IT’S TIME! New York’s premier dance music festival is finally upon us. A year’s worth of waiting, reminiscing and anticipating is over as Electric Zoo is finally kicking off. This year the festival boasts over 70 accomplished artists ranging from the most respected DJs in the world to newcomers just breaking out onto the scene. I’d absolutely love to be able to catch the entirety of each set put on over the course of the two-day festie, but if you’ve attended anything like this before you know that just isn’t possible. That’s where we come in. The LessThan3 team has been devoted to not only pumping you guys up for New York’s second take at electronic mayhem on a large scale, but also informing you of some hot artists you won’t want to miss when you finally get there.
In the past few weeks, we’ve covered the multitude of genres to be found at Electric Zoo. This ranges from dubstep to trance, indie to electro. Now it’s time to learn about the founding father of each of these. House music.
One of the things that has always baffled me in regards to electronic music is the total misconception people have for it. The majority of non-listeners define the multitude of genres that is Electronic Dance Music simply as “techno.” My goal here isn’t to sound elitist, but there really is more to this “techno” than Darude’s Sandstorm. The great thing about EDM is that if you can overlook that “techno rave” stigma, you’ll see this vast pool of musical innovation that truly has something for everyone. As the foundation of nearly every branch of EDM today, I find house music to be identical in the sense that the right tune can make any ears smile.
The house artists featured at Electric Zoo this year are nothing to complain about. First we have the Chicago-based producer Kaskade, who’s uplifting sets have become a staple of the American electronic festival. His sets tend to follow his productions, but this man really knows how to throw a party. My most vivid memory of last year’s Electric Zoo was during Kaskade’s set when he dropped I’m In New York Bitch. I know we were on an island rather than a dancefloor in a club, but I assure you that Randall’s Island shook throughout the entirety of Kaskade’s set. With the successful release of his sixth studio album, Dynasty, Kaskade is exactly where every DJ wants to be; in the prime of his career with no end in sight.
The recent release of Kaskade’s remix EP Fire In Your New Shoes re-sparked a particular interest I had in one Joachim Garraud. Some people may be turned off by the fact that the Frenchman has been a commercial musician for over 21 years. It’s because of all the Bad Boy Bills, Deadmau5es, and SonicCs that we don’t consider house music a genre set for a middle-aged producer, but when you hear Joachim Garraud throw down his set at Electric Zoo you’ll very likely realize that his age doesn’t hold him back, but gives him an advantage. You’ll hear the banging tunes some of the best young artists would play infused with some of the most technical mixing at the entire festival.
UK producer and strong candidate for breakout artist of 2010 Grum is gracing us with his presence at Electric Zoo this year. Not only that–he’s a mainstage act. In less than a year’s time Grum has become famous for his laidback retro sound. His first full-length album Heartbeats dropped this year and overall reception has been incredible. The album has already been compared to legends like Daft Punk and Mylo. Grum is a producer that is not only a fresh sound in the EDM scene, but an artist who is really beginning to take off in his career. I’m not familiar with the scheduling this weekend, but regardless of who’s playing during this timeslot, I wouldn’t miss Grum.
A lot of buzz is surrounding the impending Avicii mid-afternoon set this Sunday, and it’s completely understandable. The 20 year-old DJ has been impressing the crowds over and over with his dancefloor fillers. Bromance is a certified hit at clubs worldwide and his newest release, a remix of Robyn’s Hang With Me, is sure to follow in the wake of its success. I have a strong feeling that this set is going to define a period of progression in Avicii’s career. At such a young age, and with such drive and raw talent, he has the capability of blowing some of the more seasoned DJs out of the water.
Finally, we have my personal favorite Electric Zoo performance from last year–Chris Lake. Whether you like it or not, this guy drops absolute bombs. Technical, house-y bombs that sound like nothing you’ve ever heard. His recent album on the Toolroom Knights label inspired me to start mixing again. If you saw the writeup on his recent song with Michael Woods, Domino’s, you’ll know that he doesn’t have the nastiest or dirtiest sounding riffs, but his tracks manage to magically fill any room with both music and emotion. The people who I saw his set with last year, some EDM veterans while others brand new to the scene, were all very much shaken by the wee Englishman known simply as Chris Lake.
The Electric Zoo lineup may not be as big as some of the other festivals this year (I’m looking at you Ultra), but it is without a doubt juicy. For weeks we at LessThan3 have covered the genres and artists showcased at Electric Zoo, but we’ve only shown you a small portion of the talent pool; we really encourage you to go swim around. This year at Electric Zoo go see your favorite artists, but keep in mind that every DJ at every tent is there for a reason. Try to take in as much content as possible while you’re there, because I guarantee that post-Electric Zoo, you’ll still crave that buffet of blissful, live, music.