Good morning & happy leap year/hump day. Head on after the jump for stories on Boys Noize, Sub Focus, the UKF Dubstep Tour, EDM in Brazil, & the Pitchfork Music Festival.
Boys Noize loves if you hate Handbraekes
When Boys Noize and Mr. Oizo announced they were teaming up for a new project called Handbraekes, it seemed fair to go ahead and assume that the product of their union would be pretty great. But when the four-track EP #1 hit the net last month, the comments section of our story painted a different picture. With crazybowers reasoning, “Yeah their styles don’t mesh at all, despite both of them being amazing producers in their own right. The Qat actually made me laugh it was so bad”, through Miza101’s astute “ The Qat sounds like someone farting into a trumpet”, lawlietskyy’s observation that the work was “unbelievably shithouse” to addz’s simple “ummm no”, the verdict was clear. What’s more, it seems much of the internet felt much the same about the EP.
So how did the backlash make Boys Noize’s Alex Rhida feel? Apparently, pretty good. “A lot of fans of mine get so upset with the music. They just hate it so much!” He told I Like Music, “I love it when I see that reaction, because for me it’s the most fun to fuck people off with my music.” The producer continued, “That’s how I started off in the first place. I had a lot of people who were really not into it, and a lot of people who were really into it. For me that’s always really fun to see. I saw so many funny comments about people hating the stuff [laughs]!”
Rhida also explained that the tracks on the EP only took “a couple of hours”, and that he and Mr. Oizo never met in real life to work on the songs, instead doing everything over the internet. “We have a lot of fun with it and don’t take things too serious,” he said. “A lot of people take their music too serious.” So, yes: we’ve all been trolled.
New Sub Focus Track
It’s fair to say the words ‘summer’ and ‘anthem’ get thrown together all to readily nowadays. But when the man behind the record is Nick Douwma, aka Sub Focus, then maybe one should take note.
Together with indie songstress Alice Gold, Sub Focus is back with the debut single from this autumn’s hotly anticipated new album.
Released on Ram Records next month, ‘Out of the Blue’ is the Guildford born producer’s first offering since last years ‘Falling Down’ and received its first play on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show last Friday.
Having rattled the festival circuit to it’s foundations last summer, Douwma is back on the road with a brand new live show and will be previewing new material at this weekend’s Bass Culture at the O2 Academy, Brixton.
‘Out of the Blue’ is released on Ram Records on April 30.
AM Only’s UKF Dubstep Tour — With Gemini, KOAN Sound — Coming to U.S.
Top dance-music agency AM Only is backing the first North American tour of UKF, the brand name of the popular British drum ‘n’ bass/dubstep YouTube channels, starting March 1.
The UKF Dubstep channel on YouTube, owned and operated by U.K.-based AEI Media, has recorded more than 586 million views since its 2009 launch. And its sister channel UKF Drum&Bass has garnered 186.4 million views.
Now, AM Only, where president Paul Morris was recently named one of Billboard’s “most influential EDM business executives,” is managing the inaugural UKF Spring Tour 2012, which is taking two UKF YouTube stars Gemini and KOAN Sound to 30-plus U.S. and Canadian cities.
AM Only and London-based AEI Media, the multi-platform digital-music and marketing company, believe the tour’s timing is ideal as drum ‘n’ bass, dubstep and other U.K.-originated underground electronic genres are grabbing international mainstream attention, especially in the U.S.
“The time is ripe because the new generation of kids listening to this music are looking for their icons. They’re searching for the artists that they will listen to now and 20 years from now,” Morris tells Billboard.biz. “It has a lot to do with music production. The masses were starving for something that sounded new and unique. Electronic music producers pushed the boundaries of what ‘mainstream’ music should sound like. Skrillex also being nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys was a true testament to this.”
Karl Nielson, AEI Media’s commercial director, explains why the company is working with AM Only.
“We wanted to promote and market UKF as a brand in the U.S. because a lot of the traffic on our YouTube channels, about 60%, come from the U.S. alone and AM Only has taken the challenge because agencies are key to what we’re doing,”
Gemini and duo KOAN Sound, two British dubstep artists who grew up influenced by such electronic-music godfathers as Tricky, Massive Attack and Prodigy, Nielson says, will play U.S. venues such as Union Transfer in Philadelphia (March 1), Webster Hall, New York (March 2), Bottom Lounge, Chicago (March 3) ending on April 8 in Venue Nightclub, Vancouver.
The tour will also take in a special showcase at SXSW (South by Southwest) on March 17 at the Beauty Bar, Austin, TX. It will feature SMOG vs. UKF, a mock battle-of-the-DJs with UKF and U.S. acts like 12th Planet and Two Fresh displaying what is on offer both sides of the Atlantic.
Drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep are the offspring of the once controversial impromptu rave parties attended by the thousands dancing to fast-paced electronic beats inside massive warehouses in the U.K. during the 1990s.
Luke Hood, AEI Media’s head of music and UKF’s original founder, says the idea of launching a dedicated YouTube channel in April 2009 came about because, as a college student, he could find no easy access to the music in mainstream shops, shows or on radio.
“So I tried to reach out to the artists and started uploading their music on to YouTube,” he says. “UKF became a haven for acts and producers who wanted to share their kind of music.” An impressed Nielson became a fan and invited Hood to join AEI Media later that year.
Under Hood’s watch, UKF Dubstep channel has grown until it reached No. 46 in YouTube’s Top 100 most subscribed channels worldwide on Feb. 27, as compiled by Vidstatsx.com, ahead of Vevo (50) and Universal Music Group (61).
AEI Media targeted the U.S. for its first major tour because “the electronic-music club culture here in the U.K. is well established, but they never really had that environment in the U.S.,” Nielson says.
He adds that the decision to embark on a U.S. tour was partly inspired by the recent success of UKF YouTube artists like the U.K.’s Flux Pavilion and Doctor P, as well as the Canadian duo Zeds Dead, whose American tours have been known to generate $500,000-plus and growing.
Future expansion ambitions include more UKF live events at home and abroad via AEI Media’s Drum&Bass Arena subsidiary. Its first event was in March 2011 for 900 people at London’s Brixton Academy, which sold out in three days. This was followed by UKF Bass Culture, a bigger event for 11,000 at London’s Alexander Palace, and the tickets sold out three months in advance.
“We’ve also done some live streaming events and discovered the audience will pay between £2 and£5 ($3.17-$7.90) for tickets,” Hood declares. “We want to expand and take the brands as far as we can take them.”
Also on the agenda are plans to record more downloads and CDs under compilations brands like UKF Dubstep and UKF Bass Culture. The UKF Dubstep 2010 compilation charted in Billboard’s Dance Top 10 for 47 weeks, Nielson says.
UKF Dubstep 2011 compilation has reached No. 1 on iTunes’ dance album charts in eight markets, including the U.K. and the U.S., and in the Top 5 in another six markets such as France, Ireland and Germany.
Other future plans include extending the UKF and AEI Media brands. Earlier this month, AEI Media launched AEI Music Publishing in a joint venture with New York-based Verse Music Group.
Dance Music Making Millions in Brazil
For so long famed for football, carnival and the much loved thong, it looks like Brazil has another string to tie to its proverbial bow.
According to an article in US magazine, Forbes, Brazil has become one of the meccas of electronic music with dance music events in the country making $515 million (£324 million) in 2011.
This is up a whopping 56.64% on the previous year.
The article, which cited a study commissioned by the Rio Music Conference, also reported that electronic music reached an estimated audience of 19.5 million and raised another $626 million (£395 million) for the Brazilian economy in money spent by clubbers on food, transport and accommodation.
Brazil’s growing appetite for clubbing is good news for DJs too with the likes of Sven Vath, Erick Morillo and Armin Van Burren able to command fees of up to $100,000 (£63,000) for a gig in the country. A much bigger fee than they are likely to receive in Europe.
But why has Brazil joined the party now?
According to the study it’s a combination of the Brazilian’s desire for a good old fashioned knees up and the pace at which their economy is growing, which has seen 40 million people join the moneyed middle classes since 2003.
The number of young people in the country who are enjoying increased wealth and are willing to pay a high premium for the best in electronic music has grown at a rapid rate.
And with clubs like Warung and Green Valley it’s not hard to see the appeal. Check out the video below to see the real reason Brazilian clubbing has taken off. Certainly beats a rainy British smoking garden.
Pitchfork Festival Announces Dates, Initial Lineup
It’s the end of February– time to get psyched for summer! The Pitchfork Music Festival will return to Chicago’s Union Park July 13-15. And we’re proud to announce the lineup for this year’s festival.
Vampire Weekend, Feist, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Hot Chip, AraabMUZIK, A$AP Rocky, the Field, Liturgy, Kendrick Lamar, Grimes, Cloud Nothings, Tim Hecker, and Willis Earl Beal will all join us in Union Park! And that’s only the beginning– over 30 additional acts will be announced.
Tickets go on sale Friday, March 9 at 12 pm Central Time at the Pitchfork Music Festival website. We’re pleased to note that ticket prices will not be raised this year. Individual day tickets will cost $45, with a limited number of three-day passes available for $110 each.
Stay tuned for many more festival updates in the coming weeks!
Pitchfork Music Festival 2012: