Ten Years Ago at Coachella, Daft Punk Changed the World


Daft Punk performing with their pyramid stage in 2007. Photo credit: Minyoung Choi.

This weekend marks ten years since Daft Punk debuted their pyramid stage at Coachella music festival, according to Magnetic Mag. Many people believe this is one of the most important electronic music performances of all time, so I wanted to take a moment to recognize the impact of that show on the scene we know today.

(Watch this article as a Snapchat story:)

Back in 2006, electronic dance music was a primarily European phenomenon, Coachella was a rock festival, and Daft Punk were nowhere near the household names they are now. That year, they kicked off their Alive Tour with a single US date at Coachella’s Sahara stage – a tour that is regarded as one of the most influential dance music shows of all time. So what made it so outstanding?

Even by today’s standards, in which dance musical geniuses like Porter Robinson, Madeon, and Zedd have put together sensually stunning audio-visual tours, the incredible effort Daft Punk put in to their live show and their live rig to create such a unified theatrical experience stands out. (There’s a reason those artists invoke the robots in their own shows.) By 2006, Daft Punk had already released 3 studio albums and were well known among dance music fans. But what they did with their live show was to present something that transcended the music of their records. Using samplers, keyboards, and other tools, Daft Punk transformed their back catalog into remix fodder to create an entirely new catalog of music.

The new music was brought to life through the complex rig they had assembled, known as the pyramid. The pyramid included an intricate light setup that gradually evolved over the course of the set, starting out in black and white before expanding to include dazzling color. Unfortunately, because it was 2007, much of the video that survives of the tour today is relatively low quality, and no official recording of the performance was ever offered by the band. That being said, much of the power of the performances of that tour is evident even in the relatively low quality videos available. I recommend watching the embedded video at its original size, NOT fullscreen, for the best experience.

Daft punk’s performance is recorded on their Alive 2007 album. If you haven’t ever heard that album, I suggest taking an hour to listen to it start to finish, keeping in mind that much of what you hear was sampled in real time. In today’s world of “just push play” sets,” that stands out as an achievement in itself. It’s a marvel of a remix album, and one that retains its stunning freshness even a decade later.

Alive 2007 was and remains one of the most life-changing albums I’ve ever listened to, and Daft Punk’s efforts as recorded in these videos continues to set the bar for outstanding performances, even a decade after its debut. Make sure to watch the video below for a sense of the magic that went down way back in 2006.

Find Me At Euphoria Festival in Austin This Weekend!

EuphoriaE_ntranceThis weekend I’m at Euphoria festival in my hometown of Austin, TX, to see Above & Beyond, Eric PrydzDillon Francis, SNBRN, and many more excellent artists. Day one is done and was a great start to the weekend. Make sure to follow me on snapchat (username: theEDMist) for the live story.

Mainstage at Euphoria festival in Austin

Mainstage at Euphoria festival in Austin

And, of course, say hi to me if you see me inside the festival for some freebies! You can spot me by my new dinosaur friend, Max, who rides on my back. Like me, Max is a vegetarian with a very long neck. His favorite music is dubstep. (Thanks for all the name suggestions, snapchatters!)

Find me inside Euphoria for free wristbands!

Find me inside Euphoria for free wristbands!

See you soon at Euphoria!

Find Me at Ultra 2016 for Free Stickers and Wristbands!

This weekend I’m in Miami, Florida, for Ultra Music Festival 2016. After years of livestreaming the event, I’m excited to finally be here to experience it in person. Day 1 is already over, and it did not disappoint. I’ll be posting a review about the whole experience soon. In the meantime, make sure to follow me on Snapchat (username: theEDMist) for live stories straight from Bayfront Park!

But more importantly – if you spot me inside, be sure to come say hi! I’ve got 200 wristbands to give away and a whole bunch of stickers.


The EDMist wristbands say “E PLURibus Unum | One Beat. Much Love.”


The wristbands say “E PLURibus Unum | One beat. Much Love.” As a refresher, E pluribus unum is a Latin phrase on the United States seal that means “From many, one.” I like how the idea can apply to EDM – many genres united in one community. (As a bonus, it happens to have the word PLUR – short for the rave credo of Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect – baked into it, so it seemed too perfect not to use.) The second part – “One beat. Much love.” – gets at the same idea of electronic dance music sharing certain base elements like a 4/4 beat while encompassing a staggering diversity of musical styles (not to mention the fans!).

I’ve also got a whole bunch of stickers with the same phrase and my Snapcode printed on them. Look for these in the crowd and try to find me!



About to head into day 2 to see Nero. See you at Ultra!


The EDMist Has a New HQ – in Austin, TX!

Austin calling. © J.T. Fales

Austin calling. © J.T. Fales

When I started The EDMist blog almost a year ago, I set out to cover the national dance music scene with a specific focus on the San Francisco community. The Bay Area EDM scene is one of the most vibrant in the country, and has an outsize national influence (SF only ranks 13th in the nation by population at 800,000 people but is one of the top tastemakers and creative centers for dance music today). I felt privileged to be a part of it and I wanted to create something that invited others to share in the special, diverse, welcoming vibe of that community while discovering new music, artists, and subgenres that reflect exciting new developments across the country.

Last month, I moved to Austin, TX. As the sole contributor to The EDMist, that means that the site’s focus will move with me. From now on, I will no longer be covering shows and gatherings in San Francisco, and will instead focus on the community and scene here in Austin.

Austin has a lot to offer. It can be described in very similar terms to San Francisco: It is a youngish, smallish city (founded 1835; population 900,000). As a progressive stronghold, it fiercely embraces its diversity and uniqueness. It is a booming tech hub with a young, tech-oriented, and increasingly wealthy population (earning it the nickname “Silicon Hills”). And it has a rich musical history with a staggering number of music venues.

The Austin Boardwalk. © J.T. Fales

The Austin Boardwalk. © J.T. Fales

Yet it offers many contrasts with San Francisco too. After just a month here, it’s clear to me that the EDM scene is not as expansive or developed as it is in SF. There are only a couple of venues that consistently book EDM acts. And Austin’s disposition towards live music (it is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World”) means that electronic music is more of a niche here and less of a movement.

I see these realities less as a sign of a weak scene than as an indication of the potential for explosive growth. People are pouring into Austin for the jobs and prime real estate available here, and with that influx of people is likely to come a horde of electronic music fans from cities all around the country (and beyond!). I want The EDMist to be a resource for them and a tool for helping bring together and expand the EDM community here.

All of that being said, I won’t be abandoning SF completely. Because I think the scene in San Francisco is so special and worth paying attention to (and because so much of my network is there!) I will definitely be more aware of what’s happening in SF and it will likely still play a large role in this new chapter of The EDMist blog and podcast. I just won’t be able to cover it from a first-person perspective.

Going forward, you can expect reviews of shows, events, and festivals in and around Austin (notably, South by Southwest and Austin City Limits) – starting this week! And as I have for the last year, I will continue to post music reviews, recommendations, and other stories that are not specific to Austin or any other city. The EDMist is aimed at a broad audience and I hope you can enjoy what I post here no matter where you live.

Thanks for reading the blog and for sticking with me on my journey. Be sure to follow me on Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for the most recent updates and recommendations from the blog and podcast.

Goodbye, San Francisco. © J.T. Fales

Goodbye, San Francisco. © J.T. Fales

DJ Porter Robinson Returns with Killer Set for Monstercat Showcase [Free Download]

Porter Robinson. Photo credit Drew Ressler/rukes.com.

Porter Robinson. Photo credit Drew Ressler/rukes.com.

He’s back. At least, for one set.

Before Porter Robinson was known as the audio-visual creative powerhouse behind the immersive Worlds tour, he was recognized as a DJ of exceptional skill and talent, whose high-energy sets were unmatched in intensity, mixing skill, and straight up danceability.

After his planned show at Digital Dreams was cancelled last weekend, Porter made it up to disappointed fans by returning to his roots for a one-off DJ performance at the Monstercat Showcase Afterparty in Toronto. The set he came up with – filled old and new classics, bangers and downtempo glitchy grooves, and, of course, some throwbacks to your favorite video games of the ’90s – is everything you’ve missed since Porter officially renounced DJing last year.

It’s an eclectic set that was clearly engineered for fans of the Monstercat sound (best exemplified by Haywyre, Pegboard Nerds, and other polished bass-heavy producers who meander somewhere around trap, electro, and drumstep, depending on their mood). Plus, it’s got the deliciously rough touch of a DJ who may have gone rusty, but still knows how to do his job better than most of acts on the mainstage.

Listen to the magic yourself, below, which is also a free download through Soundcloud.

And welcome back, DJ Porter.

See You at EDC Las Vegas 2015!

I’m headed down to Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas 2015 this weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I will be snapping all weekend from my snapchat account (theEDMist), if you want to follow along with my EDC journey. Here’s a preview of what I’ll be wearing on each day. If you spot me, say hi, and I’ll give you a sticker! 😀

Alright… It’s rave time. 😉

On Friday, I'll be representing the San Francisco EDM Meetup Group with our awesome logo

On Friday, I’ll be representing the San Francisco EDM Meetup Group with our awesome logo

On Saturday I'll be wearing all rainbows.

On Saturday I’ll be wearing all rainbows.

I'll be wearing a T-shirt with the blog logo and snapcode on Sunday.

I’ll be wearing a T-shirt with the blog logo and snapcode on Sunday.

I made some stickers, and I'll have one on the back of my Camelback all weekend.

I made some stickers, and I’ll have one on the back of my Camelback all weekend.

Introducing the EDMist Podcast: An EDM Discussion Group

The EDMist Podcast LogoI like talking about EDM. Since you’re reading this blog, you probably do too.

The only thing is: there’s not a lot of places on the internet where you can actually talk about it.

There are a plethora of EDM-focused websites, blogs, and social media profiles you can visit/read/follow, but not so many forums for real, live conversation. Even where there are active forums, like on Reddit, you still don’t get the opportunity to hear people talk in real time.

That’s why I’m starting the EDMist Podcast: a monthly discussion group and conversation among fans about everything and anything related to the world of dance music.

I will be inviting guests on for every episode to discuss the most recent developments in dance culture. Many of the guests will be my own friends and acquaintances within the San Francisco music community, but diversity is important to me and I will be looking to highlight interesting and unique perspectives through the podcast.

Feel free to suggest topics (or guests) – email podcast@theEDMist.com or reach out on Twitter.

The first episode is live on Soundcloud and will soon be live on iTunes. Listen below.

Are Myon & Shane 54 Planning a Classics Tour?

Myon & Shane 54 have recently been teasing the idea of doing a “classics tour,” on which they would play only their own tracks, remixes, and mashups over a full set. On last week’s edition of their podcast, International Departures episode 280, host Shane 54 talked about the realization that they have enough back material to play their songs 6–10 hours straight through.

“We will talk about Gabriel & Dresden‘s new Classics Tour, when they play as [if] it was 2004. We are also preparing for our ten-gig tour, since in Dallas we also decided to have a classic set – after all, we’ve been working together for more than seven years, and we just realized we could play only our stuff more than six hours straight without repeating anything. Well, if we think close enough and count the mashups as well, we could entertain a large crowd for ten hours even. That would be something! But we highly doubt it will happen like that. However, we are excited to be back on the road, and if you will come to see us, you’ll see how much!” (Emphasis added.)

Despite Shane 54’s caveat, yesterday, the duo asked on Twitter what songs people would like to hear on such a tour.

The tweet mentions “our classic live shows” – so even if we don’t get a tour, it sounds like we can expect at least a few one-off shows like Dallas in the future. And that’s good news.

Embarking on a tour in which an artist plays only their own productions is a huge accomplishment; in the EDM world, it’s an achievement that solidifies your legacy as an artist. Among the few DJ-producers who do it are Deadmau5, Porter Robinson, and Madeon.

What do you think? Is this going to be the Summer of Love for Myon & Shane 54? Leave a comment below, or shout out on Twitter.

Avicii Defends Ingrosso, Digs Up Rare Tracks in New “Levels” Podcast

Avicii performing in 2012. Photo credit: Copyright Drew Ressler/rukes.com.

Avicii performing in 2012. Photo credit: Copyright Drew Ressler/rukes.com.

In the April episode of his Levels podcast, Swedish superstar Avicii has a lot to say, including a passionate defense of his friend Sebastian Ingrosso. In case you missed it, Ingrosso and Axwell (okay… Axwell Ʌ Ingrosso if you want to be official about it) set off a firestorm of criticism a few weeks ago in a New York Times profile, in which they referred to underground music as “amateur.” They later defended themselves by explaining that English is not their first language, so the word choice itself may have been… ahem… amateur. In the podcast, Avicii backs up his friends, arguing that the newspaper clearly placed the quote out of context. Avicii, a longtime fan of Ingrosso, has had his own troubles with the press before, so it’s not surprising when he tells listeners “don’t believe believe everything you hear in the press. It’s all sensationalism.”

The News

Swedish house drama aside, Avicii, a.k.a. Tim Bergling, treated us to all sorts of other tidbits in this episode. Here’s some of what we learned.

  • Tim is promising exclusives from his back catalog that “no one has heard before,” to be revealed over the next few episodes of the podcast. He started with an old bootleg of Kings Of Tomorrow‘s “Finally” at the end of this month’s show, a throwback to Avicii’s classic sound full of rich piano, catchy claps, and soulful vocals.
  • He’s developed a serious “bromance” with Martin Garrix, which is pretty adorbs if you ask me.
  • He’s working on his upcoming album, Stories, 8 hours a day. As usual, Tim will be pushing genre boundaries, announcing that the album features some songs at a slower BPM, and at least one that’s not in 4/4. I can’t wait to hear that.
  • He will be returning to perform a residency at Ushuaia Ibiza on Sundays in July and August, which he seems super excited about. (I mean, who wouldn’t be?)

The Music

I find the Levels podcast to be very hit and miss. Last month’s episode was a heaping helping of generic, big room bangers, and frankly made me consider unsubscribing. This week made up for it though, with plenty of progressive and electro house in the mix and enough variety to keep things interesting. And a handful of the songs really on this episode stood out to me:

ID – “Red Roses”

“Holy shit!” was my reaction when I hit that drop. The track starts inauspiciously enough, sounding a bit like an old western tune with a folksy stringed instrument strumming on the off-beat and a reverby electric guitar-like lead crooning away. There’s the build – “and then it hit me!” – and boom, you just got dropped into some seriously funky deep house. Someone call The M Machine because it looks like their sound’s got a new challenger. I’m left wondering who’s responsible for this creative and killer track. (Not sure what ID means? Read the definition in the EDM Dictionary.) [Update 11 May: Looks like this track is the work of Pep & Rash.]

Mike Candys & Jack Holiday – “The Drill”

I’m a sucker for a good electro house beat, and this song had me hooked from the beginning. It’s got some serious Deadmau5 influence going on, invoking most obviously “Some Chords.” Between the monotonous electric lead, the driving kick, and the thrumming bass, it’s a great, danceable track, even if it doesn’t have all the subtlety of a Deadmau5 production. And hats off to Avicii for mixing this one seamlessly into the much more ferocious “Summer” by DIMARO, whose lead synth sound is nearly identical.

Avicii & Ash – “Papa was a Rolling Stone”

One of my favorite things about Avicii is his deep respect for his musical roots and influences. This song is a perfect example of that, in which he pays serious tribute to Stevie Wonder, essentially ceding the entire break to the soulful musician as he rocks the fuck out on a talk box. The clip is excellent – it shows off Stevie’s virtuosity while incorporating the priceless reactions of the audience as well as a low-fi sound that places us in time back to the 70s. The song then segues into an acid-influenced big-room electro beat which, to be honest, pales in comparison to Stevie’s jamming. Tim calls Stevie’s performance “the definition of swag,” which is entirely accurate.

Oh, and if you’re wondering who Ash is, that would be Ash Parnouri, Avicii’s longtime manager and an industry mogul.

Check out the full track list below and catch the podcast on iTunes here.

Avicii Levels Podcast Episode 035 Track List

01. Dear David – I’ve Been Waiting
02. Eric Prydz – Generate
03. Merk & Kremont – Get Get Down
04. Martin Garrix & Tiesto – The Only Way Is Up
05. ID – Red Roses
06. MOGUAI & Joey Beltram vs Cobra Effect – The Zound (Energy Flash)
07. Valentino Khan – Deep Down Low
08. Mike Candys & Jack Holiday – The Drill
09. DIMARO – Summer
10. Firebeatz & DubVision – Invincible (Instrumental)
11. AVICII & ASH – Papa Was A Rolling Stone
12. Henrix Feat Celeda – The Underground (David Tort Digital Lab Remix)
13. Kings Of Tomorrow – Finally (Avicii Bootleg)