The Pulse is a new, weekly blog dedicated to all things EDM. Join us as we keep our fingers on the pulse of the ever-changing landscape of Electronic Dance Music.
To kick off this new edition to the OurStage magazine, we’ve collected some of the biggest tunes to hit dance floors over the past few months, highlighting some of the new genre break-offs that have emerged while still giving due credit to the styles that proceeded them.
Earlier this year we reported that Dispatch was back at it after a nearly 12 year hiatus. With the studio album now complete and the tour about to kick into high gear, we caught up with Chad Stokes Urmston on reuniting Dispatch and what to expect from their most extensive album yet. Make sure to pre-order Circles Around The Sun, out August 21st, from the bands website.
OS: So Circles Around The Sun is the first full-length studio effort in over a decade, but you also released the Dispatch EP last year in support of your first widespread tour since calling it quits in 2004. Is it safe to assume Dispatch is back?
CSU: I think this kind of built on when we decided to get back together last summer, we decided not to just play one or two shows but to do a little tour. Then, when we decided to do a tour, we thought “wouldn’t it be great to play some new songs?” And we all write, so we knew that the songs were out there. We did the EP, and still had some songs left over and that turned into the album. So I think we’ll ride this album out and take some more time off.
OS: You guys have never really settled into one style, the evolution from Silent Steeples to Bang Bang alone can prove that. This album continues your forward progression but still sounds like a Dispatch record. What do you attribute your growth as musicians/songwriters to?
CSU: I think in the beginning we were really just learning our instruments. We all played guitar, but Brad and Pete; Pete switched over to bass and Brad switched over to drums. It wasn’t until Four Day Trials or Who Are We Living For?, our 3rd and 4th albums, where we felt like we were at our full power trio abilities. So I think you can account the evolution of the sound to that. But we all come to the table with different influences so it really depends on the timing of the recording and what we’re into at the moment. As we grow up and get exposed to different things… it’s really easy not to get locked into one sound when there’s three of us writing.
OS: And how do you still always sound like Dispatch?
CSU: There’s always been some simplicity to our songs… but our hallmark has really been our harmonies. We can almost do anything, and as long as we’re singing over it it’ll sound Dispatch-y.
Back in February we covered how Twitter and Facebook had proved that the Dave Matthews Band and Steve Lillywhite were back in the studio for the first time since 2000’s failed Lillywhite Sessions. Five months later, Steve Lillywhite continues to engage curious fans through Twitter, and the perennial touring juggernaut that is DMB is back on the road debuting new songs from their upcoming release, which fans can expect September 11th. I got the chance to catch their two-night stand in Hartford, Conn. Also in attendance both nights was none other than super-producer Lillywhite himself. Lillywhite had been teasing fans for weeks about listening to the new album in his rental car, and even Tweeting a picture of the burned disc.
Road trip listening !! twitpic.com/9orwub
” Steve Lillywhite CBE (@Sillywhite) May 24, 2012
Quite the brave move, considering the leak of his last studio effort with the band nearly led to their demise, and a decade long producer/band drought. Nonetheless, Lillywhite grabbed a couple of hardcore DMB fans while leaving the Hartford shows, and invited them to his car to give the album a listen.
” Corey Manicone (@coreymanicone) May 26, 2012
The DMB fan community erupted with excitement as the news started to trickle out that someone had heard the new album, and suddenly Corey Manicone was a micro-celebrity. Over the next few days he answered as many fan questions about the album as he could remember; most importantly confirming that the new songs being played on the tour up to this point were all on the album. And later confirming the fourth and final new song to be on the album as well.
Read on to watch live performances of the four new album songs debuted thus far, and check out the full tracklist.
This week I got the chance to catch up with dubstep producer/DJ Datsik a.k.a. Troy Beetles. The 24-year-old Canadian native recently shared a lot about his performance and production techniques with DJTT, so we focused our conversation on the broader end of the spectrum; discussing the direction of EDM, breaking down the BPM wall, and collaborating with Wu-Tang-Clan.
OS: Like most of the “new generation” of EDM stars; you’ve rocketed to the top in just a couple years, and you’ve spent a good amount of that time out on the road. But electronic music is such a studio-based genre, how do you find the time to keep putting out new music?
TB: Well honestly I tried working on the road a little bit, and it works…but at the same time I love my studio. It gives me a reason to be stoked to come home…other than my girlfriend of course [laughs]. But obviously when I’m on the plane I’ll make patches, or if I’m sitting at the airport I’ll bring my phones and my laptop and just try to jam out ideas. For anything concrete though, I usually wait until I’m home to finalize it.
OS: Your “Fix You” remix from the Mellow-Step EP is a lot different than most of the stuff you have done recently. Do you see yourself doing another EP like that?
TB: It’s always good to do something different from time to time, I think instead of doing a full EP of that kind of sound, it’s more so about integrating that into the stuff I’m already doing. So in one track, you have the very light stuff, and then this crazy drop thats really dark and heavy. Just trying to combine the two a little bit more. I feel like right now I’m going through a weird transition where, you know, I’ve been doing the same thing for a while, and it’s starting to feel… stale. I’m just really stoked to explore different avenues, different tempos, and that has been the most exciting thing for me. I’m working on this 100 BPM track right now that’s really cool, and kind of touches back to my hip hop roots. I’m excited about making stuff again. I’m really stoked about 110 [BPM] right now, and I think I have more fun making that than dubstep. So I’m going through a transitional period which is really cool, as I’m starting to learn different production techniques, and really spread my wings.
Earlier this month, Paris Hilton made headlines by announcing plans to launch a career as a house music DJ. Saturday night, America’s
favorite most famous heiress took to the decks at the Pop Music Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil to play her first-ever DJ set. What resulted was a Top-40-heavy set filled with plenty of arm-flailing and off-beat hip-shaking… but not much mixing.
Hilton seemed to have put more effort into her wardrobe (featuring a pair of bedazzled headphones) than she did practicing for the gig. Approximately 11 seconds into the video, Paris accidentally speeds up the track before catching her mistake and awkwardly playing it off by waving a Brazilian flag. Every DJ can relate to accidentally nudging the most important control on the CD player (which happens to be located on the opposite side of the device as the rest of the controls)… but happening twice in one minute? For shame, Paris.
Perhaps the best point of the night came when Paris attempted to drop her new single “Last Night” (courtesy of producer and ex-boyfriend Afrojack.) It seems as though the plan was to play the song in full, before transitioning to “We Found Love” by Rihanna. Somehow Paris jumbled up her ‘Play’ buttons and the crowd was treated to an unintentional mash-up. Instead of attempting to fix the mistake, Paris just tossed her diamond-crusted headphones off and sang over the mess. Needless to say, the sound tech had to come on stage and fix her mistake before the all important drop. Really, really good stuff.
@MattCave yes we have been writing stuff while touring. we are also going to put out 18 new songs over the next 6 months on 7 inch and digi
” Flea (@flea333) May 29, 2012
Today the band announced that all 18 singles were recorded during the I’m With You sessions (not surprising, considering they couldn’t fit all the material from their Stadium Arcadium sessions onto a single disc); the previously unheard tracks will be released in pairs as digital downloads and on 7″ vinyl. “Strange Man” and “Long Progression” will be released August 14th, followed by “Magpies”/”Victorian Machinery” September 11th, and “Never Is A Long Time”/”Love Of Your Life” on October 2nd. Fans can expect the yet-to-be-titled fourth, fifth, and sixth set of singles on November 6th, December 4th, and December 18th, respectively. The final A-side/B-side pair is slated for release in early 2013.
“Some songs seem to have a lot more of an agenda than others,” said RHCP guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. “Some songs play well with others and some songs need more attention and a little extra care. Here are some songs that seemed to want to pair up and take a later train. Keep your eye on them, they’re up to something…”
Each 7″ release will feature artwork by Kelsey Brookes, whose backround in microbiology, surf culture, and folk art combine to create frantic, colorful images. By combing all nine of the 7-inch releases, fans will be able to create a larger piece of artwork.
Earlier this week, Twitter increased the number of partners who could take advantage of their Expanded Tweets function, which allows users to view photos, play videos, preview a story, and even listen to audio right from their timeline. YouTube and Instagram have been integrated for some time now, but this recent batch of partners is notable as SoundCloud is the only music-streaming site.
SoundCloud integration will embed the ubiquitous HTML5 waveform player into twitter cards, giving users the ability to play, like, and share music without ever leaving the Twitterverse.
“Partnering with Twitter for this rollout allowed us to create a richer experience for our users […] Overall, we’re super excited that SoundCloud can unmute tweets,” SoundCloud founder and CEO Alexander Ljung told Rolling Stone.
The music industry is undergoing one of the largest shifts in recent history. For the first time ever, the folks behind the mixing board are getting just as much recognition as the pop starlets singing over their beats. In a sense, hip hop was the first genre to bring the producer/writer to the forefront with the likes of Dr. Dre, Primo, and Kanye, but even still the MC was the focal point as lyrical content was the most important aspect of the style.
Now, it is the button-pushers, knob-twisters, and fader-flickers that have taken the reigns of the music industry. As EDM continues to rise in popularity, a new breed of rock star seems to be emerging. These are mostly guys who spent their childhoods taking apart computers instead of learning power chords. Gathering production techniques from dark corners of Internet music production forums, instead of making out with groupies in dark corners of the club. Up until a couple years ago, electronic music production was very much a bedroom hobby for most of the community. Occasionally, if you had some real talent and the right connections, one or two of your singles might be picked up by some obscure European label, and a stream of royalty checks may start showing up in your mailbox, but only if DJs decided your track was worth the purchase. But even this model still kept the DJ relegated to a booth hidden from the crowd, the maestro of the party, not the focal point. As EDM shifts and takes on a new identity in America, a country so deeply invested in our celebrities, it makes sense that the DJ/Producer has moved out of the booth and onto the stage. Because of this, producers who often never intended to leave the confines of their bedroom are being thrust on stage and asked to develop some sort of live performance for a genre that is largely dominated by playing pre-recorded songs over a PA system. While we’re sure Kaskade and Avicii would not claim any reluctance to their newfound stardom; it certainly comes with some bumps in the road.
Take Deadmau5, arguably the biggest star EDM has seen since Tiesto, for example. Deadmau5, a.k.a. Joel Zimmerman, kicked off the electro-progressive-house revolution long before every frat boy in America was womping to Skrillex.
But he got his start as a computer programmer and sound designer. Always having an attraction to EDM after attending some of the illegal ’90s era warehouse raves, he spent much of his free time on music production forums, adopting the handle DEADMAU5 after finding a dead mouse (literally) behind the fan of his computer tower (the ‘5’ was a necessary reduction to stay within the 8 character limit imposed on many early forums). His infamous mau5head has given him and his music an instantly recognizable brand; rabid fan base not withheld, making him the wealthiest of the “new generation” of EDM stars.
Earlier today, The Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson picked up the latest issue of NME and, while perusing the latter’s rock-solid take on Fiona Apple‘s new album, noticed the wrong angsty-brooding-’90s-era-songstress looking casually over her shoulder. And she shared her discovery on Twitter…
NME had run a picture of Alanis Morisseette above the review, and while the two artists do share a vague resemblance (i.e. they are both white women with…hair), we’re amazed that no one in the editing process caught the mistake before plastering it across half a page of prime real estate. Only a few hours later, the reblogging had started; Idolator ran a full story, Dangerous Minds called NME out for their rough week, and MTV questioned the integrity of the review after such a big blunder.
Here’s hoping we haven’t made any major typos, or you know, confused two of the biggest female music stars of our generation in the past couple weeks. Those (re)bloggers are ruthless…
As Las Vegas quickly becomes a centralized location for America’s dance music craze, Insomniac Events and their touring Electric Daisy Carnival have taken an unofficial residency as the summer festival ringmasters. Kicking off the yearly festival season, EDC attracts hundreds of thousands of bass-loving, booty-shaking fans to the desert for three nights of dance music, carnival rides, and circus performances.
On Saturday, EDC was forced to shut down early due to wind gusts that threatened the structural integrity of the enormous temporary stages sprawled across the Las Vegas desert.
Insomniac later made this statement on the EDC website:
Insomniac, in consultation with public safety officials, made the decision that due to extremely high wind conditions, the crowd would be cleared away from the stage areas. The decision was made out of an abundance of caution and with fan safety in mind.
Fans inside the festival were allowed to stay until 5:30 a.m. and enjoy music from temporary sound systems located on the infield grass of the stadium.
Earlier tonight, entry of new fans was stopped and inbound traffic is being managed by the Nevada Highway Patrol and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. As of 1 a.m. there were approximately 90,000 fans that had cleared the turnstiles into the venue.
Insomniac shares our fans’ disappointment that weather conditions changed the second night of the Electric Daisy Carnival experience, said Insomniac CEO, Pasquale Rotella. Our top priority has always been fan safety and we expect that Mother Nature will be more cooperative tomorrow as we prepare for an amazing day three.
It is still unclear whether refunds will be issued for those who did not get into the festival, but Insomniac did make the decision to honor any Saturday tickets for entrance to the show on Sunday night (which went off without a hitch).
While we’re sure many fans left Vegas disappointed, safety should always come first. Especially for a promotion company whose reputation was already tarnished after the death of a 15-year-old girl during the final Los Angeles-based Electric Daisy Carnival in 2010.