Performing at AMG’s Silent Disco

As a natural introvert, being intimidated in front of crowds is nothing new to me.

It’s something that I have always disliked throughout my life, even when it just involves presenting in front of five people. Recently, I got to perform a DJ set at Aztec Music Group’s Silent Disco here at San Diego State University.

Before the event even started, I was somewhat nervous, for the most part because I wasn’t sure if people were going to like what I was going to do. This over thinking always happens to me and it is somewhat of a curse and a blessing at the same time.

For starters, this over thinking let me believe that my first track choice was not the right one. I kept on changing my track selection because well I kept on looking at the worst case scenarios – people tuning out of my channel at the Silent Disco.

But at the same time, the blessing part of this whole process was that I kept on improving my track list to the point where I exhausted myself. At the end of it all, it took me about seven track lists to filter 60 potential songs out of 220 that I wanted to play within the 55 minute time frame that I was given.

Still, I wasn’t satisfied, even though my friends here at State told me that I was going to kill it regardless. Of course, there was always the occasional little “fix” that I would make to see of that would do it.

When hanging out at the event before my set, it got to the point where I was so nervous that I made a backup track list that was completely different than what I had planned. I did not end up using it because I decided to go with my first instinct, which was that what I had was good enough.

I went up on the stage and started playing my set, which started with Tiesto and The Chainsmokers’ single, “Split.” The beat progressively built up to 128 beats per minute and once it dropped, a sea of green headphones (there were three channels playing all at once), appeared right before my eyes. My channel was green.

Throughout my set, that green sea kept on appearing, although I myself don’t completely recall because I somewhat blackout (not due to alcohol or anything of that nature) whenever I perform in front of people.

What I do remember though, was seeing my friends who I first met here at State, supporting me and what I was doing. This meant a lot to me because they’ve been there supporting me from the very beginning of my DJ hobby, which started at an apartment party in BLVD63 (it got shut down right away).

Once my set was over, I was told that I “killed it” by multiple people who I didn’t even know. This made me happy because I put a lot of time into my set, and I was relieved that people vibed with what I believed in.

Now here I am,  about to repeat the whole process over again at my first official gig during the weekend.

I don’t know what to expect at Bassmnt (an EDM nightclub in Downtown San Diego), but now I know to go forward with what I believe in.

Devin Dawson finds his home in country music

After touring with his rock band nonstop, Devin Dawson decided to go back to his country roots with a dark and bold sound, where he is currently finding success within the music genre.

The 28-year-old California native’s hit single, “All on Me,” debuted about a month ago in Billboard’s top 100 at #98 and currently resides at #93. Narrow down the spectrum to only “Hot Country Songs,” and Dawson’s single can be found at #19. It also currently has over 35 million streams on Spotify.

Vocals that are very distinguishable, depicting romance and vulnerability, become one with the catchy chords Dawson composes. The combination of the lyrics and chords make for a song so sleek and raw that it will keep your attention from the beginning to end.

His approach to country music is one that is unusual to the more common formula that his colleagues use. It’s has a different purpose and that purpose is what makes Dawson a modern storyteller through his work. It’s easy to see why the singer is named in PEOPLE’s Ones to Watch list for 2017. Not only that, but he has also received praise from Entertainment Weekly, ELLE and Rolling Stone, and made his TV debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

With his song “Dark Horse,” Dawson does an amazing job depicting a passion for country music that comes straight from his heart, with clever phrasing that allows you to easily see who he is and what he believes in.

“Honest To God” is another one of his great songs, which is featured in the original motion picture, “The Shack.” Yet again, Dawson speaks through a smooth rhythm that does not at all sound like the typical country song one would imagine.

Signing with Atlantic Records / Warner Music Nashville in 2016, Dawson was peaked to expand his presence in country music. Why the singer decided to name his debut album “Dark Horse,” which is set for release on Jan. 19, can be easily seen. The album is currently available for pre-order with “All on Me,” “Dark Horse” and “Secondhand Hurt” currently available to download.

The “Dark Horse” artist is currently on the road and information regarding tour dates can be found on his website.

Discovering New EDM Sub-Genres and Artists

Exploring new Electronic Dance Music is something that I like to do during my free time. I become thrilled when I discover any new, refreshing sound that catches my attention.

Because I enjoy finding new sounds within the EDM genre, I have a whole bunch of music streaming apps such as SoundCloud, Spotify, Shazam, MixCloud and Apple Music. Usually, my whole day revolves around these apps – literally. From when I wake up all the way to when I go to sleep, I play a constant flow of refreshing tunes for my ear drums to enjoy and to add a hint of spice to my day.

When I was first introduced to this genre, which happened to be in the year 2013, I stuck to two sub-genres: trance and electro-house. I was very loyal to these two sub-genres, which feature artists such as Armin van Buuren, Hardwell, Above & Beyond and W&W. I refused to listen to anything else other than sounds that were of the these categories.

This all changed right around the time when I started going to EDM festivals, because I would literally stay at these events from start to finish (the main artists that I wanted to see weren’t going to play until the very end of the shows). Although I always wound up exhausted from being on my feet, jumping and dancing for 8-12 hours, I found it to be worth it.

Experiencing the different sounds brought by all the diverse artists that fall under the EDM umbrella completely changes your perspective on their work. All of a sudden, I was exposed to new names, such as Will Sparks (melbourne bounce), Yellow Claw (trap), Eric Prydz (techno house), Oliver Heldens (deep house), Illenium (bass house) and Don Diablo (future house).

I started becoming more open and embraced their unique work. I suddenly had the desire to become more familiar with these new genres, and with artists similar to the ones that played the festivals. A more recent example of this sense of discovery happened at Escape: Psycho Circus 2017, where I became exposed to Rezz. I did not know who she was or what genre she fell under, but she blew me away with her performance. Her sound is so unique that it literally falls into it’s own sub-category.

Overall, when going to the events your choice, go at the beginning and support the openers and their work. They got booked for a reason. And who knows, maybe you too will find excitement in discovering something new.

This is My Last Rave

“EDC Las Vegas 2016 will be my last rave.”

I remember saying that, only to keep on going to rave after rave and eventually saying the same thing at EDC Las Vegas 2017.

When I was 17 years old, I came across Electronic Dance Music on YouTube. “Armin van Buuren live at Ultra Miami 2014,” was the first live set that I watched. Ever since then, Armin became my favorite DJ and got me hooked on EDM. I eventually started to watch more videos of other DJs’ live sets and became pretty familiar with the big names such as Hardwell, Martin Garrix, Tiesto, Axwell /\ Ingrosso (two-thirds of Swedish House Mafia), Yellow Claw, etc… The genre grew on me and that’s all I listened to.

At the time, I was still in high school and not many people liked EDM; I felt like an outcast and didn’t really talk about EDM with anyone. I remember only talking to a couple of people that I knew who were also into EDM at the time. They would bring up “EDC” into the conversations and I was confused as to what “EDC” was.

I did my research, only to be amazed to find out what the Electric Daisy Festival was: the biggest rave in the United States filled with multiple stages and with production like no other. I had to go. But, there was no way I could go in 2014 due to the festival being 18+. Then, December 2014 came and I finally turned 18. I attended my first rave, which happened to be a New Year’s Eve rave here in San Diego.

I got hooked straight away. The thumping bass lines, the multiple lights flashing, lasers, LED screens and confetti popping out after the bass drop made for an unforgettable atmosphere that I enjoyed, along with thousands of other people who shared the same interest.

I wanted to go to more raves, but had no one else to go with since everyone I knew at the time was under 18. And, due to this, it was a quiet 2015 until September, when one of my friends turned 18. From then on, I attended other events such as Nocturnal Wonderland, Escape: Psycho Circus, Countdown NYE as well as smaller events and some Artist/DJ shows. I had no urge to stop and literally had at least one rave planned out for each month. June 2016 came and that’s when I had the opportunity to attend EDC Las Vegas 2016.

Even though all my friends flaked on going to EDC, I decided that they weren’t going to stop me and I went alone. Even today, this is a decision I will never regret in my life.

Experiencing a festival of such magnitude alone makes you appreciate everything that life has to offer. How people set aside differences and hate in the interest of unity, brought on by music that has no language barriers. I connected with a lot of people and also grew as a person on my single EDC trip. It made me realize that we shouldn’t let anyone stop us from doing what we want with our lives. At the time, I again said that it would be my last rave. But yet again I couldn’t resist.

Nocturnal Wonderland, Escape, Countdown NYE, other, EDC. Nocturnal Wonderland, Escape, Countdown NYE, other, EDC. This is the schedule that I have been repeating ever since 2015. Of course, every single time I attend these events, it’s a unique experience where I meet some new people and see some people that I met previously. I mostly attend these events alone now. I don’t bother asking people if they want to join me because, honestly, I prefer it this way. It gets me to talk more to people around me and let’s me enjoy the experience without having to constantly worry about somebody else.

Now, here I am in 2017, fresh out of Escape, writing about the 20+ raves that I have attended and will continue to attend (because I already have tickets for raves in the upcoming months). I’ll admit it, it’s getting harder and harder doing the same thing. Not because it’s getting repetitive, but because my body is starting to hurt after these events. Maybe EDC Las Vegas 2018 will finally be my last rave? I guess I won’t find out until then.