Category: PREviews / REviews
*written by Lizzie Moore for Electronica Life
It was about 11pm when I found myself driving down a dark road in the middle of the desert towards what would soon become one of the most spontaneous and meaningful weekends of my life. I had been given the opportunity to attend Zero Point festival in Las Vegas. I asked a friend if she would be interested in attending with me, and within an hour we had decided that Zero Point would be our next adventure. With a lineup featuring many local DJ’s from Las Vegas along with electronic downtempo pioneers Desert Dwellers, we entered the desert with open minds, ready to hear a lot of new music.
We finally arrived after a 5-hour drive from Phoenix, and were told to park in a lot adjacent to the venue. Proceeding onto the grounds we asked a passerby where we were supposed to camp, to which he responded, “what do you mean? Camp wherever you like.” It became clear in that moment that we were rookies and had no idea what to expect for the days ahead. After setting up our tent and cracking a celebratory beer with our neighbors, we decided to explore the grounds. Zero Point was located in a unique venue nestled in the desert of Nevada called the Delphi Amphitheater.
There were many features that made this festival unique, including a dome in the middle of the venue called the “Shamans Tent” that featured a new kind of “EE system” technology designed by a woman named Dr. Sandra Rose Michael. The festival was the first of it’s kind to be held within a Zero Point energy field. TV’s emitting frequencies bordered the tent amplifying the energy of anyone who spent time within it. The energy within this field is supposed to be able to reverse aging and ailments, align the chakras, and as stated on the website “create a space where miracles can and will happen.” Additionally, the event was run on solar power and emphasized a focus on maintaining the environment and making sure to leave no trace at the venue.
Two stages on either end of the venue were playing 24/7, with sunrise sets that were just as energetic as their sunset counterparts. I was impressed with most of the sets I caught, including Mark Farina, Antennae, Desert Dwellers, and countless local artists. The people in the crowd were vibing with each other, respecting the space and leaving room for everyone to enjoy themselves.
The emphasis was more on sharing the area and creating an atmosphere than it was on being upfront by the DJ booth, which was a refreshing change from larger festivals. One thing I noticed about the people that attend these desert events- they definitely know how to get down. It was rare to find someone sitting still the whole weekend. The energy was pulsating like the entire universe was participating in the celebration, you could feel the bass in your bloodstream bumping throughout the entire venue, and the hours past in what seemed like minutes.
The biggest turn out was on the second night when most of the major headliners played until the sun came up. Antennae, an innovative DJ from San Francisco began his set well past one am, but the party was far from over. His soulful yet trippy remixes really started to set a funky mood as the night got colder but the energy grew higher. I had listened to some of Santa Fe duo Desert Dwellers music before on their Soundcloud but was blown away hearing it live.
Their music was a perfect soundtrack pulsing through the night practically begging all of the beautiful souls at the event to gather under the desert sky on one wavelength. Many people I spoke to said they had seen Desert Dwellers before but this set far bypassed those times. Perhaps it was the small and intimate venue… Or perhaps it was Dr. Sandra’s energy dome, but there was a magical connection in the Delphi Amphitheater that night, inexplicably linking everyone to each other, to the earth, and to the universe itself.
We had the pleasure of becoming friends with a few of these local artists, and I’ve included links to their work below for anyone looking to check out new music. Not only were these guys down to earth and wonderful people, but also threw down sets that I predict we will be hearing in much bigger venues in the future.
The sound system featured at the main stage was custom built, and the quality was vastly better than many I have experienced because of the passion and articulate care put into their production. They are put together, piece by piece by speaker visionary Hon Solo in order to ensure the best experience for the attendees, in his words, “it’s not about being the loudest, it’s about the quality.” He goes as far as to align the layout of the stages at an exact angle so that the moon and stars will rise above it and the clear desert landscape radiates with sound for miles.
Zero Point was so special not only because of the event itself but the community that it represented. It became clear to us throughout the weekend that this was a family. Everyone seemed to know each other and it felt like a family reunion that we were somehow lucky enough to score an invite to. Every person we encountered was welcoming and the energy emanating from everyone we met was warm and abundant.
“Zero Point is designed to bring the community together by offering a healthy playground with all the perks of life that make you smile, educational information that expands perceptions, and a space to move freely in the expression of dance,” said festival founder Michael Scalar, “Zero Point is a platform for evolution through the transference of energy and growth of our family.” The event truly was a gathering of humans who have figured out how to connect with each other on a much deeper level than words or sounds. Music is what brings them together, but energy is what keeps them together.
“Epyk Entertainment”, a company involved in throwing Zero Point, started as a crew of friends that turned into a family that eventually started throwing events. “From these events a remarkably connected community of individuals has formed. We bring this community to every event we reach inspiring other to be who they truly are within without the fear of judgment or hate.”
The company’s co-founder Steve MacWithey explains, “We take every opportunity to pursue this passion and take our love to a new level. We can’t stop and won’t stop this vision of changing the world one person at a time. Changing lives with music, inspiring change through dance.”
There was a moment that weekend that I was physically standing on top of a mountain looking down at the festival below me. I realized I had stumbled into something much bigger than a music event, I had stumbled into a culture. I look forward to the great things this group of people will be able to manifest within the electronic music event industry in the future, and I can only hope I get to be present to experience it.
Connect with the DJ’s: Demarco Cruz | L Boogie | Jeremy Espinosa | Brett Rubin and Violin Girl
Anjunabeats’ very own Andrew Bayer hits Exchange LA on October 24th to provide a diverse & spectacular Trance experience to the City of Angels. With prolific productions such as tracks on the album “If It Were You, We Would Never Leave”, including “Echo”, “Perth”, and the latest single track release “The District”, Andrew’s widely respected innovative mentality boldly highlights the ever-changing creativeness of the trance genre.
This Maverick producer strives for diversity when it comes to his performances, which only tells the people of the Los Angeles area to anticipate the highly artistic set that he has planned for us. Being one of the last stops on Andrew Bayer’s “Do Androids Dream” tour, us trance heads are only that much closer to hearing a series of new productions from this amazing artist.
All upcoming new music will be showcased during his set at Exchange LA. It’s time for the Los Angeles people to get in touch with their robotic sides and answer Andrew Bayer’s question, Do Androids Dream?
Swedish super duo Cazzette, takes the stage at Avalon on October 18th to once again tear the roof off of this Los Angeles club and rattle the ears of their SoCal followers. Since Cazzette was founded in 2011, they’ve shaken the EDM scene to its core and have quickly established their title as legendary musicians. The duo have played at the Avalon on many occasions, each time surpassing all expectations and leaving their SoCal Fanbase lusting for more of their addicting, club smashing sound.
If you’ve seen one of Cazzette’s performances before, then you know that each of their sets is always different from the last due to mixing genres such as Electro, House, and even Dubstep, while also doing live remixes of some of today’s top songs.
The creation of the track “Beam Me Up” and their previous album entitled “Eject”, have given the duo a strong and well recognized foundation for what’s to come of them as musicians. Cazzette’s diverse sound, fused with the sound system created by the Avalon itself, only promise Los Angeles’ clubbers a night that will never be forgotten.
*written by Shimmy for Electronica Life
After a year long hiatus, the new Drai’s Las Vegas re-opened earlier this year with a view that we had never seen before. Perched on the roof of The Cromwell hotel, this 65,000 sq ft venue has one of the most breathtaking views of the strip. In addition to the revamped Afterhours club, Victor Drai has also added a Beachclub and Megaclub making this venue one of the hottest tickets in Sin City.
As many Vegas veterans can attest, the old Drai’s was quite the contrast — dark, subterranean, and a house-head haven. While the culture of a sexy, classy, and groovy vibe still exists, I’m excited to see what actually attending the venue before 5 AM has to offer.
Justin Blau, better known by his stage name 3LAU, is headlining the nightclub this Saturday, October 11. A Las Vegas native, the 23 year old is one of the fastest rising producers in the industry. Fresh off his appearance at TomorrowWorld, he has tackled everything from mashups to progressive and even deep (making him the perfect Drai’s resident). His radio show, 3LAU HAUS, has recently been flirting with a deeper side of the electronica spectrum, introducing tracks which he has aptly referenced as “deep haus.” Playing in front of your hometown always brings out the best energy from a DJ, and this Saturday night (and obviously Sunday morning) should be no different.
Are you ready to have the wildest experience you’ve ever had? If so, the best logical option would be to go to CONTROL at Avalon Hollywood this Friday to catch the rising legends, New World Sound, drop another one of their wild sets. New World Sound is coming out in just a few days, to take their Los Angeles fans to a whole new level of clubbing that they have yet to experience. The two Australian brothers, currently on their CHEER UP tour, are traveling all over the US & Canada celebrating their newest track which was released via Ultra Music, appropriately titled “Cheer Up.”
These two talented musicians are some of the most promising upcoming super duo’s in all of Dance Music and have support from nearly all of the top hitters of EDM. Los Angeles residents and visitors alike are greatly anticipating the performance of this new world of sound & energy these two unique artists are known to bring, at control this Friday, October 10th.
*written by Shimmy for Electronica Life
Untz Untz Untz. Or was that Unz Unz Unz?
Might be hard to tell when your audio equipment doesn’t support the type of music pumping through your ears. Listening to thumping electronic dance music on generic ear buds is definitely acceptable, but chances are, if you are reading this article then you deserve better. Much better.
I recently spoke with Cheryl Shieh, from MEElectronics, who is part of a team that have created headphones specifically catered toward listeners of EDM. Their “EDM Universe” Headphones offer the listener “enhanced bass, spacious sound, and excellent dynamics” to make sure the Untz your favorite producer wanted you to hear really does sound like an Untz.
Shimmy – Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to talk with Electronica Life! So what is your role at MEElectronics?
Cheryl - My official title is Public Relations Manager. I mainly handle social media and marketing related things but also dabble a little in the creative department. It’s been a great ride so far and I’ve learned tons in the 6 months that I’ve been here.
Shimmy - How did you get involved with MEElectronics?
Cheryl – I got hired on to assist the marketing and graphic design departments. I love music (especially EDM) so how could I resist a job where I’m constantly listening to music from different types of headphones?
Shimmy – MEElectronics is relatively new to the marketplace. What is story behind MEElectronics?
Cheryl – MEElectronics started out making mp3 players about ten years ago, but in trying to develop the best-sounding mp3 player we soon realized that the audio quality was more dependent on the headphones than anything else. We searched for reasonably priced headphones that performed up to our standards, but there were none on the market at the time, so we made our own! They turned out pretty good and became popular on the audiophile forum Head-Fi and with other audiophile communities around the world. This is how MEElectronics got started as a headphone brand.
Since then we’ve greatly expanded our offerings but still maintain our original focus on sound quality and value. In addition to our audio-focused products, our current lineup includes one of the best-selling sports headphones on the market and the world’s most complete line of Bluetooth wireless headphones.
Shimmy – There is a definite movement, especially here in the US, toward electronic dance music. What are your thoughts on the current state of EDM?
Cheryl – We have been EDM listeners for a long time here at MEElectronics – some of us for 15 years or more. We are all very happy to see EDM becoming more mainstream. Truth be told, I still haven’t gotten used to hearing multiple EDM songs back to back on mainstream radio, but it’s great to see more people enjoying EDM. Though EDM is an umbrella term for a lot of different genres of Electronic music, it still feels like the community has maintained a cohesiveness that’s not really there with other types of music. EDM is also the music genre where the fans still go to live events for the love of the music, and of course that feel of being at a live event is something we want to get as close to as possible with our headphones.
Shimmy – Why did MEElectronics decide to create the EDM Universe headphones and what makes them unique from its competitors?
Cheryl – The headphone market is pretty big, but while there are headphones developed for Rock, Hip-Hop, and several other genres, there were no headphones tuned specifically for EDM, a genre that we share a special bond with. We were in a unique position where we had both the ability and motivation to come out with the first ones, so we did. Not only did we tune the sound of our EDM Universe headphones for electronic music, they also have an EDM-inspired design. Our focus has always been on quality and performance, not celebrity endorsements and inflated pricing, so that’s what we bring with the EDM Universe headphones as well.
Shimmy – PLUR seems to be underlying theme with these headphones. A bracelet with PLUR written on it is even included in the beautiful packaging. What does PLUR mean to the MEElectronics brand?
Cheryl – Feeling loved, supported, understood, and welcome is what we all want, but the ultimate happiness lies not just in ourselves but also what we can give to others. I think you can really feel this at a lot of festivals. Our goal is simply to spread awareness that the PLUR life is a simple, beautiful way to live and thrive.
Shimmy – If an employee comes into your office wearing Apple earbuds, do you send him or her home?
Cheryl – Not at all All MEElectronics employees are encouraged to explore other headphones and are welcome to come forward and let us know if there is something they like or don’t like about them so that we can understand how to improve our own products. On any given day, you’ll see 5 different headphone brands around the office, in addition to our own large collection.
Shimmy - Any plans on creating a headphone specific for the studio or EDM dj’s?
Cheryl – DJ Headphones are definitely something we are open to, but it will all depend on how the current EDM Universe line is received.
Shimmy – Where can you find and purchase MEElectronics headphones?
Cheryl – We ship our headphones worldwide from our website (meelec.com) and you can also find us on most major online retailers such as amazon, best buy, walmart, newegg…etc.
Shimmy – What’s up next for MEElectronics?
Cheryl – As we approach 2015, we are working on refining our product lines. In addition to developing all-new products, we are doing something that’s a bit unusual and re-releasing our most popular products with changes based entirely on user feedback. As for our long-term trajectory, we believe that the future of headphones is wireless – the convenience is just impossible to beat. We already got a head start in the wireless category and would really like to lead that market segment as it grows.
Shimmy - Please tell us something you haven’t told anyone else in an interview that you think we should know.
Cheryl – A friend of mine went to Coachella this past year and told me about the after-hours silent disco tent. Ever since then, it’s been my dream for one of these silent discos to use MEElectronics headphones. That would be just the coolest thing ever!
When I finally got my ears between the MEElectronics EDM Universe On-Ear Headphones, I was not disappointed. With an MSRP of $99.99, these relatively light headphones have the sound clarity of headphones costing much higher. The product packaging is attractive and they even include a functional felt-lined headphone case which will help protect your investment when festival hopping. There’s a separate area inside the case to keep the flat 3.5 mm audio cable organized as well.
Many songs come to mind when someone throws out the term “EDM music.” Knowing this, I decided to test out these EDM-specific headphones with a few different artists to see if they truly get my stamp of approval. Audiophiles may cringe, but I didn’t bother to burn these headphones in [gasp!]; instead, I just fired up Spotify on my laptop and started searching through my playlists.
I started out with some funky GRiZ,to set the tone early for the musical journey my ears were about to enjoy. To my delight, there was no noticeable distortion in any of those saxual beats. My head was definitely starting to bob. I was ready to keep going. I needed something I hadn’t heard in a long time… some early 2000′s Gabriel & Dresden was the answer. Nothing brings a smile to my face quicker than some vocal trance. Even though these headphones highlight their bass ccapabilities I found the mids & highs to be very clean. The melodies had very little noise, I was very content. Finally, I had the urge for something a bit more bass heavy. As marketed, the headphones didn’t disappoint. I queued up several Nero tracks and then immediately turned the in-line volume control up to the max. Even with the max volume, there was no detectable distortion. In fact the vocals were extremely clear and the bass was extra punchy. By this time, the headphones had been on my ears for quite some time. I don’t see myself complaining about comfort with these either. Although the ear pads are rectangle in shape, they are soft and just have the right amount of pressure to keep them securely on my head. My only complaint about these EDM Universe headphones is that sound isolation could be improved. Maybe it’s due to the shape of the ear pads, but I found myself still hearing ambient noise even with the infectious beats from Nero blasting into my ear.
Long story short, I found the sound of these headphones to be above average. Yes, it does do well on the lower end of the spectrum, but let’s not take away it’s performance with the mids and highs. The build quality didn’t come across as being overlooked either; I found the headphones to be well constructed out of durable plastic. Now, the biggest plus for me is the price. It is not uncommon to find headphones in this space costing two or three times higher. Get rid of your generic ear buds and grab some MEElectronics EDM Universe Headphones. Your ears will thank you. Untz Untz Untz.
*written by Vix for Electronica Life
Hailing from Denmark and Norway, is the versatile Dubstep duo Pegboard Nerds, whose “Uncaged” tour is taking them across all of North America. Known for putting their own flavor on almost all genres of EDM, seeing these two perform was an experience I refuse to forget. Anything seemed possible during their show, even marriage, as a club-goer proved by proposing in the middle of the Nerds’ set. Hear what the Nerds had to say, the experience they brought to the Avalon in Los Angeles, & the answer to a club-goers public proposal, all in the rest of this Electronica Life exclusive piece.
Vix – What attracted you guys into the world of EDM?
Nerds – Being exposed to electronic music on the radio and music stores, and thinking about how someone could make this music.
Vix – What would you guys say was your biggest career defining moment as the Pegboard Nerds?
Nerds – There’s a lot, it’s not all about producing music, but the performance itself. We had some really great experiences and some not so good experiences that also defines what you want to do in the future. I don’t think we can single out one thing.
Vix – What would you say sets you guys apart from other artists, that makes both of you so successful in today’s generation of dance music?
Nerds – I know we throw away a lot of stuff; we don’t just make a track and sell it. It’s our taste and our sense of what our music should sound like.
Vix – At the start of your careers as the Pegboard Nerds, were you categorized under a specific genre? Or was producing music from Dubstep to Hardstyle, and everything in between, what you guys planned on from the beginning?
Nerds – I think we were, and to a certain degree, still are categorized as a Dubstep act; which kind of pisses me off.” said Pegboard Nerd, Alex O, “But we can only blame ourselves for that. You know, that happens when you put out two, three, or four songs in a row which are Dubstep; you get categorized.
Vix – Out of all the genres the both of you have produced, which do you enjoy making the most?
Nerds – I used to like the fall to the floor thing, then it changed to 110 to 174 (BPM). It changed for Alex too, because he was more about the half time and now I like halftime.” Said Pegboard Nerd, Michael P.
Vix – Which artists are some of your inspirations?
Nerds – Crossfire and Skrillex; they are always on the forefront of pure engineering, sounds design, and looking forward.
Vix – Is there any upcoming projects that your fans should look forward to hearing from you?
Nerds – It’s not a secret anymore, but it’s the Excision collaboration. There’s also a Cash Cash collaboration, and then there’s a few of our projects that we will be previewing tonight.
Vix – Who are some artists that you guys look forward to performing with during your “Uncaged” tour?
Nerds – Varian, who is really talented, and Cash Cash. The cool thing about festivals, is that you can go check out other people’s work, meet other artists, and get to know them.
Vix – By the end of phase one of the “Uncaged” tour, what are you hoping to have accomplished?
Nerds – Having people who weren’t into EDM, become interested from our music and gaining new fans.
Vix – Besides phase two of the tour, what’s next for the Pegboard Nerds after you finish phase one? Any albums, EP’s, etc.?
Nerds – It’s just tracks, we’re not going to get into EP’s or albums yet. It doesn’t make sense for us because we need to have a consistent output. If you can do an album, like Porter Robinson, you have to take the time to do it because it needs consistency. It would be suicide for us at this point in time; maybe at a later time it would make sense.”
To state the obvious, the Pegboard Nerds did exactly as LA had anticipated them to do: give yet another astonishing performance, which they achieved and then some. It being my first time at a Pegboard Nerds’ show, I was amazed by their versatility, and constant rage-hard energy.
Switching between the broad spectrum of EDM genres, the music never disappointed and without a doubt, kept everyone on their toes and guessing “what could possibly come next?
The Pegboard Nerds showcased a few of their unreleased tracks; one of which was their “Banjo” track, that when played, had the crowd jumping for more, despite the mixed reactions the Nerds had told me they’ve received on it so far. Interacting with the crowd and showcasing their incredible talent, the duo made sure no one could resist moving their bodies and throwing their hands in the air in support of the energetic performance before them.
The Nerds even gave a special shout-out to a lucky club-goer who proposed to his now fiancé, while the Pegboard Nerds’ remix of “Live For the Night” was playing. The recognition from the Pegboard Nerds about the proposal (which she said “yes” to) really warmed my heart and made that night even more special not only to the happy couple, but quite possibly the Nerds’ as well. The Pegboard Nerds have definitely made their mark on the world of dance music and have given me a better perspective on clubbing in LA compared to SoCal festivals. After the experience they brought to CONTROL Fridays hosted by the Avalon, the Pegboard Nerds can only be expected as return performers in LA’s dance scene in the near future.
Photos by Alyssa Mendoza