Swedish Electronic Music Is Dying Out According to DJ Kasbo.

DJ Carl Gasbo aka Kasbo doesn’t listen to much electronic music. If you saw his set at this past Decadence New Year’s Eve electronic music festival, you’re more than aware of the talent this guy from Sweden has.

“I feel distanced from that ‘EDM’ term,” he says. Preferring hip-hop and indie that inspire him to create a modern and approachable sound.

“It sounds tacky, but I try not to think in genres,” said Kasbo, who is making what he loves. “I believe the music is a product of what you listen to.”

It showed at Decadence when he mixed trance, hip-hop, indie, dance and house music. He does recognize Flume and Odesza for setting a path that helps DJs like himself to steer away from tired electro-pop hits and embrace diverse influences.

In Sweden, Kasbo believes electronic music is dying out and pop music is on the rise. “We definitely have Swedish House Mafia and Avicii… but I feel like it’s kind of dying down.”Last March Tim Bergling, aka Avicii, announced that his 2016 tour would be his last.

Two of Europes Big Music Festivals Are Coming to Brazil

Brazil has definitely felt the effects of the EDM bubble with the loss of EDC Brazil which would have taken place earlier this month. It seems 2017 will be brighter in terms of EDM events in the south American country with 2 European festivals making their way down to the land of hot chicks and soccer.

Plusnetwork who is owned by Livestyle Inc which is formally known as SFX made an announcement that they will be debuting the Brazilian edition for two of Europes hottest music festivals (Welcome to the future & Awakenings Festival). The two festivals do not involve mainstream electronic music. Awakenings Festival takes place primarily in Spaarnwoude, Netherlands, and is one of the most popular techno festivals in Europe. Welcome to the Future is a music festival that usually presents a more diversified underground line-up in Amsterdam, from the grooves of Hot Since 82 to Chris Liebing’s more straightforward techno.

Awakenings Festival


Welcome to the Future

Evolution of the Rave Scene

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a rave as “a large overnight dance party featuring techno music and usually involving the taking of mind-altering drugs.” The definition is slightly outdated. Society now lumps all genres of electronic dance music under “EDM.” Drugs and alcohol are present, but when have they ever been absent from a gathering of adults wanting to cast off responsibility for several hours? Raves are not the only places people indulge and mind altering substances are not the prime motivator for seeking out beats late into the night.

989 Illegal Rave, Acid House from the From the Kinolibrary Archive Film collections

Acid house parties in the 1980s would give birth to a renaissance of electronic music that would shape itself into the genres we are familiar with today: house, techno, trance, breakbeat, etc. This music needed to be heard and what better place for it to be nurtured than at raves? Raves were portals to a world where rhythm, musical ecstasy, and abandon awaited those brave enough to cast off a normal bedtime. Often taking place in places without proper permits and without advance notice like in today’s social media playgrounds, these parties would go on until the sun rose. Today events usually take place in sanctioned spaces. Sometimes events have to be cut off before the witching hour, but the spirit of the rave hasn’t been extinguished.

rave scene

Feeling the nostalgia yet? No, well get ready to take a trip back to the past. Remember JNCO jeans, the wide-legged jeans that were a staple of raver wear? JNCO was founded in 1985 and its style of jeans was exported from California. They became popular among certain subcultures, including the skater and rave subcultures in the 1990s.

old school raver

Children of the night also came decked out in bright colors, costumes, and kandi. Regular shirts and pants were also part of rave attire, the same as it is today, for dressing to dance still takes priority over showcasing the latest in raver fashion.

raver chicks

The rave scene’s momentum hasn’t quelled into the 2000s. Sound ordinances, media exclusives about drug use at raves, and legal pressure dampened some scenes at the turn of the century but this just gave determined promoters the opportunity to grow the rave scene while adhering to laws in place, allowing for the rave scene to go more mainstream and be more accessible to the general public. Massive raves have given over to highly profitable music festivals and DJ tours that continue to draw hundreds to thousands of people. There is much debate over whether or not raves still exist. Some would argue that raves reached their peak in the 1990s. The music may sound different and those who embrace the nightlife may look different, but strangers still converge at designated spaces to dance and leave behind the day’s grind. Bass still rumbles and a new generation carries the torch for the party kids before them. Peace within one’s self can still be discovered, love can still be shown from complete strangers, unity still ties together a growing audience around the world, and respect is still pervasive in a scene that has continued to thrive.


EDM and the Money Makers That Come with It

The EDM bubble has been rumored to be on the verge of popping, but DJs that mix EDM continue to climb the ranks of celebrity and financial standing. Forbes recently made a list of some of the highest paid DJs in 2016. The highest paid among them are Avicii ($14.5 million), Afrojack ($15 million), Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike ($15.5 million), Martin Garrix ($16 million), Kaskade ($19 million), Skrillex ($20 million), Diplo ($23 million), Steve Aoki ($23.5 million), Zedd ($24.5 million), and Calvin Harris ($63 million).

The top acts command hundreds of thousands of dollars due in part to the bar set by payment from Las Vegas residencies. A quick glance at a list of DJ residencies in Las Vegas for 2017 will reveal many of Forbes’s highest ranking DJs. Listen to Steve Aoki explain the role of Las Vegas in dj payouts below.

These days a DJ who makes an appearance at a large venue or on the main stage of a festival doesn’t come alone. In addition to the sound crew, there may be visual artists and other professionals who will work together to create a sensational, audio-visual experience around the DJ. The expense of travel and movement of all that equipment has to also be taken into account. A couch is not considered adequate accommodations so add in the expense of lodging. Let’s not forget stylists, artist managers, and other essential staff. When considering what goes into not only booking but bringing a DJ to an event, it is easy to see how costs add up.


The entry-level DJ will quickly realize after starting out that before a steady income comes dues that must be paid. If a DJ is not established, he or she may be asked to play for free, in exchange for exposure and maybe a drink ticket or two. After some time spent working crowds and building a presence, what then would a DJ expect to be paid?

djingThere are several factors that go into how much DJs are paid: the type of party, the type of venue, the size of the venue, the duration of the time slot, and how far the DJ has to travel. A DJ who has asked to remain anonymous has said that he charges $150 an hour, but knows local DJs who are charging up to $250. He went on to say that a DJ of Tiesto’s caliber could command up to $300,000 for two hours. With this revelation, it’s hard to imagine the EDM bubble bursting anytime soon.

EDM Festivals You Have to Attend at Least Once


Shambhala first began in 1998 and has swelled to a four-day music festival that welcomes 10,000 unique guests to the Salmo River Ranch in British Columbia, Canada. Bass music fans will find sanctuary at Shambhala, where the likes of Ghastly, Caspa & Rusko, Andy C, and What, So Not have appeared. One of the centerpieces of Shambhala is its Artisan Market that features over 40 vendors. Shambhala also boats over 18 food vendors and free water refill stations. Shambhala also recruits volunteers, called Shambassadors and Ankors, to support attendees and provide helpful information. Treat yourself to a myriad of camping options and immerse yourself in the community of Shambhala.

Electric Forest

Every year for the last six years, the faithful descend on the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury Michigan every summer for a camping and music experience like no other. Acts that have been on past lineups include The String Cheese Incident, Tiesto, Pretty Lights, Above and Beyond, Richie Hawtin, Bassnectar, Porter Robinson, and Moby. Since 2012, Electric Forest has operated Electric Forest’s Music in Schools Program that supports local music education. Electric Forest also wishes to empower women through the creation of the Her Forest Women’s Program, stimulate minds through the Brainery Workshop program, and open the floor to performers to practice their craft.

Holy Ship

Holy Ship will take you out to sea with the best electronic music representatives on not one but two weekends. Fare includes accommodations, meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), non-carbonated beverages, and access to a health and fitness center. Holy Ship adventurers will also be treated to amenities like pools, a full-service spa and salon, a casino, and an internet cafe. In addition to performances on board, there are also beach parties which will take place on Great Stirrup Cay, a private island off Norway.

Movement Electronic Music Festival

Movement celebrates house and techno every year in downtown Detroit. A family-friendly festival, Movement honors the Detroit music legacy and spans three days of fun, music, and community building activities. Movement is special for a number of reasons, one of them being the Movement Studio. Movement’s Technology area allows several companies to showcase their products and give hands-on demonstrations. Some of the companies that have signed up to participate are Allen & Heath, Xone, and Roland. Music fans with mature tastes should consider traveling to Detroit, the heart of the underground dance music scene.

Imagine Festival

Imagine Festival is an aquatic themed music festival that had its inaugural event in 2014. The festival bills itself as an aquatic fairytale. Organizers erect the festival city of Imaginarium where the festival explorer can engage in flow arts, yoga, and meditation; arrest his or her senses by circus acts, art installations; hydrate in a splash pool, scream in delight on amusement rides, and enlighten the ears. Last year acts like The Disco Biscuits, Nero, Zeds Dead, Borgore, Showtek, Robbie Rivera, and Cosmic Gate were on the lineup.

The Popular EDM Sub-Genres

Humankind and its relation with music is a nutrient to our body, we cannot live without it. The relationship with music goes way back, as far as we can define ourselves. But now, for the time being, we are going to stick to this new and modern music art form “EDM” which has evolved much faster and gained popularity at an astonishing rate.

The term “EDM” has been bugging a lot of us for a while now. The world really needs to know that EDM is much more than a big name DJ playing on the Ultra main stage. We are now going to dive straight in and going to talk about the popular sub-genres in EDM.

TRAP: Trap is one of the most popular sub-genres as the majority of EDM lovers enjoy listening to it. Categorized by its Hip-Hop influence and sound almost synonymous with rap, has been dominating dance floors throughout the world when producers added rhythmic drops, rap vocals, and 808 bass sound to create such monster sound.

Dubstep:  Dubstep is second on the list of popular sub-genres of EDM. Dubstep is known to be tightly coiled with overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns, occasional vocals, and clipped samples.  There have been debates about Dubstep being dead but “Skrillex” revolutionized this somewhat new sub-genre and came all the way to the top simply by making people listen to the tracks by reinventing the style. To settle this argument of Dubstep being dead, we simply need to look at the fact that its second most popular after Trap. Notable sub-genre under Dubstep are Brostep, Luvstep, and thugstep.

House:  Third in the list goes to House. It is truly an American, as it grew in Chicago in 1980s. It is considered to be the most “Human” sounding music of all genres and because of its catchy tunes, is mostly used in top 20 mixes. Notable sub-genres are deep house, progressive house,  tech house, electro house and tribal house.

Trance: What else Germans gave to the world apart from cars and heavy machinery? It’s trance music. Born in the 1990s in Germany, Trance has become very popular. It is usually known for repetitiously build up and breaking down huge melodies.  It has always been popular since its inception, but in its native land, it’s entirely a different beast.  Notable sub-genres are vocal trance, tech trance, progressive trance.

Drum & Bass: Drum & Bass is one of the most intense, misunderstood sounds within EDM. Its seeds were sown in London but now have branches all over. It has been said that there is nothing more flexible and artistic than Drum & Bass. Pendulum, Noisia, Sub-Focus are popular artists that have made it to the top under this genre. Notable Subgenres are Drumstep, Liquid funk, Neurofunk.

The other sub-genres on the list include Progressive followed by electro rock, industrial, downtempo and the list is never ending. The most important thing to keep in mind is that since there are so many sub-genres within EDM that many of them are emerging and evolving each day. Having said that, we decide who we are, what we like and what we listen to, as our taste in music keeps on changing.

Who really is the world’s number 1 DJ?

This year has to be the worse year for voting, Trump gets into power, Brexit happens and Garrix becomes the number 1 DJ. Is he really the number 1 DJ though?


The “Number 1 DJ” would mean that we are only observing the ability to be a Disc Jockey which is mixing, crowd enjoyment of music and technique. A quick look at the stats would indicate that 36% voted for Music Style, 28% for DJ Skill and 24% Production Ability. There was another 6% for showmanship and the last 3% for popularity. This means only 28% of people voted for what the award is literally for.

The top 3 of the poll is Martin Garrix who is hugely popular in America; as is Hardwell and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. There will be a few followers in Europe who will cement a DJs place in the top 10. The music that they produce will also play a major part in helping build their reputation. The reason why Garrix is number 1 is the most votes in the competition came from the USA, his tracks are more mainstream, and he is moving the “Garrix” brand to more pop music feel reach many more listeners in the mainstream charts.

A drunken Hardwell has already admitted on stage at a gig that the Poll is rubbish. He then said Atmosfearz was a much better producer than him and wouldn’t sell himself out to win Polls. Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike must have been one of the worse DJ’s I have ever seen live; they seriously need to shut up and just play the music much like a few other DJs.

Let’s move swiftly on to the next big surprise of the poll, Daft Punk who are amazingly at number 72. In case people didn’t know, this poll was the year 2016. Daft Punk have not released any music since 2013 and only recently were featured in Weeknd’s album. They have also not appeared live since a TV Appearance for the Grammies in 2013 and before that, it was 6 years back during the 2007 tour. It is true they do DJ in underground clubs in France but not as Daft Punk; they do this on a low-key appearance where you probably wouldn’t know it was one of them. Voting for Daft Punk was like voting for Harambe as a write in.

My last nail in the coffin of this joke of an award is the worthy candidates outside the top 10. Above and Beyond at number 47 who are arguably one of the most respected acts in dance music. They produce music, tour live, bring through and promote talented DJs/Producers. If you were an unknown producer, then get a slot on Above and Beyond Group Therapy and you will be an instant hit. Eric Prydz is my number 1 DJ of 2016. I am not a major fan of his music however what I respect about him is the quiet way he goes about his sets, his mixing is great, and the experience was unreal. Every set he has played has blown people away in 2016. The positions of some DJs are jokes such as Paul van Dyk, AngerFist, Nicky Romero, Jack U, Carl Cox and then we have some of our DJ’s that are not even there such as Kutski, Gareth Emery, Fat Boy Slim, Duke Dumont and Bryan Kearney…. SMH.

The poll isn’t an accurate reflection of who the number 1 DJ is. The poll will never be able to define just who truly is the number 1 DJ. Trying to argue who the number 1 DJ is impossible. Do you go off fan base? Record sales? The number of gigs? Fees paid? The best theory to apply to the pole is “Opinions are liked assholes, everyone has one.” In the end, there isn’t a number 1 DJ of the world; the poll is just a publicity stunt designed to get people talking and give DJ Mag a bit of boost in viewing numbers.

What Are the Real Names of These Top DJ’s

Most people call him Dubfire, his inner circle calls him by his real name, Ali…but me, I gracefully yell out a simple “hey, uh! Your set was awesome!” after I drunkenly spot him at an after hours club, running giddily towards the DJ booth as his bodyguard looks back and glares at me for my failed attempt to make contact.

But I’m in a club, I’m energetic, I’m sociable. I will not stop until I have commended him on the amazing 2-hour set I watched him mix live just a few hours prior.

Minutes later, inebriated me decides to take to Instagram. I start the comment with the greeting, “Hey Mr. Fire” and send him my best wishes for the evening. I am proud of this nickname I have spontaneously bestowed upon him.

Too proud, in fact, that I don’t stop to think about his real name. In retrospect, I begin to wonder where Mr. Fire got his stage name. I guess I can kind of  see where he got Dubfire from Ali Shirazinia.

There’s no set pattern with electronic DJ’s and their stage names. The genre of the DJ won’t be an indication. Sometimes they simply choose to use their real names (like Joseph Capriati, Armin, Carl, etc). Other times, they dress up as 1/3rd of a s’mores, pretend they’re actually Tiesto and call it a day.

With some, the choice is obvious. Take Claude Vonstroke for instance. Even though his stage name definitely belongs in ‘70s mustache porn, I’m sure even then he thought it would be better than going by his birth name, Barclay Macbride Crenshaw. (Say that 5 times fast.)

If you want to have some real fun twisting your tongue, try imagining the unlucky MC introducing Swedish House Mafia by their real names, “Welcome Steven Angello Josefsson, Axel Christofer Hedfors and Sebastian Ingrosso!!!!!” The crowd would likely go confused before going wild.

Not unlike strippers, I’m sure DJs have fun with stage names. I never sat down and considered what Eric Prydz might have in common with an “exotic dancer”, but now I know the excitement of taking on a different persona if only for a few hours.

Eric Prydz, my favorite man of many names, who is known primarily by his real name also utilizes two aliases to differentiate between genres. Most of the tracks are released under the name Pryda will be more on the progressive house side of things. Tracks under his real name will tend to be more commercial and radio-friendly. And when you least expect it during a Prydz show, his alias Cirez D will emerge with dark, progressive tech-house (swoon).

This is what the first 10 of MixMag’s top 100 DJs list would look like if everyone used their real names. See how many you know.


I would rather see how many of these names I can butcher.

  1. Martin Garritsen (Martin Garrix)
  2. Dimitri and Michael Thivaios (Dimitri and Like Mike)
  3. Robbert van de Corput (Hardwell)
  4. Armin Van Buuren
  5. Tijs Michiel Verwest (Tiesto)
  6. David Pierre Guetta
  7. Steven Hiroyuki Aoki
  8. Olivier Heldens
  9. Sonny Moore (Skrillex)
  10. Nick van de Wall (Afrojack)



And no. No response from Mr. Fire…yet.

Undercover Police: The Obvious Dopes of Music Festivals

Being at a festival and looking for party favors (drugs) is incredibly tricky. Or so I’ve heard. Turning on that bloodhound sense of smell, sniffing out who’s holding a beer and who’s chugging water by the liter; observing who’s dancing quite hard and who seems to be sitting down in a trance with just as much devotion. It’s a skill… I’ve been told.

On the other hand, getting asked for drugs while you’re out getting lit with the fam is markedly less annoying than typing “getting lit with the fam”. A simple “sorry, man, I got nothing, ” and that’s all it takes to shoo away the asker.

It’s a normal occurrence at a festival. Until you realize the guy asking seems to stick out for some reason. You can’t put your finger on it. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s wearing clean leather shoes better suited for dinner than for Dim Mak.

He’s also staring into your eyes a bit too deeply as if measuring the dilation of your pupils. Then you remember the guy called them “rollies” when he asked, whatever the hell those are. Not unlike grandma trying to use your lingo and failing, the guy standing in front of you asking for illicit drugs does not belong here.

Such has been the situation for those of us who have encountered undercover police at festivals. The aim of course is to target dealers, but in some states, a person can be targeted just for being under the influence of drugs (not so in my dearly beloved home state of Florida).

Surprisingly, searching the internet will not help you figure out definitively which shows will have more undercover police (although it will remind you to use incognito mode on the work computer.)

The size of the festival does not necessarily parallel how much undercover police will be on site either, but in my research, I have noted that the location will portend to that figure.

Ultra Music Festival in Miami which houses 165,000 ravers only saw about 65 arrests in 2016. In stark comparison, California’s Nocturnal Wonderland which services about 60,000 reached 428 arrests, averaging about 142 per day.

In Las Vegas, Electric Daisy Carnival (with roughly 400,000 attendees) saw about 101 arrests. Meanwhile in California, police arrested 300 people at Hard Summer this year out of a total of 146,000 participants. See the pattern there, Cali?

Most of the arrests made in California are for public intoxication, but it seems asinine that this much effort goes towards enforcing this legislation. As my fellow festi-heads will know, using drugs at a festival is the norm. Even if you’re a straight edge individual, you understand and accept this is normal at a large gathering of people getting ready to shuffle poorly in public.

Hiring droves of undercover police to arrest people for doing drugs at shows is in the same line of thinking as scolding a horny teenager for having sex (and just as ineffective, if we’re being honest).

Safe practices should be taught, but one can’t expect drugs to disappear from the scene. It’s normal; it’s inevitable and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. (Or so I’ve been told.)