Looking back on my photos of 2011, if there’s one takeaway, it’s that production value at festivals has gone WAY up. If there’s two, it’s that I shouldn’t have waited til December to buy a wide angle lens.
Anyway, this article is something of a story in photos. I started shooting in April after I graduated, improved dramatically by October (after all the festivals were done), and bought some real gear in December. Look out 2012!
While you read on, why not listen to AutoErotique’s latest mix?
Definitely one of my best photos of the year. Certainly my most impressive of a light show. This was taken the second night of EDC Vegas 2011, from the VIP tent, during Afrojack’s performance. The production structure 150ft back from the stage was a better vantage point, and had free keg beer, so I spent pretty much all of my time there until Zeds Dead went on (and then the remainder of the night in their trailer with Skrillex, 12th Planet, Feed Me, and several other cool bros.)
The crowd at Electric Zoo for Calvin Harris was larger by an order of magnitude than the crowd we rocked at WEMF 2011. Yes, I was lucky enough to open for Calvin Harris in 2011. This guy generates crowd responses like few others. Nay, he controls the crowd like few others. The atmosphere at Electric Zoo was special that day. An outstanding performance at a truly memorable festival.
I had to listen to Rusko’s Electric Zoo performance from the media tent, as I was busy interviewing AN21 and Max Vangeli. Fortunately I had seen him just a couple weeks earlier at WEMF 2011. The most memorable track (from both performances) was Giant – Party Starter.
If there’s any single event that was most influential on my musical tastes this year, it was the Red Bull Music Academy tour’s Detroit stop, Motor City Frequencies, featuring Carl Craig, Theo Parrish, Mike Banks, and Juan Atkins representing Detroit techno.
This might not look like an impressive photo on first glance, but check again. Yep, that’s Mike Banks on the left. You’re not supposed to publish photos of this guy showing his face, so I got lucky with this one!
2011 really was the year of Mod Club, and the Miami Horror show was the beginning of the end. When Embrace started booking live shows for an electrokids crowd on their Friday nights, the once overwhelming and consistent crowds started dwindling. I have some fond memories of that venue that I’ll keep with me through my career as a DJ, and getting to close that night after the Miami Horror show is one of them!
“We sold this bitch out, London! I want to thank you all for all the love… from the bottom of my heart!” All performers say something like this, but Ellison was so into the music, so into the crowd, so genuine and even humble, that I believe him, and, more importantly, I believe he believes himself. He looked like a man in the midst of having a pleasant dream, enjoying it as much as he can before he wakes up.
No one had a bigger year than Skrillex, as measured by just about any metric. So when he hopped on stage during Mothership Tour mate and fellow Los Angeles native 12th Planet’s set, pandemonium in the already revved up crowd ensued.
Feed Me was one of only a select few sets I managed to watch in their entirety at Electric Zoo, as our interview schedule was tireless. This guy’s productions this year and at the tail end of last were just outstanding – a credit and an inspiration to the genre.
Definitely my biggest headlining set of the year. Hundreds of people packed the Mod Club out that night and the vibe was electric, off the heels of an incredible set by The Makeover. Torro Torro also played, closing the night down with serious energy.
Same party as above. These guys make super sexy disco music, and everyone that night was absolutely loving it.
This isn’t the most impressive photo of the duo, whose year included Radio 1 airplay, a remix for Dillon Francis x Diplo, and an incredible music video for their single Blue Blouse. It is the most rare however, given the smile on Yo Ev’s (left) face. Trust me, I have dozens of photos of this guy (is that creepy to say?), and he’s not smiling in any of them! This was their first performance at WEMF, but their best was an early morning 5am moombahton set, with the sun rising over the beautiful Algonquin Provincial Park and the sticky + smelly ravers as the setting. We were all running on fumes (or other things) from the ridiculous weekend that had just passed, and we don’t really remember much, except that it was AWESOME!
I thought that someone was playing a trick on me as I entered the day club and came upon this scene. Seriously. It looked like something out of a movie (specifically, a girls gone wild movie). Anyway, Boys Noize’s set was even better than the mojitos that were being downed like water in the desert, and this was just the beginning of my EDC adventure. And you have to ask if I’m going back this year?
I can recall several reasons why I wanted to be a DJ when I first started.. this is a good approximation of five of them.
It’s hard not to take 100 of these photos (or get whiplash) at Electric Zoo. I love the effort that people put in to their outfits at this festival.. it is as important as the lights in my opinion!
The one thing that EDC had on the other festivals this year was live entertainment. I was impressed by this when I partied in Ibiza a few years ago – it makes a big difference to the energy of the party!
Poupon’s set at WEMF was as inspiring for me as it was entertaining – here I was playing Avicii to the same response as he was getting with Nic Fanciulli. The guy had a solid year gigging and production wise, and I expect this very talented musician will be on our radars yet again in 2012!
No one had a greater impact on my musical tastes this year than Joris Voorn, so to catch him in North America was a real delight!
I have a hard time putting words to paper about these guys, so I’m going to quote our article on their WEMF performance and leave it to you folks to read the rest:
Zeds Dead produces songs that are part of a dubstep canon, and that are immune to the winds of fashion…It’s not that Zeds Dead has nothing new to tell us, it’s that everything they’ve told us so far, and specifically, everything they told us at WEMF, was uniformly brilliant. The interesting thing is not what they played, which was most of their catalogue, or the crowd’s reception of those songs, which was the unmatched. It’s that Zeds Dead hasn’t been producing dubstep for a significantly longer time than, for example, Skrillex, but rather, that they produced a catalogue of nothing but classics.
When I got Sam of Killabits fame on camera this year at WEMF I thought to myself “I couldn’t possibly get someone MORE drunk on video”. Then I got Hooks and DC of Zeds Dead a few minutes later. And THEN… two weeks later, I interviewed Sebastian, and much to my chagrin he was drunker than all of Bassmentality put together. He did have some wicked cool things to say about his music, politics, and Enio Morricone, but they punctuated his drinking about 5 beers and smoking a pack of cigarettes during the 10 minute interview. Oh well.. next time.
One of my best interviews of the year was with Thomas Gold, just a couple hours before (t)his set on the main stage at EDC Vegas!
Like my comment on Electric Zoo outfits, the ravers at EDC really contribute to the atmosphere of the festival. Only, at EDC the frequency of ravers is way higher, and their outfits are way more extreme. For reals.
The grand finale of day 1 was something else. I caught most of it from the ferry, and the scene was utterly ridiculous.. if this photo tells any story, its of the chaos and full out assault on the senses that was Tiesto’s set at EZoo. Memorable track was Autoerotique – Turn Up the Volume.
Nicolas Jaar put on one of the best performances of Electric Zoo 2011. The Sunday School Grove that day was a stacked lineup, and I spent all afternoon and evening chillin’ there.
EDC Vegas 2011 was a full experience, from the art installation in the foreground (one of many) to the fireworks over head and the cutting edge dance music all around me.
After a gruelling day in the media tent, this was the first performance I got to actually watch. This is just at the end of Schulz’ set.
This was, by far, the biggest crowd I saw this year. There are an estimate 60,000 people down there watching SHM do their thing to the biggest visual production of the festival.
This was a painful experience for me. I mean, the set was outstanding, but I had been drinking at a really divey bar til 4am with 12th Planet, enjoying a secret set by New Yorker Drop the Lime. Ouch.
It’s hard to emphasize sufficiently that Laidback Luke had more fun during this set than anyone else I saw spin in 2011.
Two reasons why Laidback Luke was having so much fun during his Encore Beach set.
When I interviewed Sander Van Doorn and asked him to distribute 3 awards, MVP + Rookie of the Year + Most Improved, he named Alesso his Rookie of the Year. Deservingly. The guy had just as big a year in 2011 as Avicii did in 2010, and is poised for major touring in 2012.
Another of the several phenomenal sets from the Sunday School Grove, on the third day of Electric Zoo 2011. I didn’t leave this tent until I was ready to go home..
Wolfgang Gartner had just started his new tour, rinsing crazy unreleased tracks at each of his shows, and was about to drop one of the most important albums of the year. This guy is the most talented man in electro house right now, and will be for years to come.
This show was the start of Chromeo’s last-ditch Business Casual tour, and was one hell of a way to kick it off. The crowd packed in front of the main stage around sunset to watch the pair funkify the festival. My favourite track was Needy Girl.