White Night

March 7th, 2013

Posted by Gosia Mrugala

On June 1, the international EDM event SENSATION, presented by Bud Light, will make its Canadian debut. An estimated 30,000 fans are expected to “Light It Up” during the eight-hour experience at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. 50 cents from every ticket purchase for Bud Light Presents Sensation will go to the dance4life charity, which is dedicated to helping empower young people around the world to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, with event organizers matching donations dollar for dollar.

Founded in the Netherlands, Sensation went international in 2005, and is now in some 20 countries worldwide. Among the distinctive features of this licensed 19+ event: the all-white dress code, which — in conjunction with the show’s undersea theme — will transform the Rogers Centre into what the organizers have dubbed “The Ocean Of White.”

Check out the Bud Light Presents Sensation event page on Facebook for details.

At last week’s launch party, I had the opportunity to sit down with Michael Hekking, commercial director for Amsterdam-based promoter ID&T and Bud Light brand director Todd Allen to talk about bringing Sensation to Canada.

GOSIA: For those who are unfamiliar with ID&T, can you give us a little background on the company and your involvement with Sensation?

MICHAEL HEKKING: ID&T is an electronic music experience company, so what we do is produce shows: festivals like Tomorrowland, Mysteryland, Sensation — we have, like, 40 different events. But Sensation and Tomorrowland are the most famous ones.

ID&T was founded in 1991 by a group of friends. I was part of the founding group, although I was very young at the time. We started throwing parties in Amsterdam, just having fun, and then the moment came when we decided to rent a big venue. It was just before the summer, when everyone has their big exams in school, and we just tried to get everyone in one place. We thought there would be maybe 2,000 or 3,000 people — but 11,000 people showed up! It was our first big break, and that’s when we decided we have to do this for a living.

We grew and grew, and plus electronic music was booming at that moment in Amsterdam and Europe. So from around 2005 we moved to Germany and Belgium. Nowadays we have offices in New York, Belgium, Sao Paulo, Sydney. It just doesn’t seem to stop. EDM is growing worldwide, and we’re still enjoying it the same as 20 years ago. We’re still those young guys that enjoy throwing parties.

GOSIA: Can you tell me how Sensation White started?

MICHAEL HEKKING: Sensation started because close to our office there was a new stadium built for the football club in Amsterdam, and we thought how great it would be to throw a party there one day. They always said no to us because they were afraid of having a rave in a stadium. But at one point we had some good connections with the mayor, we talked to him, and he put in a good word for us. So we had a try at the stadium and it was a success — and so Sensation was born in 2000.

It wasn’t an all-white event at the time. But after the event, one of our friends — one of the founding group — died in a car crash. He was really the inventor of Sensation: it was his idea about the stadium. So we decided to celebrate his life, and asked everyone to come to the funeral in white or a Hawaiian shirt, just to make it a celebration. Then at the next Sensation in 2001 we asked everyone to dress up in white as a tribute to him — and 80% of the people showed up in white, which surprised us. So that was when Sensation White was born.

GOSIA: Why did Bud Light decide to connect with Sensation?

TODD ALLEN: We feel it’s a beautiful opportunity for us, especially because the electronic dance music scene is exploding and growing. We’re all about momentum, living life to the fullest and seeking adventure … and there’s no better expression of that then Bud Light presents Sensation. They’ve been an absolutely great partner and we feel we will bring an unbelievable experience to Canadians that they have never seen before.

MICHAEL HEKKING: All around the world we have partnerships with different beer companies. It’s a logical fit … For us also to come to countries like Canada — I don’t know the market, I don’t know the people, I don’t know the culture, so I really need local people to tell me what’s hot and what’s not and what I cannot do and can do. The Bud Light team are behind the scenes working their asses off to make this a success. Because we are flying in the show and doing the show, but all the preparations are done here. It’s half the importance to ensure success for the show.

GOSIA: Why was Toronto chosen as the city to host Sensation Canada?

TODD ALLEN: The venue is the biggest thing, with the Rogers Centre. The production that Sensation brings needs that indoor stadium feel, so the venue is a large driver of the decision.

GOSIA: Why did it take this long to bring Sensation to Canada?

MICHAEL HEKKING: We at Sensation and ID&T are all around the world, currently we’re in 20 different countries with Sensation. It’s not like Canada was never on our list — it definitely was. But the momentum has to be there, we have to find the right partners, and for them it has to be the right moment. You have to have the negotiations with the venue, which is always difficult … because it’s not a small two-hour show — it’s a whole night experience. So there’s a lot of things that need to fall in place before we bring Sensation to a city … We were also trying to work in China for the past three years, but it’s not working. Sometimes you have to give up on certain dreams and move to other markets. But Canada was definitely on our priority list, and we are really excited to finally come here.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow Friday, March 8 at 10 am ET through www.ticketmaster.ca and www.sensation.com. More information about Bud Light presents Sensation is available HERE and HERE www.budlight.ca/sensation.

For a glimpse of what’s in store, check out the official trailer:

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


Gosia’s Track of the Day: Markus Schulz & Armin van Buuren, “The Expedition”

January 31st, 2013

Markus Schulz, Armin van Buuren – The Expedition (A State of Trance 600 Anthem): BUY IT ON BEATPORT

Two of the biggest names in trance come together, and what we get out of it is not only a euphoric piece of music — it’s the official anthem of A State of Trance 600, a massive global tour that kicks off in Madrid in February 14. “The Expedition” is a guaranteed club banger, a fitting curtain-raiser for what promises to be a historic year for Armin van Buuren‘s A State of Trance, and the perfect embodiment of this year’s ASOT mission statement: TOGETHER WE CAN TURN THE WORLD INTO A DANCE FLOOR.

A State of Trance 600 TOUR DATES: Madrid – February 14 | Mexico City – February 16 | Sao Paulo – March 1 | Minsk, Belarus – March 7 | Sofia – March 8 | Beirut – March 9 | Kuala Lumpur – March 15 | Mumbai – March 16 | Miami – March 24 | Guatemala City – March 27 | New York – March 30 | Den Bosch – April 6

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 8

June 8th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

So this week I focused on the UEFA EURO 2012, a tournament many say is harder to win than the World Cup. A good chance to take a look at some of the powerhouse nations in the EDM game and see just how many A-list artists they’ve got on the roster.

With all that said, though, it bears pointing out that North American is making a pretty convincing bid for EDM supremacy, too. This week, in fact, we have one of the year’s biggest fests taking place down in Vegas. Electric Daisy Carnival is finally here — and this year’s looks to be one for the ages. The set lists are incredible, and too numerous to list here, so I’ll just pass on the images I’ve been drooling over for the past two months. If can’t make it, don’t worry — I’ll have you covered next week with info all the best sets.

Until then, some sweets to turn your weekend into a Vegas vacation. Let’s get to it!


From one side of the country to the other: Felix Cartal lends his touch to Autoerotique‘s “Roll the Drums.” An absolute banger.

Autoerotique – Roll The Drums (Felix Cartal Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Disclosure‘s “Control” gets absolutely glorified in the hands of producer Joe Goddard. From the 2:50 mark onward this track gets out of haaaaaaaaaaaaaaand! My personal favourite of the week.

Disclosure – Control (Joe Goddard Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Brodinski teams up once again with Louisahhh! and the outcome is the same. Funky, creative and swagged out, this track begs the question: when do we get the Borsahhh! album?

Brodinski feat. Louisahhh! – Nobody Rules The Streets: LISTEN TO IT HERE

A little tardy with this one, but whenever you come across a new Pleasurekraft track you wait until the full version is released. We were teased with a preview a few weeks back, but it didn’t do the tune justice. It’s truly out of this world — particularly once it hits the four minute mark. (PS, Pleasurekraft are in Toronto tomorrrrrrrrrow night at SPACE IBIZA at Sound Academy. BE THERE!!!!!!!!!)

Pleasurekraft & Belocca – Murdered Out: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Speaking of previews, Tits & Clits have given us a glimpse of their latest track — and this one can’t wait. It’s a remix of Demon Superior‘s “Creepy Little Doll.” Something about T&C in the studio: they know how to pick just the right chord for every part of a remix. This will be a definite download when the full track becomes available; until then, this two-minute snippet should hold you.

Demon Superior – Creepy Little Doll (Tits & Clits Remix): LISTEN TO THE PREVIEW HERE

A double dose of T&C: pick  up this one while you’re at it.

Tits & Clits – Rendezvous: LISTEN TO IT HERE

If you like the idea of mixing swing music with electro, and if you like Parov Stellar, then you’re going to loooooooooooooove Sound Nomaden, who has taken over my iPod.

Sound Nomaden – You Gotta Hurry: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Mau5trap is well represented this week with the latest from Moguai: a remix of a track he released back in February. He must of heard something in the past four months that he wanted to incorporate, because this version is miles away from the original. Both are good — but this one’s better.

One of my favourite acts, T.E.E.D., remixed by none other than Miguel Campbell. Huge!

T.E.E.D. – Stronger (Miguel Campbell Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

New music from the man who repped the Oranje in this weeks bpm:tv Euro Cup of EDM! Nicky Romero teams up with ZROQ to bring you a track that’s certain to be a festival anthem all summer long.


And finally, before we get to the ZD visuals: a mix from Grimeskee, Bassmentality approved. WEMF is gonna be ill this year!

Bassmentality – In The Mix with Grimeskee: LISTEN TO IT HERE

… annnnnnd just in case you live under a rock: new visuals from the current Best Group In The World …

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Welcome to the Global Groove Network

May 2nd, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

Shifting gears a bit today, we turn our eyes to the big screen, where the documentary Global Groove Network is set to make its Toronto debut next week. This is a film that digs deep into the creation and evolution of the music we have come to adore: EDM. Through the eyes of filmmaker Courtney James, we travel around the world to learn, from a multitude of perspectives, how electronic and dance music affects people’s lives.

I’m a huge fan of the documentary The Electro Wars, and this film looks like it ought to rival the latter — not only in its intensity, but also in terms of it relateability to hardcore ravers and newbies alike. There have, of course, been documentaries before that promised to dissect the world of EDM; most have just left me feeling that the filmmakers were motivated by the desire to get access to concerts. This film is different. It’s about the ideals at the heart of this vibrant yet vulnerable culture.

It’s also about the curious case of the DJ — that singular figure at the heart of our genre, dismissed by some as a selfish wanker with an overstuffed iPod, revered by others as a maestro who weaves atmospheres of symphonic complexity and subtlety. Courtney James makes a study of what it means to be a DJ, what goes into the DJ’s art, and what kind of responsibility comes along with being DJ. Many of the craft’s finest practitioners lend their insights and inspiration to the film — among them Sander Kleinenberg, Donald Glaude, Arno Cost and Toronto’s Manzone & Strong.

Here’s how the Global Groove Network Web site describes the film:

This documentary is an experience into the subconscious of music and tribal healing. The myths and the realities of this culture will be exposed. Prepare yourself for the journey …

Check out the Trailer HERE:

And be sure to check out the website HERE.

Global Groove Network makes its Toronto premiere next Friday May 11 at the Royal Theatre. I’ll be there — hope you will too!


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Weekend Wrap-up

March 19th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats


Kind of a calm-before-the-storm weekend. Not that much new stuff dropped — but what did definitely raise some eyebrows. First was a quick video teaser from Zeds Dead. You really have to appreciate what these guys are doing right now. Sure, the whole hip-hop/dubstep thing has been taking off everywhere, but DC and Hooks are doing it differently — and doing it better, some (OK, me) would say. Their video teasers and trailers, especially, are sheer genius, creating such a buzz around the songs that they seem larger than life. This video highlights their new track “The One.”  Check it out — and be sure to cop the Victor EP while you’re at it.

Zeds Dead & Omar LinX – The One: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Zeds Dead & Omar LinX – No Prayers: LISTEN TO IT HERE

I’m a huge fan of Ecotek, so when this dropped late last week it was an automatic download. With Paige on vocals, it sounds downright heavenly. Reminiscent of Deadmau5, it’s made for boats and beaches. Throw in remixes from Kevin Alves and Trajikk & Joman, and the whole EP is a must-grab.

Ecotek feat. Paige – Forget About Tomorrow: LISTEN TO IT HERE

Speaking of progressive house, I have a gem for fans of that genre. Whelan & Di Scala are two dudes out of Liverpool who have a track that’s climbing the Beatport charts. “The Fox” will put a smile on your face no matter where you are. This is an immediate buy.

Whelan & Di Scala – The Fox (Original Mix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

A big shout-out to Pleasurekraft, who have been a personal fave of mine since their remix of “La La Land” a few years back. The boys were just in Toronto last week — check out the Provoke Web site HERE for a taste of what you missed. The double Ks, Kaveh and Kalle, know how to nail that perfect balance of carnival and progressive house to create sustained pleasure. Always a good show, and often an even better listen, this Swedish-American duo will be one of the hottest acts to catch this week in Miami. Keep an ear out for their new joint “Skeleton Key,” featuring Green Velvet on vocals. Should be a return to the glory of “La La Land” all over again.

Pleasurekraft – The Main Ingredient (Original Mix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

BIGGGGGGGG!!!! ————–>Umek & Christian Cambas – Heroes of the Night (Pleasurekraft Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE

Something tells me you’ll be hearing a lot of this on the next edition of “Scott’s Selections” — coming next week!

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