Music News

What will Brexit mean for UK DJs?

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Brexit happens early next year, but its impact upon musicians working in the EU remains unclear. We delve into the potential effects of the UK’s departure from the European Union on DJs, and what new laws might mitigate against them…

WORDS: Harold Heath

At 11 pm on the 29th March next year, the Article 50 clock runs out and the UK will leave the European Union (EU). A quick recap for those of you who haven’t been paying attention: in 1973, the UK joined the European Economic Community, which would later become the EU. It was a grouping of European countries, initially set up after the horrors of World War II as an attempt to pool resources, promote trade and maintain peace between the member states. In June 2016, the UK voted to leave the EU. In the two years since then, the UK government has not managed to put together a comprehensive and workable Brexit deal, leaving both the details and the bigger picture for industries in post-Brexit UK uncertain. This is certainly true for the music industry in general and dance music in particular, where the impact of Brexit on DJs and performers currently making a considerable part of their living in Europe is unclear. Many of the bigger DJs and acts also have production staff, lighting crews, sound engineers, road crews, drivers, agents, artist liaisons, promoters and managers, all of whom will be affected by Brexit.

Under current EU law, and specifically the principle of free movement of people, UK residents are free to travel, work and reside in any other EU country. EU membership also confers many automatic rights and protections, such as access to health services, cancelled flight compensation and the right to be paid at the same rate as local DJs. If a UK citizen gets a DJ gig in Europe, you don’t need a visa or a permit, you don’t need to prove you’re a performer, crossing national borders is simple, you’ll receive medical care if needed and you can drive a car in Europe if you’ve passed your test.


“I think a lot of people take for granted just how easy it is to travel and work across the EU, because that right has been there since the whole touring DJ thing took off” – HUXLEY

If you get a last minute booking, you can book a flight and go. Because of our membership of the EU, DJing in Europe, be it a single night or fully-fledged tour, is remarkably easy compared to gigging in the rest of the world. The UK government has repeatedly stated that the free movement of people will end when we exit the EU. Theresa May’s ‘Chequers Plan’ for Brexit restated this, but also included something called a ‘mobility framework’ to facilitate ease of travel, work and study between the UK and the EU. However, as yet the details of this are unclear, the plan’s acceptance by the EU far from certain — and the post-Brexit situation remains ambiguous. Instead, the music industry finds itself in a strange no-man’s- land, where our government is repeatedly telling us that freedom of movement is definitely ending, without the industry knowing what, if anything, will replace it.

For the larger music business, this is an issue too big to ignore. The UK’s professional musicians body, the Incorporated Society Of Musicians (ISM) released a report in July of this year, drawing attention to the significant difficulties faced by performers when travelling outside of the EU (it is generally held that DJs come under the umbrella term ‘musicians and performers’). They carried out three substantial surveys of the UK musician community and found that, of all the respondents who had experienced difficulties travelling outside the EU for work, 79% specified that the difficulty was with visas.

Currently, if a UK DJ wants to work in a non-EU country, they’ll need a work permit, responsibility for which lies with the promoters of the country abroad. However, it is the artist’s (or agent’s) responsibility to arrange a visa, and there are almost as many different visa forms and processes as there are countries. Some countries require work visas, others a certificate of eligibility, and most will require copies of the contract of work. Agents in the UK would need to check with the relevant embassy to ensure the relevant paperwork is filed correctly and in a timely manner. Also, work permits tend to be issued for a specific job with a specific employer, so if an agent is arranging a tour across a number of countries, then the process becomes even more involved.
Caroline Hayes of Spun Out and Black Door DJ agencies handles a number of well-known DJs, and over half her current bookings are in the EU. She estimates that loss of free movement would severely affect around 70% of her DJs, and foresees a, “bureaucratic nightmare ahead, for myself and my roster”.

This bureaucratic nightmare will also include tax: the UK currently has a double taxation agreement in place with the EU, conducted through what’s called an A1 form. This confirms that the DJ is remaining in the UK National Insurance scheme, allows the UK government to determine which member state’s social security legislation will apply, and thus avoids the DJ paying tax twice (once in the host country and again at home in the UK). Caroline reports that completing the form and waiting for the local tax office to authorise and return it can already take weeks, sometimes months, and this is the one standard form for the whole of the EU. She continues: “To imagine a world where similar forms and work permits are required for every gig in the EU is too painful to think about. It would mean much more work on the agent’s (and artist’s) behalf to facilitate this.”

The ISM report details many sorry tales of the reality for working performers travelling outside the EU. Border hold-ups, delays, lost or confiscated equipment, complex administration, visas not coming through in time, work lost and missed gigs are all part and parcel of life for the performer. “I think a lot of people take for granted just how easy it is to travel and work across the EU, because that right has been there since the whole touring DJ thing took off,” DJ and producer Huxley says. “Another thing people might not be aware of is just how much paperwork is involved in doing shows outside the EU: visas, dual taxation forms. But imagine being an up-and-coming DJ who gets thrown into all of this without any guidance. That’s gonna have a really negative impact on new UK talent coming through, no doubt about it.”

“Zero freedom of movement between countries and sorting taxation and visas will just cause a lot of us who manage ourselves a lot of endless paperwork and cancelled shows.” – HIFI SEAN

The ISM is so concerned about the impact of Brexit on the music industry that they are campaigning for freedom of movement to be protected for performers and musicians, and for a creative professionals electronic visa that could be used across the EU, with a reciprocal arrangement with other EU member states. The Musicians Union (MU), who campaign on behalf of musicians, performers and all those involved in a touring operation (and who classify DJs as performers), are equally concerned about a return to visas for European travel.
“We know from musicians going to the United States that applying for visas can be expensive and fraught with difficulties. Now imagine doing that for 27 EU member states.”

The MU is articulating a very common opinion throughout the industry, that: “the possible introduction of work permissions and/or visas for British musicians touring and working in Europe could be extremely detrimental”. Hot Creations’ Denney says, “It’s just going to make our jobs more difficult as touring DJs. We are going to have to apply for visas, which is going to be a more lengthy and costly process for playing around Europe. I love how we can currently move around Europe freely, be in Barcelona one day then in Berlin the next with such ease. If this hard Brexit goes through, it’s going to take a lot more time for everything: the process of applying, getting, paying for a visa, then the actual queues in the airports are going to be longer with visa checks.”

Recording artist and Glitterbox DJ HiFi Sean is also aware of the likely leap in administration that Brexit will bring. “Zero freedom of movement between countries and sorting taxation and visas will just cause a lot of us who manage ourselves a lot of endless paperwork and cancelled shows.” The MU is running a campaign to lobby MPs to get reciprocal free movement for musicians and performers, because this concern with the end of free movement is part of a much larger picture. The UK music industry is huge, contributing about £4.4bn per year to the UK economy, and the end of free movement will affect the entire sector. The national membership body for the UK’s creative industries, the Creative Industries Federation, have drawn attention to the negative impact of Brexit on the creative sector, and UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher has warned of risks to the music industry from Brexit and called for a special “touring passport” for British artists after Brexit. The House Of Lords’ ‘Brexit: movement of people in the cultural sector’ report, released earlier this year, called for clarity on free movement for those in the creative industries post- Brexit, and also supports the idea of a ‘touring visa’ for performers.

So what does this all mean for DJs? If or when free movement of people ends in Europe for UK citizens, then as things currently stand, playing gigs in Europe will become much more complicated, expensive, and more time-consuming to arrange. The journeys will become more difficult, there will be more and longer border checks, and the ease with which we currently travel around Europe will be seriously curtailed.

This article has only looked at the practicalities for working DJs, but there is also a whole other discussion to be had about the wider cultural cost of isolating ourselves from other creative communities, and the negative impact of Brexit on the club scene, music industry, and the very make up of our dancefloors. As techno don Dave Clarke puts it, “Obviously it will affect freedom of movement and freedom to work, it may also affect flights/boats in and out of the UK. It will also have the possibility of putting off European talent coming to the UK, especially if what happened this year to WOMAD and other festivals pans out to all that are not born British that want to be at cultural events. The UK music industry is very important to the baseline GDP of the UK, yet it will clearly suffer tremendously.”

But are there any positives for DJs in the ending of free movement? The majority of the industry seems to be speaking with one voice on this subject, but there are some Euro-sceptics who can see an advantage for DJs in leaving the EU. Some have observed that if it becomes more difficult for non-UK DJs to visit the UK — and the likelihood of visas and the relative low DJ fees compared to Europe seem to suggest that it will — then there will be more room for local DJs, with the same true in European countries if less UK DJs are travelling abroad for gigs.

In business terms, for UK working DJs, this could be an advantage of Brexit, but it’s one that comes at a heavy price: the denial of the current ease with which all Europeans can travel around Europe. It’s a slim, almost tragic silver lining that our scene, built on togetherness, community and overcoming barriers, might somehow benefit from less foreign DJs playing here. It is also extremely difficult to predict exactly how it might impact the UK club scene. Economic forecasts for the UK post- Brexit are glum at best. There’s no guarantee that if fewer European DJs come to the UK, UK promoters will therefore employ more UK DJs. In a depressed economy, there could be fewer work opportunities anyway; line-ups might simply shrink, or the additional costs of hiring European DJs might just be passed down the chain. This, perhaps, is the crucial point: when Brexit happens, in whatever form, the additional time, effort and money for DJs to travel and perform between Europe and the UK will mean someone, somewhere, is going to have to pay.

It might be the clubbers, it might be the agencies, management, promoters or it might be the DJs. And which DJs will be hit hardest? Young, up-and-coming DJs, because they’re less likely to be booked several months in advance and they’re more likely to get a low-key offer with a much shorter lead-time, increasing the likelihood of visa problems or paying double tax. They’ll be the ones in the weakest position to bargain for fair wages, less able to afford any additional work permit fees and less likely to have an agent who is set up to deal with the increased administration.

“To imagine a world where similar forms and work permits are required for every gig in the EU is too painful to think about. It would mean much more work on the agent’s (and artist’s) behalf to facilitate this.” – CAROLINE HAYNES

However we leave the EU, it looks as though free movement of people as we know it is going to end for UK citizens, perhaps sooner, perhaps later. If so, and you’re currently self-employed DJing around Europe, you’re going to need to learn a new set of administrative skills, and make some new contacts in the Tax Office, the Post Office, foreign embassies, British embassies in other countries, insurance companies. DJing just got a whole lot less glamorous.

If the last few years have taught us anything about politics, it’s that anything can happen. There was a time when a No-Deal Brexit was unthinkable, and now the EU and the UK are seriously planning for it. At the time of writing, Brexit is just over 200 days away. Even if you support Brexit, there is a strong case being made for UK performers, musicians and DJs to still be able to access the European market with the ease they currently can, and for non-UK performers to be able to come here with ease too. With both major UK political parties committed to leaving the EU, it’s easy to feel powerless about Brexit. However, history has shown that large-scale political change never occurs without grass roots movements; that radical change always comes from below. As discussed above, most of the music industry is campaigning against the removal of free movement. The MU is lobbying MPs to make a special exception for performers and musicians, and their campaign is supported by MPs, members of the House Of Lords and MEPs. It’s worth noting that at the time of writing, not a single member of the Conservative government has signed up in support of the MU campaign. There is still everything to play for.

•With thanks to Silverlining for advice on UK and EU law.

Djmag Article

Music News

HMV goes into administration for second time

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HMV has gone into administration for the second time, placing the UK music and movie retailer’s 125 stores and 2,200 jobs at risk.

Poor Christmas sales have been blamed for the situation according to The Guardian, with administrators KPMG called in following the disappointing festive shopping period.

The last time the giant needed a buy-out was in 2013, when a cash injection came from Hilco. Whether a new savior will now be found is unclear. While music sales grew by $1.4billion in 2017 alone, the sales of physical products such as CDs are in decline and account for a large proportion of the chain’s revenue.

“During the key Christmas trading period, the market for DVDs fell by over 30% compared to the previous year, and while HMV performed considerably better than that, such a deterioration in a key sector of the market is unsustainable,” said Paul McGowan, Hilco’s executive chairman.

Perhaps surprisingly, in 2016 HMV was trumpeted as the UK’s biggest vinyl retailer, shifting more units than any other company in the resurgent 12″ market— currently so strong that a new pressing plant is set to open in Liverpool. Clearly this hasn’t been enough to balance out the decline in physical media sales overall, with Brexit also contributing to the problems as recent UK high street figures show an overall slowdown inconsumer spending.

Dj Mag Article

Music Festivals News

Tomorrowland reveals details of how to buy tickets for 2019

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Tomorrowland have revealed details of how to buy tickets for next year’s outing

Registering to buy tickets for the festival – which returns to Boom in Belgium across July 19th to July 21st – is necessary, and pre-registration runs until February 1st, 2019. Ticket sale dates are as follows:

Global Journey Travel Packages
Saturday January 19th 2019, 17h00 CET

WorldWide Pre-Sale
Saturday January 26th 2019, 17h00 CET

WorldWide Ticket Sale
Saturday February 2nd 2019, 17h00 CET

Tickets range from €105.50 to €510. Go here for full info.

A revival of its 2012 theme, the theme for next year’s festival is “The Book of Wisdom – The Return”.

Last month, Tomorrowland locked Paul Kalkbrenner, Charlotte De Witte and more for its forthcoming winter edition in France.

Data and personal information of 64,000 attendees of Tomorrowland’s 2014 festival was stolen in a recent online hack.

Music News

Here’s all the DJ Mag Best Of British Awards 2018 winners

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Here’s all the DJ Mag Best Of British Awards 2018 winners

 Best Of British powered by Relentless Energy Drink is our chance to shine a spotlight on the homegrown stars who fill the pages of our UK magazine each month…


The drum & bass don has scooped the Best DJ gong for the second time in this year’s vote…

It’s the kind of thing you say as a joke over a pint,” grins Andy C, remembering how the biggest gig of his career to date crystallised.

“I floated the idea of doing it after my gig at Ally Pally, then we sold the tickets so fast. Things just went crazy.” He’s talking, of course, about his sold-out show in November 2018 at Wembley’s SSE Arena: a triumphant event at the enormous venue that marked a watershed moment for both Andy C, and drum & bass as a whole. Commandeering the decks with his high intensity, fast-paced style, playing to a massive crowd, Andy proved that d&b has far more pulling power than the mainstream would like to admit. “I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked, ‘Oh drum & bass, is that still going?’” he says. “It’s nice that we can do stuff like that, and show the world how popular it is, how committed and impassioned the audience is.”

Andy reckons that seeing the broad cross-section of the fans at Wembley, from teenagers to seasoned ravers, was one of the most emotional things about the event.
“When friends and family turn up, people that I’ve known for 25 years, and then you look at the audience, and there’s people from 18 years old to 50 years old — it was a beautifully surreal experience.”

It was also the first time that anyone has played all night at the historic arena, putting Andy in Wembley’s hall of fame, among superstars who’ve performed there such as Madonna, David Bowie and The Rolling Stones. “I went down there and they presented me with a plaque,” says Andy. “They said they do it on all the firsts, and they were going to put it on their walk of fame down by the dressing rooms, with all the other acts that have played there over the years. I must admit I got very emotional. It’s testament to the power of the music, and a real honour.”

The arena show was the most high-profile event yet for the RAM Records founder and drum & bass advocate, after previously packing out Brixton Academy and the sizeable Alexandra Palace. In the lead up to Wembley last year, he played everywhere from Ibiza to Croatia, Amsterdam to Australia, and DJ’d at a plethora of UK festivals and event series, including SW4, Creamfields, Warehouse Project and Love Saves The Day.

After so many larger shows, Andy’s set to return to the more intimate space of London club XOYO, with a second residency, after his hugely successful run in 2017. But good luck getting a ticket — all 13 shows sold out, almost immediately. “Apparently I’m the only one that has been asked to be a resident for a second time, which is another first,” he says. “We sold out the opening and closing nights in under a minute, and then the next day, the rest of them in under two hours, which is insane. I was in the car driving into London, and at 12.15, I get a call and it was, ‘Right, they’re all sold’. I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ It’s a beautiful thing, and the excitement levels for that are just crazy.”

Winning the public vote for Best DJ at the Best Of British awards caps off a spectacular year for Andy. “It’s a wonderful feeling,” he says. “I’m very grateful for the support as always. It’s been a great year, and a great year for drum & bass.’

As for the rest of 2019, beyond the XOYO appearances, he promises there’ll be some fresh productions, too. “I’m going to be releasing lots of music. Hopefully the first fruits of that will be in the first quarter, and then there’ll be a flurry.”

WORDS: Ben Murphy


A year after close pals Solardo picked up this award, tech-house chart-toppers CamelPhat scoop Best Group…

Last year, Dave Whelan and Mike Di Scala played 205 gigs, all in all. That’s a fair few air miles, by anyone’s standards. Had CamelPhat not scored the Best Group gong at DJ Mag’s Best Of British awards, they’d have surely been a shoo-in for the ‘most hard working’.

“We’re gluttons for punishment,” says Mike. “We’ve basically been all over the planet. North America, South America, Canada, Australia, Japan, all of Europe. Everywhere. Fiji was pretty strange. We played on Plantation Island, and we did this gig at a club that’s on a raft in the middle of the ocean. It was bizarre. But we’re not sure we’d do quite this many gigs again. I think it was possibly a one-off year for us. There’s really no need to do that many. Our action plan last year was to just bang it as much as possible. But we’re under no illusions. We’re not under the impression that everybody knows who we are yet. People are still discovering us. And we’ve been doing the groundwork to make that happen.”

Since their all-conquering club and chart hit ‘Cola’, which landed them a No.1 in the US dance charts, things have gone gangbusters for these two scousers, elevating them to the premiere league after years of plugging away at the coalface of dance music. They played a pivotal set at the immense Steelyard stage at Creamfields last summer, a homecoming gig of some rather sturdy proportions.
“There were 15,000 people, and right on our doorstep,” Mike says. “They had to close off all the exits at 7pm, because the arena was completely full. It was just starting to go dark, and there was something magic in the air that day. It was amazing, probably our biggest highlight of the year. Actually, one of the best things about it was that I got to go to my own bed afterwards. That doesn’t happen that much.”

Their first proper Ibiza residency happened last summer too, at Hï with Eric Prydz every Tuesday night for the whole season. “It was special. Our first proper residency, for 12 weeks. And it lived up to far more than we thought it would. It was rammed every week. Tuesday became the new Saturday night for us,” he says.

Production-wise, the pair have moved things on since ‘Cola’, with two back-to-back releases for Cajmere’s revered Relief Records, as well as the massive ‘Monsters’ for Solardo’s Solä imprint. ‘The Solution’ found them representing for fellow scouser Yousef’s Circus Recordings, while their recent vocal anthem ‘Breathe’ was a hook-up with vocalist Jem Cooke and their chum Christoph for Prydz’s Pryda Presents spin-off.

But now all sights will turn to their debut album. Having signed a deal — after negotiations with four other majors — with Sony/RCA, they’ll be taking their foot off the gas a little with the gigs, and heading into the studio to get their heads down. “We thought it over a lot,” Mike says. “We wanted the creative freedom, rather than have people manipulate us. We want to continue what we’ve been doing, but with that sprinkle of extra power from a major when you need it. But the important thing is that if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Despite that, they are plotting some experiments. Some “weird, but interesting collaborations and some twists” which Mike won’t yet divulge. But it will, as it always has been, all CamelPhat production.
“Additional production? I wouldn’t have it,” he jokes. Like he says, if it ain’t broke.

WORDS: Ben Arnold


Having built a reputation for top class sets in the UK already, Mancunian riser Willow has been expanding her base of operations across the globe this year, well and truly earning her Breakthrough DJ title…

First storming on to our radar in 2015, it’s been an impressive trajectory for Sophie Wilson, aka Willow, since dropping the single ‘Feel Me’. It was her first record signed to German imprint Workshop, an irresistibly catchy house tune that was followed by a full EP the following year — ’Workshop 23’— a collection of divergent, stripped-back tracks displaying her diversity as a producer. From the effervescent vocals on ‘A1’ to the emotive pads on ‘B1’, each side remained both unique and intriguing. Picking up various DJs’ support and culminating in a fanbase that includes Move D, it propelled her name higher in the scene, alongside a DJ career that was already flourishing.

The Manchester-born Londoner first held a residency with 808 in Nottingham, which, since 2013, has seen her support the likes of Ron Morelli, Tama Sumo and Anton Zap. Her club sets are just as distinct as her productions; from dreamy deep melodies to dubbed-out house, all laden with groove and plenty of twists and turns. Let’s just say she has an impressive vinyl collection to share, her Boiler Room from back in 2016 being a fine example, spinning everything from the Villalobos minimal anthem ‘Everywhere You Go’ by Mari Kvien Brunvoll to the 1999 classic ‘Deep Burnt’ by Pepe Bradock. It’s a sound that has also transitioned onto radio, with guest shows on NTS Manchester and London.

The last two years have been particularly definitive for Willow’s career, her name appearing at some key clubs, firmly cementing her amongst her peers — whether that be alongside Legowelt at Phonox, Joy Orbison at Patterns, or Maayan Nidam at De School. Aside to that she’s been frequenting the festival circuit, with appearances at Field Day, Elevate in Austria, Sandbox in Egypt and Paradise City in Belgium, and has enjoyed a residency back on her home turf at The Warehouse Project’s final season at Store Street.

“I’ve been touring loads, and been lucky enough to play at some amazing places and meet some great people. Festival season was amazing, I’ve had so much fun,” Willow enthuses when DJ Mag asks about her monumental 2018. “Houghton and Farr were quite special. Playing in Australia for the first time at Strawberry Fields and RA24 in Melbourne was the best adventure, I can’t wait to go back!” An unsurprising sentiment following a tour that also saw her play in Sydney alongside Jayda G.

Amongst the fast-rising success, it’s great to see an artist remain so humble. “I feel very grateful and lucky to be in this position,” she says when we congratulate her for winning the Breakthrough DJ accolade. “I have such a close team around me. Thank you DJ Mag and the voters.”

It looks like there’s already plenty of plans in the works for the coming year. “Make music, play music,” Willow says of what’s in the pipeline. “I have gigs and projects lined up I’m really excited to share in the new year.” It’ll be the first time she’s put out music since her Workshop release and we’re sure that it’ll match our expectations and more. Here’s to another year, even bigger than the last!

WORDS: Anna Wall


Four Tet took the live experience to new levels in 2018, combining mind-blowing sound and eye-popping visuals, and scooping Best Live Act for his trouble…

“Feels good to win an award for my live show,” Kieran Hebdan tells DJ Mag. “I found new directions for my live sets in 20188 and I especially loved playing from the middle of the crowd. Thanks to everyone that came out to see me.” He’s being humble, of course. Hebden’s live sets subverted the norms of electronic music performance in 2018; the latest episodes in a career that has been unorthodox from the start. Hebden’s transformation from guitarist in the post-rock band Fridge to genre-straddling, leftfield dance DJ/producer was something few could have foretold, yet there’s been an experimental logic that has connected all his solo material, from his earliest, jazzy long-form tracks for Output, such as 1998’s ‘Thirtysixtwentyfive’, to the delicate, synth-laden house of last year’s ‘SW9 9SL’. An artist in the rare position of being able to collaborate with Burial, Thom Yorke and underground UK funky producer Champion, and garner respect off everyone from indie heads to dyed-in-the-wool dance fans, his popularity has grown, even while he’s eschewed interviews and intensified his music’s singular character.

Now he’s more visible, Hebden’s live appearances have come to bigger venues. He’s made sure that his crowd are greeted with something spectacular, though suitably unusual. Avoiding the typical dance show stereotypes of flashy lasers and eye popping visuals, in 2018, Hebden teamed up with UK installation artist collective Squidsoup again, after first enlisting their services in 2015 and 2016 for gigs around his ‘Evening/Morning’ LP. Squidsoup specialise in filling spaces with thousands of twinkling lights, often hanging them from the ceiling to submerge the viewer in oceans of illumination. “We’re triggering effects, we’re altering the background — the changing atmospheres, the lights, the colours, all of that is controlled in real time by us,” Anthony Rowe, the founder of Squidsoup, said in 2016, describing the process behind one of their shows with Four Tet in Sydney, Australia. “Four Tet’s music creates a slowly developing atmosphere that pulls you in. I hope that people view it as an immersive experience.”

They clearly do, if the glowing reports of his recent appearances are anything to go by. Several Four Tet live shows employed the light method in 2018, and saw Hebden performing from the centre of venues, from Village Underground in London to spaces in San Francisco and New York. The enchanting visuals matched the melodic storytelling in Four Tet’s records — though at other shows, he dispensed with visuals of any kind, playing in virtual darkness.

Hebden’s run of four sold-out, all night gigs (with guests) at Brixton Academy saw him DJing and playing live with only a pair of small lamps to light up his equipment, seeking to disrupt the modern phenomenon of crowds facing the DJ while they play, and the hero worship that goes along with it.

One of his most triumphant shows in the German capital was captured in Four Tet’s first live album, ‘Live At Funkhaus Berlin, 10th May 2018’, a 17-track compendium that included the 26-minute ‘Morning Side’, testament to his ability to command big venues with effectively avant-garde sounds. Next year, Four Tet is scheduled to perform his biggest shows yet, at London’s enormous Alexandra Palace on 8th and 9th May, again accompanied by Squidsoup’s awe-inspiring lights. Knowing Hebden, there will be some remarkable new twist to look forward to, and hopefully some new music to go along with it.

WORDS: Ben Murphy


To say James Zabiela went in deep on his ‘Balance 29’ double- mix album is a bit of an understatement. From initial wishlist playlists of over 2000 potential tracks, he whittled it down to the final 58-track odyssey by months and months of experimenting, editing, fusing and sculpting…

His diligence is more than evident across these winning mixes. Even for a DJ with Zabiela’s reputation, ‘Balance 29’ is a serious piece of work — both musically and technically. Running the atmospheric gamut from gentle electronica to thundering techno, attention is paid to the very last detail, to the point almost every track is a mix in itself, comprising elements of three or four tunes. For added detail you can break the mixes down yourself in the album artwork mix schematic James provided with the album… A wry nod to Sasha & Digweed’s seminal ‘Northern Exposure’ mixes that inspired James as a teenager 20 years ago. Refreshingly, even after over 15 years of professional DJing, his music fan side is still very much in full effect…

“What I found exciting about the mix when it was released was that, as a fan of each and every artist who appeared on the mix, it put me in direct contact with them,” James says. “Some had perhaps heard of me as a DJ but weren’t really aware just how much I admired their work. That was ace for me to connect with them.”

The connections go both ways; James explains how fans got in touch online and in clubs and asked about specific details and mixes he’d crafted. “I love that some people got as nerdy about listening to it as I did putting it together,” James grins. “I genuinely was surprised how some people connected with it. It’s more than I could’ve hoped for.”

His deep ethic and attention to detail paid off: to say that James Zabiela’s ‘Balance 29’ mix is a reminder that professional mix albums still have serious validity in today’s game is a bit of an understatement.

WORDS: Dave Jenkins


Flush with the the original UK sounds of hardcore, jungle and garage, but always with a modern twist, Sneaker Social Club is officially this year’s Best Label…

Jamie Russell knows a thing or two about running a successful label. Back in 2012, he even won this exact award with the imprint he’s perhaps better known for, Hypercolour — a constantly growing treasure trove of cutting-edge house and techno, which he runs alongside Alex Jones.

Recently, however, it’s been his solo outlet, Sneaker Social Club, which Russell has become most passionate about — “Sneaker is my baby,” he says, “and I’m proud of it.”
And proud he should be; since launching with a Throwing Snow two-tracker back in 2011, Sneaker has gone on to become a buy-on-sight bastion of the hardcore continuum. A feat which has (in case you somehow hadn’t noticed) now nabbed Russell the Best Label gong once again.

For the first few years of the label’s life, releases came in dribs and drabs — an EP from Al Tourettes here, one from 2 Bad Mice there, even an album from Neil Landstrumm — but the past two years have seen Russell change up a gear — although not consciously, he claims — throwing a volley of top-notch drops spanning garage, jungle, hardcore and bass.

“I’m really stoked with the records that we put out this year, and I would have put out more if I could,” says Russell. Sneaker’s 2018 run included two new albums, both of which actually came about rather serendipitously. The first, Appleblim’s ‘Life In A Laser’, a future-focused mash-up of UK-centric styles, evolved after Russell and Appleblim both ended up living in Berlin, having previously lived together back in Bristol. ‘Ups & Downs’ by Brightonian Etch, meanwhile, was a team-up between Sneaker and Gully, the label run by another old friend, and focused in on spacious junglistic breaks and UK bass aesthetics.

WORDS: Ben Hindle


Put together by Fabric legend Craig Richards and the team behind former winners Gottwood, Houghton is the headsy music haven named this year’s Best Boutique Festival…

Houghton’s rapid rise to winning Best Boutique Festival in just its second year will come as no surprise to anyone that’s been. Taking place around a lake at a remote estate in Norfolk, the festival — which we described as a jaw-dropping fantasyland for electronic music lovers — returned for its sophomore year with big pressure to deliver.

The first festival was a success, in part, due to its charm, delivering an impeccable attention to detail spliced with a dose of chaos. And that continued in 2018. Whilst the programming was on-point throughout, with DJs afforded extended sets to ply their craft, set times and maps to navigate the site were hard to come by — but that only added to the fun.

Houghton also benefits from a 24-hour licence, a rarity in the UK, which could be the downfall of many festivals. But the balance at Houghton just about keeps the wheels from falling off the wagon. There is a healthy dose of ravers who haven’t seen a sleeping bag for days, but there’s also restaurants, art tours and wellness activities throughout the weekend.

Being Craig Richards’ festival, Houghton celebrates eclecticism in a space where the crowd, in their droves, support music that exists on the bleeding edge of electronic music. Speaking to DJ Mag about winning the award, Richards said, “The initial aim was to create a small, high-quality gathering in Norfolk. The land on which the festival takes place is wonderful. The woods are magical and the lake mesmerising. Our focus is on very high standards across site in sound, production, food, creative moments and general hospitality. Our approach is simple, restrained and considered, with a creative emphasis on attention to detail. Our hope is that the festival will in time become a significant force of music, art and performance. A four-day fantasy in the heart of the British countryside. We are very pleased to have established the project so soon in its history.”

WORDS: Rob McCallum


From delivery boy to touring DJ in a matter of months, Harrison BDP’s slick house tracks first blew up on YouTube and have now earned him the Breakthrough Producer gong…

“I was shocked even to be one of the nominees,” says Harry Webber, aka Harrison BDP, after finding out he’s scooped Breakthrough Producer at DJ Mag’s Best Of British awards. “It’s crazy, I just couldn’t believe it.” It’s a fair reaction. Not much more than a year ago, he had never even DJ’d in a nightclub. “I’ve gone from having a couple of big tracks, and never having played in a club, to playing in a different club every weekend in a different country,” he says. “I can’t complain.

“I’ve always mixed,” he goes on, “just never in clubs, just at parties or at people’s houses for friends. Bedroom stuff, really.” Suffice to say, things have moved pretty far from his bedroom. His first ever club booking, at the Nouveau Casino venue in Paris, was a bit of a baptism of fire, mind you. “Before I went on, I just remember shitting myself, basically,” he says. “I looked out from the green room and saw the crowd, and I was shaking. But as soon as I started playing, the nerves dissolved and I just enjoyed it. Loved it, in fact, every second of it.”

Prior to things blowing up for him, Harry was driving a van, delivering fish for his dad’s wholesale business in Cardiff. While he was producing music as a hobby, and had landed a couple of minor releases, at the beginning of 2017 he decided to move to Tokyo. He had friends living there who’d all urged him to move over, and was all set to begin a career teaching English. That was the plan. But when his track ‘Decompression’ started racking up the views on YouTube, he got a little distracted. “It all went pretty fast,” he says.

It had been released on a low-key, multi-artist EP on French label STRCTR Records. “I feel I got a little bit lucky with it. Maybe it was something to do with YouTube algorithms or something,” he says. A deep, muscular house vibe, it’s stacked up nearly 3 million views to date. “I’m not going to take all the credit for it! But I felt at the time, seeing how many views it was getting, this is my chance, I need to pump out as many good tunes as possible. Attack it from all angles.”

Increasingly, thanks to that solid foundation, he’s finding himself in far-flung places. He has a regular residency in Tbilisi, Georgia — “There’s a thriving scene there, it’s unbelievable, like a miniature Berlin, they really live for it” — and has played in Germany, Canada, Spain and across the UK in recent months. Releases last year came on Shall Not Fade offshoot Lost Palms (three in all), Enclave and Phonica, the longstanding London record shop’s spin-off label. He’s plotting launching his own imprint too this year, where he’ll be able to experiment with the dubbier sounds that are currently his bag. Also, a few labels are snapping at his heels to get an album from him. But he’s not rushing into that just yet. “I want to grow a bit as a DJ first,” he says. “That’s the goal, I think. I feel like I’m on the ladder now, I just need to keep it going.”

WORDS: Ben Arnold


Doc Scott is as crucial now as he was in the ‘90s, driving drum & bass forward with his Future parties and 31 Recordings label…

Soldier of the scene? General or field marshal would be a closer title. Doc Scott’s stripes are the highest of ranks and his papers date back to rave’s earliest skirmishes, breaking through in 1991 as one of the leading rave protagonists helping guide hardcore in the right d&b direction. Over 25 years later, he remains at the forefront of that infantry. More so than he has in many years. Still guiding the sound, still fighting for it to be heard, still ready for new battles; this accolade couldn’t be more appropriate if you told it to drop and give you 20.

“I’ve always wanted drum & bass to be accepted in different electronic theatres, if you like,” Scott considers. “I’m confident I could play my music anywhere. And when you get those opportunities and you pull it off, it’s great for the music and great for the scene.”

Scott should know; he’s had a few opportunities to take drum & bass to different audiences this year. As well as legendary moments in d&b, such as his and dBridge’s famous debut b2b at Sun And Bass, he also played a variety of shows where he played to audiences beyond the usual 170 crowd, such as following Mathew Jonson at Houghton Festival this summer where he kept the arena packed and rapt. A few months later he made his Berghain debut and was also booked by Mumdance for his recent Shared Meanings party alongside the likes of Speedy J and Dopplereffekt.
He’s not shy of off-piste excursions, too; his techno set at Craig Richards’ hush-hush The Nothing Special pub parties went down in legend and there’s more to come as 2019 kicks off, with an insane-sounding b2b with Schatrax in Paris techno institution Concrete in January and a 140 set in February at Heavyweight, one of London’s hottest dubstep nights to emerge in years.
“It’s no secret I’m a great lover of techno and when I get the opportunity I’m there,” Scott explains. “Anything I can do to take myself out of my comfort zone, I’ll take it. Different genre sets, sets on different genre line-ups, interesting back-to-backs, they all get my juices flowing.”

Essentially what drives the Coventry-born DJ is innovation and the need to push the music and ourselves forward. Like many of the ‘90s protagonists, his 2000s were a little quieter and saw him battle health challenges and rediscover his place in the genre. Now, throughout the 2010s he’s gradually re-fuelled his drive and galvanised his position as one of the most respected statesmen. It’s evident in all directions; his far-reaching, deep-digging, dub-laden selections, his boundaryless line-ups at his Future events, his Future radio shows and his label 31. Continuing 2017’s great run of form, when he released one of the genre’s biggest anthems (Bungle’s ‘Cocooned’), this year has seen equally broad across-the-board brushstrokes as 31 has been responsible for top-notch output from the likes of Krust to J:Kenzo via Amit. He even concluded the year with a guerrilla-style release of an out-of-the-blue Calibre album that no one saw coming.

“No fanfare, no press, no promo,” grins Scott, who whittled the eight-track album down from a potential 100 unreleased Calibre tracks and helped to give the album a distinctive darker sheen than you’d expect from the Belfast soulsmith. “The DJs we did send the tunes to were all told to use the coded name we’d given it. Everyone played their part and we kept it underwraps until the release. I love that. I try and keep an element of fun in it so it’s not business-oriented. I need to keep inspired, I never want to feel like I’m going through the motions.”

More inspired than he has been in years, with focus still set on the future, Scott’s stripes remain fully intact. Field Marshal status: confirmed. Now drop down and give us 50.

WORDS: Dave Jenkins


Berlin-based Yorkshireman Blawan has always been hailed for his uniquely twisted musical take, and his long-awaited, debut solo LP now triumphs in the Best Album category…

In 2012, Jamie Roberts knew he was ill and needed a break. He wasn’t making music, but he kept on touring until he was having to cancel more gigs than he was playing. It was only being hospitalised for minor surgery that made him finally admit that he needed time off. Up to that point, his career had been a whirlwind that started with Chef and Ramadanman, including his first ever track, ‘Fram’, on their ‘Dubstep Allstars: Vol.07’ mix.

Born in Doncaster, raised in Barnsley, but at University in Leeds at the time, Roberts had sent the track to the Hessle Audio co-founder — now known as Pearson Sound — on a whim. A year later it got its own full release and, before the enforced break, nine more EPs followed on labels like R&S, Clone and Hinge Finger. They were raw, banging techno tracks, with tongue-in-cheek industrial references, horror soundtrack stylings and plenty of visceral club appeal. As it happens, the success of the last one, ‘His He She & She,’ was pushing Blawan in a direction he didn’t feel comfortable with, so the break came at a useful time.

When he re-emerged in 2015, he was releasing music on his own label, Ternesc, with a much more considered analogue sound, mostly made on a modular synth set-up. His debut album, ‘Wet Will Always Dry’ — which is named in reference to growing up in South Yorkshire, where older generations “have these mad sayings and a lot of them don’t even mean anything” — reworks those earliest ideas with his more recent musical aesthetic, and results in something that lives up to the artist’s reputation as one of techno’s most interesting and innovative characters.

Roberts says he has started working on albums before, but never finished them as he found that taking even a small break meant he came back to the music with a shifted sound or technique. “I get bored. My mind wanders,” he’s explained. Instead, this one was written constantly, without a break, for two months straight, and means there is a distinct cohesiveness to it all. Unlike many artists, though, he didn’t use the longer format to explore outlier ideas or pad things out with ‘thoughtful’ concessions to home listening. In any case, he has other aliases for that, from his Karenn project with Pariah to lower tempo experiments as Bored Young Adults and Kilner.

“I was absolutely not tempted by any of that stuff,” he told The Quietus back at the time of release. “I wasn’t suddenly going to start doing something that I’d never done before. I just wanted to be truthful to what I’ve been doing for the past ten years.”

And he’s sure done that. Each track, as has been the case since his days drumming in post-punk and rock groups in Leeds, starts with the percussion. They are always rhythmically playful and firmly rooted to the floor. His synths, meanwhile, fizz and bring a sense of paranoia to ‘Klade’, add a ghoulishness to the hammering linear drive
of ‘Tasser’, and flesh out ‘Stell’ with late-night darkness.

The brilliantly unhinged synths of ’Nims’, meanwhile, prove that Roberts has fully got to grips with his modular kit. His own voice also features — albeit in heavily treated forms — on some of the tracks. “I’m only using it as another instrument,” he has said, but it’s one that adds human, emotional touches to his otherwise abstract tracks and keeps them from being quite as terrifying as they have been in the past. ‘Wet Will Always Dry’ goes way beyond the realm of techno and into plenty of fascinating new grey areas — it’s no wonder, then, that it’s been voted the year’s most essential British album.

WORDS: Kristan J Caryl


Four Tet does what only he can, making an already sublime track from Bicep even more beautiful, to win Best Remix…

To hike up the hugeness of the already enormous original must have taken some doing, but Four Tet’s remix of Bicep’s ‘Opal’ managed it. In its first incarnation, the tune by the Belfast duo of Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar reconciled their twin appreciations for trance and swung out 2-step garage beats, in a tried-and-tested, opposites attract style that dates back to songs such as Zomby’s ‘Strange Fruit’. The respectful yet cranked up take from Kieran Hebden, by comparison, concentrated ‘Opal’’s melodic properties, finding plenty more mileage in its allusions to trance and the huge stadiums that style of music can inhabit.

Building the track slowly with the characteristic broken skip of the original, Four Tet looped up the riff for maximum impact, before adding an additional, live sounding breakbeat and four-four kick for something equally compatible with club sets and radio play on 6 Music, and with festival crowds.

Four Tet’s skillset is different to most other dance producers, having started out as a guitarist in post-rock band Fridge, and he wove in influences that might not otherwise make their way into the club. His genius was in the subtle additions: the tinkling bells that are a trademark touch; the looming synth undertow; the added percussive aspects towards the end; the weird bird song. All lent the ‘Opal’ remix huge emotional heft and a replay quality you just don’t get in the average banger. It was a dream match up, and a further indication of Hebden’s ability to make club tunes with a little more thought than the average tech- house cruncher.

WORDS: Ben Murphy


Fast-becoming a techno institution, London’s Junction 2 festival claims the Best Festival trophy for the second year in a row…

Junction 2 only started three years ago, but this year sees the festival retain its Best Of British award. “It is a labour of love for the whole team,” beams Director Paul Sobierajski, who is enjoying the fact the festival is already garnering an international reputation in record time.
One of the reasons for that is the location of the event. It plays out literally underneath a motorway junction in Boston Manor Park, where urban industrialism is offset by green fields, trickling rivers and woodland pathways making up the rest of the site. “It helps it feel special and very different to the rest of what is offered in London,” says Paul, quite rightly. Musically, Junction 2 has always been predominantly techno focused, while being informed by “what is resonating with us as a group of music lovers,” as Paul puts it.

The stage under the M4 motorway has quickly earned a reputation as an iconic one for some of the biggest DJs, with Carl Cox and Adam Beyer playing it this year, while the likes of Dixon and Nina Kraviz entertained in other arenas. Subtle behind-the-scenes tweaks like more security and stewards, and moving the Hex stage to help sound levels offsite, are also things that helped the festival win Best Festival for the second year running, keeping it in favour with ravers.

2019 will see some big changes including a complete redesign of the production under the bridge, stages being moved, and an extra day being added so that musical horizons can be expanded. Paul reckons keeping the locals happy and crowd movement are two ongoing challenges, while one of their biggest focuses is “tweaking the sound design to sound levels that are far beyond anything any other London festival can achieve”. This award proves it’s mission accomplished for the team once again.

WORDS: Kristan J Caryl


With a voice like no other, the lyrical farda that is D Double E has remained a true grime patriot throughout the genre’s history, and now claims Best MC after one of his biggest year’s to date…

As one of grime’s founding fathers, few people can claim to have influenced an entire culture as much as this year’s Best MC winner, D Double E. Rooted in jungle and garage, Forest Gate’s finest quickly found himself at the forefront of a pioneering scene bursting at the seams with talent, as his distinctive diction, rapid-fire delivery and ability to craft bars that still get excited call-backs from crowds years on from their original debut, saw him rise above his peers to become one of the biggest names in the game.

And yet despite his status as one of grime’s most illustrious mic men, there was that one thing missing from his otherwise certified OG career: that long-awaited debut album. Arriving to much fanfare, the aptly titled ‘Jackuum!’ wheeled its way onto our playlists as the summer ended, simultaneously bringing the heat as the mercury began to drop, and removing what was the one blot on an otherwise unblemished copybook.

So with our praise ringing in his ears, how does D feel about being your MC of the year? “I’m mad proud,” he begins in his inimitable East London tones. “Seriously, I’m honoured to pick up this award as I’ve got mad love for DJ Mag and its readers for all their support on my journey. To get that level of recognition for all the work you’ve put in really is something special as an artist. It’s moments like these you just have to sit back and enjoy for a second before regaining focus and moving on to your next big ting.”
It’s this ability to stay humble and commitment to improving that has seen the former Nasty Crew member stay such an integral part of the grime landscape; his dedication to the cause never in question even during the scene’s more fallow years.

“Yeah, I just keep putting in the work,” the man born Darren Dixon smiles. “And this was a year when a lot of that paid off. 2018 was a benchmark year for me both in terms of my label Bluku Music and musically with my debut album dropping, with the whole build up to what felt like an explosion being a time I massively enjoyed. Y’know, it’s been a big season and now I’m looking to make 2019 even bigger as I kick down even more doors and achieve a lot more of my goals.”

So what are these doors his trainers will be booting down next year? “Well, firstly I want to go global,” he reveals. “Naturally I’m going to do UK and European tours, but the definite plan is to do dates in North America and Australasia too. Outside of that I want to up the levels again artistically, consistently delivering fresh content both in and out of music with a number of EPs being the tip of the iceberg.”
Can you tell us more about these plans outside of music, we ask? “Well I’m not meant to be talking about it yet, but yeah, I’m in talks with a couple of TV channels who are all over a couple of ideas I’ve got, so you’ll be seeing man on your screens next year no doubt,” he reveals. “I also really want to revisit some of my earlier work to get it re-recorded in proper studios, so my early tracks can stand up to the test of time as the scene continues to grow. It’s important that we have high-quality versions of the tracks that made grime what it is today.” A ‘Frontline’ reissue? We wouldn’t mind if we do: “Oooooer, ooooooer!”

WORDS: Reiss de Bruin



Birmingham-via-Berlin’s techno stalwart Rebekah has conquered her demons to become one of the most in-demand DJs and producers out there, and subsequently, the winner of our Best of British Best Producer award 2018…

“You need to put something back into the scene for it to grow. Why has techno been around for as long as it has? Because people come in and give a little bit back, that’s why I love it. There’s a new generation now, and it just continues to grow and evolve.”

For some years now, Rebekah has been inspiring a new generation of DJs and producers with her uncompromising sound, her revered Rinse FM show and her label Elements — which encompasses music, visuals and soon a clothing line. She’s played the world’s biggest events, such as Awakenings, and has been one of the figureheads leading the revival of industrial-strength techno, although her versatile DJ sets often include all manner of grooves, from acid and EBM to electro.

Alongside all this, she’s established herself as a peerless producer in her own right. After returning to college to study production, when her early career was stalling in the haze of partying and frustration at her musical direction, ‘Fear Paralysis’, her 2017 debut album for Soma, showcased a touch for techno’s melding of (wo)man and machine, pouring encoded emotion into an exoskeleton of four-four techno and broken beats. It’s an achievement that she’s followed by being voted Best Of British 2018’s Best Producer.

Over the last year, she has been delving into modular synthesis. Premiering a live show using
a modular set-up alongside loops of her tracks in Ableton at ADE, she’s still working out its full potential. “Sometimes you get a good day with the patch, sometimes you’re fighting against it. I like that unpredictability.”

And, in many ways, that unpredictability is what makes Rebekah one of the most exciting and important DJs and producers around. Congratulations!

WORDS: Joe Roberts


The normally self-effacing Norman Cook tells DJ Mag why he’s immensely proud of his achievements over the years…

“I’m very, very honoured,” says Norman Cook round his house one afternoon. “Everyone likes getting awards —you’re a liar if you pretend you don’t. “Over the years I’m happy that I’ve made a significant contribution to the world of dance music,” Norm continues. “It’s something I’m quite proud of. I’m prone to over-modesty, but I’m quite proud of my part in the story of how we got from Frankie Knuckles to Calvin Harris — I joined some of the dots along the way.”

Fatboy Slim is Norman Cook’s most famous alias, of course, but he’s had a whole heap of others over the years (Pizzaman, Mighty Dub Katz and so on). In fact, he holds the Guinness World Record for the most Top 40 hits under different names. “That’s the award for schizophrenia though, frankly,” he quips. “You’ll have to talk to my therapist about that.”

After No.1s with Freak Power, Beats International and indie band The Housemartins, Norm adopted the oxymoronic Fatboy Slim moniker in the mid-’90s and his amazing success (including a No.1 for ‘Praise You’) helped take credible dance music into the mainstream, and conquered America — opening doors for others to follow. “I have to acknowledge that Tom and Ed [from The Chems] and The Prodigy had opened a few doors that I got in through, and I forced them open a bit more,” he says. “It was weird, I cracked America by not playing the game, by actually saying ‘I don’t want to come over and play much’. I’d been aware from being in bands that if you try to break America it normally breaks you — or you break it, but by then you’ve split up. And I wasn’t ready to split up with myself.”

Norm wound up his American record company by delivering quirky, non-conformist promo videos — particularly for ‘Praise You’ — that MTV ended up loving. “Becoming an unlikely popstar was generally a license to be a bit gobby and confrontational, cheeky and irreverent, and make a career out of it,” he smirks. “When I started getting big with Fatboy Slim and somebody tried to slag me off by saying, ‘He just makes dance music for people who don’t like dance music’, I just took that as a compliment and thought, ‘Yeah, that’s exactly what I want to do’,” Norm continues. “The more people I can turn on to something that I think is really fun and cool and sexy, the better. I’ve always tried to make it accessible. I’ve always tried to have a pop hook to it, or something that just invites people in — rather than being cool. I’ve gone out my way sometimes to try to make a cool and moody track, and they never end up like that — they always end up with a catchy hook.

“The idea was to make cool-sounding music that had a catchy hook that would lure people in from other areas. And one of the things I’m most proud of is the number of souls, the number of notches on my bedpost of people who’ve come up and said ‘You’re the reason I started DJing’. Or people who either lost their virginity or met their future husband or wife through me.”

In the early noughties Norm took the scene to the beaches of Brighton and Brazil, and continued to relish playing unusual gigs. “You get bored if you do the same thing over and over again, and with DJing you pretty much are doing the same thing over and over again, so the only real thing you can change is the environment. It makes you giggle when you look around and think ‘How the hell did we get here? How are we allowed to do this?’.

“After 33 years of doing this, you don’t just want to repeat yourself — you want to keep it fun for you,” he adds. “Also, you can’t just keep getting bigger. I think I got to a point with the beach party in Rio — once you get up to 300,000 people, it’s impossible to entertain all of them. So then you decide you don’t want to play a bigger show just so you can say ‘I’ve played a bigger show than that’, so then we just started going sideways — and seeing how much fun we could have with it.”

He talks about playing the Houses Of Parliament, and every major stage at Glastonbury, and how he decides which gigs to accept these days. “Have you heard about the Five Fs?” he asks DJ Mag. “To cherry-pick gigs, if they can fulfil three of the five Fs then it’s worth doing. Fun is one. A first. Favour for a friend. Finance — everyone has their price. And food — if there’s a really good restaurant in that city that I want to go to, I’m more likely to play a gig there — just to go to that restaurant. So they’re my criteria now — when I was younger the Fs might have been some other things.”

Another thing Fatboy Slim is best known for is being the ultimate DJ showman — waving, gesticulating, enjoying it as much as the crowd… “Again, I didn’t start that — I based my character on 50% Carl Cox, 50% Jon Carter,” he says. “There was the enjoying it as much as everyone — if not more — of Carl, and the swagger and panache of Jon Carter. It definitely works getting crowds’ attention. If crowds were bein gmoody I’d literally shout ‘Come on you fuckers!’ until they did what they were told!”

“When I started DJing you were just in a little serving hatch in the corner; you weren’t normally lit; you didn’t have monitors… it’s been wonderful watching how much better we get treated these days,” he continues. “Nowadays we’ve got big screens and things like that, but in those days we had no production. When we did the really big one on the beach [in Brighton in 2002, when a quarter of a million people turned up], I looked at some film of it the other day and the production we had was absolutely pitiful. There was a screen about the size of my telly! And a load of visuals that weren’t in-sync with the music — it was just Tim at the back putting videos on. The show was all about the crowd and the music.”

‘SHALL WE WAVE AT THE BOATS?’ — Norm wrote this on a record sleeve during Big Beach Boutique 2, and got the whole crowd to wave at the boats in the sea. During his recent live stream on the i360 Tower in Brighton he switched it up slightly – ’SHALL WE WAVE AT THE DRONE?’ These spontaneous creative motifs are another Fatboy DJ innovation, going beyond just wearing a t-shirt with a message or playing a certain track at a certain time.

DJ Mag wants to know what it is about the immediacy of the moment — the ‘Right Here, Right Now’ of it, if you like — that Norm still loves. He starts talking about different ways of communicating, initiating sing-alongs, climbing out of the booth, and dancing in the crowd — breaking the ‘fourth wall’ between audience and performer. “However we all ended up at the gig, at that moment we have a common purpose, which is to feel as removed from reality and as high and as sexy and as free as we can, and at that moment we all become one big melting pot trying to do that — by any means necessary. It’s a two-way thing — I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t get as much back from the crowd. So writing on the record sleeves was the perfect way of getting a slogan or a message across.”

Your hack suggests that there’s a dissertation to be written about ‘Right Here, Right Now’ and a typical Fatboy dancefloor, involving gestalt psychology and humanistic theory, shared emotions, and living in the moment with notions of empathy and trust. “Fill that out a bit and it’d be my mission statement — that’s what I’m trying to do,” he posits. “Did I have that in mind when I used that sample on ‘Right Here, Right Now’? No, I think it was probably more about drugs — more about that feeling, the empathy, I’m so high, this moment; I’ve never been so happy, or I’m so in love with you…”
Norm talks about how the track is so enduring and can still give him goosebumps — “For a tune that you make to do that is very rare” — and how he was trying to make a track as emotive as ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ by Massive Attack. “Collective euphoria is more powerful than the sum of its parts,” he believes. “You often forget that when you’ve been in the DJ booth — cos you don’t get a lot of collective euphoria in the DJ booth; you get egos, drunk people and spilt drinks — but if collective euphoria can reach the DJ booth, you know you’ve had a good night.”

Norm picks out the Brighton beach gigs — “if I’m allowed to lump all six of them together” — as his absolute career highlight up to now (“They cemented my relationship with the city I live in”), and talks openly about the times when he questioned whether he should still be DJing. He admits looking into getting a job as a fireman in the early ‘90s before the Fatboy thing took off (“I thought it was time to get a job that paid”), and how one time he had a wobble while playing a daytime gig in shorts. “I looked down at my legs and I saw a 45-year-old man’s

legs and I thought ‘Who are you kidding? You’re standing here in front of all these kids’, and I had a little moment. But I got through the gig and decided that I’d just wear long trousers from now on.”

Incredibly, he admits that he still listens to every promo he gets sent — around 80 a day. “There’s a fresh supply of really good records every week, and when you find that little gem, you just can’t wait
to get out and play it,” he says. “Sometimes it’s laborious, but it beats plucking chickens. I’m just listening to music — and I get paid for it. Best job ever. I genuinely love what I do — it genuinely does turn me on and make me giggle. No matter how old and tired I feel, the minute I step onstage I’ve got the mind of a seven-year-old — and the behaviour of a nine-year-old. It’s great!”

Pioneer, record-breaker, showman, door-opener, creator of a million and more ’moments’, and genuinely one of the nicest people in the biz, DJ Mag thanks Fatboy Slim for his outstanding contribution so far. We’ve come a long, long way together…

WORDS: Carl Loben


Promoting female-identifying talent through a full range of artistic outlets, London collective Femme Culture are this year’s Breakthrough Label…

When we call Femme Culture to tell them they’ve won the title of Best Breakthrough Label in DJ Mag’s Best Of British Awards 2018, they’re hanging out at Reprezent Radio. The London-based collective’s co-founder, Elkka, has a residency at the station and, today, she is to perform live for the first time, live on air.

It marks a positive, hopeful day in what has been a turbulent year for the ambitious collective, formed by Ludo Guerrieri and Elkka in 2016. Amid redundancies and personal ups and downs, the growing collective have worked tirelessly to become one of the UK’s most vital this year, championing female-identifying artists and promoting equal opportunities across all formats through club-nights, DJ sets, art exhibitions and superb releases on their flagship label.

In May, the group were commissioned by UN women to put together a compilation in aid of the HeForShe charity. Featuring artists like Octo Octa, Anastasia Kristensen and Ariel Zetina as well as label members like Ehua and Elkka herself, it was a triumphant and versatile collection that showcased their status as tastemakers and champions of a vital and progressive underground.
2018 also saw Femme Culture releasing two EPs: Elkka’s atmospheric, vibrant and club-ready ‘Full Circle’ and Ehua’s gqom-inspired ‘Diplozoon’, which worked heady percussive workouts with wavey synths and sampled vocal flourishes.

A well-earned win then, and one which feels significant given the tremendous work they’ve put in. “This is such a nice way to end the year,” Guerrieri explains shortly after being told the good news. “To feel like we’ve done something right, that something has gone the right way. Honestly, getting to the point where we got to was such a struggle with so many things… It’s been a wild ride, 2018. This has been really heartwarming.”

And they are showing no signs of slowing down as they move into 2019. They’ve got a regular slot locked on brand new station Foundation.FM — itself, a female-led venture — and have new releases lined up from a French producer, a US singer/rapper and from Elkka herself. Elkka will also be stepping further into the live sphere with another performance locked for February.
Femme Culture will also be releasing Vol.2 of the HeForShe compilation for UN Women for International Women’s Day in March. That, and with plenty more club-nights and parties in the pipeline both within and outside of the UK, the future is Femme Culture’s for the taking.

WORDS: Eoin Murray


An unashamed party banger, ‘Feel My Needs’ has been blowing up festivals and clubs all year with its feel-good piano riffs and sing-along vocal, and now it’s scooped Best Track too…

“It did feel special,” remembers Weiss about the writing sessions that gave rise to your favourite British tune of the year. “But you can never know how well your tracks are actually going to do until they’re released.”

The answer is: very well, because Richard Dinsdale has been around for more than a decade but never made a tune as ubiquitous as ‘Feel My Needs.’ The hands-in-the-air house gem landed on Toolroom in May under the Weiss alias he has been using since 2013. It follows many others on the label, and for the likes of This Ain’t Bristol and Play It Down, but none have connected as immediately as this timeless bit of house, which has been played far and wide by DJs across the musical spectrum.

It’s an impossibly feelgood piano house tune with big throwback chords, anthemic female vocals and effective drums driving it all forwards. From being the last tune in small clubs to the highlight of sets on festival main stages, it works just about anywhere. And that was certainly the aim, with Richard — a former Ministry Of Sound resident and producer of everything from techno to electro- house in his time — admitting that he felt plenty of pressure in the studio while thinking, “I really need to make a track that connects with everyone.” He sure did that, because ’Feel My Needs’ started to blow up before its official release, with Dinsdale saying DJs were getting great reactions to it from the off. It’s the sort of universally appealing tune that works for techno, house and bass DJs; for underground heads looking for a big injection of immediate charm and for more commercial DJs looking for some old school authenticity.

After it initially did the rounds between Richard’s DJ friends, Toolroom signed it and Annie Mac made it Hottest Record on her BBC Radio 1 show. “Then I started thinking, ‘Oh, I think we might have something here!’” says Richard. And even now, months after release and long after the sun has set on the warmer months of the year, it is still getting hammered, with remixes from Purple Disco Machine and Gorgon City having followed more recently.

The hugely effective track was written at home in his studio — “like every track I do” — and is unashamedly influenced by the ‘90s. “I set out to do a summer piano house track and, after a few days of working hard, I eventually got there,” he says, before adding that the whole thing is original apart from the soaring diva vocal hooks which were re-sung especially for the track.

Rather than feeling more pressure once he got back in the studio after the tune took off, Dinsdale reckons the success of ‘Feel My Needs’ has actually given him the confidence to write what he wants, how he wants. As such, you can expect plenty more big tunes from the man in 2019.

WORDS: Kristan J Caryl


UK tech-house institution Abode has built a tight family of top class residents, and after a huge year at home and abroad, their own Ellie Cocks scoops the Best Resident award…

Abode is one of London’s biggest recent success stories. In 2018 alone it has held sell-out parties across London, a one-day festival in Finsbury Park, multi-day festival on an island off Malta, and had a huge debut residency at Amnesia in Ibiza. The energetic young party is very much built around a core team of residents, and Ellie Cocks has been one of them since first being talent-spotted at Fire and Lightbox by founder Kai four years ago.

“It’s your job to be part of the brand, embrace it and interact with the regular people you have coming to support you and the party,” says Ellie, who played every week in Ibiza this summer, and really made the world famous Terrace her own with a distinctive brand of chunky, driving tech- house. “I always try and come with new tracks each and every time I play,” she says, though she also takes her mum’s advice to “throw in a classic”, with a particular recent favourite being Aly Us’ uplifting ‘Follow Me.’

Because of the number of shows she plays with Abode, Cocks always has to switch things up. Like any real resident, this means she is capable of warming up early doors, maintaining energy levels at peak-time or “finishing things with a bang.” She recognises the need to be versatile and “to read the room and the crowd”, and says she learns something new each and every time she plays.

For that reason, she has been one of the most reliable residents in the country this year; always there to put the needs of the crowd and the party first, rather than further herself. But in doing so, she has earned a deserving reputation as one of the best in the game.

WORDS: Kristan J Caryl


Offering a counter to the large- capacity venues which have come to dominate Brixton, Phonox’s focus on community and quality bookings has netted a well-deserved Best Small Club win…

Clubs would be nothing without clubbers, and the best way to ensure regular punters through the door is to build a true community around a venue. One that in years to come, people will still talk about fondly. This is exactly what this year’s Best Small Club, Phonox, has achieved. “We’re super grateful to everyone that passes through our doors for a dance,” says Ryan Phillips, Head of Music for club owners Columbo Group.

“One of our proudest achievements since opening Phonox is the sense of community around the venue. This is especially felt on Saturday nights where I regularly see the same faces coming back week in, week out.”

The biggest factor contributing to this tight-knit feel has to be Phonox’s Saturday night residents. At the start of the year was eclectic Aussie import HAAi, who “would greet our regulars like old friends” and has often referred to the staff as family. A few months ago, South African DJ Esa took the reins, and Phillips says he can see the same positive pattern forming with him already.

Elsewhere the club has packed heat with fresh line-ups every Friday, and the Sundays At Phonox series has delivered excellent extended sets from the likes of Objekt and Dax J. “No booking is confirmed without a unanimous agreement between the team,” Phillips explains of the club’s discerning selections. “I think this more collaborative approach has seen bookings continue to get better and better.”

Heading into 2019, Phillips promises the best Sunday series yet, alongside a few four-week Friday residencies, the first of which — with Jayda G throughout February — had just been announced at the time of writing.

“It’s going to be such an important year for Esa,” he adds. “We’re also now doing regular soundsystem parties on a Thursday which are a totally different vibe to our weekend programme. A free party for Brixton locals, these nights give us a chance to connect with and celebrate South London’s rich soundsystem culture.”

Looks like that Phonox community spirit will only continue to flourish…

WORDS: Ben Hindle


Offering the mystery and adventurous spirit of free parties, alongside some outlandish locations, Bristol’s Alfresco Disco earns this year’s Best Club Event award…

Alfresco Disco never announce headliners or where their parties will be, but still manage to sell 2,000 tickets before the first beat is dropped. It’s an old school approach where the focus is on the party rather than the DJ, and that trust has been built up over the last ten years.

In 2018, the team partied in a city centre adventure playground “full of amazing treehouses you could dance in,” says Tom Hodgson, one of the six brains behind the operation. “We were pinching ourselves throughout the day as we couldn’t quite believe we had pulled it off.” That event also raised thousands for the charity that runs the playground, and in the past they have partied in woods, quarries, old court rooms, music studios, car parks and country manors. Each party is decked out with lavish production to suit the theme, from adult ball pools to hot tubs to retro exercise bikes that generate visuals. “Searching for locations is fun and has become a bit of an obsession!” laughs Tom.

This summer, the Alfresco Disco crew also DJ’d and hosted various festival stages around the UK, before launching a temporary club space, T E M P L E, which proved another big success across four events so far. Some of the previous secret guests have included Shanti Celeste, Axel Boman and Jeremy Underground.

Alfresco Disco began life as an outdoor free party rave, so keeping locations private stems from that fact. “During these early years lots of well-known DJs and live acts would turn up and play and it became a nice surprise at each party,” says Tom, who has used buses to convoy people to parties at places like Weston Super Mare in the past. Truly, then, there ain’t no disco like an Alfresco Disco.

WORDS: Kristan J Caryl


Bristol’s cutting-edge club scene owes a lot to the city’s beloved venues, and right at the centre of that culture stands the mighty Motion, this year’s Best Large Club…

“We couldn’t be prouder to have won this year’s it’s great to see so many West Country nominees in the other categories too,” says Jack Scales, Head of Programming at Motion.

As Bristol’s most prolific dancing destination, the crew are clearly just as proud to support the local scene as they are to walk away with one of the industry’s most coveted trophies. A nocturnal beacon for the entire region, Motion has made a name for itself by pulling in the biggest international names, while giving a platform to rising stars from the UK’s ever-growing talent pool.

“This year’s In:Motion series has been the biggest to date with some of the best artists the venue has seen in a long time, including Flying Lotus, Above & Beyond, Deadmau5 and Groove Armada,” Scales replies, when asked what some of the highlights have been from the last 12 months at the club. There have been changes to the club itself, too, in that time, as Scales explains: “Motion is continuously developing; it doesn’t feel like we’ve ever run two events in the same way. We’ve just completely re-developed the Marble Factory, offering a new 1,500-capacity venue to Bristol. The sheer size of our rooms is what really sets us apart and with that comes well-thought-out production, which leaves a lasting impression.”

As for the future, plans are already in place for 2019, a year set to be defined by monumental celebrations, as Motion prepares to turn ten years young. All of which makes the venue’s Best Large Club win a fitting way to box off the first decade of decadence at the Bristol institution.

WORDS: Martin Guttridge-Hewitt


Closing out their last season at spiritual home Store Street, Manchester institution The Warehouse Project mark the end of an era with a triumphant Best Club Series win…

Take one former air raid shelter-cum-carpark beneath one of the UK’s busiest train stations, chuck the autos out, bring in mind-blowing lighting and sound rigs, and add 12 consecutive weeks of parties boasting the biggest names in global dance music. The result is The Warehouse Project, Manchester.

Welcoming hedonists since 2006, the location of this autumn and winter throwdown has changed twice during that time, but Store Street, its current address, has long been considered headquarters. Not for much longer, though. 2018 has seen the celebrated series leapfrog well beyond its one-millionth ticket sale, deliver one-off events and gigs in other sites across the city, and host everyone from Underworld to Sven Väth, Four Tet to Gilles Peterson, Omar-S to Amelie Lens in a truly historic season at base camp.

But once the lights come up on the annual New Year’s Day event it’s finally time to move on, with the area around the venue earmarked for redevelopment on
a massive scale. Winning Best Of British Best Club Series therefore means going out with a bang.

“It feels great, a fitting tribute to our time at Store Street,” Promotions Manager, Oliver Ryder, says of winning this year’s coveted award.

“Our time at Store Street comes to a natural conclusion, many emotions arise at the thought of parting ways with what has been our spiritual home for over a decade but it’s time for the next chapter,” he continues. “The Warehouse Project will always remain a forward-thinking institution and we’re excited to reveal the next phase of our journey.”

The future is theirs for the making — where from here is anyone’s guess, but the smart money is on more international-scale sessions packed with unforgettable production, and destined to make another million or so memories.

WORDS: Martin Guttridge-Hewitt


For their pioneering harm minimisation work, DJ Mag has given the Innovation & Excellence award this year to The Loop, headed up by Professor Fiona Measham…

If there’s one organisation that deserves as much recognition as possible for innovation and excellence in the world of clubs and festivals, it’s The Loop. You might have seen its banner at events such as Boomtown, Boardmasters, Secret Garden and Made Up in recent years. You might have even used its services.

Dedicated to making our scene a safer and more well-informed place since 2013, the  Manchester not-for-profit organisation provides a number of services: it allows people to confidentially test their drugs without any fear of arrest, it circulates information about dangerously strong or harmfully adulterated drugs going around, and it provides welfare.

Most importantly, whether it’s at events or not, The Loop provides real education and information about substances, recreational drug culture and its dangers. It’s a far cry from the scaremongering copper who’d come to your school and tell you that you’d all die if you so much as looked at a dealer, The Loop’s team actually know what they’re talking about. They understand and accept that recreational drugs are part of electronic music culture, and want to face the issue head on, rather than sweeping it under the carpet or creating even heavier punishments for people who aren’t criminals in any other aspect of their lives.

It’s working — in July 2018, The Loop set a new precedent, as Police Minister Nick Hurd said in Parliament that the government, “are not standing in the way”. This is a quantum leap in drug reform, and it’s good news on the ground, too, as events where The Loop is present consistently see less drugs misuse or hospitalisations.

“Festival medics regularly report that drug related problems decrease when The Loop is providing [a] Multi Agency Safety Testing service on site,” explains The Loop founder Professor Fiona Measham, who is a clubber herself and has been studying UK nightlife for over 25 years.

“There’s a number of possible reasons this might happen. We provide harm reduction advice directly to people coming to our service; they pass on harm reduction advice to their mates; we put out warnings on social media, and people present [themselves] early to the medics if they have a problem. Also, emergency services report being more confident to deal with emergencies onsite when we test samples that their patients have consumed, as they know what they are dealing with.”

Essentially this means that any medical incidents that do arise at events are likely to be less serious, because The Loop has clued everyone up; the user, the medics and the emergency services. Its Multi Agency Safety Testing teams comprise a whole raft of expert volunteers such as postdoc chemists and healthcare professionals, such as GPs, psychiatrists and other medics.

“What that means is that they can pool their specialist knowledge and experience,” says Measham. “They do this to provide the very best test results and advice to service users within as short a space of time as possible.”

The result is one of the most progressive things to ever happen in UK club and rave culture. And it’s needed, for while the purity of drugs has generally increased in recent years (meaning they are dangerously potent and should always be done by quarters or halves), there’s still evidence of dangerous adulterants such as n-ethylpentylone being mis-sold as MDMA. It’s a relatively new stimulant that, Fiona explains, can causes anxiety, paranoia, insomnia and potentially psychotic episodes. Looking and smelling almost identical to MDMA, even regular users who feel they know what they’re taking would have trouble identifying n-ethylpentylone, reminding us that no matter how much of a seasoned raver you are, you don’t know everything, and you really ought to check out what you’re taking.

It’s clear that promoters are accepting this too. And while it’s much easier to stamp down a zero tolerance rule and keep stakeholders happy, and ticket sales up, The Loop is welcome at more and more events every year, especially in the UK.

“I am very pleased to say that this generally isn’t the case in the UK, but it definitely is the case in other countries that I have visited,” says Measham. “Most UK events and police at those events accept that some people will manage to smuggle drugs into a venue, regardless of the level of security at ingress, so there still needs to be appropriate medical, welfare and harm reduction support services onsite.”

Not just onsite, too — The Loop now has testing centres in Bristol and Durham, where substances can be tested any time of year (and not just at events), and have also launched a sister organisation, The Loop Australia. With plans to develop this throughout 2019, and to continue to push drug reform higher and higher up the agenda, The Loop really does deserve as much recognition and support as possible.

WORDS: Dave Jenkins

Music Music Festivals News

Primavera Sound reveals 2019 lineup, featuring more than 50 percent women

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Primavera Sound reveals 2019 lineup, featuring more than 50 percent women

Robyn, Richie Hawtin, Nina Kraviz and SOPHIE are among those booked for the Barcelona festival next spring.

Primavera Sound 2019, going down from May 30th through June 1st, has announced its lineup.
Among the headliners for the Barcelona festival are Robyn, Erykah Badu, SOPHIE, Charli XCX, James Blake, Stereolab, Richie Hawtin (performing his CLOSE live set) and Modeselektor. In terms of DJs, they’ve lined up Joy Orbison, Helena Hauff, Yaeji, Laurel Halo, Avalon Emerson, Jayda G and a back-to-back from Eris Drew and Octo Octa. Live sets will come from Objekt, Anastasia Kristensen, Apparat, Tim Hecker and his Konoyo Ensemble, Veronica Vasicka and plenty more.
This year, Primavera seeks to highlight “equality, eclecticism and audacity” in their lineup, according to a press release.
“Equality in the lineup between men and women, a stylistic eclecticism that is patently obvious and the drive to constantly take risks to connect to the times we live in are central concepts of the Primavera Sound 2019 lineup,” the statement adds. “All of this without abandoning the presentation of a lineup that is absolutely unique in the world, risky and convincing, as it is every year.”
For the full lineup, check out the flyer and event listing below.



Is it time for a total ban on phones on the dancefloor?

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New research suggests camera-phone usage at clubs and festivals is unpopular – but only when other people are doing it. But if we all find phones on the dancefloor so annoying, why do we keep filming?

It’s commonly understood that phone use at live events is a big problem. High-profile DJs have been talking about the issue since at least 2015. And both Annie Mac and The Warehouse Project founder Sacha Lord publicly railed against over-filming earlier this year, saying, in essence, that it kills the vibe. A host of think-pieces and opinion columns have also been published on the subject, with some suggesting the mass implementation of Berghain’s infamous no-photo policy as a way to protect the night.

But for the first time, we now have hard data showing exactly what the British gig-going public thinks about using phones to film and photograph at live events. The data comes from a survey conducted by global ticketing company Eventbrite over a 12-month period. 1,031 British adults were surveyed, and all had attended a live ticketed event within the last year. And while the data shows just how unpopular camera phone usage at live events is, it also wielded some surprising and contradictory results.

First, let’s look at how unpopular filming is. The wide majority of those surveyed — 70 percent — said they find it irritating when others take pictures or video during a show. An even greater majority — 81 percent — said they understood why an artist might not like videoing and photographing at the event. And as many artists have stated, they usually don’t.

“Do I find myself playing to a forest of phones waving in the air?” asks stalwart German DJ and producer Anja Schneider. ”Of course, and for me that’s a problem because you can’t see the people, you can’t see the vibe. You can’t see people’s faces.”

A majority of people also said that they feel like they’d be missing out on the event itself while taking pictures and video, which is also true. Taking photos and videos is hugely distracting, and doing it well is hard work — just ask any club photographer.

As Dr Linda Henkel of Fairfield University in Connecticut explains, you’re actually less likely to remember whatever it is you’re mindlessly taking photos of because of what she calls the “photo-taking impairment effect”. Your brain simply checks out of remembering the moment because it has abdicated that responsibility to your smartphone.

Moreso, humans aren’t meant to experience life from behind a screen. Especially at a communal event like a festival, where sharing a physical experience that can’t easily be replicated in the digital realm is a big part of what makes it so special. It’s just not as fun to stand there filming, and that has a knock-on effect throughout the crowd. Each disengaged person or group becomes a “black hole” of social energy, as author David Cain notes, pulling attention away from what’s actually happening.

So if all of this is true — if we know filming and photographing bothers the DJ, takes us out of the live experience, and irritates almost everyone around us, why do we keep doing it?

Well, because we’re selfish.

“People are saying ‘It’s OK if I use my phone at an event, because I want to get this special photo, but when someone else does it, that’s really annoying’,” Dr Lee Hadlington, associate professor in cyberpsychology at De Montfort University in Leicester, says.

Dr Hadlington’s statement likely won’t surprise anyone who’s noticed the narcissistic nature of many live events. Festivals, clubs and concerts are places where having the perfect night can sometimes come at the cost of everyone else’s. But having that perfect night suddenly becomes much more difficult if the stage is hidden behind a sea of phones. Or if a nearby group won’t stop taking selfies, or using their phone’s flash like a cop trying to blind a robber in a dimly-lit back alley. They’re being annoying, but you aren’t.

Despite how annoying camera phones at live events have become, usage isn’t likely to stop on its own anytime soon. After all, one third of those surveyed also said filming and photographing was an important part of the live experience, and nearly half (49 percent) said they took photos and videos at the events they attended.

It’s not just young people either. The 35- to 44-year-old crowd are just as likely to be seen snapping selfies and recording grainy, darkened footage never to be watched again as those aged 18- to 24-years-old.

That means it’s going to have to come down to venues, and to a lesser extent, artists, to do something. Despite common understanding that cracking down would alienate fans, the survey shows that a majority of people — 69 percent — feel strongly about supporting measures that might limit mobile phone usage at live events. It also shows that there is support for measures like creating ”no phone zones,” audience “spot-checks” for over-filming, or more popularly, “gentle nudges” by venue staff to make phones more discrete, which 41 percent of respondents say they’d be in favour of.

Artists can also get more vocal on social media, reminding fans to film early before enjoying the rest of their night, or to keep phones away full-stop for the benefit of everyone. Bigger acts could even follow the lead of stars like Dave Chappelle and Jack White, who’ve banned phones at their shows by using a service called Yonder, which stores devices in special pouches that can only be unlocked in certain areas of the venue.

As for industry professionals, approximately four out of five surveyed “had concerns about people recording pictures and videos during performances”. However, a disappointing 63 percent “had no measures in place to manage mobile phone use.” Which means we need a plan, or more likely, multiple plans to tackle this issue.

Whether it’s more no-photo policies at clubs beyond Berlin, signs posted around dancefloors asking patrons to keep their phones pocketed, security offering gentle reminders to stop patrons from over-filming, or other alternatives like Yonder, the support is there. What happens next is up to us.

Music Festivals News

Skrillex, Paul van Dyk, Rezz, more locked for EDC Mexico 2019

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The full line-up for the sixth edition of EDC Mexico has been announced with Skrillex confirmed to make his return to the festival for the first time since his appearance alongside Diplo as Jack Ü in 2015.

Also lined up to play the event are Paul van Dyk, Kaskade, Rezz, DJ Snake, Pachanga Boys, Alesso, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Loco Dice, Solardo and lots more. Next year’s festival takes place as ever at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez from February 23-24.  The main stage at EDC Orlando caught fire two weeks ago during a set by L.A. DJ and producer Kayzo. The small fire was quickly contained and music on the stage was able to continue for the rest of the day. EDC recently revealed the first details for their Las Vegas event which will return to the city’s Motor Speedway from May 17-19. Martin Garrix opened his headline set at the Las Vegas event this year with what many fans believe to have been an unreleased track of his.

Music News

DJ Mag Best of British Awards 2018 – Voting now open

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The nominations have been announced for DJ Mag’s annual Best Of British poll, powered by Relentless energy drink.

The poll – a celebration of UK talent  – is now in its 12th year. Positioned as a counter-balance to the global Top 100 DJs poll, Best Of British is our chance to shine a spotlight on the homegrown stars who fill the pages of our UK magazine each month.

Voting closes on Friday 30th November ahead of the awards party on Thursday 13th December at EGG LDN.

The awards party will feature a wide array of DJs from across the UK scene. The first names to be announced to play are tech-house titan Eats Everything, Deep Sea Frequency and Meine Nacht co-founder Breakwave, Abode resident Ellie Cocks, BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Jamz Supernova and emerging talent Mason Maynard. With many more DJs to be announced to play for the party, alongside very special guests, it’s set to be an unmissable night. For more information, go to the event page here.

Check out the full list of categories and nominees below…

Vote here!

Best DJ
Andy C
Denis Sulta
Eats Everything
Joy Orbison
Shanti Celeste

Best Group

Ivy Lab

Breakthrough DJ

Donna Leake
Jamz Supernova
Mason Maynard

Best Resident DJ

Blasha & Allatt (Meat Free)
Charles Green (Patterns)
Ellie Cocks (Abode)
Gwenan (The Pickle Factory)
Mantra (Rupture)

Best Live Act

The Chemical Brothers
Four Tet
Giant Swan
Nabihah Iqbal

Best Producer

Daniel Avery

Breakthrough Producer

Benny L
Forest Drive West
Harrison BDP
Rian Treanor
Solid Blake

Best Label

Central Processing Unit
Sneaker Social Club

Breakthrough Label

Dr. Banana
Femme Culture
Needs – Not For Profit
Western Lore

Best Album

Blawan – Wet Will Always Dry [Ternesc]
Blocks & Escher – Something Blue [Metalheadz]
Nabihah Iqbal – Weighing of the Heart [Ninja Tune]
Pariah – Here From Where We Are [Houndstooth]
SOPHIE – Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides [Transgressive Records]

Best Track

Big Miz – The Hadal Zone [Dixon Avenue Basement Jams]
Pangaea – Bone Sucka [Hessle Audio]
Ploy- Ramos [Timedance]
SpectraSoul – Untitled Horn [Ish Chat]
Weiss – Feel My Needs [Toolroom Records]

Best Compilation

James Zabiela – Balance 029 [Balance Music]
Kode9 & Burial – Fabriclive 100 [Fabric Records]
Mount Kimbie – DJ-Kicks [!K7 Records]
Mumdance – Shared Meanings [Shared Meanings]
Various – Splinters [AMAR]

Best Remix/Edit
Au/Ra & CamelPhat – Panic Room (CamelPhat Club Mix) [RCA Records]
Bicep – Opal (Four Tet Remix) [Ninja Tune]
Mr Fingers – Spy (Kode9 Remix) [Alleviated Records]
Perc & Truss – Leather & Lace (Mumdance & Logos Remix) [Perc Trax]
High Contrast – If We Ever (Unglued Remix) [Hospital Records]

Best Large Club
Church Leeds, Leeds
EggLondon, London
Fabric, London
Ministry Of Sound, London
Motion, Bristol

Best Small Club
Cosmic Ballroom, Newcastle
Phonox, London
The Cause, London
The White Hotel, Manchester
Wire, Leeds

Best Club Event

Alfresco Disco
He. She. They.
Make Me
Meine Nacht
On Loop

Best Club Series

Ben UFO Residency – XOYO
Sundays At Phonox
The Warehouse Project

Best Festival
Hospitality In The Park
Junction 2
Love Saves The Day

Best Boutique Festival

AVA Festival
The Beat-Herder Festival

Best MC
D Double E
Lee Scott

Soldier of the Scene
DJ Rap
Doc Scott
Don Letts
Nicky Holloway
Mark Moore

Innovation and Excellence
The Loop

Outstanding Contribution
Fatboy Slim


Avicii’s True Stories documentary will be shown in select cinemas in December

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Avicii: True Stories, the Netflix documentary of the EDM star who sadly passed away in April aged just 28, will show for a limited theatre run in December in both Los Angeles and New York City, allowing it to be eligible for an Oscar Nomination in 2019.

Oscar rules state that a film must ‘have played in an L.A. County theater, for paid admission, for seven consecutive days, beginning in the appropriate calendar year,’ for it to qualify for consideration. The documentary, directed by Levan Tsikurishvili, will be shown in New York City from 21st to 27th December and in Los Angeles from 14th to 20th December.

First aired in October 2017, footage of Avicii, aka Tim Berling’s life, unveils the reality behind the gruelling schedule that brought him to fame while taking a huge toll of both his physical and mental health.

Learn how you can leave your own digital tribute on Avicii’s former website here.

Avicii – who was voted into the No. 15 spot in DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs poll this year – had been working with Nile Rodgers prior to his death in April and they had allegedly written an album’s worth of music together.

DJ Mag’s digital editor Charlotte Lucy Cijffers also reflected on the young DJs enormous influence on the global EDM community and on how his openness surrounding his struggles with fame, touring and alcoholism gave a troubling, if necessary, insight into a side of dance music the world often does not see.

DJ Mag Article

Interviews Music News

Paul van Dyk: DJ Mag North America cover feature

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A year-and-a-half after his near-death accident, Paul van Dyk returns to trance stronger than ever, with a new album, new live show, and new perspective afforded to those who have grazed the veil separating this world from the next…


This isn’t your average comeback story. And Paul van Dyk isn’t your average comeback kid. The Grammy-winning German DJ/producer is a legend in his own right, hailed as the man who launched an entire genre: without him, trance music might not be what it is today. Or exist at all. That’s not hyperbole; it’s fact. Paul’s body of work is enshrined in the annals of electronic music history, decorated with awards and showered with critical accolades. A two-time winner of the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll, his songs have been played in clubs and on festival stages for over 25 years, but they’re also queued up during weddings and birthdays, marking memories in the minds of more than a generation of ravers. And his harrowing brush with death last year only adds emotional weight to the exquisite music that has emerged in the aftermath of an accident that left him lying comatose in a hospital bed.

Events unfold rapidly in emergencies, like the flutter of camera shutters: roaring crowd, arms outstretched, swirling lights, raised stage, one wrong step, shattered body, fade to black. On the night of February 27th, 2016, Paul van Dyk fell nearly 20 feet through an ill-concealed gap while onstage at the A State Of Trance Festival in Utrecht, Holland. He was immediately airlifted to the nearest hospital, where it was determined that he had fractured his spine in two places, and had sustained severe brain damage. An outpouring of support from across the globe flooded social media channels and music news outlets. Shocked fans replayed the minute-long video of the artist’s fateful misstep, caught on a mobile phone camera: how could this have happened? For a few days, doctors received minimal neurological response when prodding Paul’s broken body. Yet, he was lucky. His vital organs remained unharmed, and although he could not feel his legs when he finally returned to consciousness, he was alive.

‘From Then On’ marks Paul van Dyk’s return to life after a glimpse of the inevitable end we all spend a lifetime avoiding. His first LP in nearly three years and eighth artist album, it is his first release since the accident and without question, his most poignant work to date. True to its title, ‘From Then On’ is a portrait of the fruits of resurrection – resurrection of health, of creative aptitude and of spirit. It is born from the ultimate shift in perspective, afforded to the few who witness the limits of their own fragility. After darkness, light always shines brighter. Paul van Dyk’s struggle to cope with new physical and mental limitations has given him a greater depth of appreciation for each breath. There is joy in standing up, in making coffee, in watching a bird scuttle to the next branch. From that gratitude, beautiful art is born.

“We have gray moments here, but when it’s sunny it’s really cool,” Paul laughs, gesturing at the sprawling cityscape, as DJ Mag joins him in his Berlin office on an autumn afternoon. Sunlight streams into the room through large windows. The sky is cloudless and blue, a rare event for the European city. Paul is in good spirits, and accepts a cup of coffee from his manager as he settles into his chair for the next hour. He has recently returned from New York City, where he debuted his new, visually-sumptuous live show concept, AEON by Paul van Dyk, at the PlayStation Theater, and he’s prepping for the release of ‘From Then On’ via his own Vandit label in the coming weeks. His eyes glint with satisfaction, and it occurs to us that gratitude is humanity’s most attractive asset. “I have never felt closer to my own music than with this album,” he states, taking a sip of the hot coffee.

Understanding where this music comes from makes the experience of listening to it even more intense. The album carries us into expansive realms of euphoria, bursting with rapid-fire emotion, and it is quintessentially Paul van Dyk. Yet, while it retains the artist’s familiar trance signature – glittering melody, soaring strings, forward-marching kicks – there is something indescribably poignant about it. Each track is meaningful. The song titles reflect his newfound experience, quite literally: ‘I Am Alive’ is redolent of classic late-‘90s trance, a new chance to revisit old roots; ‘Close Call’ is cinematic, sharp and tense, a nod to the knife-edge between life and death; while ‘Stronger Together’ is among the album’s most euphoric cuts, a dramatic tribute to the power of community – without which, Paul van Dyk would not be alive.

When Paul emerged from his comatose state, he was met with a vulnerable new reality. “I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t go to the toilet, I couldn’t do anything. I had to learn it all again. That was a very hard point to understand.” Paul leans forward in his seat, emphasizing the enormity of such a revelation: “Think about it in a bigger philosophical sense – when you’re a little kid and you go to the toilet, and for the first time you do it alone, this is almost what defines you as a human being. Now imagine you’re an adult, and you can’t do this anymore.” Recognizing your own mortality also means witnessing your vulnerability, and while Paul appreciates the new perspective, he says that being aware of his survival has been anything but uplifting: “I can tell you, it’s the total opposite,” he states, unequivocally. “I’m far more living in fear… because I know how quickly things can be over.”

Despite that fear, Paul has focused on the positive in order to heal, and explains that he was the recipient of some fortunate coincidences. Coincidence number one: The accident happened in Utrecht, only a 10 minute drive from the top neurological center in all of Holland. “If the show would have been in Amsterdam, like one and a half hour ride away, I wouldn’t be here talking to you now.” Coincidence number two: One of Europe’s top neurological injury specialists happened to be in the hospital at 5am on Sunday morning, precisely when the ambulance delivered Paul van Dyk through its doors, because of another case. “He was there to take the right steps, rather than some assistant doctor waiting for him to arrive on Monday when it probably would have been too late. I wouldn’t be sitting here,” Paul smiles wryly.

And then there is his wife, Margarita. The first thing she did while her husband laid motionless in bed, with doctors refusing to give any concrete prognosis, was decorate his hospital room with his favorite things: his football club shirts, flowers, photos of the two of them – “so that as soon as I’d wake up, I would have the first bit of memory that connects me to something that is part of me. And these details, that’s what she’s made of as well,” Paul smiles as he recalls her care, and his overwhelming love for her is evident. “She’s just amazing. Really.”

For the first two days after his fall, neurologists tried and failed to elicit a physical response from Paul. Machines showed his brain was still functioning, but his body was unresponsive. It wasn’t until his wife arrived that he stirred. “She touched my fingers, and then she said, ‘Grab my hand.’ And I grabbed her hand while unconscious,” Paul’s green eyes light up as he tells the story, “and she ran out of the room yelling for the doctors to come in and see that I had moved. But I didn’t do it when the nurse came. Just her.”

In retrospect, that moment left a mark on the artist, profoundly changing his worldview. “That’s a clear indication there’s something else,” he states, shaking his head. “I’m a pragmatic person. I don’t believe in God. I’m not an esoteric guy… but this is outside of comprehension for a pragmatic person. There is obviously something like the soul, the inner core. As someone who believes in quantum physics I would say, it’s the Higgs Boson of us. Because I knew, my soul knew, when Margarita grabbed my hand: ‘That’s my girl.’”

The album’s opening track, ‘While You Were Gone’, features an elegant piano arrangement that sounds like an homage to its title – a soul hovering over its earthly body in an astral projection of emotion, reimagined in waveform. But that is not at all what Paul van Dyk had in mind when he wrote it. He doesn’t have a recollection of the first four weeks after his fall, laying in various states of consciousness, first in a Dutch hospital and then a facility in Berlin. The last thing he does remember is leaving his green room and heading towards the stage on that fateful night. “The brain erases a little bit of memory from before [an accident], I don’t even remember playing for the first 20 minutes before I fell,” he admits.

When we share our thoughts on the song, gushing over its etheric otherworldliness, Paul chuckles and says that the reaction is a good example of why people like trance so much. “They always go on and tell me for hours and hours what they love about it. A good piece of music gives you a sketch of the emotional surrounding of the artist. And you then take that in, you make it your own, you fill it with your own experience. Suddenly, it’s not my track anymore – it’s yours.” ‘While You Were Gone’ is filled with the sentiment of Paul van Dyk’s deep appreciation for the woman who brought him back to life with memories and love and care, and whom he says is the best reason for him to still be here.

“A very essential part of me not giving up and fighting for my life, fighting to get better, is my wife. She’s an adventurous type in a very cool way – right now she’s climbing Mount Kilimanjaro!” he boasts with a smile. “At the time I wrote ‘While You Were Gone’, she was hiking the 3 Passes Trek around Mount Everest. I was in Beijing, sitting there feeling alone and detached from the world, and I wrote the song.” The track, co-produced with Vincent Corver, is rich with sentimental melody, but it bursts into a subby, forward-rolling beat three quarters of the way through. Paul reveals that he used a sub bass to make the bass drum kick. “This is why it sounds almost like a heartbeat pumping – ‘boom, boom, boom’,” he thumps his hand against his chest, as if to remind it to keep going.

Since the accident, there has been change: Paul’s DJ sets are no longer three hours, he works more slowly, he can’t properly feel his legs. “It’s almost as if I’m walking on clouds.” There has been pain: “There were times when I was simply in so much pain that I would just burst out in tears. It was just seriously indescribable. They always ask you in the hospital, ‘On a scale of one to 10 how much does it hurt?’ And I was always saying, ‘It’s a 100.’” But there has also been love: “[The doctors and nurses] really gave me the feeling that it mattered. That I matter. That it mattered to them that I try. And all that together with the cards, letters, e-mails, videos, voice messages I got from colleagues, friends and fans – all that positive energy encouraged me. Because even on the hard days, to simply get through was enough.”

‘From Then On’ means more to Paul van Dyk than anything else he has made before. He feels it is his most successful album, simply because he was able to make it. “All the support is what made me pull through. You can’t do something like this alone. It was a joint effort, and I’m here,” he insists. “And the same goes for many other things.” Ironically, in the year and a half since Paul’s accident, he has witnessed a disintegration of communal strength on the global level: our damaged climate precipitates more tribal warfare, the rise of neo-fascism is haunting Europe, a fractured America is divided beyond repair, religious extremism codifies terrorist cells. “My moral standards and my political beliefs are still the same as they were before. But I think what my personal story is a very good example of, is this whole concept of being ‘stronger together’. To be together, to work together, and to solve problems together.”

There is something to be said for the role music plays in connecting people, and it is what Paul van Dyk says inspired his classic 2001 compilation album, ‘The Politics Of Dancing’. Though his politics remain unchanged since the accident, he speaks more passionately about the topic now, having experienced the type of healing that can only be achieved with the help of a large community. “We need to all stick together on these things. We’re all human beings, all responsible for this planet – and when a guy like Trump says he was elected by the people in Pittsburgh not by the people in Paris – you know what, this is fucking bullshit. Because if this planet goes bonkers, then it affects the people in Pittsburgh as much as the people in Paris,” he crosses his arms and sits back in his seat. “We can only solve things together.”

Paul van Dyk’s Berlin of offace sits on the Spree River in the Friedrichshain- Kreuzberg borough, just a few meters from the world-renowned Watergate club and at the nexus of German history. The former East Berlin district of Friedrichshain is connected to the former West Berlin district of Kreuzberg (now reminiscent of New York’s East Village in its counterculture heyday) by the historic Oberbaum Bridge, which was once a Berlin border crossing for pedestrians. Graffiti-covered stone arches stretch from one side of the river bank to the other. Barbed wire and repression have been replaced by nightclubs and kebab shops, skateboarders and artists. Paul remembers what it was once like, because he grew up in East Berlin. “Right over there, actually,” he grins, craning his neck and pointing as he peers out of the window.

The cold, gray drudgery of life in East Berlin is not cinematic overkill, dramatically reimagined by movie directors. It was a place bent on stifling creativity, movement, passion and free will. The absence of art and beauty from East Berlin was intentional, and it meant that 10-year-old Paul van Dyk had to access music in illicit ways. “I was doing my homework, listening to the West Berlin mega stations on my radio – illegally of course, because that was forbidden – when I stopped one day and turned it up and was like, ‘What’s this?’ This music was different, and it connected with me.” The band he heard that day was The Smiths, and it turned Paul van Dyk into a self-professed radio junkie. “We didn’t have record shops or magazines, or anything at all in East Germany.”

Eventually, the sounds of early house music from Chicago and Detroit began filtering through Paul’s pirated radio waves, and by the time the Berlin Wall fell in 1987, he reveled in the clubs. Still, he was searching for something he felt was missing from dance music, a stronger connection and a more profound sensation. “The music I wanted simply didn’t exist, so I had to make it myself.” And while there will always be a debate about the origins of any genre, enough people agree that Paul van Dyk is a significant actor in the saga of trance. Queue up his 1993 remix of Humate’s ‘Love Stimulation’ for a glimpse at the genre’s genesis. The expansive harmonies, layered strings and faster BPM are familiar elements today, but in the early ‘90s, they weren’t the norm.

Although he loves house and techno, Paul believes trance represents “the most complete” form of music; one without boundaries. “With the minimal techno stuff, after five minutes you hit a wall and you’re just like, wow. That doesn’t create a landscape. And this is what I like – I like to see a horizon.

“Techno, to me, is ten meters long and then there’s a wall,” he gestures with his hands, slicing a line through the air. “Trance, on the other hand, is a horizon. You can see the sun going up and down depending on which direction you look and all that is in between, all the experience, everything that happens in the world. Moving towards the horizon is part of trance music.”

There is a track on his new album titled ‘Fairytales’ that is decidedly triumphant, ringing with bliss. And while we don’t ask what it means, we can’t help but imagine a young boy huddled over his small radio, stealing sounds from a world beyond his reach, but within his view. Paul smiles and nods at the window again. He can see his childhood school in the distance, just across the river bank to the east. The irony of literally pushing through a physical wall to get to the music and life he loves, is not lost on him. “When I was sitting in class in school as a kid, I was actually able to look toward the left which was West Berlin. I would look towards the west, look towards the horizon, look towards where I thought freedom and beauty was,” as he speaks, he looks to the west, away from us, unpacking an old memory. “Music and the horizon somehow always had something to do with my craving for freedom and movement, energy and positivity. And I guess, really, it’s still the case.”

DJMAG Article


Music News

Martin Garrix wins DJ Mag Top 100 DJs 2018

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Martin Garrix has been revealed as the winner of the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Poll 2018, with the 22-year-old Dutch superstar making it three in a row after becoming the youngest ever No.1 DJ in 2016 and retaining the title in 2017.

Garrix was awarded the winner’s trophy by DJ Mag managing director Martin Carvell on stage at the Top 100 DJs Poll award ceremony at the Amsterdam ArenA. The event took place at this year’s Amsterdam Music Festival at Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE).

The award continues a meteoric rise for Garrix over the past few years, beginning when his breakout tune ‘Animals’ shot to No.1 around the world in 2013. He was odds-on favourite to retain the title from 2017.

He’s had a huge year since winning 12 months ago, unveiling his new waxwork at Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam and releasing his photography book Life=Crazy. He is also reportedly working with Rihanna on her forthcoming album, has teased his new hologram visuals and has released a track every day during this year’s ADE.

We secured an incredible 1.2 million votes in this year’s poll, an increase of nearly 200,000 on 2017. The most votes came from the USA, followed by the UK, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Spain.

In the top 10, there isn’t a great deal of movement. Belgian brothers Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike (the Highest Group) hold steady at No.2, while Hardwell leapfrogs over Armin van Buuren to claim the No.3 slot, despite — or perhaps because of — announcing that he’s stopping touring for an indefinite period. ASOT man Armin, of course, remains the Highest Trance DJ at No.4 — he hasn’t finished out of the top four for the last 13 years.

David Guetta has had a good year, jumping up two places to No.5 — overtaking Tiësto in the process. But the big news in the top 10 is Don Diablo jumping four places to claim the No.7 slot, and cementing his place in the big league — claiming the Highest Future House DJ award in the process. Afrojack and Marshmello hold steady at No.8 and No.10 respectively, while Oliver Heldens — who slid out of the top 10 last year — jumps four places to finish at No.9. Steve Aoki slips down two places to No.11, while the biggest surprise in the top 10 is The Chainsmokers sliding down from No.6 last year to this year’s No.31.

Just outside the top 10, R3hab and Alok are both up six places to No.12 and No.13 respectively, while W&W are non-movers at No.14. DVBBS, Lost Frequencies and Vintage Culture are all up a respectable amount of places, while — off the back of his perpetually sold-out Ibiza residency — Pryda man Eric Prydz soars into the top 20. But the standout placing here is Avicii at No.15. The dance world was shocked by his untimely passing earlier this year, and tens of thousands of his fans voted for him in 2018 to ensure that his legacy isn’t forgotten.

Just outside the top 20, Fedde Le Grand and Ummet Ozcan are up 17 and 15 places respectively, while Quintino, Vinai and Bassjackers are also up. NERVO are the highest placed female DJs at No. 27, up a healthy 15 places, while masked hardcore hero Angerfist rams up 11 places to No.29. It’s not quite enough for him to reclaim the Highest Hard DJ accolade from Headhunterz, though — his fellow Dutchman places just one spot above him at No.28. It hasn’t been a great year for votes for other hardstyle DJs, though — Radical Redemption and Brennan Heart are both down considerably, while Ukranian DJ hardcore techno Miss K8 slips seven places to No.65.

There’s two more women in the poll compared to last year, which is another small step in the right direction. Apart from NERVO and Miss K8, Mariana BO — complete with her violin — is up 16 places and Alison Wonderland is still in the nineties, but they’ve been joined in the 100 by MATTN, who is the Highest New Entry overall at No.72, and the inimitable Nina Kraviz, who makes a welcome debut appearance at No.97. Let’s hope that even more women are voted into the Top 100 next year.

Other new entries include Breathe Carolina, NGHTMRE, Rave Republic and Slander, while stalwart scene producers Cedric Gervais and KO:YU — Deniz Koyu’s new name — jump into the chart for the first time. New names in the list from the world of techno include Adam Beyer and Marco Carola, while it’s also been a good year for Carl Cox — up nine spots to No.53, again scooping the Highest Techno award — and Richie Hawtin, who is up 19 to No.61.

There’s quite a few re-entries too, proving that sliding out of the Top 100 doesn’t mean that you are gone forever. Daddy’s Groove, Wildstylez, MaRLo, Deorro, Bobina and Markus Schulz have all bounced back in, and the Highest Re-Entry is Swedish House Mafia — despite only playing one show together all year, at Ultra Miami. With more shows and music hinted at for next year, it’s a safe bet that they’ll soar back up the chart in 2019. The return of SHM has had contrasting fortunes for its individual members, though. Steve Angello is up 24 places to No.58, but Axwell & Ingrosso are down 20 places to No.41.

The Highest Climber this year is Israeli psy-trance duo Vini Vici — up 38 places to No.34 — and other acts who have jumped 10 places or more include Danny Avila, Timmy Trumpet, Yellow Claw, Cat Dealers, Martin Jensen, Will Sparks, Robin Schulz, Andrew Rayel, Swanky Tunes, Mosimann and Tchami. Ferry Corsten, who has been in the Top 100 for the best part of 20 years, rides trance’s continued revival by twerking up 15 places to No.75, while Claptone is up 12 places to again claim the Highest House award.

The unstoppable Andy C once again claims the Highest Drum & Bass DJ award in this year’s poll. Following the widening of the voting process using a 2FA SMS login option for markets without Facebook, there’s been a 28% increase in votes from China. This has undoubtedly helped the top two Chinese DJs — Carta and DJ L — climb 19 and 14 places respectively, while other areas in Asia — including Japan, Vietnam and Thailand — all saw similar increases.

The territory that yielded the highest number of votes was again the USA, with the UK, Brazil and Mexico ranking next, closely followed by the central European countries of Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Spain. During the voting process, DJ Mag’s website saw 61 million pages viewed.

Check out the full DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll results here.


Paris boat club Batofar closes permanently

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The venue has been dismantled after running into financial difficulties, though there are plans for it reopen under a new name in 2019.

Popular Paris boat club Batofar has closed for good.
Moored in the 13th arrondissement since 1999, the red tugboat ran into financial troubles earlier this year, according to daily newspaper Libération. It was initially due to shut for renovations, though they never materialised. A 17-hour closing party, scheduled for February 3rd, also never happened. More recent photos show the red boat being dismantled. (See right.)
Libération also reports that the venue will reopen in summer 2019 as a salsa club under a different name, Faro Faro.
For almost 20 years, Batofar was a vital and trusted spot for underground house and techno fans. Recent guests include Tin Man, Xosar and Djrum.

RA Article


David Morales arrested in Japanese airport on ‘suspicion of smuggling’ MDMA

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The US DJ was reportedly detained in Fukuoka on Saturday afternoon after customs officials found 0.3g in his possession.

David Morales was reportedly arrested in Japan over the weekend on “suspicion of smuggling” 0.3g of MDMA.

According to national newspaper Asahi Shimbun, the Grammy Award-winning artist was travelling from Hong Kong to Fukuoka on Saturday afternoon when customs officials found a small bag containing the class A drug in his carry-on luggage. Morales denied it was his, claiming that someone else put it there. “He was arrested for allegedly violating the law on narcotics and psychotropics control,” a police spokesman told news agency AFP.
Japan has a zero-tolerance policy on drugs. The penalty for possession of class A substances for personal use, however small the amount, carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years and a fine of ¥3 million (£19,821).
Morales was due to perform at Fukuoka club Bijou on October 6th, followed by an appearance in Tokyo the following day. On Saturday evening, the promoter of the Fukuoka show posted on Instagram saying that Morales wouldn’t be attending because he was “sick.”
Resident Advisor reached out to Morales’s team, who said they’re “unable to comment at this time, but will share further information with you as and when we’re able to do so.”

We’ll bring you more on this story as we have it.

RA Article


Trump signs Music Modernization Act, updating old copyright laws

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The legislation aims to revamp existing laws so musicians and labels are better compensated by streaming platforms.

President Donald Trump signed the United States Music Modernization Act into law today.
The act, which passed unanimously through the House and Senate, aims to update antiquated US copyright and licensing laws for the streaming era.
Specifically, its goal is to simplify the process of licensing music so that rights holders are more fairly compensated when their music is streamed online. It will iron out the most complicated part of the process—figuring out who the rights holders are—by creating a single licensing database called the Mechanical Licensing Collective. The MLC will ensure that payouts end up with the correct artists and labels.
It also includes a piece of legislation called the Allocation for Music Producers Act, which specifically aims to get producers and engineers better royalty payouts from satellite and online radio (it’s the first time producers have been mentioned in US copyright law).

“You like this legislation or do you hate it?” Trump reportedly asked his invited guest Kid Rock during the signing ceremony this afternoon. “I like it,” replied Kid Rock.

New legislation that calls for major updates to the United States’ music copyright and licensing laws passed the House of Representatives yesterday by unanimous vote.

The Music Modernization Act, also known as House Resolution 5477, bundles together a handful of bills that, as a key sponsor in the House put it, “brings early 20th-century music laws for the analog era into the 21st-century digital era.”
One big change is the creation of a blanket mechanical license, which digital providers can obtain as protection against copyright infringement lawsuits, and a new agency whose mission will be to track credits on streaming and other digital services and collect and distribute royalties. The agency would be similar to SoundExchange, a non-profit that is currently the only digital royalties distribution entity authorized by Congress. HR 5477’s other measures include the development of a system of market-based royalty rate standards, new protections for recordings made before 1972 and the addition of royalties for producers and engineers.
Left unaddressed are performer payments for over-the-air radio play—Inside Radio says the National Association of Broadcasters and the music industry aim to iron out a compromise on that front without a government mandate.
Industry supporters for HR 5477 include the Recording Academy, RIAA, ASCAP and BMI, along with the Digital Media Association, which represents the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google, YouTube and Spotify.

The bill passed the House with an expedited 415-0 vote—a rare display of bipartisan cooperation in US government that suggests it’ll make it through the Senate and onto the president’s desk. The Senate’s Judiciary Committee plans to begin its own deliberations in mid-May.

RA Article

Events Music

Adam Beyer announces Drumcode Halloween after-party

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Adam Beyer has announced an after-party for Drumcode’s forthcoming Halloween session at London’s Tobacco Dock on Saturday 27th October.

With the main event finishing up at 10PM, those who’ve still got something left to give can head to one of the UK capital’s newest venues, the 24-hour-licensed FOLD, for another few rounds with the main man and his comrades through to 6AM.

Alongside the imprint bossman, techno big guns Nicole Moudaber, Charlotte de Witte, Slam, Paco Osuna, Alan Fitzpatrick, Dense & Pika and Marco Faraone are all down to play the daytime. So far no line-up has been confirmed for the afters, so watch this space for details as they arrive.

DjMAG Article


Deadmau5 releases statement confirming indefinite hiatus

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Deadmau5 has released a statement saying that he is to take time out of the spotlight.

Posting on Twitter earlier today, the producer wrote: “This has been a very difficult period and I sincerely apologize for my comments which were completely offensive and I take full responsibility for.”He continues: “Now it’s time for me to deal with my own personal issues including finally addressing my own mental health challenges that I have wrestled with for the past several years.”Admitting that he has fallen short of his goal to “uplift my community,” he says that after consulting with friends and family, he has decided that he should seek professional help to deal with his problems.“Again I apologize to all of those I have offended and I will be going off the radar and taking the time necessary to work on myself.”The move comes after the producer faced wide criticism for now-deleted tweets of a homophobic and transphobic nature, while he also made ableist remarks about the music of producer Slushii.

You can see his full apology below.

DjMAG Article

Events Music

Fabric to relaunch Room Three with huge new soundsystem

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Fabric is set to relaunch Room Three with a huge new soundsystem, it has been confirmed.

News that the dancefloor would be brought back into action first hit over summer, having been shut since the club re-opened following its temporary closure in 2016. The longstanding FABRICLIVE sessions— which lent their name to the mix series that’s just about to finish— will be the first to make use of the space, on Friday 14th September, meaning it will be available for the marathon 30-hour 19th Birthday in October.

Dancers are promised a relocated booth, adding greater intimacy, and new Pioneer rig, with the focus on showcasing rising UK talent. Tumble Audio will put the setup through its paces on the debut night, before 3000 Bass (featuring The Marcus Nasty Show), Addictive Behaviour, Then & Now and She Said So step up in the weeks that follow, making this another significant milestone to add to our list of 10 moments that defined Fabric.


Is dance music suffering from a crisis of competence?

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The kick-drum drops out, reach towards the ceiling, the air is filled with whoops and whistles. Then a long whoosh of white noise simultaneously builds the tension whilst signalling the fact that the kick and b-line are about to drop. When they do, everyone is briefly animated for a minute, but then the energy in the room starts to flag — but don’t worry, because they’ll be another near-identical breakdown in about thirty seconds where we can all do it again.

The idea that dance music is in some kind of creative crisis has become more popular in the last few years. There is a lot more music being produced and released than ever before, and if we’re honest, not all of it is destined to become classic. Instead, we have seen a growth in competent, reasonably well-produced but utterly beige, boring music.
Every week, there are hundreds of tracks released that sound as though they’ve been put together quickly, with little thought or creativity, and by the sound of it with no struggle, pain or emotion. Based on templates, sample packs and presets, the hi-hats, snares and claps are always in the same place, the same bass sounds are endlessly recycled and the parts are set out into virtually identical arrangements.

These tunes get knocked out and then polished and preened through high-quality plugins to sound big, fat and shiny. They might get sent off for professional mastering for a final prettification, but they’re still empty. It’s all surface sheen with no emotional depth — it’s merely competent: the kick and bassline EQ’d together nicely, all the parts sitting neatly in separate areas of the frequency section, just like producers are taught to do.

But the question surely has to be: who wants competent art? Surely we should demand art that is bone-marrow-meltingly good, music that burns its way deep into our souls, never to be forgotten.

This glut of competent music is the result of several factors — the lowering of access to production is obviously a big one, as is the ongoing improvement of Digital Audio Workstations like Ableton and Logic. The increase in quality of sample packs might be cited too, as might the change in the cultural perception of the DJ. The frighteningly quick turnover of new releases makes some producers feel that they have to keep churning out a few EPs every month — and inevitably this has to affect quality. But there is also a larger cultural malaise, and it’s the result of living in a society where every release/remix/DJ gig/statement/ move is instantly available for judgement, outside of its original context, on social media.

Fear is a terrible thing; its ripples wash over people far away from its initial source. Fear of the new, of stepping outside the production comfort zone, of producing something vastly different to what’s currently ‘big’, fear that one’s ‘profile’ might fade if a frantic release schedule isn’t maintained. These have all influenced many producers and have subtly changed our dance music culture. And these fears directly affect the quality of the club-nights we go to — be it DJs making safe boring tune selections or producers releasing safe, competent music.

Prior to the digitisation of the music and media industries, if a producer or artist made a shit album they would get completely slated, but the only people who read the reviews would be the people who bought the music magazines. Now the rare sighting of a searing review is spread far and wide. Wrenched from its original context, criticism is re-branded as ‘hating’ — as though having a strong opinion on music is hate. It isn’t. It’s the opposite, it’s love — love for brilliant, awe-inspiring music. A negative review is the result of a deep passion for the kind of tracks that create life-lasting memories, over just another competent utterly lifeless production.

We are in danger of accepting a new standard in music, that of competency. It’s the artists’ job to kick back against this process. Competent dance music promotes the ideals of simplicity, of playing-it-safe, and celebrates banality over invention. In these troubled times, with the rise of the far-right, and bearing in mind the roots of house music in black, Latino and gay American subculture, kicking back against this trend becomes a moral imperative. Because music that is fresh and challenging, music with depth and real emotion, music which consists of more than a few generic sample loops strung together, that’s the kind of music that can engender community and encourage critical thought; and critical thought is the single biggest threat to creeping authoritarianism.

In short, all of us — producers, labels, DJs, even reviewers — need to be a lot fucking braver.

Dj Mag


Paul van Dyk announces special Printworks album launch show

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Paul van Dyk has announced the release of his new studio album, ‘Symbols’.

Set to drop this autumn, the new LP follows his celebrated 2017 release ‘From Then On’ and will be launched with a special headline show at London’s Printworks on 12th October.

Earlier this month, PVD teased the new album with a mysterious tweet. ‘Symbols’ will be the ninth LP from the trance legend who released his debut ‘45 RPM’ in 1994.

In an official statement, van Dyk said, “‘Symbols’ is an album deeply rooted in story-telling, mystery and adventure. It’s an exploration of trance, a journey through the breadth and depth of a genre that continues to enthrall me as an artist.”

‘Symbols’ will be debuted in London’s incredible Printworks venue on 12th October. The recent DJ Mag North America cover star will be the first trance DJ to headline the massive venue since it opened in February 2017.

In July, van Dyk also released the eponymous track from his 2018 SHINE Ibiza residency.

Recently, the German trance luminary took to Twitter to remind fans just how much trance still means to him after nearly three decades in the game. “Trance is more than music,” he wrote. “It’s a lifestyle. It’s about community. It’s emotions turned into sound.”

Skye News

Skye Energy Drink USA proud to announce partnership with the Philadelphia Union Men’s Professional Soccer Club

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It is with great pleasure that Skye Energy Drink USA announces that we are now a Proud Partner with the Philadelphia Union Men’s Professional Soccer Club. We have long anticipated working with a MLS team with this stature and our alliance will be a big step in expanding our footprint. The endeavor also allows us to work with Spectra Food Services and Hospitality, a leading provider in the US. Stadiums and arenas. Our products will be available at concession stands throughout the Talen Energy Stadium.

Skye Energy Drinks began in Europe in 2012 with the concept of offering the first non-cloned energy drink to the market. We have succeeded wit our pleasant tasting, Sky Blue color and vitamin enriched formula. Contact Skye at for more details.

Events Music Shows

New 24-hour venue to open in London

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London is set to get a brand new 24-hour venue this month. FOLD will open its doors on 18th August for a huge opening party featuring some of London’s finest promoters and collectives.

The venue is the latest project to come from Shapes Collective, the team behind newly opened spaces like Hackney’s The Glove That Fits and Many Hands, Bermondsey. FOLD is located on an industrial site in east London between Canning Town and Star Lane.

The new club’s main room has a 600 person capacity and will have a strict no-photo policy. A second room is set to open in the space later in the year.

According to the venue’s co-founder Lasha Jorjoliani, AKA Voicedrone, 24 parties will tend to take place on Saturdays while Friday night events will run “till late”. Events held during the will be able to run until 3 am.

“FOLD presents an uncompromising schedule of forward-thinking electronic music,” says Jorjoliani in an official release from the venue. “Veering away from the regular four to the floor, we offer a smorgasbord of alien sounds from the unknown… “Expect extended set times, obscure b2bs and a generally more expansive pallet of sounds over the course of one event.”

“London, unlike other leading European cities such as Berlin or Amsterdam, has struggled in recent times.” adds fellow FOLD co-founder Seb Glover. “Gentrifying forces has put huge pressures on artists and musicians, with many leaving as a result. Licensed venues, which is where artists and DJs are predominantly able to earn their living have come under attack.”

“What we have created at FOLD is a new home, tucked away from the pressures of the city, a place where you can listen to extended sets on a tuned soundsystem tailored to the specifications of the room to maximise the experience of the space. We strive to do things differently in London, cultivating a more continental approach, creating a place where you can spend extended periods or coming and going as you please.”

The venue’s opening party takes place on 18th August and will feature a huge bill featuring contributions from of London’s most exciting promoters and curators as well the incredible Dimensions Soundsystem and Worldwide FM’s Global Roots Soundsystem. Other additions include Left Alone, Snap, Crackle & Pop, Body Motion and Make Me. Full details and tickets for the party are available here.

There is also the promise of upcoming label showcases parties with the mighty Ilian Tape, Clone and Pinkman are in the works.

FOLD champions an ethos of inclusivity with their official statement reading: “We welcome All Races. All Religions. All Genders. All Countries of Origin. All Sexual Orientations.. Our focus is creating a safe space that is disconnected from the intense pressures of London life, that allows freedom of expression, positivity and inspiration to take form.”

As well as being a venue, FOLD offers five purpose-built studios which artists will be able to hire “by appointment of the FOLD crew.”.

This announcement comes as a refreshing burst of good news just weeks after members of east London’s Hackney council voted unanimously for a policy which rules that all new pubs, clubs and venues will be required to adhere to a strict curfew of 11 PM on weekdays and 12 AM on weekends. That decision has, naturally, been met with huge criticism and protest.

Events Music

Step inside Giorgia Angiuli’s weird and wonderful live show

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Giorgia Angiuli is one of the most distinctive performers in electronic music, coupling quirky toys and powerful synths with her own voice and dynamic performance. We spoke to her about how the show evolved, the realities behind performing live in the club, and the Es Vedra performance…

Why did you put together a live show instead of DJing?
“I’ve never played as a DJ. I had a classical education, I studied guitar and I grew up in a family of musicians, then I started to play in different bands, different genres: nu metal, indie, electronic, folk — I like many kinds of music and I started to play melodic techno music just four years ago. I have always been fascinated by music composition and I like to play different instruments, so for these reasons the live set is the perfect way to express myself.”

How did your set-up start and how has it evolved?
“I like to change my set-up often — I love to use different equipment. Since the beginning I’ve used Ableton Live, and the other instruments changed. A few years ago I used to play with my guitar and I’ve always used my voice more as a musical instrument, singing only a few parts. Then I added different MIDI controllers, synths and toys for kids.
“Travelling a lot, I always consider the problem of the weight of my luggage — that’s why I need to look for cool, reliable and small gear. Now I’m playing with Apogee soundcard, Ableton Live, an SM58 microphone, Arturia Minilab mk2, Novation Launchkey, Moog Sub37, Yamaha CS01, TC Helicon Voice Live and a few other bits and pieces.”

How does your live show work now? What are the main bits of kit?
“During my live set I never play the tracks that I release using the same arrangements, I prefer to play them with different arrangements, keeping only a few elements from the original version. I pre-record basslines, kicks and main grooves in my studio and I add some parts live with the other instruments. I loop some groove elements live — ride, percussions, snare — on top of my voice, the synths and the toys.”

You incorporate vocals into your sets — why is it important to you to keep things organic and keep the human element in the music?
“Yes, I love the human touch, but I use my voice as a musical instrument, with effects and singing only in small parts [of the live show]. Also, I’m not a big fan of quantisation and I work on the live set in a very different way compared to how I produce my tracks. I like to add dirty elements to my live set and I really don’t care about the perfect mix, because it’s live. But, on the other hand, when I produce a track I take care of all the details and I prefer to keep the composition more clean and organic.”

“I like to add dirty elements to my live set and I really don’t care about the perfect mix, because it’s live”

What are the main challenges of playing live in a club?
“Unfortunately live sets are still rare in the clubs — too often the space on stage is really small, because the clubs are designed for DJs. You can find sound technicians that don’t read carefully the technical riders. But I still love to perform live in the clubs, the reaction of the crowd is immediate — if they dance or they close their eyes it means that they are appreciating your show, and I love when this magic connection between me and the crowd happens.”

You performed live at Es Vedra with Cercle. How was that experience?
“It was my first time at Es Vedra and, to be honest, when I arrived there I felt a bit scared because I suffer from vertigo. Then I started to play and I felt at one with the blue of the sea, the power of nature was really strong. I think it could be amazing to organise more events in these kinds of locations: the energy is so strong. It was a unique experience, and I have to say a big thanks to the channel Cercle for inviting me there, they are doing an awesome job.”

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of starting a live electronic music show?
“I think the most important thing if one wants to start this career is to study a little bit of music theory, in order to be able to improvise during the set, and to practice many hours a day. This will allow you to express a human touch in the show, not only using machines or a laptop. There are also difficulties, for example travelling around the world with heavy equipment and luggage, and the sound-check will be an essential step. Also, packing your equipment after the performance will take a long time but hey, at the end you will get huge satisfaction and emotion from playing your own music in front of the crowd!”

*Catch Giorgia playing alongside Maceo Plex, Mind Against and Popof for Pyramid at Amnesia on 20th of August.

Festival Music Music Festivals

Houghton Festival completes 2018 lineup with Helena Hauff, Mulatu Astatke, Antal

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Horror Inc., Hunee, DJ Sotofett have also just been added to the Norfolk event.

The lineup for the second edition of Houghton Festival has been finalised.

Curated by Craig Richards and produced by Gottwood Festival, Houghton expands its roster of artists to feature Helena Hauff, Hunee, DJ Sotofett, Tama Sumo, Willow, Move D, Andy Blake, Binh and Akufen as Horror Inc. Live performances will include Mulatu Astake with Khruangbin, Red Axes, Dan Beaumont, Doc Scott, Billy Nasty, The Mole and Begin, with a live debut from Lost Souls of Saturn.

Brilliant Corners and Analogue Foundation’s travelling soundsystem Giant Steps will also return to the festival, presenting Donna Leake, Claude Douset, Pol Vallo, the Dalston spot’s owners Amit and Aneesh Patel and more.

Ricardo Villalobos, Andrew Weatherall, Margaret Dygas and Vladimir Ivkovic were included in the first round of artists performing at Houghton this summer, announced back in January. The art and sculpture programme is still TBA. The festival will take place from August 9th to 12th at Houghton Hall. Tickets are sold out.

See all the new additions below.

Events Music

Martin Garrix announces 2018 world tour

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Martin Garrix has announced details of his summer tour for 2018, which kicked off yesterday. The critically-acclaimed DJ is playing until the end of August on a tour that will see him playing a total of 36 shows in just 57 days.

Tickets are currently on sale here.

Given how busy Garrix has been over the last few years, many are amazed that he’s been able to get a tour together – particularly without a focus single, EP, or album to hone in on. Much of the tour is based in Europe, where Garrix will be heading to Ibiza in Spain, as well as cities in Hungary, Norway and Malta. He will also be performing sets in Las Vegas and Canada.

Back in June, Garrix shared ‘Oceans’ his eagerly awaited collab with Khalid.


Music Skye News

We are proud to announce the launching of our new Skye Energy Radio App / Apple Store / Play Store

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We are proud to announce the launching of our new Skye Energy Radio App.
Within our Skye Energy Radio mobile app we’ve launched a music discovery and recommendation tool that covers all of dance.
Listen to the audio you love and let the moments move you.

Download from the App Store:
Soon On Google Play Store:

App Information
Size 9.6 MB
Category : Music
Compatibility :Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Languages: English


Tomorrowland tickets have started to arrive in this year’s treasure chest

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Tomorrowland tickets have started to arrive in this year’s treasure chest, themed around 2018’s The Story of Planaxis.

Each year the festival sends tickets out in an elaborate package that contains themed goodies. You can see this year’s ticket treasure chest below.

The festival, which runs across two weekends in Boom, Belgium, from 20th to 22nd and 27th to 29th July, announced this year’s theme last October and shared further details of the concept with a lush looking video earlier this month (June).

Earlier this week (25th June), Tomorrowland creative director Christophe Van den Branden revealed that the festival is set to look “totally different” this year.

Check out the Tomorrowland 2018 ticket treasure chest below.

Tomorrowland Tickets


Deadmau5‘s orchestral album ‘Where’s the Drop?’ is given full release

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Deadmau5‘s orchestral album ‘Where’s the Drop?’ is now available everywhere following a period of Tidal exclusivity. You can listen to it below.

The mau5trap boss – real name Joel Zimmerman – releases ‘Where’s the Drop’ after months of teaserssnippets and previews.

Zimmerman also landed the No. 49 slot in our DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Poll last year.

Listen to Deadmau5’s ‘Where’s the Drop?’ below.


Nicky Romero reveals he has “two folders full” of unreleased Avicii material

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Nicky Romero has revealed that he has “two folders full” of unreleased Avicii material in a new interview.

Speaking to Ultra Singapore, Romero also explained that he may never release the music out of respect for the late EDM megastar.

“I don’t know if it morally feels right to me to work on songs that the original composer has not approved,” Romero told Ultra Singapore.

“I know that Avicii was really a perfectionist, and I kind of feel bad if I put something out not knowing if he wants to put it out. So that’s kind of what holds me back, out of respect for him.”

Romero paid tribute to Avicii at Ultra Singapore earlier this month (June) by playing the late EDM superstar’s unreleased Chris Martin collaboration, ‘Heaven’.

Tiësto also paid tribute to Avicii with 12-minute megamix live from EDC Las Vegas last month (May), whilst Pete Tong gave an opening address at International Music Summit (IMS) Ibiza in memory of Avicii.

Avicii was found dead in his hotel room in Oman last month (20th April) with his family releasing a statement implying he had taken his own life. He was 28 years old.

Since then, tributes for Avicii have poured in from fellow DJs, friends and fans with Nile Rodgers saying he was “one of the best, if not the best” producer he’s ever worked with. Last weekend at EDC Las Vegas Tiësto paid tribute to Avicii by playing a 12-minute megamix of some of his biggest hits.

Read DJ Mag’s obituary for Avicii here and watch the full Nicky Romero interview at Ultra Singapore below.

Events Festival Music Shows

David Guetta and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike announce Two Is One Collaboration for AMF

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David Guetta and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike have been announced as this year’s Two Is One performers at Amsterdam Music Festival (AMF).

The Two Is One concept was launched at AMF 2017, as Hardwell and Armin Van Buuren joined forces for an exclusive dual performance. This year’s pairing, which sees two former Top 100 DJs winners join forces for the first time, will be eagerly anticipated by fans of both artists.

AMF takes place on Saturday 20th October at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam. As the flagship event of ADE, the one day showcase features stadium-sized performances from the world’s biggest DJs and culminates with the Top 100 DJs Awards Ceremony in front of an audience of 35,000 dance music fans.

This year’s event also features the launch of the AMF Hotel (located at Corendon Village Hotel Amsterdam). The AMF hotel is said to be an exclusive space where fans from 108 countries who visit AMF can hang out before, during and after the show.

The full line up will be announced shortly. Early bird tickets are available now from

Events Festival

British man stabbed to death at Hideout Festival in Croatia

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Hideout Festival in Croatia has announced that an unidentified British male has been stabbed to death during an incident involving a group of men on Zrće Beach early yesterday morning (27th June).

The statement from the festival, which you can read in full below, states that a second British tourist remains in hospital following the tragedy.

The incident is reported by Croatian media to have happened outside The Kalypso Club on Zrće Beach between two separate groups of tourists. Seven people are reportedly now in custody.

You can read the full announcement from Hideout Festival regarding the incident below.


Streaming is coming to the booth: here’s how it will change DJing forever

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Soon DJs will be able to stream millions of tracks directly to their software and hardware. DJ Mag explores the impact on DJing tech, creativity and culture…

Imagine the scenario – you walk into the booth with nothing more than a pair of headphones, login with your username and password to the always-connected CDJ and your whole music library, playlists, cue points and every track ever released on Beatport is at your fingertips, immediately recalled from the cloud and ready to play within seconds. No USB sticks, no SD cards, just a username and password and an unlimited supply of records.

It’s not a fanciful vision of the future – Beatport have already announced that users will soon be able to stream their catalogue directly into “leading” DJ software “from 2019”, though no details have yet been released. Their acquisition of cloud and storage service Pulselocker earlier this year – a platform that was seemingly too ahead of its time to succeed – paved the way for what will inevitably become the norm in DJ equipment and software of the future. Beatport won’t be the first to provide streaming into apps though – Spotify has been part of Algoriddim’s djay and a few other software and iOS apps for a while – but they’re the first pro-DJ-focussed platform to hint at it, which means it’s time to take it seriously.

Native Instruments have also announced that Traktor has been redesigned “from the ground up”, with the new wares expected to be shown later in the year. Although they didn’t initially adopt Pulselocker – Serato, rekordbox and Virtual DJ all did – with a re-design from scratch and their iOS platform already syncing cue points, BPM, key and hotcues with iCloud Drive, surely NI will join the party soon.

No specific announcements around hardware have been made but given the rapid development of Pioneer DJ’s whole range, as well as Denon’s forward-thinking SC5000 and the way in which both are influenced by their software counterparts, it’s by no means a leap to suggest the next versions of both will incorporate some aspect of streaming, even if it’s initially just cloud analysis.

The pros and cons are wildly diverse and their impact on DJing is huge, on both sides of the coin. The first and most obvious point being stability.

The idea of a track losing connection and dropping out in the middle of a packed dancefloor is enough to deter any self-respecting DJ – it took years of crashing laptops and embarrassing moments before computers and their software became stable enough to be trusted in the booth. Even then, a huge number of DJs looked (and still look) at them with suspicion.

Since then, the laptop has gone out of favour as a DJ tool, with the industry standard CDJ-2000nxs2s now offering all the playlisting, analytics, searching and portability that made laptops so appealing in the first place. Will Pioneer DJ really risk their reputation for stability, one they’ve been building since the original CDJs were introduced in 1994 and one that tops the priority list for most professional DJs? Stability has dictated how almost all industry standards came to pass with the Technic SL-1200/1210, CDJs themselves and software like Serato and Traktor all making it a fundamental priority, and sticking around in the process.

Of course, the way in which the technology is implemented will dictate that stability – it’s unlikely the tracks will stream in real-time and more probably will cache on loading, the same way they do when played from a USB stick, SD card or CD. Fail-safes like emergency loop will still stand, with a few others likely implemented. However, as you’re only ever one high-profile crash or dropout away from setting the concepts back years, it’s got to be the highest priority for everyone involved. Inner-city internet might be strong enough to stream a lossless file in real-time, but dessert festivals or small-town clubs and bars might not be so advanced.

One positive outcome of our new streaming overlords is the detail and accuracy of royalty reporting. It’s an open secret that producers are not being accurately paid. Exact numbers are hard to come by but the Association for Electronic Music has earmarked £100m they feel needs to be correctly allocated.

That’s a lot of money the independent music landscape is not seeing, though technologies like Pioneer DJ’s KUVO box are working hard to tackle the issue. With cloud-connected DJing hardware and software, every single track played in any club around the world can be registered and assigned to the right producer automatically and in real-time. This information could also fuel analytics, showing artists and producers what DJ is playing their music and in what part of the world it’s most popular on the dancefloor – invaluable metrics for booking agents and labels.

As always with automated royalty technology, there’ll no doubt be gaming issues, similar to what we’ve seen on Spotify but surely it’s a step in the right direction to begin to right the wrong that’s been plaguing dance music for 25 years? Just in case streaming wasn’t enough of a contentious point already, this type of royalty accounting and tracking will no doubt turn heads of those who despise track ID culture and long to keep their music to themselves. Regardless of what side you’re on, it will be interesting to see that discussion evolve.

Another aspect to the always-connected booth is more of a personal, creative and cultural one. What would it do for you as a DJ to have access to everything, all the time? We’ve seen the rise of analogue hardware in the studio, and the resurgence of vinyl for DJs partly off the back of the fact that creativity thrives when we limit our options.

Of course, this is a personal thing and there’ll be plenty of DJs who would jump at the chance to have a million-plus tracks to choose from – it was exactly that that partly triggered the growth of digital formats. For those who regularly play smaller bars, weddings or multiple genres night-to-night, it’s particularly appealing to have everything at your fingertips – as long as the crowd don’t find out.

For everyone else though, it’s hard to argue it’d be more challenging, creative or rewarding. The happy accident – so often the catalyst behind great ideas – could see itself replaced by the predictable and the easy. You could argue opening up millions of tracks to DJs would surely bring about more versatile, esoteric sets, void of genre, but on the flipside, unless we’re happy to go back to squinted at screens, franticly searching and RSI-inducing scrolling, it’s likely DJs will simply embrace what’s presented to them at the top level. From Beatport’s perspective, that could be charts, banners and promotions, selling us music right into our mixers.

We’re not suggesting any DJ is going to play something they’ve never heard before simply because it’s in a chart on their CDJ, but it’s nothing new to suggest when presented with everything, we often choose the most familiar path. How many times have you found yourself playing the same tracks over and over, despite having thousands on your stick or laptop? If it’s the abundance of choice that’s overwhleming, expect streaming to add to that ten-fold, and therefore encourage ubiquity further.

Disclaimer: This article is pure speculation based on trends and technologies that have and continue to emerge over the past few years. DJing is notoriously slow to adopt new tech across the board – the basic concepts the majority of DJs employ every weekend are only a small step ahead of those that were implemented at the dawn of the art. With something as drastic as streaming, it won’t change things overnight. More likely, we’ll see incremental differences, starting with cloud analysis, cuepoints storage and custom notes and information. Even Beatport’s announcement – as forward thinking as it seems now – mentions nothing of file format, sound quality or cost, all of which could deter large groups of DJs.

But there are real benefits and real challenges ahead for the user and the tech companies who create the tools. It’s clear streaming is going to make its way into the booth eventually and when it does, expect it to split the camp the same way the first laptops in the booth did. Either way, like those laptops, it will change the DJing landscape for good.

Events Music

Like the DJs do: your ultimate guide to Ibiza in 2018

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No one knows the island like those who’ve been playing here every week — residents who’ve made Ibiza their home and the party-goers who’ve been coming every week for decades. DJ Mag Ibiza shows you where to eat, sleep, rave, repeat on the White Isle…

Benirras beach on the north of the island is always a good shout, but head up to the remote cove on a Sunday to experience one of the island’s most enchanting sunsets, soundtracked by the hippies and dwellers who made the island what it is through the ‘60s and ‘70s as they play their drums as the sun drops into the sea. Once the enchantment is over, head to Pizzeria for some of the finest ’za you’ll taste on the island, with the echoing drums still ringing out long after the sun goes down. Elsewhere, Ibiza Town’s Miss Saigon on Ave d’Espanya is an affordable and delicious Vietnamese if you’ve had enough bread and allioli for one season (unlikely).

One of DJ Mag Ibiza’s favourite sunset spots has to be Kumharas in San An bay. On a clear evening, the view of the sunset is jaw-dropping, only topped by the remarkable food and service they have on offer. There’s also boutique shops dotted around the restaurant so you can top up on vibes, garms and great food before you head out. Highly recommended.

Tropicana Suites Ibiza is a new art deco hotel in Playa d’En Bossa, with a focus on chic, colourful and flamboyant décor, inspired by Miami and all things neon. It’s not a party hotel though, they focus on peace and quiet, with only a 200m walk to the nearest beach. What else would you find at the bar in a hotel inspired by 1970s Miami than the finest cocktails? There are over 30 on the menu, so you can sip the day away or enjoy a Mai Tai during one of the many cultural and music evening events.

Despite the name though, drinks are not free. If you’re after something more private, Ibiza Villas 2000 has some of the best villas on the island. Whether it’s a few couples looking for a luxury getaway or a large group of friends who need a place to chill between clubs, Ibiza Villas 2000 gets the DJ Mag Ibiza stamp of approval — we even hosted an epic Carl Cox stream from one of their villas! If it’s good enough for Carl…

Well, if you’re looking for a rave you’ve come to the right place. Throughout this magazine you’ll find the ultimate guides to everything happening on the club-front this summer. But while the main clubs will dominate the clubbing conversation, there are more smaller, esoteric events popping up every year. Island expert Nightmares On

Wax will be bringing his live show to the unique setting of Las Dalias this summer, and all for a good cause — working with the Last Night A DJ Saved My Life foundation, an organisation that helps create positive opportunities for children living in crisis. Last year Wax Da Jam events raised enough money to build a well in Uganda, with 330 people now benefiting from access to clean drinking water. It kicks off on 28th of June and runs through to Thursday 6th of September. Why not have a good time while giving back to a good cause? Ticket to Wax Da Jam can be found here.

Yes, before you’ve had time to catch your breath, it’s time to do it all again. But with a focus on looking after your wellbeing rightly permeating through dance music, remember to take care of yourself. Another opportunity for woke raving includes Cosmic Pineapple at one of our favourite places to visit and stay: Pikes Ibiza. Cosmic

Pineapple features inspiring talks, classes, yoga, dances and workshops by day to “activate your mind and invite you to connect with our hearts”. By night though, they’ve invited key selectors like Ida Engberg to provide the legendary hotel with cosmic sounds and dancing through ’til 4am. There are a total of four events throughout the year, running to 6th of September. There’ll also be opportunities to donate to worthy causes like the Ibiza Preservation Fund. Tickets to the Cosmic Pineapple at Pikes Ibiza can be found here. 

Events Festival Music Music Festivals

BCM Planet Dance reopens in Mallorca

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BCM Planet Dance has reopened in Mallorca, with punters walking through the doors daily since 9th June, marking the return of a true legend to the island.

The monolithic club boasts a capacity of around 4,000, Function One sound and a renowned lighting rig befitting the scale the place. Danny Howard, Nothing Else Matters and Cream are amongst the names set to be involved for this, its 30th season.

The Magaluf venue— which in the past has hosted Creamfields Mallorca amongst other major events— was closed for summer last year, but is now back in action. Prior to its hiatus the address had been a regular fixture in DJ Mag’s Top 100 Clubs poll, ranking 10th in the world in 2016, with the likes of Steve Aoki, Martin Garrix, Deadmau5, Hannah Wants, David Guetta, Erick Morillo and even Snoop Dogg making appearances in the past.


Kvarteret, Sweden’s new 2,200 capacity club, locks Larry Heard, Jackmaster and Avalon Emerson for first season

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Kvarteret, Sweden’s new 2,200 capacity club has now opened, with Gerd Janson, Jackmaster and Avalon Emerson locked in for its debut season.

Located in the Slaughterhouse district of Stockholm, Slakthusområdet, an area known for its nightlife, we first reported on the venue last month. Operating five days a week from June to September, the likes of Carl Craig, DJ Seinfeld, Mall Grab and Jayda G are all confirmed to play, as is Larry Heard, who just shared his first Mr. Fingers album in almost 25 years.

The opening sessions, from 1st – 3rd June, saw locals such as Karima F, Daniel Savio and Zernell Gillie providing the soundtrack, and supporting fresh domestic names is apparently a key part of the plan.

According to an interview in Totally Stockholm with one of the founders, Alex Drewniak, the music policy will involve everything ‘from indie, disco, house and techno presented by mostly local talent’ from Sweden on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Thursdays will be centred on larger shows, such as Guy Gerber’s first date in the Swedish capital for ten years.


Kvarteret Stockholm club opening season line-up

Events Festival Music Festivals

Swedish House Mafia tease 2019 tour dates

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Swedish House Mafia look set to be going on tour next year after Axwell ^ Ingrosso teased fans at a show in New York City’s Brooklyn Mirage on Memorial Day (28th May)

Toward the end of the set the pair, who form two thirds of Swedish House Mafia, stopped the music and announced that there are indeed gigs lined up for the trio next week.

As can be heard in the video shared below, Axwell said to the crowd, “What do we do now? This is a big move. This has never happened before.  Should we cancel the Swedish House Mafia gig we’re planning next year? We are not sure they are ready for Swedish House Mafia in 2019.”

The duo went on to play SHM’s hit ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ as one of the set’s closing tracks while a banner with the trio’s name on it appeared on screen.

Of course, the Swedish House Mafia reformation rumour mill has been up and running for months now. After months of speculation , hints and teasers, the trio reunited at Ultra Music Festival in Miami back in March, claiming, “we’re Swedish House Mafia for good this time”.

Since, the rumours have continued as Axtone Records teased new material from the trio and their social media profile was cleared, suggesting an imminent tour.

With Axwell’s statement the other night though, the rumours do seem to have some truth to them with the possibility of a tour seeming all but confirmed.


Het Magazijn is hosting a marathon 36-hour techno and electro rave this summer

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Het Magazijn is hosting a marathon 36-hour techno and electro rave this summer to mark its one year anniversary, kicking off on Friday 6th July and running through the following day.

The club, located in the regal capital of the Netherlands, The Hague, is marking 12 months by doing what it does best, and while plans fall short of the ridiculous 87-hour session in Berlin we reported on last month, they still sound impressive. In addition to the usual 150-capacity, Funktion One-equipped and 24-licensed Dutch venue, a roof terrace and additional areas will also be used.

“We will throw an extended party with more than 36 hours of music, among different rooms of the Bleyenberg building, yielding plenty of time to reflect on and celebrate the past year,” the club said in a statement on Facebook.

The line-up is yet to be confirmed, with District25, ‘advocates of the Hague night culture’, partnering on the party. That’s the crew behind Dutch festival The Crave, which this year welcomes Skee Mask, Aurora Halal, Blawan and DJ Stingray, so expect serious stuff. Not least as Het Magazijn has itself set a high standard with guests such as Matrixxman, Tijana T and Anthony Parasole in its first 12 months.


Festival Music Music Festivals

Nina Kraviz is playing a 24-hour rave in Berlin in June

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Nina Kraviz has joined the bill for Arma x Funkhaus’s 24 hour party in Berlin on 2nd June.

As part of revered Moscow techno collective Arma 17’s tenth birthday celebrations, the inimitable techno DJ/producer/label boss will join the likes of electro-acoustic legends Ambiq, industrial drone duo Zoviet France and Salford noise rockers Gnod.

The 24-hour party takes place in the iconic East Berlin venue, Funkhaus. Also featuring on the bill are Petre Insperiscu, Nastia and Etapp Kyle. Take a look at the full line-up here.

The official statement from the event describes it as follows: “From the impressive opening concerts to the long and winding dancefloors, the scope of Arma X feels more akin to a festival than a one-off event. It’s the embodiment of Arma’s vision, as expressed over the past ten years through events in Russia and elsewhere, now manifested in a unique space loaded with history.”

It’s been a difficult time for underground pioneers Arma 17. A fire destroyed its first location in Moscow and members were subjected to ongoing harassment by authorities. When their 2016 Outline Festival was forced to shut down by police, the organisers announced “a de facto state of an international phenomenon”. They have continued to host parties all over the world since, releasing left-of-centre music via their record label. The event series/club rose eight positions in this year’s DJ Mag Top 100 clubs poll.


Can electronic music make you ill?

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With mental health and wellbeing one of the principal keynote topics at the International Music Summit (IMS) in Ibiza at the end of this month (May), we asked the Association For Electronic Music (AFEM)’s working group Protect Mental & Physical Health For Fans & Professionals to interview some industry stalwarts about their mental health experiences and how they’ve coped. Read on for some expert advice on how you can maximise your wellbeing when things get tough…

Flying high in the music industry can seem idyllic, but is there a price to pay? Coupled with the perceived glamour is a 24/7 lifestyle with long unsociable hours, sleepless nights, relentless work and travel; always being switched on for the Orwellian eye of social media; plus easy access to a host of chemical sedations to escape it all. It’s enough to take a toll on even the most balanced of minds.

A study produced by leading music charity Help Musicians UK showed that those working in music are on average three times more likely to be affected by anxiety and depression compared to the general public. Be you a headline DJ, major league manager or just starting out, mental health issues can impact everyone, and at any stage in their career.

Aida Vazin
The mental health expert’s view…

Aida Vazin of GPS Counselor is a qualified therapist who specialises in treating clients remotely. A member of the Association For Electronic Music, Aida’s service enables artists who are touring to continue to get support while on the road. One of the key concerns that emerged from our interviews was stress, which often arises from relentless schedules, travel and a pressure to perform. Here, Aida walks us through the cycles of stress and shares some of her top tips for coping when things get hectic…

“Overwhelmed with so much to do in so little time: Your body needs to decompress and starts craving comfort foods, alcohol, prescription or illicit drugs to switch off. You don’t truly relax because in the back of your mind you are beating yourself up and feel weighed down by the pressure of your responsibilities.

“A high pressure to perform extremely well leads to pushing yourself too hard. You go to bed feeling heavy because your burden is unresolved and you sleep restlessly. You wake up un-refreshed with anxious thoughts, triggering a flood of stress hormones in your body, resulting in emotional and physical symptoms of stress: panic attacks, anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, loss of con dence, foggy thinking, restlessness and stomach problems.

“We just want some relief and get frustrated when we don’t know how to feel better. So, we look for a quick fix, which often leads to substance abuse and addiction. Instead, we can start to incorporate some healthy tools in our lives.”

Talk it out with someone

“A strong support system is an integral part of our lives. Make sure to keep in touch with those you feel safe with and can really relate to.”

Bring back nap time

“Make power naps a part of your daily routine. As little as 15 minutes may make a difference to the quality of your day. Even if you don’t fall asleep, the rest and quiet time can recharge your mind and body.”

Have a daily routine

“Having something that is constant is key to staying mentally strong. For example: no matter where you are, you know that everyday you will take a nap, have lunch, go for a walk. Consistency and routine give our minds ease.”

Dan Mckie
The DJ’s view…

Have you ever had mental health problems that you attribute to your career in electronic music?

“I’ve had many anxiety attacks in my time. I have depression in my family, and a few of my friends suffer from it, but it is nothing to be ashamed of as, if you seek help, you will be surprised who is there for you. Luckily I haven’t suffered from depression, but anxiety can be exhausting and can knock you back for a little while.”

What are the main things that have impacted upon your mental health?

“Because the music industry is so harsh to work in, you deal with rejection, arrogance, egos and brutal emails and messages everyday. This has de nitely impacted on me in the past and present, and probably will in the future — as I’m sure it would anyone.”

Has working in the electronic music industry ever had a negative impact on your personal relationships?

“Yes, from ex-production partners, to artists I managed, to DJs I booked, to clients I’ve worked for and more. I’ve always worked with the motto, ‘It costs nothing to be nice’, but some people when they get power become arses and they don’t realise how their blunt, arrogant emails and messages — or ignoring people — can affect someone, especially when you are trying to open doors, make a career for yourself and get feedback (feedback always helps people progress). I’m not a superstar DJ but people know my labels, my productions, my DJ sets, my music PR company, and just me. Luckily there are a number of people in this industry who I can now call friends. They are the people I respect and look to for advice, and sort of role models. They help to show you a down-to-earth side of the industry.”

Do you think there is a stigma attached to talking about mental health problems in the electronic music industry?

“Maybe some of the big DJs are told to be quiet about their mental health problems, as it might affect their ‘image/brand’. But I think if everyone was open, then there would be less problems and it might have a positive impact on their fans and encourage them to seek help. The more open you are, the less of a burden it is to have a mental health problem.”

What do you do to try and maintain balance and wellbeing?

“I try to turn off from emails, notifications and social media — my phone, basically — when I am not at my desk or studio, especially if I am with my family. It’s healthy to switch off. I like to also catch up with my mates and talk absolute rubbish with a beer, and talk about nothing to do with the business, ha.”

Thijs De Vlieger of Noisia
The producer’s view…

Have you ever had mental health problems that you attribute to your career in electronic music?

“A career in music is very rewarding, but musicians, like many people with regular jobs, are also under a lot of stress. It’s not easy to keep your standards for yourself high, to keep outdoing yourself, to watch out not to ‘lose your edge’ in the public eye. It’s also not easy to find peace, with periods of unproductivity and disappointing creativity. If you make it in this world, people think you’re awesome, which is awesome. But having people think you’re awesome also can make you feel pretty bad when you have yet another disappointing day in the studio.”

What are the main things that have impacted upon your mental health?

“Sleep and travelling. Travelling for a job is stressful. Missing lots of sleep every weekend is bad for the body, and the brain is a part of the body. A lot of DJs have to get a little or completely drunk to deal with mild or more than mild performance anxiety. This also affects sleep quality, so the body and brain don’t regenerate over the weekends.”

Do you think there is a stigma attached to talking about mental health problems in the electronic music industry? 

“There’s a stigma about admitting that it might be a bit too much, because you live the life that everybody wants to live, so you have no right to complain. It’s also pretty hard to admit that the life that you always wanted, that you had to compete so hard for, and that others are always competing with you for, is actually not at all perfect: it’s pretty tough sometimes, and sometimes you need a break from it.”

What do you do to try and maintain balance and wellbeing?

“I see a therapist weekly, even though my problems are small compared to those of others. I see it as periodic maintenance. These things matter so much in life, why would you not talk to someone to nd out if you can make your life a little better? Oh, and if you need alcohol to talk about certain subjects, that is a clear sign your brain is putting up walls around certain topics because they’re too painful to deal with when you’re sober. These things are important. Come back to them when you’re sober. It’ll hurt, but that’s why you’ve been avoiding them, and life will become easier when you understand why.”

The DJ’s view…

Have you ever had mental health problems that you attribute to your career in electronic music?

“I certainly was challenged when I started touring every weekend. At first I developed a paralysing fear of flying that got so bad I wished we would soon be not doing well in order to stop the touring. Eventually I got over it — after about 10 months of flying, a lot of the panic simply went away. I attribute that to getting used to it by forcing myself to y, but also by learning about how planes actually work. “With all the highs and lows, depression can hit you sometimes, and you nd yourself drinking excessively to cope. It’s also very lonely on the road away from your loved ones. It takes an active effort to make touring bearable. Eventually, with work, it can become a great experience.”

Has working in the electronic music industry ever had a negative impact on your personal relationships?

“I wouldn’t say it had a tangible negative effect on them, but it certainly didn’t help much. Being away on weekends doesn’t exactly help spending quality time with friends and family, who are usually free when I am away working. Luckily I have had a relationship with a wonderful woman for many years and we make our schedules always work well together. I did find it more difficult than expected to establish new meaningful friendships outside of the business because of my schedule.”

Do you think there is a stigma attached to talking about mental health problems in the electronic music industry?

“I believe so. It’s not great for business to go on social media and tell the world how depressed and horrible you are feeling, unfortunately. Usually the image portrayed is one of life-loving, fun-having, party non-stop people, but sometimes that is not the truth. Many people I know have mild to severe mental health issues of some sort. It’s becoming more common to see people share those feelings online and actually get help and support.”

Harley Moon
The artist/tour manager’s view…

Have you ever had mental health problems that you attribute to your career in electronic music?

“When I first started touring I would get pretty bad anxiety. As a tour manager I was very often paranoid that I would forget some equipment or I would miss an alarm, and it would cause my artist to miss a show. At first I had problems with long-haul flights, and I had anti-anxiety tablets to keep me calm. Just the knowing that I had the prescribed drugs in my bag would help me. I did this for seven years. Now I never take any medication.

“I think sleeping is the biggest issue for people who tour in music. Keeping normal sleep hours is impossible. Nowadays I have realised that my physical health plays a big factor in my mental wellness. Eating well, sleep and exercising are very important in keeping myself strong. I quit smoking and rarely drink alcohol, and it’s made everything a lot better.”

Has working in the electronic music industry ever had a negative impact on your personal relationships?

“Working and touring in the music industry has had a drastic effect on all of my relationships. When I started touring and focusing on my career, I lost a lot of friends. I was working every weekend and was no longer able to go out and socialise like I used to. It also affected my family relationships, as I could no longer make pivotal events, as I was always on the road. Relationships with women were the most complicated of all.

“Some women understand that working in music is a job and a passion, some women just thought I was partying for a living. It’s extremely hard on partners to be dating someone who is rarely home and always out in nightclubs. I found that I missed my partner so much that I got depressed, and eventually learned to kind of switch off. I felt like I had to work 10 times more at relationships than anyone else to maintain relationships. It’s definitely gotten easier in the last five, six years with FaceTime and all the other means of communicating that we have available.”

Do you think there is a stigma attached to talking about mental health problems in the electronic music industry?

“I definitely feel that it’s good that more people are taking it seriously. I would always feel, ‘Who am I to complain?’ I get to travel the world and live this seemingly glamorous life. A lot of us living this life almost feel guilty complaining about anything when the usual reaction is, ‘Stop complaining, you travel the world going to nightclubs’, and to a degree I agreed with them. I felt very lucky to have a job that I loved and the privilege of getting to work with musicians that inspired me. But after 18+ years in dance music I look back at all the sacri ces that I have made, and some of them still make me sad that I missed out on a lot of things in my lifetime. It’s a conflicting feeling, but it’s the relationships that I have lost that are the most irreplaceable.

“Touring with different musicians has allowed me to witness first-hand what some artists go through on the road: vulnerabilities, confidence issues, loneliness, isolation and depression. For the majority it’s not a glamorous job. There needs to be more acceptance that mental health affects people in all walks of life… even us in the music industry.”

Kid Massive
The DJ’s view…

Have you ever had mental health problems that you attribute to your career in electronic music?

“Eight years ago I contracted meningitis, which is an in ammation of the brain tissue. It left me hospitalised for two weeks, blind for four weeks and with a dangerously low-functioning kidney. At that point I was successful on all material counts, with lots of tours, high-pro le releases and signi cant exposure on an international level. I was so focused on my career that I had completely neglected everything else in my life. There was zero work/life balance and I had conscious and unconscious unresolved personal issues that had a big impact too. I slowly realised that the way I was living was affecting me negatively. I was always anxious, stressed, with a constant fear of failing and not living up to the ‘hype’. I’m sure all of this played a big part in enabling the meningitis to take such a fierce hold of me.”

What are the main things that have impacted your mental health?

“Lacking work/life balance, learning to understand that it’s ok to let go and take a day off, not worrying about other people’s opinions with regards to what I was trying to do. For a long time, I would judge my progression as an artist based on other people’s value of me, rather than believing in and trusting my choices.”

Has working in the electronic music industry ever had a negative impact on your personal relationships?

“For the last 20 years, I have been surrounded by some incredibly supportive people, including close friends, partners and family. I believe this is down to what type of person I am rather than, as some people might say, luck. I try and be aware of how my environment impacts on me and change it if needed. It’s harder than it sounds, but the end result of tuning in and listening to yourself means you get all the support you could ever need and are surrounded by people who genuinely care about you and what you do.”

Do you think there is a stigma attached to talking about mental health problems in the electronic music industry?

“For generations it’s been taboo to really talk about and express our emotions, and it’s only recently that things are starting to open up and become more accepted. There are now more and more support initiatives that have started to appear, which is setting the precedent for a future way of thinking.”

What do you do to try and maintain balance and wellbeing?

“After my meningitis experience, which literally broke me down physically and mentally, I learnt that the only way for me to build myself back up was to deal with my problems and face them rather than shy away from them. I regularly take stock of my emotional state of mind through mindfulness, self-awareness and meditation. I believe we all deep down know what is going on, but due to our day-to-day lives lled with noise and distraction, we can’t hear ourselves. Just a simple act, such as giving yourself some alone time, can really benefit and realise your awareness.”

Luke Solomon
The DJ’s view…

Have you ever had mental health problems that you attribute to your career in electronic music?

“Yes, a number of physical and mental issues that are both intrinsically linked. The main issue is that I suffer from travel anxiety, but over the years I have suffered from periods of depression.”

What are the main things that have impacted upon your mental health?

“I think travelling has had the greatest impact on me both physically and mentally. Losing a close friend (Kenny Hawkes), who was my DJ partner, also had a great impact on me mentally.”

Has working in the electronic music industry ever had a negative impact on your personal relationships?

“It’s had its moments, but it’s the one thing I have managed to keep intact with pretty much all of the people I am close to throughout my career.”

Do you think there is a stigma attached to talking about mental health problems in the electronic music industry?

“Yes I do. Kenny’s death was caused by his relationship to dance music and constant touring, and the highs and lows of having a career in the industry. No one ever prepares you for the lows. You think this is a career that will last forever, then you are no longer avour of the month and the gigs get thinner. The impact of this is extreme for different reasons. Not only does it affect your bank balance, but it also affects your ego and your con dence. You question your value and doubt yourself. Much like Kenny, I used alcohol to help me through the low parts — it was a temporary con dence boost.

“I was a lot luckier than Ken, but Ken’s death made me evaluate myself and evaluate my personal career, and in turn forced some decisions I needed to make to help with both my physical and mental situation. It took me years to gure this out on my own, as there is no real support network in place — something I feel like our industry really needs.”

What do you do to try and maintain balance and wellbeing?

“A year after Kenny died, I stopped drinking. This was a major step for me, and led to me addressing my career. I started yoga and Pilates regularly, and this helped me massively. I still suffer from chronic IBS which I think is the result of years on the road and the stress of a very complicated job, but I am definitely one of the lucky ones, so I see this as getting off lightly.”

Samantha Powell
The producer’s view…

Have you ever had mental health problems that you attribute to your career in electronic music?

“Somewhere in my mid-thirties I acquired a sense of fear and anxiety that I don’t think I’d had before. I think the combination of the stress of going through the legal immigration process in the US really puts the fear of God into you, especially when you have carved out a life here. It requires you constantly having to prove and glorify your achievements in your eld, and not to mention the cost of it all. The pressure to maintain a consistent ow of hit records or successful projects is anxiety-causing. Particularly when your very existence in the country you have a life in depends on it.”

What are the main things that have impacted upon your mental health?

“The nancial stresses of being self-employed, trying to plan your responsibilities around royalty payments that only come in four times a year, of which you never know the exact gure until they hit your account. Being a female producer in the music industry is hard and can take its toll, you have to prove and justify your very existence pretty much every time in the studio, meeting or writing session. You are constantly questioned on your technical knowledge, assumptions are made on your abilities and your role in music in general. It can really wear you down if you don’t take the time to work on yourself and surround yourself with supportive people.

“That said, being a female producer has really allowed me to be successful with other female artists. There’s a lot of anxiety among female artists, tons of pressure and they don’t always feel they can open up to the men. Issues as basic as being on your monthly cycle, relationship problems, anxieties over skin or weight, and also insecurities regarding their vocals — all of these things, I’ve been told over and over, are easier to communicate to a woman in the studio. It’s camaraderie, I suppose.”

Has working in the electronic music industry ever had a negative impact on your personal relationships?

“Sometimes. Romantic partners don’t always understand the hours, or they automatically assume that there is the crazy ‘rockstar’ lifestyle going on behind closed doors. When in reality you would like nothing more than a hug and a nap.”

Do you think there is a stigma attached to talking about mental health problems in the electronic music industry? 

“Absolutely. Particularly in the UK. The British feel that therapy is for Americans, and we need to just get a grip and get on with it. ‘Keep calm and carry on’.”

What do you do to try and maintain balance and wellbeing?

“Yoga and meditation are invaluable to me. They keep me focused, calm and also physically healthy. I try to surround myself with like-minded people, authentic friendships are imperative. Everyone needs a support system.”

Steven Braines
The artist manager’s view…

Have you ever had mental health problems that you attribute to your career in electronic music?

“I don’t think I would say I’ve had mental health problems arising just solely from my career. When I first started out, I sofa surfed for about 18 months as I couldn’t afford to rent anyway, and that was very mentally taxing. The uncertainty of where to stay, not sleeping or eating well, belongings scattered around London. It sounds bohemian now that I’m a success, but when you aren’t nomadic by choice it’s tough to keep going. I’m quite an anxious person and the perception that you’re doing well before the money has actually caught up to the image is a very strange one.”

Has working in the electronic music industry ever had a negative impact on your personal relationships?

“It’s definitely impacted at times because of the long hours and travel. When touring with artists I manage like Maya Jane Coles, you might be in a totally new time-zone every day for the best part of a month, with ights and gigs thrown into the mix plus clearing my inbox and calls. It’s very hard to actually communicate via anything other than text sometimes. Also, there’s a lot of births, deaths and marriages that you miss too. I’ve de nitely seen some of my relationships break up because they didn’t see enough of me.”

Do you think there is a stigma attached to talking about mental health problems in the electronic music industry?

“I champion mental health in the Music Managers Forum. I’m a qualified psychologist and my mum works in mental health, so I like to get people talking about it. When you do, you find a lot of people have been suffering in silence. A lot of managers, for example, have to deal with a wider range of novel problems and offer a lot of emotional support to others without always receiving it back, and a lot of people leave the industry because of it. It’s been a bit of a watershed moment in mental health recognition in our industry, with helplines being set up and more industry-specific mental health practitioners, which can only be a good thing. Luckily I’ve never been a drinker or into drugs, but I’ve sadly seen a lot of people in the industry fall into addiction because there’s so much temptation around, and not everyone is able to set boundaries for themselves in the face of it.”

What do you do to try and maintain balance and wellbeing?

“I’ve always done Reiki since I was about 16. I first got attuned when I was about 20. I also sauna and steam at least once a week. In our company, we definitely always encourage people to talk about their problems, to take time off for personal reasons if they need it, to be flexible in where and how they work, and make sure that people realise it’s okay to make a mistake. If I feel stressed, I tend to write poems or paint a picture and deal with it creatively.”

Coco Cole
The DJ’s view…

Have you ever had mental health problems that you attribute to your career in electronic music?

“I have periods of anxiety and panic attacks, and it’s almost always when I am very busy with my job, am neglecting social stresses and have a bundle of deadlines and little time to myself.”

What are the main things that have impacted upon your mental health?

“My worst period was definitely in the last year of my three years of doing overnights on the radio among daytime shows, DJing and partying. Five nights a week I would go to sleep between 9-11pm (and wake up every hour through panic of missing my alarm), then wake up at 1.30am. I was on air from 3-6am, then I’d go home and sleep from 8am-12pm, then wake up and work on admin, plan my radio show and repeat. It was constant work and exhaustion. I had one night off and would drink and go out, because I needed the release. I was of course drinking coffee constantly to keep functioning, too. After two years it started to really affect my physical and mental health. I got anxiety and the panic attacks kicked in.

“Usually now, I know that an anxiety period is about to kick in. You can obviously do all the things to try and avoid it, like maintaining a healthy lifestyle and trying to stay calm, but I think they will always happen and you just have to ride them out and give yourself the break and time you need to do that.”

Has working in the electronic music industry ever had a negative impact on your personal relationships?

“Every romantic relationship has ended ultimately because of my schedule and dedication to my job. My friends luckily are more understanding, and work in similar creative elds, so they’re all tight and we all support and love each other and often talk a lot about our mental health.”

Do you think there is a stigma attached to talking about mental health problems in the electronic music industry? 

“I think more and more people are talking now, which is fantastic. What there is still a stigma about, though, is letting people take the actual time to address their mental health. We need to work on accepting people’s different ways of looking after themselves by allowing them to take time off, say no and to come back from that without judgements or a negative impact on their career.”

What do you do to try and maintain balance and wellbeing?

“I am terrible at self-care. But since autumn, on days I’m not DJing, going out or travelling, I’ve been putting myself into bed before 12, waking up earlier and giving myself a schedule. The mini wins of ticking off an accomplishment keeps the ‘you’re not doing enough’ gremlins at bay. I’m having one day a week where I don’t work, and have been doing a few more hobbies outside of my job.”

Events Festival

Here is your ultimate party guide to EDC Week 2018

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Here’s your itinerary for an entire week’s worth of unmissable pool parties, club nights and day soirées taking over the Las Vegas Strip during this year’s EDC Week…

Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
When: Friday 18th – Sunday 20th

It’s the whole reason we’re all here in the first place! EDC Las Vegas has solidified its place as the top electronic festival destination in North America via its world-class production and immersive environment. EDC celebrates 22 years this month with earlier festival dates, to beat the Vegas sun, and a massive line-up featuring more than 250 artists like Armin van Buuren, Diplo, Eric Prydz, Mija, Boys Noize, Afrojack and current cover star, Alan Walker.


Where: MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
When: Wednesday 16th – Sunday 20th

This world-class venue is the big daddy of Las Vegas megaclubs. Boasting 60,000 square feet and enhanced production, Hakkasan this year celebrates its five-year anniversary with an all-out roster for EDC Week including Above & Beyond (16th), Hardwell (17th), Tiësto (18th), Calvin Harris (19th) and a special guest to close out the week (20th).


Photo Credit: Rukes


Where: ARIA Resort & Casino
When: Thursday 17th – Monday 21st

JEWEL offers next-level nightlife luxury and clubbing extravagance across its massive space: 24,000 square feet. The club is worth checking out for its titular jewel itself, a heroic circular dome hovering above the dancefloor and illuminated with rings of LED lights. Stay for the music, which includes NGHTMRE (17th), Lil Jon (18th and 21st) and Kaskade (19th).


Photo Credit: Mike Kirschbaum 

Where: The Cosmopolitan
When: Wednesday 16th – Monday 21st

This multi-level club has helped revive and reshape Las Vegas nightlife since opening in 2011. It’s home to a state-of-the-art nightclub as well as a gorgeous, recently redone outdoor Dayclub. Both venues feature stacked line-ups. Dayclub roster includes: Gorgon City & CamelPhat (16th); Andrew Rayel, Firebeatz, Sander van Doorn and Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano (17th); Eric Prydz (18th); Dash Berlin (19th); Oliver Heldens (20th) and Lost Frequencies (21st). Nightclub roster includes: DJ Vice (18th), DJ Mustard (19th) and Dash Berlin (21st).


Photo Credit: Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub

Where: Caesars Palace
When: Tuesday 15th – Saturday 19th

This behemoth is breathtaking, equipped with an immersive audiovisual experience that’s anchored around a grandiose kinetic chandelier weighing 22,000 pounds and composed of eight concentric circles in addition to lighting effects, video projections and LED strips, making its display ever-changing. Line-up spreads far and wide: Cash Cash (15th), Porter Robinson (DJ Set) (17th), Martin Garrix (18th) and Zedd (19th).


Photo Credit: Al Powers of Powers Imagery


Where: Encore Las Vegas
When: Thursday 17th – Monday 21st

A state-of-the-art megaclub, XS is exactly that: Vegas excess to the core. This clubbing giant, which celebrates its nine-year anniversary during EDC Week and Memorial Day weekend this month, features more than 10,000 individual light sources, intricate décor and 170 luxe VIP tables and outdoor cabanas across 40,000 square feet. They’ll need all that space to house this much talent: David Guetta (17th), Kygo (18th), Diplo (19th), Marshmello (20th) and The Chainsmokers (21st).


Photo Credit: Barbara Kraft

Where: Wynn Las Vegas
When: Wednesday 16th – Saturday 19th

Celebrating its two-year anniversary last month, Intrigue offers an intimate design for an equally personal clubbing experience. But don’t confuse that feature with small: At 14,000 square feet, this venue boasts 60 banquette tables, an elevated bottle service experience and a 94-foot waterfall and pyrotechnic fountain show. Big talent here, too: Marshmello (16th), Dillon Francis (18th), Afrojack (19th) and Yellow Claw (23rd).


Photo Credit: Barbara Kraft

Where: Wynn Las Vegas
When: Thursday 17th – Sunday 20th

This desert oasis has come to define Las Vegas poolside partying. It’s 55,000 square feet of tropical vibes via 40-foot palm trees, multi-tiered pools and dozens of private bungalows and cabanas, all topped by a supreme sound system. Daytime parties feature Black Coffee (17th), Alesso (18th), David Guetta (19th) and Major Lazer (20th). Once the sun goes down, the party continues at NightSwim, the club’s nighttime pool party, with Yellow Claw (18th) and RL Grime (19th).


Photo Credit: Barbara Kraft


Where: ARIA Resort & Casino
When: Wednesday 16th – Sunday 20th

EDC Week shenanigans officially start here with a series of proper pool parties. The impressive line-up extends to what feels like forever with Elephante (16th), NGHTMRE (17th), Gryffin (18th), Illenium (19th) and Bijou (20th).


Photo Credit: Tony Tran Photography

Basscon Pool Party
Where: Elation Pool | Stratosphere Hotel and Casino

Basscon, Insomniac’s hardstyle/hard dance brand, hosts a neck-snapping, headbanging, foot-stomping daytime pool party with Adrenalize, Dr. Phunk, Dr. Rude, Gammer, Sub Zero Project and Toneshifterz.


Bassrush Pool Party
Where: Rehab Beach Club | Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

As the first half of their two-part daylong takeover, Bassrush, Insomniac’s bass- and dubstep-centric brand, hosts a daytime pool party with 4B, Dubloadz, Eptic, Habstrakt, Kai Wachi, Kill the Noise and SayMyName. Start your basstastic adventure here.


Photo Credit: Da Black Swan for Insomniac Events

Bassrush Massive
Where: The Joint | Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

The night then continues at Bassrush Massive, part two of the crew’s bass invasion. This annual bass, dubstep and drum & bass epic gathering has become the go-to party for bass-heads descending unto Vegas. With Borgore, Flux Pavilion, Kai Wachi, Pendulum (DJ Set), Snails and Zeke Beats.


Photo Credit: Jake West for Insomniac Events

Where: MGM Grand Resort & Casino
When: Thursday 17th – Monday 21st

WET REPUBLIC really means it when it says Ultra Pool. Spanning more than 54,000 square feet, this massive oasis merges poolside luxury with advanced audiovisual features. It’s like a floating waterpark festival, especially with this H-U-G-E line-up: Above & Beyond (17th), Kaskade (18th), Tiësto (19th), Martin Garrix (20th) and Armin van Buuren (21st). All events are sold out, except the Tiësto show, but don’t expect that to last too long.


Photo Credit: Powers Imagery

Dreamstate Presents
Where: Marquee Nightclub | The Cosmopolitan

Since launching in late 2015, Dreamstate, Insomniac’s growing trance brand, has become a world-class festival and event series in its own right. Last year, Dreamstate got its own stage, quantumVALLEY, across all three days of EDC for the first time ever; the crew returns this year, with a new stage design to boot. Ahead of EDC, Dreamstate hosts a trance takeover at Marquee Nightclub with an all-star roster featuring Markus Schulz, Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate, Genix and Arkham Knights.


Factory 93 Presents DARKwater
Where: Encore Beach Club | Wynn Las Vegas

Even within the EDM bombast of Vegas, house- and techno-heads will find solace at DARKwater presented by Factory 93, Insomniac’s dedicated underground brand. Part of Encore Beach Club’s NightSwim nighttime pool party series, DARKwater welcomes a can’t-miss double-header line-up with Jamie Jones and The Black Madonna.


Photo Credit: Tyler Hill for Insomniac Events

Claude VonStroke, Green Velvet
Where: Drai’s Beachclub | The Cromwell

The techno and house wizards play doubles at this daytime throwdown, where they’re more than likely to go b2b as Get Real, their side hustle duo. The Dirtybird big boss kicks off his summer residency here during EDC Week.


Knee Deep In Vegas
Where: DAYLIGHT Beach Club | Mandalay Bay

Hot Since 82 hosts a special edition of his Knee Deep event series with underground legend Doc Martin and badass Lauren Lane.


Photo Credit: Knee Deep In Sound

Brownies & Lemonade Las Vegas
Where: Rehab Beach Club | Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

L.A. ruckus crew Brownies & Lemonade hosts a daytime function that promises secret guests and b2b sets all day. The B&L squad always brings the top talent bubbling up from the future underground, so expect this one to go off — big time.


Photo Credit: Quasar Media

Zeds Dead, Snails, 4B

Where: Drai’s Beachclub | The Cromwell

A triple-stacked bass onslaught with three of the heaviest acts in the game.


Photo Credit: Montana Martz

Duke Dumont
Where: DAYLIGHT Beach Club | Mandalay Bay

Nothing beats Duke Dumont’s house and deep house vibes while splashing around a pristine pool. Nothing!


Photo Credit: Patrick Rohl from YeahSure

Fool’s Gold
Where: Drai’s Beachclub | The Cromwell

Fool’s Gold head honcho and #RealDJing champion A-Trak hosts a label party alongside the imprint’s first ladies, Anna Lunoe and Kittens.



Area10 With MK
Where: Drai’s Beachclub | The Cromwell

House legend MK brings his revered Area 10 imprint and party brand to Sin City alongside best friends and house homies CamelPhat, Solardo and Will Clarke.


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