Tag Archives: DJ Ivan
SoundAwake 2.0: Re-living EDM
Bangalore, of late, has been getting bombarded with a slew of international musicians starting from Swedish House Mafia and Zedd to DJ Tiesto and TATW. If you think of it, there have been so many international artists that keeping track of it has become a gargantuan task. Every artist has left an impact on all of us in some way or the other and this continuous pampering of our senses has turned us Bangaloreans into a greedy lot. To satiate our continuous need for world class performances, DNA Networks brought to us the second edition of Sound Awake, only this time it was bigger and better!
The second edition of Sound Awake was held on the 1st of December at the Supernova Arena & Convention Center, Yelahanka where the first edition had also taken place. The format of the event was more or less the same this time as well, but the twist to the show was the massive 150 ft long stage which was essentially a dynamic multi-stage format where we would get to experience 3 stages all together in the same space and direction.
Having reached there on time, I was quite surprised to find a-not-so-teeming crowd loitering around (maybe it was the heat). The food and the alcohol counters were in full swing, serving the hungry and the thirsty while Doctor A & DJ Siddharth played popular house numbers to keep the crowd entertained. The Goa themed flea market had artisans and merchants who were selling merchandise exclusively from Goa, which saw quite a number of people throng the different stalls and make their purchase before the start of the big party!
Around 2 pm, the first big name of the day Dutch DJ Patrick Hagenaar the key resident of Ministry of Sound global tours took to the stage, which was named after the EDM house. As I rushed to there to secure a cosy spot right infront, I realized I was one of the few people who had actually made an attempt to go close to the stage. Maybe people were oblivious about the fact that some of the biggest names in the EDM genre were going to play that evening. Nonetheless, the small crowd started dancing to Hagenaars (who was wearing a cheeky t-shirt which said I am Patrick Hagenaar. We are Colour Code.) electronic hi-octane dance tunes which mainly consisted of instrumental Dutch house tunes.
After he got the crowd moving, Shane Patrick took over by which time, a generous number of people had gathered in front of the Ministry of Sound stage and the Bangalore skies had turned a bluish grey. His rendition of the popular Fatboy Slim song ‘Eat Sleep Rave Repeat‘ got more people near the stage. The visuals that accompanied his tracks started getting more and more stark which was a treat for all the party goers. His remixes of popular tracks Like Icona Pops ‘I Dont Care‘, Zedds ‘Clarity‘, Lana Del Reys ‘Summertime Sadness‘ (which happened to be my personal favourite because of the tempo and the surprisingly different distorted backing track) and Daft Punks ‘Get Lucky‘ were real crowd pullers.
He took a bow making way for the Hedkandi heroes to take the center stage.The crowd quickly moved leftwards and gathered in front of the Hedkandi stage.All 3 artists namely Carl Hannaghan, Nathan Cozzetto & Dean Oram came onstage and would stay there till the end of the whole Hedkandi act. First up was 25 year old DJ Carl Hannaghan who started with a hard hitting electronica piece. Dean Oram a.k.a Drum Warrior accompanied his track with his electronic percussion thus adding a tribal touch to the track. ‘Youve got the love‘ by Florence and the Machine and ‘Sweet Dreams‘ were the popular tracks from Hannaghans set, to which Oram lent his tribal percussion dash. The crowd responded positively to all the tracks he churned out!
After almost an hour of what can be called an energetic performance Nathan Cozzetto took over the console.He played a fast electronic remix of Coldplays ‘Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall‘, which got all of us to jump and jive. Dean Oram added an exciting angle to the song with his percussions. Cozzetto entertained the crowd with a lot of mashups of lesser known house tracks, while Dean Oram kept entertaining us with his stage antics while wearing a red Indian feather headgear and a body suit adorned with LED lights. Oram did not accompany Cozzetto with his percussions beyond the first few songs of his set, after which Cozzetto started playing tracks which had varying bpms and sick bass drops. His set ended around 6.30 in the evening, and a heavy accolade from an odd 400 people followed.
Jacob Plant took over the massive stage almost immediately, keeping the crowd energy levels at their peak. His fast paced ‘Eat Sleep Rave Repeat‘ got a better response from the crowd than Shane Patricks. His progressive house track ‘Fire‘ got me dancing, even though I was near the artist lounge waiting to meet SoundAwakes headliner (guess guess)! The bass heavy track had pulsating beats on the first and second count with swaying beats on the third and fourth and later transformed into a full beat song! The technical prowess shown by this 22 year old in his other instrumental tracks of the evening was nothing short of spectacular. No wonder he has been dubbed as the new Wonder Kid of the electro scene apart from having a forthcoming EP out on Dim Mak Records.
After an hour of heavy set electronic tunes and stark graphics, it was Rocco Rampino better known as Congorocks turn to make the crowd dance to his tunes. By then a slight drizzle had started, ready to mar the crowds spirits, but that had no apparent effect on any of them, as they continued dancing to the electro dance punk music of Congorock. His set mainly consisted of dance punk and dubstep which had a lot of complicated layering done thus lending a very interesting multi-dimensional effect to his tracks. He played a very heavy dubstep version of the club hit ‘Satisfaction’ which resulted in a positive uproar from the booming crowd. The other popular tracks from his set were ‘Babylon‘ and ‘Runark‘. After one hour of heavy dubstep and electronic dance punk, crazy visuals and a dense drizzle, he exited the stage following a heavy accolade from all of us!
Seconds after his exit, the ginormous stage was shrouded in darkness, and we could feel the tension building in the crowd which had multiplied by a manifold. A robotic voice boomed ARE YOU READY FOR AOKI? and the uproar that followed was almost deafening. People were screaming on top of their voices which was quite a crazy sight! The robotic voice now spelled out A-O-KI and continued repeating his name while the tempo got faster and faster with every second and with an imminent gush of fire and a blast the most awaited artist of the evening, DJ Steve Aoki entered the stage. With a Namaste Bangalore and an adrenaline pumped track he started his set – a perfect start! He kept his tracks short and made no haste in moving to the next one. With a varied range of electronic dance numbers to his name, our expectations from his DJ set were quite high, and boy did he not disappoint! The visuals that accompanied his songs were eclectic and stunning to say the least and the fact that it spread out from end to end on the 150ft stage made the effect even more powerful.
‘Boneless‘ from his new album Neon Future was a massive hit with the crowd and thats when he went for his classic cake throw which drove the crowd mad. Confetti burst out in the sky, hands went up in the air, screams and accolades filled the night sky and we knew that the biggest party of the year had arrived. With tracks like ‘Afro-ki‘ by Afrojack and Steve Aoki, ‘Who‘ by Tujamo & Plastic Funk and ‘Turbulence‘ he kept all of us on our feet. By the middle of his set, the confetti was replaced with fireworks, the visuals became starker, inflated boats were thrown at the crowd driving them crazier. Cakes were thrown by Kid Millionaire almost every 15 minutes, and the crowd didn’t protest. The visuals accompanying his tracks got wilder by the minute. The second half of his set consisted of songs like ‘Pursuit of Happiness‘, ‘Warp 1.9‘, ‘A Light That Never Comes‘ by Linkin Park & Aoki which had a transcript by Chester Bennington at the beginning which lent a very humane touch to the song. The one thing that was consistent throughout the one and a half hour long DJ set was the energy level which did not wane even for a second. The last few songs of his set were from his new album Neon Future and the concluding song was ‘Aokijump’ which quite literally had the crowd jumping!
The Steve Aoki party officially ended at 10 pm, leaving the audience wanting for more and thus to end the party in style Bangalore DJs Ajit Pai & Ivan took over. Playing popular house numbers kept a section of the crowd dancing, although quite a number of people had already started to leave. The party fever was still in the air and what had transpired that evening became a topic of buzz for everyone present at the venue. The smiles got wider and the experience overly satiating, to say the least, and we walked out of the venue thinking to ourselves What a hell of a party that was!
Sound Awake – Reattempting EDM
India has always been recognized worldwide as a land of festivals. Love them or hate them, none of us complain when we get that random holiday from work. DNA Networks, with their new project Sound Awake tried to add the Indian flavor to an already established concept – EDM festivals – which have been a major driver of music tourism in Europe and the Americas.
DNA went all the way to secure some of the top international DJs who have a history of performing at the top EDM festivals and brand names with that one famous track separating them from the total unknowns. To their credit, being popular is not the same as being good, and we gave them the respect they deserved and went in with an open mind.
Sound Awake was hosted by Bangalore on the 4th of August at the Supernova Convention Centre, starting early at 11 AM but going on till the city limits of 11 PM. The venue was spacious, discreet and thus hilariously far for city dwellers. The headliners for the first ever Indian EDM festival were Darude, Taboo, Yves LaRock and Dirty Vegas; of which only two managed to turn up for the event. The media were informed of Taboo and Darude’s absence on arrival.
However, most people forget that music is only half of what makes a good music festival. Just look at Tomorrowland – you can find the top DJs of the world in Ibiza or Rio at most times of the year; what you won’t find is the epic stages and mad crowds that make the experience what it is. This is something DNA picked up on and the entire event was very visually appealing. The four stages each had their own charm, and with the flea market thrown in you could get that relaxing Goa feel of being close to the beach.
Now let’s take a look at what the four stages had to offer. First up was the MTV Indie stage – quite ordinary looking, this stage went live at 11 AM opening up the musical proceedings by hosting local DJ talent that played to a crowd of less than 100 people, trying their very best to get over the Sunday morning blues. Local heroes DJ Clement and DJ Ivan played on till 2 and were the first bright sets of the day, more on DJ Ivan later.
The next to open was the Heineken Hed Kandi stage – a crystal ball housing the DJ made this one of my favorite stages. The ball was lit up with some mind blowing visuals as the sun went down and truly got the party started. By this time the crowd had grown to the higher hundreds and the festival vibes were kicking in. The highlights were Igor Project and DJ Dan Van, who was occasionally complimented by two beautiful women from Ministry of Sound playing the Violin and Sax respectively – adding the missing Oomph to some standard commercial mixes. Igor Project was involved with the crowd from right after his set, all the way till the end and played the perfect MC – keeping the party going every time the crowd lost interest. The set list was quite well mixed with the stand out tracks being sing-along mixes of ‘Summertime Sadness’ (only because of the amazing visuals and that one beat drop) and ‘We Are Your Friends’, which had a slightly edgy thump about it missing from most of the other songs.
Kingfisher Ministry of Sound stage was the third stage to open at the festival – with big names like Santero, Tim Cullen and Shane Kehoe getting the best seats in the house – on top of a massive speaker pile up setting that I wish I could re-create in my living room! Upbeat mixes of ‘Hello’ and ‘We Found Love’ kept with the sing along theme of the festival. Shane Kehoe did briefly take it to the next level with a monster mix of ‘Camorra’ by Nicky Romero with bass drops sent from heaven, immaculate scratch timings and perfect fade outs for the downtempo bits. Expectedly so, the Bangalore crowd had the best reaction to ‘Losing My Religion’ by R.E.M and ‘Get Lucky’, the new Daft Punk super hit. At this stage you could see a theme emerging of rocky sing-along mixes.
The grand finale at the main Pepsi DNA Live stage was delayed a bit, but with LaRock opening it was definitely worth the wait. The crowd had reached its peak with close to 10,000 people as it slowly moved across the venue from other stages. The level of anticipation grew and the crowd was rewarded with an overall decent set list full of EDM classics and the occasional nonsense. Classic mixes of ‘S.O.S’ by Rihanna and ‘Allien’ by Pryda were bang on cue and did the night justice, but I was equally disappointed to hear ‘Kolavari Di’ being snuck into the set. Shapeshifters had a very forgettable track list which would have been better suited to the first half of the day – yes it was original and immersive but they simply could not keep up with the crowd’s energy levels. ‘Lola’s Theme’ was an obvious exception, but that was the least expected from this veteran duo. Their music was mostly pure downtempo beats which gave the crowd the perfect opportunity to refill those beer glasses. Dirty Vegas, who have a Grammy to their name, more than made up for it with their spectacular live act – involving Steve Smith singing the words to most of their mixes, most notably ‘Need Somebody To Love’ and their evergreen original ‘Days Go By’ where the crowd was equally involved. Definitely something I would like to see again!
In-between all this magic were some generic commercial tracks that littered the night, the likes of Swedish House Mafia‘s ‘Greyhound’ and ‘Save The World (Tonight)’ to name some. But I did hear my new favorite song as well – a brilliant mix of ‘Sweet Dreams’ (Avicci mix), Daft Punk’s ‘Harder,Better,Faster,Stronger’ and David Guetta‘s ‘Without You’ with a drop before every chorus. You could never tell which song would follow after the drop and the alchemy was quite unique.
Let’s go back to the cliché of ‘Bangalore likes Rock’ which was a standout theme at this festival. This was the first time I witnessed a near mosh-pit at an EDM gig when Nirvana‘s ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ and Pink Floyd‘s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ were played back to back. Hopefully we can get out of this mindset and have artists stop feeding fuel this stereotype.
LaRock had to come back on stage to fill for the absence of Darude and Taboo, and this time he managed to outdo his previous set. The first real scratchy – edgy mix that was played all day, Benny Benassi‘s ‘Satisfaction’ would have been most people’s highlight of the entire festival if only he didn’t close with his signature mix of ‘Rise Up’. Both tracks are fairly popular, but sounded significantly different from the iPod version many of us carry around. One of those times you really appreciate artists who try to stay fresh and relevant.
LaRock left the stage to a rapturous applause and chants of One More. Igor Project then came on to let the crowd know of the after party at the Hed Kandi stage – DJ Ivan was doing another set just for us!
I’m not sure how to interpret this, but DJ Ivan doing a repeat set drew the biggest reaction from the crowd all festival. As he took his seat in the crystal sphere the lasers started beaming and Bangalore’s favorite DJ took a bow to his beloved audience. One by one the Ministry of Sound DJs came up to the stage to say their farewells, while Igor Project was omnipresent with his smoke gun, spraying the crowd with every bass drop – a sign for the unaware to reach for the skies.
My new highlight for the night, something that managed to outdo Yves LaRock playing ‘Rise Up’ – was DJ Ivan busting out Above&Beyond‘s ‘Sun & Moon’ to a large gathering of Bangalore’s ‘real’ EDM fans – as they all put their hands up in unison and sang the words with their eyes closed, a sort of prayer to show thanks for the night.
Overall, DNA Networks’ new venture into the Electronic space can be deemed a success. Yes it needs bigger names from the industry to come down, maybe a later start time, less Rock mixes and a closer to home venue, but as DJ Ivan himself said to the crowd, This is something big and it only gets better from here. We wholeheartedly agree and look forward to the next installment!
Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore
We all have been to at least one terrible NYE party – one you knew was going to be horrible but your parents dragged you there anyway. And once you got there, you knew from the very first second why you didn’t want to go. E Zone on the 5th of May was exactly like that. You couldn’t put your finger on what was wrong – because there was so much that wasn’t right at what should have been an evening of celebration. However, it lasted only until Fatboy Slim came onstage.
The sun was out with its scorching heat. There were hardly any people at the surprisingly spacious venue and it didn’t look like many more would turn up. The music was very passive and impersonal – a score to a family picnic; the crowds reacted quite poorly to some good sets by both Tuhin Mehta and DJ Ivan.
But all that changed at 7.45 p.m. when Ivan chopped out Lana Del Rey’s ‘Video Games’. What I witnessed then was nothing short of miraculous. Was it the lost-now-found upbeat tempo? Or maybe it was the booze kicking in, accompanied by the realization that Fatboy Slim was going to be on in fifteen minutes? Either way – the crowd exploded and, as hundreds moved in unison, the party finally came to life.
Norman Quentin Cook, loved and adored world-wide under his stage name – Fatboy Slim, is regarded by most as the Godfather of commercial EDM as we know it. The British legend who gave us ‘The Rockafeller Skank’, ‘Weapon of Choice’, ‘Star 69’ and a whole host of dance numbers brought out the Bangalore party animals to E Zone in such numbers that night. He hasn’t released an album since Palookaville (2004) but with so many unforgettable tunes on his CV, Fatboy Slim is a name that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Waving his arms, he walked onto the stage to roars from the crowd. His reception was worthy of a man who holds a star on Brighton’s Walk of Fame, right next to that of Winston Churchill. Dressed to chill in a colorful shirt-and-shorts combination; his attire and demeanor showed how much at home he felt.
Kicking off his set with a short from ‘Star 69′, he got into the crowd’s head using three simple words on loop – ‘What The F@%$’. Everyone at E Zone that night felt the eventual explosion coming, and geared themselves to completely let go. What followed next was sheer blissful madness. Norman jumped in the air, perfectly in sync with the beats kicking in – and the crowd crashed against the barrier, moving as one gigantic being.
The first few songs were all high tempo club hits from the recent past; you could see that Norman had done his homework. He knew what his audience would love most. Singing along to ‘Clubs’ and then ‘Who is Ready to Jump’, Norman then took the energy levels through the roof with his signature dance step – the fist pump. Introducing lyrics from ‘Put Your Hands Up In The Air’ to complement his very scratchy yet funky mix, the crowd followed suit imitating him move for move.
Mixing it up really well, he then dropped the bass altogether as he slowly faded in ‘Where’s Your Head At?” another sing-along tune that had the crowd at his mercy – eyes shut, heads tilted back and screaming into the night sky. Some more high tempo tunes followed suit with ‘Let the Bass Kick’ and ‘Let’s get This Thing Started’, but one of the highlights of the night was his almost gothic fade out on ‘Up’ while spinning in ‘Right Here, Right Now’– a Fatboy Slim anthem. As the crowd chanted along, he looped these famous words over a symphony devoid of any beats, tunes and bass – and as the words resonated over space and time, you knew you had witnessed something special.
Keeping true to his Hip Hop roots from his early days as DJ Quentox at Brighton, Norman took the crowd to funky town with an absolutely legendary track in ‘California Love’. It was that WOW moment that differentiates a good gig from a great gig. The crowd was more than eager to take a break from shuffling, and put on their hoodies to go all out ‘Gangstah’. The ‘Diego to the Bay’ loop breaking into ‘Get Naked’ was seamless and well mastered to the point that no one realized the track had changed.
Midway through his set, the 3D laser kicked in – green and red lights that moved beautifully with his mix of ‘Something’s Got a Hold on Me’, putting the crowd into a trance-like state. He barely touched the deck for this number, sharing the out-of-body experience with his audience.
From the tuned-up, pacey ‘Rave N’ Roll’ to the slow and smooth funky electro of ‘Rockin’ High’, Norman demonstrated maturity by controlling the tempo throughout the night, building it up for a great finish. He caught the crowd off guard by mixing in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ to open one of his all-time famous numbers in ‘Sunset’. We loved him for this; he’d figured us out perfectly. We love our singalongs even in the middle of an EDM beat-fest!
Keeping up with the singalong mixes; ‘I’m Coming Home’ gave way to what was to be the end of a fabulous night – back-to-back Fatboy Slim legends in ‘Praise You’ and ‘Star 69′, with a fade out to ‘TheRockefeller Skank’. The crowd howled their appreciation for a man, a legend, who had for the first time ever brought down his one-of-a-kind EDM style to this country.
TLDR? It was a night of private ecstasy where true Fatboy Slim fans turned up in respectable numbers to revel in the glory of his trademark sound. Edgy fade-ins giving way to legendary tracks had the crowd thumping to the heavy basslines and moving wildly to high-tempo singalongs. A blast from the past, Norman had these party people hypnotized. They wouldn’t stop moving till long after the curtains were drawn on a night we’d never forget.
We’ve come a long way baby, but we’re still Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars!