Category: PREviews / REviews

Enhanced Sessions Vol. 4 – An Interview w/ Estiva & Juventa

*written by Vix for Electronica Life

Estiva & Juventa come together for an amazing compilation which holds remixes and original tracks from these two talented artists and the rest of the Enhanced Music family. This album is one that won’t go unrecognized, as it is one of the most anticipated Trance compilations of 2014. With the release of “Enhanced Sessions Vol. 4″ combined with the support of some of today’s biggest Trance artists, Estiva & Juventas’ careers can be expected to skyrocket into absolute stardom. I recently had a chance to catch up with the pair, and chat about the album release.

Vix – What can your fans look forward to that will enhance their experience during each of your tour performances of the upcoming compilation album?

Estiva – There’s a lot of forward thinking music on the compilation. The mixture of melodies and club-orientated beats is something that will become really big in my opinion. People are ready for intelligent melodies, but they still want the right amount of losing control to the bass. This compilation has found that balance.

Juventa – Obviously all the new / exclusive material from the compilation itself, some recently finished Juventa originals and new edits and mash-ups! I’m also trying to play some of the more alternative stuff that I’ve produced over the last few months (bits from my Culture Flow EP, for example).

Vix – How does your personal styles as musicians enhance the album as a whole?

Estiva – I think Juventa and I can create pretty similar songs but if you look at the bigger picture his sound is more raw, dark and industrial. Mine is a little more flowers and sweet candy ;). Both mixes really represent our sound so you’ll be hearing the full spectrum of emotions.

Juventa – I think my mix is a really nice blend of clubbier stuff and melodic / progressive tracks. I tried to bring the best of both worlds together, just as I try in my productions and live sets.

Vix – With some of the world’s top electronic artists such as: Armin Van Buuren, Above & Beyond, Tritonal, Dash Berlin, Tiësto, and many more already giving their support and recognition to each of you as amazing artists, how do you think their support will enhance the hype of the album release?

Estiva – I have no doubt they’ll pick up songs from the album and play them in their radio shows and live. This way ‘our’ sound will spread easily!

Juventa – Their radio shows attract different crowds; with support from so many big names it’s a lot easier to get the word out and let people know that a new mix compilation is coming.

Vix – How do you feel the release of the album will enhance each of your already rapidly rising careers in the world of Electronic Dance Music?

Estiva – The album is a great showcase of our sound. What we like to listen to and what we like to play out live is on this mix, so people will really get a good idea of us as artists!

Juventa – I’ve only done two mix compilations in the past and this is definitely the biggest one I did so far. There is so much new material included on the album, a lot of people look forward to it. Having my name attached to a mix series like this one gives a huge boost in the right direction.

Vix – In your own words, how will the release of the album be the “start of a new era” for the Enhanced Sessions radio show?

Estiva – Juventa and myself are now on rotation with Tritonal and Will Holland to host the show. This means each month you will hear us produce a radio show in the style of the album!

Juventa – This is the first time I worked on an Enhanced Sessions compilation, AND I am now hosting the radio show each 4 weeks. If that doesn’t mark the beginning of a new era… ;)

Vix – What are your thoughts on being featured in “Enhanced Sessions vol. 4″ compared to the other appearances you made in the previous parts of the Enhanced Sessions series?

Estiva – The album is greatly appreciated amongst fans as there’s always a lot of unreleased material on it. People are really eager to hear those new sounds so if your own productions are on it, it is a great way to promote your new works!

Juventa – It feels great to be a part of such a massive compilation. So many Enhanced artists were involved in delivering the material for the compilation and it’s an honor to be the person to put all of that together and deliver the final product, alongside someone as talented as Estiva!

Vix’s final words…

Enhancing Dance music is something that seems to only come naturally for these two diverse trance acts. With the mixture of their different takes on the melodic, club banging sounds that we’ve come to know them for, this album will only set in stone their promising futures in Electronic Dance Music.

Skrillex Fall Tour Lands in Chicago October 18th

This October Saturday the 18th, the Skrillex Fall Tour comes to Chicago. So far this year, Skrillex has been tearing through the nation with his new album release and a huge west coast tour during the summer. Now, after unveiling his new “Try it Out” video with Alvin Risk, he is back in tour mode.

The Fall Tour kicks off in Miami on September 26th followed by an immediate visit to the iconic TomorrowWorld festival in Atlanta, GA. Skrillex will land upon plenty of other locations all over the

U.S. with the likes of A$AP Ferg, DJ Snake, Big Gigantic, GTA, DJ Mustard, Nadastrom, Tokimonsta, Kaytranada, Tchami, Vindata, Jen Lasher, David Heartbreak, Branchez, Valentino Khan and Alesia. The tour eventually wraps up in Las Vegas on November 2nd at the one and only XS nightclub.

Skrillex makes his stop at the historic Navy Pier Festival Hall with special guests A$AP Ferg and Valentino Khan on October 18th. As expected the people of Chicago are in for something truly special too as The Navy Pier has been an icon in Chicago since its construction in 1916. House music has deep roots in the windy city dating back to the 80s, and Halloween will be only right around the corner. This show has all the elements to end up being one of the top shows from the tour, maybe even the whole year.

Click Here for More Information & To Purchase Tickets

Skrillex Fall Tour Dates
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19 years in the making : Nocturnal Wonderland 2014

*written by Crystal Garcia for Electronica Life

The first week of September may bring the end of summer fun for some as school begins again, but for over 55,000 electronic music enthusiasts it was only the beginning of one of the most anticipated weekends of the year in Southern California. The 19th annual Nocturnal Wonderland festival returned to the San Manuel Amphitheater & Grounds in San Bernardino, CA for two full days of endless festivities. Nocturnal Wonderland is not only Insomniac Events longest running festival, but has also become North America’s longest running dance music festival!

The San Manuel Amphitheater transformed for two days and three nights as Nocturnal attendees were also invited to camp at the grounds adjacent to the festival. During the sun drenched days a water park was available, and campers were invited to keep the party going into the wee hours of the morning at the on-site silent disco.

As festival revelers entered the lush landscape, they were greeted by a towering Zen Owl inviting them to explore the mystery and enchantment of Wonderland that lay before their eyes. Just beyond yonder of the mainstage, a neon glowing boombox planted itself on a downwards hill hosting a variety of DJ’s inside for the entertainment of passers by. Many who passed through grooved to the music as they made their way to another stage, but a few who just couldn’t help themselves opted to stay and get lost in deep beats.
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Lit up lily pad’s gave relief to tired feet, as they served as one of many meet up points for attendees to reunite with new and old friends alike. The festival perimeter was adorned with colorful lights that could put any Christmas show to shame. Festival lights twinkled and sparkled in the basking glow of a moonlight sky, as an array of patterned clouds complimented the vast festival scenery in a hilltop view from above.

Keeping true to the original Wonderland brand theme of Alice in Wonderland, the “Upside Down Room” stage was a sight easily mistaken for a movie set. As the name says it, the stage was literally an upside down room. A hanging chandelier adorned the dance floor, and upside down furniture furnished rooms on the outskirts of the dancefloor as a place to rest for weary dancers.

On the second night, house legends took over the stage paying homage to the festival that began as they were each paving the way in their musical careers. Lenny V opened the stage on Saturday followed by a B2B performance between Mark Farina and DJ Heather. Bad Boy Bill, Charles Feelgood, Donald Glaude and DJ Dan continued the legendary performances, and delivered what many long time fans had been eagerly anticipating : a night of soulful, groovy, deep and funky house music.
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The “Queen’s Ground” Stage was the home for Trance lovers on Friday as Jaytech, Super8 & Tab, Myon & Shane 54, TYDI, and Tritonal graced the stage for a night of goosebump inducing vocals and angelic melodies.

On Saturday, the crowd received a proper Melbourne Bounce set with a three way B2B by Will Sparks, Joel Fletcher and Timmy Trumpet. The three talented young Aussies took the audience by storm in one of the most energetic performances of the weekend. Joel Fletcher took charge of the decks as Will Sparks was a burst of energy on stage, and had the entire crowd bouncing to Timmy’s live trumpet version of tracks vibrating from the speakers.

Timmy even dared crossing the element with his rendition of Tiesto’s classic take on “Adagio For Strings.” The execution was perfection and the crowd went absolutely nuts. Raw, real and uncut talent fulfilled this magical performance as fans were encouraged to interact in the live experience.

On Friday, Netsky delivered a top notch set at the Bassrush hosted Drum & Bass stage “Sunken Garden.” The Belgian DJ dropped fan favorites “Come Alive“ and  “Everyday (Netsky Remix)”, while also introducing Nocturnal Wonderland to his new vocal collab “Running Low.” MC frontman Steve Script MC, worked the audience into a head bobbing wave while Netsky unleashed his signature infectious beats and heart pumping inducing heavy bass.
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The Glitch Mob closed out the Sunken Garden with one of the most memorable performances of the festival. With their electrifying stage presence, the trio rocked their hour and a half closing set from beginning to end. Glittering lasers bouncing from the stage complimented the thumping bass lines and soaring chords of The Glitch Mob’s distinctive and rich sound.

The “Labyrinth” made itself at home as Nocturnal’s mainstage inviting the likes of headlining acts  Arty, Mat Zo, and Rehab among many others into it’s sacred space. The Mad Hatter and March hare made their larger than life appearances alongside the overseeing Zen Owl. The entire stage flickered with every beat drop in a dizzying display of lasers and pulsating color changing lights.

Although he was late for a very important date, Nicky Romero still fulfilled his mainstage duties with crowd frenzying drops , despite being forty minutes late. Martin Garrix and Bingo players closed out each night at the Labyrinth with dazzling firework displays igniting the night sky dispersing from the mainstage with every drop and DJ invoked countdown.

With each passing year, the production value that Insomniac dedicates to their events surpasses any and all expectations held. Festival attendees are encouraged to explore a world beyond their wildest dreams in a land of wonder and mystery complete with electrifying carnival rides, jubilant performers, interactive art installations, innovative production, and multiple stages of world class music. We congratulate Insomniac for the 19 year strong run of Nocturnal Wonderland, and cheers in anticipation for the next Nocturnal Wonderland 20th Anniversary year!
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Album Review: Anjunadeep 06

*written by Shimmy for Electronica Life

In this day and age of artists more concerned with releasing their next single, to be able to sit down and listen (actually more like groove) to an entire album where each track has been carefully selected and purposefully mixed was quite enjoyable. While I can’t say I can truly make a decision whether or not I love an album after listening to it for just one week, my knee jerk reaction to the recently released Anjunadeep 06 is that it may be my favorite compilation from the Anjunabeats sub-label.

Similar to Anjunadeep 05, the same two artists teams up to mix Anjunadeep 06; except rather than doing a portion of the album apiece, they team up to do magically mix it all. And it works. Although James Grant also manages his brother’s trance group Above & Beyond and Jody Wisternoff is busy working on his new album with Way Out West, they both spent the time to meticulously join together the compilation in a way that takes the listener through a musical journey that is soulful, deep, and somewhat progressive.

The two cd album has already hit #1 on the iTunes dance chart and rightfully so. The more I listen to each of the 31 tracks, the more I find myself wishing that summer wasn’t ending. Soaking up the sun with the rythmic basslines and intoxicating melodies of Anjunadeep 06 sounds like every house head’s dream.

The 1st cd of the album starts off with Croquet Club’s “Only You Can Tell.” A bit slow and ambient, but not uncommon from an opener. It could have been placed later in the mix just as well since I tend to prefer more instrumentals in intros. However, the vocals in the next track “Open Frontier” are catchy and work well. I just wish it ONLY had female vocals in it, but overall, it does start to get my feet tapping. “Soul Chords” is a transitional track for me, but more from Cubicolor later in this review. Steve Huerta does it right with “Say It Wasn’t.” Gorgeous track with subtle vocals. Very vibey.  Wisternoff’s first contribution is his remix of Danalog’s “Click, Search” which is organic and beautiful. It has a chill tempo and for some reason just makes me want to smile. “If He Runs” might grow on me in the future, but I do find the vocals to be a little unnecessary on this somewhat generic deep house track. The production quality for Cubicolor’s second track in the compilation “Still Linger In My Dreams” is just quality. It’s melodic, cinematic, and infectious. Vocals from Gladys Knight make up a portion of Lane 8′s “Without You” which don’t work as well as the vocals in his subsequent track “Diamonds.” Powerful basslines complemented by intoxicating percussions make this one for the dancefloor. Infectious, repetitive vocals make 16 Bit Lolitas song “Deep In My Soul” one of my favorites. I catch myself humming the lyrics to myself all the time! Progressive, bassy, and deep make “I Wanna Know” a very dirty, dirty track. Dusky’s contribution “4T4″ is groovy but for some reason for me, slightly forgettable. Martin Roth resurrects himself with “Maya,” a dark techno journey that I’m happy to take. “Crash Reel” brings back more vocals, but I’m not sure if they properly piece together the bells and bassline. Despite the abrupt transition, “Premium Emo” works well as the finale on the 1st cd. Positive & vibey, this chill, melodic track is a success.

Disc 2 definitely has a better flow to it, but is a mixed bag. Starts off with Croquet Club again, but his remix of Aquilo’s “Part Of Your Life.” Definitely groovy at times, but I hear slight undertones of indie rock as well. Three producers got in the studio to remix the next track “Hollow Talk” by Choir of Young Believers. The original is the theme song for a Scandivanian drama, but Wisternoff, Grant and Lane 8 upgraded this version with warm and infectious beats. Pete Tong has called Cubicolor’s 3rd installment on this compilation, “Got This Feeling” the “song of the summer.” It is very deep and I completely agree that is gives off a summer vibe. With catchy lyrics, “Feel The Fire,” by the female duo Eli & Fur, takes you through an edgier journey over a techy melody. I was a fan of the way Dave Angel’s “Quartz” started with it’s bass heavy beginning, but then the repetitive female slow burp halfway through the track ruined it for me. “Take Me Home” features a garage and funk sound with vocals that compliment well. I’m still undecided on this song, but it may be a grower. “Givin’ It Up” has gotten an edit with retro and funky beats, but definitely sounds like a live recording. I found nothing special with Stimming’s remix of HVOB’s “Lion.” I wouldn’t say I don’t like it, but I’m somewhat disinterested. Jody and James add their own deep tweaks to the originally progressive track “Another Tone.” It’s quite refreshing after several slower tunes. However, “My Love” by Shur-i-kan gives the ears a vintage vibe, but just like the title, not much uniqueness in this one. The piano in “Rebound” is highlight of the track, unfortunately, there is not much else. Conversely, there is a lot going on in Meramek & Tropixx’ “Only You.” Between the vocal hook and the beautiful melody, not much negative can be said about this dance floor hit. Lots of layers to be found in Jody’s track “Paramour,” with when combined with his 2 minute breakdown gives the listener an old school ride that lasts just a tad too long. There is a definite classic sound to Leftwing & Kody’s “Tell Me.” A little progressive and surging bassline make this vocal track memorable to me. The sexiest track of the compilation goes to Universal Solution’s “Bandur.” May your ears take you on a sultry ride. If I was to close my ears and imagine what outro I would close this album with it would have to be this beautiful version of “Only The Winds.” It takes me to my happy place.

I enjoyed the journey of Anjunadeep 06 and do not see the label or compilation series slowing down anytime soon. Besides deep house growing in popularity year after year and gaining momentum in more than just transformational festivals, the genre itself is becoming more prevalent. At TomorrowWorld at the end of the month, Anjunadeep will be hosting it’s own stage where you’ll be able to catch several label favorites. More companies are opening up their own “deep” sub-label as an answer to the number of artists the genre continues to produce, and from all of us in the electronic music community, we are more than happy to listen.

Connect with Anjunadeep: Facebook | iTunes | Soundcloud | Twitteranjunadeep

ADE 2014: The future of Electronic Dance Music

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The 19th edition of the world’s leading electronic dance music conference and club festival returns to Amsterdam,the Netherlands from October 15th to the 19th. The Amsterdam Dance Event, better known as ADE, divides into three jam packed programs including a conference, playground and club festival over five full days and nights.

ADE CONFERENCE will feature industry panels, lectures, speakers, interviews, artist Q&A’s and discussions, highlighting every aspect of the modern global electronic dance music industry. Unparalleled networking opportunities will be presented as industry professionals, managers,agents,start-ups, publicists, journalists, and aspiring producers and musicians will be in attendance.

The conference will be allocated into six core programs, detailing the broad spectrum of the dance music industry. ADE PRO serves as the main conference program, taking place at two different locations in Amsterdam. The HARD DANCE EVENT connects professionals involved in the harder styles of dance music, while BEAMLAB is dedicated to visual technologies and high-end stage design.

ADE NEXT serves as the conference talent platform offering a broad program including big name producers, top DJs and leading music industry professionals. ADE UNIVERSITY aims at inspiring and educating students and young music industry professionals. Together with ID&T, ADE Introduces ADE GREEN, a brand new conference program focusing on sustainability and sustainable practices in business.

ADE PLAYGROUND will play host to various dance music related lifestyle programs including film screenings, art shows, exhibits, music hardware presentations,promotional activities and pop-up musical performances at 25 creative hotspots around the city, including roof-top terraces, clothing shops, and art galleries, as well as outdoor exhibitions and cinemas.

Each night Amsterdam transforms into a clubbers paradise as ADE FESTIVAL takes the city by storm with over 2,000 DJ’s performing at over 300 events in 80 clubs and venues. Each year the ADE Festival attracts more than 300,000 attendees from all corners of the planet, making Amsterdam a dance music mecca for clubbers and industry professionals alike.

Whether you’re hoping to advance in the dance music industry, or just looking to enjoy the musical aspects, there is an event at ADE for anyone and everyone.

Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of the largest dance music industry and club festival gathering in the world!

Click Here for More Information & To Purchase Tickets

 

A-Trak Has Meet & Greet with Fans via Twitter

*written by Shimmy for Electronica Life
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A-Trak is universally known in the industry as an extremely talented DJ and turntablist. The Canadian-born 32 year old exploded onto the scene when he won the DMC DJ World Championships in 1997 at the mere age of 15. Besides being a touring solo artist, he is also one-half of production duo group “Duck Sauce.” As if he wasn’t busy enough, he owns his own record label, Fool’s Gold Records, which is currently preparing for their “Fool’s Gold Day Off” show in Los Angeles next month.

Last weekend, A-Trak agreed to headline Forever Never Land, an inaugural event in Central California. However, around 7:00 PM PT on Sunday night, festival organizers canceled the event citing “unforeseen circumstances.” Understanding the disappointment of not being able to play for the fans, he took the time to appease the situation by offering a meet and greet with his fans at his hotel:

Not going to lie, I was slightly disappointed he declined my invitation to spin at the house I rented in the area, but meeting him at his hotel with the other fans turned out to be pretty awesome… and a lot less selfish. There is nothing elitist about him; in fact, quite the opposite. You get the feeling that he respects the fans, just as much as we respect him. And respect him we do. He isn’t just another producer who got his fame by creating disposable house music. If you have not seen him live, you will be able to tell the difference.

On this salvaged evening, it was an informal affair; even some of the other artists who were staying in the same hotel also showed up to hang out. We ended up chilling out near the pool on a gorgeous summer night, throwing back some beers, and of course talking music. While I was still waiting for him to surprise us with an impromptu set in his hotel room (wishful thinking), it was one of my favorite nights of the summer. A-Trak gets an A+ in my book. Quack Quack.

Connect with A-Trak: Twitter | Facebook | SoundCloud
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Photos by Miss Mabee Photography for Electronica Life

The Journey From Mix-Tapes To Touch Screens – An Interview w/ SmithsonMartin Inc’s Alan Smithson

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life
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Music has the power to reach us all in very different ways. It can open our hearts to new ideas. It can permanently forge a bond with a stranger. It can transport you. It can move you. For some, that are seeking an unforeseen opportunity, it can inspire you to find the light on an otherwise dark path. I caught up with Alan Smithson, of SmithsonMartin Inc, to discuss his foray into the Toronto EDM scene, when music took over his life, and the creation of one of the most advanced DJ systems the planet has ever seen.

A’Damaged Pro – Where did you grow up?

Alan Smithson – Born and raised in Toronto – 3rd Generation Canadian.

A’Damaged Pro – What were your earliest musical influences?

Alan Smithson – My first record was Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” I had a “Twisted Sister” record, but my mom broke it and told me it was the devil’s music lol.

A’Damaged Pro – What’s your fondest musical memory from growing up?

Alan Smithson – My favourite memories are dancing and singing with my mom to old Motown records. We still dance around the house to the oldies and now I get to dance and sing with my two daughters, Holly and Abi, who are both DJ’s.

A’Damaged Pro – How did you first get introduced to the electronic scene?

Alan Smithson – My first exposure to the scene was when I was 17. My friends took me to a proper warehouse rave. In retrospect, that night changed my life forever. I still have the mixtape I bought. It was a mix by Kenny Glasgow from “Art Department.” I used to stay up on Friday nights and record Chris Sheppard’s Pirate Radio Sessions on CFNY 102.1 Toronto. Right after that show was “Deadly Headly Jones.” I would then take the recordings and make mixtapes of the tracks I loved the best. My friends were always asking me for these exclusive “Star Productions” mixes.

A’Damaged Pro – How has the scene changed from when you were first introduced?

Alan Smithson – When I started going out, you had the mainstream clubs and then you had special nights that played the underground music. I really tried my best to find those places where I knew the music would be proper house and not whigfield (not that there is anything wrong with that). I remember going to a club called “Industry” in Toronto. Now, it’s a “Shopper’s Drug Mart (I guess not much has changed lol).”

Old school “raves” were awesome…You would get a flyer and the graphics were incredible. You would have parties like “Milk,” “Orbital,” “Revolution,” and “Blackout.” You would have to call a phone number and the message would be awesome music with some mc saying “This Friday, Toronto’s #1 Party Promoters, with the biggest sound system the city has ever seen in an absolutely new venue, with four rooms and twelve DJs” You would show up at a designated location, get on a bus with blacked out windows and end up at some seedy warehouse. Then when you went in, you would be blown away by a thousand of the most amazing people dancing to all sorts of music. Jungle, hard core, house, techno…it was all awesome, but by no means safe.

Now, you buy tickets on Ticketmaster and go to a festival with police and paramedics and water stations to see DJs that get paid 100k per night, on stages that make rock concerts look obsolets. Kids, today, have a much better show, but I think the vibe is totally different. Then again, I’m not 19 anymore so maybe it’s me who’s different.

A’Damaged Pro – When do you decide to take the leap from “listener” to “creator?”

Alan Smithson - I was always making mix tapes and I went to a party once where they had turntables and the only song I can remember from that party was “3am Eternal” by KLF. I Played that and the party went nuts. It was at that moment, I knew that I wanted to be a DJ.

 A’Damaged Pro – What did you notice was lacking from contemporary equipment that inspired the “Emulator?”

Alan Smithson – To be honest, I have always had the absolute newest gear. I had just received the first DJM 2000 Mixer in Canada when I saw the first video of Emulator (http://youtu.be/vaiRLpuwDZ0). My immediate thought was “ I need to have that!!” There is really nothing missing from other gear. It is really amazing what companies like Native Instruments, Ableton, Serato, and Pioneer have done to push DJ technology forward. My heroes are those innovators that have got us to the point we are at today. I think that some of the products that we are introducing now are really going to take what those companies have built and really go to the next level. I can’t wait to show people what we have coming up.

The fact that the audience can see what the DJ is doing with Emulator really makes it a show-piece for entertainers. I think it’s not enough to DJ anymore. You either need to produce musice or have a real stage show. There is no secret that if you want to make it big, you need to make killer songs and make videos that impress people. Take “#SELFIE” and “Turn Down For What.” I don’t think that those songs would be nearly as big as they are without those awesome videos.

Emulator has been featured in a ton of music videos and there is a big artist who will be releasing a video featuring Emulator.

A’Damaged Pro – What has been the most rewarding part of the trial and error process that ultimately led to the Emulator Elite?

Alan Smithson – I think that the most rewarding part of building the “Elite” was when we had the first prototype built and ready. It was the day we had a huge investor pitch with over fifty people in attendance. We, literally, had wet glue when we arrived to the pitch. we had an investment offer before I had finished the presentation.

We have gone through some incredible breakthroughs with Emulator. Our first stand was made from some 2×4 pieces of wood we had in our warehouse nailed together. We dubbed it the “Emulator Stand 3000.” We have come a long way from the 3000.

A’Damaged Pro – What was the most daunting moment in the creative process?

Alan Smithson – The moment we realized that our first prototype of the Elite was made from the wrong material. We made the case/stand out of stippled aluminum in order to make it lightweight and we failed to realize that the flex in the material would result in a completely useless product. We all had a good laugh when I used a cocktail table to keep it sturdy while I did the investment pitch. No one knew it didn’t actually work but our team. We now make the case out of an amazingly strong and lightweight honeycomb aluminum.

A’Damaged Pro – How did you become affiliated with the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)? What potential did you originally see in the EMA?

Alan Smithson – I first met Janine, from the EMA, at EDM BIZ three years ago. I was struck by the passion and vision of an organization within our industry that wanted to give back. I feel like our industry has been bombarded by DJs, promoters, and club owners making tons of money, but none of them being philanthropic. I think that the EDM world was so poor for so long that everyone is still coming to grips with the amount of money they are making now. Buying a new Ferrari is more important than giving back.

The EMA was an organization that had a plan, a vision, and really expressed a desire to do good on behalf of an entire industry. I hope that I can do more to contribute in the future.

A’Damaged Pro – As you’ve seen the organization grow, how has your view on the EMA’s potential to incite change evolved?

Alan Smithson – I think the EMA has become more organized and really streamlined their efforts into four categories: Green Wave (a way to protect the earth with environmental initiatives, Play it FWD (a community-based charitable movement), Health/Safety, and Advocacy (to help spread the love of our amazing music and culture).

A’Damaged Pro – How different to do you think the world would be if the entire electronic community signed the EMA’s “Party Pledge?”

Alan Smithson – To be honest, from what I have seen, the entire EDM world has already adopted this without formally agreeing to it. I have very rarely seen any douchebags at EDM events and when they do appear, they are quickly singled out and either removed or chilled out by their friends.

I think that is why I love this culture so much. It breeds love and understanding rather than violence and intolerance. Just ask any of the police in Las Vegas what their favourite event of the year is. The resounding answer is Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC).

A’Damaged Pro – What is your take on the potential therapeutic and healing properties of music?

Alan Smithson – Music has been long since known to calm people and relieve stress. I have only met one person in my life who said they didn’t like music and I think that person died a long time ago.

A’Damaged Pro – What are a few charities whose causes you hold in high regard?

Alan Smithson – The “SickKids Foundation” holds a special place in my heart. No children should have to suffer and “Sick Kids” hospitals really do give kids the best possible chance at a great life.

I think that “Doctors Without Borders” does an excellent job at bringing Western Medicine to third world countries.

The “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” is one of the world’s most important charitable organizations. They have single-handedly eliminated malaria in most places around the world.

A’Damaged Pro – Please list three global issues that you believe deserve immediate attention and your potential solutions for addressing them.

Alan Smithson – Pollution has to top my list. I have the privilege of living in one of the most incredible countries on earth and daily life is not subject to smog, pollution, and poisoned water supplies. I think that a lot of people in the U.S. and Canada rarely think about what is going on in the rest of the world. Take China for example, they had to shut down factories for three weeks to clear out the smog for the Olympics. We must treat our planet with more respect, which is hard when the wealth distribution in the U.S. has become so out-of-whack with the rest of the world.

I, unfortunately, don’t have any solution for this problem other than to say, do your part as individuals and companies to ensure we do right by Mother Earth. She will provide for us if we are good to her.

A’Damaged Pro’s final words…

Mother Earth. Technology. Humanity. There has to be a way to tie it all together. There has to be a way that it all finds an acceptable balance. Where do we start as a community? It appears that we as individuals hold the key. We must “activate” ourselves to be consciously aware of the impact we can and do have on our environment and on society as a whole. One must learn to crawl before one can walk. You must open your mind to the questions before you can accept the answers. It’s no secret that there has always been merit to the “strength in numbers” concept. We, as individuals wield amazing power. As a localized community the power is even greater. Unifying local communities on a global scale could ultimately translate to an unprecedented level of potential change. Alan’s charming take on his personal experiences and the evolution of the EDM scene reminds us that music is central to our intrinsic growth, as a global community, and the beacon of hope for brighter things to come.

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Tomorrowland 2014 Official Aftermovie

Bridging The Gap To Our Awakening – An Interview w/ Mikki Willis, Founding Director of Elevate

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life
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Being proactive in one’s pursuit of identifying and exploring elements and their respective changes in vector, whether it be in policy or social structure, requires a masterful touch. One could argure that a correlation exists between a project’s eficacy, for raising consicous awareness, and the respective method and vehicle of expression utilized to explore the subject. Those who feel their calling lies with creating “vessels of transcendence,” must possess qualities of both the dreamer and the activist, at least to some degree. I would even go so far as to speculate that in cases of effectively-orchestrated renderings, the motivating, driving force behind their respective endeavors is solidified in the polished product. The underlying passion of this proposed connection does not always yield a result that benefits the ultimate “greater good.” The intended cause for these bridges of thought is paramount. I reached out to Mikki Willis, the founding director of the transformative media group “Elevate,”  and he spoke with me about: his “awakening and the evolution of his moral philosophy, his role in transformative media, and his views on the impact ecologically-responsible organizations, such as the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA), can have on the global community.

A’Damaged Pro – Where did you grow up?

Mikki Willis – California.

A’Damaged Pro – What were your earliest musical influences?

Mikki Willis – Queen, AC/DC, and the original white rapper, Blondie

A’Damaged Pro – What’s your fondest musical memory from growing up?

Mikki Willis – Digging to China with a spoon

A’Damaged Pro – What inspired you to get into the “pro-humanity entertainment” business?

Mikki Willis – Seeing the harm media has caused by spreading fear and lies I saw the importance of doing my part to elevate the medium.

A’Damaged Pro – You were in NYC on 9/11. In your opinion, what impact do you think those events had on the moral philosophy of domestic society? Was your outlook affected?

Mikki Willis – It was one of the most effective wake-up calls in a series of wake-up calls over the past few decades. We all witnessed the fragility of the physical world, which caused many people to look beyond the veil. It changed me to the cellular level. My view of the world shifted from me to we. I came away knowing that we are truly in this together and the only way for us to make real lasting change is by deeply listening to and feeling each other.

A’Damaged Pro – How has the scene changed from when you were first introduced?

Mikki Willis – Hollywood is changing. It has a long way to go, but the more high-level influencers that step out of the conscious closet to stand for a system that works for all, the closer we get to building the playground we all came to play in.

A’Damaged Pro – Can you tell me about the ideas behind “Elevate” and the story of its inception?

Mikki Willis – Our tagline is “movie makers/community builders.” We chose that as it speaks into the two things we do best. Loving movies is something we all have in common. A movie is an amalgam of almost every medium of artistic expression, making them transformative when created for that intention. Elevate is a media company focused on spotlighting what’s right in our world. If mainstream TV is your only window to the world, you likely have a very bleak opinion of life and humanity. We’re about shooing the upside of people. The truth is, there’s much more good happening in our world right now than bad, but you would never know that from the images and stories the mainstream media obsesses over.

A’Damaged Pro – What is your position and what are your current responsibilities within your company?

Mikki Willis – I’m the founder and the janitor. I use that title internally to remind myself to never fall into the trappings of hierarchy. At heart I’m a filmmaker. Directing is my core competency.

A’Damaged Pro – What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Mikki Willis – When we create something that moves people to the core and has them reconsider their life and revive their deepest dream.

A’Damaged Pro – Most challenging part?

Mikki Willis – The money thing can be challenging when you’re committed to being in service. So many worthy projects come our way that we just can’t say no to, even when they might not come with financing. Despite the fact that we have a 501c3, we’ve never been good at getting grants, which is on our list for next year.

A’Damaged Pro – What are some projects that you have worked on that have made you challenge or expand upon your own personal belief system, and how, specifically, did they do that?

Mikki Willis – Last year I directed a movie called Neurons to Nirvana: Understanding Psychedelic Medicines. While I’ve been very outspoken around my respect for sacred plant medicines, I’ve always been closed to anything synthetic. N2N opened my eyes to see that man is capable is formulating medicines that skillfully achieve effects similar to that of Mother Nature’s cures. I also directed a movie about the human shadow that totally kicked my ass and forced me to see many aspects of myself that I didn’t want to see. Always a gift!

A’Damaged Pro – How did you become affiliated with the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)? What potential did you originally see in the EMA?

Mikki Willis – Like so many other Gen Xers, the electronic scene was one of my first serious transcendent experiences. I believe all movement need a guild, for lack of a better word. Not a union per se, but a true alliance where like minded people can unite to share ideas, support one another and evolve. That for me is the foundation of EMA.

A’Damaged Pro – As you’ve seen the organization grow, how has your view on the EMA‘s potential to incite change evolved?

Mikki Willis – Like every organization it’s all about the people who hold the vision. In this case, the pillars of this organization authentically care, and they truly know the world of Electronic Music. These are among the many reasons I’ve remained part of the advisory team of EMA when I’ve dropped off of all others for lack of time.

A’Damaged Pro – The media has reported and, in some cases, sensationalized incidents that involved a breakdown in the compassion and attitudes of some festival goers for their friends and contemporaries. An example would be people sending their friends, that need medical attention, home from festivals instead of pursuing helping them. Besides for providing empirical evidence for the press to note that these behaviors are being addressed, what trends can you see emerging as more people adopt a code of conduct along the lines of the EMA‘s “Party Pledge?”

Mikki Willis – It comes down to accountability. For generations we’ve been wired to run from responsibility. Thanks to organizations like EMA the millennials are stepping into an awareness of their role as one organism that simply didn’t exist a few years ago. Ultimately what I see happening is that the individual leader is emerging. Whereas before we all needed some form of authority to tell us where the lines should be drawn, the people are currently stepping up into their own state of self-government.

A’Damaged Pro – If you were put in charge of sending the EMA‘s message to the masses, how would you approach the project?

Mikki Willis – Many ways. Of course I’d focus on creating either one or several viral videos. Perhaps a long form documentary would come into play, too.

A’Damaged Pro – The EMA has their own “Play It FWD” initiative that encourages artists to donate their talent for charity events. As artists can use their respective platforms to spread awareness during their shows and through social media, can you draw any corollaries between the approaches of these two programs?

Mikki Willis – The masses are gradually getting the downside to greed. We’re shifting to realize something we weren’t taught in school: giving is getting. Social media has rewired us to share again. That’s what it’s all about really. All major platforms these days are about sharing information. Experts call it the “gift economy.” Whereas before we hoarded our prize possessions, today we can’t wait to share publicly the rings that touch and inspire us most. For me, that’s what Play It Forward is all about.

A’Damaged Pro – The mainstream media tends to demonize individuals and segments of our culture that pursue cosmic and spiritual enlightenment with the aid of chemical catalysts, whether they be man-made or found in nature. What is your take on the intentional use of entheogens?

Mikki Willis – Since Neurons to Nirvana, I get this question a lot. It’s easy. Look at the recorded facts. Compare how many people die daily as the result of legal drugs such as SSRIs. Then look at the facts on entheogens. Of the few recorded deaths that can be directly  linked to these medicines, in almost every case the deceased ingested multiple drugs. Tens of thousands of people partake in Ayahuasca ceremonies on any given day and to date no one has died. The few cases where people have died with Ayahuasca in their system, all of them had taken other drugs as well. Not smart. The media is not focused on facts. They sell hype, and nothing gets conservatives more hyped than a new “killer drug” to fight against. It allows them to divert the attention from their endangered share holdings in big pharma.

A’Damaged Pro – How would you define “transformational culture?” What role would you like to see it play? What changes can be implemented into global society as it grows?

Mikki Willis – From a distance, some mistake it for “just another party.” Those willing to dig a little deeper will discover that what’s actually happening at these events, in the microcosm, is what will eventually be implemented within the macrocosm. “The kids” as we call them are actually doing the work that the adults abandoned after the 70s. As easy as it is to crack on the hippies, they were seriously onto something. Unfortunately, with the lack of organizations, like EMA, the people lost control of that movement and it went down in history as a big love fest. It was so much more! And it’s been resurrected! But this time the kids are doing it right.

A’Damaged Pro – What are your beliefs regarding “sacred relationships?” How have you implemented these beliefs into your own life in regards to your wife and family? What lessons do you hope to impart on the newest addition to your family?

Mikki Willis – Life is about sacred relationships. If you master that, you win the game! My wife and two sons are my first and highest priority. I was a womanizer for half my life. When I woke up to realize the cost of that I got my shit together real quick! There’s no better feeling than having the girl of your dreams look you in the eyes and say “you’re amazing,” and to be able to own that.

A’Damaged Pro – What is your take on the potential therapeutic and healing properties of music?

Mikki Willis – To understand basic quantum physics to to know that all physical matter is vibrating at a cellular level. There’s a reason that our hearts beat and our blood pulses. We ARE music. When we get this we begin to grok the healing potential of music. In the hands of the right DJ or shaman, music can literally recalibrate our DNA. In fact, I know that one day filmmakers will be using vibrational technologies to guide audiences through transformational journeys. Mark my words.

A’Damaged Pro – Please list three global issues that you believe deserve immediate attention and your potential solutions for addressing them.

Mikki Willis – Climate change. Human to Human communication. Above all, understanding the human mind. Everything problem we currently face can be directly linked to a fundamental flaw in the way humans thinks. To say it bluntly, we’ve all been brainwashed. We’ve been led to see ourselves as consumers and not as creators. We create this world by every choice we make on both the individual and the collective level. We react to life instead of respond to it. There’s a BIG difference between those actions! Those on the forefront of truly creating a new world, that works for all, have one thing in common – they’ve all turned their own thinker inward to see itself and how it works. The result of this is consciousness…the very thing that’s lacking globally.

A’Damaged Pro – What goals have you set for yourself for the next year? 5 years?

Mikki Willis – We have a game-changer of a movie being released early next year called “Be Brave.” We’ll be optimizing all opportunities catalyzed by that to generate a film fund that will allow us to make more game-changing movies. We’re excited!

A’Damaged Pro’s final words…

Technology has changed the face of communication. A digital presence and the assumed “self-connectedness” has hindered, on some levels, the primal response to recognizing the power of the individual, in relation to promoting overall prosperity in their life and others. We need to be awakened from the perpetual haze that surrounds an alarming number of blissfully unaware individuals. Discarding what might be considered rhetoric and focusing solely on the thought that transformative-visionaries, such as Mikki Willis, have dedicated their lives to helping others, “activate” themselves for change, should bring one solace and a renewed sense of hope for the future. We cannot erase the past but we can fight to change our role in the future.

Connect with Mikki Willis: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Vimeo | YouTube

From The Shadows To The Light: The Potential Of A Social Trans-Genesis – An Interview w/ Julian Reyes, Of Keyframe-Entertainment

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life
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Possessing and cultivating one specific skillset in our multimedia-driven world is often enough to carve out a niche for some individuals. What can happen when an individual synergizes multiple skill sets, focusing on bridging underground and mainstream cultures, is a whole other ballgame. Julian Reyes, of Keyframe-Entertainment, is a member of the Board of Directors for the Electronic Music Alliance and an active proponent of transformational culture. I was fortunate enough to speak with him about some very interesting topics, which included: his personal experience with electronic music and its affiliate communities, some of his recent projects that aim to explore some prevalent dichotomies within dance culture, and the current and potential impact of the EMA and its initiatives.

A’Damaged Pro – Where did you grow up?

Julian Reyes – Born in Bogota, Colombia (raised in Cali). But I “grew up” in North Miami, Florida. Currently living in the Bay Area.

A’Damaged Pro – What were your earliest musical influences?

Julian Reyes – My earliest childhood musical influences were Colombian salsa, cumbia, bolero, flamenco, and a ton of classical music.

A’Damaged Pro – What inspired you to get into the music/media business?

Julian Reyes – My most powerful childhood memories are my love for music and film. I’ve always been a visual artist and I have a computer graphics degree. I’ve worked in 3D animation (e.g. demonstrative evidence: accident recreations, forensic animations, etc.), video editing, marketing, and related areas.  Technology, art, and music have always been a part of my life in one way or another.

A’Damaged Pro – How has the scene changed from when you were first introduced?

Julian Reyes – The genesis for my connection to and passion for Electronic Music began in the breakdancing era (early 80’s). ie.  From my perspective B-Boy culture was the first to truly embrace the dancing expression of Electronic Music, and it has gone through many evolutions since then.  I’ve been a part of various scenes that run the gamut of Electronic Music, Hip Hop, Reggae, and Latin Music.

Looking at the 80’s versus today, one of the biggest differences to me is the perception and obsession with genre classifications. Back in the day, it was all considered “Techno”, whether it was DnB, Trance, Breaks, etc. You could attend a party and listen to different styles of music from the same DJ, and you also could hear brilliant work from artists who were genre-hopping in their releases. Artists such as Aphex Twin, Moby, The Orb, and others were pioneers that explored different tempos and modalities.

Today, there are superstar DJs who play the same brand of music all night, and for the most part, only at big music festivals. The same genre of music is played throughout the event at that particular stage.  Some clubs play the same genre all night, and I think that’s unfortunate!  If you have multiple rooms, then segregate genres if you want…but if there is only one big room, I would love to hear diversity of sounds.  As a listener, I prefer a journey, where I can experience a landscape of sonic expression that transports me through different realms.  I guess that is why I love Psychedelic music so much: psychill, psybreaks, psytech, psytrance etc. It is more daring and farther-reaching than mainstream genres, in my opinion.

A’Damaged Pro – What is your current position and what are your responsibilities within your company?

Julian Reyes – I’m currently the CEO of Keyframe-Entertainment, which is a Transformational Media Network that bridges Underground Electronic Music and mainstream culture.  Keyframe fosters growth for Visionary Art and DJ culture by supporting, promoting, and financing cutting-edge projects. To this end, Keyframe is Executive Producer of Electronic Awakening and The Bloom Series #3, Associate Producer of The American Jungle (documentary of the evolution of Drum and Bass, to be released soon), the film Imaginatrix, and the Dark Prophet comic book. Keyframe is also Producer of the Alchemistas Visionary Art Book, and just launched a film screening platform called Keyframe-Cinema.

Keyframe-Entertainment curates the Electronic Music section of Reality Sandwich as Music Director by submitting new music everyday. You can check out the music here: http://realitysandwich.com/x/edm/.

We’re also working with up-and-coming music producers and will be releasing their music soon:

1. PsycloScope: https://soundcloud.com/jake-musselman

2. Zenotope: https://soundcloud.com/zenotope

3. The Wisdom of Shankara: https://soundcloud.com/thewisdomofshankara

 A’Damaged Pro – What is the most rewarding part of your job? Most challenging part?

Julian Reyes – The most rewarding part of my work is helping artists, filmmakers, and companies get their work out into the world. My experience in Artist Management and Marketing fuels my drive to coordinate campaigns that enhance my partners’ endeavors.  I don’t see the people that I work with as “clients” but rather as partners.  The life cycle of a marketing campaign continues organically after our collaboration.  If we co-create a mutually beneficial ecosystem, then everyone benefits long-term.

The most challenging part of my work is navigating the boundary between mainstream and underground culture. We have chosen to work with underground artists and our objective is to help them find success without compromising their aesthetic. In Transformational Culture, an artist’s success is not only measured by money and fame. At Keyframe, we work to understand each artist’s goals, and then create a strategy to help make them a reality.

A’Damaged Pro – How would you describe “Electronic Awakening” to someone who has never heard about it?

Julian Reyes – Electronic Awakening is an ethnographic documentary film that explores the premise that Electronic Music is spiritual technology that can stimulate higher states of consciousness and has a deep connection to ancient shamanic rituals.

The film features dozens of experts, visionaries, and published authors who explore the connection that millions feel on the dance floor through the repetitive beats that create a sense of oneness, unity and freedom. It was filmed over a period of 5 years at events such as Burning Man, Earthdance, LoveFest, Moontribe, Wicked, Shambhala and the Boom Festival in Portugal, and features music from world-renowned artists such as Shpongle, The Crystal Method, Random Rab, Phutureprimitive, and many more.

A’Damaged Pro – Can you walk me through your involvement and how you became involved with the “Electronic Awakening” project?

Julian Reyes – After running a music label and working as an Artist Manager, I began assisting the Ultra Music Festival as their San Francisco representative. At the time, I was also involved with a Burning Man sound camp called CODA, and I invited the film’s director/producer, Andrew Johner, to meet me at a CODA fundraisers. We also had mutual friends that wanted to introduce us. What struck me about Andrew Johner was the fact that he was an anthropology student working on Electronic Awakening as the thesis for his degree. He was looking for someone to help him with music for the soundtrack and to source additional interviews.  So I signed on as Music Director and coordinated contracts, outreach, curation and also brought in visual effects elements for the film. One year later, I signed on as Executive Producer to help bring the film to completion. Electronic Awakening is Andrew Johner’s brainchild, and we had a ton of help along the way:  this was truly a community collective effort, including a very successful Kickstarter campaign. I also managed and coordinated the film screening campaign, which totaled over 150 screenings at universities, festivals, and community gatherings worldwide.

A’Damaged Pro – Has your viewpoint on the spiritual and mystic elements addressed in the film changed since the project was concluded?

Julian Reyes – In my South American culture and experience, magic, ritual, and mysticism were not unusual. Therefore, I have a unique perspective. Some people pigeonhole rave culture and reduce it to terms that they can understand or judge it in terms that they can attack, but like most things in life, it is more complicated than that. From a physical and emotional perspective, Electronic Music Culture offers belonging, acceptance, PLUR, and the freedom to be yourself.  From a spiritual perspective, music events offer you the space to connect to Source Energy. We explore this concept at length in Electronic Awakening, which is available on the film’s website, iTunes, Hulu, Amazon, and other places.

A’Damaged Pro – You’re involved with “The Bloom Series,” which recently released its third of four installments. What impact do you feel these two projects can have on the EDM community as well as the musical landscape?

Julian Reyes – Excellent question! Thanks for connecting the dots. For those who are not aware of The Bloom Series, it is a documentary web-series that illuminates the blossoming phenomenon of Transformational Festivals. These festivals are immersive participatory realities that are having profound life-changing effects on hundreds of thousands of people.

I think both projects can show the mainstream world that events do not have to completely rely on the big headliners and flashy effects.  Events can be multi-layered and community= driven, they can foster personal growth, creativity, healthy living, social responsibility, and much more. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars to see a producer that plays the same music over and over with lots of visuals, you can participate in a Transformational Festival, where you can attend a ceremony, play in a drum circle, attend workshops, do yoga, eat organic food, experiment with flow arts like hoop, poi, and staff, watch a film, enjoy visionary art, barter and trade artwork, donate time to help create the event, etc.  The possibilities are endless at places like Lucidity Festival in the U.S., Boom Festival in Portugal, and Rainbow Serpent in Australia. I feel like massive mainstream festivals spoonfeed participants and blast them with over-stimulation. The new generations could benefit from a good panel discussion, from wise words from First Nation elders, from flow classes to help channel blocked energy, from Transformational Films to help expand the mind, from deep participation, connection, and environmental education.

A’Damaged Pro – How did you become affiliated with the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)? What potential did you originally see in the EMA?

Julian Reyes – I was invited by Janine Jordan to join the EMA, and after some time I joined their Board of Directors.

The fact that Janine, Ken Jordan (of The Crystal Method), Monica Salazar, and many others were donating their time for the benefit of the dance music community was very inspiring to me. These days, people are busier than ever, and the fact that these professionals are carving time from their lives to help raise awareness and create community through music is commendable. The EMA is the largest non-profit that leverages the power of Electronic Music Culture for positive social change through E-waste drives/recycling, advocacy, community-building, hearing protection awareness campaigns, harm reduction, charity fundraisers, eco-awareness, sustainability, and much more. I see great potential in the EMA’s “Play it FWD” program, which encourages DJs, producers, artists, dancers, and music fans to donate their time, talent, or music to give to the community. These volunteers donate their time and talents to charity fundraisers and other EMA programs. With “Play it FWD” in mind, I just spearheaded the creation of the new EMA label titled “EMA-Global”.  With help from Myagi Music, EMA-Global will release popular and up-and-coming music producers. These producers can donate all proceeds to charity and EMA programs, making this a great vehicle for artists to contribute their work to help make this world a better place. The music industry can be cut-throat and temporal, and I feel that the EMA-Global is changing that paradigm. EMA is already working with organizations that want to create Benefit Albums, and music releases for charities. I like working on projects that go beyond the “pay me for services” mentality, and I lean toward the “Sacred Economics” points of view. I’m also impressed with Ken Jordan of The Crystal Method, who donates his time and energy to these causes. He’s a co-founder of EMA, and he’s constantly active, engaged, and looking for ways to give back to our community.

A’Damaged Pro – As you’ve seen the organization grow, how has your view on the EMA’s potential to incite change evolved?

Julian Reyes – I’ve seen our members work hard at events educating people, our Board of Advisors has grown, and our programs have expanded. I’ve seen the growth of the organization become more National, and hopefully one day, International.

I think that our potential for inciting change can come in many forms. Examples include: expanding the EMA to chapters in different cities, empowering members to create EMA events, creating products and/or services that can bring in funds for EMA programs and charities, increase advocacy efforts by encouraging members to get more involved in the legislative process, and attracting celebrities and companies to join the organization.

A’Damaged Pro – The media has reported and, in some cases, sensationalized incidents that involved a breakdown in the compassion and attitudes of some festival goers for their friends and contemporaries. An example would be people sending their friends that need medical attention home from festivals instead of helping them. Besides providing empirical evidence for the press to note that these behaviors are being addressed, what trends can you see emerging as more people adopt a code of conduct along the lines of the EMA’s “Party Pledge?”

Julian Reyes – Accountability is a huge issue.  I think the next generations will evolve from the “I” mentality to the “We” mentality.  If someone in a group is in distress, then the whole group is in distress and needs to work together to make things better.  I think that volunteerism will increase, where festival-goers donate their time to help, protect, connect, and educate other festival-goers. I think this is a rite of passage that is missing from the mainstream EDM festival equation.

The physical conditions of the event has a lot to do with it. For example, if a person pays hundreds of dollars for a show where everything is provided on a silver platter and cleaned up afterwards, then the person just focuses on “partying.”  But if the person travels to a remote location and needs to camp for an event, then the mechanics change drastically.  Now the person has to negotiate with the environment for parking and setup. The person might have to lug camping gear and/or help someone set up theirs, then figure out cooking, how to leave no trace, etc.  I am not criticising huge events; I enjoy them very much. What I am saying is that one learns and grows more attending a festival where one has to work toward achieving comfort, safety, and entertainment.

I think the biggest impact that the EMA’s “Party Pledge” will have – in addition to making people safer – is encouraging better care of the environment.  Also, attendees will hold the festival creators more accountable for unforeseen circumstances.

A’Damaged Pro – What are some of your proudest achievements as a member of the Board of the Directors?

Julian Reyes – The fondest aspect, for me, is our ability to partner with other entities, such as DanceSafe, to help proliferate aspects of dance culture that are being challenged by legal ordinances, regionally. We are “The Sound of Change.”

A’Damaged Pro – How do you feel that different forms of media (whether film, print, or social media), can be best utilized to encourage people to adopt a more caring and ecologically-sound attitude?

Julian Reyes – Everyone responds to different stimuli and there is device fatigue settling in for many.  I feel that Transmedia campaigns will energize our message. The beautiful thing about Electronic Music Culture is that participants are at the forefront of technology, so many are designers, programmers, technologists, visionaries, etc.

Transmedia campaigns tell stories across multiple platforms and formats.  I believe that people will become more eco-conscious if the message is delivered on multiple levels: i.e. this is what one can do to make a change, what one’s community can do, what one’s country can do, what one’s event can do, and so on.  By providing different touchpoints through the message, people can create opportunities for personal growth.

A’Damaged Pro – What is your take on the potential therapeutic and healing properties of music?

Julian Reyes – A few years ago, I attended a Taiko drumming festival and exper­ienced vivid visions.  I later learned that Taiko drums are believed to contain both the spirit of the tree from which the drum’s wood came and the spirit of the drum-maker. Eventually, over the years, even the spirit of the performers who play the drum is transferred.  Essentially, a drum’s sound comes from the spiritual bond between the performer and this tradition.

These energy signatures are carried through the music, its vibrations, and its creators. This makes sense to me:  the concept that sonic energy can be carried and shared.

Since its origin, music has been in constant evolution. At any time, somewhere on the planet, someone or something is creating music. It is omnipresent and as ubiquitous as our heartbeats.  Just like we are beings in this material plane, I believe that music in its various forms is an organism in the sonic plane. We have very limited senses to understand music’s full totality.

In my view, the potential for healing via sound is vast, and we’re just beginning to understand the healing properties. There are a few documentaries out there on the subject and more on the way… keep an eye and ear out for them.

A’Damaged Pro – What are a few charities whose causes you hold in high regard?

Julian Reyes – I like the websites CharityWatch and CharityNavigator, which allow rating of charities and the ability to choose charities from a curated list.  I respect the Red Cross because they deal with massive problems and natural disasters.  I support charities that protect the vulnerable: children, the elderly, the disabled, animals, the environment, etc.

A’Damaged Pro – Please list three global issues that you believe deserve immediate attention and your potential solutions for addressing them.

Julian Reyes – 1. Inequality, or any form of power abuse and subjugation such as slavery.  There are approximately 30 million people in modern-day slavery in various forms. I believe this is the worst offense that we allow in our society. Inequality, in my opinion, includes genocide, racism, women’s rights issues, Native American issues, domestic violence, bullying, etc.  I think that awareness is the main way to address it as a start, so people can know the extent of the problem and all its incarnations. This is a complicated subject and there is no easy answer, but it should be addressed as it relates to the next set of problems.

2. Wealth inequality / political imbalance.  When people feel entitled to force inequality, they create systems of oppressive government and even caste systems.  This creates the foundations for insane notions such as corporations having personhood and privatizing water.

3. Ecological problems and sustainability issues.  As a direct result of greed running amuck,
the earth suffers in many ways.  Animal rights are trampled, climate change accelerates, deforestation and fracking become the norm, water supplies are tainted, etc. The more that companies privatize and pollute water, the more death and sickness is introduced to poor countries that have limited access.

A’Damaged Pro – What goals have you set for yourself for the next year? 5 years?

Julian Reyes – Within the next year I plan to launch 3 music labels: one for the EMA, a label specific for Keyframe-Entertainment artists, and a PsyTrance sub-label managed by Pulsar (out of L.A.).

There are several film projects that we are involved with in various capacities that we will be releasing in the next year or two.

The two book projects that I’m looking forward to the most are Darren Minke’s Visionary Art book “Alchemistas” and Jamaica Stevens’s “Re-Inhabiting the Village: Co-Creating our Future” which is a book/website project. The work is created by an alliance of visionary partners collaborating to create innovative social tools, share project management technologies, teach how to create outdoor gatherings and generate learning modalities of holistic living. The goal is to inspire a new way to live and create and answers the questions of “what comes after Transformational festivals?” and “how can the principles from these festivals be of service to society?”.

At the 5-year marker, we want to expand the film catalog for Keyframe-Cinema and encourage our screening partners to create their own music film festivals worldwide.

The Keyframe-Cinema film screening platform is an online web resource that allows filmmakers to share their movies with fans, film buffs, and festivals. The platform is designed to facilitate the community film screening process, and also automates the licensing and delivery of the films in our catalog. We provide our members with a limited, one time, non-broadcast use license to publicly screen films, music videos, online classes, and other Transmedia. Our evolving catalog of films aims to document and preserve the evolution of Electronic Music culture through community screenings in art houses, clubs, universities, film festivals, etc. and it allows screening partners to generate revenue for themselves or causes they believe in.

Other projects on the burner are Transformational Culture forum and potentially some time in the distant future producing our own festival.

A’Damaged Pro – Is there anything else you would like to share about your organization or yourself?

Julian Reyes – I would like to express my appreciation to you and Electronica Life for conducting this interview. I seldom engage in interviews; however, the bridging of different scenes is at the core of Keyframe-Entertainment, so I thank you for the opportunity to share our story. If your readers would like to learn more about Transformational festivals, they can visit http://keyframe-entertainment.com/electronic-music/transformational-festivals/.

I’d like to also offer my thanks to my team as they are integral to Keyframe’s success, so thanks to Natacha, Maya, Terra, Jen, Jake, Jeff, Kelly, Yuliya, and our fan base and supporters. I’d like to extend an invitation for Electronic Music fans, DJs, Producers, performers and companies to consider joining the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA) and helping us grow our programs and giving back to the community.

The main facet of Keyframe-Entertainment that I have not mentioned is the fact that we are a united network. Our partners are integral to our success and we work in creating a sustainable ecosystem to thrive in.

Our thanks to:

The Untz, Reality Sandwich, EMA, Alchemistas, Digital-Reign, The Bloom, SolPurpose, Evolver, Tribal Convergence, Lucidity Festival, Starseed International, Mythaphi, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, FestEvo, Festival Fire, Celestial Nation, Roll Random, DanceSafe, and RaveReady.

The love and power of music has brought us all together. Let’s utilize that energy to create positive change in this world…that desperately needs it.

A’Damaged Pro’s final words…

Julian reminds us that any journey to any goal is not without obstacles. The mental fortitude that we are all capable of harnessing and the true power of the individual are inescapable realities, even if their preliminary manifestations are quite subjective. Music can be a guiding tool unlike any other. Organizations, such as the EMA, exist, at least in-part, to help people channel their positive energy into something even greater. By expanding our self-awareness, perpetually sharing information, and recognizing that we are exponentially more powerful when united, we can usher in the next age of progress. WE are “The Sound of Change.”

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