Category: PREviews / REviews

Adrian Lux’s Explosive Appearance at the Avalon

*written by Vix for Electronica Life
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It seems that I was not alone in my excitement to catch Adrian Lux’s set in the up close, personal setting of the Avalon this past weekend. The line was longer than I’ve seen and all the people around me could not resist but chatter about how excited they were to be there. Unexpectedly, Adrian Lux walked around in front of the Avalon scoping out the crowd that he drew in, and immediately he was recognized and swarmed with his loving fans that he invited with a warm welcome and taking pictures with any & everyone that asked. His energy & vibe even before his set had me happily anticipating what he had in store for us that night!

Vix – How was the production process of you last EP?

Adrian Lux – It was a lot of work in different countries but a lot of it happened in Australia. That’s basically where all of it was put together but the songs were all pretty much ID’s that I had.

Vix – What’s the meaning behind the title of the EP “Make Out”?

Adrian Lux – It means a lot of fun & different things. It means the obvious things like making out but for me its more about understanding like the meaning of things so its kind of a twist. It’s a fun title that means something for me and mean other things for other people.

Vix – What’s it like working with Ultra?

Adrian Lux – It’s cool. I’ve been working with them for a while.

Vix – Have you checked out the remix of “Damaged” that M4Sonic released on Ultra?

Adrian Lux – Yeah, it was cool! I actually did a remix for him that isn’t out yet.

Vix – What was the inspiration behind your track “Sooner or Later”?

Adrian Lux – I made it with the guy who sings it so we kind of worked on it together. He’s also a really good producer so we were working of this track I made over in Australia.

Vix – Have you made anything with the singer of “Sooner or Later” before?

Adrian Lux – We made some weird stuff in the past that sounded like some 80′s stuff. We also played around with this vocal track that we ended up pitching to Nervo.

Vix – What do you have planned for 2015?

Adrian Lux – I’m going to put out new music that goes in a new direction. I’m also going to put out more instrumental music because I feel like its kind of needed now-a-days. I want to make meaningful club music again without forcing vocals on everything. It’s hard some times because if you have a really good instrumental, vocals can kind of hide the cool parts of the instrumental. The best results for me come from when I have a vocal and I can build a track around it, rather than making a track and adding vocals after.

Vix – Are you going to play any ID’s tonight in your set?

Adrian Lux – Maybe, I’m going to get a little weird and experimental with it tonight.

Vix – Do you plan on releasing another EP soon?

Adrian Lux – Maybe an EP; definitely not an album next year but probably for 2016 or something. This year I want to put out this new sound I’m working on.

Vix – What do you think about the Deep House movement that’s taking over EDM right now?

Adrian Lux – I think its cool! It’s very close to what I like. Sometimes it gets a bit boring, because I feel that people get a little cynical about it, kind of like when the Dutch sound became very popular like “everything has to sound exactly like all the other songs.” I think it’s great that it opens up for different kinds of drops so I’m all for it. I just wish people wouldn’t just rip off what’s already been made.

Vix – How did you come up with your style of EDM?

Adrian Lux – I went from producing Hip-Hop when I was 16, to producing English Hip-Hop which is more electronically like grime music. That kind of translated to Drum & Bass stuff and from that I got into Electro sounds and getting into stuff like John Digweed and artists like that. From there, I moved to Brazil when I was 18 and playing full moon parties and really getting into the genre. It was a very special time for me because it’s when everything was so f***ing quality.

Vix – What’s one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?

Adrian Lux – I’m really good, like weirdly good, at finger boarding. It’s crazy how good I am (LOL). I can skate too but it hurts too much so finger boarding was my thing.

Vix final words…

Adrian did not hold back during his set and as expected, he single-handedly astonished the Los Angeles crowd that came out to see his performance. His set has always stood out more than others and Adrian’s set at the Avalon only raised the bar even higher than what it was by keeping the crowd engaged and dancing to the world-renowned sounds he’s been known for. Adrian Lux is a young, talented musician that only gets better and better as he performs for his fans, leaving us here at Electronica Life anticipating what comes next for this ever-growing artist.

Feeling FRESH For NYE – Fresh Entertainment Is Back For New Year’s Eve

*written by Vix for Electronica Life
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After a short break to reinvent their style, the Fresh Movement is back and making a lot of noise with their new FRESH NYE to welcome us into 2015. Fresh has always been known to be more diverse with their parties & music than others which they demonstrate by headlining the Dutch Hardcore producer Angerfist, & Upcoming Electro fanatic William Black. Bringing new and uncommon artists to their SoCal stage as well as going beyond what’s expected to please their lovely crowd of fans is a nothing but regular for this Los Angeles based event company. Those who have been to FRESH events in the past know how exciting one can be, so buy your tickets before price goes up on this guaranteed rager of an event!

Win tickets to this event! Click here!

Save the Night at Escape Wonderland – An Interview w/ Louis Vivet

*written by Vix for Electronica Life

To those who may not know, Louis Vivet is a new EDM duo of long time friends fresh in the spotlight of the Electronic world and beginning the long journey on the way to the very top. Their debut cover of the hit 90′s song ‘Save Tonight’ brought them major recognition from what is their current fan base, as well as won them a set slot time at Insomniacs very own ‘Escape Wonderland,’ one of the biggest music festivals in Southern California. Their skilled mixture of styles which they describe as “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde,” proved to enticed & electrify the attendants of Escape Wonderland. A mass crowd gathered to bear witness to the new sounds which Louis Vivet offers to the public & surpassed their expectations, seeming to encourage the duo to go above & beyond all expectations.

Vix – Who came up with the idea to cover ‘Save Tonight’?

Louis Vivet – It was actually Nicks (Louis Vivet member) idea. We were in the process of adding to our catalog of 8 songs, which are all originals, because we haven’t reworked or remix anything yet, but we didn’t really want to do a remix. We decided to just do a cover and we wanted something from the 90′s because who really does anything like that anyway (haha)? I (Nick), heard ‘Save Tonight’ at a party or something and was like “Oh my God!” and saved it into my phone.

Vix – Do you guys have any other upcoming projects?

Louis Vivet – Yeah, we actually got offered to do an art column that we can’t talk to much about, but we would basically be doing an art column where we tie together the concepts of fine art & music together. Art is really a part of out brand. We’re really trying to work with other artists and have them be inspiration for some of our songs based off their art or vice versa. We want to do something more experimental. We have to be more than music, we have to establish our identity and go beyond just making music.

Vix – How was the experience to play at Escape Wonderland?

Louis Vivet – It was pretty sick! You could see people listening to the vocals and they were like, “We know these vocals, but what is this? Where is this from?” There was a lot of people because we were right next to the entrance, so as people started to pour though the entrance and start to hear ‘Save Tonight’, they started to linger around the stage a lot more; it got pretty packed.

Vix – Do you guys have any upcoming performances?

Louis Vivet – Right now, no. We’re really just focused on our releases and building up a little hype before we go out and play club shows. For our mix on Soundcloud, we actually played about 6 of our unreleased songs, so if you want to check out our work, just listen through the mix.

Vix – Do you guys plan on releasing an EP anytime soon?

Louis Vivet – Yes! Our plan is to release another single and then our EP is coming out on Prep School Recordings. It’ll be two songs, and the cool thing is their complete opposites. It’s kind of like the light vs. dark or Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde type of thing so that EP is going to be really cool! People will have the opportunity to hear something new, something darker. We like to think we are both a little psychotic, but Nick would have to be the darker side if anything. We all have a little bit of “crazy” in us.

Vix – Have you guys noticed any changes in your fan base?

Louis Vivet – Our fan base has kind of doubled since the release of ‘Save Tonight’. We have people messaging us saying they heard the track and love it, which always feels good when people listen to your song. After escape we still hadn’t even released ‘Save Tonight.’ It came out 2 weeks after Escape, so a lot of people hit us up and said, “Thank you so much for playing ‘Save Tonight!’ Who remixes it?”, so we would tell them that we covered it.

Vix – So Nick, I hear you’re from New York. What brings you out to California?

Louis Vivet – I actually just went on vacation to NY to visit family and it was really fun. I came out here to go to USC to pursue music and it’s just FANTASTIC out here!

Vix – Do you guys have any goals for Louis Vivet?

Louis Vivet – We set ourselves yearly goals to bring us closer to our vision. For right now it’s pretty much just revolving around the “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” thing. We’re going to really get experimental with it; our art & our music we want to revolve around the “light vs dark” theme.

Vix – Do you guys have any big hopes for 2015?

Louis Vivet – We hope big things. We can only dream.

Vix – How did you guys meet?

Louis Vivet – We’re in the same fraternity together actually (haha). He (Nick) is actually my little bro and our manager is my (Aria) big bro, so it’s all just 1 giant family. If you told us a few years ago that we would all be working together on this project called “Louis Vivet,” we would have been like “What?”

Vix – Any hazing stories? (lol)

Louis Vivet –  We have a couple crazy hazing stories (haha).

Vix – Since ‘Save Tonight’ is a hit 90’s song, what are your TOP 5 (non-EDM) 90’s songs?

Louis Vivet – Oh! We can go on for days! Our TOP 5 is:

1. The Bad Touch – Bloodhound Gang

2. Blue – Apple 65

3. My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion

4. I Saw the Sun – Ace of Bass

5. Bailamos – Enrique Iglesias

Vix – What did your parents think about you performing at Escape Wonderland?

Louis Vivet – (Nick) My dad doesn’t really know about EDM so he was like “Great! Have fun.” My mom actually went to an Above & Beyond show a couple of weeks ago at Madison Square Garden (ABGT100) with my older brother. She tried to tell my dad about it but he had no idea what was going on. (haha)

(Aria) My mom was like “Oh Wait! You’re playing a show?! That’s so big! I’m so proud of you!” My dad has no idea about the show. (haha) I kind of try to keep the music and the family separate from my dad because I’m in law school so he would be a little mad about it.

Vix – Do you guys have a message for your fans?

Louis Vivet – “Thank you to everyone who’s been supporting ‘Save Tonight!’ We just really hope that we can get them excited for our new music to come out and get others excited as well. We’re working really hard to bring some new and creative stuff. We’re trying to bring something a little bit new to the scene. We will take what’s already been done and make it something new. Hopefully everyone loves it!”

Vix final words…

If you missed out on Louis Vivets set at Escape Wonderland, it’s not too late! You can check out their full set via Their Soundcloud as well as their very unique single debut ‘Save Tonight.’ This duo is in procession of talent that has yet to be seen in the world of EDM, and I can only hope that their music touches the souls of every Dance Music fan just as it has with mine. Stay tuned to the success & releases of these artists, as they are destined for greatness.
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Chuckie Drops the Big “BANG”

*written by Vix for Electronica Life
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For anyone that personally knows me, they know right off hand that Dutch House is one of my absolute TOP favorite genres, so even moments before hearing Chuckie’s latest collaborated release ‘BANG’ for the 1st time, I was already filled with excitement and eager anticipation due to my already heightened expectations. Mere seconds after clicking the play, I realized that not even high expectations could prepare me for the epic sound being output though my studio speakers. The intro in itself immediately gave me an intense urge to shuffle across my room, as I used to do when I was younger when hearing such a floor-shaking 128 BPM song. As the song progressed, the decision was made without hesitation to purchase Chuckie’s newest masterpiece with the absolute & undeniable need to include it in my Iphones ‘Favorites’ playlist.

Think that’s all there is to mention about his latest release? Well guess again, because much to my surprise the track took an unexpected turn into a moment of mind-blowing intensity by switching seamlessly from a Dutch track, to that of a festival Trap song!  At this point my mind was taking a walk through La-La-Land due to the pure creativity that Chuckie demonstrates with ease in this jaw dropping production along side Diamond Pistols & Hyper Crush. ‘BANG’ could even be a track that evolves Dutch music as a whole.  It is without a doubt my personal recommendation to every EDM lover out there!

Chuckie, Diamond Pistols & Hyper Crush’s collaborated single, ’BANG,’ can be purchased via Beatport and listened to in full via Soundcloud. Be sure to at least check out the track that is surely going to launch its creators to a whole new level of stardom!

Avalon Welcomes Greatness with Adrian Lux

*written by Vix for Electronica Life
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World renowned musician, Adrian Lux, has been on the fore front of the Electronic scene since the 2008 release of his ‘Strawberry’ EP. His music has touched the lives of people across the globe time & time again, and still to this day does not show any indication of slowing down. His productions have lead him to his latest adventure around the world, landing him in Los Angeles at the Avalon this Saturday of December 6, 2014. This vastly talented artist whose music has been featured in video games, on TV, & has even earned him a spot as an actor on a TV show, blesses the city of angels by reaching out to the cities residence with yet another of his world class performances, sending us all off on a journey through his musical mind and bringing us that much closer to a whole new year.

His rise to the top was heavily anticipated after producing a song known as ‘Teenage Crime,’ that is now recognizable by nearly all EDM listeners and producers a-like. All that have heard the mind-melting tunes that have spawned from Adrian’s very fingertips know that he is an artist the does not disappoint. Supporting such a versatile music legend at one of Los Angeles most recognized and respected clubs only seems fitting for the Beautiful party goers of SoCal and should not even come as a 2nd guess to a true Dance Music enthusiast. His latest EP entitled ‘Make Out,’ has only launched him further into the EDM record books by utilizing a powerful track list composed by Adrian Lux himself, which he plans on sharing with his respected followers.

Missed opportunities only lead to regret, so don’t let this opportunity pass you by and join Adrian Lux in making the Avalon the home of another unforgettable experience that we will share to the world with pride.

Vincenzo Announces New Artist Album ‘The Vanishing Years’ Available Worldwide via Anjunadeep on December 1st

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Italo-German innovator Vincenzo is set to release his much anticipated fourth artist album on Anjunadeep, following a string of underground cuts on revered labels Watergate and Mobilee. The Vanishing Years’ is a 13-track journey through Vincenzo’s subtle and soulful repertoire. The full album will be available worldwide on December 1st.

From the subdued melancholy of opening tracks “The Tree” and “What Are You?,” through to the energetic flow of “Just Like Heaven,” a unique take on The Cure’s 1987 classic, Vincenzo coaxes his listener into a world of gentle tempos, organic melodic textures and beautiful, deeply personal songs. A true musical craftsman, he impressively showcases his diverse range on downtempo numbers “New Time” and “Today,” while the ambience of “The Vanishing Years” and “Walk Home John Boy” add a cinematic and contemplative streak to the collection.

“All About You” feat. Lisa Shaw, the first release off the new album is a down-tempo euphorically smooth track perfectly accompanied by the sexy and sultry vocals of Lisa Shaw. Rich in dreamy musicality and layered with atmospheric texture, ‘The Vanishing Years’ is an LP to sink deep into, and sees Vincenzo at his untouchable best. It also marks the fifth LP release on Anjunadeep, and the first album release of  2014 on the label.

Electric Feels And So Much More – An Interview w/ Andrew Nilon of Electric Family

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life
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Imagine for a moment that you are the recipient of the EDM community’s magical embrace and that you would like to give something back as a show of appreciation. You’ve been thinking long and hard and your solution for this task involves getting artist cooperation and establishing a readily-identifiable brand to coordinate multiple cross-promotional platforms. With the respective cooperation from participating artists, additional avenues are able to be explored and a more diverse and thorough impact can be made, not only within the EDM community but the world as well. You have now stepped into the shoes of the founder of Electric Family, Andrew Nilon. I had the opportunity to catch up with Andrew to discuss how he harnessed the positive energy of his own “electric family” to create one of the EDM industry’s most recognizable clothing brands.

A’Damaged Pro – Where did you grow up?

Andrew Nilon – Northern California. Bay Area.

A’Damaged Pro – What were your earliest musical influences and do you have a fondest musical memory growing up?

Andrew Nilon – I’ve always appreciated a lot of different music growing up. I was a huge fan of rap as well as different styles of rock. The biggest thing now is definitely electronic. I went to EDC when it used to be in Los Angeles.

A’Damaged Pro – At the Coliseum?

Andrew Nilon – Yes, and to this day it’s still the best event I’ve ever been to. I don’t know if it’s because it was my first taste of the scene, but it really got me very interested in EDM and the dance music scene.

A’Damaged Pro – Were there any specifics about the atmosphere that stood out for you? The production value has gone up tremendously since the EDC LA days so I’d bet the exposure to the music and the people had to be illuminating.

Andrew Nilon – I think it sticks out because the energy in that stadium was just amazing. I haven’t been able to match it anywhere. You’re kind of in an enclosed area and the huge boom of the current scene hadn’t really happened yet so it just kind of opened my eyes to this whole community where people are extremely accepting. You’re standing next to people that you might not normally have spoken to or growing up you might have even looked at them with judgement. The atmosphere was like a clean slate. Very refreshing. That was the first time I had experienced that on that big of a scale, and that was very special to me. I’m sure people would say similar things about their first experience at a, whatever you want to call it, “rave” or “production experience.”

A’Damaged Pro – That’s something I wanted to ask about. The difference between a “rave,” “festival,” or “massive”…who makes the definitions? Who’s the ultimate authority on the subject. When I think festival I think multi-day event. With “massive,” is there a population cut-off? If you have a small venue, packed with a thousand people it seems ridiculous but you can have three hundred thousand people in the LV Speedway…

Andrew Nilon – I like the term “festival.” It’s not because I personally have judgements on the word “rave” or the scene, but because of the outside perception. If you go to some old person and say you were at a rave last night, there is instant judgement. Their mind immediately goes to certain things regardless if they know what it means. I try not to use the word “rave” because it’s been made into this taboo thing where all this bad stuff happens. It’s so important to Electric Family and what we’re trying to accomplish to sever that stigma and show the positive elements this community is really about.

A’Damaged Pro – Do you think there is a way to orchestrate a paradigm shift, of sorts, about how people view these terms and it turn undercut the attached stigmas and re-open the horizon of possibilities? Words will quit becoming taboo as people become more educated on the subject.

Andrew Nilon – It goes deeper than just the words. You can get every major news source in the world to put a revised definition of “rave,” on their Twitter, and that’s not going to change anything. Our ultimate goal is to shift those underlying messages and how people feel about these things. Educating in creative ways. How can we show people? Telling people something isn’t really effective. You have to show people through action. An example would be what we did at our “Do Good” event. Adventure Club asked some of their fans to come out to a food bank in Los Angeles. We got about two hundred people to come out and volunteer their time. They got to meet AC. We shot a video, and that was to inspire people that this community is more that just a group of partiers and that these kids can make an impact. They care about their community. That is what’s going to shift social perception. By showing that this community is not all about drugs and partying, that’s going to be what makes the difference.

A’Damaged Pro – What’s the mission statement of Electric Family? How did you make the progression into the music/entertainment/apparel aspect of the industry?

Andrew Nilon – We have a few missions. One of them is to inspire positive action. We’re trying to create a platform and a company that provides a cool product that promotes a positive message. Imagine a company being supported because of the impact they are making in communities.

A’Damaged Pro – You mentioned the term “platform.” Do you think that artists have an inherent responsibility because of the reach they command to lock onto a cause and try to positively motivate their fans?

Andrew Nilon – I do. Personally, I believe that every person on this planet has an equal responsibility to look out for and protect every other person on this planet. Those that are in a position of reach and have the capacity to make an impact should be doing just that. If you wanted to take a business approach to this, because that makes more sense to some people. Some artists make a lot of money and in order to continue to do so they need to promote causes that will ensure the longevity of the scene. The only way the scene will continue to be profitable and to sustain itself will be if it no longer has this “other side.” If we keep have these deaths and other bad things, it’s kind of a ticking time bomb. We need to have these artists speak up. You don’t need to get messed up every time, or any time for that matter, that you go to one of these events. The message needs to come from a source that people respect, so, yes, they have the ultimate responsibility. That’s also why we are providing that medium through our artists’ bracelets.

A’Damaged Pro – Is there a particular method that you’ve honed in order to bring new artists into the EF fold? Do you seek them out or do they reach out to EF?

Andrew Nilon – It’s a little bit of both, actually. We reach out and it’s not easy, by any means. These artists are so busy. Their touring schedules are unbelievable. There’s no other type of music that has seen artists touring like they do now. For instance, Steve Aoki did, like, two hundred and seventy shows a few years back. I was just blown away when I heard that stat. That’s a show almost every single night, five nights a week. That’s unheard of. Reaching out to them and getting a hold of them is extremely difficult. To be honest with you, there isn’t a cookie-cutter way to make it happen. We just try to get in contact an align our values with theirs and just go from there.

A’Damaged Pro – What is your position and responsibilities with Electric Family?

Andrew Nilon – I am the CEO. My job is to communicate our message, internally and externally, making sure that our mission and our goals are known to the public and the media, and making sure that we are on track. Devise a plan, put it in place, and make sure that everything is in order so that we can execute and follow through on all of our goals. That’s a very shortened version

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

Andrew Nilon – It might be kind of an easy response but it’s definitely the truth…the most rewarding part is definitely our fans and our customers. They are so unbelievable. We have THE BEST fans. It’s crazy. There’s so much support and positivity. There are thousands upon thousands of messages, emails, and comments on social media. “Love what you guys are doing.” “Thank you SO much!!” I think it’s something really important to recognize in life that if you’re doing what you love and what you believe in, other people will support that because there are other people that feel the same way. I think it’s a testament to always knowing what you’re doing is right in your heart. Everything about managing a start-up company is challenging. You know, nothing is guaranteed. You have to make sacrifices.
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A’Damaged Pro – What’s the creative story behind taking these ideals and making a company with them?

Andrew Nilon – We were a group of friends that went to shows and it might be kind of corny but we were the “Electric Family.” That’s just what we called ourselves. We really just wanted to make a company out of it. We grew up loving fashion and electronic music, so we combined those passions and we decided to start a company. There wasn’t a real “aha” moment, but just us following what we loved to do.

A’Damaged Pro – What is your take on the potential therapeutic and healing properties of music, given what you’ve seen and more experienced?

Andrew Nilon – I know everyone’s experience is very different. Music is very therapeutic. That’s why we’ve loved it for thousands of years. There is something tangible there. I think it allows people to really be in the moment and lose all of their thoughts, “I’ve got bills to pay” or “I’m having relationship issues.” Endless endless issues that people face daily in life. I think that music helps them clear their heads of that and that IS therapeutic. That is something that should be cherished and valued in society. We spend all day thinking so being able to clear our heads is very therapeutic.

A’Damaged Pro – In the spirit of safety, some events and festivals are including a rough code of conduct into their presentation. Do you think there is a way to speed up the “activation” of attendees, making them more empathetic as well as acting out of concern for their fellow citizen?

Andrew Nilon – There’s a lot of different factors that contribute to safety and that’s why it’s such a complex issue right now in dance music. On one hand, there’s a major factor that some people don’t realize and that’s business. Insurance companies are telling these big festivals that they can provide assistance to people because they’re not going to get this kind of coverage if they provide this type of service. This is just an abstract example but let’s say if you treat someone inside of the festival and it falls under “such and such” guidelines, you’re not going to be covered for that. You have to take them out in a third-party ambulance and they have to get treatment at a local hospital because that’s where the insurance is at. So, there’s a huge issue starting right there. For some reason, these factors, that center around money, are considered more valuable than human life. That’s one issue. From there, what we can do is educate people on a wider scale. I can’t talk too much about it or give to much away but we are working on some pretty big projects with some big companies to get the message out there in a cool way. What we are trying to accomplish with Electric Family is to create a “cool” company that kids will look up to and listen to. In our society, the youth look up to and listen to whatever is in and they will mimic that. We’re trying to create a platform and inject the positive messages. So, we’re trying to align ourselves with the big players in the scene, who have the attention of the global audience, and partner the Electric Family brand and what we stand for with their ability to target a large global audience. We feel that this can help address some of these real-world issues. It’s not going to outright solve them, but it’s a step in the right direction.

A’Damaged Pro – Are there any specifics charities that you hold in high regard? You just illustrated the business prospects and the reach potential of the EF brand, but are there any particular charities that you would like to align yourself with in the future?

Andrew Nilon – Really as many as possible. We allow our artists to choose the charity they want to work with, so whatever specific issues they are passionate about will get the necessary attention. Our goal is to work with as many different organizations as possible. We want to raise awareness for many different issues. The more that we can work with, that are targeting various issues, the better for us and everybody concerned. We want to be able to touch and help as many people as possible.

A’Damaged Pro – What are three global issues that you believe require immediate attention and what are your potential solutions for addressing them, regardless of how far-out your solutions may be?

Andrew Nilon – The number one need, I wouldn’t say it’s an issue per se, I would like to see addressed is a comprehensive raising of social consciousness. There is such a lack of care and empathy. We have created such a society that is broken down into “us” versus “them,” and it’s just terrible to see that. The way I view it is that everybody on this planet is ONE. Everybody is connected as one living being and I think that we have forgotten that. So, the way to help some of these social issues, health issues, wars, and all of this other terrible stuff that goes on is to raise the level of social consciousness of each person on the planet. Each person will, in turn, care more about each other and will act accordingly. Just targeting one specific thing can, to some degree, almost create another issue. If every person took it upon themselves to gear every thought and action, in every moment, towards being the best for every one involved, we would instantly solve a countless number of issues. The world would be such a better place.

A’Damaged Pro – Given what you just mentioned about the need to raise social consciousness, what changes have you noticed in the scene from when you first got involved? There are more lasers. I’ll give you that one

Andrew Nilon – It’s kind of sad to say, but I think it’s kind of gone in the opposite direction that it needed to go, with the commercialization of EDM. In some areas, we’ve kind of abolished some of the core values, like P.L.U.R. It’s kind of mocked now in this culture. In reality, what it stands for is a fantastic message. On a positive note, a lot of people in the industry are more conscious about improving these issues. This conversation we’re having right now. Making sure that the proper values are being communicated to the fans. I think people within the industry are trying to make steps to combat the negative aspects.

A’Damaged Pro – What goals have you set for yourself and Electric Family over the next year? 5 Years?

Andrew Nilon – We want to be recognized as THE premiere clothing brand within the industry. We think there is tremendous opportunity. We want to continue to spread the message to every continent. We want to continue to grow and partner with bigger and bigger companies. We would like to take our “Do-Good” events to the next level. We would like to exemplify what we feel this music stands for and have these values recognized and extend that beyond the dance floor.

A’Damaged Pro’s final words…

I must stress that this exchange was not orchestrated to spark a discourse on semantics, as the guiding principles of the scene, that inspired Andrew, transcend definition. He saw something that lies within all of us…the ability to care about something greater than yourself and the power to make a difference. While in attendance, I know I’ve personally given out countless hugs, high-fives, chest bumps, ear plugs, bottles of water, and pieces of gum because I thought it would help the person or persons around me safely enjoy the experience more. These simple tokens of connectivity and compassion might seem minuscule, and in the grand scheme of things, are probably essentially just drops in the bucket. They are; however, representative of steps in the right direction. With every new consciously-aware supporter the Electric Family will continue to grow, as will our collective capacity to positively influence the way we think and conduct ourselves. Once inspired to take action, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. “Electric Family” is more than a name. It’s more than a brand. It’s what we are.

Connect with Andrew Nilon: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Time To Wake Up And Rave – An Interview w/ Annie Fabricant and Harry Inglis of Morning Gloryville

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life
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Unless you live in the rarified air at the top of the “layer cake,” most of the world has to go to work. Regardless if it’s to support: family, vices, travel, or just the basic needs to sustain life, the fact that most goods and services have a cost, is inescapable. Anyone with student loans or a mortgage can definitely attest to that last part.  A powerful tool and coping mechanism is directly bred out of recognition of this product-to-price connection. For the sake of providing a standardized baseline, despite the factors of subjective logistics and temporality, we shall dub this tool “The Morning Ritual.” Some go to the gym. Some drink coffee while they read the morning paper. Some sit outside and watch the sun rise. The point is that most require some preparatory process to prepare them for the rigors of the workday. If everybody was always happily bouncing to a job that they love, phrases like, “I’ve got a case of the Monday’s,” would have never been coined. Even if you love your job and the commute, if applicable, is manageable, even you might need a little something to shake the cobwebs free to get you ready. Enter the power of the beat, in an open, community-styled atmosphere, but with a unique little twist. The premise behind the Morning Gloryville concept, which originated in London, is quite refreshing and remarkably simple to grasp…an early morning electronic dance party, with entertainment and amenities galore, to help invigorate the mind and the body before you have to go to work. I was lucky enough to speak with MGV Ambassadors, Annie Fabricant and Harry Inglis, that were instrumental in bringing this innovative concept stateside.

A’Damaged Pro – How did you get introduced to the scene? Where did you grow up?

Annie – I was born and raised in London. I moved to New York about three years ago. I go back to London every December for Christmas holidays. That’s when I discovered Morning Gloryville. I was invited by a friend. The whole concept was conceived there and the inaugural event was hosted there in May of 2013. Basically, two friends wanted to calm down their partying habits. It was one day following a big bender that they thought, “this isn’t sustainable… How can we revolutionize the fun…?! (and get your music fix at the same time)

It started as a safe haven for ex-ravers and those from all walks of life that had been in the festival scene and welcomed the chance to recreate healthily and break up their working week, and grew organically into a movement. This is great for people working in the city. Shake off the stress and inhibitions, infuse some wholesome fun into their lives, get them into their bodies and relax their minds. I think in the beginning some people thought it was a trend or a fad and it’s showing that it’s actually quite sustainable.

A’Damaged Pro – When did you get introduced to this scene?

Harry – I moved to New York in Mar/April of last year. It was right around whenever they hosted the first MGV in London. I’ve always been passionate with my dance music.

A’Damaged Pro – Favorite artists? The UK is a global powerhouse after all.

Harry - It’s quite amazing. Living in New York we get amazing DJs that are coming through to play all the time. I didn’t really realize how big of a part of UK culture dance music was until I lived other places. It’s not uncommon for a #1 track, on our equivalent of the Billboard charts, to be, like, a deep house track. You wouldn’t think anything of it. You’ll hear it all day everyday on the radio. Kids will know the lyrics but they won’t think of it as a “house” tune, but it’ll just be a big song. It’s when you step away that you notice these things.

A’Damaged Pro – Domestically, we’re too eager for compartmentalization and genre distinction. It’s not for “purity’s” sake, but just for making another list that someone can top.

Harry - In my travels, I’ve discovered that when you go to another city or a new country, all you have to do is explore the local EDM scene and you will find good people because it’s an instant bond. Some of my friends told me that I needed to check out this “morning party” that started in London. It’s a completely sober time before work.

A’Damaged Pro – What was your role in bringing the MGV concept to New York?

Harry - When I saw this, I phoned them up and talked to Samantha. I told her that if they are bringing it to the states, I would love to be involved, in any capacity. I went back to London in December of 2013 and we had a meeting. They put me in contact with Annie, who had also reached out to them. Me and Annie met up and we got together and got it going. It wasn’t that simple. Before things got going Sam made sure that we had the right mindset and the right ethos to lead this project. In terms of the “franchise” tag, there is definitely a process to make sure that the right people are getting involved with each new location. We try and put everybody at ease. We realize that people aren’t quite awake when these events start but a little silliness and the greeting seems to help people warm up to the experience. People come for a variety of reasons. Some are there for the music. Some come for the openness and the sense of communion. Some of the artists that we’ve had DJ have offered their services for a fraction of their normal fee because they simply fell in love with the concept. It’s pretty powerful.
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A’Damaged Pro – From what I’ve read, it’s catching on…

Annie - Morning Gloryville has actually launched in a dozen cities. New York was the first international outpost. A franchise model had expanded including: New York (of course), Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Zurich, Dublin, West London, Brighton, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Sydney. Bangalore is set to launch at the beginning of September. Expansion has also been initiated in Melbourne, Berlin, and Vancouver. Hundreds of people getting in touch from around the world about the expanding the concept and the beauty behind it is truly a humbling experience.

A’Damaged Pro – What’s the origin of the name? Was it coined in a sublimated haze?

Annie - It was originally Morning Glory. Obviously, it’s in the morning and it’s going to be empowering and there’s the cheeky expression playing on “Morning Glory.” The “ville” had to be added because of trademarking reasons..

A’Damaged Pro – I think the “ville” denotes the community aspect that you guys are going for as well.

Annie – Exactly. Considering it’s become a global phenomenon it adds to the identity of the event.

A’Damaged Pro – You mentioned that the locations outside of the London home base are tagged as “franchises.” Is there a central set of guidelines that each of these use to govern themselves in order to fly under the Morning Gloryville flag?

Annie - Yes. Everything is written in a sort of fun, creative way. Each new franchise is provided with the “Glory Code & Guide” Every event producer, or “Glory Agent” as they are called, must go through the training that is made available for them, which we ensure covers all aspects of managing these events.

There is a large team involved in each event with the core focus being that everyone who comes to the event feels welcome, comfortable, and celebrated. I mean, the attendees are sober, it’s in the morning, and most people hate mornings. So, there’s a very carefully selected team of people designated to greet and welcome guests as they come in the door so they feel at ease when they walk into the space. I was reminded by the London Central Team that the focus should not be on the DJs (securing top-tier talent). The music is very important and integral to the experience but it isn’t about big names. It’s about the overall experience. We have a wide array of talent that comes to entertain the guests. We don’t want a stage with performers and no one participating. We want everyone to get up on the stage and participate.

A’Damaged Pro – Is it possible to get some insight into the “Glory Code” or is it, like, a trademarked secret?

Annie - Yeah, that actually is confidential, but it essentially outlines Morning Gloryville’s principles, ethos and vision. There are some powerful quotes in there too. Morning Gloryville HQ also emphasize that they are there 24/7 not just to provide professional support, but emotional support too. There is a familial atmosphere for sure.

A’Damaged Pro – Given that people have trouble with the morning time? Are these on Mondays?

Annie - No. Ha. These events are on Wednesdays.

A’Damaged Pro – Ah. Gotcha. Give em something to look forward to so the rest of the week coasts.

Annie – I mean it’s called “Hump Day,” right? Having it on Wednesdays also rules out it being viewed as an after-party. (Touché.)

A’Damaged Pro – Harry, do you have trouble getting up in the morning?

Harry - I’m actually ok with it. Well, I go through cycles. If it’s something exciting I can definitely do it. I’m not an actual morning person. Just being in New York, I thought that there had to be something like that in New York. This is where a lot of aspects of dance music have their roots. It’s very much in the city’s DNA and people are always looking for a new fitness trend, so I figured that it would make so much sense to have something like that here. I work in marketing and I noticed that a lot of my friends were dropping out of the dance scene. Some were getting married, having kids, whatever. It just seemed impossible to keep up with the weekend lifestyle.

A’Damaged Pro – Are these all-ages events?

Annie - Very much so. Everyone is welcome. That’s a key pillar of MGV. Everyone, regardless of age, gender, and demographic, is welcome. It helps create an atmosphere and attitude of non-judgment and acceptance.

A’Damaged Pro – Kind of unity without the addition of chemistry?

Annie – Yeah. Completely safe and open. Our vibe is inclusive. In New York right now we’re getting over 300 people through the door, but this will grow when we secure our permanent, and very large, venue. The London events have 800 people attend each month. That’s a lot of people getting up early in the morning to make an event before they have to go to work.

Harry - Now, we sell out each time. The tickets sell out weeks in advance.

A’Damaged Pro – You can’t get that many people together for a company picnic. That’s really respectable.

Harry – It’s become like a club. Some kids have used it to identify and form a bond with others that are part of the community. It requires some effort and dedication because if it starts at 6am you have to be leaving wherever you’re coming from at around 5am to make it in time. It’s reminiscent of going on holiday when you have to get up extra early for the adventure you’re about to go on. Something new and exciting.

A’Damaged Pro – Since it’s a drug-free and alcohol-free environment, do you have to have medical personnel?

Annie - Not as such; we take out event insurance for each event. Our July bRave was at a location called the Brooklyn Zoo. It had an Olympic-standard trampoline built into the floor, so it was an absolute jungle of fun for adults, though we did have some kids there as well. There were people swinging off of ropes, like monkeys, into foam pits. We had everybody sign a waiver before they enter. We do recommend that everyone warm up on the dance floor before trying any aerial-type activity.

A’Damaged Pro – What excites you most about being a part of MGV and where do you see it going?

Annie - I feel very inspired and blessed. This is actually everything I believe in and I represent a lot of the core groups that attend. I can consider myself an ex-raver. I’m definitely into my house music. I am fascinated with holistic health and various mind/body healing modalities. Over the last year, I’ve become very subtly spiritual. Not in a crazy hippie way but believing in more subtle energetic happenings.. So when I see the magical, positive energy that spreads through the MGV events, it’s pretty amazing. I could chalk that up to quantum physics and how we’re all made of energy. I’m also very excited about the feedback that we’ve been getting. Sometimes, people want to hang on the phone for hours just to talk about the experience they’ve had. I see the potential, definitely, for it to grow into its own inclusive lifestyle brand. Business-aspect aside, I can see the community growing as people are inspired by what they experience at MGV, and that subtle inner shift infuses into their day-to-day lives. As our cities become more and more tech-saturated, and people become increasingly stimulus addicted, there arises a growing desire for meaning and fulfillment; a desire to unplug, and to engage in human experiences. That’s where MGV comes in…!

A’Damaged Pro – With every successful business-model, it goes with the territory that people will try to emulate, whether it be out of respect or to jump into the industry. What does the MGV team plan to do in order to remain distinct and unique?

Annie - We’re not worried about other similar concepts being created. Take “Daybreaker,” for example, in San Francisco. They are another morning-time event. We believe that we will end up feeding off each other and other events will actually help spark the overall movement that we are trying to achieve. We would like to be friends with them and possible collaborate with them in the future. We feel that there are enough MGV-specific elements within our program that keeps us distinct. We’re all about authenticity being unleashed!!!

A’Damaged Pro’s final words…

The popularity of Morning Gloryville is growing and people appear very receptive to using music and dancing to start their day off properly. Seeing the geographic and demographic diversity of the proposed expansion locations proves that the power of music and positivity transcend cultural and socio-political differences. These are more than just isolated events because the effects of them resonate. People are able to take a little piece of it with them and if and when somebody feels subjectively incomplete, MGV and its “Glory Agents” delight in adding something to them out of the sheer spirit of “I would like to see you happy.” Upon receiving this complementary gift, their attitude will adapt and bring this newfound positivity into the world. The ultimate beauty and simplicity of this structure is that there is no limit to what can be accomplished by people, united in music and community, growing towards a more positive reality.

Connect with Morning Gloryville: Website | NYC Facebook |  NYC Twitter

The Tightrope of A Circus Recordmaster – An Interview w/ Flux Pavillion

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life

A pioneer of dubstep. A true BASS-music virtuoso. His family and close friends might call Mr. Steele by his given name, Joshua, but the massive crowds that his music draws know him affectionately as “Flux Pavillion.” I was fortunate enough to get the chance to sit down with Josh to discuss his personal journey into electronic music, the founding of Circus Records, and his intentions for the evolution of the Flux Pavillion concept.Flux_Pavillion_JBrasted-0520
A’Damaged Pro – Where did the moniker “Flux Pavillion” come from?

Flux Pavillion – Do you mean the name itself or just the general idea of “Flux Pavillion?”

A’Damaged Pro – Just the name itself, but if you feel inclined to explore the concept as well, I won’t stop you.

Flux Pavillion – The name just came out of nowhere. I used to be in a band with another guy and Doctor P, when I was 13. We wrote a bunch of band names on a guitar. One of them was Flux Pavillion.

A’Damaged Pro –  You and Doctor P grew up in the same town, right?

Flux Pavillion – Yes, we did.

A’Damaged Pro – I would probably butcher the name. Towcester.

Flux Pavillion – Yeah, Doctor P started making drum-n-bass. I gave it a go and started producing hip-hop beats but more like Mr. Scruff and Quantic. That kind of hip-hop, trip-hop really. So I needed a name for that and that’s where Flux Pavillion comes in.

A’Damaged Pro – You guys hadn’t formed Circus Records at this point, right?

Flux Pavillion – No. I was still at university at this point. I was playing in bands and stuff. Singing and playing guitar. Just having fun with bands and then I heard dubstep. I already had Flux Pavillion as a name so I started writing dubstep. I actually had two MySpaces, right. One was “The Lighter Side of Flux Pavillion,” which was my hip-hop and one was “The Darker Side of Flux Pavillion,” which was my dubstep one. So, for like the first year of my career, my name was “The Darker Side of Flux Pavillion.”

A’Damaged Pro – That doesn’t fit as well on a t-shirt

Flux Pavillion – It got to the point that almost no one was listening to the lighter side anymore. Everyone was asking for my website and I was, like, “It’s forward slash the darker side…” and people were like, “I can’t possibly remember that. Me and Doctor P thought I should probably shorten it and that’s how “Flux Pavillion” started.

A’Damaged Pro – What motivated you guys to start Circus Records? For a lot of artists, troubleshooting how you establish your own record company proves too overwhelming.

Flux Pavillion – It was a free-for-all, where a whole bunch of guys had labels. I was writing beats. So, what you do write loads of tunes, be in contact with all these labels, and send all your tunes to everyone and hope they get signed. I had one track signed to a label in Seattle. I had two signed to Excision’s label, and I two signed to N-Type’s label. I was constantly pushing to try and get my tracks out there. Then I did a remix of one of Doctor P’s tracks that was signed to someone else and he didn’t want to release it. If you finish a song you want to get it released, whatever it is. If I have ten songs, I must have ten releases. So, this was the only song that I had written that hadn’t been released. I was, like, what the fuck? The guy who ran the label and wouldn’t release it said he didn’t want to release a dubstep track on a D-n-B label so Doctor P, myself, and this guy called Swan decided to start a dubstep label. That’s, basically, why we started Circus, just so we could put out that remix.

A’Damaged Pro – Is that track posted prominently in the Circus HQ?

Flux Pavillion – Yeah, we have the test press vinyl in our office. I was still trying to sign people to the label. Doctor P, well Doctor P wasn’t Doctor P until Circus started. We went into the studio to do a collaboration, literally so we would have something on the other side of the record. “Shit, we need a B-side.” We made something in about four hours. Cool, there’s the B-side. He was known as DJ Pinkton. He was, like, “Fuck, I need a name.” Boom. Doctor P. He said that’ll work, I guess. Then we started realizing that all of the tracks that we really liked were the ones that nobody else wanted to sign. Well, we’ve got our label so we can release anything we want to now.

A’Damaged Pro – The Digital Age kind of changed things, in respect to releasing tracks…

Flux Pavillion – We did vinyl for, like, the first twelve releases..maybe the first nine or so. The idea was that we can make whatever music we like because we don’t have to try and sign it to any label because we’ve got our own now. That was the real meaning of Circus…not having to deal with any of that bullshit anymore.

A’Damaged Pro – You spend a lot of time traveling, on the road and in the air.

Flux Pavillion – Probably at least seven months out of the year.

A’Damaged Pro – With such an accelerated lifestyle, how do you schedule your “you” time?

Flux Pavillion – You spend a lot of time on flights, waiting on flights, and in hotel rooms and such. I take my Playstation with me so I can plug it in wherever I go.

A’Damaged Pro – Are you a specific type of gamer?

Flux Pavillion – I’m into fantasy and role-playing, sci-fi type games. I’m really into comics, too.

A’Damaged Pro – Do you plug in your own soundtrack while you play?

Flux Pavillion – Nah, not really. I don’t really listen to much music. I listen to music when I’m out playing shows, but in my down time. I make enough music that I don’t really need to listen to it while I’m relaxing.

A’Damaged Pro – Who’s somebody that you would like to collaborate with that you haven’t yet? Whose style would complement yours well? Since genres are fusing so who would merge well with you, artistically?

Flux Pavillion – There’s quite a lot of people, really. That’s the thing. Electronic music to me isn’t dance music. It doesn’t have to be dance music. There doesn’t have to be a DJ. It’s just music that has been made electronically. I really want to work with people that could bring something fresh to electronic music, like, Jonsi  from Sigur Rós” or Sigur Rós, in general…Bon Iver, doing a deep track with Bon Iver. I want to hear Bon Iver on a massive base. You can design the platform so you can define the structure. Well, that’s the music that I like and go for. I don’t really go for big drops, in terms of this has to have a drop, it just has to feel like it drops in some way. So does a Strokes record or an Arctic Monkeys record. They still have the same feeling but it’s done in a different way. Imagine like Josh Hawk or The Queens of the Stone Age but everything’s been produced 100% electronically. Imagine the potential and the directions that things could be taken. It would be totally different than anything else.

A’Damaged Pro – Do you feel like the “maestro” or a composer when you’re up there behind the decks?

Flux Pavillion – Well, I’m not a DJ. I’ve never been a DJ. I only do it because it’s the only way to play my music. I’m a composer and a producer, first and foremost. That’s what I do. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it.

A’Damaged Pro – What are some of your favorite places that you’ve toured so far?

Flux Pavillion – South America was pretty intense. I played in Santiago, in Chile. I’ve never really seen anything like it before. It’s like they were jumping up and down to my foot steps as I was walking out. Like they were ready. The energy was there from the very beginning of my set and didn’t fall until after the set ended. That was pretty insane. I was shaking after that show.

A’Damaged Pro – That’s got to be pretty humbling. Is there a venue that you would like to see your music played or that you would like to play?

Flux Pavillion – Red Rocks is amazing. I played there and it was great. I’d like to headline a pyramid stage in Mexico.

A’Damaged Pro – Did that inspire some of the visuals for the set you just threw down?

Flux Pavillion – I haven’t really gone there with my show yet. Over the next couple of years, I’m going to be building up the live show to include singing and guitars and stuff. I’m putting out a new record next year, which is geared towards the idea of not electronic dance music but electronic music. It can still punch you in the face but it doesn’t have to be known as electronic dance music (EDM). You know what I mean? Sex Pistols didn’t call themselves dance music but you can dance your ass off to them. That’s the direction I’m looking into.

A’Damaged Pro – How do you propose to help redefine the terminology that people are using that only allows a dichotomy of “this” or “that” when what you’re proposing is a duality?

Flux Pavillion – Personally, what I like about DJing, is that you can present the music in a way that the crowd may not have ever heard it before. So you can play two tracks together and generate an entirely different energy than the way the track was intended. So, blurring the lines is definitely an interest of mine.

A’Damaged Pro – Where would you like to see yourself in five years?

Flux Pavillion – Flux Pavillion – I’d like to be happy like anybody else. What I’d really like is to just be a producer. Build a studio and like I was talking about earlier have bands and acts and artists come live with me for, like, two months and work on something special. They go off and do their thing and I work with someone else and then someone else and so on. To be skilled enough to do that I need to learn my craft better so, for the next five years I need to learn more about production and composition to give people the proper platform. I need to work on my own platform before I can help be the platform for others.

A’Damaged Pro – How do you recommend that you do that?

Flux Pavillion – Keep focused on the task at hand. For me, with Flux Pavillion, the task at hand is to make people feel something in here (touches heart). Everyone is different and experiences something a little different but as long as they are feeling something from the music, that’s what making a record is all about. Not necessarily trying to be a genre or a specific sound, just trying to capture that Flux Pavillion feeling.

A’Damaged Pro – What’s one thing that you’ve never mentioned in an interview before?

Flux Pavillion – I suffer pretty hardcore from anxiety. I have panic attacks on stage sometimes and I just swallow it down. No one ever knows that that happens. I’ve never really told anyone about that before.

A’Damaged Pro’s final words…

There’s no denying that there are obstacles to achieving success in the music/entertainment industry. For an artist, there are an extensive list of contributing factors that must be identified and overcome in order to move to the next stage of the game. While some wait for that magical handshake or for their tracks to catch the right powerhouse’s ears, Josh made a proactive choice to bring the music he loves to the masses. I don’t think he’s ever looked back since the formation of Circus Records. I mean, really, why should he? We know he isn’t stopping there and that he is driven to further hone his craft and form a unique “Flux Bridge” between electronic music and live instrumentation. Although some contemporary artists are already establishing their own brand of hybrid platform, I’m extremely excited to see Flux’s vision for his future sound manifest a new dimension in the musical landscape.

Connect with Flux Pavillion: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Photo Credit: Joshua Brasted

An Electronic Awakening For The Collective Consciousness – An Interview w/ Andrew Johner

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life
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What do you call the feeling when you lose yourself in the music, and are you truly ever lost if you belong to a community of your peers? What distinct advantages are there to recognizing the transcendent qualities of an environment and culture that promote individuality as well as harmony as a group? Andrew Johner, the creator of the film “Electronic Awakening” and a founding member of the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA), hopes to unlock the mysteries of possibility that reside within electronic music and transformational culture. I spoke with him to discuss: the origins of his groundbreaking project, his personal experiences within the electronic community, the shamanistic roots prevalent in contemporary “rave” culture, and the potential spiritual and metaphysical impact the global electronic presence can have on the world.

A’Damaged Pro – Where did you grow up?

Andrew Johner – I grew up in Decatur, Illinois. It’s a Midwestern version of Billy Joel’s Allentown; economic depravity, abandoned factories, a deep Springsteen mentality- the few of us that made it out had no other option but to be eccentrically artistic.

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

Andrew Johner – I grew up listening to Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, the Dead- a lot of early, mostly unheard of psychedelic music from the 1960s. I would research these early experimental psychedelic bands- like the 13th Floor Elevators- and then go hunt them down in record stores and libraries.  I was always seeking something different, something I thought was nonexistent in my generation….once I found electronic music I felt as though it was the sound I had been searching for.

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

Andrew Johner – I remember reading about Grateful Dead fans, and the concert experiences people were having. The Dead would ‘play the room’ as they identified their jam genre. At first, I wasn’t into the music as much as I was interested in the group culturally. To this day I still haven’t been to a single one of their concerts. I was curious from a social perspective- what was happening to the audience at their events?  I read everything I could about them. When I first started listening to their bootleg tapes, I started to realize something deeper was happening at the events. Little did I know that right around that same time the whole rave phenomenon was happening….I wouldn’t discover it until much later. However my previous armchair research into the Deadhead movement certainly served as a foundation for my later exploration of electronic music events.

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

Andrew Johner – I wasn’t a fan of electronic music when I first chose to investigate the culture. To me it sounded like a storm of 8-bit noises. At first, I was interested solely from a research perspective. I attended my first EDM event armed with a camera and notebook to begin my investigation into the spirituality of the culture.  While trying to retain an outside perspective- the music immediately drew me in. Almost overnight I found myself bonded with the community through a shared passion for the music and the experience. The music is the greatest souvenir of all my years in the field, one that will stay with me the rest of my life.

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

Andrew Johner – The transformation of the culture has been tremendous in terms of not only its commercial expansion and influence on pop culture, but in solidifying an identity- both as a musical genre and as a culture. Ever since the culture’s emergence in the 1990s- and downfall- it was for the most-part nameless and underground; known only to those who were truly dedicated to the music and community built up around the events. I began researching the scene while it was in this period of incubation. The first individuals whom I interviewed were foretelling a future expansion of the culture into a mainstream phenomena. At the time, it was yet esoteric and ghostly. The sense of prophecy and transformation has been a strong undercurrent of the EDM community over the last decade- now we are seeing how some of it has actually played out. EDM is now a massive multi-billion dollar industry. Group ecstasy is now a mainstream leisure for the next generation of youth. While many of the old-school devotees complain the new movement has become too big, watered-down, cookie-cutter and commercial- they are overlooking the fact that the central core of the event has remained unchanged- the moment of oneness and unity on the dancefloor. Early rave culture reached a similar peak of commercialization, mainstream popularity, and lost meaning- inevitably leading to its decline. However, when looking at EDM from its full and complete history, we know a seed had been planted way back then. Many of those involved with that moment in the 1990s are the ones leading the transformational movement now. From watching their accelerated change over the last decade I would surmise the new commercial EDM scene must undergo a comparative trajectory; over time interjecting wellness, community, and celebration back into society.

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

Andrew Johner – I am creator of the film Electronic Awakening. I am also the owner of the production company Federation of Earth Productions.  Electronic Awakening was the first big project to go out under our label. Beyond my film work, I am an author and ethnographic journalist. I write, research and speak on topics of electronic music cultures, spirituality, and transhumanism. (For more information, or to book a presentation visit my webpage here)

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

Andrew Johner – Seeing Electronic Awakening come to completion all the way from my initial conception was by far the most rewarding. A part of that reward, is hearing back from someone that the film helped solidify deeper feelings they may have had about dance music and had yet to find a way to express it. Believe it or not, the project was conceived on the dancefloor- during my first electronic music event. Call it a bolt of lightning, or pink laser beam from God- I felt called to make a film which expressed exactly what it was people were experiencing in that moment. The anthropology and research came easy, making a film however was a whole new experience. I was working in a whole new medium- coming from a background in writing, the crossover was challenging. Financing a film of this nature was the most challenging, and time-consuming part of the process. I spent the first few years applying for grants, sponsorships, and investors- to no avail. Like most first-time independent filmmakers I had to build the film a little bit at a time from my own paychecks. There is no doubt that Electronic Awakening was a labor of love in this regard. Luckily I was also able to find dedicated support from other production crews, Keyframe-Entertainment, Advanced MultiMedia Operatives, Yerba Buena Films, Gallixsee Media, and our editor Drew Martinez who brought us to the finish line.

A’Damaged Pro – Can you walk me through the creative process for “Electronic Awakening?” What were you hoping to accomplish with this film?

Andrew Johner – Electronic Awakening began as a research paper called ‘Disco-Shamanism,’ which gave a comparative analysis between contemporary rave events and traditional shamanism- namely ecstatic trance dance experiences. As I began researching the topic I was surprised to learn that the culture was based upon the core elements of shamanism- trance and ecstasy. As trance and ecstasy were highly sacred, ritualized techniques for shaman, I immediately questioned the role spirituality played in the electronic community. Throughout the course of my initial field research, I continuously encountered stories of life-changing experiences happening on the dance floor at these events. As an outsider to the scene, I was deeply intrigued to discover that the deep spirituality I proposed to unveil was incredibly prevalent within the community. I thought this connection to the sacred was what lay at the core of EDM culture and was the explanation of its evolution as a community.

From those first few weeks of my fieldwork, I knew that I wanted to make a feature-length film and full book ethnography on the subject. With the film, I was hoping to express the fundamental role spiritual experience has played in the formation of the culture, and in its transformation into a movement of revitalization as we are seeing with Transformational Festivals, Burning Man, and the growing Global Tribe of Psytrance (see Graham St John’s book).
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A’Damaged Pro – What was the research process like when deciding what festivals you wanted to include into this project? Were there distinct elements that you were hoping to capture, as each festival has its own pulse, vibe, and heart?

Andrew Johner – As I began research as an outsider to the scene, I knew nothing of the events. I couldn’t distinguish a difference between EDC and Burning Man.  I read about all there was to read about EDM, but nothing can prepare you for visceral immersion. I was interested in seeking out events that were incorporating elements of religion, ritual, and ceremony. This was long before the birth of the ‘Transformational Festival’ label. I was seeking out any events that advertised spiritual symbols, theatrical ritual, or spiritual workshops into their line-up. Today, I wouldn’t have to look too far- however back in 2006 when I began filming and conducting my first field research, these elements were just starting to sprout up as popular features of festival events. Initially, I hoped to explore the mysticism erupting within the community, however my exploration was paralleled with the community’s own first-time exploration into these ideas and themes. Soon I realized what I was capturing with my film was something yet in a process of autogenic growth and cultural revitalization. I wanted to capture it as it was happening.

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

Andrew Johner – Since the release of Electronic Awakening, I immediately began work on my book Electronic Revival. The book is a further exploration into the subject as the film- however from a broader theoretical perspective; the role of spirituality in our biology, the function of religion in the building of community, and the future role of technology in the evolution of sacred practices.

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

Andrew JohnerElectronic Awakening is an ethnographic documentary which explores the spirituality of electronic music culture, why it’s there in the first place, and what role it has played in their transformation as a community.

A’Damaged Pro – How did you become affiliated with the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)? What potential did you originally see in the EMA? What are some of your proudest achievements as a member?

Andrew Johner – I first became affiliated with EMA just after the release of the film. I was invited by Janine, the founder, to host an Electronic Awakening booth at one of their events. Throughout the production of Electronic Awakening, I had higher aspirations to see an allegiance of the global community come together. After first learning about the EMA, I felt as though I had found the organization that was a carter of that same vision. From that moment I was immediately on board, and dedicated to assist in whatever I could to help the organization achieve that vision.

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

Andrew Johner – I am proud of the organization, not only in its initial vision- but in what it has achieved in a short period of time. The EMA has become a voice for the culture, one that speaks up for the improvement and empowerment of the dance music culture. EMA seeks to link the momentum of the community with charitable causes. Myself, and the EMA included, believe that Electronic Music Culture is a powerful vehicle for change in the world. The EMA is making a profound move towards enabling the full potential of the momentum of our movement. Electronic Music is a powerful game-changer for the culture of our generation, and its going to be groups like EMA that help organize and steer it in the right direction.temple10.2.11.091
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?”

Andrew Johner – Unfortunately, before groups like EMA, and DanceSafe came along- improving party codes of conduct was left up to a lot of trial-and-error. We cannot overlook the fact that raving is like any other extreme sport- while transformative and invigorating, you’re going to get a few broken bones on the black diamonds every once in a while. It’s sad to think that popular culture finds it cool to abuse alcohol, yet shun drug use at electronic events. The sensationalism of the media is not going to last for long. The appeal of psychedelics is in too deep now.  What is likely to advance is our maturity surrounding the use of such compounds. This will happen through the creation and dissemination of values relating to use. EMA’s Party Pledge is an excellent example of what is being done to help create those new value-systems that will help guide the rest of the community. Right now EDM is in place to be a role-model for the rest of the world in terms of incorporating ecstatic experience into community, so we have to set a good example.

A’Damaged Pro – What are some direct benefits that you can foresee of events and festivals incorporating the “Party Pledge” or a variation into their respective safety programs?

Andrew Johner – I think the best example of a similar dissemination of specific values into an event is Burning Man. The whole Burning Man experience is built around their core values. They are not hidden within the fine print, they are front and center. The majority of Burners can recite most of them by heart. The values organize experience. The same could be true of the rest of dance music culture if such a pledge was put in place, and popularized by the community. I think its great the EMA is striving to make this happen.

A’Damaged Pro – What are a few focal points of change that you would like to see instituted into the global EDM community?

Andrew Johner – I stand behind the values of the EMA and would like to see them further integrated within the rest of the global dance community. I would like to see more attention be given towards safety at events- more from the patrons themselves than from the organizers. EDM is long due for an upgrade in collective values. The transformational festival community is a great example of a group’s ability to create new social-guidelines and propagate them throughout an event or community- however they are a bit extreme and can create more division than inclusivity through their rigid ethos-structuring. The global EDM community needs to find a good middle ground between these two extremes.

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

Andrew Johner – The media generates and regulates culture; especially now, in a society driven by social media memes. I think those who are involved in media arts with the intention of activating or progressing our social attitudes are going to be the ones to make some of the most profound changes in our culture.

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

Andrew Johner – I think that sound is moving into a whole new paradigm of science and technology. It will have a more profound role to play in our daily lives; for healing, meditation, and the transfer of information. I see the Electronic Music Culture as a metaphor for where the world is going once new sound technologies are available.

A’Damaged Pro – Are there any other projects that you are working on now that you can talk about?

Andrew Johner – My next project is my book “Electronic Revival: Religion, Technology, and the Rise of Electronic Dance Music.” The book covers the conscious evolution of EDM from a leisure culture into a movement of revitalization. More than exhibiting the biological core of spirituality through the ecstatic practices of dancing, music, and entheogens- electronic music and the transformational festival culture display the fundamental role spirituality plays in the organization and evolution of culture. The book is an ethnographic and theoretical exploration into dance music- incorporating such concepts as the perennial philosophy, complexity, rhythmic entrainment, cosmocultural evolution, and the significance of ecstatic dancing in our evolution as a species.

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

Andrew Johner – I am a strong supporter of the United Nation Foundation, NPR, and the Boy Scouts of America with whom I was involved with directly for several years and was able to see preform positive change in local low-income communities where I was growing up.

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

Andrew Johner – 1. Access to information. While I live in the United States where it is relatively easy to gain access to a computer, the internet and social media, countries in economic depravity, or the third world do not share this luxury. I believe that the core of this problem is in providing easy access to technology for communities in the third world, remote areas, or in areas under economic or political hardship.

2. Energy consumption: I see this a more of an affordability problem than anything else. While its great to see affluent groups embrace sustainable energy, the majority of the world lives below the poverty line and are more concerned with basic survival needs than switching to new sustainable technology. Beyond the propagation of awareness of sustainable energy, our political systems need to play a more intrinsic role in making clean and sustainable energy accessible and affordable.

3. The lack of funding for anthropological research. From my perspective the study of humanity and culture is the most valuable in our understanding of how we operate as a society. The structure of our social, economical, and religious systems should come with this knowledge in mind first and foremost.  We have Smartphones, why not SmartSocieties. The DIY culture-construction of Burning Man is a good example of what can happen if we infuse more cultural knowledge into the arrangement of our social systems. For me, anthropology is the source of much of that understanding.

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

Andrew Johner – In the next year I plan to complete both my book Electronic Revival, and complete my Masters degree. In the next five years, following completion of my book, I plan to complete my next film and book project, “The Simulated Man: Virtual Reality, Social Media, and the Transformation of Society.” The film and book will give a comprehensive look at how virtual reality will play an intrinsic role in the basic functions of our society allowing for a new and more complex form of culture to emerge.

A’Damaged Pro – Is there anything else you would like to share about your yourself or projects that you’ve worked on?

Andrew Johner – I would like to thank the EMA in all of their efforts in mobilizing, activating, and unifying our global dance culture. I would like to thank all of our partners who made Electronic Awakening available to the masses; Keyframe-Entertainment, Advanced MultiMedia Operatives, Drew and Mark Martinez, our Kickstarter supporters, all of our fans and the electronic music community on a whole. I also would like to extend a thanks to Electronica Life for taking the time to conduct this interview and helping connect the work of many in the dance community to the growing culture.

For more information visit our film page at: www.electronicawakening.com

To find out how to book a presentation of “Electronic Revival: Religion, Technology, and the Rise of Electronic Dance Music” visit: www.acjohner.com

A’Damaged Pro’s final words…

It’s disheartening to acknowledge that society has certain parameters for acceptable means of perception imposed on it through calculated manipulation of both government and mass media. Andrew Johner, and individuals who share a similar vision, are motivated to help recalibrate our “traditional” model of normative behavior. Exploring the connection between the transformative elements of electronic music culture and the potential implications of an “electronic awakening” strikes me as an ideal way to usher in a next evolution of collective consciousness. If we are destined to move beyond the confines of our present state of mental stagnancy, we must look to the power of the music, comprehend its potential, and capitalize on what we are capable of learning from one another.

Andrew Johner is a founding member of the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)

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