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Lights Out Festival misses mark in first year

This weekend, Miami was buzzing over Lights Out Festival, a brand new EDM fest being held at Wynwood Convention Center put together by Dementia Events.  The scene was set for a great time: a two-stage production, awesome lights and lasers, relatively cheap tickets, and an all-star lineup including Felix da Housecat, RJD2, Felix Cartal and DJ Icey.  Unfortunately, the organizers of the event made a few serious errors in planning and everyone suffered, including the artists and the crowd. 

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Upon entering the venue, we were in awe of the multitude of lights and lasers filling the air. Also equally surprising was the size of the converted warehouse. The venue was massive; the crowd, however, was not as awe inspiring.  Estimated at less than 1000 people at its peak, the size of the warehouse made it seem as if there was 50.  

This was the first crucial error by the organizers. They must have missed their attendance mark by a few thousand.  The VIP section was nearly empty for most of the show and the General Admission area could have held a crowd ten times the size.  The marketing of the event is to blame for this poor showing.  For an all-star lineup such as this one, more people should have known about it.  As connected and involved as I am in the scene, I did not even hear about it until about a week prior, and only because a friend of mine found a $9 ticket promotion online. The event promoters need to better find their target audience by giving themselves more time to plan and promote.  From the looks of it, promotion for this event began in the beginning of June.  A month is not enough time to get the word out through all appropriate avenues. 

The poor attendance could also have had to do with the ticket pricing. With about a week to go, the promoters decided to basically give their general admission tickets away for only a service fee of $9. This act now seems like a desperate attempt to fill the general admission space.  Thankfully, this was the price that I paid for my ticket, seeing that a GA ticket was regularly priced at $45.  

The second major error by the organizers was the disparity of the VIP/GA areas.  The GA area was blocked off by a barricade that was no less than 30 feet from the stage.  This space created a metaphorical gap between the DJ and the crowd since the VIP area was rarely filled with anyone dancing.  Most VIP attendees stayed away from the dance floor and off to the side near the bar until the staff opened up the fence and let the crowd through during RJD2’s set.  

The awkwardly large open space between the DJ and crowd can be seen in this photo of DJ Icey’s set:

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This creates a disconnect between the DJ and crowd. As a DJ, you want the crowd as close as possible to the speakers and as close as possible to you. The energy tradeoff is what makes for the best shows.  When a crowd is this far away, the DJ cannot feel their energy as much and it makes for a less enjoyable experience for everyone.  If Lights Out Festival wants to attract big names again in the future, they must make it a fun place for the DJ to play. Backing up the set times by two hours and cutting off the headliner after 20 minutes is not a great way to get future business from world class DJs. 

The biggest error by the organizers, in my opinion, was the sound system.  The outside system shorted out multiple times throughout the day, killing the energy. The inside system crashed twice during the first 10 minutes of RJD2’s set.  After the second crash, he decided he wasn’t going to play any of his harder or more bass heavy stuff and just played more chill and experimental tracks.  And after having been pushed back two hours and having to play to a dwindling crowd, I don’t blame him.  The speaker placement was also less than desirable.  There were two giant PA stacks to the right and left of the stage and a smaller one in the middle, but they were 15 feet in front of the stage, on the other side of the lighted LED dance floor. If they want to have people going crazy close to the stage, you need to be able to hear the sound directly and not a muffled, reverb-filled version of the sound. There were also no back speakers to fill the entire warehouse space, which ended up not being a problem because of the small crowd size. 

It was a valiant attempt to bring a big-name summer festival into Miami, but the experience of this one was marred by these major hiccups.  The organizers plan to bring back Lights Out very soon and hopefully they will have learned from this inaugural festival.  This Saturday proved that a successful large scale production is possible at Wynwood Convention Center.  We all know that there is money to be made in the EDM/rave scene in Miami.  Lights Out Festival is a great idea that can work with better planning and more promotion. 

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Skinny Hendrix: Evolution of a DJ

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As you may or may not know, I have been hard at work in the last 6 months or so in practicing my skills and becoming a dope-ass DJ.  After a few very successful gigs, things have been looking very promising in that realm for me. I plan on using this blog more often as a way to connect with my friends and fans and to keep people updated on new releases, shows, and crazy stories from my DJing.

Ever since I have returned to Miami from an amazing road trip, I have been honing my skills and am nearing completion of an electro set that is going to blow some minds. Being the perfectionist that I am, I want to have it sounding right before I put it out to the world – and now after about two weeks of hard practice, it is sounding RIGHT!!  My hopes are that it will be the thing to legitimize my DJing and take my career to new heights. My entire focus right now is on finishing this mix and releasing it. Afterwards I will begin a promotion phase where I will create a facebook page for my music as well as other forms of internet and direct promotion of my brand.

In the meantime, you can get excited for the full length set by listening to these two electro bootleg mashups of mine.  These clips were done totally spontaneously in the middle of my many long DJ practice sessions. The first a 5 minute mashup of Zeds Dead/Radiohead/Bloody Beetroots/Infected Mushroom.  I believe is a great example for a listener to hear and feel the energy I put into my DJing. They utilize a lot of different techniques and skills that I have been improving upon and will be unleashing in my full live sets.

Hope you enjoy. Share it if you like it and keep your eyes out for the new Skinny Hendrix electro mix coming soon!

-Brady

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Artist Spotlight, Skinny Hendrix

 

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Exzoddia Excites Fans With Debut EP

Hip Hop artist Exzoddia is back with producer Skinny Hendrix on their new single, “Yes We Cannabis.”

This is the first single off Exzoddia’s debut album, “Ron Paul for President” coming out soon! Keep an eye out for this talented young artist.

 


 
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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Artist Spotlight

 

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A Spiritual Journey With Michael Garfield : A Million Anniversaries

It’s not often that you come across an artist so gifted that they can connect with people through more than one medium.  Michael Garfield is one of those artists. A guitarist, visual/live artist, and part-time social issues orator (he has talks scheduled all this week at Burning Man) originally from Boulder, CO, Garfields’ artistic expression holds no boundaries.

After one listen to Michael Garfield’s recently released genre-defying album, A Million Anniversaries, I was completely hooked.  The album is a 25-song series of unprocessed acoustic guitar loops added onto one another to create textural patterns and beautiful soundscapes.  The style of music varies greatly from song to song, and even within songs, ranging from blues and folk to shoegaze and head-nodding instrumental rock.  Garfield has a dynamic ability to express himself on the acoustic guitar and to allow the listener to climb inside of his head and connect with him on a deep level.

Below is a video of one of my favorite songs on the album, “Extinct”.  You can see the process that Garfield goes through of adding loop onto loop in order to create a full song.


Having the pleasure of meeting Michael earlier this year at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, I found him to be bursting with talent, yet he remained completely humble and gracious.  He is a truly a visionary artist that is producing works that the world has not seen before.  You can download his new album here for any price you choose.

Find a quiet spot, turn on A Million Anniversaries, and take a journey in the mind of Michael Garfield.

 

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in album review, Artist Spotlight

 

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Coolest Guy in Music: Edward Sharpe, NYC’s Folk Hero

I am using the power vested in me to nominate Alex Ebert, leader of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, for Coolest Guy in Music.  Ebert is the guy in the center in the picture below. As you can see, he would not look out of place sitting in the subway station and singing for money.  As a bandleader, he is a huge inspiration. He heads a band of ten great musicians and from how they act onstage and off, they cannot be happier playing music with him.

This Sunday, I was fortunate enough to be in attendance of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on the rooftop of the Mondrian Hotel in Soho.  The setting was beautiful; we could see all of Manhattan and some of New Jersey and Brooklyn. What made me laugh was that there could not have been a bigger disparity between the swanky penthouse venue and the ten-piece band who looked and smelled like they had been in a van for the last five days. But on this night, the oddball crew made it work. The group played their magical indie folk in an acoustic set and had the hipster crowd singing and dancing along with them.

I don’t know Ebert’s full backstory, but I know that he had addiction problems which he seems to have overcome through his passion in music.  Before the set, he sat down on the ground in a yoga pose to collect himself amid the crowded roof and sat in silence for a few minutes. After the show, he and his entire band were seen mingling with the crowd and enjoying themselves on the roof.

Not much else can be said about this modern-day shaman that will do him justice. See him in action yourself and watch a video of him with his band:

Thanks for reading!

 
 

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BREAKING NEWS: New York City Has Great Live Music

This just in: New York City has great live music.

New York is renowned for its live music; we all know that. But it hasn’t been as apparent to me ever since I’ve moved to the city as it is now that live music here rules. Period. No other city in the world offers you a chance to see an awesome show in any given genre or scene on any given night or day (or morning, for that matter). There is so much quantity and variety in the performances that you could see live music every night of the summer, and you wouldn’t even overlap genres or even travel to the same part of the city twice.

Don’t know what to do tonight? Check out Oh My Rockness for a thorough list of all the Indie shows in the city that night. Want to lay low and see a free show? Go to Prospect Park for the Celebrate Brooklyn! free summer concert series and relax with the jazzheads. In a festival mood? You could go to Governor’s Ball, Seaport Music Festival, Electric Daisy, or CMJ. Feelin’ upscale? Lincoln Center is putting on a festival of performing arts until August 14.

With all the options available, sometimes it’s hard to decide where to allocate your time. Fortunately, regardless of what band you decide to see, you will rarely be disappointed (unless you are in Williamsburg). Recently, I have been to two concerts that have blown my mind.

The first one of those was Phantogram on July 22nd at Terminal 5 in the Upper West Side. They played in front of packed house and shared the bill with RJD2 and The Glitch Mob.

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Phantogram performed as a trio, with super-cutie frontwoman Sarah Barthel on synth, co-frontman (not as cute) Josh Carter on guitar, and a live drummer in the house who played the hell out of the set.  As they gain experience on tour, they also have gained knowledge of how to make their sound bigger and more epic.  Their live songs blew their recorded material completely out of the water.  They performed “Bloody Palms” amazingly and the song transcended to a haunting jam with their meshing voices growing louder and more core-shaking with each chant.

Phantogram has a new record coming out in the fall, so keep an eye out for it, as this band is hitting their stride at the right time.

The next show that blew my mind was Zeds Dead at the Mad Decent Block Party this Saturday at Southside Seaport.  The crowd came out for the free festival and was there solely to party and have the best time possible.  We bumped and grinded in close quarters while Zeds brought their sweet, sweet dubstep/electro. Beer was spilled, sunburns were had, and dance music was laid down with force.  Where else in the world could you go on a Saturday afternoon to a downtown port and enjoy a free rave by a major DJ act like Zeds Dead? New York, for all of its woes, kicks ass in the live music department, and events like Mad Decent prove that.

I will close out this post with a video of the performance. Notice the amazing setting with the ships all around and the beautiful day. On top of that, notice the great time being had by all! Gotta love New York!!

Have a good day, thanks for reading! As always feedback is appreciated.

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Event Review

 

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Skinny Hendrix Interviews Dubstep Artist Statesthetic

Statesthetic, real name Jason Tortorete, is a dubstep artist hailing from outside of Pittsburgh, PA. He has been producing dubstep for only five months now and already his immense talent is showing through in his music. He has just released a new EP for purchase on July 20th through Vinyl-Related Records. I caught up with Statesthetic to ask him a few questions on his music and new album.

Jason Tortorete, aka Statesthetic

Skinny Hendrix: What should we expect out of the new album?

Statesthetic: You can expect a whole new array of bass sounds and construction, as well as the entaglement of musical/electronic elements. The new sound is much heavier, louder, and more intense.

Skinny Hendrix: Tell us about how you make your music. Do you have a certain routine in order to get yourself prepared?

Statesthetic: I can usually begin a new track any time of the day, but I love to work at night, around midnight. I usually have to be inspired, either by a song I’ve heard or a new sound I’ve made. I always start with a synth that is new or one that I love to work with, find a sound, and let the rest of the song come from the inspiration of that one sound. I create a pattern, then drum and percussion elem\ents, then work from there. I love plugins so I use as many as I need to make the sounds that I envision.

Skinny Hendrix: Which musicians have been major influences for your music?

Statesthetic: Datsik has always inspired me simply because of his low and deep sounds with that edgier harder style. I also recently have got hooked on Modesteps “Feel Good”. I have always tried to incorporate orchestral elements as well as jazz, and I love how they did it. A few others are Mantis and Skism.

Skinny Hendrix: A two part question: Who is your favorite and least favorite dubstep artist?

Statesthetic: Favorite dubstep artist to me would be someone I can listen to over and over again, not necessarily the most outrageous or the calmest. I would have to say Flux Pavilion or Datsik, but my favorites change every so often though. My least favorite would have to be Dr. P sorry to say it i just really do not like any of his music.

Statesthetic's hatin' on DR. P!!! OH SNAP!!!

Skinny Hendrix: What do you think of the common association of dubstep and “bro” culture?

Statesthetic: I think tying anything like that together, generally, is dumb. Music is what it is, and although stereotypes may find a root in there somewhere, it’s all nonsense. People who say they hate a whole genre, always have those few songs they connect with. Music is metaphysical, so lets keep it that way. And for anyone who says dubstep is “easy” to make… that’s like hitting a few notes on a piano and saying you’re a piano player.

Skinny Hendrix: You spent a good amount of time looking to get signed and bounced around a few offers. What made you decide to go with Vinyl Related Records?

Statesthetic: Well I’m releasing a few of my songs through VRR, but as an artist, I’m not signed with them. They have good rep, a great line-up of artists and friendly people. I am however signed to Houze Records where I will be releasing my new EP. They have a fantastic line-up of talent and are promised to be huge in the near future.

Skinny Hendrix: What can we expect from Statesthetic in the future?

Statesthetic: I will be going back to college soon so production might slow a bit, but you can however expect me to progress quickly skill-wise. If you have heard my tunes only two months ago compared to now, you will realize how quickly I upgrade my sound. As well as new promotions, gigs and performances, and of course, hearing about me from your neighbor 🙂

Skinny Hendrix: If you could play your dream show with any DJ, who would it be and why?

Statesthetic: My dream gig would be to travel and play with deadmau5 as weird as that sounds, he’s a cool guy and has a lot of music talent and knowledge and I’m sure would be willing to help out. Speaking dubstep, I would love to play with Datsik, simply because he has so much fun on stage and his shows are so energetic.

Deadmau5 and Statesthetic: possible collaboration?

You can listen to Statesthetic’s music on his soundcloud page or head over to Vinyl Related Records to purchase his new EP.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Artist Spotlight, Interview

 

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