RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest – Day 2 Report

July 6th, 2012

Posted by Caelin Meredith

This year’s RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest in Ottawa is heavy on the electronic dance music, light on the blues. A bold move considering the festival’s history, but a shrewd way to tap into a younger market and draw larger crowds to this incredible site.

One field with five stages and an indoor theatre (showcasing comedy), the festival site is just outside the downtown core and on the river, allowing for spectacular vistas and gorgeous sunsets. Attendees have the opportunity to experiences many different genres, all in one location.

[Photo: Patrick Doyle]

Opening night saw Tiësto rocking out on the main stage to thousands of his followers. Other EDM heavyweights on the bill this year include: Dragonette, LMFAO, Paul Okenfold, !!!, DJ Aero and Tommy Lee, Mustard Pimp, MSTRKFT, A Tribe Called Red, Chromeo (DJ set), Adam K, Arty, Drop The Lime, A-Trak, Diplo, Tyga, Skrillex and Wolfgang Gartner.

The Day 2 highlight: Paul Oakenfold on the Electro Stage going to head-to-head with LMFAO on the main stage.

[Photo: Sean Corby]

First on the Electro Stage was local up-and-comer Mister Parker. When asked what it was like to play Bluesfest, he said, “This is one of the biggest festivals to hit Ottawa — and playing for a hometown crowd is always a big rush. People were freaking out.” He was clearly excited to be on the bill with a legend like Oakenfold.

You could tell he was a hometown favourite, with the smattering of supporters he had in the crowd all sporting his t-shirt.

Next up was Cole, who delivered an energetic performance to those gathering for the Oakenfold show. Physical and present, he DJ’d on the Star Trekish Emulator and let old school Fatboy Slim dance alongside newer, harder tracks.

Dragonette played the Claridge Homes stage, which is perpendicular to the main stage but equal in size. They belted out hit after hit in 30-degree weather (at 8 pm!) and the crowd sang every word.

The band treated fans to an autograph session after the show, and Joel said they are still in disbelief after their Juno win with Martin Solveig.

LMFAO were the headliners on the main stage. Because it’s right next to the Claridge stage, they don’t schedule acts simultaneously, thereby preventing noise competition.

With SkyBlu injured, the backstage was closed to media, which made photographing the show challenging. Redfoo, however, put his all into delivering one hell of a solo show.

Despite the absence of his partner, he held court comfortably for the 20,000-plus who turned up for some “party rockin’” and kept up the carnival atmosphere with gusto.

Meanwhile, over on the Electro Stage, nestled alongside the river and tucked behind the building away from the main site, British elder statesman Paul Oakenfold delivered. What looked at first like a thin crowd soon blossomed to 1,500 strong.

Oakenfold laid down some of his most popular tracks, including remixes of “We Are Your Friends,” “7 Nation Army,” “Personal Jesus” and “I Need Your Loving.”

The set was definitely less trance-oriented than I’m used to hearing from Oakenfold — but he was playing for the crowd and reading them like a true professional.

He ended ceremoniously with his own anthem “How long.” Though the crowd was furiously chanting for an encore — “Oakenfold! Oakenfold!” — he couldn’t oblige, as Ottawa stringently enforces its noise bylaws, requiring the festival to end all its music at 11 pm sharp.

Tonight: !!! and Tommy Lee with DJ Aero.

Stay tuned over the next eight days for reviews, highlights and everything EDM from the Ottawa Bluesfest!


Sweets of the Week – July 6

July 6th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

Middle of July, festival season in flight, hotter than a muthafucka ….

Wait a sec: remember all those long, cold winter nights when we bundled ourselves in parkas, scarves and long johns, enduring the bitter chill so we could get to the club to see our favorite DJ rage? I certainly remember, and I’m sure you do too. So I find it hard to complain about this stifling heat we’re all suffering through. As we all know, it could. Be. Much. Much. Worse.

But yeah, it is hotter than a muthafucka.

One other thing about summer that kinda sorta blows: since most major artists are busy touring so much, new material can be lacking. Now, sometimes that’s a good thing, giving you the chance to get reacquainted with old favorites. But for a new music junkie like me, it feels like drought season. But that just means I’ve gotta search harder and longer to find something fresh for you. Plus the Calgary Stampede starts today, and I can’t leave my cowboys hanging without some new electro. Lez get it!

Oh, and did I mention it’s hotter than a muthafucka?


We start with two vastly different but equally awesome remixes of Dada Life‘s “Kick Out The Epic Motherfucker.” Which one do youuuuu like?

Dada Life – Kick Out The Epic Motherfucker (Otto Knows Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE 

Dada Life – Kick Out The Epic Motherfucker (Datsik Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Wolfgang Gartner is bizzack — this time with a preview of his new EP. People have been saying that Gartner’s work lately has been lacking. I think that’s a testament to high how he has set the bar. While I wouldn’t put it quite so harshly, I’ll concede that I haven’t heard the old Gartner for awhile. That ended today.

Wolfgang Gartner – Casual Encounters Of The 3rd Kind EP: LISTEN TO THE PREVIEW

One-half of The Krays, Yuksek, is back with a new EP and it’s packed with killer remixes. Anything new from Aeroplane will always get my attention


Here’s something a little different: Skrillex versus drum-and-bass. Some will love, some will hate. Either way,, this will evoke some kind of emotion from you.

Skrillex – DnB Ting: LISTEN TO IT HERE

This one, on the other hand, I know you’ll love. Whether you’ll admit it to anyone is another question.

Far East Movement – Dirty Bass (Jump Smokers Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Le Youth is on fire. The way he uses his samples, you can tell he knows his way around a DAW. Keep him on your radar

Le Youth – Memories: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Waka Flocka? Rooster in my Rari? What the hell am I talking about? Fans will know. People who don’t: trust me, you’re not missing much. But Clinton Sparks does make this pump. Worth a try.

The Cataracs feat. Waka Flocka – All You (Clinton Sparks Awesome Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Viceroy is an acquired taste. At first: not so much. Now: addicted.

Viceroy – Chase Us Around feat. Madi Diaz: LISTEN TO IT HERE

BANGER!!!! Basically five minutes of pure bass. I’ll take it.

Bart B More & Harvard Bass – Listen To This (D.I.M.’s Unreleased Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Hmmm. I’ve liked every Sound Remedy track I’ve ever heard. Ever. But this one lacks … something. Still, he’s earned his stripes, so I’ll let it slide. Consider it recommended on the strength of his past work.

Imogen Heap – Hide And Seek (Sound Remedy Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

You know I love me some swing. Here’s a track that will spice up your party asap.

Minimatic- Practise Your Swing EP: LISTEN TO THE PREVIEW

Riva Starr, where have you been all my life? The elegant return of a true master. Look out for Canadian tour dates soon!

Riva Starr & Ramon Tapia – Freedom (Original Mix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Excited about the upcoming IDENTITY Festival? This video should get you properly amped. If not, two words: Eric. Prydz. (Btw, if you want to win tickets to IDENTITY, mosey on over to our FB page, as in now-ish,)

Enjoy le weekend, knuckleheadz!

 Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter

Falcon In Flight

July 4th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

Quietly — or rather, in point of fact, not so quietly — Provoke has been dropping some real bombs: in terms of tracks, events, and everything in between. Their latest release, which landed just a couple of weeks back, has more momentum than the LeBron in game five against the OKC Thunder.

The combination of Gabe Gallucci and Jed Harper on the track “Falcon” is hotter than anyone could have even expected. A minute of thumps get your pulse racing at 128. Then the keys. Strings interweaving — a slight echo, a touch of reverb, but a powerful, ringing presence. It’s the big-room feel Jed Harper is known for. And Gallucci steps in with the “air shartz,” as I like to call them, and the rest is just plain insane, mayn.

“Falcon” is big-room heavy duty all the way; add four stellar remixes from the likes of Kim Fai, Northend, Stranjah and yes, Jed Harper himself, and this release is an absolute must-have. While Stranjah’s remix takes things in a drum-and-bass direction, Kim Fai and Northend stick to that progressive template. But it’s Jed’s own remix that takes the cake here.

Sometimes you’ll get a release where the remixers try to do too much, aiming for wholesale renovation rather than a simple add-on or enhancement. Happily, this is not one of those times. Each of these artists takes what’s best about the original and adds a distinctive personal touch. You can hear their creative additions, but the track you love still shines through, intact. Maybe nothing to you, but this is something I greatly appreciated.

Give a listen to the tracks below. CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS RELEASE ON BEATPORT.

Gabe Gallucci & Jed Harper – Falcon (Original Mix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Gabe Gallucci & Jed Harper – Falcon (Jed Harper Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Gabe Gallucci & Jed Harper – Falcon (Kim Fai Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Gabe Gallucci & Jed Harper – Falcon (Northend Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Gabe Gallucci & Jed Harper – Falcon (Stranjah Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

 Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter


A Digital Dreams Photo Gallery

July 4th, 2012

Posted by Brian Hamilton

The pulse of a distant bass grows louder as the bpm:tv danceNEWS team and I approach Ontario Place for the inaugural Digital Dreams Music Festival. We jump aboard a media golf cart for a tour of the grounds, and it quickly becomes clear that we are in the midst of one hell of a party. Thousands of people are doing their righteous best to wear as little as possible and dance until the earth shakes.

Some of dance music’s heaviest hitters are behind the decks, unleashing a relentless onslaught of beats that serve to keep energy levels high all day. I am constantly finding myself in the middle of little circle dance parties, trying to take pictures while dancing. (If any of these shots look shaky, that’s why. That’s my excuse, anyway, and I’m sticking with it.)

Afrojack, Kaskade, R3hab, Alesso — just some of the big names responsible for the persistent ringing in my ears as I write this. Sore muscles and heatstroke notwithstanding, Digital Dreams was a hell of a beautiful ride — one I plan on taking again, year after year.



Iron Men

July 3rd, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

First things first: Digital Dreams was a massive success. I talked to people as who’d traveled from as far away as California to be there, along with lots of people who call this great city of Toronto their home. The vibe was right, the crowd was sexy and the music was nutz. There was a ton of media coverage, so I’m sure you’ll continue to hear plenty about it over the next few days. Stay tuned for an upcoming bpm Spotlight episode that will feature the interviews we were lucky enough to score with Afrojack, Kaskade, Major Lazer, Adam K, Art Department and many more.

Today’s post, however, is all about Iron & Water, the upcoming new release from Gingy & Bordello on Turbo Recordings. This could be the release of the summer. The anthemic title track has the sound of a number that could start the night or finish it — maybe both, on the right night.

While it may seem like an oxymoron, this duo have managed to evolve as artists while sticking closely to what has become their signature sound. It’s a brand of consistency that’s refreshing.

“Panopticon” and “Ausbruch” round out the EP, and both are quality material. “Ausbruch,” to me, sounds like one of those tracks the average DJ just can’t wait to play. The perfect techno template, it gives you the freedom to add your own creative touch during live sets, and while also allowing you the opportunity to loop continuously — the beat never grows redundant, the true hallmark of a classy production.

This Toronto duo may not be known for producing quantity, but the strength of Iron & Water affirms their reputation for consistent quality. And the real winner here is Turbo Recordings. Tiga‘s Montreal-based imprint has scooped up a couple diamonds in the rough, and will reap the rewards as their careers take off. With this release following hard on Ado’s Pressure EP, featuring the addictive “Right On,” it’s clear that Turbo is at the top of its game right now.

If you find yourself in Toronto on July 14, be sure to check out the Iron & Water release party at Cinecycle. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.

Gingy & Bordello – Iron & Water: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Gingy & Bordello – Promo Mix for Fabric Kill Em All 2012: LISTEN TO IT HERE

 Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter



Riding The Greyhound

July 3rd, 2012

Posted by Jesse Ship

ABSOLUT GREYHOUND UNLEASHED feat. MSTRKRFT @ The Hoxton, Toronto – June 28, 2012

Absolut Vodka has a long history of supporting and curating the arts, so hosting a massive global booze-fueled promotional party campaign makes perfect sense for the brand. It also makes sense that they would hire superstars Swedish House Mafia to compose the “Greyhound” tune, what with being a Swedish product and all. Haven’t seen the commercial yet? It features robotic dogs in the desert, chasing after a quicksilvery blob, with cut scenes of Angello, Axwell and Ingrosso DJing inside the minds of the dogs. Which happens! Check it out:

So, last Thursday night, Absolut launched the Toronto arm of the “Greyhound” cocktail tour at The Hoxton, with local electro-celebs MSTRKRFT headlining. The set was some serious high-energy stabbing and bassy business, working far better in a mid-sized club environment rather than at the Rogers Centre, where the duo were seen last November opening for Deadmau5. The club was decorated with statues of the Voltron-esque cyberdogs, and select bar staff were outfitted with costumes and masks reproduced from the “Greyhound” video, lending to the overall Gaga-ish masquerade theme of the evening.

According to Absolut Senior Brand Manager, Chris Bhowmik, the idea behind the event was “to create a multi-sensory experience that tells you what your cocktail should sound like.” The evening’s spotlighted cocktail was the classic Greyhound, a summery concoction first introduced back in the 1920s. CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE. Stay tuned for more sonic adventures from Absolut, as Chris hinted at future cocktail collaborations featuring mellow indie-rock and jazz flavours..



Sweets of the Week – Canada Day Weekend

June 29th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

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.

Ryan Enzed – Mission Accepted: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Dropped it yesterday, dropping it again today, might even drop it tomorrow. Zeds Dead are making next-level music. Canada. Does. It. Better.

Colin Munroe feat. Pusha T – The Fight Of My Life (Zeds Dead Remix): LISTEN TO THE PREVIEW HERE

Dillon Francis tweeted, while making this track, that it was creepy and awesome at the same time. Been waiting a while for a fresh Dillon track with quality — and man, is it good to have him back!

Steve Aoki – Control Freak feat. Blaqstarr & Kay (Dillon Francis Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

The Fool’s Gold Clubhouse mixtape dropped this week, with nine quality tracks. Highlights go to the Donovans and our homie Meech.

Donovans – House Of God: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Meech – Somethin: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Don’t know much about Elliott Porter … but I know this is massive!

Elliott Hamilton Porter – Flamingo

Don’t know who I’m more excited to see this weekend: Afrojack or R3hab! Anybody for a joint set?

Afrojack & Shermanology – Cant Stop Me Now (R3hab & Dyro Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

French excellence.

Madeon – Finale (Original Mix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

A shout-out to Provoke for throwing this li’l ditty on their SoundCloud.

Gabe Gallucci & Jed Harper – Falcon (Kim Fai Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Mister Bashmore, you so special …

Julio Bashmore – Troglodytes: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Only a preview, but that’s not gonna stop me posting this soon-to-be-colossal hit.

Kaskade feat. Neon Trees – Lessons in Love (Fareoh Remix): LISTEN TO THE PREVIEW HERE

Montreal madness!

Adventure Club feat. Kai – Need Your Heart: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Feel-good track of the week and my personal fave!

Santigold – The Keepers (The Knocks Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


 Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter


Brand New Zeds Dead

June 28th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

I couldn’t possibly wait for Friday’s” Sweets of the Week’” to share this one. DC and Hooks — better known as Zeds Dead — are back in the lab brewing up some remix shit. This time they’ve taken a personal favorite of mine, “The Fight Of My Life” from Colin Munroe and Lil Wayne arch-enemy Pusha T, and slathered it with grime sauce till it sizzles.

Right, I know I’m being corny as f*ck — but this track is massive. How massive? So massive I’m doing a post just for the f*cking two-minute preview. That’s how massive.

Colin Munroe feat. Pusha T – The Fight Of My Life (Zeds Dead Remix): LISTEN TO THE PREVIEW HERE



 Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter



Digital Dreams In Depth – Kaskade

June 27th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

What can you say about Kaskade? Complacency just isn’t a word in his vocabulary. He’s like the Energizer bunny of EDM, constantly challenging himself to create innovative music. Little wonder so many of his fellow artists rank him high on their lists of the best in the game.

Currently holding down the number 30 spot on  DJ Mag’s definitive Top 100 list, Kaskade (a.k.a. Ryan Raddon) has always been a music junkie. When I got the chance to sit and chat with him at the release party in Miami for his 2010 album Dynasty, it was obvious just how much this man loves making music., and loves collaborating with other talented artists. He was full of praise for the sounds coming out of Canada, too — and had put his money where his mouth is, teaming up with Deadmau5 on the massively successful “I Remember,” and with Dragonette‘s Martina Sorbara on “Fire In Your New Shoes.”

Something else that was clear: he loves seeking out and discovering new music. I’ve often found that artists tend to stay narrowly focused on their own music, their own sound and genre. And fair enough: this is their career, after all, and you always have to look out for number one. But before they were artists, they were fans — and sometimes there’s a risk of losing touch with the passion that got them into the game in the first place. Kaskade, for his part, is still as much a fan as an artist. He talked fondly of going to the record store with friends every Tuesday (new release day!) and sitting there for hours –maybe with some adult beverages — listening to new music.

He told me he was still obsessed with finding new sounds and new artists, and wondered if fans aren’t missing out on something now that this whole part of the experience has moved from the record stores to the online world. It’s a point open to debate — I happen to agree with him strongly — but what’s enlightening here is the way he approaches music: as a listener as well as a creator.

And then there’s his ability to relate with fans. Let’s face it, a lot of artists in this genre are only around for a cup of coffee. Some even skip out on the bill. But with nine albums under his belt since 2003, Kaskade has proven his longevity. His countless world tours, singles and EP releases have confirmed him as an EDM superstar. If there’s any DJ who would be within his rights to pull a “diva” attitude, it’s this guy. Yet he’s the polar opposite: friendly, approachable and always up for a chat about new music. Very refreshing.

This, by the way, is quite possibly my favourite tour video in the history of tour videos.

Once again, I urge you to grab whatever tickets remain available for the Digital Dreams Music Festival this weekend. With a lineup that has soooo many big names, Kaskade will bring his all. His set will be one to remember — and that alone should be worth the price of admission!


 Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter



Live Review: Porter Robinson & Mat Zo @ Sound Academy

June 26th, 2012

Posted by Gosia Mrugala


The lineup to get into the venue was insane. The crowd that swarmed the entrance was alive with anticipation, eager to experience one of EDM’s fastest-rising new talents.

Once you were inside, the bass could be felt streaming through the floor, up your legs and into every nerve fibre and cell of your body. Opening for Porter Robinson, 22-year-old British producer Mat Zo (a.k.a. Matan Zohar) dropped one mind-blowing track after another, taking full control of bodies and minds. The frenzied crowd was beyond pleased by this young artist’s impeccable track selection; his warmup set kept them dancing nonstop.

When the lights dimmed and Porter Robinson‘s “PR” logo appeared, the assembled multitudes went absolutely wild, sending his name bouncing around the room and over heads like a crowd-surfing fanatic. As Robinson stepped up to the decks, a whole new vibe took hold. Hands thrown in the air, utterly entranced, the crowd was overcome by sheer animalistic euphoria.

The success that this 19-year-old DJ/producer has achieved in such a short time is absolutely mind-boggling. I saw Porter Robinson for the first time last fall at The Hoxton, and I wouldn’t hesitate to see him again. If you haven’t yet had the chance to catch this crazy-brilliant artist live, I encourage you to make it a priority. This is a superstar in the making.

Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.