EDC – 11.01.15

A few months ago we applied for a volunteer position at EDC in Milton Keynes through festaff and after what felt like an incredibly long wait, the time came to pack our camping gear and set off to the National Bowl. Insomniac’s EDC is huge in America and it has began to spread to Mexico, Brazil and a couple of years ago it came to the UK, much to our enjoyment! Festaff were lucky enough to be able to camp on the Friday and Saturday night in the park as to not miss any action. Once we had arrived and set up we all got given our roles and without a doubt we landed the best one we could get; ours was to walk the performers from their dressing room to each stage and be their PA’s for the day.

The rest of the Friday night was spent eating and drinking on the bank overlooking the sound and light checks which were happening on the main stage, soon to be Kinetic Field. No one could wait for the next day where we would soon be Under the Electric Sky…

Saturday morning came and so did our shift. We met with the girls and had a run through of what the job entailed which was mainly to keep the Clowns safe as they preformed and moved from stage to stage. It was great seeing the magic and craziness of the Insomniac performers as they interacted with the crowd just like we’d see from the shows in America. Before the girls went to preform at each stage we sat down with them for lunch and were lucky enough to be along side Steve Aoki, who had an mad, caked up performance on the main stage later on in the day. The girls were from Colorado and Miami and all said how great the English crowd were in terms of being so care free and fashionable with their festival wear.

We took the girls through the crowds to the first stage they were to preform at (Cosmic Meadow) and got in front of the barricades to insure they were dancing for the correct amount of time. Getting in front row at each stage was one hell of a job perk! After a quick sit down and drink we escorted the Clowns to the next two before they hit the main stage just as Hardwell was preforming. As the girls prepared themselves Hardwell finished his set and came down for a quick hello and picture – as you can’t not get one with the current number 1 DJ! As we got the Clowns ready to go Sick Individuals came on. And once again we were lucky enough to get a mad view. We spent a bit of time looking out onto the huge crowd then ran round in front of the barricades to time the girls. Before heading back to the performers tent we got a quick wave from Carnage who was due on after the duo.

We didn’t want our shift to end, it had been an incredible few hours but now was time to go into the arena as pundits. We grabbed some drinks, went to meet DuckworthSound and headed to Circuit Grounds to see Sub Focus and Pendulum for our Drum and Bass fix. The night was ended all too quickly as we sprinted to Kinetic Field to see the last half of Tiesto’s set. The stage looks amazing in the day with the fountains, owls, flowers and smoke machines but at night is like a different world. The work that went into it was insane. The lights, lasers, graphics, flames, everything, was magical. We ran down the bank and through the crowd to get right into the action for the last half an hour, lucky enough to catch Adagio for Strings, a strong favourite of any Tiesto fan.

The night was drawing to a close and we soon had to make it back to the tents where we carried on the party but we could all agree that nothing was to compare to being Under the Electric Sky.

Until next time EDC…


DVBBS – 27.6.15

Last Saturday the RISE team headed to Victoria Warehouse in Manchester for one big night. Victoria Warehouse is one of the most well known venues in the UK and has played host to the likes of Gorgan City, Labrinth, Hardwell and for this night; DVBBS, D.O.D, Jay Cosmic, Deniz Koyu, Stadium X and Nick Coulson.

Just before we headed to the Warehouse we stopped off and met up with Duke & Jones and were fortunate enough to hear the start of a mad DuckworthSound and Duke & Jones collab. You can hear some of their productions here: soundcloud.com/duke-jones-2. After a few live mixes from the boys we headed off. As you arrive at the Warehouse you can’t help but appreciate how perfect the venue is for a live act. The venue is split into 3 rooms and the main action was going to take place in the 2nd one, smaller than the 1st one, perfect for a sweaty, warehouse rave (as D.O.D said; nothing can beat it!).

We got our wristbands and headed back behind the decks. We arrived to see Jay Cosmic’s set. And it was mad. The crowd erupted with each Jungle Terror and electro drop. The energy in the set was mirrored by the crowd, they showed no signs of slowing down any time soon. Jay Comic’s remix of DVBBS’ Tsunami was played at Creamfields and got one amazing reaction. It can be heard on his soundcloud along with his and Dash Berlin’s ‘Here Tonight’; soundcloud.com/jay-cosmic. He’ll also be playing Tomorrowland, one set we advise you not to miss!

As we chatted with Jay backstage over some drinks, D.O.D arrived and made the long awaited introduction with DuckworthSound. For a couple of months they have been working on a new song which is due to come out soon and it is BIG. We headed back downstairs with D.O.D as he took to the decks after Stadium X, the Hungarian Progressive House duo. Being the act just before the main one goes on means getting the crowd even more geared up, and D.O.D did this perfectly. With no full devotion to a certain genre he can wow the crowd with whatever he pleases, and it seemed whatever he threw a them they loved. One of the big parts of the night for the RISE, DuckworthSound and Duke & Jones group, was when D.O.D invited Luke (DuckworthSound) up with him behind the decks to show the Manchester crowd their new collaboration. After the RISE team following and supporting DuckworthSound for years, this felt like a big moment for us all. After giving Luke an introduction to the crowd, the song built up as we all scurried around, phones flying up to grab footage of this big moment. When it dropped the crowd went mad, as did we! What a way to début a song for the first time, mad crowd, Victoria Warehouse and alongside D.O.D. Keep checking @duckworthsound and @dj_dod’s Twitter for information on when it’ll be coming out.

DVBBS were due to come on after D.O.D and we along with the crowd waited in anticipation for the Canadian brothers. Just as D.O.D was playing his last song, Alex and Chris prepared themselves just behind and waited for the handover. Once they made themselves visible to the crowd of 2,500, the room erupted. The sound coming from the speakers was mad, with each drop you could feel it. When they dropped Tsunami everyone in the room jumped together. The energy was insane. A 9-5 am rave and no one was quitting. Everyone was on their feet. Gold Skies is one of our favourite DVBBS’ tracks so hearing that live too, was incredible.

Once they had finished their huge set we had a quick chat with them before they jetted off to Ibiza to join Diplo, Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike and more; for what seemed like one mad few days.

Closing the epic night was Deniz Koyu with a two hour set for the crowd who were still going strong. The Turkish / German DJ cooled down the crowd with some electro house including some old Daft Punk, which any dance music crowd will adore.

There’s no denying Victoria Warehouse held an outstanding event last Saturday with a class line up, great venue and unreal crowd. The atmosphere and energy couldn’t have been better; a true, sweaty, warehouse rave.

Ministry Of Sound – 13.6.15

We headed into London on Saturday for a night out at Ministry Of Sound, which this year has been ranked as number 11 on the list of top 100 clubs (where Green Valley in Brazil takes the number 1 spot). It is situated down a small side road in Elephant and Castle which is only one short tube journey from Wateloo. The club opens its doors on a Friday, Saturday and Bank Holiday Sundays to people travelling from all around.

We arrived in time to avoid the long queues that the club brings and only had to wait a few minutes before being let in. The bouncers there are among the friendliest we’ve come across, keeping those waiting entertained while they waited. We got given our VIP wristbands and headed inside. The first room holds a DJ booth in the corner, dance floor and long bar. Any London club you go to there will be pricey drinks, let alone at Ministry Of Sound, but here you know you’re getting the good brands and good measures. The bar staff were also there having a good time, doing tricks and dancing along. What a great atmosphere already. To the left of the room is a smaller on with it’s own bar.

We headed up to VIP which is a balcony above and has booths which can be booked out including a bottle, mixers (and sparklers, to give it that extra VIP feel). At the far left of the VIP are windows allowing us to see into the main room where later that night Dr Kucho!, Gregor Salto, Kokiri, Justin and Berkmann will be playing. Just round the corner is a balcony where VIPs can enjoy their music at a height and further beyond that is the entry for the AAA wristband holders. This is also a great place to be after they finish their set as sometimes they come through there to exit. Just before you enter the VIP area you can go left and find room with yet again another bar and seating area, it’s more hidden away than the others so is usually a good place to go grab a quick drink before heading to the dancefloor.

We went down to the main room just as Kokiri was doing his set. We saw he had a group of avid fans near the front who were singing each song and handing out stickers with his name on. We got to speaking with them and one of them turned out to be Kokiri’s brother and manager. We got to sit with the house DJ once he’d finished his amazing set which featured some of his own songs. You can find them on his soundcloud: soundcloud.com/kokiri-music. The 24 year old told us he had been producing for 11 years and DJing for 5. He has since played in Ibiza, Switzerland and other clubs including The Qube Project alongside Danny Howard.

We headed to the balcony to see the end of Gregor Salto’s insane set filled with the new hype; Jungle. One of his most played tracks in other sets has to be On You Mark with Wiwek. The crowd loved when he dropped Hannah Wants and Chris Lorenzo’s Rhymes. The incredible sound system in Ministry gave the drop some insane bass, the type you can feel in your chest. Salto has been known for being very versatile and we can see that from his productions and sets. He brings his Latin house, jungle and electro together for a very well done set.

Next on after him was the head liner for The Box was Dr Kucho! The Spanish DJ took to the decks at 3:30 am with some reworked classics that got the crowd dancing . Known as the “Undisputed King of Spanish House”, he showed us some great feel good, dance beats; perfect for any night out. His most recent hit with Gregor Salto and Ane Brun, Can’t Stop Playing (Makes Me High) which was reasled on Spinnin’ this year was hugely welcomed by the Ministry crowd. No denying this was a great, well thought out set with old and new which worked for all. You can listen to Dr Kucho!’s set along with the other from the night here: ministryofsound.com/club/live-from-the-club#f3YiKpYsMCXQLSre.97

Ministry Of Sound certainly deserves it’s place in the Top 100 Clubs. The staff, the drinks, the rooms, the sound and the incredible line up they have all year round. We’re already looking forward to our next trip back!

Axwell ^ Ingrosso 6.06.15

On Saturday the 6th of June, Alexandra Palace played host to two of the most loved and followed Swedes in the scene; Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso who tore up the historic venue along with Salvatore Ganacci, Otto Knows and Robin Schulz.

We arrived in time to see the buzzing queue wrapped half way around the huge building which not only holds shows like this one but also has an ice rink, drive in cinema, pitch & putt and beautiful grounds.

The queue was full of friends meeting excited for the night, an array of flags and the occasional Swedish House tee. The entrance hall was filled with bars, food and a DJ in the middle. As we filed through to the main hall we spotted people pocketing small paper signs with some of Axwell ^ Ingrosso lyrics scattered on the walls as a souvenir to take home- a great touch for the widely anticipated event.

We got in just to see the end of what seemed like a lively set from Salvatore (who has worked alongside Jillionaire from Major Lazer). He was throwing out some well welcomed Jungle Terror and instantly we regretted not getting in earlier. Otto Knows followed him with some of his great house sounds, getting the crowd dancing as they got the drinks in. He played a mix of If I Lose Myself and Million Voices which the room adored. As the hall started filling in we made our way closer to the front ensuring a good spot for the main act. Robin Schulz then took to the decks with his deep house vibe, showing us how great the bass in the hall was while playing his hits such as Waves and his famous remix of Prayer In C.

There was a 20 minute change over where the crowd began to get restless waiting Axwell ^ Ingrosso and began every chant they could recall until the lights dimmed and the music started. It was time for who we’d been waiting for. “Axwell, Ingrosso, Axwell, Ingrosso, Axwell, Ingrosso”, came through the speakers. They appeared behind they’re open bottom decks and straight away began building up to a fantastic drop, showing the crowd what they had in store for us for the next two hours; sweet build ups, insane drops, fireworks, flames, graphics and incredible lasers.

They did not forget that the crowd loves all of their old gems such as Leave The World Behind, I Found U and of course, One which threw it back to the pre Depatures days and right back to early Swedish House Mafia. When we saw Axwell ^ Ingrosso back in August last year at Creamfields they showed us some of the new music they had created which has now become some of our favourite tracks. These songs sound great in production and even better live with a crowd where everyone is in that moment. Nothing can describe how it felt to hear and see everyone while they played Something New. As the song faded out the crowd erupted into round of applause and cheers. It was emotional to say the least. On My Way was another song where the crowd came together. We can’t believe that there would have been one person not singing when that came on. Talk about feel good music. Continuing to blow the minds of each individual in the room throughout their two hour set, they did a fantastic mash up of One More Time and Save The World.

The end was coming as Axwell took to the mic and thanked everyone for joining them on a special day which was Swedish National Day. He played along that they were going to bring out none other that their old friend Steve Angello. You could hear the crowd murmuring about how crazy it would be. Unfortunately, it was all a game and they carried on to play their last few songs which included Sun Is Shining and of course; Don’t You Worry Child. They finished their set on that memorable song and held their hands together to create their sign as they left the stage. Incredible. Without a doubt, they showed everyone who still runs this business.

Just as the crowd was leaving Salvatore Ganacci came back on and played a 20 minute set full of dirty drops and crazy remixes of songs such as Heros and an old Destiny’s Child hit, Bills, Bills, Bills.

It’s fair to say Axwell and Ingrosso will put on an incredible performance whether it’s apart or together, filled with emotion, unreal production including lights and lasers and they’re well loved sounds. They’re first on the list to see this year at Creamfields.

Axwell ^ Ingrosso 2 Axwell ^ Ingrosso

Alesso Album Launch Party 8.5.15

A few weeks ago Alesso announced he was doing another UK show, and this one was for his Forever album launch (which is available on the 26th May). I was lucky enough to get a ticket along with my dad and two friends – I couldn’t miss seeing him!

The event was due to take place at KOKO in Camden, London, which holds just over 2,400 people over its tiers. It’s held acts such as Coldplay, Usher and none other than Swedish House Mafia. The stairs just after the entrance led everyone down to the grand bar that quickly filled up. Just opposite; was the dance floor.

We arrived just as the support for Alesso (Tobtok, a young, Swedish DJ)  was gearing the crowd up for a big night with his Nu disco and French house sounds. The room starting filling more and more before Alesso was due on, to the point it was getting hard to move at all! And then he arrived. Once again, there he was in the flesh in his iconic black jeans, baggy tee and headphones (which he later threw into the crowd where I was standing minutes before!). He appeared at the decks with an image of him on the screen behind as the crowd began to chant his name. The music began and within seconds the hair on my head was moving due the bass. It was beautiful. PAYDAY was played early on in the set and it is one of my favourites by Alesso. The electric sound is so incredible. We cannot ignore the fact that Alesso has some of the most amazing graphics and lazers during his sets which for me add a great amount to the atmosphere and the whole night! Even though this was his album launch party, he played some classics that the crowd were more that happy to hear! Pressure, City of Dreams and Years were amongst them.

Deep Down Low by Valentino Khan popped up part way through (which has been popular in many Ultra, Coachella and TomorrowLand Brazil sets), along with Febreze by Jack U and Gregor Salto’s huge one; On Your Mark, all of which the crowd loved. Alesso was wowing the room with his new songs, such as Sweet Escape, which could be heard in his recent live sets. Everyone sung as the music built up and revealed some more outstanding graphics and lights.

Alesso finished his energetic set with If I Lose Myself where the crowd soaked up the last few minutes of the night. The night ended all too quickly with him thanking the London public and throwing his headphones into the crowd, creating a massive scramble.

I would not miss a chance to see him again. See you at Creamfields Alesso!

Under the Electric Sky

About a month back while scrolling through Facebook, I came across festaff.co.uk which is a website that gives people the opportunity to work at festivals in the UK. I love this idea so began searching through which ones I could apply for.

EDC was one on the list and something I’d love to go to! Me and my best friend applied and a couple of days ago got our confirmation! I’m so excited to be working in an atmosphere that I love alongside my friend. It’ll also be my first Insomniac Event!

I was in Milton Keynes (where EDC UK is) visiting family last year on the weekend it was due to take place. I didn’t get tickets for the event but could hear the sets from my family’s back garden. Talk about being so close yet so far! My dad (who has grown up listening to dance music and is ultimately the one who created my love for the culture) had seen Calvin Harris earlier in the year at Hakkasan, Vegas and could easily point out the exact moment he began his set!

So far on the line up there’s artists such as Carnage, Cosmic Gate, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, Tiesto and Matrix and Futurebound.

I’ve got a while to wait but no doubt it’ll come around quick and I’ll finally be Under the Electric Sky!

Dillon Francis 4.2.15

Early February me and four friends made our way to Brighton to see Dillon Francis at the Concord 2. The venue was a tiny club with two rooms, one holding the clockroom and bar and the other where the night was to take place.

The crowd filled through the doors as the starting act began, Stookisound who I got to see last year at Flosstradamus in London. This set was incredible. The entire crowd cheered as they dropped tune after tune getting everyone moshing.

The set seemed too good to finish, but within minutes of Stooki leaving the stage (to resume a place in the crowd) All That began playing. Dillon appeared, “It’s me bitches” and the crowd jumped up and cheered to welcome him. The tiny venue was great to see someone who gives out such an insane set, where you can’t help but dance constantly. It was nearly impossible for our friends to stay together due to how much the crowd jumped around and moshed but within seconds one of us would fly past the other with a massive grin on our face. Dillon played most of his new Money Sucks Friends Rule album including Hurricane which is a definite favourite of mine. The night ended way too quickly, I think the whole crowd could have easily had the set continue until morning!

Reluctantly we all got our coats and left the venue, swapping videos and pictures of the incredible night we just experienced.

Dillon Francis