Released in December on Skrillex‘s OWSLA imprint, this electro house track starts out mellow but builds steadily to an intriguing transition. Barely a minute in, I was hooked — and so was my entire body. Everything around me vanished, and no distraction was strong enough to pull me out of the spell and back onto boringly solid ground. Yes, it’s that hypnotizing. A stellar showcase for UK producer and DJ Alex Metric‘s unique, alluring production style.
Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.
Collaborations in music today are so commonplace that almost nothing comes as a surprise anymore. If Garth Brooks teamed up with Wolfgang Gartner, I’m not sure I’d even even bat an eyelash. And to me, anyway, that’s a positive. Bringing together vastly different sounds and genres in unlikely combinations can leading to something unique. The results may be awful, interesting, strange, enticing or immaculate — and sometimes all of the above.
EDM really seems to lead the way when it comes to collaborations. Maybe it’s the big role that festivals play in the genre. These gatherings are about more than just celebrating the music: they give artists a chance for artists to catch up, listen and share their new sounds.
All of which brings us to the mysterious new duo known as Dog Blood.
Rumour has it that Dog Blood is actually a collaboration between heavy hitters Skrillex and Boys Noize. I’m inclined to believe it. Why? Well, their debut release “Next Order” comes to us via OWSLA and Boysnoize Records — so that’s, you know, a little bit of a hint. Many of my industry friends and fellow bloggers are certainly convinced it’s them. And frankly, this teaser sounds exactly the way you’d expect a Skrillex/Boys Noizes superhero team-up to sound.
Now, say what you want about Skrillex (and many people do). But the superiority of Boys Noize is not up for debate. He reinvents himself, disappears, and then reinvents himself again — the perfect artist’s template, in my mind. This project sounds tight, so let’s hope we hear more. Lots more.
At a time of year when festivals come and go like the subway, an artist really has to stand out to draw huge crowds during one of these events. Your set list, of course, is always going to be the main attraction — but a little originality in your stage presentation can go a long way.
Few events offer a more unusual or original platform than the Tomorrowlandfestival in Belgium, which just wrapped its 2012 edition. Going to Tomorrowland is like falling down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole and landing in the middle of Woodstock. Inaugurated in 2005, this fest is as much about the stage and the environment as the artists who perform. Words really don’t do it justice, which is why I’ve dug deep to find a live set worth watching.
Skrillex is one of the most hotly debated artists on this site, and with good reason. But one thing is undeniable: he puts on a good show. Check out his set at Tomorrowland: it really gives you a fantastic sense of the environment. Epic!
An homage to the legendary 1970 Festival Express tour that sent Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and The Band rolling across Canada by rail, the Full Flex Express packed Skrillex, Diplo, Grimes and Pretty Lights aboard a specially outfitted Via Rail train to party their way from from Toronto to Vancouver.
The set started at 6 pm with Diplo playing in 34-degree heat to about 10,000 people. He was in a chatty mood, continuously introducing his tracks on the mic and joking, “I heard Ottawa was harder than Toronto — but I had no idea how much harder!” This latter met with screams and cheers.
He dropped AC/DC to a thoroughly crazed reaction — no surprise, given, as I’ve mentioned before, Ottawa’s classic rock roots. Plus “Roxanne” by The Police with a deep Moombahton flow. The other huge anthem: “Rack City” remixed in various flavours.
Diplo felt so at home here he spent the last minutes of his set crowd-surfing, holding the mic and chatting. DJs jumping into crowd: is there any lingering doubt they’ve become our new rock stars? Nobody can touch them right now (figuratively speaking).
Meanwhile, over on the Electro Stage, Tyga was in the process of sending Ottawa’s hip-hop lovers ballistic.
I honestly had no idea that the local “heads” were so f**king nuts for the Cash Money/southern ballers style. But they lost it from the moment he hit the stage. He slammed it non-stop, and I had to duck side-stage as soon I heard the first few bars of “Rack City” — I could feel they were gearing up to lose their shit.
Elsewhere, Skrillex’s fans were busy getting ready to freak out the f**k out.
Pretty Lights was next up on the Main stage, as the crowd continued to swell. His set was orchestral and massive, punctuated with tunes like this one: “I Know The Truth.”
And finally, the main event! Skirllex brought a larger and more elaborate show than he had the previous night in Toronto. The backstage was closed due to all the pyrotechnics, lasers and whatnot, which meant no photography. So I had to sneak these …
This was a full-fledged rock concert ordeal, on a par with or bigger than what any of the week’s other main stage headliners had delivered — and the record crowd of 30,000 freaked to every minute of it.
… and FINALLY, an after party!
With the train set to depart at 2:30 am, getting to the party felt a little rushed, but once everyone got to Ritual Nightclub and settled in, the only issue I could foresee was getting all the artists to leave on time.
After Koan Sound (who are also on the train) played a dubsteppy set (including ragga jungle licks like “Special Dedication”), it was down to the Don. Skrillex, having just performed a full-on concert, played another few hours at this intimate club venue.
And the crowd was right there with him, partying on just as hard.
He gave it everything he had, sweating profusely and never letting up — even taking the photographer’s camera and snapping pics of himself with the crowd. Steadfast and dedicated, he is without question the hardest-working DJ out there right now.
And with that, the Full Flex Express left Ottawa as quickly as it had come, leaving a trail of wondrous disaster in its wake.
Just a few hours now till the Full Flex Express hits Toronto’s Fort York: the first stop on a magical mystery tour that will be rolling on to Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton before finishing up in Vancouver on Sunday July 22. The folks at Embrace Presents have brought out the big guns for this cross-country juggernaut — and the biggest gun of all is some guy called … Skrillex? Possibly you have heard of him?
The last time Skrillex was in this neighbourhood was at WEMF 2011. Things have changed just a little since then. He has, simply put, become a worldwide star. Now many bpm:tv fans aren’t keen on dubstep. Fair enough. Many don’t like Skrillex’s music. Again, fair enough. But like him or not, you’ve gotta respect him as an artist. He has, more or less single-handedly, brought a sound to a completely new audience — and that serves all of us who love EDM fan. He’s also been completely honest and up-front about his strengths and limitations, admitting outright that he has learned only recently how to mix at live performances. Some of your favourite house DJs could afford to demonstrate that kind of candour and humility.
I’m not here to have a debate about “selling out,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. What I will say is this: when you have a chance to see a live performance by an artist who’s in such high demand, you should grasp that opportunity. I’ve seen Skrillex live on two occasions: the first a crazy show at The Phoenix before most had heard of him, the second at WEMF, by which time nearly everyone knew the glitches and wobbles in “Cinema” by heart. Both times he murdered the show. I expect he’ll do the same tonight at Fort York. And for DnB fans out there, his recent experimentation with drum ‘n’ bass might be added incentive to try catching up with the Full Flex Express.
Of course, Skrillex isn’t the only reason to snag a ticket. Diplo, Pretty Lights, KOAN Sound, Grimes and many more will be aboard the train as well — all headliners in their own right. Pretty Lights always delivers a great show, KOAN Sound has massive tunes, I have a major crush on Grimes and Diplo just crowd-surfed Digital Dreams in a giant f**king balloon. Festival season, is in full flight, and this one is a must-go!
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?
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.
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.
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,)
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!
Check out our first bpm:tv STREET VIEWS clip! We put our finger on the pulse of the dance music community by hitting the streets of Toronto to hear from the fans. What did we learn? That Nelly Furtado is … a DJ, apparently? That everybody really loves Skrillex, except when they really don’t. And that Nicki Minaj is very, very upsetting to random older guys. Thanks, EDM fans and random older guy!
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.
bpm:tv producer Declan O’Driscoll went to Miami last month and all we got was … this frickin’ awesome photo album. Check out Declan’s amazing behind-the-scenes images from WMC 2012, featuring the likes of Steve Aoki, Skrillex, Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, BT, Jes and many others — and stay tuned for a special Miami edition of bpm Spotlight, coming soon. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PHOTO GALLERY.