The Moment I Realized I Might Be Too Old for This Shit or, My Night at a DJ Snake Concert

DJ Snake at Echostage in Washington, DC. August, 2015.

There have been few moments in my life where I’ve been made to feel old… and it’s because, well, I’m not. At 25, the world is still my oyster. Though it may not be as indulgent as during those precious college years, I can still live impulsively and free of major responsibilities like a mortgage, kids, and a hubby at home. But the progression of my evening at Echostage last Saturday night lead me to conclude that I’m inching further away from that carefree lifestyle…voluntarily.

DJ Snake was supposed to be another epic night at Echostage, but it turned out to be an eye-opening experience into the subtle ways your tastes change  as you grow into adulthood.

I present to you the timeline of my epiphany:

9:30 p.m.

Anita and I have just left our place, we’re ready to take on the night. Sneakers on our feet, pep in our step. We continuously gush about how much fun we’re going to have tonight. “OMG WHEN ‘LEAN ON’ COMES ON.”

9:45 p.m.

While walking down 14th street, I pause in front of a small corner store and turn to Anita, “should we get some turn up juice?” It’s mutually agreed that yes, we must acquire turn up juice.

9:50 p.m.

Chugging Red Bulls as we walk down the street. Feeling invincible.

10:30 p.m.

After spending 20 minutes on our feet at a pregame, we need to find somewhere to sit.

10:40 p.m.

“Oh man, this couch is comfortable!”

11:00 p.m.

We’re in an Uber XL heading to Echostage. The one person with us who has never been before is baffled by how long we’ve been in the car.

11:05 p.m.

My crew discovers that DJ Snake isn’t taking the stage until 1 a.m. A hot flash of panic hits my body.

11:20 p.m.

Echostage is the most packed I’ve ever seen it in the three years it’s been open. There is nowhere to place yourself where you can avoid people that are a) still in their teens b) ambassadors for ratchet or c) worst case scenario, both.

11:45 p.m.

Anita and I go outside for air. As we look around, we notice that we’re truly in terrible company. We’re approached by a boy wearing a terrifying pig mask who tells us he’s part of ISIS. His horrified friend rushes over, trying to drag him away, apologizing for this fool’s absurdities.

12:00 a.m.

WE STILL HAVE AN HOUR BEFORE DJ SNAKE COMES ON.

12:15 a.m.

Anita and I relocate to the back of the venue, as it’s the only spot where we can breathe and dance freely. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try to get into it, the opener (some guy named Wuki) is absolute shit.

12:25 a.m.

The topic of leaving Echostage is surfaced. Maybe we should go to a neighborhood bar on U street instead? My thought is interrupted by a shirtless man squeezing past me to get to the bar — however, he leaves his sweat behind…on my face.

12:35 a.m.

A guy who’s half my height and probably half my age asks me if I “want to chill.” Does that line work on anyone? Even teens deserve better than that.

12:45 a.m.

“We only need to last 15 more minutes let’s wait until he comes out.”

1:00 a.m.

Fireball shots.

1:05 a.m.

Sweet baby Jesus. We never thought we’d make it but we did. DJ Snake has taken the stage and it is ABSOLUTELY FIRE.

DJ Snake at Echostage in Washington, DC. August, 2015.


1:30 a.m.

TURN DOWN FOR WHAT!

2:10 a.m.

Everything. Just say yes to turning down.

2:15 a.m.

I turn to Anita and say the magic words “I’m ready if you are…” She grabs my arm in sweet relief and the two of us summon an Uber to liberate us from the sweaty prison we should have known better than to walk into.

2:30 a.m.

Sitting in the back of our Uber, slowly making our way toward the coziness of home, I turn to Anita. “We’re too old for that shit.”

The time we spent dancing to DJ Snake was a blast and he was just as incredible as I remembered him being at Ultra 2014. Unlike the opener, DJ Snake didn’t just follow a pattern of predictable drop followed by boring drop followed by predictable drop. He seamlessly blended his hit tracks with older, hugely-popular songs and he even brought out Swizz Beatz! But it was the first time I felt so annoyed by circumstances outside of my control at a rave that it affected my ability to have a good time.

And that, friends, is how you know you might be getting too old for that shit.

Weekly Mix Vol.29: New Gorgon City, ODESZA, and Big Gigantic

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ODESZA at U Street Music Hall in Washington, DC. September, 2014.

Last weekend my girl Gabi pulled me aside and in her gentle way (ahem — grabbing my arm and raising her voice) said to me, “LN, why have I not gotten a blog post in weeks?! Where is my blog post?!” She wasn’t having any of my laziness, which is good because I needed someone to pull me out of my self-imposed hiatus. This is what good friends are for! That being said, this week’s playlist is dedicated to Gabz for nudging me to get back to what I love doing.

Now that August’s quiet tedium has descended upon most of us, I thought it would be a good idea to create a playlist that reminds us all summer isn’t over yet. There are still plenty of weekends left for barbecues, pool parties, and boat days; consider this set of tunes your perfect accoutrement to any of the above day drinking activities.

Things kick off with the new Griz and Big Gigantic collaboration, full of the sax we love so much plus some funky beats. Then, it transitions to three of my favorite new remixes from /ˈlo͞osid/, Hippie Sabotage, and KREAM ( Yes, I do have a favorite: Hippie Sabotage’s remix of “Feels” has been on a loop all afternoon and that will no doubt continue through tomorrow). From there, take a listen to the new Gorgon City track, which will remind you why the duo shot to stardom last year with their debut album “Sirens.” The next three tracks are for the deep house and tech house fans out there: a new Matt Lange track, a fantastic Jody Wisternoff rework by Chicane, and a dope track from an artist I just discovered named AYO ALEX.

The last leg of the playlist transitions to future house and ends with two of my favorite new trap songs from this week. The future house sounds start with the new ODESZA track featuring Little Boots called “Light” from their forthcoming album “In Return” out Sept. 18. Those upbeat, bass-driven future house vibes continue with new tracks from Aevion and Koos. The mix wraps up with two trap bangers that will have you twerking in your chair all day long. The new collaboration between T-Mass and Far East Movement is everything I hoped it would be — aggressive, yet melodic, and totally unique — and Instant Party!’s take on “Lean On” is the trap remix the song of the summer never knew it deserved.

Happy listening, friends!

 

Weekly Mix Vol. 28: Good Vibes with Moullinex, Major Lazer, and JayKode

Last Thursday, I danced the night away at Ultrabar. With my bestie by my side, I was swept away by Jeremy Olander’s meticulously crafted 2-hour set. To top off an already incredible evening, my girl Nicole and I even got to meet Jeremy thanks to a little help from some new friends. Just in case you were wondering, he’s a super nice, friendly guy!

I woke up Friday morning feeling wildly energized about this blog. There are so many exciting producers making a name for themselves that it’s hard to simply choose a handful to assemble into a weekly mix. This week, however, wasn’t difficult to edit. As soon as I heard each of these tracks, I knew they were exactly what needed to be part of this playlist.

I hope you love these tunes as much as I do. Happy listening!

 

Jeremy Olander: Progressive House’s New King

 

Nicole and I with Jeremy Olander after his set at Ultrabar in Washington,DC on July 16, 2015.

Just like any other genre, dance music is cyclical. Artists rise like a wave, propelled both by talent and the momentum of specific cultural needs they fill for an audience; that wave eventually breaks, forcing them to slowly dissipate back into the vast body of unknowns where they were formed. Some artists manage to extend the break, but most rise and fall swiftly. The turnover, however, often feels like it’s especially accelerated within dance music.

Thanks in large part to how frequently producers release music — and that most of it can be found for free on platforms like YouTube, Soundcloud, and Last.fm — there always seems to be a great, new up-and-coming DJ making a name for him/herself in the dance music community. So, within this notoriously saturated sphere, which artists are poised to be a part of the next cycle of success? Though I can’t answer that question definitively or comprehensively, I think one of those people is Jeremy Olander.

Olander is by no means a newbie on the dance music scene. He’s been releasing EPs since 2009.

Since 2011, Olander has been a part of the exclusive Pryda Records roster, spearheaded by progressive house guru Eric Prydz. He’s released hits like “Fairfax,” “Riots,” and “Let Me Feel” through the label, though he also continued to work with other dance music labels throughout the years as well.

But it feels like the wind is picking up for Olander, and I think it’s due in large part to the U.S. deepening its relationship with more ambient-sounding progressive house music. For a long time, it felt like Americans — specifically, young people new to the dance music scene — were only interested in festival-style EDM complete with big drops, huge venues, and insane laser shows. Though that genre is still wildly popular, there’s a growing segment of the dance community here that thirsts for a sound that’s more melodic and emotional. Olander perfectly fills that need.

Jeremy Olander at Ultrabar, Washington, DC

Last night, I went on a journey. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I go to a lot of shows. I love dancing like a maniac at a trap show as much as I like swaying to the slower rhythms of a deep house set. But Jeremy Olander’s set at Ultrabar transported me to a place of pure joy. Time suddenly warped and suspended like a dream as I closed my eyes and tapped into a euphoric state that isn’t always achievable at a show. Sometimes it’s because you’re not in the right mood but more often than not it’s because the artist turns out to have no connection with the crowd whatsoever.

Olander is one of those artists who knows how to deliver. He’s fully attuned to his audience at all times, carefully controlling his pace to guide you through a steady exploration of musical ups and downs. The 2h15min set was captivating, electric, and, most importantly, varied. I was lucky enough to briefly meet Olander after the set, so I can also attest to the fact that he’s a very nice person; he even posed for a photo with my friend Nicole and I!

Olander’s career may not be breaking just yet, but its momentum is building rapidly. It’s only a matter of time before he feels the swelling energy of that wave propelling him to the forefront of his genre. And I can’t wait for it.

 

 

Weekly Mix Vol. 27: Deep House, Future House, and Future Bass

Another week, another set of tunes. For this edit I decided to focus on three genres that are consistently growing in popularity. Just in case Deep House, Future House, and Future Bass all sound like different versions of the same thing to you, these are the primary differences.

Deep House

The genre originated in the ’80s as a subgenre of house music, fusing elements of Chicago house, jazz, and soul often layered over ambient vocals. Tracks are generally between 120 and 125 beats per minute. Examples of deep house artists include Maya Jane Coles, Ben Pearce, Hot Since 82, and Dusky.

Future House

Future house is a direct descendant of deep house. Tracks have a slightly higher bpm but maintain a similar slow, ambient feel of deep house. The genre is essentially a fusion of deep house and drops/bass more typical of festival-style EDM. Examples of Future House artists include Tchami and Oliver Heldens.

Future Bass

Of the three genres, this one is the most up in the air and open for interpretation. Right now, future bass is characterized as any track with emphasis on a hard bass line that can’t be relegated to a single genre. Examples of future house artists include Odesza, Giraffage, and Cashmere Cat.

This playlist features some of all three. With that little lesson out of the way, here’s this week’s playlist!

 

Five Trap Artists You Should Be Listening to Right Now

Whenever I tell people I have a blog that focuses primarily on music, I usually get asked the same question: “so, who should I listen to right now?”

It’s simple, yes, but also puts a lot of pressure on the respondent to provide an intriguing answer. You can’t name a popular artist because then you come off as unoriginal, but simultaneously you can’t give too far-fetched an answer because then you run the risk of being labeled a snob. But if you’re me, you completely freeze up under the pressure of providing any answer at all.

I spend most of my day with headphones on, listening to mixes, albums and singles of genres ranging from deep house to new metal (and just about everything in between) but when I’m put on the spot, it’s suddenly difficult to remember those hours spent happily finding new music. The pressure of that question triggers a flood of information to my brain, drowning my ability to pick out any one fact.

So, in an effort to better answer that question, I’ve decided to spend more time writing about great up-and-coming artists I think people should be listening to. This week’s edit is all trap music because I’ve been posting a lot of tracks from this group of musicians. Some of them will definitely sound familiar if you listen to the weekly mixes!

Instant Party!

23-year old “Kenny” is killing the remix game. When I first heard “Hoodrat Anthem” my gut reaction was “Ho-ly shit.” The synth lead is perfection and as it progresses you know you’re in for a banger of a track. In the last six months he’s remixed some of the biggest names in music including Kanye West, Flume, and Tiesto. You can find him on Facebook and Soundcloud.

Krs.

Based out of Toronto, this guy caught my attention with his dope remix of “BBHMM.” Of the many, many, many remixes of Rihanna’s song, the Krs. version is my favorite. Yes, even more than the Flosstradamus remix! Everything I’ve heard from him since has been just as great. He has a unique sound that comes through in everything he does that’s easily recognizable. You can find him on Soundcloud.

T-Mass

Seamlessly blending melody and bass to create his trap sound, T-Mass is a producer/DJ who has clearly mastered his art. His original music has lived up to the hype of his remixes, which isn’t always the case in the EDM world. You can find him on Soundcloud.

K Theory

This San-Francisco based group made up of Malcolm Anthony (vocals), Dylan Lewman (sampling, live conducting), and Dustin Musser (Keys, sampling) has made serious waves in the past year. They define their genre as “electronic hip-hop” but there’s something about their sound that still feels trap heavy. You can find them on Facebook and Soundcloud

Arman Cekin

Hailing from the Netherlands, Cekin frequently collaborates with other artists (including fellow artist from this list, T-Mass!) to release breathtaking tracks. The T-Mass and Arman Cekin remix of AlunaGeorge’s hit song “You Know You Like It” is, no contest, my favorite remix of the year so far. I’m really excited to hear more from him in the future.  You can find him on Facebook and Soundcloud.

Back Then: Remember That Time Someone Combined Flume and the Notorious B.I.G. Into a Compilation Album?

The first time I heard Flume’s song “Sleepless” I remember feeling completely captivated by its dreamy flow. It’s the kind of track that reminds listeners of the potential for electronic music to be more than just drops, transcending into a realm where each sound is carefully crafted and strategically placed to achieve a balanced and melodic whole that’s still completely danceable.

Flume, real name Harley Edward Streten, is one of the best young producer’s making electronic music today. His self-titled debut album was released in Australia at the end of 2012 (February 2013 in the U.S.) and I still listen to is constantly. When remixes started to surface after the album’s official release, one in particular really caught my attention: “Juicy Insane.” The track is a combination of Flume and the Notorious.

The two may not seem like they go together, but oh, oh they do!

Yesterday, I was reminded that this gem exists on the internet (shout out to my best Gchat bud Benn Wineka for this one!) and I felt compelled to share it as a fun throwback Thursday post today. This 30-minute album mix fuses some of the Notorious B.I.G.’s greatest songs with tracks off of Flume’s critically-acclaimed debut album. The result is surprisingly amazing — one of the greatest rappers in the history of his genre side by side with one of the best young producers working today. The geniuses responsible are Aussie producers Jaymee Franchina and Jeremy Smith. And for that, I thank them.

Tracklist:
0:00 Ezra’s limit
4:15 Sintra’s Dead Wrong
7:18 Juicy Insane
11:07 Party Changes Are Bullshit
14:21 Party Girl Anthem
16:55 Warm Suicidal Thoughts
19:07 Space Cadet Struggle
21:14 Having Starry Eyes is a Deadly Combination
24:11 Can I Get Wit Ya In Zimbabwe
27:25 Big Poppa is Sleepless

 

Weekly Mix Vol. 26: The Week’s Best Remixes featuring DJ Snake, Flume, and T-Mass

Flume at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC. July 24, 2014.

Flume at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC. July 24, 2014.

If you’re still floating in a post- Fourth of July fog, you’re certainly not alone. After a weekend of too much of, well, everything, going back to work on Monday was both physically and mentally taxing. If you’ve done nothing but head straight home to be one with your couch at 6 p.m. every day, you’ll find absolutely no judgement here.

Thankfully, another weekend now feels within reach! Whether you’re gathering the strength to rally for another round of booze-fueled festivity or planning a low-key escape at home, you’ll still need some new music to help you slug through the work week en route to two days of bliss.

This week’s playlist is essentially all remixes, but that’s only because there were too many standout tracks to choose from! I couldn’t just pick two or three, so I decided to include them all. On Monday, Thump premiered a new batch of remixes of Tchami’s track “After Life.” All of them brought something new and unique to the song, but the DJ Snake and Mercer remix was far and away the best of the bunch. Also on top of the remix game is Aussie star producer Flume. He put his signature spin on the Collarbones track “Turning,” transforming the tune into an unpredictable journey of musical sounds.

I’ve been posting a lot of music from T-Mass lately and this is largely because I’m convinced he’s going to be a big, big name in trap soon — more on him in an upcoming post on Friday! His latest effort is what can only be described as a super-remix. Sampling tracks from Jack U, Porter Robinson, Kaskade, and Deadmau5, “Language for Now” is the perfect summer mash-up song. It’s trap that isn’t too heavy on the bass drops, meaning even people who hate sounds typically characterized as “EDM Trap” can get into this tune.

In addition to fantastic remixes from Grum, Chris Lake, Ale Mora, and Krs., this mix also includes new original tracks from Pryda, ATTLAS, DIMMI & Goldfish, and Little Boots.

 

Finally, not included in the mix but absolutely necessary as a part of your life, here is the new Migos track. There’s nothing like some Migos to put a smile on my face, no matter how absurd the lyrical value of the song. “Pipe It Up” will appear on the group’s new album, “Y.R.N.: Tha Album” set for release July 31.


 

*Special note to DC-based friends: DJ Snake will be at Echostage on August 18! I saw him at Ultra Music Festival 2014 and his show was a raucous, high-energy dance party. If you’re into his music, he’s worth seeing live.

 

Booze and Beats: Your 4th of July Playlist for a Perfect Weekend of Festivities

Happy 4th of July from the nation's capital!

Happy 4th of July from the nation’s capital!

The smell of juicy burgers sizzling on the grill, cheerful bursts of laughter as friends catch up, and buzzed feeling of joy from a few too many beers — ah, yes, it’s the annual celebration of America’s birthday! A day of partying and indulgence that should only be fueled by the best summer tunes.

Though I’m still not entirely sure how I’ll be celebrating over the holiday weekend (hopefully by a pool sipping an endless supply of mojitos) I expect to be happy, buzzed, and listening to great tunes. And since it’s ALWAYS a bad idea to assume the music will be good at a party, I’ve created a nifty little Fourth of July mix that I will stealthily be trying to play anywhere I go — and you should too.

This party playlist starts out with some upbeat tropical/funk house/future house vibes and gets more progressive as it unravels. There are some definitive songs of summer on this mix as well as some lesser-known tracks. No matter what you vibe, there’s something for everyone here!

Have a happy, safe, and vibin’ Fourth of July, everyone! xx

Weekly Mix Vol. 25: All Deep and Progressive Edit

It’s been a while since my last post! I can spend the next few sentences making up excuses for what’s been taking up so much of my time lately, but instead let’s jump right into the good stuff.

I spent the last couple of days playing catch up on three weeks worth of music, and wow, summer is definitely bringing out the best in DJs. For this week’s edit I opted to create a playlist that is exclusively filled with deep and progressive house tracks. After spending last weekend in Miami, I’m so sure that deep house is headed toward mainstream popularity in the very near future. There wasn’t a single restaurant I walked past that wasn’t playing some sort of deep/progressive house mix — which wouldn’t have been the case even a year ago when everyone was still totally infatuated with the biggest drops possible.

This mix will be a great addition to a day by the pool or on the beach; or sitting at your desk wishing you were in Ibiza. Let the good vibes sweep you away!