Do you feel it? I definitely feel it. It’s the sound of summer coming to an end.
Ok ok ok ok! Hold on! Quit throwing rotten vegetables! I didn’t mean to say that it’s over — only that this wonderful, busy, record-breaking summer of ours seems to be winding down. But it’s not all doom and gloom: after all, autumn is when producers head back in to the studio, study what they’ve hearing on tour all summer, and get down to creating some next-level shit.
Consider this a quick snapshot of what’s going down as the summer draws to a close.
Another week, another amazing show. If you’re in Ontario’s capital today, I urge you to head over to Yonge and Dundas Square, where the Mad Decent Block Party is raging even as we speak. Local heroes Zeds Dead will be wrapping things up later tonight, and I predict they’ll be shaking the concrete in such a manner as to have the walls of the nearby Eaton Center clinging on for dear life. It’s an extravaganza, amigos – and it’s FREE!!! Say no more.
Speaking of Zeds Dead, we start this week’s Sweets with the brand new EP the duo dropped earlier this week — a collaboration with Omar LinX and, as you’d expect, a classic. Elsewhere, Montreal duo Botnek have a heavy-duty remix on their hands and Alvin Risk takes Fun.‘s “We are Young,” plus a few other goodies. Onward!
Here we go again. Back to Echo Beach — this time to see a man who hasn’t traveled to Toronto … scratch that, Canada … no, wait, scratch that, North America … in 12 years. Eric Prydz is headling the Identity Festival in Toronto on Saturday, and I am amped.
I really don’t know what to expect. We’re talking about one of the pioneers of this genre. Somebody who was bending boundaries in the studio before the term EDM had even been invented. Who was making his mark as a live performer when DJs were still mainly associated with hip-hop acts. Who’d established the pseudonymous Cirez D as a household name well before alter egos became all the rage in dance music. Basically: if you’re in Toronto this Saturday there is only one destination.
And the awesome doesn’t stop with Pryda. Other heavy names featured at Identity include none other than Nero — currently number one on the bpm:tv Hot 20 Dance Chart with their single “Must Be The Feeling.” It’s a while since I’ve seen this UK duo perform, and I’m excited about how their sound has evolved. The latest album, Welcome Reality, has been a massive success, I’m looking forward to this set — not just to see the crowd’s reaction, but to hear their choice of remixes. Should be a performance to remember.
Then there’s Madeon and Le Castle Vania: Both young, both heavy electro — and both awesome. The 18-year-old Frenchman Madeon has built a rep in Europe as something of a prodigy, as been a favorite on BBC Radio 1 for quite a while now. The Atlanta-based Le Castle Vania, meanwhile, is part of the tide of fresh blood from North America blood sweeping across face of the EDM world. Both should be great sets, so be sure to check them out.
And then there’s Excision. Canada, stand up! The dubstep demon from Kelowna, BC will definitely be excited to play such a high-profile fest in his home country. And whenever you get a bass DJ hype to play for you … well, consider your pants soiled. Be prepared to get grimy.
So with all that said, I think it only fair that this week’s Sweets should showcase the artists performing at Identity. Enjoy!
Toronto’s first two-day EDM festival, Digital Dreams was exactly that: a dream. The community that came together for this event was just awe-inspiring. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, more heart-pumping beats, and more enthusiastic fellow music lovers.
Anticipation for this event was high. For weeks beforehand, just looking into store windows and seeing the Digital Dreams poster brought euphoric goose bumps. The team behind the festival was nothing short of the best. And they couldn’t have chosen a better venue for this historic EDM event than Ontario Place, a famed local landmark that opened to the public more than 40 years ago.
I wish I could have morphed into three people with a single mind and been at all the stages, experiencing each and every artist’s set. Instead I found myself running from stage to stage, trying to experience a bit of everything.
Can I pinpoint one set that I favored? In all honesty, I can’t. Every artist on the bill brought something unique and extraordinary to their performance. Still, there are a few that keep replaying in my mind.
Saturday, walking towards the Dreams Stage, feeling your mind and body pulled forward by the sounds dancing through the air, getting closer and closer to where BT (a.k.a. Brian Wayne Transeau) was rocking the crowd. A veteran of the scene for more than two decades, he knows how to keep an audience moving and cheering.
After BT’s set, Montreal-born A-Trak stepped in and quickly had the crowd under full control. Local hero JELO not only dominated the crowd during his own day-one set on the Dreams Stage, but returned later to fill in for Afrojack, who couldn’t make it for the first day due to travel delays, and once again gave a stellar performance. Meanwhile, over on the sandy dance floor at the Echo Beach Stage Hed Kandi DJs Andy Warburton and Sarah Louise gave noteworthy sets.
Back on the main stage, rising star R3hab turned in a set that people would be buzzing about for days to come. It was mind-blowing to watch the young Dutch DJ interacting with the crowd, standing up on the decks, and sharing his extraordinary passion for the music. British veteran Steve Lawler rocked the stage as one knew he would, and was followed by the equally well-traveled Canadian stalwart Richie Hawtin. Throughout the day I’d been hearing people talk excitedly about Lawler and Hawtin, and the prodigious sets from these two elder statesmen more than justified the anticipation.
The second day was a continuation of the madness. Mother Nature continued to lavish us with perfect summer weather. The bodies slowly began flooding into Ontario Place, and by 4pm the stages were absolutely swarmed. Entranced by the beat and the bass, by the ecstatic atmosphere, I couldn’t help but feel proud looking around and seeing the community that EDM creates, the shared love for the music flows through everyone. It’s so admirable to see people coming together this way to be a part of musical history.
The artist schedule for the Dreams Stage on day two was thrown off quite a bit by Afrojack’s travel mishap. He finally arrived on Sunday to give his fans the set they were eagerly awaiting — and Live Nation generously offered those fans who’d bought a single day ticket for Saturday free entrance the next day to return and see Afrojack.
Thunder Bay native Sydney Blu rocked her performance, and reminded the audience several times during her set how proud she is to be from this country.
The one set from day two that really stands out in my memory has to be Dubfire on the Echo Beach Stage. He was so hypnotizing, his musical selection so spine-tingling, he kept the crowd in a trance throughout. I have to say, every time I’ve seen him live I have been impressed; that kind of consistency is rare.
This was a weekend I spent dreaming in digital. I can’t speak for the organizers, but in my eyes the festival was an absolute success: a primo experience for the fans and music-lovers — and judging by their comments on Twitter, for the artists too. Check out some samples:
The explosive popularity that EDM has acquired in the past couple years is beyond belief. But the spectre of commercialism hovers over it now, and I pray the genre doesn’t lose it’s magic. Here’s hoping that we can look forward to more festivals and events like this that offer an opportunity for new appreciation and shine a light on some of the artists that you won’t necessarily encounter on Z103 or MTV.
Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.
Dunno about you, but this weekend feels like Christmas to me. The dance music season is in full swing, and Canada is playing host to the best parties in the world! Can you feel it?
This is our weekend. There’s Bassmentality — sorry a Super Bassmentality happening in Ottawa, along with the Escapade fest. As for Toronto … well, you may have heard about a little something called the Digital Dreams festival. Homie! Iz going down. I said, can you feel it?
In this spirit of celebration, I’ve put together an extra-special “Sweets” — not so difficult, when you consider that this has been one of the better weeks of 2012 in terms of new music. Special praise for The Knocks, Zeds Dead and, of course, Dillon Francis. CAN YOU FEEL IT?
I love Ryan Enzed. If ever there was producer who deserved to be famous worldwide — as in right this minute — it’s this guy.
The week before a Canada Day long weekend is always such a tease. Nobody wants to be at work, but the promise of an unforgettable holiday keeps us all slugging away.
This weekend, though, isn’t your typical Canada Day. The Digital Dreams Music Festival in Toronto will showcase some of the best EDM artists in the world. Think of it as the unofficial kick-off to Canada’s summer festival season.
As we gear up for this extravaganza (and if you’re one of bpm:tv’s contest winners, congrats!), I thought it would be good to do a quick background check on some of the headliners who will be packing the crowds at Ontario Place. We start with the Dutch giant known as Afrojack!
For many of us, Afrojack (a.k.a. Nick van de Wall) became a household name after he dropped “Take Over Control.” But there’s more to the man than monster hits. Long before this breakthrough single, he’d been putting in his time, playing small clubs, producing quality tracks without the support of a label, and assembling the kind of resume any DJ would be proud of.
Afrojack is the sort of DJ who was born to headline big fests like Digital Dreams. Beyond the stage showmanship and the relationship with Paris Hilton, there’s a gifted artist who produces anthem after anthem — not to mention a shrewd businessman who has built his label Wall Recordings — home to the likes of R3hab (also performing at Digital Dreams) and Sidney Samson — into an industry heavy-hitter.
So how do you go from small-club DJ to pop mogul? Hard work. Let’s take a look at the product of his labours.
It was evident right from the start that Afrojack was going to be several cuts above the average. Sure, this first track, “In Your Face,” has a few bobbles — but it’s still light-years beyond your typical debut release. That ear for the perfect groove, that innate ability to make the listener’s head bob and hips swivel — it’s not a plug-in you add to your track, it’s the soul of the producer.
This is a perfect track to play at your next party. I guarantee: at least half the people there won’t ever have heard it. It’s a tune that evokes a lot of emotion — and one that lays out clearly the template for Afrojack’s future success. (The B-side, “Waho,” is worth a listen as well.
This next track, “Drop Down” (Do My Dance) was his first real taste of success. Collaborating with The Partysquad helped him elevate his game and earn wider recognition. Here’s where Afrojack found the sound he would grab and hold onto — a sound that would be mimicked and copied for years to come: blending a hard drum line, evocative of UK garage, with crazy off-the-wall sonics. I can’t think of any other producer capable of pulling this off and making it sound good.
Was it the beat? Or Eva Simons? Or the remix by Adam F? All of the above? Or something else entirely. Nobody’s every put their finger on it precisely, but one way or another, “Take Over Control” was Afrojack’s statement: a track that made the dance floors go nuts. The combination of Eva’s angelic voice and that screaming synth: it was a sound DJs and ravers just couldn’t get enough of. And it still bangs!
Simply put, “No Beef” is an anthem. For a while last summer, it was every DJ’s go-to climax track. EVERY DJ. If you were in the big room, you were gonna hear this. While the vocals by Miss Palmer certainly didn’t hurt, it was the collision of Afrojack’s synth and Steve Aoki‘s keys that put this song in a class by itself.
So there you have it; four reasons Afrojack is a perennial DJ Mag Top 100 finisher, and one of 30 richest DJs in the world. If you like what you’ve seen and heard here, I recommend getting your ass to Ontario Place this weekend. Seriously, you haven’t heard “No Beef” till you hear Afrojack spin it live.
Last week Vegas got to me. There was no time to get to my computer, let alone sleep. But with great privilege comes great responsibility. The good news about my adventure last week is that I got to see some sick DJs play brand new tunez. And therein lies my responsibility: to relay these hot tracks to you while they’re still poppin’ fresh. Let the baton passing begin.
This week brought a double dose from Montreal hit men Adventure Club. One track takes the vocals from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ “Maps” and chops it up quite nice, while the other is the background sound for the new Krewella track. Both go hard. Both are free.
The next comes from Ado. Part of the Blood Music stable, he has switched teams to Twin Turbo for the release of Pressure. This new EP is full of raunchy electro techno that will keep you up all night — but it’s the track “Right On” that has me on the edge of my seat. Worth the purchase all on its own. You can get it on Beatport HERE.
The latest Boysnoize Records release is exactly what you’d expect from BNR: innovative, different and completely mental. Les Petits Pilous always seem to find a sound nobody is messing with. You might not like it at first, but like a fine wine…
And speaking of Boys Noize, I have an absolute gem from him right hurrrr. He has created a four-minute tribute to Donna Summer, in a style I could only describe as: washy flossy techno. I think it’s absolute fire. Perfect for your next party!
Shook, possibly the coolest cat in the game, has released a track that lives up to his reputation as one smooth hustler. If you got the one you’re crushing on in the car, this is the tune your mojo is dying for you to play.
Sticking with that sexy vibe, we got something here from two of the most soulful artists in the game. Ellie Goulding takes on The Weeknd‘s humungous banger “High for This” and puts her own adorable touch on it, while Xaphoon Jones from Chiddy Bang gives her a different beat to play with. Together, they come up with something simply breathtaking.
Get used to this one. Avicii gives away a brand new track as a thank you to his fans for hitting 2 million likes. Hate if you want, but there’s a good reason Avicii is maybe the second or third biggest name in EDM — and this song is living proof.
Speaking of big name DJs: Afrojack has taken on a classic and given it his trademark electro touch. I’m always a little hesitant when I hear a Michael Jackson track remixed, and to be honest I’m not 100 percent on board with this one. But decide on your own — you may well find yourself giving it more than one listen.
This song has been remixed, like … what? A million times? Hip-hop, rock, dance — it doesn’t matter, the strings in Phantom of the Opera have been tried and tested. Many times the result have been indifferent, but this time it’s done right. It feels like Ryan Enzed makes music every second of his existence. And why not, right?
Aaaaaaaand … I’ll stop there. Be sure to check in next week. In honor of UEFA EURO 2012 kicking off in Ukraine and Poland on June 8, I’ll be breaking down group by group, country by country. Soccer, you say?!? No, amigo … we’re going EDM with this. We’re going to take a look not at the footballing ability of the competing countries, but their music-making ability. Sweden, Spain, Italy, England, France, Germany, Netherlands — all home to heavy-hitting, world renowned DJs. To say nothing of Ireland, Portugal, Croatia, Denmark, Russia, Greece, Czech Rep, and Poland — all with hidden gems of their own, all capable of competing with the big boys.
So grab your flag and lift it high — cuz bpm:tv presents The real Euro 2012!
The first-ever multi-day EDM festival in downtown Toronto, Digital Dreams will feature full sets by Kaskade, Afrojack, Duck Sauce, Richie Hawtin, Dubfire, Steve Lawler, Alesso, Major Lazer, R3hab, and many more.
bpm:tv wants to send you and a friend to Digital Dreams! We’re giving away five pairs of tickets – plus, as a Grand Prize, one pair of VIP tickets! (Travel not included.) CLICK HERE to find out how to enter our Digital Dreams contest.
Contest closes Monday June 18, 2012.
CLICK HERE for more information on the Digital Dreams Music Festival.
Canadians are more than lucky this year. Usually, festival season means having to venture to some distant location to see our favorite acts in the flesh. But not everybody can afford the cost of a trip to Coachella or Electric Daisy Carnival.
This year, happily, some of the best fests are taking place right in our own backyards. WEMF you know about already — an automatic must-see. Then we have Digital Dreams, which promises to be absolutely sick: Duck Sauce, Afrojack, Kaskade — ’nuff said. And, of course, there’s the much-publicized Full Flex Expresscross-country train tour, featuring Skrillex, Pretty Lights, Diplo and Grimes.
Also on the agenda: HARD Toronto on August4, featuring M83 and Justice along with locals Austra. Another must-see, right? But wait! Turns out the VELD Music Festival , featuring Deadmau5 and Avicii, is going down the same day. R’uh r’oh!
So Toronto goes from having no electronic festivals to having too many — a great problem to have, right? I dunno. Sure, we’ve got a large number of EDM fans in the city and province — but enough to support two festivals on the same weekend?
Granted, the music on offer isn’t exactly the same. Justice appeals to more of a rugged, indie-based crowd, while the VELD fest lineup is the definition pure EDM. (I mean, the mau5 even made a song called “The Veld.”) But for most fans, it’s not going to be a question of preferring one over the other. It’s more of a scheduling conflict that could end up costing one or the other of these fests a lot of audience — not because the promoters failed to assemble a good show, but because your average EDM fan just can’t physically be in two places at once.
I kind of think this problem sucks — but I also figure it’s better to have too much choice than too little. Either, it’s going to be a helluva festival season. A lot of people will be wearing out their summer tires that first weekend in August, shuttling between Hard and VELD. And I’ll be one of them.
And the awesome continues. (Who said April is the cruelest month? Oh, right: this guy.)
So anyway. Our long-awaited bpm:tv DANCE 2012 compilation CD hits the streets today, with a lineup that includes Deadmau5, Swedish House Mafia, Martin Solveig & Dragonette, Nervo featuring Afrojack & Steve Aoki, Sak Noel … and many more, as they say on the television. Mixed, as always, by the estimable DJ Marky D.
You can find bpm:tv DANCE 2012 at Best Buy, HMV and Walmart, or BUY IT ONLINE.
INTERNATIONAL LOVE (CLINTON SPARKS & DISCO FRIES RADIO MIX) – PITBULL feat. CHRIS BROWN
BODY WORK (CLUB MIX EDIT) – MORGAN PAGE feat. TEGAN AND SARA
BIG IN JAPAN (DENZAL PARK REMIX) – MARTIN SOLVEIG & DRAGONETTE feat. IDOLING!!!
TURN THIS CLUB AROUND – R.I.O. feat. U-JEAN
PASO (THE NINI ANTHEM) – SAK NOEL
ANTIDOTE – SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA VS. KNIFE PARTY
MUTATE (ORIGINAL EDIT) – SIDNEY SAMSON & LIL JON
AURAL PSYNAPSE – DEADMAU5
WE’RE ALL NO ONE – NERVO feat. AFROJACK AND STEVE AOKI
LONELY TONIGHT (ORIGINAL ENGLISH RADIO EDIT) – HOLD UP
I COULD STAY (CHR REMIX) – KREESHA TURNER
MR. KNOW IT ALL (BILLIONAIRE REMIX) – KELLY CLARKSON