Winter Music Festivals

Looking for a last-minute music festival to attend this winter break? There are many festivals going on to bring in the New Year. Check these out!

It’s always the best to attend music festivals with your friends, especially after finishing a long and busy college semester. You just can’t beat listening to your favorite music with the people you love the most.

There will be many music festivals going on the west coast this winter break, and they contain mainly electronic dance music artists. Electronic music is very diverse, so you will get many different genres at once. These festivals are coming up close, but it’s not too late to buy tickets–especially if your favorite artists are on the lineup!

In our very own city, OMFG! NYE 2019 will be taking place at the Pechanga Arena San Diego from Dec. 30 to Dec. 31. This is the festival’s ninth year in San Diego. Tickets vary in price as you can purchase single-day tickets (around $150) or a 2-day bundle (around $270). If you are staying in San Diego for the new year, this is a must. The lineup looks amazing and I’m sure it will be awesome!

On Dec. 28, Audiotistic SoCal 2019 will be taking place at the NOS Event Center in San Bernardino, CA. Tickets are not too expensive (about $70) since it is a one-day event, so if you are looking for a cheaper event this is it. The lineup looks pretty good as well, so I’m sure it will be very fun!

A couple days later on Dec. 31, Countdown NYE 2019 will also be taking place at the NOS Event Center in San Bernardino, CA. I am attending this festival so I am very excited! Tickets are a little more expensive than Audiotistic (GA is around $130), probably since it is on New Year’s Eve. If you are looking for a NYE event, this one looks very exciting to go to!

Moving to NorCal, MTV’s SnowGlobe Music Festival will be taking place in South Lake Tahoe, CA from Dec. 29 to Dec. 31. Tickets for this festival are almost gone, and they vary in price as you can get a 3-day pass (around $250) or a single day pass (depends on the day). I have heard only good things about this festival and wish I could go. I heard it was very cold though since it is outside, so make sure to bundle up!

Moving east, Decadence Arizona will be held on Dec. 30 and 31 at the Rawhide Event Center in Chandler, AZ. Tickets vary in price, and there are 2-day passes (around $250) as well as single-day passes (around $150). I attended this festival last year with my two best friends and I had an awesome time! It was very cold and packed with people though, so make sure to bring extra layers of clothes. There are a lot of really good artists performing this year.

Decadence Colorado will be held on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31 at The Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Tickets are available in 2-day passes (around $280) or single day passes (around $150). This lineup looks better than Arizona’s in my opinion. I wish I could go since I have not seen many of these artists. This festival looks very fun to be at!

Make sure to dress warm if you are attending a music festival this winter break. If you are looking for last minute New Year’s plans with your friends, definitely attend one of these music festivals!

Written by: Alexandra Gex

Electronic House Music: A Concept

In this week’s blog, I am going to focus on my favorite sub-genre of Electronic Dance Music: House Music.

Most of you know of house music from parties, clubs, or festivals. It has a catchy beat that you can’t help bobbing your head or moving your arms to. Others know how to shuffle to this music (I am still learning but I am impressed with everyone who can break out in shuffle).

House music originated in Chicago at a club called The Warehouse in 1977. Frankie Knuckles, who opened The Warehouse, mixed old disco classics and new Eurobeat pop together. Many of these music experiments took place there, and House became the first descendant of disco.

House music is funny to me because there’s usually a couple of words in the song followed by a beat to dance to. It is repetitive, but that’s what makes it fun. It is usually in a range of 115-130 bpm (beats per minute). I know whenever I hear house music in public places, I can’t help but dance to it.

My featured image for this post shows my favorite house DJ, Tchami, during his back to back set with ZHU. This happened this summer at Hard Summer Music Festival. I was in the crowd for this set and it was a huge moment. ZHU and Tchami had never shared the stage before so everyone got to hear their iconic sounds combined.

Tchami usually shares the stage with Malaa, who I saw at EDC Las Vegas last year. I first saw Tchami in 2017 at the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas — I fell in love with house music and I hope to see him five thousand more times.

In this post, I’m going to highlight some of the different types of house music. I will name some artists associated with the each type and some song suggestions to listen to.

Some different types that I am familiar with are Deep House, Bass House, Big Room House, Tech House and Future House.

For some popular house music titles, most of you probably know of these artists and their songs:

Deep House

This type of house music tends to have a lower bpm (around 120 bpm) and has greater influences from soul, jazz, and funk. I intertwine Deep House with Progressive House because they are both very similar. They are closely related to Trance music, as it has long accelerating peaks and troughs that progress throughout the track.

Bass House

Bass house has more baseline while also containing house music elements. It goes much “harder” because of the bass, and is usually around 145-150 bpm.

Big Room House

This is the more mainstream House music. It has lengthy build-ups and releases.

Tech House

This form of house music combines techno styles with house. It has more techno sounding beats with the rhythm of house music. I don’t listen to much tech house but here are some examples I came up with.

Future House

Future house emerged in the United Kingdom around 2010. It fuses deep house, garage house and other elements of electronic music into it. Garage house is known to have pitch-shifted and time-shifted vocals.

These are just a small amount of the many types of House music. This shows how vast the electronic music genre is. I’m still constantly learning about each one and I love to hear the differences. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Written by: Alexandra Gex

The Alchemy Tour Hits Petco Park

NGHTMRE x SLANDER as Gud Vibrations, Seven Lions, and The Glitch Mob took the stage at San Diego’s Petco Park for The Alchemy Tour on Saturday, October 12.

I’m still so stoked that I was able to attend this show. It was very spontaneous and unexpected, which made it the best.

My story starts last summer. I went to EDC Las Vegas and saw the tail end of SLANDER, who I had never seen before. It was the prettiest end to a set I had ever seen, and I wish I had gotten there earlier to see the whole thing.

Derek Andersen and Scott Land make up the SLANDER duo, and they are based in Los Angeles. They are best known for their unique sound and electronic music subgenre “heaven trap.” They play bass music, dubstep, trap, and even house music. SLANDER’s live sets are filled with the craziest energy. They have many popular songs, and you can feel the emotions in each one of them. Everyone who loves electronic music knows that SLANDER will break your neck and your heart.

NGHTMRE, also known as his real name Tyler Marenyi, is a DJ and producer based in Los Angeles as well. He met the fellow producers Derek and Scott while attending Icon Collective Music Production School in LA, and they developed a close relationship. NGHTMRE began his career remixing trap and house, and then started producing bass, trap and house music. He is signed to Diplo’s record label, Mad Decent, along with SLANDER.

All three of them have many collaborations. They released an EP in 2015 called “Nuclear Bonds” on Diplo’s label. Later in 2016, they released a song titled “Gud Vibrations” that became very popular. It is a very feel good song, and Gud Vibrations became their collaborating tour title and new record label name. They even have a weekly hour-long Gud Vibrations Radio mix on Mixcloud. Their Gud Vibrations tours have been a growing success with sold out shows across the globe.

Back to me — I attended Hard Summer Music Festival this summer, and NGHTMRE went back to back with electronic music artist Excision. I could not miss this, so my group got there early. Both of them went extremely hard, and unexpectedly but expected, NGHTMRE brought out SLANDER as a guest. Gud Vibrations went back to back with Excision, which is absolutely iconic. Everyone in the crowd was so excited and the set was incredibly hype. After this, I could not imagine seeing over an hour of Gud Vibrations together.

I heard about The Alchemy Tour hitting San Diego when they released it to the public, but I was unsure if I should go. I was told that I needed to go, as Gud Vibrations brings their legendary “atom” stage rig with them on tour. The atom is a massive array of light beams that have three rings. They project visuals and it looks like an energy source. Their DJ stand is inside the atom.

As the weeks approached, my closest friends were buying tickets and asking me to go with them. I was trying to save my money, though, and that was my reason to not buy one. 

However, on October 12, the day the tour came to San Diego, I was having second thoughts. I had just gotten over getting sick, and had just completed all of my homework. I also had just received my last paycheck in the mail. Because of this, I went to The Alchemy Tour’s website and bought a ticket at 4:45 p.m. The show began at 5 p.m. 

I frantically put on an outfit, drove over to my friend’s house, and we took an Uber to Petco Park. We got there just in time to see a little bit of The Glitch Mob. 

The stage was not inside the actual baseball stadium which I thought it was, but instead on the little baseball park behind it. It was surrounded by downtown’s skyscrapers and was a very cool atmosphere.

I was not very familiar with The Glitch Mob and did not see them for very long, since I got there late. They are also a Los Angeles based trio, and their names are Justin Boreta, Ed Ma, and Joshua Mayer. They played more heavy music to get the crowd ready, and overall had a very good performance.

Up next onstage was Seven Lions. Jeff Montalvo is an American DJ, record producer, and instrumentalist from Santa Barbara, CA. I have been listening to Seven Lions for many years, and couldn’t believe I got to hear some of his songs live that I had been listening to since the beginning of high school. His music is more emotional with melodic dubstep, trance, house, and drum and bass.

When his stage was set up, I could not believe it. I had seen videos of his live sets on social media with his diamond shaped visual screens in front of him, and I didn’t have time to process that I was seeing that for myself.

Seven Lions during The Alchemy Tour, image by Reddit

The only word I can describe Seven Lions is — beautiful. His music was very emotional and his visuals all around him were very unique. Projections of people’s faces, nature, and the universe all told a story with each song. He played one of my favorite songs, “Strangers,” live, which came out with his Worlds Apart EP in 2014. I used to listen to it all the time in high school and hearing it again live was awesome.

Seven Lions played more of his well-known songs that blew everyone away. He played “Ocean” which was released in 2018, featuring Jonathan Mendelsohn and Jason Ross. This song was very beautiful to see live and blue ocean water projections told a story behind him. He also played his popular song “Island” featuring Wooli, Trivecta, and Nevve. Excision always plays this during his live sets, so seeing it played by Seven Lions himself was awesome. Continuing off of this, Seven Lions played one of his recent releases “Another Me,” featuring Excision, Wooli, and the singer Dylan Matthew. This set was very beautiful and I definitely want to see Seven Lions again.

Finally, it was time for Gud Vibrations. When they took the stage, everyone went crazy. You could feel the bass from the very back of the park. And then I heard Derek Andersen scream into the mic, “San Diego, are you ready?” I don’t think anyone was.

The atom was already set up right after Seven Lions ended, but it was two rings instead of three because Petco Park’s stage was pretty small. It was still so crazy to see it. The two rings lit up different colors with each song and all three of them were jumping inside of it.

Gud Vibrations Alchemy Tour in San Diego, photo taken by Alexandra Gex

The set was so hype that people were coming outside to stand on balconies and up against windows all around the venue to watch. The energy was crazy and I’ve never seen anything like it. So much bass music was played. Everyone was together to celebrate these artists and their songs, and everyone knew each one of them.

Gud Vibrations went super hard most of the time, but after the second half of the set, SLANDER played their emotional hits. Before this, though, they played their classic single “Gud Vibrations” after a few songs. Singer Dylan Matthew came on stage as a guest to sing his vocals in SLANDER’s song “First Time,” also featuring Seven Lions and Dabin. The crowd went crazy when he came on, and it was emotional to hear him sing his part.

SLANDER also played their songs “Potions” and “Superhuman” for everyone. They also played their legendary unreleased remix of “I Fall Apart” by Post Malone. I thought that was the prettiest song. “Kneel Before Me” with Crankdat and Asking Alexandria was also played, and everyone went extremely hard for that.

NGHTMRE played his recent release called “Bruises” for us live, which had just been released on October 4. I hadn’t heard it yet, but it was very cool to hear live. Then, he played his April release “REDLIGHT – VIP” which features A$AP Ferg — so hype. He also played his remix of electronic artist Alison Wonderland’s song “Lost My Mind.”

Long story short, Gud Vibrations definitely broke my neck and my heart. Seeing these artists together was pretty awesome and you could see how much fun they were having together on stage. Their friendship was definitely shown, and they had so much fun with the crowd. I didn’t want their set to end.

This tour reminded me how much I love electronic music and seeing artists live. It’s definitely special seeing your favorite artists play your favorite music right in front of you, and it is something you will remember forever. I definitely recommend seeing SLANDER, NGHTMRE, and Seven Lions live.

Written by: Alexandra Gex
Photos by: Alexandra Gex

REZZ: Beyond The Senses Tour

With her “Beyond the Senses” EP released this summer, 24-year-old Canadian DJ and producer Isabelle Rezazadeh started her U.S. tour this September.

Also known as “Space Mom,” Rezz has her own defining sound in the world of EDM which makes her stand out from the rest. In my opinion, I would call her sound dark mid-tempo bass music or electro bass. It’s hard to place her in a proper genre because she is so unique. Many look up to her as an electronic music artist and producer, especially up-and-coming female DJ’s. Rezz began to DJ when she was only 16, and with the help of stars such as Skrillex and Deadmau5, she released her “Insurrection” EP in 2015 and signed to the Mau5trap label. After that she released her debut with her single “Serenity.”

Fans from all over bought tickets to Rezz’s Beyond The Senses Tour before the full EP was released. She started by releasing one single from the EP called “Dark Age” in May, which she played live a couple of days later at EDC Las Vegas. During this performance, she played another song from her EP that hadn’t been released yet. “Falling” featured Rezz along with the rock band Underoath who also made an appearance onstage, and the single was finally released on June 12. The next single of the EP, called “Kiss of Death” was released on July 12 and featured the artist Deathpact. The rest of the EP, which featured three other songs, was released on July 24.

I drove home to Las Vegas for the weekend to attend her show at the Thomas and Mack Center on Sept. 28. I bought my ticket during the pre-sale back in June, so I had been anticipating this moment for a long time. Rezz was one of the first artists I had listened to when I was discovering the unending variety of electronic music.

I got to the venue very early to find a good spot to stand in the GA section, and I ended up getting– front and center– on the rail. I had only been on the rail for a show on one separate occasion. It was for Snails in 2016 at the Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas. I had seen Rezz already twice in the past, and I was not close to the rail for any of them. I knew it was going to be awesome from up close.

It’s crazy seeing one of your favorite electronic music artists in action from up close. You get to see them press buttons and move switches to control what the audience hears and sometimes sees. You also get to see their funny dance moves.

But before I talk about how awesome Rezz was, she had two iconic DJ’s perform before her. First up was the artist BlackGummy. I wasn’t very familiar with his music, but I occasionally listen to one of his tracks called “Plucking Technology.” BlackGummy is the stage persona of Los Angeles producer Iman Marouf. He is also signed to the Mau5trap label, which happened in 2015 along with Rezz. I would say his music is more electro house and dark techno, with some trance. One song I really loved that he played live was called “Superhuman,” featuring vocalist Colleen D’agostino. This was released in 2017. His set definitely had a dark techno/house vibe, and I love house music. I want to see him again and what more he has to offer in a longer set. I really enjoyed his performance and production along with his gummy bear visuals behind him.

Artist BlackGummy, taken by Alexandra Gex

After BlackGummy, the artist known as Peekaboo came onstage for his set. I am more familiar with Peekaboo, and I absolutely love him. Known as Peekaboo, Matthew Lucas is an American producer. He mainly plays dubstep and freeform bass music. He got the crowd very pumped up for Rezz, and he played many songs that electronic music fans are familiar with. I seem to always hear his track “Babatunde” with artist G-Rex at festivals. He played “Motion” and “Maniac” which I was very excited to hear, and even threw in his “Lights Go Down” Zeds Dead and Jauz remix for us. Another well-known song of his that he played was called “Illusion,” which he helped on with the artist Bassnectar. I loved his set and his visuals, and I hope to see Peekaboo live again.

Peekaboo, taken by Alexandra Gex

After Peekaboo finished his set, the backstage team started setting up the stage for Rezz to come on. They put an inclined DJ table up for her on a separate stand which I really liked because sometimes people in the crowd can’t even see the DJ from the back (short people like me). The lights for the stage were already set up, and I noticed right as I walked into the venue that it was very interesting. I watched a video before the tour about how the stage was made, and her team put a lot of work into it. After experimenting with virtual reality over summer, this is what Rezz is known for. Visual artists designed this tour from the ground up. They prepared a full rig, a full video wall, lasers, and her team wanted the art design to be much different than anyone had seen before to give us a new Rezz experience. They wanted to make it as unique as possible– and it was.

Needless to say, seeing Rezz from the rail was EPIC.

Right when she came onstage and her video wall lit up, I was in shock. BlackGummy and Peekaboo were using only a small part of her screen for their visuals and I hadn’t really realized how massive it was. I had never seen anything like it, and from the rail was crazy. She walked up the stairs onto her DJ stand and immediately played “Kiss of Death” from her Beyond The Senses EP.

Rezz, photo taken by Alexandra Gex.

Rezz made sure to play a span of songs from her history. She played tracks such as “Edge” from The Silence is Deafening EP, and “Purple Gusher” (my favorite), “Selector,” and “Melancholy” from Something Wrong Here EP. At the beginning, she played her hit “H E X” with artist 1788-L, and of course “Witching Hour” with the iconic visuals of her staring into a crystal ball. She also made sure to play “Teleportal” which I love to see live. She even played in her set “Creature” by Liquid Stranger and “Blacklist” by artists MeSo and SPADES, which I thought was totally awesome. Towards the end, she also played an unreleased track that she collaborated on with house artist Malaa, which I really liked and I am excited for it to be released. My appreciation for freeform bass and mid-tempo went up after attending this tour.

Rezz is known for her trippy visuals and LED goggles. Her visuals and production were insane, and I am so happy I got to experience her set from close-up. After more than half of the set though, I wanted to appreciate her full stage from farther back. Her set was awesome from any area in the venue and you could see her perfectly as she was elevated on her stand.

At the end of the show, Rezz said, “Okay guys I have one more song for you” four times. This made me so happy. I’m pretty sure that she played some unreleased tracks at the end because I did not recognize some of the songs. But I am happy that she enjoyed the crowd as much as we were enjoying everything she played.

This was the third time I saw Rezz, but it definitely won’t be the last time. She blew me away with this tour and I recommend anyone to go see one of her shows. It is interesting to see how diverse electronic music is, and her sound is definitely different than the rest. It might not be for everyone, but it was very cool to see the production and how her songs were reflected through visuals, lights, and lasers.

Rezz has many future dates for her Beyond The Senses Tour in big cities across the United States. She is also scheduled to play during many festivals at the end of this year. Check out her music here.

Written by: Alexandra Gex
Photos by: Alexandra Gex