mexico, and we went snorkeling; we saw a barracuda. We’ve got a big aquarium at home, so we love snorkeling together. Experiencing things like that all over the world is definitely one of the big perks, and a huge luxury. Not many people get to travel to the opposite end of the world and get to experience that. And if they do, it’s like you save for a long time and then you go on your big trip once a year or once every two years. Whereas, because it’s part of work, I go there anyway. To be able to take advantage of those situations, where I’m in amazing places and I have to be there anyway, and then to get to do that stuff, it’s really cool.

How do you beat the exhaustion of traveling, playing at shows, and making yourself feel at home when you’re not?

I try to just sleep when I’m tired. You can’t keep up with the jet lag. The jet lag will beat you every time. You can’t say “I’m going to stay awake until 10 or 11” and then get up at 7 or 8. You can’t do that when you’re traveling as much as I do. I just sleep when I can. Whether it’s two hours or six hours.

We have one more question before we wrap things up. For me, I’m really appreciative of music. When I got into electronic music, I thought that was huge. It really was a constant force of positivity and I think that most of the artists that experience long-term success, they have a similar outlook. They’re not doing it for fame or for anything else in particular, they think it’s a powerful thing. That brings me to the thought that there’s not a lot of women in the electronic music world, other than dancers, servers, and bartenders and whatnot. Is that something that you’d like to see change. Would you like to see more women involved? What advice would you give to them?

I would absolutely. What I don’t really understand is—there’s some women involved, but they don’t really produce music themselves, and I don’t really get that because there’s so many songwriters that are female—like a lot. I think women like the creative process as much as men. I don’t think it’s a sex issue. I don’t understand why they don’t learn how to use the software and produce music themselves. There’s really not many that are actually sitting down, spending eight hours a day in front of a computer, learning the technical side of how to produce. I think if there was someone like that, they’d have great success. There was a female DJ that was asked a similar question and she basically said the door opens a lot easier for a woman. It’s easier to get a show in the first place, but you’re scrutinized a lot harder once you’re on that stage. If you made your own tracks 100%, and they’re good tracks, and they’re getting played by all the DJs, that door will open for you in the first place, you’ve got the substance and content to back it up. If you’re just a DJ floozy that’s using sex appeal only to get shows, that’s not going to last. It’s a hype based thing, and the hype never lasts. It’s like “Oh this girl’s great!” and then it’s on to the next girl or the next guy or whatever. If you have content, if you have a back-catalogue of great music, I think females could have it easier, actually, than men, because you are an exception, and you’re special. People like to see things that are special and different than what they’ve seen before. The fact that you mentioned it, a lot of other people will think this way too. And so, if you have somebody that says “This girl is actually really special and she’s one of the only one’s doing it,” she’s going to sell out shows everywhere.

You look at the Nervo twins, a lot of people say that sort of stuff about them. They like them because they’re different.

They’re great songwriters as well. The Nervo girls write a lot of tracks for a lot of other artists.

They also have a lot going for them—two blonde, good-looking twins.

(Laughter)

Ya, a lot of that stuff is the marketing side of things, but they also have the content to back it up. But there’s a lot more men. I don’t think there was a single woman playing on this stage today.

We saw Mija play earlier today on the Horizon Stage. She was pretty fun to watch. But you’re right, it’s definitely disproportionate.

I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because girls like singing more or writing songs more than they do the nerdy stuff. Producing music is very nerdy. It’s a lot of just staring at a screen and looping one kick drum for two hours, so maybe girls get impatient, I don’t know. I wouldn’t think so though.

You look at people like deadmau5, deadmau5 is a huge computer nerd. He started off as a nerd in IRC chats and moved to music production. He didn’t start as a musician in the traditional sense.

His music is amazing and his production is super tight. I think we are all actually nerds.

I love being a nerd. I embrace it. When people call me a nerd, I take it as a compliment.

It just means that something is really important to you. I think “nerd” gets misused in a negative way, but if you’re a nerd, you’re really interested in something. Like, you’re really into collecting comics, or you’re really into computer games, or you’re into producing music. It’s the same sort of thing, you get obsessive about it. And it’s all I want to do. I dunno, is that nerdy? Maybe. I spend a lot of time in front of a computer. A lot.

Thank you so much for your time, good luck tonight.

If you haven’t heard MaRLo’s brand new single, Atlantis, check it out on Beatport or iTunes.

Sunset Music Festival | The Rewind

While the 2015 Sunset Music Festival (SMF) has come and gone, the vivid memories of the music, lights, pyrotechnics, and eclectic outfits that took over Raymond James Stadium this past weekend remain. Although Sunset is a relative new-comer in the world of electronic music festivals, there is a lot to be said about this Tampa production.

Large music festivals that feature electronic music, like SMF, have a tendency to draw polarized criticism from a variety of groups, especially if the festival doesn’t carefully balance the many demands of interested parties. Electronic musical purists and fans of underground music often gripe about the commercialization of a genre(s) that was once considered entirely underground and far removed from the mainstream. Purists point to some of the changing demographics and attitudes towards electronic festivals, which now regularly attract average radio listeners. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise though, as electronic music has fully cemented itself into American (and global) pop culture. With the attention of a diverse audience at stake, festival promoters need to ensure that the music is popular enough to draw large crowds to remain profitable and allow the opportunity for growth, but underground enough to attract the dedicated fans that keep the life in the music when it’s not just a trend. At the same time, electronic music festivals have come under fire for their association with recreational drug use, and on top of that, the competition has been getting stiffer. With options for festivals growing, festival promoters are increasingly competing with each other over the market.

This year marked the first year that Ultra Music Festival Miami lowered ticket prices, after years of expensive tickets. That trend will continue in 2016 as ticket prices will be lower for the second consecutive year. The promoters claim that the decrease in price is a result of listening to fans’ criticisms, but it’s hard to imagine that increased competition didn’t play a role in that decision. Ultra Miami now competes with other wildly popular Florida festivals like EDC Orlando and Sunset, as well as other national and international productions. There’s quite a lot that goes into putting on a festival of such size and in the midst of such a balancing act, Sunset Music Festival appears to have found its balance. Last year’s SMF drew some pretty heavy criticism from fans. Although the music was great, the logistics were lacking. Security was unnecessarily harsh and inconsistent. While some fans didn’t have many issues, others reported security requiring attendants to remove their shoes, and in some cases, their socks. They confiscated everything from glow toys to personal items like gum, chapstick, and tampons, even in cases were items were factory sealed. As a result, security lines were long and personnel seemed particularly unhelpful. On top of that, water lines were quite long and attendants with VIP passes had issues of their own when one of the VIP platforms collapsed.

A photo posted by Dubco (@dubcomusic) on

SMF 2015, however, was markedly different. Festival promoters have a tendency to make claims of responding to fans’ criticisms, but sometimes one wonders if they even make any changes. Actions always speak louder than words, and SMF’s actions spoke loud and clear, in the best way possible. Will call and security lines were a breeze, water lines were strikingly shorter, and personnel seemed more willing to help out attendants in need. Security was more reasonable, allowing attendants to bring in personal items that would have been confiscated last year, glow toys were allowed for all the glow fanatics, as were hula-hoops and totems. There was a noticeable atmosphere of positivity that propelled fans into a fun weekend of dancing and enjoying music.
Even the extreme weather couldn’t stop the fun. Day 1 saw a short interruption in music due to a passing lightning storm, but in the midst of the weather, fans were still cheery. The interruption lasted about an hour from about 5:20PM-6:20PM. Ironically the storm blew threw as SNBRN was finishing up his set at the Horizon Stage. As soon as the weather cleared, the music started back up and so did the dancing; the fans didn’t miss a beat.

Just as the fans picked up where they left off, so did the artists at their respective stages. Where SMF excels is in having stages with coherent flow of artists and music styles that allow for a seamless experience. While the Sunset Stage was dedicated to the usual festival headliners and crowd pleasers like Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, Skrillex, etc., the Horizon and Eclipse stages had their own select genres.

Day 1 of the Horizon Stage was packed with House, Future House, and some experimental styles with artists like Duke Dumont, Tchami, and Cashmere Cat, while the Eclipse Stage was dedicated to Trance, with artists like Astrix, Andrew Rayel, MaRLo, and more. Day 2 of the Horizon Stage saw similar styles with House, Tropical House, and Deep House with artists like Robin Schulz, Thomas Jack, Sam Feldt, Viceroy, and an incredible closing live set by Porter Robinson, capping off an exceedingly successful weekend for the Horizon Stage, which had stunning performances all weekend. Day 2 of the Eclipse Stage was more bass and hardstyle oriented with artists like Flosstradamus, Headhunterz, Sub Focus, Keys N Krates, and more.

Like most festivals, Sunset is all about what you make of it, and the overwhelming feeling was that fans and promoters made the most of it. Despite some inclement weather on Day 1, the festival proved to be a fun experience for most, and it was nice to see the promoters follow-through with their promises of making logistical improvements. SMF 2015 certainly proved to be a success—now let’s see what 2016 brings!

A photo posted by Dubco (@dubcomusic) on

Stay tuned for a follow-up interview from this past weekend with one of SMF’s trance artists, MaRLo!

Dancebreak’s most anticipated sets of Mysteryland USA 2015

With Mysteryland USA 2015 just a few days away, we are becoming increasingly more excited about the incredible lineup that awaits another amazing weekend of music.


Bondax

This amazing duo of young men grabbed my attention when a friend showed me their XLR8R mix a couple years ago. They are stunning in their mixing ability and their producing. Their tracks consist of smooth melodies and grooves that make you move your feet and touch your heart.


Kill Frenzy

Dirty Bird artist Kill Frenzy is one artists we never miss. Being and advocate of “minimalist” producing, one of our favorite things about him is his deliberate lack of flashy (perhaps cheesy) build up drop structures that have permeated electronically produce music today. Arranging his tracks to build up to space before a drop is something that adds a cool contrast that isn’t regularly found elsewhere.

Minnesota

Minnesota has been in the scene for quite awhile now thrilling fans across America with his melodic and beautiful bass music. We’ve been following his career for the past two years


Anna Lunoe

Breaking out into the scene a couple years ago, she has been crushing deep house stages around the world. We had a the pleasure of seeing her in Boston about a year ago. We are excited to get a another chance to see her.


Sweater Beats

One of the greatest downtempo/future trap producers in my opinion, Sweater Beats is making revolutionary music in the genre. Stacking up to Soulection artists such as Mr. Carmack and StarRo, he is one of the biggest future trap producers around today.


Nicole Moudaber

The Lebanese queen of techno is an act we will always see, anywhere, at every opportunity. Known as the first person to bring techno to Lebanon, she is recognized world wide as one of the most talented techno DJs today.


Adam Beyer

The founder of Drumcode Records, Adam Beyer, has been dazzling the techno scene since the 90s. His beats and song selection is dark, penisve, erie, and most importantly, incredible. The often imitated, but never duplicated.


Netsky

Netsky is one of the legendary drum and bass live groups out there. We’ve been unable to catch them live of the years given their limited touring in the US, so needless to say this is a set we are ecstatic to have the chance to see.


Oliver

Oliver is an artist you see every chance you get. Their beats are as groovy as it gets and they have something for anyone. Whether it be up beat with high energy, mid-tempo and groovy, or downtempo with the feels. Their remix of Mayer Hawthorne’s “Your Favorite Song” is a great example of their production prowess.


Gramatik

This Gramatik show will be a little bit of a redemption for us. Regrettably we have been unable to see him perform since his EZoo set back in 2012. He is one of our favorite producers, he requires no introduction, and we are stoked to finally see him again. It has been long over do.


Tickets are still available on the website, so Grab yours and join us at the get down!

Sunset Music Festival 2015 | Artist Preview

Sunset Music Festival is just days away and if you haven’t grabbed your Tickets, make sure you do before it’s too late, and check out the daily artist lineup. As we gear up for some fun in the sun next weekend, we’d like to draw your eyes and ears to some artists that we are excited to see. While Sunset has some of your usual festival headliners playing like Tiesto, Skrillex, Armin van Buuren, Cedric Gervais, Flosstradamus, Showtek, The Chainsmokers, and more, we’d like to point out some of the guys that are making fresh waves in the dance music world.


Duke Dumont

British producer Duke Dumont could be credited as one of the artists that helped bring back the resurgence of popular House and Deep House in the United States. With songs like Need U and I Got U, you can expect Duke Dumont to bring some fun, feel-good, groovy house music to Tampa next weekend.


SNBRN

Coming out of LA, SNBRN is a relative newcomer to the festival scene, which is all the more reason to hear him play some new sounds at SMF this year. Producing feel-good music that could be described as House, Deep House, and Tropical House, his name seems to suite him appropriately as it draws connotations of good times in the sun.


Porter Robinson (live)

No stranger to the dance world, Porter Robinson has been making his rounds since 2011 when he seemed to explode on the scene overnight. You may remember some of his older bangers like Vandalism, but the Porter Robinson as of late is a new artist. If you’ve seen one of his DJ sets, but not his live show, you’re in for quite a departure from his original style. Last year he debuted his live show during his Worlds Tour and it was quite a spectacle. With a heavy emphasis on live instruments, live sampling, and complementary lights that set a magical atmosphere, his live show is something different that needs to be seen!


Claptone

Hailing from Berlin, Germany, Claptone is another European that has helped popularize House music in the United States in recent years. Make sure to check out his set for some fun music that you can undoubtedly find yourself getting completely lost in.


Sam Feldt

This Amsterdam native had an explosive rise to fame. In the course of just a year, Sam Feldt has become a dominate force in the dance music scene, rising to fame with his signature Tropical House sound with bubbly beats. Fresh off of a successful week at Miami Music Week in March, where he played at a number of pool parties, sharing the stage with the likes of Don Diablo, Oliver Heldens, Robin Schulz, Kygo, Thomas Jack, and many more, Sam Feldt is certainly someone you will want to pay attention to at SMF. Check out one of his latest songs, Midnight Hearts.


Sub Focus

Rounding out the list is one of the older and more experienced artists of this list, hailing from Britain is Sub Focus. Like some of the other artists on this list, Sub Focus has made big splashes in the American dance world, primarily due to his remix of Rusko’s Hold On, back in 2010. Though his music style has evolved quite a bit since his remix of Hold On, he still knows how to bring the energy. Make sure to catch Sub Focus’ set for what is sure to be nothing short of high energy!

Tickets are still available for purchase so grab yours so you can experience these and many other artists perform live at Sunset Music Festival.

Mysteryland 2015

Mysteryland, the world’s longest running festival, returns to the Bethel Center for the Arts in Bethel, NY. Last years event had some of the biggest names including a Vision Quest take over; an opportunity to see all the members of Vision Quest (Seth Troxler, Ryan Crosson, Lee Curtiss and Shaun Reeves) perform together. Iconic Q-Dance and Vinyl Only stages were among the best stages to see.

This year’s event promises to boast another great year with artists Richie Hawtin, A-Trak, Josh Wink, Maceo Plex, GTA and Tropkillaz starting the festival right at the exclusive opening parties for campers only.

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With headliners include Empire of the Sun, Diplo, Dillon Francis, Porter Robinson, Kygo, Madeon, Netsky, Bro Safari, ILoveMakonnen, Adam Beyer, Matthew Dear, Nicole, Moudaber, Damian Lazarus and many more. Adding new stages Verboten Nightclub, BangOn! NYC, and French Express. All promise to bring great line ups for disco dancing and the late night shufflers.

Mysteryland will be held Memorial Day weekend (May 23,24,25) with a holy ground camping theme of “Camp DoYouWannaDance” including classic games (giant drinking Jenga, Connect Four and beer pong), hamster ball soccer, a 20-foot inflatable slide, both morning Deep House Yoga and AcroYoga classes.

Tickets are already on sale and going fast! Grab yours before they run out.

Big Guava 2015

Big Guava Music Festival returns to Florida State Fairgrounds and MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater for its second annual event, which takes place May 8th – 9th. Headliners include The Strokes, Pretty Lights, Pixies, and Hozier with additional performances from Passion Pit, Awolnation, TV on the Radio, James Blake, Run the Jewels, Death From Above 1979, Iration, and many more.

GA Pit and Super Guava Pit tickets are sold out, however, you can still pick up two-day GA tickets for $115 (not including taxes and fees) and Super Guava Reserved for $350 (plus taxes and fees). Single day GA and Super Guava Reserved tickets are also still available. Super Guava Reserved gets you some nice upgrades including private restrooms, preferred viewing areas, access to two Super Guava Lounges, and more. Check their website for a full list of ticket options and prices.

In addition to the musical acts that will be performing, the festival will also have unlimited rides for all ticket holders, food trucks, art vendors, and craft beer. For more information, check out Big Guava’s FAQ.