[Doing it Right] Armin Van Buuren’s Post-Grammy Award Show

Being a California native, it takes me a little more than the average bear to get ‘starstruck‘; but, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.   Back when I was working in El Segundo for Internet Brands, I saw Gary Payton at the local dive bar and started shaking in my boots I was so excited!  It’s not everyday that you’re standing in front of a childhood idol, and there I was – jaw to the floor in front of ‘The Glove’ and I couldn’t even muster enough syllables to form a coherent sentence. When I worked at Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week in Los Angeles, I hugged and interviewed Christian Audigier of the infamous Ed Hardy clothing brand. Now, no – I don’t ‘love‘ his clothes, and you might have to pay me to wear about a third of what they produce – but absolutely nothing can compare to meeting an idol, fashion mogul and exceptional business brain.  A year ago this weekend, I started writing for The DJ List’ – an internationally respected, EDM webzine, and the number of opportunities I’ve had that take my breath away are simply magnificent.  What started as me wanting a ‘hand in the EDM cookie jar’ has catapulted to me with a foot in the door in the EDM world.  I’ve had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with the best and brightest, and have amazing memories to show for it.

Last Spring, my boyfriend and I met Markus Schulz and covered the details of his Scream 2 Album and Bus Tour.  Then, to throw a cherry on top of my musical ice cream sundae – this past December as a little belated birthday present from the world at large: I got to meet, touch and hug the #1 Trance DJ in the world, Armin van Buuren at an exclusive Press and Fan meet and greet opportunity at the House of Blues in Hollywood where he dished about his latest one man tour, Armin Only: Intense, as well as his first Grammy nomination for the smash single ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ featuring vocalist Trevor Guthrie. Fast forward to last week and I’m churning through my emails, trying to find a ray of sunlight in my bleak inbox – and stumbled across an email from his PR agent who I simply adore: Sound Nightclub was pairing up with Armin and Trevor to celebrate their Grammy nomination for ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ and they wanted me there.  What?!  This is one of the first, and only moments, that’s left me laughing historically, wondering who in the world I am and exactly how I’ve gotten so lucky?  Granted, hard work and dedication have paid off – I’ve penned almost 60 articles for The DJ List, which isn’t anything to sneeze at – especially when you consider my full time job, and penchant for wild and crazy fun, and inherent need to basically do everything under the sun.  I want it all, and somehow, I’ve managed to get it.

Last night, three of my favorite people in the world – my wonderful boyfriend, one of my best gals that I started Beatnet EDM with and my friend who pioneered the amazing EDM Event site ‘Music Alerts’ – strutted into one of the hottest, and newest Hollywood clubs for our first time to see the man, the myth, the Trance Legend – AVB!  The venue was small enough that it’s an intimate setting, and the party was small enough that there was room to shake your groove thing and get down with your trance arms wherever you felt necessary.  Most parties at Sound pack the place to the brim, but since this was Armin’s party – no real tickets were sold; the show was invite only and the crowd, as plastic as 80% of them looked, was having the time of their lives.  Unfortunately, Armin didn’t take home the Grammy for ‘Best Dance Recording’ but the category was chalk full of amazing singles, and could’ve easily been anyone’s ball game. The rest of the category played out like this –  This Is What It Feels Like was up against Clarity from Zedd and Foxes, Kaskade’s Atmosphere, Calvin Harris and Florence Welch for Sweet Nothings, and last but certainly not least, breakthrough smash ‘Need You (100%)’ by Duke Dumont, MNEK and A*M*E.  At the end of the night, the award was much deservingly given to Zedd and Foxes – and I couldn’t be happier with the choice.  As much as I was rooting for Armin, if I had to pick a single of his to be nominated – that would not have been it.  In and Out Of LoveFine Without YouVirual Friend – they each have an immense depth, heavy layers and ethereal vocals that build throughout the track and IMO, were much more deserving of a Grammy nod; but that was a different world back then.  I’m more than interested how EDM effects other, more mainstream genres and infiltrates both Pop Music, and our Pop Culture;  Dance Music has been on the rise over the last ten years, and I can’t wait to see how EDM pushes the musical boundaries next.

Armin 2


ARMIN2

The Audiofiles: Manic Monday – No Gloom in My June

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” ― Oscar Wilde

Though I’m sure my parents would readily disagree with this statement – I don’t consider myself much of a whiner or a complainer; the fact of the matter is that I’m an only child – and twice over at that with divorced parents.  But that’s totally a story for another day – bottom line: the only type of wine I like comes in a glass and is paired with cheese.  That said – BLAAARG: <y Aunt has been at Mass-Gen with some rare, tropical illness that no one’s ever heard of or knows how to treat and – this isn’t me exaggerating to get my point across, or get your sympathy – she would’ve died last week if it weren’t for the quick thinking and overwhelming concern from a family friend. When ten of the best specialists in the world are running around like chickens with their heads cut off asking for “Dr.House” you know you’re in for a hell of a ride; thankfully, my family is rock solid and we’re sending all of our energy to get her better. To boot,  I’ve had a whale of a time dealing with a misanthropic apartment “manager” on various different issues and it literally makes my head want to explode and implode simultaneously. So this is me; trying to be calm, content and in the present.  This is me being constructive and moving forward.  And this is me, understanding that I can only control what is in my power; the universe has it’s own plan for all of us. 

So, that being said – I’ve been in search of an escape.  Most people view escapism as something external: somewhere you go or a new place to rest your existence.  But, why limit yourself?  To escape is to literally break free of confinement, control and convention – did you ever stop and think that all those mechanisms exist in your mind?  This weekend ended up being about an internal escape, a sort of manifest-destiny of the mind of you will.  I had great company, good food, roamed the streets in the sunshine and had at least 8 hours of sleep each night; suffice it to say, I forgot how amazing detoxing can be! But now that we’re here – at Monday – again, I need something to pick me up. I was diagnosed with a fainting disorder a few years ago so with no caffeine in my diet, I leave it up to music to soothe my soul – here are some of my go-to, feel-good jams that make you just want to dance, love and break things (in the best of ways, of course!).  Enjoy, and I hope your Monday is just as manic as you need it to be.

 

Playlist:

  1. Depeche Mode – Soothe My Soul (Steve Angello & Jaques Lu Cont Remix)
  2. Empire of the Sun – Alive (Zedd Remix)
  3. SubFocus ft Alex Clare – Endorphins (Tommy Trash Remix)
  4. Above & Beyond – Walter White
  5. Disclosure ft Eliza Doolittle – You & Me (Baauer Remix)
  6. The Partysquad – Lighterman (Krafty Kuts Skank Remix)
  7. MitiS ft Collin McLoughlin – Born
  8. J Majik & Wickaman – Life Me Up
  9. Duke Dumont – Lean N Bounce
  10. Armin van Buuren ft Trevor Guthrie – This Is What It Feels Like (W&W Remix)
  11. Maison & Dragen – Wet Dreams
  12. Hard Rock Sofa & Dirty Shade – Collapsar
  13. Submatik – Stories Can Wait
  14. Will Sparks – Ah Yeah (TJR Edit)
  15. Wallpaper. – Good 4 It (Laidback Luke Goes Melbourne Vocal Mix)
  16. Benga – Midnight
  17. Oliver – MYB
  18. Sleepy Tom – Hit Em
  19. Skrillex ft Alvin Risk – Imma Try It Out

Music Monday: Mixin’ It Up

One of the unfortunately side effects of a stellar weekend – or in my case, past week – is something I like to call “Hot Mess Mondays”: your  brain might be functioning, you might’ve had enough sleep; but chances are that it’s not, you didn’t and you’re currently paying for it handsomely. Though the weather wasn’t as stellar as we would like, we realize that living in LA beggars certainly can’t be choosers; and spoiled weather brats can’t expect it to be sunny all the time!  There’s a great quote that says that you can’t get a rainbow without a little rain and I more than ascribe to that train of thought.  This past weekend turned into a typical, friend fueled, debauchery filled weekend for me and just for y’all, I’ll let the kitten out of the bag – I’m definitely having one of those days!

Photo

On Tuesday night I cruised down to Orange County to hang with my good friends and Beatnet co-founders and hit up some Dusky action at Focus.

For a Tuesday night in the OC that little place can get pretty rockin’!

Apparently Dusky is two guys? The more you know! Lol.

Dusky’s Essential Mix:

The best thing about the Dusky show was that I took Wednesday off so I could enjoy the show in it’s entirety – and a week later found out that one of my closest and dearest friends and her home crew from Portland were flying into San Diego that same week and had a few days free; serendipity, indeed! Every time I kick it with these kids I have the absolute time of my life, and Wednesday was no different.  We drank, frolicked, caught up and got weird: success!

My bitch =)

Breakfast of champions 😉

A-Team.

And that was just the mid-week festivities: over the weekend, there was definitely some bottomless brunching and boozing going down during the day, Blond:ish that night and Culrpit’s Season Opener at the Standard yesterday with Miguel Campbell.  So yeah, I’m wiped out!

#SweatbandSaturday
We don’t fuck around.

The lovely Blond:ish

Blond:ish from Playa Del Carmen:

And yesterday, we braved some rain at the Standard to kick off the Culprit Pool Parties – the weather was beyond lame but we tried to make the best of it!  Popped some bottles, caught up with some friendly and familiar faces and made some new cabana friends!

A little mix from the main man of the day, Miguel Campbell:

Making it rain > rain.

Even though my taste in music is pretty diverse, over the past month I’ve had more than my share of Deep, Tech and Minimal house shows – which are great for enjoying the atmosphere and breathing in the music, but going out to Exchange to see Ferry Corsten and Dim Mak studios for some Drum & Bass Hospital Records style I realized how much I miss the thumping bass, sick drops and the electric energy coming from the dance floor.

What do you get when you put three of the top Trance DJs and Producers in the world in one room?  You get Markus Schulz and Ferry Corsten, New World Punx at Armin van Buuren’s ASOT 600 in Madison Square Garden.   Their name, which is a play on Schulz’s “New World” and Corsten’s “Punk’d” is like a 3 on the scale of 1 to awesome DJ names but that’s besides the point; I watched a bit of the live stream and was hooked immediately.

SubFocus rocking the stage at Ultra:

This new track from Boys Noise is hauntingly gorgeous:

Swedish House Mafia might be done for* but that doesn’t mean they’re done individually; Steve Angello graced the BBC Radio 1 decks this past week with an epic essential mix:

Duke Dumont is one of my favorite new Deep House producers (yeah, I tried being over the genre but some stuff it just stays with you…) and his last two hits “The Giver” and “Need U 100%” are phenomenally produced and expertly mastered.  This remix is no different:

Above & Beyond’s Group Therapy Radio is a surefire way to get me through my Fridays, and this past week they had the House legend Sasha as their guest:

The Audiofiles: My Top Trance Tracks

One of the great things about meeting people in the EDM scene is we each have such unique tastes in what moves us; take me for example – I’m a sucker for some floor to the four beats but I love me some dirty dubstep and vocal trance. Actually, let’s just be real – I love it all!

The other day, a new friend of mine got to talking about favorite trance tracks and he sent me away with some homework: my mission, should I choose to accept, was to create a CD with ten songs – seven favorites and three absolute classics. Well, I’ve been bumping this mix now all morning and can’t get enough – so I thought I’d share the wealth =)

#1. First State – Falling (First State’s Stuck Parachute Mix)
#2. Above & Beyond present Oceanlab – Lonely Girl (Gareth Emery Remix)
#3. Aly & Fila ft. Jwaydan – We Control the Sunlight
#4. Armin van Buuren ft. Jennifer Rene – Fine Without You
#5. Aven – All I Wanna Do (Ferry Corsten Remix)
#6. John O’Callaghan – Save This Moment (Gareth Emery Remix)
#7. Lange ft Sarah Howells – Out of the Sky (Kyau & Albert Remix)
#8. Markus Schulz & Departure – Without You Near (Gabriel & Dreseden Remix)
#9. Motorcycle – As The Rush Comes ( G&D Sweeping Strings Remix)
#10. Tiesto – Everything (Cosmic Gate Remix)
(Bonus) – Tritonal – Hands to Hold Me

Trance: The Natural Evolution of Classical Music

Music, like math, seems to run in the family; both of my Grandmothers sang and played the piano.  My dad is a master of the guitar and the cello, which he brings out of the old closets every now and again.  My mom grew up playing the piano and still loves playing the guitar and piano as  hobby.  Growing up, the musical staples in the household were CCR, Johnny Clegg, Eric Clapton, U2,  the Jackson’s in any combination, and the soundtrack to La Bamba.

I picked up the flute when I was in 3rd grade; don’t let anyone tell you differently than this: it’s a difficult instrument!  I went from having a basic flute, to a silver flute, to a flute with open holes called the ‘French Model’. The older I got, the more modified the instrument became but my love for sports and physical competition outweighed my desire to play. (Fun Fact: The bone flute is the oldest recognizable instrument, coming in at 40,000 years old.)  Ironically, after I left the basketball team as a Sophomore I dove right into my music history class and joined the choir.

The more I studied the different periods of classical music, the more I picked apart modern music and saw it in context with society. The music genre says something very specific about the culture and era of the people that both produce it as well as absorbing themselves in it. The first CD I ever bought was Offspring’s Americana, my first mix tape was Hip Hop and R&B with the likes of Next, TQ, Nas, TLC and 2Pac.

By the time I was old enough to both understand what those rap songs were talking about and be annoyed by emo screaming, I’d gravitated towards electronic music and have dabbled in pretty much in subgenre, but Trance was my first love.

There were little to no vocals, and if they did exist there were sweet and delicate; much more pleasing to the ears. In my opinion, modern day trance is the natural evolution of classical music as a genre.  Songs contain harmony, modulation, and thematic development; they more or less follow strophic form and much like with classical composers, modern producers have essentially attained demigod status.

Most of my favorite DJs have a weekly broadcast on Digitally Imported Radio, which covers all genres of Electronic Dance Music – more commonly referred to as EDM.  I could go on and on and on about all of the different trance DJs and what they each bring to the genre, but I’d rather have you listen for yourself.  If you wanted to ask what my favorite trance tracks were, look no further than the Trance Thursday playlist below.  And if you still want more, check the links at the bottom for a few of the DJs and broadcasts I can’t live without.

Tracklist

  1. Lange vs Gareth Emery – This is All Out (Heatbeat vs Lange Edit)
  2. Andain – Promises (Myon & Shange 54 Summer of Love Mix)
  3. Tiesto ft Jes – Everything (Cosmic Gate Remix)
  4. Ørjan Nilsen feat. Neev Kennedy – Anywhere But Here (Radion6 Remix)
  5. First State – Falling (First State’s Stuck Parachute Mix)
  6. Maz Zo & Arty vs Oceanlab – Satellite Dynamics (Mat Zo Remix)

Podcasts: