Ten Years Ago at Coachella, Daft Punk Changed the World

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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.

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

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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!

 

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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.