Monthly Archives: March 2011

Electro spins into Disney’s California Adventure with the help of TRON

A couple weeks ago in one of my earlier posts I said that I wanted to write about electronic music and culture because it seems like it’s becoming some type of trend lately. Well with Disney’s new installment in Hollywood Pictures Backlot at California Adventure, it kind of affirms my suspicions….in an awesome way.

I’ve always loved Disneyland since I was little, and took my boyfriend there last Easter. He is from Portland, Maine and had never been so I was excited to show him around. But after our trip he said it was a little lackluster for him – things looked old or he thought it would be me interesting than it really was. I kind of agreed that there isn’t very much to do for people over 21, but now I think there is.

Disney’s California Adventure has always been more modern than the original Magic Kingdom (well, because it’s newer), but it still tried to gravitate towards people that are over the age of 15. With the help of the new TRON movie that debuted in theaters December 17, 2010, Disney created a whole other electronic experience in their park. It’s called elecTRONica. Good name, I think, because while it is about the movie TRON, at night it also has DJs spinning techno and dance music, as well as one of the only places in Disneyland that serves alcohol. It has a whole club vibe, which definitely attracts a 21+ crowd.

elecTRONica concept art, copyright Disney

I asked someone who works in the elecTRONica section how it’s been going so far, and what he thinks of it. Patrick O’Rourke, who works in a few of the elecTRONica stores, describes the scene as a rave without the drugs. Disney-friendly rave. “They kick off this event by giving the back story to the first Tron movie and do a little dance to go with it,” he says. “They also brought over Flynn’s Arcade over from Comic-Con and theyre all old school video games from the 80s that all cost 1 token. I would say that its very popular with people 21 and over cause I think of this as a club atmosphere only its outside. They even serve alcohol.”

copyright Jeremiah Daws, Disney

He says that overall, the response to the club-vibe area of the park has been positive, although he has noticed a few drunk people walking around. He recalls a time after elecTRONica first opened when he first noticed it. “I was working in Flynn’s Arcade and this family walked up to me and they asked where Soaring Over California is so I told them and they didnt hear me so I told them again and thats when I realized they were drunk,” he says. “At one point while im talking to the parents one of the kids brings me closer to him and says ‘i think theyre drunk.’ After that happened it made me think that some parents probably don’t care about the club atmosphere as long as they get to drink. California Adventure is the only place at disneyland that serves alcohol so anyone 21 and over really take advantage of it.”

Video by: Asianjma123, YouTube

This section of the park opened in October 2010, before the movie was in theaters, but has started to take off and become more popular since the release of the movie. Some of the music I’ve heard the DJs playing are remixes of Daft Punk, Swedish House Mafia, and Deadmau5. I’m sure there’s more big names that they’re putting out there every night.

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Q&A with DJ LabRat, Travis Egner-Williams

With all of the local talent in the Bay Area at events and clubs like Ritual, Redline, 1015 Folsom, BlowUp and Mezzanine just to name a few, I wanted to get to know what it is like behind the scenes for a native Bay Area DJ just emerging into the electronic music scene.

Let me present to you DJ LabRat. Travis Egner-Williams, the man behind the music, was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California. Known to the music scene at LabRat, he has just started performing in clubs and getting his music out to the public besides Internet communities like SoundCloud.

He talked to me about what it was like growing up in the Bay Area, getting into electronic music, how the scene has changed, and what the Bay Area needs to become an even more amazing place for electronic music. Check it out.

Q: What first got you into DJing?

A: I actually started making hip hop beats just for fun when my friends when I wasn’t into electronic dance music. Then I went to Earthdance Laytonville and heard dubstep for the first time and have been trying to produce it ever since. I’ve only started DJing recently as a result of seeing a lot of DJs who don’t produce their own music. I feel that DJing is an art but I also feel live DJ sets are opportunities for producers to showcase their work.

Q: Did you immediately start with electronic music?

A: I played guitar in a metal band called Crucifornication for a few years but when that kinda deteriorated I was looking for musical release, so I started playing around on some programs and have always been trying to progress since. I love the freedom of making music on computers.

Q: What was the club/music scene like as you were growing up?

A: I don’t know if it’s all I was listening to but it seemed primarily punk and reggae shows were what was available, and there were many. When I was in high school that’s what everyone went to, and now it seems like electronic music is where it’s at.

Q: Has the scene changed?

A: Well I wouldn’t say electronic dance music has taken over but has definitely made a presence. Not only are there more shows, bigger names are coming through Santa Cruz all the time. It also seems that a lot of younger kids have hopped on the electronic dance music bandwagon.

Q: What do you aspire to be, a DJ like Rusko and touring the world or someone who will stay true to their home area? What do you want to be known for?

A: I just want to get my music on pat with what I like and I know my stuff isn’t there yet but I’m not going to stop until I’m satisfied. My goal is just to be able to play festivals. It’s where I first heart electronic dance music and to this day I will say it’s the best way to experience it.

Q: What artists do you look up to or inspire you?

A: I’m a big fan of early Jazz-fusion like Chick Corea and Al Di Meola, but as far as who I look up to in the electronic dance music world, I would have to say Tipper (UK), bar none. I absolutely love his music and every time I hear it I wanna make music. I’m also seeing big productions from Opiuo (Australia), Dodge and Fuski (UK), Roksonix (UK), Pendulum, Stephan Jacobs (SoCal), Builder (Santa Cruz) and Doctor P (UK).

Q: Has it been difficult to get into venues and get your music out?

A: I’m in no rush to push my music because I feel it’s only going to get better. I put all my music up for free downloads on my SoundCloud and thats mostly how people hear about me. So no, it hasn’t been hard to get my music out although it would be nice to get on a label and get some official releases on Beatport and whatnot.

Q: What was your first show like?

A: My first show went pretty well. I played at my friend’s birthday party and everyone loved it. I was nervous as hell but I didn’t have any technical difficulties, which I’m always deathly afraid of.

Q: Is the Bay Area a good place for electronic music to thrive?

A: I think the Bay Area is a great place for electronic dance music. I think there just needs to be a place online where Bay Area DJs, producers, and promoters can come together and trade ideas and make connections. If that happened I think it would grow at a much faster rate.

Maybe he should consider creating this community? I think so!

Here is a song, not yet featured on SoundCloud, that LabRat is working on:
Ellie Lights

LabRat will be performing at 1015 Folsom this Wednesday, March 16, along with other local DJs including CARRIER (San Francisco), Carly-D & Dr. Knobz (Oakland), Johnny5 (Oakland), and Smizzle (San Jose).

Designer Drugs Take Over the Bay

I know I talk a lot about BlowUp, but it seems like it really is one of the best places for people of all ages to go and have fun, without needing to worry about passing security. All 18+ people rejoice.

I, however, just celebrated my 21st birthday. I may or may not have been attending 21+ shows for the past 2 years, but a giant weight has definitely been lifted off of my shoulders not having to worry if I will be able to get in or not and potentially lose the money I spent on my ticket. But with that said, I know I will keep going back to BlowUp. Maybe it’s nostalgia, or maybe they actually have some amazing DJs at a college-student price.

This weekend, March 11, Designer Drugs will be headlining the BlowUp stage. I saw them one other time when BlowUp was at Rickshaw, and another time at Live 105’s 2009 Subsonic Spookfest. They always put on a good show, get the crowd involved, and make everyone have an effortlessly good time.

Designer Drugs are two guys, Patrick Nelson and Theodore Nelson, that hail from New York but have travelled all over the world to promote their music and get people to dance. They are known for their countless number of remixes and mashups, but on February 22nd, 2011, released their debut album HARDCORE/SOFTCORE.

The album has dance-pop tunes with vocals like Crazy For You, and other harder stuff like Face Melter.

Video By: clemlToulousian, YouTube

On top of their BlowUp performance at DNA Lounge, the electronic duo will also be performing at the ASI Rhythms Music Festival at San Francisco State University, on Friday, March 18th. It takes place in the Cesar Chavez student center, starting and ending different times each day. The festival goes from the 16th to the 18th and has other headliners such as Del the Funky Homosapien, who performs Thursday, March 17th.

Here is another taste of a Designer Drugs hit. Enjoy!

Designer Drugs – Drop Down

Mardi Gras, Le Castle Vania Rock The Mezz

Well-known Atlanta DJ Dylan Eiland, also known as Le Castle Vania, will be returning to San Francisco for a show at the Mezzanine this Friday, March 4th. Early bird tickets are sold out, but you still have two days left to buy advance tickets here.

The pale-skinned, super-blonde-haired Le Castle Vania is familiar to the Bay, performing at many Blow Up events and also Live 105’s Subsonic Spookfest.

Video By: LingdumIUNA, YouTube

This time, Dylan will be joined by DJs Fuckkk Offf, Realboy, Fabian Campos, Robot Mafia, and Mikeyydrops

Video By: SalemDaHousecat, YouTube

Fabian Campos – Beatport Tech House Mix

As for the rest of the weekend, it’s Mardi Gras!
I’ve been seeing signs and posters around the city for Ruby Skye’s Mari Gras bash that is going on Friday AND Saturday, but The Mezzanine is hosting one of their own as well. WhiteNoize, Pam the Funkstress, and DJ Zaq will be providing the beats. Pre-sales are sold out, but you can still get tickets here.

WhiteNoize – The Underground

DJ Zaq – Sound Reaction

Like I said, Ruby Skye is hosting their big Mardi Gras thing all weekend. DJs Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden will be spinning (known together as Gabriel & Dresden).

Gabriel & Dresden

Have a good weekend everyone!