50 Things People Say at Ultra Music Festival

Categories: EDM

Photo by George Martinez/gmartnx.com
Yep, they were chanting it, too.

Ultra Music Festival is 36 solid hours of EDM-themed overstimulation.

Superfamous DJs! Pop-star cameos! Half-naked ladies! Oiled-up beefcakes! Dancing robots! Human tacos! Toothpaste Man! Pyrotechnics! Cryo cannons! Fireworks!

Everything at Ultra deserves an exclamation point. Or maybe ten. And there's never fewer than 120 decibels rumbling through your already stimuli-flooded skull. So who's paying attention to what people are saying?

Actually, we are always listening. And we're taking notes. Because the chit-chat, shit-talking, and non sequiturs are just as entertaining, weird, absurd, unsettling, and LOL-able as anything else at this phantasmagoric annual spectacle.

More »

Pacifiers and Other Banned Raver Gear We Saw at Ultra 2015

Categories: EDM

All photos by Marta Xochilt Perez
Yep, kitty-cat facemasks are contraband too.

Any veteran of Ultra Music Festival who attended this year's three-day event was pleasantly surprised by the increased organization and overall maturity of the audience. Certain seemingly simple measures, like an 18-and-over age policy and significantly improved perimeter security, taken following 2014's trampling of security guard Erica Mack and the fatal overdose of Adonis Escoto helped turn Ultra into a safer, happier place.

Another of those measures was a ban on many things that festival-goers have come to see as Ultra staples, such as glow sticks, totems, facemasks, and backpacks. For the most part, these so-called Prohibited Items were few and far between (except for facemasks, which were everywhere), but we managed to find sneaky ravers with more than a few pieces of contraband in their possession. Here is some of what got through the gates at Ultra 2015.

More »

Ultra 2015's Ten Best and Worst Fashion Trends

Categories: EDM

Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez
Best: Rave Disciples. "Leviticus 4:57 states that thou shalt turn up in the name of the Lord."

There have been a lot of changes at Ultra Music Festival.

The audience is over 18 now. And many of rave culture's familiar accoutrements -- finger gloves, glow sticks, rage totems, etc. -- have been banned under the fest's new Prohibited Items policy.

There are those of adult age who still cling to the furry-boots-and-tutu combo (essentially the boring, basic Barbie costume of the EDM age), but lots of party people took some serious sartorial risks at Ultra 2015.

Some of these experiments proved adorable, some of them not so much. We prowled the festival grounds, camera in hand, looking for the best of the best and a bit of the worst.

More »

Bingo Players' Maarten Hoogstraten on How Creativity Has Become a Cathartic Experience

Categories: EDM, Interviews

Courtesy photo
Maarten Hoogstraten of Bingo Players.
Maarten Hoogstraten has been through tumultuous times the last couple of years. In late 2013, Paul Bäumer, his fellow member of electro-house duo Bingo Players, passed away after a short battle with cancer, which was a devastating experience to say the least.

Hoogstraten carried on, however, at the behest of his late friend and collaborator and continued to both perform and produce under the Bingo Players banner despite the tragic loss. According to the EDM artist and DJ, he had mixed emotions about doing so, but hasn't regretted it in the slightest.

More »

The DJs of Thievery Corporation Still Are Peerless Samplers

Categories: EDM

Thievery Corporation

Twentieth-century writer Charles Colton coined the saying "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

For veteran club DJs Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, their modern interpretation of the phrase was to take the essence of their favorite '60s records, mesh it with their favorite electronica club sounds, and create a multicultural world-beat hybrid of dub, reggae, acid jazz, and bossa nova, a hi-fi sound known the world over as Thievery Corporation.

Now, 20 years later, the duo is on the verge of releasing a new album, its eighth studio effort, a reggae-punk mix of sorts, adding to a trip-hop/hip-hop melting pot that simply refuses to be classified.

More »

10 People Who Won't Make It at Miami's Ultra Music Festival

Categories: EDM

Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez
These ladies survived. Can you?

Watching Ultra Music Festival's idyllic official after-movies, you might get the impression that UMF is some kind of utopian music-based society where the young and beautiful run only in slow motion, where everyone is welcome and everything is pleasant.

In some ways, this is true. You're more likely to have a good time than a bad one. But it is also possible to sabotage your potentially epic, super-memorable Ultra experience. Certain behaviors stemming from ignorance, naiveté, or just being kind of a party pooper can and will lead to a less-than-stellar UMF 2015.

Here are the ten people who won't make it at Ultra Music Festival. Don't let yourself be counted among them.

More »

Field Guide: Phoenix Lights EDM Festival Starring Hardwell, Zeds Dead, and More

Categories: EDM

Gerald Henniger Photography

Phoenix Lights is giving Sunday Funday a whole new meaning this weekend when Hardwell, Zeds Dead, Robin Schulz and more DJs drop in to Civic Space Park in downtown Phoenix for day raving antics.

A little background for the youngins or those not on-point when it comes to "alien" sightings. The music festival got its name from the alleged, infamous alien spaceship sighting that occurred over Phoenix in March 1997. Basically, there were lights in the sky that made seemingly unnatural patterns that made witnesses feel like they were looking at something a little unworldly. To quote the man who recorded it, "man, there's geometry behind this."

Back to music, Phoenix Lights is making its debut this year and is the brainchild of True Music Experience and Relentless Beats. Here's everything you need to know about the festival.

More »

10 Female DJs Who Ruled Before the EDM Brofest

Categories: EDM, Top Lists

Candy Talk Records (via Wikimedia Commons)

By Liz Ohanesian

We can't fault the person who thinks there are no female DJs playing this year's Coachella. After all, Annie Mac -- whose affiliation with BBC Radio 1 makes her pretty high-profile -- is buried one row from the bottom of the third-day line-up. (One other lady DJ, Alison Wonderland, is in the smallest font for day two.)

In 2015, U.S. audiences have come to expect that festivals will -- maybe -- book a couple female DJs and then list them somewhere in the flyer equivalent of fine print. It's an ongoing issue in contemporary EDM that has been repeatedly raised in some must-read articles by Thump writer Michelle Lhooq among others. Meanwhile, late last year, Forbes released a girl-DJ trend piece in the vein of stories that have been popping up since the 1990s.

Contrary to what the folks at Forbes may think, female DJs aren't a new thing. Women are a part of the history of dance music -- not just as the vocalists, but as the people who produce tunes and play them at clubs and festivals.

More »

Scottsdale's Maya Day and Nightclub to Host Soundwave Pool Party Series This Summer

Categories: EDM

Melissa Fossum
Partying in the pool at Maya Day and Nightclub in Scottsdale.
Right now, things are still nice outside as far as the weather goes. But if you've lived in the Valley for any stretch of time, however, you're probably well aware by now that its not gonna last much longer.

Like it or not, we're on the cusp of warmer temperatures and the inevitable beginnings of summertime. And with it will come the start of the pool parties at spots in Scottsdale and elsewhere in the Valley. As such, Scottsdale-based club event promoter Steve LeVine Entertainment is already gearing up for the season of bikinis and beats.

More »

Crush Music Festival 2015: A Field Guide to Saturday's Event at Rawhide in Chandler

Categories: EDM

Benjamin Leatherman
The scene at last year's Crush Music Festival.
We sincerely hope you've got loads of disposable income stocked up, because -- like it or not -- the music festival season is upon us. Over the next three months or so, an exhaustive number of indoor and outdoor mega-concerts and big-ticket music events are scheduled to take place both in and around Arizona, as well as across the southwest, and will bring a slew of high-profile performers into our midst.

And one of the events that will kick off the hullabaloo is this weekend's Crush Music Festival on Saturday out at Rawhide in Chandler. Just like last year's enormous Mad Decent Block Party at the venue, the event will fill the western theme park with the high-energy sounds of electronic dance music and a throng of colorfully dressed rage fiends and dance-happy thrill-seekers.

More »