Headliner-in-Waiting: The making of Porter Robinson – InTheMix

Jack T – InTheMix

It’s approaching 4:45pm at Electric Zoo Festival in New York, and I’m shoulder-to-shoulder in a surge of neon. The traffic is headed in one direction: towards the main stage. Up on the LED-lined podium,Dash Berlin is nearing the end of a set that’s been as syrupy as they come. I dart left through the media area and up a hill to take in the scene. A sea of bodies sprawls out from the main stage, cleaved through the middle by a crowd-control barrier. Inflatable dolls, homemade signs, American flags, effigies and arms decked out in kandi bracelets are all pointed skywards. The reason for this swarm is the day’s next DJ, Porter Robinson – or, as a girl I pass would have it, “PORRRTTTERRR!”

The LED walls go black while the 20-year-old cues up the honeyed vocal line from his recent single Language. As Heather Bright’s accapella voice drifts over the restless crowd, the tiny figure onstage looks up and raises both arms. All the hands go up with his. In comes the bass, and the first 50 rows are suddenly airborne. A giant ‘PR’ logo flashes red on the back screen as the surrounding LEDs strobe with static and cut-up images. For the next 75 minutes, Electric Zoo belongs to Porter Robinson.

The bulk of my time at the festival has been spent under the Sunday School Grove marquee, where the likes of DJ KozeClaude VonStrokeApparatDixonChris Liebing and Maya Jane Coles are stationed. Porter Robinson’s set bears little resemblance to what’s happening at that end of the festival, but it stands apart from his main stage peers, too. As a DJ, he rejects the easy ‘build-up/breakdown’ structure. He’s always at work, firing off swift transitions, teasing recognisable melodies and switching up bass lines. His set is grounded in electro-house, but ricochets into dubstep, trap, trance and even Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker (if there’s another main stage DJ at the festival bold enough to try that, I don’t catch them). It’s exhilarating to see a guy just out of his teens completely owning a crowd of wide-eyed, hyped-up, ‘EDM’-obsessed ragers. He’s one of them, after all.

Porter Robinson is coming of age at a heady time. On the one hand, the fresh-faced producer represents North America’s current hysteria for dance music writ large. On the other, he’s something of a wildcard. In June, I saw Robinson step up to the main stage at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, slotted between Armin van Buuren and Dada Life. Coming after the festival-tested sets fromDavid GuettaAvicii and Armin, his hour onstage was a shot-in-the-arm, untethered from ‘The Playlist’. “I went for high-energy, quick transitions, credible but recognisable references, and lots of loudness,” he told me after that set. “It’s not often one gets the opportunity to make an impression on 70,000 new potential fans.” With the incumbent DJ headliners settling into their 40s, there’s something genuinely thrilling about the rise of Porter Robinson.

When I get on the phone to the fast-rising star, he’s back where it all started. “I’m actually in my home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, sitting in my childhood bed right now,” he says. Earlier this year, Robinson told Rolling Stone that Language was inspired by his time as “a 14-year-old kid trapped in my North Carolina bedroom” watching YouTube footage of European dance festivals. Now his head is in a different place. “I’m writing some really weird shit,” he tells me. “I think I’m going to make it part of an album. A lot of the songs I’m writing I don’t think stand alone as singles. Not because they’re lacking in quality, but they’re better understood as part of a story and a larger body of work. No one wants to explain their own sound; everyone hopes the music will speak for itself. But I am doing some different stuff. I’ve lost no love for electro and dance music, but these days most of what I’m listening to is…not that. I wish I could show you what I’m doing, but you’ll hear it some day.”

It has been a steep learning curve from his bedroom to stages on the scale of Electric Daisy Carnival. I ask Robinson what’s changed since he handed this mix over to us in October 2011. “I think first my priority with DJing was to deliver the highest-energy set with the most tracks possible,” he says. “I thought it made the endeavour of DJing a little more fun and interesting. I wanted to be an active participant, always doing something. I still think all those principles are valuable, and that manifests itself in my quick mixing.”

“I have no issues presenting a high-energy thing,” he continues. “But now I also like to make references for more knowledgeable crowds and credible people, adding challenging tracks like the occasional Aphex Twin sample or breakdown or some weird techno. The people who recognise that immediately will call it on Twitter: ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe Porter played this!’ It adds an interesting challenge to play unusual stuff and try to incorporate it in a way that’s acceptable and exciting to people.”

Cynics might pin Porter Robinson as a poster boy for the brash-is-best school of U.S. dance music, right next to post-hardcore escapee Skrillex. In truth, he’s not so easily categorised. At this year’s gargantuan Tomorrowland festival in Belgium, he slotted into Paul van Dyk’s Evolution arena between Ferry Corsten and Marco V. Dance artists are forever wriggling from the genre tags they’ve been saddled with. For this kid born in 1992, the lines have been blurred from the beginning. “I normally like to play a lot of trance records and combine them with electro tracks; I like the ethereal beauty of trance music,” he says of the Tomorrowland booking. “But when I played that stage, I decided again that if everyone had been hearing trance all day, I was going to do something different. Being remembered is a priority. I would’ve liked to have played more trance-y stuff, but instead I went into electro and techno territory.”

In our conversation after EDC, Robinson positioned his malleable sound as a generational thing. “We’ve got virgin ears in the United States and I think we’re less tied down by genre allegiance,” he said. “People are, within reason, pretty open-minded here. I’m proud of our scene.” Electronic music is seeping outwards, too. “Today I saw a K-Mart commercial with a fucking 110-BPM, 200 Hertz, moombahton style score,” he marvels.

In the current U.S. climate, emerging stars aren’t cutting their teeth on the club circuit before graduating to festival stages. Catchet can be earned with Beatport blockbusters, but aptitude in the studio (or bedroom) does not guarantee a good DJ. As Laidback Luke recently put it to me: “These guys came out of the studio and don’t really have a DJ background, so you have DJs who play their tracks, but they’re essentially not very skilled.” Avicii, for one, has spoken about learning to DJ on the job. “I was a producer first, so I would say the DJing aspect of it is the thing that I feel that I’ve really learned,” the Swede told inthemix in 2011. For Porter Robinson, DJing has become more than a promo tool for his productions.

“Recently I did some dates on the Identity Festival [around the U.S.], and there were a lot of ‘triple-A’ acts on the same stage as me,” he tells me. “The approach for them was to play more commercial stuff as it was a mainstream crowd, but I was only given an hour and found myself erring towards weirder stuff. Maybe it was just to provide a different experience and not be redundant. I think a year ago I would’ve played the tracks that guaranteed me the best response possible. But I think now it’s more important to present something that’s unusual than perfect. I think it’s easy to provide a fairly-perfect DJ set, you know? You can pad a weird track with something more recognisable; you’re granted the license to play Brodinski if it’s alongside a fucking Knife Party track. That’s an extreme example, but as long as you’re reasonable about it, you can experiment.”

DJs fast-tracked to vast festival stages may never get the sweat-on-the-walls thrill of a close-quarters room. Big-ticket acts in the U.S. largely play theatres and Sports Centres, not custom-built clubs. Over the next three weeks, Robinson is on a back-to-back tour with 23-year-old German Zedd around America. The idea is to do something where the music leads. “We both play on the Traktor Kontrol S4, so I think we’re probably going to be using the same controller,” he says of the tour. “I was inspired by seeing the Flux Pavilion and Doctor P set at Coachella. Between the two of them, they just have a wealth of hit songs, and seeing them just slap back and forth between them and seeing the crowd have that recognition moment every four-and-a-half minutes was brilliant and inspiring.”

Porter Robinson has been to Australia twice: first for a club tour (“small was definitely the word for it,” he quips) and next for the 2012 Future Music Festival tour, closing Knife Party’s Ear Storm Records stage. His sets were a riotous alternative to Swedish House Mafia’s slick spectacle on the main stage. At the two festivals in the U.S., though, I saw a headliner in the making. As a producer, he’s still relatively green, but his star power is unmistakable. In a few months time, Robinson will be back for Stereosonic. “It’s my favorite thing in the goddamn universe,” he says of touring festivals. That’s just as well: it’s going to be a long relationship.

(Via InTheMix)

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Bingo Players Causing Hysteria On Dance Floors Worldwide

Something has got to be in the water over in The Netherlands.. The amount of talented DJs coming out of Holland is nothing short of impressive. Amongst them are Bingo Players – known worldwide for their hit single “Cry (Just a Little).” The duo, consisting of Paul Bäumer and Maarten Hoogstraten, formed in 2006 and have been steadily climbing the dance music charts ever since. The two Dutch Producer/DJs have built an international reputation through recording successes and extensive touring, with over thirty music festivals under their belts including Tomorrowland, Stereosonic, Creamfields, Ultra, and EDC Las Vegas.

Around 2006, long-time friends Bäumer and Hoogstraten shared a passion for music and decided to try their hands at production before making the transition to DJs. DJing allowed them to play their original tracks in front of live crowds, and in turn allowed them to learn what worked musically and what didn’t, or what needed to be changed or improved upon in their productions. It was a great way for them to receive live feedback on their tracks by the reaction of the dance floor.

Bäumer and Hoogstraten came up with the name “Bingo Players” from a friend’s online chat screen name. The guys found it funny and unique, and it stuck with them. Early on, they lit up with #1 spots on Beatport with a horde of huge tracks including “Devotion,” “Touch Me” (vs. Chocolate Puma), “Chop,” and “Disco Electrique.” In 2010, they set up their own record label, Hysteria, to release their own and the tracks of up-and-coming artists like Gregori Klosman, Ralvero, and Carl Tricks.

Hysteria was also the label that launched their explosive 2011 release of “Cry (Just A Little).” The track dominated European charts for 22 weeks and racked up over 10 million views on YouTube. In an interview with Neon Tommy last November, Hoogstraten explains how the ever-so-popular track came about –  “Well actually, we saw the Brenda Russell [‘Piano in the Dark’] video, which it was sampled from, on VH1 a while back, and we heard it and were like, ‘Oh, it’s a cool hook,’ so we sampled it and played the track on it. Then we put it on the Laidback Luke Forum and people loved it, and we never paid attention to it until a year ago, when Paul watched on YouTube and he saw that someone had put it online, and it had more than a million views. So he was like, ‘Oh, damn, it’s a really popular track on the internet right now, so we should update it to the 2011 sound.’ So that’s how it became a new track; it was really funny to see how the track took off on its own while we didn’t know.”

Both Bäumer and Hoogstraten have diverse musical tastes and influences – they don’t just listen to dance music, they also listen to pop, rock, and hip-hop. Some of their top musical influencers are Daft Punk and The Prodigy. Hoogstraten is also self-admittedly a huge 80’s fan (and personally so are we – gotta love those quirky dance tunes, right?!). The Bingo Players sound can be described as energetic and melodic, they have a few dancey tunes as well as some hard-hitting, bass-driven tracks. Either way, they definitely get the dance floor moving. Hoogstraten goes on to explain what really differentiates their music from others’, “We always try to make energetic, accessible music, not too complex. And it’s different compared to other music because we just do what we like to do, so we’re not forcing ourselves to make something very different from what other people are doing; we’re just doing whatever we do.”

When asked about the current booming popularity of dance music, and why it has finally taken over, Bäumer said, “I have no idea because it has always been so hard for dance music to really break into the U.S. and then suddenly [it took off]… maybe it had a little bit to do with David Guetta and Black Eyed Peas doing dance kind of songs and they were really big hits. It always starts with mainstream and then it goes [gestures downward with hands].” That sounds a bit ominous don’t you think? Let’s hope he’s wrong.

And for you rising DJs and Producers out there, here are some words of wisdom from the Bingo Players themselves – “Try to be original, don’t copy anyone… and make music from the heart! It sounds corny, but when you make music that you are into yourself, it works. Don’t think about it too much; just make your music from the heart! Success is 70% work and 30% talent. We believe working really hard will get you where you want to be eventually.”

Towards the end of last year, Bingo Players released “Rattle,” which owned up to its name, shaking up the Austria Singles Top 75 and Germany Singles Top 100 for nine weeks. “Rattle” has since become one of the biggest club tunes of 2012. This year continues to be very busy for the DJ duo, with new releases, remixes and running their Hysteria Label. One of their newest tracks “Out Of My Mind” is slated to release next month in October, along with more tour dates, and a performance at the upcoming A.W.O.L. (Another Way of Life) Sun in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – a unique destination music event featuring a stacked lineup of some of the world’s best DJs, set on the beautiful beaches of Cabo (think fun & sun)! Bingo Players will be headlining Saturday, October 13th. Be warned, be prepared, the Bingo Players are coming to RATTLE a venue near you!

For A.W.O.L. Sun ticketsclick here.

If you are a Rising DJ or Producer, check out Talent Rising to create your free profile, share your music, upload photos/video, connect with other artists, and get noticed!

By: Angelo Castañeda

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Morgan Page the Triple Threat!

Morgan Page has a solid reputation for delivering insatiable pop energy to the dance floor in the form of hard-hitting, Progressive house. He’s earned high-ranking spots on iTunes’ Dance charts, Beatport’s Progressive chart, and Billboard’s Club charts; and has over 130 remixes under his belt, including tracks by Madonna, La Roux, Katy Perry, Tegan and Sara, and many more. Page released his first official full-length album in 2008 titled Elevate, in 2009 he received a Grammy nomination for his track “The Longest Road” (remixed by Deadmau5), and another Grammy nomination in 2011 for his remix of “Fantasy” by Nadia Ali. During that time, Page also completed two more albums – Believe, which came out in 2010 and In The Air – released April 2012. Having long jettisoned his status as an up-and-comer, Page now firmly joins the ranks of the most established “triple threat” DJ/producer/remixers.

Morgan Page grew up in rural Vermont, and really started to dig his heels into music production at the ripe age of 14 years old. A year later, when Page was in high school, he joined a team at a local university radio station in Burlington (University of Vermont), which served as a great introduction to electronic music, and the art of DJing. In the later part of his high school years, he interned for Plastic City – a German Deep & Tech-House label in New York. It was there, under the guidance and influence of A&R executive Rick Salzer, that Tech-House was infused into his art. He became obsessed with making music for anyone who had a passion for it.

Saving whatever money he could, Page purchased a Akai MPC2000 sampler and started to build his personal studio from the ground up. In an interview with TheUntz.com, Page describes his path of development and what it took to rise to the top: “I knew from an early age that I was born to do music. I built a studio at 14, and thought I would be a breakout star at 21 – but it didn’t happen like that. It took time, lots of songs, and definitely some luck to be able to do music full-time. A lot of people tell you that it’s a cute hobby and that you aren’t being realistic – but you need to ignore those people and follow your passion. Ultimately your success as a musician will be determined by your hunger, your skills, and luck created by the other two factors.”

Early on, Page was influenced by The Chemical Brothers and Photek, but, as he began to develop his own style and an affinity for Tech-House, the sounds of Terry Lee Brown Jr. and The Timewriter changed his perspective and truly motivated him to make music. Page continued his college radio career at WRUV 90.1 FM and WERS 88.9 FM in Boston for about five years, hosting a weekly mix show. This was where Page continued to fine-tune his taste for dance music and skills as a DJ and producer – a solid start to an outstanding career!

Page’s sound has been described in many ways, some of his tunes are classic club bangers, some more Progressive House, and others feel more Pop-like. Page explains, “It [his sound] changes every year. But right now it’s electro-house. One thing I always aim for is big punchy drums and melodies that stick in your head. If the song doesn’t touch any emotions, it doesn’t leave the studio.” He is a true artist who has the technical skills to deliver a solid performance and leave the crowd with a memorable experience!

Currently, Page is on his In The Air tour throughout various cities in the US, Mexico and Canada – including Orlando, Chicago, Houston, New York, El Paso, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle, and many more. Recently Page’s single, “Body Work” – a collaboration with Tegan and Sara, hit gold on the Canadian Pop Radio charts. Impressive is his ability to balance life on the road and produce new music while remixing and collaborating with other artists – his discipline and hard work will surely pay dividends throughout his career!

For those Rising DJs and Producers out there, Page shared a bit of advice – “Put together sets that bring together different ‘camps’ and styles, rather than just focusing on one style. Make your records talk to each other. Don’t be derivative and simply copy others. Start local.” He also added, “Opening DJs – don’t play anything really fast (135 BPM+) at 9pm. That’s annoying.”

Have you had a chance to see Morgan Page? Share your experience, how was the show? Your feedback is always appreciated. And be sure to catch him at the upcoming A.W.O.L. Sun in Cabo San Lucas – a sun and fun-filled dance music event that you don’t want to miss! Morgan Page will be headlining Friday, October 12th.

For A.W.O.L. Sun ticketsclick here.

If you are a Rising DJ or Producer, check out Talent Rising to create your free profile, share your music, upload photos/video, connect with other artists, and get noticed!

 

By: Angelo Castañeda

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DJs Should Bring Back the Danger – Z-Trip

Z-Trip –

I recently played at Coachella and eighty percent of DJs were just playing songs, not playing with the songs. Or they were just playing pre-mixes of songs, which is totally counter to the culture I grew up with and respect and admire. Not to knock them, they were cool, the crowd was cool, everyone was cool with it, but it’s just not what gets me inspired.

It’s getting harder to see DJs up there mixing it live in front of you. I miss that. I used to get inspired when I saw DJs play. I still do, but it’s becoming less and less. A lot more DJs are pre-planning their sets or doing pre-made mixes. It’s becoming more about the production of the show and the spectacle rather than the skills of the DJ. You can do both, but a lot of people choose not to.

I equate it to you like this. You wouldn’t see The Black Keys playing a live concert and midway through their set they start crowd-surfing but their music is still playing. Then when they come back on-stage the next song is on. It doesn’t happen that way. You wouldn’t see that and, if you did, they would lose all their fans. In electronic music there is a grey area.

People like Deadmau5 say, “I just pushed some buttons” or “It’s super easy to DJ, I can do it in a few hours with a laptop”. I understand where he is coming from and don’t want to knock him. He has his hustle going on, but I clearly come from a different world and I have to rep where I come from.

I am inspired by innovators like Grandmaster Flash and Jazzy Jeff. They would perform and they were clearly doing the work. You could see and hear it in real-time and recognise there was the ability to fuck up. When you are on a highwire fifty storeys up and there’s no net, it changes the stakes: if you fall, you die. If there’s a net and you fall, you get to try again. That’s what’s going on today. People are performing with a net.

For me, the bigger the risk, the bigger the game. I can’t help but have more respect and admiration for people who do that. Today, people like Craze and A-Trak and Jazzy Jeff (still to this day), I am blown away by.

To take it a step further, people can be not DJing in the classical sense, but still be up there doing work. Guys like Bassnectar and Skrillex are not what I consider to be traditional DJing, but they are still performing and putting it together. Meanwhile, other people go up and hit play, bring people on stage and throw out beach balls. I don’t knock that hustle, but I can’t really back it. In a way, it’s taking away from what everyone built before me, as well as the work that I put in and my contemporaries are still trying to build.

The technology debate boils down to the user. Technology is not at fault – it’s on the user. If you have the chance, utilise it. Use the equipment – we all have access to it, but do you want to take a shortcut in your performance? Just playing songs you made in the studio doesn’t do anything for me. If you are going to push buttons, push a thousand buttons, not four.

t’s also a little bit on the crowd. The crowd needs to get educated on what’s going on. Not to fault them – they just want to have a good time – but it would be great if there was a connection or education in the process. If you’re 19 and you’re at your first show and the artist is playing on a laptop and you’re not paying attention, you might think, “This guy is cool, the music is cool, the lights are cool, I’m drinking my first beer.” There are flames and lights and girls. There’s also less chance you’re going to be like, “Holy shit, he was making that beat up there.”

It’s a bit of smoke and mirrors, Wizard of Oz stuff. I would like to see more skills and taking away of the veil, so the audience understands the performance element. Then that 19-year-old might be like, “Wow, the person onstage can actually do it live.”

(Via inthemix)

 

If you are a Rising DJ go to Talent Rising to create your free profile, share your music, upload photos/video, connect with other artists, and get noticed!

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The World’s Highest-Paid DJs (Forbes List)

Every so often, the tectonic plates of mainstream musical taste shift. In the 1960s, there was the British Invasion, followed by disco in the 1970s and the rise of glam metal in the 1980s. The 1990s saw the advent of grunge and the resurgence of boy bands, followed by hip-hop’s hegemony in the 2000s. Now, the tables are turning again.

Electronic dance music, better known as EDM, has finally surged from its underground roots and into mainstream consciousness. One need only look at the recent activities of the genre’s most prominent practitioners: last year, Skrillex was one of the main attractions at Coachella; last month, Deadmau5 ended up on the cover of Rolling Stone; last week, Kaskade became the first electronic act to sell out the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“I think mainly people were just ready to hear something new,” says Kaskade. “My parents listened to rock and roll; that’s their music. And then hip-hop came along. This is the next generation of music.”

Just as international recognition enriched the likes of The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Aerosmith, Nirvana and Jay-Z, EDM’s practitioners have been cleaning up of late, prompting FORBES to release its first-ever Electronic Cash Kings list. Over the past 12 months, the world’s ten highest-paid DJs pulled in $125 million—more than the payroll of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dutch born DJ Tiesto tops the list with earnings of $22 million, buoyed by an average nightly gross of $250,000 according to concert data provider Pollstar. Grammy-winning California native Skrillex ranks second with $15 million, followed by Scandinavian trio Swedish House Mafia, which recently disbanded despite pulling in an estimated $14 million.

“I’ve been listening to electronic music since I was 12,” says Skrillex. “Even when I played in rock bands, I’ve been making it … This is the first time it’s gotten so big.”

It’s not just the top three acts making all the money. French DJ David Guetta claims the No. 4 spot with $13.5 million, buoyed by last year’s pop crossoverNothing But The Beat and endorsements with Renault and HP; Steve Aoki, who played over 200 shows in the past year, rounds out the top five at $12 million. Other DJs on the top ten include the aforementioned Kaskade and Deadmau5, as well as Afrojack, Avicii and Jersey Shore’s DJ Pauly D.

Full list: The World’s Highest-Paid DJs

Though these Electronic Cash Kings hail from all over the globe, they’ve got at least one thing in common: they all make the bulk of their money by touring. Often toting nothing more than a USB stick and a pair of Pioneer CDJs, their production costs are often negligible, unlike rockers and pop stars who typically take home just one-third of gross ticket sales.

Our estimates include earnings from these live shows—for many artists, that often means more than $100,000 for a night’s work—and from recorded music sales, endorsements, merchandise sales and, in the case of DJ Pauly D, television (we included him on this list because, like his fellow Electronic Cash Kings, he makes at least half his cash from DJ gigs). Sources include Pollstar, RIAA, promoters, managers, lawyers and some of the artists themselves.

Dance Dance Revolution

Though the term “electronic dance music” is relatively new, electronic music has been around for decades, first gaining popularity through influential early acts like Kraftwerk in the 1970s. So what accounts for the recent rise of EDM? Many prominent DJs credit the new avenues of spreading information that have cropped up in the past few years.

“I think what really changed was social media,” says Tiesto. “Twitter, Facebook really helped a lot. It exposed things to a whole new world. Before that you only could hear [electronic dance music] on the radio at night. Day-time radio would never play it.”

Perhaps more importantly, EDM has found a home in the festival circuit. Concert promoters like AEG, the parent company of Coachella producer Goldenvoice, discovered that they could tap into the burgeoning electronic scene by adding top DJs to their lineups—and what started out as a sideshow soon became the main attraction.

“The Coachella music festival served as microcosm in the evolution of electronic dance music from a niche into a mainstream format,” says AEG chief Randy Phillips. “EDM translates more successfully as a consumer experience in the open field festival environment or in a general admission [or] flat floor venue than it does in large arenas with fixed seats. Efforts to tour EDM stars in arenas across North America have proven to yield uneven results outside of a handful of major markets.”

One of those markets is Las Vegas, where casino mogul Steve Wynn has signed a group of Electronic Cash Kings–including Tiesto, Skrillex and David Guetta–to residencies at his properties; he also started a joint label with Ultra Records to release electronic music. Other billionaires including Ron Burkle are said to be keen on getting a slice of the electronic pie as well. And why shouldn’t they try? DJs are quickly becoming the rock stars of their generation—and now they’re getting paid as such, too.

“Dance music is pretty close to where rock was 50 years ago,” says Afrojack, who ranks ninth on our list with $9 million. “And rock has never died. So I’m sure the same [goes for] dance music.”

(Via Forbes)

 

If you are a Rising DJ go to Talent Rising to create your free profile, share your music, upload photos/video, connect with other artists, and get noticed!

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Above & Beyond – A State of Trance

Above & Beyond, the U.K. trio of Jonathan Grant, Tony McGuinness, and Paavo Siljamäki, does everything one can imagine in the electronic music world – produce, write, remix, DJ, and run a record label. With their highly-acclaimed debut album TriState and Anjunabeats label compilations as well as relentless touring, they have built a huge fan following, resulting in Radio One Essential Mix of the Year awards (2004 & 2011), a top 10 position on the infamous DJ list (2011), and 5th position in DJ Mags’ Top 100 DJ’s poll last year (2011). They are a true trance force to be reckoned with!

Jono Grant and Paavo Siljamäki met at the University of Westminster in London, where they were both pursuing degrees in Electronic Engineering. Having discovered a common interest for electronic music, they decided to collaborate. Following Paavo’s suggestion, they launched their label in the summer of 1999 with the release of their first single “Volume One,” under the alias Anjunabeats. Following the success of “Volume One” and a string of singles and remixes under their alter egos Free State and Dirt Devils, they caught the attention of Marketing Director & Manager of the Warner Music Group Tony McGuinness. Having been recently commissioned to remix Chakra’s “Home,” Tony McGuinness recruited Jono & Paavo to help him complete the remix. While searching for an alias to use for the Chakra remix, the group found inspiration on a web page belonging to an American motivational speaker (coincidentally named Jono Grant). The motivational slogan? Above & Beyond.

Interest in Above & Beyond’s music immediately emerged from established trance labels, and new remixes were requested as their career began in 2000. The trio remixed Aurora’s “Ordinary World”, Fragma‘s “Every time You Need Me,” Perpetuous Dreamer’s “The Sound of Goodbye” and Adamski‘s “In the City” These tracks served as the foundation for Above & Beyond’s reputation as one of the UK’s leading vocal trance remixers. Their most famous remix to date was Madonna’s single “What It Feels Like for a Girl.” Madonna was so impressed that the music video for the song was shot to the Above & Beyond remix instead of the album version. Later, Above & Beyond did remixes for DeleriumThree Drives, and J-pop artist Ayumi Hamasaki.

In an interview with Ibiza Spotlight, McGuinness explains the group’s dynamic – “I think what has worked so well for us is that without any pre-planning we ended up being a pretty complete team, with complementary skills and experience that enabled us to do so much of the writing, producing, online, tech and record company functions that comprised our made up business model between the three of us. And as our team has grown and we’ve gained much needed support and professional assistance in all areas, the three of us remain highly involved in every area of the Above & Beyond and Anjunabeats Empire, so the original vision is still intact.”

The members of Above & Beyond are songwriters as much as they are DJs, their songs range from beautiful melodic masterpieces to dance-inducing trance tunes and club bangers. Above & Beyond’s focus is always on getting closer to their crowd and making them part of the action, whether by bringing fans up on stage to press play on their CDJs or communicating with the fans via visual screens – the goal is to make everyone in the room feel like they are part of an experience that is epic, immersive, and interactive all at once. Above & Beyond continues to release forward-thinking instrumental club music – such as their own tech-fused rollercoaster “Formula Rossa” – on their renowned Anjunabeats label.

Over the last 12 months, Above & Beyond has taken the sound and ethos behind the critically acclaimed  Group Therapy album across the globe.  Their loyal following increases as they expand on various music projects – Above & Beyond’s weekly radio show has built a fanatical global following on the Internet and worldwide syndication on FM stations and XM Satellite Radio in the US. The show features the epitome of trance music and has been responsible for breaking many of the scene’s biggest records. For the group, this summer will be no different from the last, filled with studio hours and plenty of time on the road (or in an airplane) touring. Although their music’s popularity continues to increase, in a recent interview with DJ Ron Slomowicz, McGuinness explains that “the future is totally unpredictable, and I’m not really sure where trance is going in terms of its sound. I think the rejuvenation of house music with that kind of darker baseline-driven sound has eclipsed electro as being the next big thing in House music.”

While they might not be as flashy as Armin van Buuren, their mixing skills tend to surpass that of most top DJs, and their live sets promise hours of uplifting and progressive trance with lots of substance. Above & Beyond has gained massive airplay and recognition over the past few years. In modern dance music, their purpose has evolved to focus on setting a mood rather than overwhelming the listener with repetitive beats and cheesy lyrics. What Above & Beyond’s music accomplishes is moving us physically and perhaps at times emotionally, all the while keeping the beats and blips rock-steady – in a state of trance.

Here is a great video that sums up the group’s journey throughout the last year.

Have you had a chance to see Above & Beyond at any of the recent music festivals? Share your experience – your feedback is always appreciated. And be sure to catch them at the upcoming A.W.O.L. Strip in Las Vegas! Above & Beyond will be headlining Sunday, July 22nd at Tao Beach at the Venetian Hotel.

For A.W.O.L. Strip ticketsclick here.

If you are a Rising DJ go to Talent Rising to create your free profile, share your music, upload photos/video, connect with other artists, and get noticed!

 

By: Angelo Castañeda

Posted in DJ, Music | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Electronic Music? And Where Did All of These Genres and Sub-Genres Come From?

The history of electronic music goes back pretty far, and along the way has developed and morphed into various forms and sub-genres. As technology advanced over the years, so did the music that it was producing. There is a deep history to all the different styles of electronic music (text books could be written about each), and it is interesting to see how it has evolved over the years. Nowadays, the term EDM (Electronic Dance Music) has caught on mainstream media channels and is being used as an umbrella term to describe all the various forms of dance music. But wouldn’t it be great to know what all the different sub-genres are, what they are called, where they came from, and what they actually sound like (with audio examples)? Moreover, be able to identify different sounds and know the difference between House, Tech-house, Trip-hop, Drum & Bass, New Wave, French, Dub, etc? The list goes on…

Well, it just so happens that through Twitter I came across a neat “Guide to Electronic Dance Music” that does just that! I encourage you to go check it out – Start off with the Tutorial as it will give you a comprehensive and comical history of electronic music. Then, click through all of the different genres on the left hand side – you will notice that each one opens up to various sub-genres, gives a brief history, and actual soundbites of each. As you will see, one can spend hours playing around with this site! Some of you dance music aficionados/snobs may try to argue certain genres or examples given – regardless,  this must have been quite a painstaking process to put together, it is pretty damn cool and an extremely comprehensive site and history tool for any dance music enthusiast!

So without further adieu, follow this link and discover –

Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Dance Music” – enjoy!

Giving credit where it’s due  – the site was created by Ishkur, with some help from Digitally Imported and Tranceaddicts.

If you are a Rising DJ go to Talent Rising and create your free profile to share your music, upload your photos and video, connect with other artists, and get noticed!

By: Angelo Castañeda

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment