The Light Turns On Tonight!

After months of planning and discussion, Identity Management finally takes its first official step towards bringing its cutting edge nightlife scene to San Diego when BASSMNT opens tonight with none other than former hardstyle and current progressive figureheads SHOWTEK.

Seen as a virtually untapped EDM hotspot, San Diego has been relatively untouched by mainstream promotion companies.  LED Events has been dominating the area since its inception a few years ago with club nights at a few venues while also throwing major festival-type events at places like the San Diego Sports Arena.  With no major promotion or events company even looking towards San Diego for years, all eyes are focused on what BASSMNT will be bringing to the table.  Identity Management is teaming up with none other than Insomniac Events and Event Vibe to bring San Diego a premiere EDM focused nightclub.  Starting with SHOWTEK tonight and having dates booked with Dash Berlin and Emma Hewitt throughout the rest of the month, the new club seems to have an exciting future ahead of itself.

Located at 4th and Broadway, BASSMNT is in the Gaslamp District of Downtown San Diego.  The stage and DJ booth look amazing.  You can check out the preview they have posted on their Facebook page. 

What is this...TRAP MUSIK?!

Being the average guy in a hot spot location sometimes I have to stop and take a look at my surroundings here in Southern California.  Our region has it all.  I’m sure some of you can see the beach or the snowcapped mountains, and if you’re lucky enough you can probably see both at the same time.  You really can’t say you don’t enjoy it. Frankly, I love it. It’s truly a melting pot with its rich history and culture. Once you get here, you finally understand why everyone wants to be here, and you never want to leave.  It’s a TRAP! Speaking of trap, like you, I’ve been hearing and seeing that word all over these days. Maybe it’s the websites and blogs I hit or my friends throwing that word around lately. I’m curious on how it just started becoming a talked about genre especially in the dance music world.  Let’s see where and when it came into the music industry and where the dance community is taking it.    

 

Let’s hop into a time portal back to 2003-2004 when Cash Money Records (Birdman, Lil Wayne, Juvenile, etc.) ruled the south. At the same time a group of rising stars from Atlanta like TI, Young Jeezy, and Gucci Mane had been making a name for themselves. But let’s dig a little further and try to find where the term ‘trap’ came from.  This leads us venturing into the urban neighborhoods of the ‘A’ aka Atlanta. The definition for the word ‘trap’ in Webster’s Dictionary states that it’s, “a device for taking game or other animals.”  But in this case, it takes a hipper alternative to get to its real meaning and I’ll let you look it up on urbandictionary.com for yourselves.  The ‘trap’ is not a specific place necessarily, but it could very well be a house a store, a corner, a particular meet up spot, or just a general area.  It’s a trap because once it gets you, you’re trapped inside.  

 

As most rough urban neighborhoods produce the best rappers and producers, the term “trap” is becoming a well rapped about topic as well as a specifically produced beat in Atlanta that is catching on around the hip hop community. Different rappers with different rhymes all rapping over a particular sound. In a nutshell the hi-hats, choirs, brass, snares and heavy bass all sums up the trap beat. It vastly differs from other hip-hop beats through its unique sound. With artist I mentioned earlier TI, Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy all supporting its movement the trap sound is being brought into the spotlight and becoming a recognized style of its own.  Even today’s popular rapper’s Waka Flacka Flame, 2 Chainz, and French Montana with help from producers such as Lex Luger and Young Chop are keeping the trap style hip-hop alive and currently thriving.

 

It is now 2013 but it's safe to say 2012 was the year trap came out of its big brothers shadow and solidified its role in the dance music community.  I still don’t know the exact moment it came but it entered with a heavy force. If you’re an avid Soundcloud user like I am you’ll remember it swept through the website like dubstep did two and half years ago. Thankfully it filtered itself out but if you would have asked me 5 or 6 months ago and I’d be lying if I didn’t say every other song was a “trap” track.  Much like dubstep, most tracks were terrible but the ones that shined, shined! With the likes of UZ, Flosstradamus and RL Grime being able to fuse dance music with trap beats is something amazing.  I often wonder why nobody did it sooner. Their ability to create tracks that any DJ can play is astonishing. Even superstar Dj Tiesto played a rave-styled trap song at a festival recently. With DJ's like Diplo and A-trak who aren’t afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to track selection they both have a hefty trap selection; hell A-trak and Diplo mix some trap straight into electro house, I’ve seen it! Even to their respective record labels Diplo’s Mad Decent and A-trak’s Fool’s Gold have both released trap-style dance songs for sale instead of releasing it for free. Even America’s biggest dance label Ultra Records released Benny Banassi’s hit single “Satisfaction” remixed by the infamous RL Grime which hit top 3 on Beatport’s top singles. It shows how big trap has become in the dance community.   You can’t tell me when you hear RL Grime’s remix of Kanye’s “Mercy,” a wave of energy goes through the crowd.  I’ve seen it at both club and festival events.

 

               More and more DJ’s and producers are stepping out of their comfort zone to mix and create a up and coming genre that has proven it gets the crowd moving, 2013 will be another big year for dance music.  It’s already started off big with Hard Event’s Holy Ship.  With artist Major Lazer, Diplo, A-trak, RL Grime, Baauer, and likely DJ’s Crookers, Jack Beats, and 12TH planet all playing dance styled trap music on a ship sailing away to the Bahamas.  Looking ahead to Coachella, I can almost guarantee DJ’s like RL Grime or Flosstradamus will be blessing the Sahara Tent with their trap beats this year.  

 

Whether you have no taste for it, it doesn’t bother you, or you enjoy the trap genre there is no judgment here. Like the dubstep haters, there’s trap haters.  But like dubstep, it’s here to stay.  There may not be a two hour trap set but it will be sprinkled in here and there for the always enjoyable switch up.  Lastly, for me I know the girls love it and that’s ALL that matters! lol

 

-.hmls. 

Is there an EDM bubble about to burst?

Growing up in Orange County, I remember having a conversation with my younger sister about where we would live when we were older.  I told her I wanted to live in Orange County as an adult, and she asked me how I’d be able to afford it.  Our family was in the process of moving into a bigger house at the peak of the rise in real estate in the middle of the 2000’s.  I understood why she said that.  Her entire life up to that point she had only heard of the cost of housing going up and she had no reason to think that housing costs would ever slow down, let alone stop going up.  It took me a while to think about what she said but I told her that as fast as the prices are going up, they will have to slow down and eventually plateau.  There would be no way that Southern California would turn into a place where only multi-millionaires could afford to live.  And as we all know, the housing bubble burst in 2008 as the real estate crumbled.  With real estate values free falling we all looked around and thought, “We probably should have seen this coming.”

               Why do I bring this up?  I just posted an article that I came across concerning the new MGM club “Hakkasan,” opening this spring in Las Vegas.  The venue previously occupied by Studio 54 is currently undergoing a $100 million renovation to make it the premiere club in Sin City.  Not only are they building the baddest  club in Vegas, but they have also signed two of the EDM world’s premiere draws, TIesto and deadmau5, to 2-year, $65 million contracts.  Yes you read that correctly; deadmau5 and Tiesto will each earn $32.5 million a year for performing somewhere between 10 and 15 times a year.  Even if my math is wrong somewhere, we are still looking at somewhere between $1-3 million per performance.  If that does not crowd out the market then I don’t know what would. 

               Think about what that does to everything that has to do with the club.  We see it on a small scale here at Sutra.  Whenever a big name comes to town, the price of everything goes up.  Entry tickets, bottle service, etc.  The club or venue has to find ways to make up for the cost of bringing Dada Life or Armin Van Buuren to perform.  It’s the only way the club can still have the A list performers and stay afloat financially.  Now going back to what I was talking about earlier, how could a venue possibly stay afloat if they are paying their performers over a million dollars a night?  In this case Hakkasan is backed by a billionaire that will pay for anything and everything it takes to become the best club in the world.  Not every venue is so lucky. 

Similar to my thoughts above, there is simply no way that EDM is going to become exclusively for the wealthy.  It might be headed this direction at the moment, but there is no way EDM can continue in this direction for long.  EDM’s major appeal is that it is for anyone and everyone.  It’s always been about the music first.  We, as an audience, have temporarily forgotten about that; instead, focusing on the exclusivity, the Dom Rose, and the free flowing Grey Goose.  It’s only a matter of time before people remember why they first fell in love with EDM. 

The demand for these superstar DJs is so high right now that some people are willing to pay anything.  This creates a giant disparity in the market.  I live in a world where I can pay $100 and get 8 hours’ worth of the world’s top DJs at White Wonderland, Nocturnal, or Beyond; not $100 to see an artist perform for 2 hours.  Things just aren’t adding up anymore.  The market is becoming so skewed in one direction, and it is painfully obvious.  How am I going to see Kaskade next year when his going rate is always on the rise?  I’ve heard he laughs at venues that offer him $50,000 to play for one night.  Why does he laugh?  He laughs because there is another venue offering him $75,000 or $100,000 to do the same thing.  The same goes for all of these superstar DJs, this isn’t real life.  I want to blame the artists, but it really isn’t the artists that are causing this “bubble” if you want to call it that.  It’s all of our faults for putting them in such high demand that those prices become part of real life.

This issue really hasn’t ever come up in Vegas before because of the seemingly endless amounts of money spent on talent by clubs such as Marquee, XS, or Surrender.  This was a concern usually saved for clubs like Sutra when trying to compete with SupperClub, Avalon, or other bigger EDM clubs in LA.  Now there is one Vegas club ready to completely blow all other clubs in the US out of the water.  The landscape is changing and the losers are starting to outweigh the winners.   That’s usually a major sign.   

I don’t really know where I’m going with this or how it will turn out.  One thing is for sure, there is some kind of bubble forming, and it’s only a matter of time before it will pop.  I don’t know if it will be hip-hop making a comeback, or more local DJs taking a more prominent role at big clubs; but I can’t help but thinking of that conversation I had with my sister almost a decade ago. 

EDM Spotlight #2: Who is Danny Avila???

               Catching whispers of an EDM wonder child earlier in the year, I looked into the buzz about Danny Avila and decided to wait on for a bit.  He hadn’t signed with a label or released any tracks so I really had nothing to go on.  By the beginning of summer 2012, the 17 year old had 3 residencies on the island of Ibiza and booked a total of 35 dates there.  15 of those dates were alongside Tiesto himself at the world-renowned Pacha Ibiza.  Damn!  After hearing Fedde Le Grand (personally one of my favorite DJs and producers) refer to the kid out of Madrid, Spain as one the great up and coming EDM artists of the present and future I took some time to listen to some stuff that I could find out there on the internet.

               Check out his debut single, “Breaking Your Fall” out now on Big Beat/Atlantic records.  The track itself isn’t the best track I’ve ever heard but the production is of high quality that we have come to expect from big name producers that are years in the game.  It comes with a solid structure and any EDM fan can tell that there is only bigger and better productions that are on the way from the young Spaniard. 

               Check out his weekly radio show “Ready to Jump” on SiriusXM and posted weekly to his soundcloud.  A lot of DJs/Producers have their own radio show or podcast and I listen to a lot of them.  What’s most impressive about “Ready to Jump” is the different genres of EDM that get played on there.  Danny isn’t afraid to bring the freshest selections in House/ TechHouse/ Progressive/ Dubstep/ Electro/ Trance or even a little Drum and Bass.  Keeping the energy high and now 14 episodes in, “Ready to Jump” is an hour of music that will boost the energy level of any social situation.  Here is episode 12 from a couple weeks ago.

               Where I have been most impressed with Danny Avila isn’t with his production or radio show but his live sets.  He brings the type of energy to the decks that only a 17 year old could.  He shows no fear and isn’t scared to play what he wants to play.  I know that sounds given, but it definitely isn’t in today’s club scene.  The first 30 minutes of his set from Glow in Washington, D.C. are simply golden.  You can tell that he isn’t quite ready to take on sets that are longer than an hour and a half, but the energy he brings for that first hour is untouchable. 

               Danny Avila seems to have everything it takes to become a big name producer in today’s EDM world.  I hope and expect to see great things from this kid.  With the likes of Porter Robinson, Hardwell, Zedd, and others including Danny Avila, the future of Dance Music looks unbelievably bright.

ZM

Ultra Music Festival goes for it Twice this Year

Ultra Expands to 2 Weekends

               Say what you want about EDM: DJs just push play, every DJ sounds the same, anyone can DJ, or it’s just a fad.  Whether any or all of the above are true really doesn’t matter.  The counterculture gone mainstream epidemic has completely exploded, and Ultra Music Festival is going to show that to the world today when they release tickets for 6 days of partying over two weekends in downtown Miami, with an expectation of well over 300,000 people.

               It seems clear to me by their marketing tactics that Ultra event organizers are trying to get out from the shadow of its West Coast counterpart, Coachella Music and Arts Festival, which also expanded to 2 weekends in 2012 if you didn’t notice, with almost the same acts and set times on back to back weekends.  Ultra 2013 event organizers claim that each weekend is going to be its own separate event, with 6 different headliners over the 2 weekends.  When I read that my first thought was: does that mean different artists are going to play the two separate weekends?  For better or worse, the answer is no.  If an artist headlines one weekend, the event organizers will post them up at a different stage.  So if you were to go both weekends, for example, you could possibly see Armin on the main stage one weekend and the ASOT stage (trance stage) the next weekend or vice versa.

              The aspect of two totally different events does catch my interest in one particular way.  I can’t tell if it’s a complete sellout or not.  Part of me sees the fact that Ultra is putting on two different festivals over two weekends as unique and awesome.  But then another part of me, as much as I hate to admit it, knows that there is a huge market of people who have to go to every festival every year that are going to buy tickets for both weekends and most likely stay in Miami the 5 days between.  We all have that friend that has to go to every EDM festival and will pay anything to do it.  If there was a market for Coachella goers to go both weekends, there will be the same market for Ultra.  It seems by expanding to both weekends and changing up the lineup/set times between the two weekends, Ultra is cashing in.  As previously explained by the mau5 in his January 2011 YOUTUBE video, Ultra tickets are among the most expensive of all US festivals.  This year tickets are going for about $370 per weekend for General Admission and a whopping $910 per weekend for VIP tickets.   They are going to capitalize on the overall demand for Ultra itself, keep in mind all 3 days sold out in 10 minutes last year, and trying to sell Ultra to the “festival circuit” as 2 events.

            This expansion formula continues the recent trend that began, at least in my experience, with the Insomniac raves.  First with the Electric Daisy Carnival going to 3 days, and then with Nocturnal, Beyond and the inaugural White Wonderland all expanding to 2 days, this was quickly followed by the Coachella 2012 expansion.  Is this a good sign for music or culture?  I’m not nearly qualified to answer that but I must say if anyone is going to be throwing these “World’s Biggest Parties” that get bigger and bigger every festival season, I’m glad it is the seasoned veterans in Coachella, Ultra, and EDC.  The experience and (sadly) more corporate influence of these event organizers have proven to provide a safe, fun environment for everyone that goes.

          One last topic begs for my attention.  I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but I’ve always had some feeling of exclusivity when I started going to festivals.  There was something about Coachella and EDC that made me feel that I was lucky to be among the so few that were there for that experience.  When I went to EDC 2012 that feeling was gone; I felt like everyone I knew was going.  I thought to myself, “This is a festival dammit; this isn’t some posh club that people should be going just to make an appearance.”  Why are you showing up at 1 in the morning in your limo just to make a quick exit to some after party on the strip?  Maybe I’m in the minority on this feeling, but I know there are some people that will feel the same way on their way to Ultra 2013. 

            My final conclusion: More power to ‘em but they ain’t getting my money!  I’ll go to Ultra Music Festival one day, but not this year.

*ZM’s pick of the week:

John Dahlback- ‘Panic’

Eric Prydz- ‘Every Day’

**Because of the time gap between posts I have 2, and I hope to hear both these tracks banging through those speakers at Sutra.

EDM Spotlight: Audien

               Nate Rathbun, or more familiarly known as Audien, is a young DJ from the great state of Connecticut and has been gaining ground in the world of EDM over the last few years.  He first caught our eye at The Social Group when he opened up for another youngster, Porter Robinson, at Encore Beach Club a few weeks back.  He threw it down during his opening set and we had to look at the poster for the event to figure out who it was.  We checked out his SoundCloud and listened to his August Promo Set (which is free to download and recommended for any young progressive trance artist or fan).  We were impressed with the young DJ’s knack for progressive house and trance and decided to look a little deeper.  His current single, ‘Eventide’ has been a mainstay in Above & Beyond’s current Group Therapy tour, and has been released on the Anjunabeats label (run and created by Above & Beyond themselves).  You can check out his entire discography at Beatport.com.

               Audien is most known for his progressive house and progressive trance style but can be seen dipping into dubstep, or luvstep, as he might call it.  His dubstep talents have even found him on the official remix of Justin Bieber and Big Sean’s “As Long As You Love Me.”

Where can you find the youngster?  He just played Electric Beach in New York City this last weekend, he will be at Voyeur in San Diego this next weekend on September 22nd, and The Exchange in Los Angeles on October 5th.  Keep on the lookout for his September Promo Mix that will be available for download via his SoundCloud, and we look forward to hearing more from Audien.

*Editor's Note: The day after this was posted Audien released his September Promo Mix.  Here it is for some listening to get you through your work week.  See you this weekend for Nadia Ali, Menikmati, and Nathan Scott!

The Social Group's Preview for the Freakin' Weekend 9/13-915

Looking ahead to this weekend

Emma Hewitt

               The Australian born singer brings her world famous vocals to Sutra on Thursday night.  Since breaking onto the scene in 2007 on Chris Lake’s ‘Carry Me Away,’ Emma has had a string of megahits that has catapulted her to superstardom in the EDM world.  She is probably most famous for her work with the almighty Dash Berlin on his monster track ‘Waiting.’  She continues to tour the world with her infectious voice and we can’t wait to see what new music she will be bringing to Sutra this Thursday.

DJ Jason Lema

               The Marquee resident is bringing his sound along with Emma Hewitt this Thursday.  The Vegas transplant got his ear for music growing up in Miami and is a constant main stage presence all over Vegas.  He opens for every big name that plays Marquee and gets his own night at the club on a regular basis.  From the desert to OC, DJ Lema will be bringing a more diverse style to our usually EDM focused Element Thursdays.

DHG

               The dynamic DJ duo has been a regular Sutra Friday headliner over the last year.  They bring their passion for house music and an entire stock of clever edits to the decks.  Their mashups keep the dance floor energy going and there most likely won’t be a banger they’ll miss.  Don’t be surprised if you see them jump on top of the DJ booth and point to the ceiling out of pure emotion.  If you love electro house, this is one up and coming duo that brings it every night.

DJ Scooter

               One of our favorite resident DJs returns to Social Saturday.  Always a crowd favorite, Scooter brings an awesome vibe to the venue and you can’t help but feed on his insane energy.  The man loves to throw a party and isn’t scared to take the mic and demand it.  Always bringing new bootlegs and edits to the table, Scooter definitely is worth the price of admission every time.  Scooter brings the talent and the will to rock any venue, any dance floor, anywhere at any time.  If you don’t believe me, come check him out this Saturday at Sutra!

ZM

Pick of the Week!

Coldplay- ‘Charlie Brown’ (Jacques Lu Cont Remix)

Kids Fueling the Party featuring Nicky Romero

               This past weekend at Sutra showcased the bright future of dance music.  Starting off with one of the most sought after DJs and Producers in the world, Nicky Romero, on Thursday; Sutra Friday with the LA resident youngster full of talent and ambition, Travis Emmons; and closing out the weekend with our all-star resident DJs BBguns and BeeFam. 

               Last Thursday night really felt like the 7th night of Sutra5+1.  From the beginning of the night the dance floor was packed and there was a definite buzz around the building.  By the time Nicky took the decks around midnight, the place was absolutely consumed with anxious energy that couldn’t wait another minute.  Opening with Ken Loi’s mashup of Nicky Romero’s biggest hit ‘Toulouse’ and Nero’s classic ‘Crush on You’, we all knew we were in for a great night.  I’d seen Nicky Romero twice before this, once at the San Diego Sports Arena in January and again at Marquee in February.  The first time I saw him he was pretty good but nowhere near outstanding.  The second time, about a month later, at Marquee was one of the best nights I’d had at an EDM show in a long time.  I can honestly say that Nicky Romero’s DJing skills, tracklist, and overall energy completely blew my expectations out of the water.  We all know that he is one of the best and most popular producers in the EDM (and mainstream) world, but I can honestly say that he is easily becoming one of the best DJs in the world.  I watched the kid nearly break Sutra’s CDJs he was moving back and forth and hitting so many buttons so fast.  His movement and DJing skills was very reminiscent of another one of my favorite DJs, Fedde Le Grand.  It may be no coincidence that have collaborated on a good amount of tracks.  I’d recommend their collaboration ‘Slacking’ and their new track ‘Sparks’.  But going back to the night at hand, I did my best to keep a track list but it consisted of mainly the typical go to Romero classics, but it also contained probably between 30% and 40% of new ID’s.  (ID’s are tracks that are played before they are completed, named, mastered, and most importantly they are unreleased).  So it looks to be an exciting year for Nicky Romero and dance music in general with all these tracks to be released in the future.  My main take away from the night is that Nicky Romero is well on his way to solidifying himself as a superstar DJ and he is definitely worth the price of admission.

               Next up was the LA based DJ Travis Emmons taking on Sutra Fridays.  Not nearly as famous or mainstream as Nicky Romero, but Emmons’ DJing skills and overall energy was a pleasant surprise.  The youngster proved to be an excellent DJ and I can see why he seems to have a residency at every major club in LA.  The guy knows how to play to a crowd and he knows how to keep a dance floor moving.  By the time the night ended at around 1:50, the dance floor was still full and almost nobody was ready to go home.  Look out for Travis and you get a chance to check him out, whether it be in LA or elsewhere, get ready for a nonstop dance party until the lights turn on.

               Closing out the weekend with our Social Saturday crew was BBguns and BeeFam.  These two going back to back bring a night full of action packed energy that never seems to disappoint.  BeeFam tends to get the night started with his typical funky disco house that always gets the girls dancing.  Playing a long set almost every Social Saturday, he is constantly changing up his music but keeping the vibe going.  You might hear anything from Katy Perry ‘Firework’, Gesaffelstein’s hypnotic ‘Control Movement’, or Fedde Le Grand’s funky rework of his own classic ‘Back’.  BBguns brings his fluid back and forth between electro and progressive house, but don’t be caught off guard if you find yourself grinding to some old school hip-hop or new hip-hop for that matter.  These two combine to murder every Saturday at Sutra.  Check them out as they return next week in another back to back set while both in support of our resident DJ Scooter.  See you this weekend!

ZM

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