This past Friday night at Starlight Ballroom was crazy, to say the least. With a lineup consisting of local regulars Ethan DuBB and Oddzilla, trap sensations Rell the Soundbender, D!rty Aud!o, Victor Niglio, and a headline set by Luminox, it was bound to be nothing short of that. This is how my night went. Ready?
Let’s back up a little bit. I first heard about this show less than a week before it was set to go down, although it didn’t take long after seeing the lineup (a few seconds, maybe) to decide I was going. As is my typical fashion, I immediately started asking friends if they wanted to/were already going, including my fellow Daily Beat writer, Ryan. Being so new to this whole writing scene, press passes were the furthest thing from my mind, but happened to be the first thing that came out of his mouth when I mentioned heading to the show. I just kind of went along with it, (maybe I was just being a dumb blonde) thinking that he and his photographer would get the passes and I’d run into them sporadically throughout the show, as was our usual encounter.
But on Wednesday, everything changed, and every raver’s dream-come-true became my reality. Ryan informed me he was set to cover Tritional that night at the distinguished club Rumor, so I’d be handling press at Starlight Ballroom. Me. Little, not-so-quiet, never behind the scenes, 100% noob, me! I couldn’t believe it. Immediately I went to work contacting the artists for interviews, Facebook-ing like crazy, and reading as much info about each artist as I could (I didn’t wanna sound like a noob). When they say hard work pays off, they aren’t kidding. By Friday I had responses by 3 of the 6 artists all confirming they’d love to do an interview with me! Three! That’s one half of the artists that were performing! I felt like a five year old waiting for Santa, complete with chills and everything.
So, between Wednesday and Friday, and on top of my full-time job, I had to pull all of this together for the event. Biggest crisis, what do I wear!? Once that was solved, I had to come up with enough questions for three different artists, know a little background info so I didn’t sound completely ignorant, make sure I had a camera (and could figure out how to use it), a backup recorder, and enough battery life in everything to last me an entire night of excessive usage.
As the hours count down on Friday until I had to leave, I still hadn’t heard from a friend who was supposed to help with the equipment that night. Panic ensues. Thankfully I get a response, pack my car, pick him up, and we started our trip to Philadelphia. As if my week hadn’t proved fortuitous enough, I get an email from yet another artist who was willing to do an interview. Not only that, but less than ten minutes later my phone rings, and who was I speaking with? D!rty Aud!o himself! An artist whose music I’ve listened to countless times actually called me. If I wasn’t beside myself with nervousness and excitement already, I definitely was now. Four artists in one night, for my first press event ever. Bring on the pressure.
Okay, let me preface this by saying the normally 40 minute drive from Newark, DE to Philly turned into a 2 hour ordeal. Even worse, just when traffic started to let up, I realized the impossible had happened. I left...my clothes. And not just my clothes, but my interview questions... and my clothes! Cue panic. So as I reminded myself to breathe, I called a friend in Philly who said she could help me out. With only an hour left until your first interview, fixing your wardrobe crisis and trying to write down all of your interview questions at the same time is no easy task. Mind you, I had not one, but four interviews set up. With minutes to spare, we made it to Starlight. While my nerves were shot, I was as ready as ever.
*** The set that kept me sane on I-95N ***
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I walk into the venue, not really sure what to expect since I'd never been there before. What I saw took me by complete surprise. It looked like a roller rink straight out of a 70's disco movie, somehow transformed into an "electric arena" for the night's event. Hardwood floors sprawled across the length of the wide-open room, half-moon shaped booths lined the perimeter, and full length mirrors lined the walls. On one end was a full bar, on the other was the stage, and of course, no retrofitted venue could go without the classic disco ball in the center. I took a seat at one of the booths and tried to prepare/calm myself as best I could.
Since I had never really interviewed anyone, let alone artists I regularly listen to/see perform, I wasn’t sure how to act. Should I be super professional, or more laid back? All I knew was that my hands were shaking terribly with nerves and anticipation. As the first artist approached my interview booth, I composed myself as best I could. I was so nervous, I didn’t even realize I had forgotten to start recording until I was halfway through the second question! Thankfully, to break the ice, my first question was a joke. You’d think when the sound check is going on for a trap show, they’d play some variation of electronic music. Nope. Train came blasting through the speakers, and I couldn’t help but ask local artist Ethan DuBB and his sidekick Dufflebag Mack (who, humorously enough, is often mistaken to be Ethan by some) if that was their doing. Obviously, they laughed and said it was the promotion company’s iPod, but laughing about it made me slightly less nervous. We went through the questions I had remembered and written down, and ones that just came naturally with the conversation, and by the end it felt like I was just talking to a friend. For those of you who like moombah/trap, if you haven’t seen this guy yet, DO IT! This “Loaner” by day, Turntablist by night is a member of the Twurkaholics Crew for Actual Records and a regular at Soundgarden Hall.
Moving on. My second interview was with another local, Oddzilla. This delectable duo made up of artists G-Buck and Architekt, are slowly, but you can bet surely, making their way up the ladder of musical success. With their unique sound and ability to throw down, it’s impossible to have a dull night at one of their shows. My heart rate had finally started to slow, and my hands shook less as I asked these artists the questions I had prepared. I quickly learned my sleuthing abilities weren’t half bad. I had questions aimed at the artists individually, just to learn a little more, and G-Buck was taken completely by surprise when I asked, “So how did you go from trumpet to turntable?” During my investigation, I had read somewhere that he had played trumpet in his younger years.
Even though I had originally had four interviews planned, I hadn’t heard from the other artists yet, so I went about the venue, taking pictures and enjoying the start of the show. Being press, I quickly learned I had access to pretty much everything, including the stage, and, until now, the mysteries that lie beyond. I was coming off the stage from taking photos of Rell the Soundbender, and walked right into Victor Niglio. For me, this was huge! I’m an avid fan of almost anything electronic, but Victor is pretty high on my list, and I was standing right next to him! Not only was I standing next to him, but I got to talk to him and make jokes and actually hang out with him! Talk about mind-blowing. I’m sure you all have fantasies about what it would be like if you actually got to meet one of your favorite artists, and OMG it’s as wonderful as you imagine! And that was how my whole night went!
The rest of the show was spent raging with the artists I would have gladly paid to see, any day of the week, anywhere. Luminox knew my name! Some artist from Arizona who probably meets thousands of people a week knew MY name. And not only that, he was the headliner! The whole night I tried to act like I had been a part of this scene for more than a few hours. Through Rell the Soundbender telling me about his transition from behind-the-scenes to front-and-center, meeting and even getting an impromptu interview with DJ Woogie, and hearing all of the artists actually refer to me by name, I was smiling from ear to ear. Watching each producer appreciate the others’ sets was pretty amazing as well. An artist can rage to a set just as hard as any of us can, even when he has to use his backup computer (Luminox still killed it!).
All in all, I can easily admit I had a night I will never ever forget. Between forgetting the most basic of things, meeting some amazing artists, and viewing things from another perspective, safe to say that it was definitely an overall success. I think my favorite part was hearing all of the artists individually say how much they love what they do because of their fans. They may not have said it in the exact same words, but all of their answers led to that general declaration. Without the love and support from everyone involved in the EDM scene, neither they nor I would have had the opportunity to experience such an incredible night. The overwhelming love and euphoria that surrounds electronic music artists and fans alike is unparalleled. And without every single one of you, none of us, including measly writers, would be where we are today. So thank you, and next time you plan on heading to a show, let’s rage!
My Picks of the Night:
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I hope you enjoyed this journey about another one of us, another one of you, being sent behind the scenes and into the spotlight (or at least the shadows!). Check back soon for my interviews with Ethan DuBB, Oddzilla, DJ Woogie, and Rell the Soundbender. ‘Til next time!
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