bpm:tv was there: ULTRA EUROPE! (Updated!)

July 25th, 2013


By Peter Palarchio

Photos: Fabijan Vuksic


“The biggest challenge in bringing Ultra Music Festival to Europe was to do it in a way that was completely unique and original. To enter a European market so rich in festival culture and history, with thousands of festivals happening every summer over the past 40 years, and still produce something never before done there.”Russell Faibisch, ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL/Ultra Worldwide Founder, Executive Producer, CEO & President

103,000 attendees. 700,000 online viewers. Visitors from 75 countries. Three days. Two cities. One amazing time.

This was Ultra Europe 2013.

For the first time ever, the Ultra Music Festival found its way home to the roots of EDM on European soil. The Ultra festivals have escaped the grips of southern Florida (Although UMF Miami in March remains an event eminently worth checking out) and has expanded the brand to a worldwide audience, touching down in new continents all year round. Ultra Europe came fresh on the heels of an insanely successful Ultra Korea, so the expectations for this homecoming of sorts couldn’t have been higher. And UMF Croatia delivered.

For many, the festival actually started on the Thursday night before the official kick-off, as tens of thousands of visitors flooded the streets of Split, Croatia, the gorgeous coastal city that played host to the first two days of the event. The streets were alive with energy, as eager festival-goers hit up the local clubs and bars in anticipation of the next day’s extravaganza, which promised some of the biggest DJs in the world.

On a side note, this reviewer didn’t have the easiest of times getting to his hotel. Having flown into Dubrovnik and missed the last bus to Split, I was obliged to take up a Croatian man on his offer to charter a van and ferry myself and seven newfound friends up north, with a quick detour through Bosnia along the way. For some reason, thoughts of the feature film Hostel started racing through our minds, and things grew quiet for spell. Finally, after getting dropped off in Split — alive and untortured — and after a couple of “lost in translation” moments that led some memorably wrong turns — we made it to our hotel. We do travel to gain experience, after all. And I can now confidently affirm that getting lost in Eastern Europe is an experience.



Americans, Swedes, Finns, Brits and Canadians. Nope, this isn’t the Pool “A “ for Men’s Hockey at the upcoming Sochi Olympic games. This is just a partial rundown of the amazing 75 countries represented on my walk to Stadium Poljud. Normally, this facility is home to soccer or track and field. Today, it would be home to something quite different.

The location was carefully scouted and handpicked by Russell Faibisch, the founder, Executive Producer, CEO and President of ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL/Ultra Worldwide. In his words: “After visiting more than 15 countries, meeting with many promoters and visiting more than a hundred potential locations and venues, I ultimately chose Croatia. It is truly one of the most beautiful and special places in the world — in addition to being the newest and hottest European summer destination for party people and DJs.”

Even from hundreds of metres away, the heart thumping-bass inside the stadium could easily be felt. Ultra Croatia had officially kicked off, with the thousands pouring in to revel in mash-ups, remixes, pyrotechnics, dancers and more.

Montreal’s Adventure Club really got the party started. There might be a Canadian bias on my part, but I felt like this duo gave it their all and then some, helping to cultivate an energy that kept on until dawn.

As the sun set and the DJs continued to delight the main crowd, it was time for a quick break to check out the Carl Cox & Friends stage, just in time to catch yet another Canadian duo: Toronto’s Art Department. Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White delivered a laid-back deep house set that won the clear approval of the crowd — an inspired a swell of hometown pride in the heart of this festival-goer.

As darkness fell and UMF’s always-impressive lighting display illuminated the crowd, electro house wunderkind Porter Robinson took the stage, enthralling the crowd with his expertly-deployed drops and mixes. The night marched on, and before I knew it, one of my personal favorites was taking the stage: Avicii, a.k.a. Tim Berg. This Scandinavian superstar had received mixed reactions from the crowd in Miami earlier in the year, with a set that highlighted his progression toward a newer sound. There was no such ambivalence here. The 23-year-old Swede, sporting a Toronto Blue Jays cap no less (I swear, I was on European soil), smashed the decks with classics like “Levels” and new hits such as “Wake Me Up.” Nicky Romero closed out the night, and soon enough the sun was rising on a new dawn. Ultra Europe day one was already a thing of the past.

Best Set: Avicii



Yeah, things really are a little different in Europe. What with festivals running until 5am instead of midnight, crowds tend to be smaller for some of the earlier acts of the day, as the multitudes rest up and hydrate in preparation for another marathon.

Spanish newcomer Danny Avila delivered a standout set during the early hours, and bpm:tv had the pleasure of speaking with the 18-year-old house sensation afterward. (Stay tuned for the interview coming soon). But there was no about what the crowd was waiting for: it was the Dutch invasion of Afrojack, Armin van Buuren and Hardwell, all DJ Mag top 10 heavyweights. Props to UMF for saving some tricks for Day Two, as the firework and pyrotechnic displays were kicked up a notch for these world-class acts.

Afrojack delighted the masses with the top tunes in his repertoire, including “As Your Friend,” which has been getting tones of radio play worldwide (the crowd sang along to prove the point). Armin Van Buuren also had the crowd lustily belting along when he closed his set with the summer anthem “This Is What It Feels Like,” with a pretty-darn-cool superimposed Trevor Guthrie on the screen and fireworks lighting up the whole stadium. Next up, with the world tuning in to to a live stream on YouTube, came the 24-year-old phenom Hardwell. He opened his set with a blast, rewarding the crowd’s anticipation with “Spaceman,” one of the biggest tracks of the the past year. And from 3:30 am to 5:00 am we were treated to the very best the EDM world has to offer: a masterfully crafted set that mixed in a few classics from the past — even a tune from grunge-rock faves Nirvana.

With daylight in full flight, it was time to catch a couple of winks before the boat ride to Day Three.

Best Set: Hardwell

Honourable Mention: Bingo Players



How on earth am I going to do this?

That was pretty much my first thought as the alarm went off. Two days of Ultra Europe had taken their toll. Three hours of sleep, a quick shower, and before I knew it, I was on a ferry to Hvar Island bound for the Amfora Hotel — and for a Vegas-style pool party that was destined to become the highlight of the trip.

Judging from the hundreds of festival-goers passed out on any available floor space, I wasn’t the only one feeling a little tuckered out. But this feeling quickly dissipated when I caught a view of the stage setup straddling the divide between the pool and the sea. Vegas: you now have your work cut out for you, if you plan on topping this.

It was the party of a lifetime, as anyone was lucky enough to get tickets (it sold out in 10 minutes) would surely agree. With acts like Nervo, Cazzette and Dada Life supplying the auditory bliss, this splash-fest was an afternoon to remember.

And then … there was Chuckie. Chuckie, Chuckie, Chuckie — wow, thank you! As the sun began to dim on what would turn out to be a nine-hour show, this was the artist who kept the ecstatic energy alive — a DJ perfectly in tune with his rapt audience. Whether it was serving up the newest Beatport chart-toppers on Beatport or dipping into the throwback file for a mad Linkin Park mash-up, Chuckie always seemed to nail exactly what the crowd wanted to hear. And after three days of the top names in EDM, I can assure you this was no easy feat.

Finally, Steve Aoki closed out the festival in classic Aoki fashion — constantly finding new ways to interact with the crowd, dropping killer mash-ups and party remixes. And suddenly it was over, seemingly as quickly as it had begun, leaving on all of us the powerful impression that we’d experienced a festival unlike anything that can be found on North American soil.

Best Set: Chuckie

Honourable Mention: Dada Life

Once again in the words of Russell Faibisch: “After the inaugural edition’s massive success, Ultra Europe is very proud to call Croatia home for many many years to come.” Music to a music lovers ears. Take some advice, and start planning your trip to Ultra Europe 2014 right now. This is not an experience to be missed.


Gosia’s Track of The Day: Mat Zo & Porter Robinson, “Easy”

December 18th, 2012

Mat Zo & Porter Robinson – Easy: BUY IT ON BEATPORT

Here, I can say confidently, is a club banger that will cause chaos on the dance floor! I caught Porter Robinson and Mat Zo at Toronto’s Sound Academy a while back, and allow me to sum it up thusly: WOW! It was my second opportunity to see Robinson live, and I’m not ashamed to admit I find myself absolutely smitten by this young producer’s sound and performing style. As for this new track … well, the robotic vocals don’t really do it for me. But the rest of the production is so harmonious, I think we can overlook one faux pas.

Porter Robinson & Mat Zo – Easy: LISTEN ON SOUNDCLOUD

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


Sweets of the Week – August Long Weekend Edition

August 4th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats


And here we go. Y’all getting sick of me talking about festivals? Well sorry, but tuff f***ing luck. Because this weekend Toronto the place in the world to be for EDM. Or any kind of music, actually.

Sure, Montreal has Osheaga happening, which promises to be nuts in its own right But Toronto is bringing the heavy, what with VELD and HARD both going down this weekend.

What’s HARD, you ask? Just a little gathering featuring the likes of M83, Buraka Som Sistema, Austra … oh, and Justice. Sorry, let me rephrase that: JUSTICE!!!! The French icons make their looooooooooooooong-awaited return to Canada in style. Fort York is a special place to be this weekend.

And then there’s VELD, the brainchild of Canada’s own EMD titan, Deadmau5. Check out this lineup: Avicii, Kill the Noise, Mord Fustang, Bassnectar, Cosmic Gate and soooooo many others are busy tearing Toronto’s Downsview Park a new one. Rain is in the forecast for Sunday, but it’s gonna get real messy long before that. Canada, this is our weekend!

And with that, it’s on to …. THE SWEETS!

This will get your weekend going just right. A free download that hits the spot.

Of Monsters & Men – Little Talks (The Knocks Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

In anticipation of Saturday’s main event: 5omething brand new from the Mau5.

Deadmau5 – There Might Be Coffee: LISTEN TO IT HERE

The second installment of Fools Gold‘s Clubhouse compilation series is just as heavy as the first. No point trying to pick a favourite: here’s the whole thing, amigos. Did I mention it’s FREE?!?

Fool’s Gold – Clubhouse Vol. 2: LISTEN TO IT HERE

I got news for you: this isn’t house.

Dream – This Isn’t House EP: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Big room time!

Zedd feat. Matthew Koma – Spectrum (3LAU Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Eddie Thoneick & Norman Doray – Celsius (Original Mix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

How can you not love Montreal’s Adventure Club? OK, maybe the sound is becoming just a tad predictable. But that in no way means it’s played out. And the fact that it’s free is an added attraction.

Adventure Club – Retro City: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Brand new Sound Remedy!

Ellie Goulding – Hanging On (Sound Remedy Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE 

So glad the full version of this is finally out. This is special.


Already a huge fan of Dan Black, but this is trippy. I love it.

Nobody’s quite doing it like Calvin Harris right now. Anybody else thinking it’s time for him to do an album with Example?

August 10th. The Hoxton. You will find me there.

Justice flashback!

… and that’s it, kiddos. Be safe this weekend (but not too safe) and make sure you rep bpm:tv a llllllll weekend long!

 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.


Sweets of the Week – June 22

June 22nd, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

Well, if you didn’t already know, it is GOING DOWN tonight at Sound Academy, as Embrace Presents brings Porter Robinson to the stage with guests The M Machine. Porter is a very busy man, so take full advantage of this opportunity and get your ass down to Polson Pier.

Of course, Porter isn’t the only one who’s been rocking the sh*t out of crowds over the past couple of weeks. Which brings us to this week’s Sweets of the Week. With the Digital Dreams fest just around the corner, the heat is on for DJs to find that elusive key to a killer set. Don’t be surprised if you hear a few of these heavy-duty tracks from your fave DJ this coming Canada Day weekend.

No need to go into detail about them — the sounds speak for themselves. Enjoy! I’ll see you tonight at Sound Academy!


Porter Robinson – Language: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Skream & Example – Shot Yourself In The Foot Again (Eclectizm Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

J. Cole – Werk Out (OVERWERK Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Cassian – I Love It (Original Mix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Kanye West – Mercy (Figure Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Metric – Artificial Nocturne (Love Thy Brother Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Giselle – Silk (Sound Remedy Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Nervo – Y.G.L.A. (Pleasurekraft ‘Happily Never After’ Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

KDrew – Last Train To Paradise: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Diplo – Barely Standing feat. Datsik & Sabi: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Scott’s Selections – June Edition: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter

RE-POST: Porter’s Palace

June 22nd, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

Tonight’s the night! Porter Robinson will drop the bomb on Toronto this evening at the Sound Academy, courtesy of Embrace Presents. To get you in the mood, and to wrap up our week-long spotlight on the North Carolina prodigy, we’re re-posting bpm:tv’s frontline report from his last TO appearance.

Want to see for yourself what all the fuss is about? CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS AND INFO.

They say you never know the true quality of a producer until you see him live, a phrase I have lived by for the past five years. On Saturday, thanks to Embrace Presents, I finally had my opportunity to see Porter Robinson in the flesh. And I can say with 100 percent conviction that the boy did not disappoint.

It was a good vibe all around. The crowd showed up by the hundreds with plenty of enthusiasm. The line was incredibly long but — as with all shows at The Hoxton — it moved really well. And once you got in the scene was perfectly balanced: a blend of knowledgeable fans, there to catch a memorable performance, and the requisite contingent of gorgeous girls. The chant of “Porter, Porter” rang out before Mr. Robinson approached the tables. Once the young man reached the platform … BAM! A surge of excitement from the crowd, and then it started.

One thing was obvious from the get-go: this kid loves him some Wolfgang Gartner. Many times he used slight remixes or re-edits of Gartner tracks, feeding the crowd perfectly. It’s something I’ve been preaching for a while now: this new wave of American artists take pride in where they come from, and really want to establish their own sound. The set had a strong North American feel — and right now that really is the sound of quality.

Without going into details on each song — because if you weren’t there I wouldn’t do it justice — I’ll just say that it was a proud moment to see how Toronto turned up for Porter. I believe it was his first show in TO, and the city really welcomed him, with a crowd response that would have pleased some of the world’s top DJs.

The concert was so good it took me an extra day to write this report. True story! Just another absolute beast of a show courtesy of Embrace Presents.

Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter

RE-POST: Porter “The Prodigy” Robinson

June 21st, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

Porter Robinson week continues here at bpmtv.com, as we re-post our first look at the North Carolina prodigy’s smashing debut EP, Spitfire.

Don’t forget: Porter Robinson plays Toronto’s Sound Academy tomorrow night, courtesy of Embrace Presents. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS AND INFO.

What were you doing when you were 19? Some of you haven’t even hit that magical number yet and are anticipating a great year, the first year of freedom. Some of you are in that age bracket and are beginning to enjoy life as an adult … or getting high in your parents basement. For those of us who have passed that brilliant age, apart from the wonderful memories and personal achievements, probably none of us did anything that would affect the rest of our own lives and, at the same time, touch the lives of many many others.

Enter Porter Robinson. Born in the not-yet-distant year of 1992 (sigh), this prodigy from the Tar Heel state of North Carolina has been thrown into the roller coaster of the electro scene, and has established himself as one of the leaders of the pack when it comes to the North American dub revolution. If I’m correct, all it took was Fl Studio 9, a Midi controller and talent. Porter has not only been one of the headliners of electro-dub-house scene — he has also changed it for the better. Breaking boundaries and genres with his songs, Robinson has become a fan favourite throughout the world.

The first track I remember hearing was “Say My Name,” which had so many sounds to it I wasn’t sure what genre to place it in. (“I dunno … electric music?”) The strings from the house anticipation, the wobble of the dubstep, the drums of electro — this kid is onto something. And so it went, as he released other tracks and remixes that proved he was no one-hit wonder, but rather a major figure in the game. Touring and fraternizing with the industry elite (Skrillex, Zedd, Lazy Rich and many others) didn’t hurt either.

Well, Porter just dropped his debut EP Spitfire, which is typical of everything else he has done in his early career: it’s really good. The EP features many remixes from some well known DJs and one from the flavour of the week known as Knife Party whose version of “Unison” is most certainly going to be playing in all clubs throughout the winter. But it’s Porter’s originals that are truly stellar.

Porter Robinson – Spitfire: LISTEN TO IT HERE

In case you’re just finding out about the homie, here are two tracks that got me hooked last year. The first is classic Porter …

Porter Robinson – Say My Name: LISTEN TO IT HERE

… and this one is a beaaaaaaaast. Check the remix by Lazy Rich when you get a chance, both are hard!

Porter Robinson – The Wildcat: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Mr. Robinson, I believe you’re trying to seduce me…..xx

[Originally Posted: Sept. 15, 20122]

Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter


Star Status

June 19th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

As our spotlight on feature artist of the week Porter Robinson continues, we stay focused on his breakout year: 2010. With this next set of releases, the news of a new teenage star in the EDM firmament went viral with the kind of speed that gives the most creative marketing and PR mavens a wet dream.

In other words, after “Say My Name” dropped, the  wolves tasted blood. North American EDM fans found an artist they could embrace as their own, 13-to-20-year-olds found a role model and inspiration, and electro house found a new saviour.

Without wasting any time, Porter dropped “The Wildcat,” making his signature sound suddenly inescapable. The scream of a bobcat, the merging of that vocal wobble with the clean, crisp 128 beat — just reliving the time you first heard this song can give you chills. In an age where artists and sounds come and go like public transit, it became clear at this moment that Porter Robinson was here to stay.

Porter Robinson – The Wildcat: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Next came some remixes — a move that was always going to be tricky. Usually, new artists make their way onto the scene with remixes, then slowly begin dropping originals; it’s a sort of feeling-out process. But Porter came at it from the opposite direction: he’d already given us four originals that even the biggest of names would die to call their own — now he was taking other artists’ sounds and trying to add his touch on it.

For me, remixes all come down to song selection. If you’re looking to really make your mark with a remix, why not pick a track that’s huge? It’s the perfect way to showcase your talent: people will already know the original, so they’ll really notice what you’ve done with it. Anyway, great minds must think alike, because Porter took on two of the biggest house songs at that moment and flipped them on their heads. Have a listen.

Tim Berg – Seek Bromance (Porter Robinson Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Yolanda Be Cool – We No Speak Americano (Porter Robinson Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

2010, as you can see, was a huge year for Porter — and it didn’t end there. Here are a few more of the tracks he released in that amazing year. And keep in mind: we’re talking about a guy who was still just 18 years old.

Porter Robinson and Lazy Rich feat. Sue Cho – Hello: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Porter Robinson – I’m On Fire: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Heiko & Maiko - Wer Ist Sie (Porter Robinson Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

As 2010 drew to a close, one thing had become obvious: Porter Robinson was a star. There was no doubt about his production capabilities — but did he have what it takes to rock a crowd at a live show? That’s what we’ll find out in our next Porter post.

Don’t forget to check THIS LINK for tickets to Porter Robinson’s show at the Sound Academy in Toronto this Friday.

Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter

A New Hope

June 18th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

This week we celebrate a young artist known to many as, simply, “the Prodigy.” In anticipation of a rager of a show slated for this Friday at Toronto’s Sound Academy (which two lucky members of bpm Nation will be catching for free!), we delve into the work of  Porter Robinson, the 19-year-old North Carolina native who is leading the next wave of emerging EDM artists into glory.

Ever since he dropped “Say My Name” in 2010, PR has compelled attention, standing out even in a field as overcrowded as EDM. Sure, “Get Brain” and “Leaving” had been released earlier, and both were heavy tunes in their own right. But “Say My Name” was something different, something epochal. For a kid of just 17 to take a sample, produce such dramatic strings, and blend it with such a heavy bassline: it was unimaginable.

Don’t discount those earlier tracks, though. “Leaving” was a tantalizing preview of Porter’s abilities, proving that he knows how to blend beats and vocals to perfection. Meanwhile, “Get Brain” showcased his knack for taking a small sample and making it giant-sized. And here’s the rub: while your favorite producers are creating these kinds of sounds in studios with 15-foot Legacy consoles, Porter was doing it on a laptop in his bedroom.

Porter Robinson – Leaving: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Porter Robinson – Get Brain: LISTEN TO IT HERE

2010, then, was a big year for Porter Robinson — and he was just getting started. We’ll have more on his subsequent releases tomorrow, as we prep for his Sound Academy Show this Friday.  CLICK HERE FOR INFO AND TICKETS.


Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter


The Night Out

April 10th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

A Tuesday to celebrate for fans of French house (and really, aren’t we all?). One of bpm:tv’s — and Canada’s — favourite European DJs, Martin Solveig has released the latest instalment in his “Smash” series of videos.

“Smash” has proven a massive success, and has really demonstrated what good music, clever filmmaking and savvy use of social media can accomplish for an artist. In addition to which, it has revealed a charmingly vulnerable and human side to one of EDM’s true superstar DJs — something refreshing for all of us “ordinary” people to see.

This new episode, “The Night Out,” features cameos from Sidney Samson, A-Trak, Porter Robinson, Dillon Francis, Laidback Luke, Zedd and many more. The offbeat humour of the story, the pause-worthy guest appearances, the stellar cinematography — there’s something in here for just about everybody. Enjoy the show!

Previously on “Smash” …

Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter