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

Behind the Mic: Scarlett Letter

Fluttering between three jobs, classrooms, the KCR studio and the rave scene, Scarlett Santamaria of “Scarlett Letter” is a social butterfly always on the move.

Scarlett, a 4th year communications major, is the host of the aptly named “Scarlett Letter,” an underground electronic music show that brings in guests to share their music and their stories. The show is now on its second season and airs Thursdays at 8 p.m.

Scarlett Letter brings in DJs, producers and experience creators every week to play their music mixes and discuss their own personal experiences, as well as contribute to the larger dialogue about the EDM world. The topic of the show is not a casual interest of Scarlett’s – it’s pretty much her life. It all began when Scarlett was 16 and attended her first rave, Scream, at the Worldbeat Center in Balboa Park, San Diego.

I remember going in and everyone was really happy and really nice, and all these lights and the music and I thought, ‘Wow. This is amazing,’” she recalled.

Born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, Scarlett moved to San Diego when she was 12 years old. Despite her bubbly nature and willingness to talk to anyone, she said she always felt like an outsider. That feeling could have left her defeated and stripped of passion, but she discovered the rave scene and found her home.

“I used to be a scene kid, like I used to dress up crazy. I’ve always been a weirdo,” she said. “I’ve always been an outcast, and I’ve been able to just embrace it and not be ashamed of the weirdo that I am. I feel like I was able to find that outlet through going to raves and just being myself. I think that’s what is beautiful about it and why I’m so passionate about it.

Photo courtesy of Scarlett Santamaria

The goal of Scarlett’s show is to allow listeners to get to know the guests on a deeper and more personal level, uncover electronic music they might not have heard before, stay up to date with upcoming EDM events and learn about the music scene from people living it, not from stereotypes.

“I think that some people have the negative notion that electronic music is just noise and that all DJs do is press play, and that people that go to these events are young and do drugs. I want to change that,” Scarlett said. “The scene is very welcoming and is full of amazing, creative, friendly and talented individuals.”

Last semester, her show was structured in a way that allotted more time to playing the guests’ music than interviewing them. This is something Scarlett wants to change this season.

She wants to make sure the people she brings to the studio have sufficient time to talk about their journey, passion and the obstacles they have had to overcome in order to get to their current status.

“I want people to know that these artists work hard and to hear the challenges they’ve had to face to get where they are,” she said. “We all have a story and you’d be surprised how much you can relate to them.”

Scarlett’s own story has its origins in DJing.

Her father was a popular DJ in Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, California. When she was born, he shifted his focus to parenting and leading a more conventional adult life in order to provide for her. “Of course, I happened and he stopped,” Scarlett laughed.

Eight years ago, he began to DJ again and this time, he taught Scarlett everything he knew. The two had a mobile DJing business together but after feeling like she was ready to branch out, Scarlett started her own business entity separate from her father’s.

She has played many gigs from private birthday parties to Petco Park, the San Diego Padres’ baseball stadium. She said she has enjoyed the experience, both the technical and social aspects.

“I was still under 21 and I felt super cool being a DJ,” Scarlett said. “It was a really great experience getting to know people, being in the event and being part of the production.”

Despite calling the experience “really fun,” Scarlett has shifted gears and no longer focuses on her DJ business. She is turning her attention to new ventures such as Scarlett Letter and getting involved in event production.

With so many interests and projects, Scarlett pays extra attention to detail to make sure she is producing work of the highest caliber.

“I am not the type of person that will half-ass anything,” she said. “I will give you my hundred percent. I want to create something good.”

Scarlett Letter has grown into something beyond her imagination. What she thought would just be a fun show to act as a platform for her friends’ art has turned into a partnership with sponsors.

Photo courtesy of Scarlett Santamaria

Techniche is one of Scarlett’s partnerships and describes itself on its website as “a Southern California underground dance institution with global reach and universal aspirations representing Tech-House and Techno…” DJ and Producer Myxzlplix headed the Techniche team that helped Scarlett with her show’s logo, banner and promotional pictures, to name a few things. She said she’s incredibly grateful to them for believing in her and helping her turn her show into what it has become.

Be sure to tune into her show on Thursdays at 8 p.m. She’ll save a spot for you on the dance floor. Also, be sure to check out her YouTube channel.

Is she a pineapple on pizza gal?

“Yes! Sometimes I love a combination of sweet and salty. People that don’t like pineapple on pizza are basic.”

Written by: Monica Vigil

A NGHTMRE Before Xmas at the Observatory North Park

Although Halloween has passed, it was most definitely a NGHTMRE before XMAS at the Observatory North Park.

The American EDM DJ/producer NGHTMRE, made his anticipated NGHTMRE before Xmas tour stop in San Diego the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, bringing a crowd of headbangers to break their necks to the electrifying drum and bass, trap, bass house and dubstep bass lines.

Coming from a college student who was glad that Thanksgiving break was finally here, Wednesday night felt more like a weekend night out with NGHTMRE providing the sounds such as his classic “Street,” to his “GUD VIBRATIONS” collaboration with Slander, to his more recent work with The ChainsmokersSave Yourself.”

He definitely brought the atmosphere to the crowd with the LED panels behind him displaying his zombie, pumpkin head skeleton and demon visuals, the synchronized lights and strobes flashing right in front of your face and even the vibe he would put out either by talking into the mic, or just him moving and dancing to his own music.

As all other DJs/producers, NGHTMRE had some in developments (IDs) that he teased the crowd with. One that stood out was his surprising collaboration with A$AP Ferg. Although he completely stopped the music and brought the room to a blackout to announce the collab, Ferg’s voice is definitely one you cannot mistaken.

As he starts playing the track, you start hearing Ferg rap over the beat and into the buildup, adding to the intensity when all of a sudden, the beat drops. Right away, you realize the utter filth of bass, brass and synthesizers that was just unleashed to your eardrums; filth that you want to be released already but probably will not happen until another six months from now (EDM DJ/producers take a long time to release their work).

Overall, NGHTMRE did not disappoint and brought some light to the souls of the undead and told his story of the NGHMTRE before XMAS.

Review by: Gustavo Cristobal