[The Audiofiles] We Be Jammin’: Get Your Rocks Off at Tuscon’s Gem and Jam Festival

We are all creators in our own way;
It doesn’t matter if you’re a artist, or a musician…
If all you bring is peace to a situation, you are a creator
– Papadosio –

A never ending, socially constructed conundrum – time stands as a source of equal amusement and bemusement, destruction and creation.  We build, generate, and fuel our personal passionate fires because we want to leave a legacy on the world, so much so that we can lose sight of a single moment; which, in all honesty, is all that truly exists.  But right now,I’m finding that difficult to conceive; it feels like three lifetimes ago that I left Los Angeles to embark on the trip of a lifetime out to Tucson, Arizona.

In reality, it was only last Thursday when the sun set into a golden amber hue as we loaded the car in a pseudo hurry, stopping every so often to swoop one of our four cats and fit in some mandatory cuddle time with our kittens before we hit the road.  As rush hour dissipated, we cranked the jams, rolled down our windows and gleefully noticed as the saguaro cacti haphazardly filled the horizon and multitudes of stars illuminated the sky. Crushing through the 10 Freeway, we had our one track minds set on the monumental weekend that we had before us. Sure, we were five individuals, our brains flying ten million miles an hour as we launched through the desert, as we ebbed and flowed through the lineup, hashing out set conflicts and reminiscing about Festivals Past. This was the first time that I’d gotten to give Danny and I’s best friend and third tripod leg Giordan entry to a multi-day event and it felt so good being able to give back something I’m personally always so thrilled to experience.  Even though our other friends David and Jimmy were simply coming for the first night of entertainment,  I was beyond excited to share the feelings of love and community that I get being a transplant at these festivals with my closest friends. Events like this aren’t really any fun if the Homies can’t have none, and for the first time I was blessed with an opportunity to share the adventure with some of my close knit crew. Between the lot of us we were made up of 3 photographers, 2 writers and 2 sound engineers; no, there’s no funny math involved, we’re just multi-talented modern day Renaissance people trying to make it in the world.  

Standing as the South West’s preeminent West Coast Bass infused transformational festival, Gem and Jam  was entering it’s 9th year and we were itching to drink it in.   With the resurgence and incorporation of jam bands and live group instrumentation within the umbrella of dance music, the weekend was perfectly poised to inject life into a genre that’s become inherently cookie cutter over the past decade. And the music is just one part of the puzzle. An amalgamation of highly skilled spiritual and psychedelic live artists ranging from Alex and Allyson Grey, The Welch Brothers, Xavi Panneton, Jef Logan and Amanda Sage setup easels around the grounds, drawing inspiration from effervescent, thoughtful musical performances while vendors adorned the walls and true performance art: fire dancing, acro-yoga, poi and aerial silks galore were displayed en masse to wild-eyed wanderers by performance troops and novices alike, the festival eagerly embraces the underground counterculture’s conscious community and the creator in each and every one of us.

Collectively curated by the genius minds and happy humans at Infinite Music Productions, Euphonic Conceptions, New Earth MUZiQ and Challenger, for three solid days at Tuscon’s Slaughterhouse.  Currently grounds for a makeshift haunted house befit for the most horrific of Halloween haunts, the Slaughterhouse was originally a Farmer John’s Meatpacking Plant (that huge wooden platform we were on definitely weighed cattle), not to mention plays host to a spooky urban legend that makes me shudderHowever, for one wonderful weekend, the venue underwent a magical metamorphosis into a world that pulled inspiration from the principles of Burning Man, the ethos of Lightning in a Bottle, the humor of a tent circus and a community that immediately inducted you into their festival family.

Timed in synchronicity with Tucson’s internationally famous Gem and Mineral Show, an annual event that easily accrues upwards of 50,000 international characters to the area to peruse pristine, colorful and often rare stones, gems and minerals, the Gem and Jam Festival is a unique bloom in a field of copycats and mainstream events.  For three days and thirty six hours, hundreds upon hundreds of conscientious creatives adventured down a rabbit hole of artistic prowess while souls entwined and slipped into a sonic bliss to auricular excellence.

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
Maya Angelou

500 miles and seven hours later, the saguaro cactus had become a semi-permanent fixture in our field of vision and the flat desert landscape was playing tricks on our vision.  But triumphantly, anxiously and excitedly – I pulled into the festival grounds with four of my best friends, eager to digest a new festival in a new state.  A cornerstone of Arizona’s emerging Bass Vibe, the morning’s at the festival consisted of workshops on yoga, dancing, flow movement, and crystal education while this year’s afternoon and evening lineup was stacked to the brim with acts that fully embody what it means to jam out with their gem’s out.  Jam Culture, which really kicked off with 60’s groups like the Grateful Dead and Phish dishing out genre bending musical improv layered over harmonic chord progressions and pulsating grooves, has met an electric, new wave match in unprecedented ways almost 50 years later.

Strolling into the grounds on Friday afternoon, my heart fluttered with the same excitement some get when they open a new book to start a grandiose adventure – beyond just music and art, I love pure, unabashed creative expressions of humanity, and they were bountiful this past weekend.  Vendor booths didn’t just wrap around the festival grounds, they were scattered outside on walkways and throughout the parking lots, leaving a humerus trail of hippie bread crumbs for future archaeologists to find.  While Andrelien got the crowd moving, we migrated through the vendor booths – delicately discovering little treats and treasures from a fun variety of vendors like the Fancy Shop of Important Things, Third Eye Pinecones, Anonymous Creations and Rainbow Bliss Botanicals. By the time we snagged delicious Chinese Food from Jane’s Rolling Wok, we danced around the perimeter of the grounds to PsyBill, but once we heard VibeSquaD it was game over; the crowd roared to rambucnctoious life as Vibesquad gave the South West a taste of the Southern California Bass Sound I’ve grown to know and love.  LTJ Bukem’s lyrically liquid set cemented a place for drum and bass within underground festival culture and that MCs like Armanni Reign with a cathartic cadence and powerfully placed punchlines are what can make a great set fantastic.  The evening ended with the musical storytellers for a new generation as Papadosio’s effortlessly excellent Indie Folk sound, with an electro twist and a wonderful message.

 Rising and Shining while adjusting to the time change on Saturday morning, the lot of us made a collective decision to get out and hit a gem show or two and I’m beyond the moon that we did.  Gigantic geodes, glistening quartz and sparking carborundum adorned the hotel rooms and lobbies all over Tucson – part of the reason it’s actually difficult to book rooms to stay for the Festival itself is that the majority of the hotels play host to pop up shops from around the globe, ranging from India to China, Alaska to South America.  Wandering through the rooms, we manhandled stone after stone (they’re minerals) pining for sparkles, air bubbles, and ribbons of rainbow all the while breathing in the bartering culture of the gem and crystal world in search of the best deals, and boy – we found some beautiful ones! As we left for the festival grounds, we were down a group member – and already felt a little incomplete without their witty one liners, pleasant demeanor and creative prowess they perpetually bring to the situation.

For the first time in 9 years, the Gem and Jam Festival sold out on Saturday evening – capping the party population at 5,000 beautifully bouncing bodies – we lucked out, snagging an extra ticket for our friend Jimmy, an up and coming photographer with an exceptional eye for beauty and an urge to learn on the fly.  With the night’s interstellar lineup, no one could blame the troupe of ticket hunters fiending to gain entry until the festival ended at 1 AM.  From start to finish, the day packed a one-two punch of funky bass and layered harmonies as Tasty Treat and Adem Joel kicked off the day’s music.  Congregation, cooperation and novel creation were the name of the game as acts from Denver’s electronic instrumental duo Lost Optical, Ill-esha expertly fusing live vocals with the violin while Zion I’s Amp Live brought in a fresh spin on Hip Hop.

The classically trained Russ Liquid teamed up with friend Andrew Block on guitar for the debut performance of Stupid Americans, fully equipped with squishy bass, intricate production value and the pristine influence of pure instrumentation of Russ getting down on that harmonically sexy trumpet. How you follow an act like that is beyond me, but leave it to the musical genius of Thriftworks to figure that out.  After giving a heartfelt shout-out to both his grandmother, who used to attend the Gem Festival, and his aunt and uncle who were roaming the grounds, Terry D swooped down on the crowd; causing faces to melt and minds to explode with his unique and unprecedented distorted dubstep stylings.  As the set moved between tracks from Fade, Fadest and Deviation, Russ Liquid reappeared for a Trumpet cameo as the duo got down for a performance of their first ever song together, Jerry’s Lament.

In polar opposition to the previous sets of Russ Liquid and Thriftworks, Random Rab washed a tranquil mood over the rambunctious Saturday night crowd, as many enjoyed his music cuddled into friends on the soft dirt. The best piece of news I got the whole festival was that Late Night Radio was no longer overlapping with the Michal Menert Trio, because you know that the Super Best Records Team, including Krooked Drivers, was looking to support their own. We darted, danced and dashed through the crowd to a tepidly humid, small, indoor stage;  dimly lit, slightly humid and flush with lasers, you couldn’t help but feel like you were going through a rabbit hole and into an underground warehouse party. For an extra special birthday set, Late Night Radio threw the party of the night as he injected new life into old school hip hop beats, intermingled with the electric, live guitar sounds of friend and peer Kevin Donohue from Sunsquabi. Every so often, LNR – known to friends as Alex Medellin – taunted and teased the crowd with a good time, asking the animated crowd for requests, even indulging us in a remix of Lettuce coming out imminently.

Continuing with the Super Best Music Crew, the label’s founder – Michal Menert – had a special treat in store, bringing hometown friends Marcelo Moxy, AC Lao and Dwayne “JuBee” Webb to pick up what he was putting down in a once in a blue moon Michal Menert Trio.  Conjoined in musical prowess, they collectively brought the house down, swaying between tracks off of Menert’s latest solo album Elements, as well as his latest project with friend and music aficionado Paul Basic as Half Color.  The pure beauty of Emancipator emanated, as they enlisted the whole ensemble – including a menagerie of fire dancers, acro yogis and all over stage candy – for a beautiful end to the second night.  With Doug Appling at the reigns, joined by violinist Ilya Goldberg, drummer Colby Buckler and Peter Thatch on bass, the music ebbed and flowed like a love story, starting slow and building into a passionate, pulsating frenzy; just to throw it out there: if they could always play as an Ensemble from now on, that’d just be fantastic.  

The crowd got comfortable as the main stage came to a lull,- reminiscing with new friends and old about the wondrous adventures, moments of hilarity and incredible musical talent of the evening.  As the festival tapered out, anyone with a party itch could scratch it in either the Silent Disco on site or at an after party Solar Culture in Downtown Tucson. Absolutely no one was in a rush to leave, with vendors lining the walkways out, friendly faces and plenty of people camped in their car – it almost felt like a camping festival, even though it definitely wasn’t. 

After two amazing, but exhausting days of wonderful art and music, it was finally time for the coup de grâce in the form of Sunday Funday.  As we rolled into our last day of the festival, we noticed a relaxed mood had washed over the crowd as they lazily strolled through the entrance.  Not intending on staying the whole weekend, Jimmy had resigned himself to making new friends and enjoying the vendors around the outskirts of the festival – but Danny, being the gentleman he is, had a much better idea.  After a little sweet talking, a couple generous bear hugs and flashing a handsome smile – Jimmy and Danny waltzed over with an extra bounce in their step, presenting Jimmy’s wristband.  We jumped up and down like the giddiest of school children, hugging and laughing our way inside the festival with appreciative smiles and shit eating grins. It’s one thing being able to live your own dream, but letting three of your friends do the same – that’s a priceless feeling I won’t soon forget.

Kaminanda and Little People set an exquisitely beautiful vibe on the main stage, and had the crowd in a perfect musically induced daze, swaying back and forth while forgetting they’d spent the last two days entirely on their feet. Giraffage had the grounds goin’ up on a Sunday with a remix heavy set that brought us all back to middle school.  Trance finally had a place at Gem and Jam as we danced around to ATB, and then a slew of other songs that we were pinching each other back stage as we danced around: Better Off Alone, Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA, Baja Men’s Who Let The Dog’s Out and last but definitely not least, the Ignition Remix – because it was the freaking weekend, and we were having some fun. UK’s The New Mastersounds offered a fresh big band sound, while final evening closed out with an emotive and lyrical Dubstep set from Phutureprimative.

Once you throw in the incredibly human element of Jam Music, or live instrumentation as almost every group over the weekend exemplified, you allow room for mistakes; music finally can imitate life’s imperfections, as life all too often imitates art. They allow mistakes, they falter and shine a the same time while the crowd wouldn’t know the wiser; they’re a mirror, paralleling life – resonating the love of the community right back into our ears. We build the world up only to burn it down and rebuild again, we rejoice at each other’s triumphs and pick each other up as well fall; as a community, we’re fully aware that we’re only as strong as our weakest link and through that, we choose to educate, integrate, appreciate each other in ways that some people still have no idea are possible.

The Gem and Jam Festival is where you find a conscious creative community who embrace humble rock stars, not the press play all stars – as Menert calls them. Roaming through the festival grounds, through the vendors and into the food court, you could reach out and touch your favorite musicians and chances are, they were just as thankful for your interaction as you were with theirs. Each and every artists I had a chance to talk to has a beautiful soul and intelligent vision of their craft; I’m honored to have shared the weekend with the lot of them and cannot wait to see where their careers take them next.

Gem and Jam is a unique experience that inspires your mind while moving your feet, from start to finish it’s one of – if not the-  best run festivals I’ve ever had the opportunity to attend.  A few thank you’s to some special people that I encountered this weekend: To Cody for the Cherry Picker ride, I had to get over my fear of heights somehow.  To Luke and the Tsunami Media Team for a seamless, lovely weekend that I couldn’t help but gush to everyone back home about.  To Harmonic Light for an incredible long exposure photo experience. To non profits like Dance Safe, that ensure the safety, intelligent decisions and education is available to everyone. To Michal Menert and the Super Best Records crew for being an inspiration to rise to greatness.  To Russ Liquid and Thriftworks for ensuring weird is new normal, and to the rest of the artisits for providing enough audiovisual candy to give me a sweet tooth, hugging me and letting me gush about how amazing I think you are – I’m probably never going to stop being a fangirl, and I think that’s a beautful thing; to the fans, because this wouldn’t be the same without any of you – because let’s face it, I am one of you.  Last, but certainly not least – thank you all for the scream laughter and instant friendships, for swapping art and trading hugs, for the Hunch Punch, the ‘Hey, Nerds!’, the buff jobs (that I didn’t get, but got to live vicariously through and that was good enough), for the people giving good mustache and excellent smiles, selenite crystal unicorn horns and hometown hospitality.

The Gem and Jam Festival implored me to understand that great individuals are great because they can raise the vibrations of the outlying community while remaining true to themselves; each and every artist that graced the stage at the festival, whether musician, painter or dancer, was so thrilled and humbled to be sharing the essence of their being with us.  Let life imitate art and attack the day with the same passionate wanderlust that they instill within us.  We live in an inspiring, intimate artistic community with not just an overwhelming desire to create – but to share, collaborate and learn.  Art is our religion, it’s out tradition, our culture – our craft and our trade. It’s about cohesive collaboration, and we can only shine by making those around us shine. There’s a material world that we’ve built around us, while trying to convince ourselves that our ends justify the mundane means of everyday life.  We push, inspire and beseech ourselves to express, extrapolate and push the creative boundaries of our existence – all to discover that where we are, is exactly where we need to be, but that we wouldn’t be who we were if it weren’t for the community that raises us up.  Between the exquisite live art from a variety of mediums and personalities and exceptional jam band music, we more than got our rocks off.  If you’re looking for a sun soaked adventure to the South West in the heart of Winter, I highly implore you to permanent marker in the Gem and Jam Festival for next February.

Check out the Full Facebook album, shot by Daniel Leist Photography

For more on the Gem and Jam Festival itself, check out their socials:

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[The Audiofiles] Jam Out With Your Gems Out This Weekend at the 9th Annual Gem + Jam Festival

Countdowns aren’t just for Birthdays; countdowns are perfect for vacations, graduations, and most importantly – festivals.  Yep. Festivals.  I can get through any humdrum week if I know that on the other end of it, I have some tasty beats coming my way – so all week, regardless of how much work gets handed on my plate, I’ve just kept swimming because I know the sweetness of Gem and Jam Festival is literally just on the other side.

Preparing for a road trip isn’t new news at this point, after a year of gallivanting the West Coast in search of the latest and greatest in Bass Music and Transformational Festivals, I’ve more or less turned into a pro.  Also, let it be known that if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done; like, packing, for example.  But as I ambush my dirty laundry, I can update my playlists, sort through my SpiritHoods and reminisce about Festivals Past, elated epiphanies and manifesting good company.  There’s nothing quite like a road trip, and in the words of Hunter S Thompson – I bought the ticket, time to take the ride.  After a bit of counting, Danny and I’ve adventured through California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Canada, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire – which marks Arizona as our 10th state together, and means we’ve conquered 20% of the USA.  Fuck yeah.

Not only is this a monumental milestone, but I’ve heard such outstanding things about the Gem and Jam Festival – and I’m thrilled that I get to experience it firsthand.  Hosted by the collaborative minds at Infinite Music, Euphonic Conceptions, New Earth MuZIQ and Challenger, the Festival is entering it’s 9th year – and it’s doing it in style.  Visionary, spiritual artists and leaders Alex and Allyson Grey head up the lineup, followed by a menagerie of musicians ready to rock your socks off.  Thriftworks, Russ Liquid, Random Rab, Girrafage, Vibesquad, Kaminanda, Krooked Drivers….each and every one of the acts is so influential in the West Coast Bass scene.  To give you a little taste of the musical excellence Tucson’s about to experience, take a listen to this playlist we’ve expertly assembled.

Held in parallel with Tucson’s infamous Gem and Mineral Show, which draws upwards of 50,000 personalities from across the globe, festival is a welcome counterpart; providing the perfect pairing of exceptional, sensory arts and the natural beauty of the Earth. Through performance art, live art, workshops, lectures, food vendors and the salacious sonic talent of the musical roster – the Gem and Jam Festival is sure to pique all the senses, providing the groundwork for another exceptional weekend with a stellar community of artists.

Expect nothing short of greatness as each night features the interstellar artwork of Alex and Allyson Grey, plush with lecture, visuals from the always astounding Jonathan Singer, Live Painting, Live Workshops, immersive installations and late night treats including after parties, a Silent Disco and so much more!  A cornerstone of Arizona’s emerging Bass Vibe, this year’s roster is stacked to the brim with acts who truly embody what it means to ‘Jam out’.  From North Carolina Quintet Papadosio to the unique and highly anticipated appearances Emancipator Ensemble and Michael Menert Trio, which is a treat unto itself, electronic instrumental trio Lost Optical hailing from Denver and Late Night Radio’s retrofitted electronic reinterpretation of Hip Hop to some honest lyrics from Zion I’s Amp Live, this year’s Gem & Jam has a little bit of something for every music lover.  My only problem is the time conflicts and they abound! Because how are we supposed to choose between Late Night Radio and the Michal Menert Trio, Lost Optical (a brand new favorite) or Thriftworks (tried and true trippy beats), Krooked Drivers and LTJ Buken, or Andrelien and Psydell, or Papadosio and Pumpkin? Like they say in the Little Mermaid: life’s full of tough choices, dearie.  But if these are the toughest choices I have to make this weekend – sign me up!

Main Lineup


Afterparty Lineup

Art Workshops

With the the likes of Welch Brothers, Amanda Sage, Jonathan Singer, Jef Logan, Xavi Panneton, and Benedigital, on top of Alex & Allyson Grey, prepare to open your mind, and even your third eye, to pick up what these talented individuals are putting down – live.

We’ve got an exclusive sneak peak of Benedigital live painting at the Envision Festival Pre-Party with Gem and Jam Headliner Kaminanda just the other week from our good friend over at Boom Chamber.

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For more on Gem and Jam, head to their website or socials:

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Got the itch, come scratch it – tickets are still available here.

Thank you to Daniel Leist Photography, Boom Chamber Productions, Envision, and the Luminous Movement for the additional images.

[The Audiofiles] Consciousness and Creativity Collide as The Gem & Jam Festival PreParty Descends on Los Angeles


– Photos by Daniel Leist Photography – 

Through times of greatness and times of strife, moments of genius and seconds of insanity – the most bonding force we have is music. Sound, purported by old Native American tribes is the glue truly holds the universe together on vibratory strings, sonic spiderwebs and fractaling frequencies – and modern day scientists now understand it, the universe was propelled apart in an equidistant motion by intense vibratory sound waves after the Big Bang.  As socio-economic boundaries are broken down while far reaching forms of social media are on the rise, it makes all too much sense that music has become the bonding factor of my generation. Humans are a tribal bunch, we naturally congregate around those who share similar values, morals, senses of humor – and what better litmus test of a personable friendship than full immersion into festival culture?  Festival Culture. It’s where people hug instead of shake hands, strangers are simply friends whom you haven’t met, clothing more resembles costumes and the community itself is a giant support system and music is our religion.


Just the other weekend, some of Southern California’s biggest fans in Bass Music – including my group of pretty party personalities – descended upon The Fonda Theater for a night where consciousness and creativity collided in a spectacle of audio-visual delight. The evening featured a wonderful cross section of community, music, culture and art sponsored by Euphonic Conceptions, In The Loop and The Do Lab as the upstairs area manifested into a Burning Man-esque vendor bazaar, hosted by Los Angeles’ own Grateful Generation. The night featuring booths from local vendors of permaculture, art, essential oils, IMG_8948_new_newgems, jewlery and costumes like K’ulu Misk’i, Lunavore Designs, Mostly Minerals, vibrant long exposure photography by Harmonic Light so much more entrenched in momentary lush surroundings.

With Jonathan Singer setting a vibrantly trippy visual mood, Soulular set the tone for the evening with a stellar opening set as live visual artists Sam Flores, Amanda Sage, and Alex + Allyson Grey got down on live paintings much to the crowd’s delight.  Desert Dwellers followed with a downtempo ‘World Bass’ set, followed by the convoluted, glitchy dubstep sounds of Thriftworks, who got the crowd in a frenzy; the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae being an unexpected appearance by Russ Liquid on the Trumpet, eventually ebbing into Russ Liquid‘s flow.  My first Random Rab  experience was last Summer for a sunrise set at Lightning in a Bottle, so I had little to no idea of the musical prowess he had in store for the evening.  For almost two hours, the entire arena was transfixed to the sounds and visuals stemming from the Entheon Stage as we were swept down a rabbit hole of music and wonder.


From start to finish, the evening was swimming with fantastic company, boasting the best of their personalities while getting down in their most exuberant, colorful and quirky duds.  It was beautiful to watch the paintings manifest as each musician, one by one graced the epic Entheon Altar DJ Booth, a 3D printout of the official Entheon structure modeled by digital sculptor Ryan Tottle, who made an appearance for the evening.  Crowdfunded through Kickstarter and lovely backers of the arts, the official Entheon building will play host to Alex Grey’s incredible, immersive art at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in New York, known to most as CoSM.  And the stage is most certainly set for the official Gem & Jam Festival, happening in Tucson, Arizona from February 6-9

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As the Official Gem and Jam Festival Gets Closer, the Pre Parties continue heating up across the West Coast.  This coming Friday, Gem & Jam will be getting groovy with Vibesquad in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as Flagstaff, Arizona with Kaminanda, and Safi’s Lab.  On Saturday. Pumpkin and Late Night Radio bring the funk to Austin for the official Texas PreParty. Last but definitely not least, don’t forget about the grand finale – the Gem & Jam Festival itself! Thrown in conjunction with Infinite Music, Euphonic Conceptions, New Earth MuZiQ and Challenger – the Gem and Jam Festival is reaching a historic 9th year and can’t wait to celebrate with you.

Set in conjunction with one of the world’s best gem shows, for three days and nights, the air of Tucson will be vibrant with  Glitchy, Dubby, Wobbly and downright Trippy West Coast Bass and Jam Music sounds of renowned producers and astounding musicians like Random Rab, Desert Dwellers, Pumpkin, Late Night Radio, Emancipator Ensemble and Thriftworks.  With hip-hop influenced acts like Ill-esha and Amp Live from Zion I, there’s a bit of something for everyone in your crew.  While they’ve got your feet moving and your soul grooving, let your mind wander and eyes roam the grounds with astounding live art to match from the likes of Amanda Sage, Xavi, the Welch Brothers, Benedigital and of course – Alex
and Allyson Grey, founders of the fabled Chapel of Sacred Mirrors.  Come and witness the influence the cross section of artistic prowess and musical genius, as performance art of all shapes and sizes influences each other over the weekend.  With a healthy dose of intelligent dance music and mindboggling artwork, the weekend will truly appeal to all of the senses, maybe even your 6th.

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Our entire photo gallery can be found here on The DJ List.

For more details on the festival itself, read on after the event photos

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[The Audiofiles] Required Listening for Lightning in a Bottle ’14



I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning with a huge bounce in my step and a smile on my face; why, you ask? Because I can count down the days until Lightning in a Bottle on my fingers and toes! As of today, there are only 15 days left until my favorite music festival; 15 days until I leave the ‘real world’ of Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 jobs that leave us yearning for some semblance of self satisfaction; 15 days until I cruise up to the San Antonio Camp Grounds up on the Central Coast of California for a weekend of fun, sun, beautiful people and wonderful vibes.  After last year’s amazing experience at Lightning in a Bottle, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to cover the event for The DJ List and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  So, with 15 days left until the big weekend – I give you the 15 acts you have  to see.



Back when I first set eyes on the LIB’14 flyer, I recognized less than half of the artists on the bill – which is better than last year’s lineup, where I probably knew about a third of the acts pre-festival.  In an effort to educate my eardrums, I decided to start from the bottom right corner where the lesser known acts resided and work my way up to the top where mainstream headliners like MobyPhantogram and Little Dragon sit comfortably. Beyond the fact my taste in music has evolved over the last year, what I realized while winding myself through the lineup is that there’s just so much good music out there to discover for everyone.  From Goa and Psy-Trance to Ambient Chillscapes, Glitchy Dubstep to Liquid Drum and Bass, and Funky Deep House to Nu-Disco Soul Music – this year’s lineup for Lightning in a Bottle absolutely has something for everyone’s taste in music.



Late Night Radio: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | The DJ List

When I started rummaging through the line-up, I had no idea that my plan to make it from bottom to top in a day at the office would be thwarted.  Not by the fact I had a meeting, or a heavy workload – but because third from the bottom is Late Night Radio and once I started listening, I simply couldn’t stop.  Even though my heart has found it’s way into an EDM groove over course of the past decade, Hip-Hop and Rap have a way of speaking directly to my soul – and that bassline, oh, that bassline – it most certainly was the gateway drug that converted me to Electronic Music.  So, when I started grooving to the Vinyl Restoration series from LNR –  I was absolutely sold.  Known to friends as Alex Medellin, LNR effortlessly blends ambient Electronic instrumentals with a Neo-soul, Hip-Hop groove – and the result is absolutely insatiable.  Hands down, he’s my #1 Must See at LIB.

TouristWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | The DJ List

Admittedly, I’m a sucker for remixes – reworks, really – if you want to get down to brass tax. There’s a guy on Soundcloud who goes by Virgin Magnetic Material and he’s known for his masterful mix downs of hit songs. My first Tourist track reminds me of VMM in the best of all possible ways – it was ‘Your Girl’, a rework of the 90’s song from Aaliyah. The more I tore into his discography, the more I fell in lust with his downtempo, melodic and sometimes eerie, Deep House vibe. One of my personal favorites right now is ‘I Can’t Keep Up’ featuring the vocal stylings of Will Heard; it’s absolutely breathtaking.

The Polish Ambassador: : Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | The DJ List

WildlightFacebook | Soundcloud | The DJ List

Even though TPA is half of Wildlight, it’s difficult to put them into the same category of music – unless that category is called: awesome.  The Polish Ambassador excells at working the festival crowd and has made a name for himself through his funky fresh remixes of jams like ‘No Diggity’ and ‘Girl Control’; Wildlight, on the otherhand, is a side project with the amazingly talented Ayla Nereo that fuses her ethereal voice with earthy instrumentals, creating what I can only describe as World Music that your parents could appreciate.  They’re two drastically different sounds, but they’re equally moving – and I highly recommend catching both.



Lee BurridgeWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud| The DJ List

Ask anyone who’s attended any All Day I Dream event, and they’ll all gush the same thing: Lee Burridge is an expert at throwing day parties.  From the beautiful vibes his smile elicits, his “Get Weird” attitude, right on to the lovely house grooves coming off the decks – Lee’s Sunday set will undoubtedly attract all of the Deep House fanatics at LIB.

Slow MagicWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | The DJ List

My first Slow Magic discovery was the song ‘Youth Group’ – a synth heavy, melodic anthem that makes you want to stomp around. Since then, I’ve been dabbling in all things SM and it’s been getting me really amped for their set!

Maxxi Soundsystem: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | The DJ List

A few Summers ago, I had what I’d like to call a ‘Love Affair’ with Deep House. It was perfect for lazy Summer days by the pool where you didn’t want to move an inch, or lazy Sunday afternoons where you were soaking in memories of the weekend. But at the time, what Deep House didn’t do for me was move my body. Thank goodness my friends introduced me to Maxxi Soundsystem. Their music is an infectious, rumbling journey into the melodic side of deep house – trust me when I say you won’t be disappointed.


Random RabWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | The DJ List

Back a few months ago at King King, I got my first introduction to Random Rab and immediately, I was hooked. Most music – I can describe fairly well, but Random Rab provides almost meditative, downtempo soundscapes that you can drift into a daydream with.

Kraak & SmaakWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | The DJ List

I have an incredibly vivid memory from How Sweet It Is ’09 – Fedde Le Grande was headlining the Main Stage, but because of capacity issues – officers on horseback ushered us away from the main tent and told us to find another stage. Keep in mind, this is when I was firmly planted in Electro House and Progressive Trance – and the thought of going to the Neon Gardens or Bass Pod at the time almost terrified me. Immediately, some fast friends of ours noticed our shift in mood and announced that they were going to introduce is to something magical and mindblowing. As we shuffled into an almost empty tent, our ears were full of live instruments and MCs – it was all so brand new, so exciting and so beautiful. Between SHY FX, Booka Shade and Kraak & Smaak – I was introduced to so much good music that night that’s since then, heavily influenced my life. Their epic hit ‘Squeeze Me’ gives me goosebumps to this day; I can’t wait to see K&S again now that I’m familiar with their catalog.

Desert DwellersWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | The DJ List

If you’re opening for Shpongle, chances are – your music is insanely progressive. When Shpongle graced the stage at Avalon last month, they brought friends and fellow Goa/Psy Trance aficionados Desert Dwellers with them as their opening act and it was absolutely perfect. Slightly more downtempo than Shpongle, DD creates gorgeous ambient soundscapes that you can effortlessly lose yourself in but with just enough bass and harmony where you can dance to your heart’s content.



PumpkinFacebook | Twitter | Soundcloud |The DJ List

Hands down, Pumpkin was one of my top five sets from last year. I have to hand it to the Gent, he really knows how to get the crowd movin’ to the music. A Los Angeles local, Pumpkin’s been in high demand within the festival circuit at Coachella, Sea of Dreams as well as Lightning in a Bottle over the years. Just take a five minute peak into his set at LIB and you’ll more than see why!

Dimond SaintsWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | The DJ List

Dimond Saints is the brain child of Trip-Hop phenom An-Ten-Nae & friend ReLeece. For the last few months, they’ve been pushing hit after hit out to the Hypem charts and I’m really diggin’ what I’m hearing them put down. An-Ten-Nae threw down one hell of a set at Sea of Dreams as LowRiderz with Laura Low and has more then proved himself as a versatile artist and producer. He’s definitely going to be one to watch over the next few years.

ThriftworksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | The DJ List

The first time I heard of Thriftworks was through the Sea of Dreams lineup, and now I just can’t get enough of him. Somewhere in between the down-tempo Glitches and Trip-Hop beats, I lose myself in the music; some Thriftworks in the afternoon sun sounds simply perfect.


Claude VonStrokeWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | The DJ List

One thing’s for sure – there ain’t no party like a Dirty Bird party, cause a Dirty Bird party don’t stop! On NYE at Sea of Dreams, I saw Worthy and J.Phlip hold it down for the Dirty Bird crew – and now, I’m excited to see the Big Papa of the crew back on the decks! I saw him at Avalon back in ’12 and I’ve been itching to see him ever since. J.Phlip will also be in attendance for LIB, fingers crossed we’ll see some back to back Dirty Bird action goin’ down at the Woogie stage!

Beats AntiqueWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | The DJ List

The first time I saw Beats Antique was back in ’08 when they opened for Bassnectar at the El Ray; that was right around the time that my mind was expanding exponentially with new music. No longer was it just House and Trance for me; all of a sudden – there were new, glitchier, funkier, grimier, more industrial sounds to explore – and Beats Antique was my first real introduction to them. At the time, I called it ‘great music to ride a horse to’ and while slightly ignorant, I still hold to my statement; Beats Antique elicits a bohemian bazaar feeling that immediately transports me back hundreds of years with their ‘World Music’ inspired sounds.

Tickets for Lightning in a Bottle are selling like hot cakes, so be sure to get yours now before they’re sold out – this is one weekend you don’t want to miss out on; trust me, I’m a festie.





[2014: A Brave New Year]

Over the past year, I’ve made myself stop and notice when the workings of the world fall into step and New Years Eve was absolutely no exception to this rule.  From the ambiance and the incredible art (both created and sold at the event) to the plethora of people watching and incredible live musical acts, my creative pallet was equally engaged and satiated.  To boot, it’s officially been one year with the man of my dreams and I couldn’t have picked a better way to celebrate our love than in a ‘Sea of Dreams’.

When we came back from San Francisco last night, I’d developed a new-found bounce in my step and I’d found a soft place for my head in the clouds.  I’m still reeling, reliving and loving all of the moments from this trip – and let’s be real, from 2013 in general. So, what do I have up my sleeves for 2014?  For the long list, you’ll just have to stay tuned in to find out – but the short and sweet of it expect some stellar Festival + Concert Coverage, DIY-deas, Adventures around California, Yummy Recipes, Life Musings and More.  But, until then – let me leave you with some highlights of my last trip!

First stop – Menlo Oaks to visit my mom and gallivant through our awesome backyard!

San Francisco’s Ferry Building from Pier 14.

Pickled Quail Eggs @ The Alembic (Yummy!)

Playing tourist with my favorite Partner-in-Crime.

Sea of Dreams: The Ladder of Dreams created by Sea of Dreams founding father, Joegh Bullock

Thievery Corporation gettin’ down on the Main Stage and then with the ball drop…

Surprise! A-Trak brings Dillon Francis on stage for some back-to-back action.

Last stop – the Marin Headlands for that killer view of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge. Parting with the city is always bittersweet, but it’s lovely to have another place besides Los Angeles and Corvallis that I can call home.

[The Audiofiles] Dive Into a Sea of Dreams

Enjoying the festivities around the corner from my apartment at The Grove =)

When the holidays approach, there’s essentially one thing on every Audiofile’s mind: New Years Eve!  And then, of course, there are the quintessential questions that go along with it – what city to venture off to, what festival to attend, who to go with and last but most definitely not least, which sets to listen to and which you’re okay missing.

Whether you want to admit it or not, there’s a ton of planning that goes into celebrating the beginning of the New Year and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed a new-found appreciation for it because for my first three years in Los Angeles, my NYE plans were non-existent and I was more or less okay with being a recluse.  Which, after two years of going to Together As One and several years of simultaneously celebrating my best friend’s birthday with the coming of the New Year, was definitely not in my character – but neither were the circumstances in my life

Thankfully, 2011 was a year of change and evolution for me and I haven’t looked back since.  The year before, I dove into Together As One head first and without a safety net – I’m guessing that sounds slightly strange for those of you that have been following my adventures and incredibly bizarre for those of you that know me personally, but if you will – hear me out.  After going through four crazy months of reconciling an ex’s diagnosis of bipolar disorder I was on the hunt for myself again and New Years Eve gave birth to a version of myself that I’ve been waiting for.

Next Tuesday from 9pm to 4am, Sea of Dreams will take over Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for an evening of positive energy, creativity, vibrancy and connection. Created by the creative geniuses at AnonEvents and thrown by the good people at Sunset Productions and Another Planet Entertainment, Sea of Dreams is now in it’s 11th year in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The event itself is a menagerie of high end performance art, stunning live musical acts, an extravagant ambiance and breathtaking decorations fit for Burning Man.  And to top it off, the community surrounding the event is as rich and vibrant as the festivities themselves.

Photo: MKGraph

In the past, headlining acts have included crowd-favorites like Bassnectar, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Ghostland Observatory, Beats Antique, Adam Freeland, Tipper and FreqNasty – just to name a few; and this year’s lineup is definitely one to compete with!  In the past, the musical talent has fallen more on the experimental side – as you can see above; but, as times are a changing – so are the musical acts and the community around them, and it shows just how big the event has gotten with the unexpected addition of mainstream EDM acts like A-Trak and Dillon Francis.  Now, don’t get it twisted – I love them; I just didn’t expect to see them sitting on a line-up next to Emancipator and LowRIDERz. There’s nothing quite like getting myself musically ready for the event, so I’m pleased to announce this year’s lineup along with some required listening for the night’s festivities – enjoy, because I know I will!

Thievery Corporation

Hailing from DC, Thievery Corporation have been expertly meshing the musical elements of reggae, dub and acid jazz with Indian, Middle Eastern and Brazilian sounds to produce some of the best downtempo electronic music around since ’95.  I don’t know how it took me so long to appreciate their stylistic differences, but they’re refreshing to listen to – especially with all of the redundant EDM on the scene these days.

Little Dragon

Though they were formed in ’96, it wasn’t until the past year that Little Dragon migrated from an indie-electro, trip-hop Swedish trifecta into a hat-trick of musical geniuses appreciated the world over.

Photo: MK Graphy



When he’s not spinning next to Armand van Helden in Duck Sauce or getting into some family values with his brother, who just happens to be half of the indie-electro band Chromeo, A-Trak is handing out hit after hit on his Fools Gold Record Label. His style sits delightfully between bouncy Eletro-house beats and bass heavy Hip-Hop and after becoming the first DJ to win three major DJ competition titles (DMC, ITF and Vestax) as well as the first DJ to win five World Championships, he’s definitely one to be reckoned with.

Dillon Francis

Hailed as the creator of Moombhaton (The BPM of Dubstep, but cut in half) – Dillon Francis has etched a permanent position as the class clown of EDM.  But don’t let his affinity of cats, Taco Bell or his alter-ego DJ Hanzel fool you, Dillon Francis knows how to throw a party and in the past two years of seeing him perform, he has yet to disappoint.  To boot, he stands as one of the few DJs and Producers that I’m simply itching to be best friends and have kitty play-dates with.


Hands down, there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere that Emancipator creates with his music.  Originally from Portland, Oregon – Emancipator submerses the listener in a musical experience rich with live instruments and pulsing harmonies.

LowRIDERz (Laura Low & An-Ten-Nae)

Rob Garza (of Thievery Corp.)


Photo: MKGraph

We have three members of Claude VonStroke’s DirtyBird crew coming through –



Christian Martin


And rounding out the lineup are SambaDrop, Nolan Gray, Jocelyn, Dax Lee.  With only five days left in 2013, do you know where you’ll be when the ball drops??

Photo: MKGraph