Tag Archives: House Music

[The Audiofiles] The BPM Festival Goes Global With Expansion Events in Portugal and Brazil

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For a select group of audiophiles, the New Years celebrations have continued far into 2017 as they dance with delectable House and techno rhythms in Playa del Carmen at The BPM Festival, deep into the heart of the night. But for others – including the team behind the BPM Festival – this has been a time of change, growth, and transformation. With this year’s event in full swing, The BPM brand is excited to announce their plans to expand the franchise internationally with two new festivals in Brazil and Portugal in 2017.

From April 28th through May 1st, frolic in the gorgeous beach resort towns of Praia Brava, Itajai and Balneário Camboriú with Brazilian partner Gustavo Conti, owner of the esteemed Warung Beach Club. Known for their fabled sunrises over the open air venue, Warung Beach Club finds itself in the top quartile of The DJ Mag’s Top 100 Club polls. Meanwhile, across the pond in Europe, The BPM Festival’s Portugal iteration will descend on an untapped beach region in September and will be partnering with none other than Will Gregory of Goldfrapp fame.

Curated in almost a decade ago in 2008, the evolution of The BPM Festival has been a testament to the creative ethos cultivated by friends, Co-Founders and Directors Craig Pettigrew and Phillip Pulitano.

“…after 10 years of honing our craft, we’re ready to take our grand show on the road. We hope to continue our commitment to diverse and forward-thinking lineups and expand to new territories and show the beauty of the different countries to our international fans who are the true techno tourists.”Phillip Pulitano, Co-Founder + Director

For more on The BPM Festival, head to their socials:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

[The Audiofiles] The Road to the Desert Hearts Spring Festival is Paved with House, Techno and a Whole Lot of Love

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Over the last five years, Southern California’s Desert Hearts troupe has blossomed from a homegrown hub of House and Techno into a global party sensation. After taking the Fall season off this year, much to the dismay of Desert Hearts fanatics all over – Desert Hearts is proud to announce their triumphant return to the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation from March 31 to April 3, 2017.

Playing host to an intimate number of attendants, the festival is capped at 3,500 and the warm, bubbly ethos that the size of the event curates is delightfully palpable. Between the various Desert Hearts virgins and assorted Desert Hearts vets, the weekend is as much a festival as it is a family reunion…with the grooviest soundtrack on the West Coast. Musical tastemakers to grace the decks have included Tiefschwarz, DJ Harvey, Monkey Safari, Rodriguez Jr., DJ T, Claude VonStroke, Marc Houle, Olivier Giacomotto, Mark Henning, M.A.N.D.Y, alongside the usual suspects – Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs and Porkchop.

The road to the Desert Hearts Spring Festival is paved with House and Techno from coast to coast as the squad heads out on their 21 tour date City Hearts Winter Tour. The mobile micro-festival vibe will takeover premiere festivals in previously unexplored markets for the burgeoning brand including Brazil’s Som & Sol Festival, Costa Rica’s Ocaso Festival, Tucson’s Gem and Jam, plus return trips to Brooklyn, Denver, Miami, Salt Lake City, its prized home turf of Los Angeles and San Diego, and many more standout shows.

Tickets for the highly anticipated and long awaited Spring 2017 Edition of Desert Hearts go on sale Tuesday, December 6th at 12 PM PST.

RSVP on Facbook and Rally Your Squad | Snag Tickets Here!

For more on the Desert Hearts squad and their upcoming roster of events, head to their social media channels –

Website | Facebook| Twitter | Soundcloud | Instagram

[The Audiofiles] Lightning in a Bottle: A Journey to the Space Between the Sound

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A creatively curated three day adventure into a playground of house, bass and underground music equipped with immersive, thought provoking art – Lightning in a Bottle has had a special place in my heart for almost as long as I can remember.  When I went to school in Santa Barbara, I heard fantastical fables of a land so close, yet worlds away.  For my first few years in Los Angeles, I chased the dragon of a dream, coming in a day late and a wonderful weekend short. When Lightning hit Temecula’s Lake Skinner Recreational Area I finally dove in and experienced firsthand what was so highly revered about the event. Breathing in feelings like fresh air, I floated through the festival on Cloud 9 – forging bonds and breaking barriers, I reveled in my newfangled oneness with the world as I fell in love, over and over again on the grassy nooks and crannies of the grounds.  Watching as beautiful souls ordained in otherworldly outfits lost themselves to dance, I fell back in love with the moment.  Joining in, I could feel a shift in the senses, an emotional evolution mirrored with a social revolution, inspiring me to fall back in love with myself. As the festival  evolved,  I grew in tandem – learning to find my place within this novel conscious community as Lightning in a Bottle manifested from a boutique music festival to a staple of the West Coast’s festival scene.   Even with a migration to Bradley’s San Antonio Recreation Area, the magic was never lost – it was only magnified as serendipity met synchronicity.  Masquerading under moonlight, long lost and new found friends became family as we were initiated with glitter blessings and hugs, laughter and jubilation.

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Since its inception, Lightning in a Bottle has been an artistic catalyst where personal growth and spiritual renewal unfold infinitely into themselves.  Senses stream towards overload as colors dance in time with elaborate harmonies emanating from every corner of the fields.  The weekend celebrates much more than musical talent and artistic prowess; it’s the reunion and synergy of souls energized by the sunshine and their dancing feet; it’s the church where we revere our minuscule yet infinite place on this rock that’s spinning through space while we’re born again through the bass; it’s the home away from home where we feel so very safe, and so very loved.  Over the last three years, for one spectacularly extra-special weekend – I felt the pull, heard the call and knew where I belonged so it should be no surprise that I found myself back there this past Memorial Day Weekend, for another journey down the rabbit hole.

But unlike previous years, it didn’t feel like I was supposed to be there – my energy wasn’t focused on a festival, it was focused on my family; my mind wasn’t lingering on lineups or salivating over set times.  For the last decade, I’ve found sanctity and solace in festivals and on the dancefloor – my sweat, my hips, my feet, my heart and soul, and sometimes even tears were taken by the beat, and eventually I had to wonder: with all that we give to these events, our emotions, our headspace, our physical body, our money, our sobriety – what exactly are we getting in return? In a 31 going on 13 moment, I called the only person who could make heads or tails of a spinning situation – my dad; and I caught myself…because who in their right mind would deprive themselves of beautiful experiences, wonderful vibes, fantastic people, ethereal music and an otherworldly weekend? Most certainly not I – so last minute packing became a thing once again while I mused about the upcoming adventure ahead.

Since leaving Temecula, Lightning has been on the Central California Coast in Bradley and now that the event has found a more permanent home, it’s grown roots – both with the outlying community over it’s Permaculture Awareness Day with The Polish Ambassador, as well as implementing permanent infrastructure within the park. Between the water stations and the bridges between areas, seasoned festies were overheard in galvanized conversation about what the very first year at the campgrounds was really like.  For the first time, the grounds opened on Wednesday for select ticketholders and offered an extra day to set up, get comfortable and explore many of the non-musically inclined opportunities that the festival has to offer participants.  Yes, the world that the Do LaB has created there has massive amounts of music for those that want it – but for others, the festival also has beautiful spaces between the notes and serene silence between the music; the moments and love experienced outside of the stages were tantamount to the lucid dreams and delectable drops created on the dancefloor. There’s something to be said for the experience when the music is turned off, and the community vibes are turned all the way on – each and every one of us was operating at the highest possible frequency, making connections, forging bonds and cataloging moments that last a lifetime.

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Rousing ourselves for an early rise on Friday morning, we left right on time – which for us is exactly an hour after we promised we’d have the car packed and be on the road.  Perfect. After meeting up with some friends along the way to trade stories and party favors, Danny and I were off, off and away – celebrating our fourth Lightning together and our three year anniversary of saying ‘I Love You’. After a quick entrance, which I can only assume is one of the few benefits of arriving almost a day after most participants, we were onto the next challenge – finding a camping spot.  With how much fun we had as just the two of us without a squad at Shambhala, we were excited to set up shop and create ‘Camp New Friends.‘  Claiming a site near the corner of Monkey Business and Croatia, we felt like it was left there just for us; as we began to set up our shade structure and tent – Danny took one look around and exclaimed to our neighbors, “Hey, you – yeah, we’re gonna become really good friends this weekend.”  And let me tell you, I love it when he’s right. Cody and Dane from the camp behind us had our backs with the tent, and while we were setting up our shade structure – it felt like parallel worlds collided:  slowly and sweetly, a couple waltzed up into our peripheral view.  Under his breath, Danny started stammering ‘That guy looks like Mickey….I can’t wait to tell Mickey that I met his doppelganger….’ until….we realized that the doppelganger was Mickey!  A well kept secret and wonderful trickery only became more meaningful when we realized how organically we had all just found each other.

As Danny gathered his camera gear to head out to a quick shoot for the LIB Promo Squad, my cell phone vibrated with a silent intensity. My step mom had been back on the East Coast for the last week helping with a family emergency, and I’d gotten to the point that seeing her on the caller ID was equally warming and disheartening.  A short breath and two words into the conversation, and I already knew the direction things were headed.  With a late stage cancer diagnosis, we knew my aunt’s prognosis was bleak – none the less we’d been hopeful; after all – she’d been stable, she’d been laughing, she’d been being; but now we knew, that whether it was an hour, day, or a week – that was unequivocally all she had.  Forgetting where I was for a second, I sank into my skin and the feelings I had before we left, quietly begging me to stay, latched back into me. How would you live your life if you knew your own expiration date? You would push, dare and defy your ego to grow instead of denying yourself of the will to live.

Settling into our surroundings and cracking a cold beer as the sun descended from the sky, we were finally ready to head into the grounds. After wandering through Camp Altered States and catching up with friends over Mija’s basslines, we were off to catch  Big Gigantic on the Lightning Stage then slowly sauntered our way around towards the Woogie – I thought. The Favela Bar, which was once a smaller side stage had blossomed into a full on party brigade, fully equipped with all of the bass and all the vibes.  The music in there was so good that I could have easily forgotten about the Woogie itself.  Taking a break from the massive crowds, we found ourselves on a seemingly spiritual pathway to the Do Art’s artistic arena.

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After spending a solemn moment reflecting on what turned out to be my favorite piece of art at the festival -the powerful and poignant depth of this cascading collection of twisted wood and tangled emotions, we stumbled right into the delicate and deliberate strokes of Negne Mwuara‘s mural from this last Coachella. One of the pinnacles of the event for me has been the live art on the grounds, in between the trees and near the stages but this year it felt more scarce and hard to come by. Taking a lengthy lap between the easels, we literally walked right into our camp neighbors as we were exiting towards the Woogie’s booming techno vibes.

Delectable cucumber jalapeno margarita in hand, we wound our way around the Woogie’s dancefloor – trying to come to a conclusion on how we actually felt about the new stage design.  The treehouse DJ booth and whimsical color creations that oscillated like sound waves towards the sky, two facets of the festival that I thought were an iconic staple, were missing and replaced by industrial, neon piping which made me feel more like I was at a warehouse party in a technicolor boiler room than prancing in a magical forest among the faeries.  In the mood for the less traveled path, we headed around the back of the stage, down the abyss into the Grand Artique, cartwheeling into the emotive, instrumentation of LAPA.  Truth be told, for the first few minutes we weren’t sure who we were seeing – but we knew it made us feel a lot better after collectively missing Emancipator Ensemble; and then after a few minutes, we realized it kind of was Emancipator – it was Ilya Goldberg, Emancipator’s violinist, giving the most intimate of performances in a magical location. Heading back across the expansive grounds to our tent, pockets of after parties popped into existence – but none with the eclectic talent, lasting power or super awesome disco ball of Camp Altered States.

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The next morning, thousands of house heads and festival lovers flocked to The Woogie for a beautiful tribute to the musical legend of Pumpkin.  The hearts in our community have weighed heavy since his passing, and for really the first time since – the entire LIB community was together to celebrate the life he led, and the life he had inspired within all of us. Per usual, the heat beat its way into every daytime activity, making it necessary to have a water bottle in hand, a bandanna around your neck and a mister or fan in the friend group.  Taking our leisurely time, we meandered across the grounds to the food court near the Pagoda Bar to level up on some food.  Unlike previous years of LIB, the vendors this week had more to offer than just vegan and vegetarian offerings and we were  excited taking full advantage of the situation and then head back to the sanctity of the campsite.    Two days into LIB, and we’d already overused our joke about “Camping in a Bottle 2016” – there were literally some moments that it just seemed too hot to do stuff; blame it on our age, blame it on our psyches or willingness, but mostly blame it on the heat – all we could seem to do was sit around camp and share stories in the shade, which is an honest highlight of my weekend.

Saturday night we were on a mission, and found a perfect place to plant ourselves for the Lucent Dossier Experience.  Transfixed in the moment, the crowd almost ceased to dance, move or breathe until the tantalizing performance came to an emotive close – only to erupt in jubilant cheer.  As we sat on the ground, patently waiting for the Jamie XX to take the stage we found ourselves involved with what I still consider one of the most impressive glow stick ropes of all time.

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It started small, with our neighbors sitting in front of us gleefully funneling the pieces down a supply chain of silliness and we couldn’t help but join in once the chain reached us.  Once the people around us realized what was happening, it felt like all hands on deck as the glowing snake wrapped itself from the lighting booth and up to the front row – and back again before the start of the set.  I wasn’t familiar with Jamie XX before his set but I’ve easily been converted into a believer after watching him effortlessly move between three different equipment set ups and what sounded like all of genres: disco, house, funk, industrial, and some groovy warehouse tracks with heavy bass that were unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.  We felt the pull of the mindwarping, brain melting bass coming from Minnesota and G Jones B2B set at the Thunder Stage but after a few tracks, found ourselves back at the Lightning for the genius that is Jamie XX to finish our night.

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Both a festival and a nature adventure, Lightning in a Bottle was rich with reasons to ditch the cell phone and live in the moment, harmonize on your serendipity when you find long lost squad members and create new bonds when you can’t. And for the most part, I’d left my phone on airplane mode all weekend less talking to my parents when we set up shop on Friday, but Sunday I had a gut feeling that never left, and a last text to reaffirm my unfortunate suspicions – it was Sandy’s final night, and full of light and love, her life’s candle was snuffed out as her soul dissolved back into the collective unconscious.  

With little sleep in our veins, the whole camp was up and at’em early on Sunday morning, and with good cause – with all of our powers combined, we pulled off some epic bacon bagel sandwiches and finally had a family meal in the shade as we geared up for our last hurrah. Gathering our bearings, we were excited for a day outing with just a little less heat.  Making last minute wardrobe changes in the middle of a champagne campaign, I mused about the circumstances that brought us together and the friendships that we’d curated. And for the first time all weekend, all the camps that we’d bonded with were making it out to the dancefloor together; five camps that had fused into one – ten life trajectories that were tangled in all the right places for one a beautiful weekend.

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Dancing our way over to the Russ Liquid Test, the beat controlled my body as I giggled and grooved to this modern day jazz experiment, a funky side project that was perfect for my Sunday Funday get down. We ebbed over to the ethereal temple built from cans and upcycled materials and took in the final sunset while Desert Dwellers effused a tantalizing, tribal set that sent waves of euphoria through my veins.  Drinking in the moment, and a tasty margarita, our inner spirit animals came loose one last time, howling in delight as the sun made it’s last LIB descent, pulling a curtain of galaxies closely behind her.

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After a quick rendez-vous at the camp site, we gathered our squad for one final hurrah as we tromped through the festival grounds.  We drank from a giant spoon as we gleefully gallivanted  over to cacophony of carins in the shadow of the Ferris Wheel. Heading to the Favela Bar, B.R.E.E.D.’s tantalizing brand hip shaking, booty popping, soul writhing bass music was calling us and made it was easy to forget that anyone else was playing, let alone Mr. Carmack and Moderat.

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One of the only sets that caught my squads’ attention for it’s entire duration, B.R.E.E.D. had the entire side stage engulfed in the masterful, musical moment.  A perfect segue to closing the festival out with pantyraid on the Thunder Stage.

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Over the last decade, Lightning in a Bottle has evolved from a benevolent birthday celebration to a 20,000 person festival and growing. As long as the Do LaB has operated their stage at Coachella, there has been a technicolor wormhole that sieves rave babies and bros towards LIB.  In turn, the festival as no choice but to grow at an exponential level – and with those growth spurts come growing pains.  Now featuring a sold out crowd, almost every space feels cramped for the night time sets as stages filled with neon totems that in mass essentially block the stage. Within the five or six weeks between the two festivals, it feels near impossible to inform thousands of fist pumping, neon Sparkle Ponies on the ethos of LIB’s ‘Pack in – pack out’ and ‘Leave it better, leave it beautiful’ mentalities though they’re certainly hit over the head with reminders to buy their ticket and take the ride.  Beach cleanups pair up nicely with events they’ve paired up with like Subtract On The Pier while block parties and BBQs with street cleanups, and I believe there are ways to implement their green mentalities year round and in their home communities of Los Angeles, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area. But a place to buy extra trash bags, or a location to collect recycling and donate funds to the community or back into the event are also viable options albeit outside of the original ethos of the event.

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The magic and music of Lightning in a Bottle will always pull an esteemed crowd of audiophiles and art fanatics, merry makers and music lovers, festival families, LIB virgins and seasoned veterans – all coming together to celebrate this thing called life.  Put together with love and passion by the team at the Do LaB, this year’s festival boasted an immaculate range of talent and a community thirsty for Lightning’s transformative power. If you couldn’t get enough of the Do LaB crew at LIB, try out their Summer sister festival – Woogie Weekend just a few days away!  Soak in the sunshine while you bounce around to International House legends and locally loved Techno talent.

Tickets for Woogie Weekend are still available here.

For more on Lightning in a Bottle and the Do LaB, connect with them on their socials:

Lightning in a Bottle: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

The Do Lab: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Youtube

All photography courtesy of Daniel Leist Photography

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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[The Audiofiles] “Say It” Loud and Step Inside The Mind of Miami’s Rising Star Eche Palante

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Just the other morning, I was prowling through my Soundcloud feed on my usual Saturday scroll; after spending the first twenty minutes jumping haphazardly between singles and snippets, I was impatiently waiting for something to jump out of the page, grab me by the eardrums and take me on an novel auditory adventure. Now that Winter has attempted to make an appearance in Los Angeles with it’s blustery mornings and monotone skies, my musical tastes have edged back towards the bouncier and brighter beats, poolside sets, tropical house and beachside bass. So it’s only fitting that I fall right into a delectable set from a new artist I’d never even heard of.

Enter Miami’s Eche Palante, a synth loving symbiosis of my current favorite musical traits. Drawing inspiration from across the musical sphere from the likes of Prog House standout EDX, the emotive stylings of Sam Feldt and legends like Daft Punk and Michael Jackson, Eche Palante has honed in on a feel good sound that you can’t help but bounce along to.

Earlier this month, he produced the delectably downtempo Steve Void rework of “I Can’t Feel My Face” with The Weeknd x Ember Island under his personal name, Dylan Echevarria. The track has been all over the blogosphere in the last few months, with ample use in mixes and upwards of 3.8 Million views on Soundcloud, including at least a few hundred from yours truly over here. Not to outdo himself, Dylan is back with all the feels in his latest single under the Eche Palante moniker.

Featured in his Melodic Essentials Volume 1 Mix under a sneaky, sneaky ‘ID-ID’ tag, his first original single “Say It” featuring emotive vocals from Eric Simpson is out today and available for free download on Soundcloud. As a standalone single, “Say It” slowly unfolds into a euphoric and open breakdown, with hints of KYGO and Duke Dumont; as part of the Melodic Essentials compilation, the track is a perfect compliment to the depth and brooding layers elicited over the hour long musical journey.

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I was lucky enough to steal a few moments with Eche Palante and understand his creative process.

The DJ List
: Beyond music, where do you pull artistic inspiration from?

Eche Palante:The main source of inspiration for me is Soundcloud. Every day, the first thing I do is go on Soundcloud and listen to all of the new music on my feed, and continue to find more. If you go through my favorites, it includes hip hop, experimental trap, dubstep, uk bass, and other genres that people wouldn’t think they’d see in there. I’m always trying to find different sounds to pull from different areas and mix them into the melodic house spectrum.

The DJ List: You’re the founder of ‘The Groove Garden’ – tell me a little about it’s ethos and what TGG will be bringing to the table in 2016?

Eche Palante: The Groove Garden is a new artist collective that caters to house, specifically Tropical, Melodic, Progressive, and even Future House! Over the years, my ear has developed for a wide range of sounds, and TGG is essentially a reflection of that development. I feel that my passion for music can now be seen on both sides: the people who find the sound, and the people that craft the sound.

The DJ List: You’re one of my artists to watch for this coming year – who else do you recommend I keep an eye on?

Eche Palante: I recommend keeping an eye on Sam Feldt, as he is constantly delivering amazing content, as well as the upcoming talent KYFRA, who I have a collaboration in the works with

To learn more about Eche Palante, visit his socials –

Facebook | TwitterSoundcloud

[The Audiofiles] Usher In Winter with Lane 8’s Latest Mixtape

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With Los Angeles trapped within it’s version of perpetual Summer, I tend to forget that other seasons exist until we’re thrust into them feet first. Thankfully, I’ve begun to anticipate them thanks to timely mixes from none other than Lane 8, a rising star on Above & Beyond’s Anjunadeep imprint. Now with a host of large festival tour dates like Northern Nights, Spring Awakening, What The Festival and Global Dance Festival – not to mention, with his second album ‘Rise‘ and second North American Tour of the same name under his belt, Lane 8 has perfected his stage presence and ability to feel the crowd, which have both forayed into his exquisitely curated mixtapes.

Over the last year, I’ve found myself drawn to both his moody and brooding downtempo original tracks as well as his magnificent mixes that pull inspiration from each and every pocket of House Music. Deep, Indie, Tech – you name it, he’s mixed it into his wondrous works. Though I’d missed out on attending several of his shows around Southern California, I was delighted to be front and center while he brought the house down at Coachella’s DoLab Stage to watch him turn some of my bass buddies into tried and true Lane 8 believers. Each and every time I dive into a mix, I’m absolutely enthralled and blown away by his musical maturity and his latest Winter 2015 Mixtape is an absolute testament to that fact. Dive right in and see what you think!

For more on Lane 8, make sure you keep tabs on his socials –

Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

Photo by Daniel Leist

Cross Published on The DJ List

[The Audiofiles] Another Night Out, Another Dance Floor with Late Night Alumni and DJ Firefly

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Last Friday night, hundreds of eager, friendly faces crowded into Orange County’s Yost Theater for a musical treat.  For the first time almost a year, down tempo house sensation Late Night Alumni was slotted for a headlining set with support from local talent DJ Firefly and A Baum.  In the last decade, Late Night Alumni have championed their own unique style of downtempo, ambient electronic music that incorporates equal parts electronic production and organic instrumentation. Originally a quartet with Ryan Raddon of Kaskade fame, Late Night Alumni currently tours as a duo – angelic vocalist Becky Jean Williams with John Hancock, a prolific producer, with Finn Bjarnson occasionally making it a trio.

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DJ Firefly kick-started the evening with a proper punch and pizazz.  A California transplant originally from Michigan, Firefly lit up the night with an eclectic mix of deep, tech and progressive house you couldn’t help but bounce around to.  From 10pm to close, the mood was set at a magnificent high as the vibrations from the speakers matched the energy on the dance floor.

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Up next, DJ ABaum took the decks, ebbing and flowing through bass heavy EDM bangers – leaving the crowd wistfully wondering how the night would segue into Late Night Alumni.

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As Becky Jean Williams‘ ethereal vocals dazzled the audience, I found myself equally entranced by John Hancock’s expert skill with the multitudes of instruments on stage, including an electric piano, violin and a Thermin.  After seeing Oliver Huntemann live on a ReacTable a few years back  in Los Angeles, I’ve been prepared for almost any instrument to be brought out on stage, but the Thermin was novel – and I was impressed.

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Live performances are the blue moons of EDM shows, with a set magnificently strung together with purpose, pride and passion.  Throughout the night, Late Night Alumni found a way through their entire anthology of hits, mixing newer tunes from their 5th and latest studio album, Eclipse – released on Kaskade’s Arkade imprint, and of course some oldies but goodies like Empty Streets and 4AM.  

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Photography by Daniel Leist / Daniel Leist Photography

For the full album, head to Facebook

For more on Late Night Alumni, DJ ABaum or Firefly, head to their socials –

Late Night Alumni: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

DJ A-BAUM: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

DJ Firefly: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

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[The Audiofiles] Woogie Weekend: A Wet and Wild Ride Down The Rabbit Hole

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WW2015-80This past weekend, a few thousand friendly faces descended upon the Oak Canyon Campground in Silverado, California for the premiere of Woogie Weekend – an intimate festival gathering highlighting the master class and rising stars of House and Techno. Returning to where the magic of Lightning in a Bottle happened back in 2012, Do LaB brought the vibes while Mother Nature supplied the weather, paving the way for one unforgettably wild, wet and wonderful adventure.

As a self proclaimed city kitty, I’ll be the first to admit that I was not exactly made for roughing it…but over the last few years I’ve slowly but surely become more comfortable in the great outdoors. Checking the weather on Thursday night, I mused that there could be some rain over the weekend and packed somewhat accordingly, adding some warm weather garb and my middle school swim parka – which I never thought would come in handy in my adult life. Overnight, our duffle bags had sprouted glitter, feathers and personality as they overflowed with Spirit Hoods, festive fur and brightly colored clothing.

Packing our car to the brim on Friday morning, we laughed about our upcoming journey and tried to manifest the most beautiful of outcomes. In light of some unfortunate car trouble last week, Danny and I had magically upgraded from an Impreza with a broken axle to a nice little SUV that could fit literally all of our stuff.  Mobbing down the freeway towards Orange County, we bopped and boogied in the car while browsing the weekend’s musical lineup.  For each name I recognized, there were at least three I didn’t – but knowing the Do LaB, I was in for a sensational treat.

Arriving at the campgrounds in caravan, we slowly made our entrance into the grounds – claiming a campsite with a gorgeous, though somewhat dehydrated, lake view.  After putting our heads together and setting up an exquisite campsite, fully equipped with tarps, tapestries and zip ties to hold it all together, we celebrated with beer and laughter, with a cheers to one epic campsite.  Finally, after our festival family had arrived and a few of the Do Art live painters had haphazardly trickled in throughout the afternoon we were off to the races.

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Roaming through the newly assembled tent cities and tarped off quarters, we made our way towards the music and the Beat Nest for Focus OC’s NonFiction and Josh Billings.  For the rest of the first night, we bounced back and forth between the honeycombed Hive and the Beat Nest – which had a close resemblance to LIB’s Woogie Stage. At Dadon, we evem caught Marques Wyatt ebbing and flowing backstage in solid agreement with the beat.  Pig & Dan threw down a phenomenal set – and I discovered some great new music in the process.

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I woke up in a dreamlike haze on Saturday morning with a surge of excitement, surrounded by a community of conscious thinkers and friendly faces ready to do it all over again.  Donning my typical Caturday garb, I got ready for my first shift of the weekend while my crew was literally counting down the minutes until Pumpkin.  Though scattered showers were on the docket for the day, the slip and slide run by Bijoulette was in full effect with a menagerie of floaties and childlike wonder.
Enjoying the music from picnic tables high above the field, I laughed and bonded with production staff and media personalities alike as we weathered the rain together, fully equipped with beer and a special appearance from my swim parka.  I cannot wait to get back into the Do LaB and Confluence office because I feel like I made so many real, honest and friendly connections while braving the storm in the production office.

WW2015-97After catching the end of Tara Brooks, we dodged puddles of mud as we reached camp – thankfully, our campsite had withstood the day’s events; little did we know we were actually in the thick of a record breaking rainstorm. Each time we thought about the rain, we realized how downright selfish it was for us to be anything close to offended by it – in fact, we welcomed it with open, thought slightly damp, arms in light of California’s current drought. With a quick recharge, we were off for the night to bounce between a beautiful DJ set from Way Out West and a hard hitting techno barrage from Dirtybird’s J.Phlip.

Sunday Funday, or as we’ve rebranded it, Slapbag Sunday came with a slightly rude awakening.  A plethora of the campsites further down the hill had turned into floating domiciles, surrounded by moats of mud. Woogie Weekend had sprouted hints of a Woog-ocalypse, but no one let it get them down.  The mood evolved from gregarious and outgoing into an incredible bonding experience, where everyone was effected and everyone was making the most of it.  For the last day, I channeled my mermaid vibes – adopting the nickname ‘Mermanda – as I pranced through the fields to Mikey Lion in a Desert Hearts flashback.  Though I had to leave midway for work, I was happy to discover that I could watch my friends rock and rave below while I enjoyed the personalities flowing through the picnic area.  Autograf took the stage and stole the show, providing the only live musical performance of the weekend with the stunning Maki Hsieh on violin.

After a light shift at work, I was relieved early – and I am still thanking the world I was: the second I reached my camp, raindrops started to trickle down – quickly evolving into a sideways barrage of water and wind. We simultaneously came to the conclusion that we were outdoors in one hell of a Summer storm.  Mobilizing immediately, we double and triple checking our tarps and ties while making sure the fort was held down.   In a state of confusion, we ended up huddled like wet cats under our most secure easy-up, each of us looking for a recourse to the situation.  Finally, Danny’s eyes lit up as he scurried for the tent, yelling at me “This is what they were made for!!!” and we took refuge in a heartbeat.

The emotional shift was instantaneous as we warmed ourselves in the awkwardly humid tent air.  What we were completely unaware of, was that Tropical Cyclone Dolores had been pounding down on the area – producing the biggest downpour to hit Southern California in 130 years, and an inch of rain in 48 hours.  Even though the music had shut down for a few hours, our energy was high off of each other as we busted out champagne and ideas, tarot cards and stories.  Once the rain let up, we ventured outside for the aftermath – and let me tell you, it was real. The stage areas had flooded, the slip and slide had been moved so participants landed in a giant puddle – but the smiles, they never left our faces. In the distance, we could hear a low rumbling of music and a rumor that The Hive had reopened for the night. Now with only one stage and a portion of the population gone with the wind, the vibe truly sat between Desert Hearts and LIB, full of empowering, engaging personalities within a trusting, evolved community. All Day We Dream, but all night we played as Lee Burridge sent the weekend off in style in a grand finale.

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After the stages were finally shut down for the weekend, it was back to the RGL camp for one last romp in the rain.  All weekend, we had our talented trio of friends going off on the decks – and DJs Firefly, Dreamlyfe and St4rfox kept our dancefloor game strong.  So strong in fact that Lee Burridge turned up as St4rfox closed down the fort on Sunday night!! We had so much fun that we actually had to turn off the music, but there’s nothing quite like hearing a crowd chant “One more song! One more song!” Being restless busybodies, we plugged an iPod into a Jammypack and mobilized our crew. Taking one final muddy stroll through memory lane. Puddles had become lakes while mud turned into quicksand, but every moment was an amusing adventure – and at least we were all in it together.  We stopped by the lake one last time, reflecting with laughter how we’d made it through the rabbit hole and come out better, bolder and more confident in who we were and how we could take charge of our lives. Waking up to sunshine and spotted clouds, we could finally take stock in what we’d spent three days living in – and each person that smiled at you walked with a sense of purpose and pride, and a look that said “Hey, I don’t know you – but we made it! Go us!”

Some people simply walk in the rain – but we danced, camped, laughed and survived one of Southern California’s biggest storms in over 100 years and we did it together. The teamwork that built our camp is in the same ethos of the teamwork that built this festival; it’s a spirit that reinvigorates the body while the soundscape of House and Techno resonated to our core. Woogie Weekend was an unimaginable auditory adventure and an environmental experience that can never be duplicated.  For three days, we talked in technicolor while adapting to chaos, we made lemonade out of lemons – and found a warm community to spike it with punch drunk love while truly living and loving every moment.

All Photos by Daniel Leist Photography.

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