Watch Bassnectar Get Pensive About Politics, Power, and Music
Electronic dance music doesn’t have many Ian MacKaye-like figures, to which you’d probably say, “Well, duh.” But Lorin Ashton — the breaks-and-bass agitator best known as Bassnectar — has long done his part to serve as the scene’s left-wing conscience. In 2011, he donated one dollar of every ticket sold to non-profits like AlterNet, the media watchdog Free Press and Reach Out, which supports people with disabilities in the LGBT community.
In a segment of its Neighborhood Series, the San Francisco creative agency Yours Truly talks to Ashton about political involvement, personal responsibility and finding balance. “For a while, I thought it was almost fucked up to spend your time partying when other people were suffering,” he admits, surveying a particularly desolate patch of the East Bay. Then, as he describes his epiphany that music is an essential element of the human experience, he hops a fence and leads the cameras into an abandoned building. From the look on his face, you know he’s thinking that it would make an awesome space for an illegal rave.
Nero to Support Madonna on MDNA Tour
Madonna seems to have a bit of a thing for DJs of late. First she said a DJ saved her life when she was introducing Avicii. Then she got in a very public row with Deadmau5 over Twitter. Now she’s selected London’s dubstep duo Nero to support her on her forthcoming MDNA tour.
Nero will open for The Material Girl on the North American leg of her tour on select dates including New York’s Madison Square Garden, and Miami’s American Airlines Arena. Nero will open the show with a DJ set, featuring live vocals from Alana.
Nero recently appeared at Coachella, Sasquatch, and the Electric Daisy Carnival NYC festivals and is also set to perform several shows on this summer’s Identity Festival, as well as at Lollapalooza in Chicago and Hard Summer Los Angeles in August.
See below for the dates that Nero will support Madge.
08/28 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
08/30 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
09/12 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
09/13 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
09/15 Atlantic City, NJ Boardwalk Hall
10/13 Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand
10/14 Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand
10/16 Phoenix, AZ US Airways Center
10/18 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
10/20 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
10/21 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
10/24 Houston, TX Toyota Center
10/25 Houston, TX Toyota Center
10/27 New Orleans, LA New Orleans Arena
10/30 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
11/01 St. Louis, MO Scottrade Center
11/03 St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
11/04 St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
11/06 Pittsburgh, PA Consol Energy Center
11/08 Detroit, MI Joe Louis Arena
11/10 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
11/12 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
11/15 Charlotte, NC Time Warner Cable Arena
11/17 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
11/19 Miami, FL American Airlines Arena
11/20 Miami, FL American Airlines Arena
Q&A: David Guetta on Leading EDM’s American Takeover
David Guetta insists on sharing his salad. It’s a windy Memorial Day in Las Vegas, and the French DJ-producer is relaxing in his expansive suite at the Encore hotel. Below sits the posh Encore Beach Club pool, where yesterday afternoon Guetta played a two-hour set, mixing his massively successful pop singles with thumping electro beats – the same ones that made him famous in Europe long before he crashed the U.S. in 2009, both with his One Love LP and a little Black Eyed Peas hit called “I Gotta Feeling.”
“You want to eat?” Guetta asks. “Look at this salad; it’s huge,” he persists. “These are American portions anyway. You wonder why everybody’s fat in America.” He grabs a small serving of raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing and nudges it across the table. Resistance is hopeless. The 44-year-old father of two begins to smile.
“You see – there is a different vibe for this interview already,” Guetta says, laughing. He’ll co-headline a sold-out XS nightclub gig with the Swedish DJ Avicii later that night, and pocket several hundred thousand dollars in the process. Despite all this, Guetta is a humble, soft-spoken and patient man. Pausing every so often to cut his filet mignon, Guetta talked with Rolling Stone about recording from the road, leading EDM’s American takeover and more.
How did you spend your day here in Las Vegas?
Today was not a usual day. I got totally jet-lagged, so I went to bed at noon. I spent my afternoon in bed.
What‘s all that equipment sitting on that table?
That little box? It’s called UAG – all the best compressors and reverbs and effects you can find in a very expensive studio, in the form of plug-ins. So I can make music without going to the studio and using my laptop.
Have you come to prefer this portable style of recording?
I don’t really have a choice. And to be honest, it became for me a standard way to do it. I’m not [of the] studio generation. Before I would make music in my home studio instead of doing it on the road. But the idea is almost the same. The first time I went to a studio in my life was for “I Gotta Feeling.” All the kids now, that’s how they work. It’s also about the power of laptops now.
You play shows all over the world, but Las Vegas in particular has become an epicenter for dance music. People are calling it the new Ibiza.
Everyone here loves to compare it to Ibiza, but you can’t really compare it to Ibiza. When it was born in Ibiza it was not an industry yet, whereas this is starting already as an industry. So it’s difficult to compare. Vegas is extremely organized and marketed. Ibiza, at the beginning, I remember going to full-moon parties that were for free and people would take mushrooms and look at the moon and the stars and you would have thousands of cars in the middle of nowhere. That’s how it started. Is this a huge phenomenon? Yes. Is this a good thing? Yes. It’s wonderful.
I say [Vegas] is becoming the new Ibiza. But it’s not yet. Because only now people are starting to understand this music. The first years I was coming here, they would come to see the biggest DJ the day before they went to see the best magician. I can feel kids are more into dance music every time I come. But at the beginning, it was like, “Ugh.” We have a mission. We’re here to give a good time to people but we’re also here to make them discover new sounds. We have a responsibility in always pushing it further.
House music was born in cities like Chicago and Detroit, but it’s taken years for dance music to reach mass popularity in the U.S. Why do you think that is?
Yes, it was born in Chicago and Detroit and then European people turned it into something trendy and popular. It’s just that for some reason media were refusing to see the culture, even though it was here in the U.S. This music was born in the gay black clubs, and then it was the rave scene. So the image was, “OK, this music is for gay guys or kids on drugs.” A lot of people are saying, “You brought that to America.” I didn’t bring it to America. I just showed the people that were refusing to see it how big it is. I just made it acceptable.
You’ve worked with many hip-hop and R&B artists, from Lil Wayne and Usher to Nicki Minaj. How deliberate was that?
I was listening to hip-hop at home and I was playing electronic music. One day I was like, “Why can’t I try to put it together?” But those communities were really opposite at the time so it was difficult. It just happened. I remember when I produced “Sexy Bitch” and “I Gotta Feeling” and all those records, every urban artist was calling me and saying, “It’s really crazy that we’re working with you because this is really against what our culture is. But we love it, and it’s so incredible and it’s so positive and it feels good at this moment where everybody is having such a hard time. It’s just feel-good music.” And so many urban artists are calling me like, “Can you give me that feel-good music?” I’ve created a bridge between European electronic culture and urban American culture, and I’ve worked with established brands. So media has given us a chance, an opportunity that I never had before.
Does it bug you when other DJs try to replicate your success with a similar sound?
People tell me, “What do you think about people doing the same thing you’re doing?” I’m like, “That’s amazing!” I’m flattered and happy. I’m proud. And in the same way, on a production level and on a DJ level, I need to be able to reinvent myself. When urban dance music became so big, I came with a new sound, a new single – “Titanium” with Sia – that is totally different from what everybody else is doing and goes against the current.
Sia has been a pop singer and songwriter for years, but now she’s breaking through with dance music.
It’s funny. When we recorded “Titanium” she was like, “Well David, I don’t want to be an artist anymore. I’m done with this life. I just want to be a songwriter. I don’t want to tour. I don’t want to do anything like this anymore.” When I heard her voice [on the track], I was like, “That is insane. No one is going to be able to do better than this.” And she was like, “OK. Last one!”
Has she thanked you?
[Laughs] Not really. I am the one that is thanking her. She brought something really special. And we’ve kept working together on [Flo Rida's] “Wild Ones” and other records that are coming up. She’s really amazing, and I’m glad she didn’t totally stop.
Are you constantly reaching back and forth with artists about new collaborations?
The way I do it is more like I make beats without thinking who this is for. This is what’s so amazing about being an artist who is not singing. I’m not limited. I make music and then I’m like, “OK this would be nice for a girl. This would be nice for this girl or this girl. I could see a rap here.” I can call anyone. It’s perfect.
(via Rolling Stone)
A State Of Trance at EDC New York – Aftermovie
America’s billion dollar dance spending spree
By now, America’s escalating interest in dance music – or “EDM”, as it’s known in that neck of the woods – is no secret. But it wasn’t until today that we found out exactly how much EDM is worth in the States: $1 billion.
Robert Sillerman, the man who started the largest touring company in the world Live Nation before selling to Clear Channel, has announced plans to spend a whopping US$1 billion on acquiring dance festivals and “DJ parties” over the coming year. The New York Times reported that Sillerman has begun the buying spree with a Louisiana-based rave company. Sillerman also revealed that he’s in negation with up to 50 other companies, 15 of which he already has “tentative agreements” with.
But it’s not just the US that Sillerman is interested in – the company purchased UK festival juggernaut Creamfields in May and he’s also eyeing off other markets as potential investments.
However, Sillerman’s spending habits isn’t the only EDM-centric conversation going on the US at present. Yesterday, chart troubler David Guetta stirred the pot when he told Rolling Stone that “I didn’t bring [EDM] to America. I just showed the people that were refusing to see it how big it is. I just made it acceptable.” In response, the Wall Street Journal came out spitting with the quip “Guetta and [Calvin] Harris are cliché-riddled, white-bread house that don’t represent the best of the genre.”
So what will Sillmerman’s buy-up spell for future festival line-ups? “I’m also confident that we will create a better experience for the fans,” assured Sillerman. Let’s hope so.
Monkeys And Synthesizers: 6 Species Try Their Hand At Electronic Music
Have you ever been listening to an electronic song with a repeating synth-line and been all like, “this is the same thing over and over again, even a monkey could do it?” And then have you actually followed through with getting the monkeys together with the synths to actually try out that thing you were thinking?
Well the organizers of Voltfestivalen, an upcoming electronic music festival set to be held in Sweden, have read your thoughts. They brought together a variety of different monkeys, paired them with synths, and really went to town.
(via Huffington Post)