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Global Dance Festival: Dancing The Night Away at Red Rocks

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Global Dance Festival: Dancing The Night Away at Red Rocks

Living in Colorado is amazing. Not only are we surrounded by beautiful mountains, for the most part pretty great weather and great people, we also have what is known as Red Rocks season. The time of year where no matter what genre of music you listen to, our summer days and nights are filled with listening to beautiful music at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Of course, this particular weekend was going to be louder than the rest, as Global Dance Festival was taking place and it is truly an event like no other. Walking in during the evening was a treat as I had the chance to listen to a new up and comer Saturn who was doing a great job at getting the crowd hyped. No matter what you stand in the amphitheater it really is a great view all around and even up as high as I was during his set, I had no problem dancing and hearing the music perfectly. Of course, when you are 16 and playing at such an amazing location as Red Rocks, you definitely know at that point to bring your A-game. The rest of the evening seemed to go by so quick that I barely even had a chance to meet up with everyone I knew was going to be at the festival. Pegboard Nerds went hard right from the start with a nice trap/dubstep mix with your occasional deep house song in the set. Once Seven Lions took the stage I looked behind myself and saw that the crowd was getting larger by the minute. His energy was incredible and his fans were treated to a lot of new music by the end of the set.

Flosstradamus came on and Red Rocks was instantly transformed into a trap and dubstep show. We jumped, we screamed, we laughed, we danced and I couldn’t find anyone around who was sitting still by the end of the set. Now I definitely have my moments as a bass head. In fact, with my festival crew most of the time we are away from the main stage, listening to some heavy bass beat or similar. Yet tonight was a special night because it was the first time I had everyone with me to really get into something different than the norm and being that it was Above and Beyond, I knew it was going to be magical. And if you haven’t ever been to an Above and Beyond set…I suggest you make sure to do it at least once this year because it is truly something that you cannot put into words. I felt lost in the music and one with the crowd by the time the 2 song played and looking back from the bottom and staring up at the whole crowd moving and jumping at the same time was even more special. It seemed as if the lights danced off the side of the rocks to the beat and of course what I love even more, is that every time I looked at people around myself and friends in the crowd, there was a sense of belonging and togetherness that reminds me why I love this scene and culture that I was surrounded in.

By the time I walked in on Saturday I was still recovering from the fantastic time I had the first day. I was unsure if today was going to even top last night but once I walked in and heard that I was entering 3lau’s house I knew that I was in for a treat. I couldn’t stop moving at all during his set and found myself getting lost into the party atmosphere. Doctor P came on and we went from the energy and jumping of a house set to the grimy can’t stop moving to a great dubstep set. Lasers started to come on and instantly I was lost in the moment and had to rush up the stairs to head over Slow Magic. Slow Magic is definitely someone that you should check out if you get a chance and I am so grateful I got a chance to see him while at Red Rocks. The set felt intimate and personable and the sound of him drumming is still a sound I can hear in my ears. Luckily EDM has evolved over the years into a genre that can incorporate several types of musicians into the scene and Slow Magic is one of them. You’ll definitely be grateful you took the moment to check out his set.

After being locked in a trance by Slow Magic I hurried over for the last little bit of Datsik’s set where I could barely get down the stairs without people dancing. He brought just as much of the filth as Doctor P did and all with a big smile all over his face. We were treated to a special debut of his new song with Snoop Dogg and I found myself calling back in love with dubstep all over again. By the time the lights started to dim for our final act I knew this was going to be a treat. "Never Sleep Alone” started playing in the speakers and crowd instantly started singing along with the lyrics. His set consisted of some of his newer tracks and some of his old school tracks as well. He played true to what he knew and we were treated to a great little interlude as he explained his humble beginnings at some of the smaller Denver nightclubs like The Church and Beta, to now coming back and playing at Red Rocks. It was a remainder of the life and career of a DJ and as the music started playing I danced along all the strangers around me that night, our eyes glued to the stage as we were treated to a great finale for day 2.

I love seeing women on stage and I make a big effort to make sure I always head out to go support our female DJs. Luckily Aviva delivered on being as great as I thought she would be, and my body during her set on Sunday didn’t for a bit feel as if I had been climbing mountains all day and all night for the past few days. She was amazing at responding to the crowd and playing exactly what we wanted to hear. During a time where EDM can be so generic and repetitive I was glad that at this moment the entire set felt new and refreshing, constantly keeping me dancing and trying to scream with a voice that had disappeared sometime during day 2. Once Sunday started I had made a plan to sit up kinda high as much as we could to avoid all of the walking as two days of non-stop dancing had finally taken a toll on my body. Still the weather held up perfectly and the lineup for the last night was definitely something I couldn’t miss.

Green Velvet had me up the entire time for his set as “Lazer Beams” was blasting through the speakers and I couldn’t stop moving. Even from the top of the Red Rocks theater I was able to spot his signature green mohawk and see someone who was enjoying coming onto the stage to perform for a crowd. Kill the Noise was just as exciting and the set was perfect for the day, leading us up to what I knew was going to be such a great finale. His track “Far Away” with Feed Me happens to be a favorite of mine and hearing the vocals of the kids on the speakers was something magical.

Benny Benassi and Tiesto were next and I was so excited to see them even though I knew that most of the crowd there don’t even realize that these two have both had a significant impact on the EDM world today. At times a DJ graduates from being someone known to make the hits and popular to a pioneer in the music. Our final two acts of the night had both reached that status. Benassi played a perfect house set and it was great to hear some of his old school though he played a lot of remixes. I was hoping for a second we would get treated to an old Benny set but I still was dancing when I heard him drop Skrillex’s remix of his song “Cinema” to the crowd. It’s always great to see a great DJ on stage performing with such ease and perfect transitions that while I was sad to see him go, I knew that the standard of quality of actual djing was going to continue with Tiesto. Having seen Tiesto already once this year at Spring Awakening, I was glad to see him again as I had such a great time there.

While I long for a surprise announcement that he’s going to be doing a new solo tour with 6-hour trance sets, I couldn’t help but smile watching him drop RL Grime’s “Core” into his set. Of course, he didn’t fail and came through with playing one of my favorites, “Adagio for Strings” and by the time he finished I was wishing that there was another 4 hours to go, regardless if my feet were begging for a break. Throughout the weekend I was reminded again about much the EDM world is evolving. While there are trends and DJs that come and go, one thing that seems to stay the same no matter what generation is an appreciation for a quality show.

Global Dance is great festival put on by individuals that definitely know the industry and strive to bring not only the newest but also some of the greatest. While I had a great time listening to new acts such as Illenium, Aviva and Saturn…I had just as much fun watching DJs such as Kaskade, Tiesto & Benny Benassi grace the stage. It is definitely one for the record books and I strongly suggest if you want to pick one Red Rocks show to go, Global Dance should be it.

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AUTHOR CREDIT: SHANNON BALMES PHOTO CREDIT: RANDY EYRE

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Global Dance Festival: Getting to the Festival Early

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Global Dance Festival: Getting to the Festival Early

Let’s face it when most of us decide we are heading to a festival we look at two major factors – 1) How close is it to me & how much? 2) What headliners are going to be there? Yes. These are always important factors to any festival and of course should never be overlooked but sometimes its fun to approach a festival without knowing most of the artists there. Not only does this expand your musical tastes but it also sets you up to be opened up to new style of music without standard expectations.

If you’re happening to be attending Global Dance Festival in Colorado this July 17th to the 19th, you should follow my footsteps this year and start arriving to a festival right as it begins. What I’ve found is that a lot of great talent is there right at the beginning of the festival and you may see someone now who might blow up even bigger next year. And don’t believe me on that? I remember last August being right up in front watching a DJ on a small stage having a conversation with friends at one festival and then not even a year later this past June I was barely able to move because the entire area was packed with fans screaming from head to toe. That lone DJ who I took a chance on last year who is growing at a super fast rate: Snails.

Saturn: The EDM world is filled with a newer talent everyday. One of those new tales of success belongs with 16 year old Saturn. With already over 45K followers on Soundcloud it’s definitely worth a minute to sit down and listen to his music. What you’re going to find is an amazing set of original music and incredible remixes. It’s obvious that everything he is touching lately musically is turning to gold and I for one cannot wait to see what is in store for him in the future. Saturn’s young fresh take on his songs range from chill trap to future bass. Definitely check out his Soundcloud and then get to Global first thing to check him at the main stage amphitheater where he will be playing from 5 to 6!

Dedcadon: Denver has a lot of great EDM talent coming through on a regular basis but they also have great local talent as well. Once again following on the trend of talent at a young age, Colorado’s Dedcadon is on my radar for up and coming DJs on the rise. His history includes a love of music ever since he was a toddler and now while studying music marketing in college while producing amazing music and remixes! He has already shared the stage with Dillion Francis, Diplo & Borgeous to name a few. His soundcloud has a great mixture of his diverse musical talents from dubstep and chill trap to twerk music. He’ll be playing at the NRG stage at 6 to 7 and hopefully he’ll drop his Flosstradamous "Prison Riot" bootleg to get the whole crowd jumping.

Fury: We all love our main stage acts from time to time but as a basshead if there is one thing that gets me excited is when a DJ knows how to bring the bass. That will be the case when Denver’s own Fury hits the stage this Saturday opening up the main stage! Now while Drum & Bass isn’t for everyone I do encourage you to try it out every now and then as I have found that there are several different types of drum & bass djs out there. Personally Fury has a bit of the old school flair with some Jungle thrown in that reminds me of days as a young girl listening to my brother blast music while getting ready to head out in his JNCO pants. A quick peak at his Soundcloud will reveal a few mixes that would be the perfect music to listen to in the car on your way up to Red Rocks this weekend. His set starts at 5pm on Saturday making him the perfect start to a wild and memorable night!

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AUTHOR CREDIT: SHANNON BALMES

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Exclusive Interview: Ookay

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Exclusive Interview: Ookay

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In Denver, we have something that we look forward to all year. Once the snow melts and the warm weather starts to show its face, music fans from all genres get excited for what we know as Red Rocks Season. The historical Red Rocks is home to some of the best EDM events in Colorado and its one venue that you have to put on your bucket list. And if you hear that Ookay is going to be performing at this venue, you’re guaranteed an amazing show.

If you haven’t been to an Ookay show before, I should warn you that this isn’t the type of show where you will be sitting in your seat. No bathroom breaks, no refilling the water bottle, no going to find your friends. The minute Ookay hits the stage you are instantly redeeming your ticket for a non-stop journey of energy, excitement and pure talent. It always shows when a DJ loves what he does and it’s easy to see that in Ookay.

After dancing around with him and watching him hype up the crowd as the sun went down and the stars came out, EPIC had a chance to catch up with Ookay to check in to see how his year has been so far and of course, what new pizza is on his radar:

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: How has your year been treating you so far?

Pretty wild! This year I gotten to work on a lot of new music and I’m pretty happy about that. I’ve been able to work on some new collabs as well. I’m working on one with A-Trak and another with Retrohandz. A lot of new singles, it’s really exciting! Just original stripped down “Ookay music” the real trap shit. Back to the roots.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What style is your song with A-Trak?

It’s like Twerk and Moombahton. A little bit of both. But ya know its in its early stages right now. It’s playable, but early stages. It just depends on where were going to go with it. We barely have time, either of us…So we’re just trying to figure it out. But yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to that one.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: How many more stops do you have on your tour?

Well the tour never ends so I mean tomorrow were doing a secret show somewhere, can’t say where but we’re doing that. Getting ready for the festival season! Tomorrowland, EDC Vegas, all sorts of crazy stuff happening. Just mainly getting new music ready for the festival season that’s what I’m working on right now.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Do you prefer the festival or the club scene?

I like them both, clubs are always super intimate but you can reach a broader audience at the big festivals obviously. There are pros and cons for everything, ya know? So it depends, it just depends.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Who’s been the most fun to tour with?

Um…Oh man, Snails is definitely up there. Dotcom is an awesome dude, Um, Jose, ETC!ETC!, always good times with him. I guess those would be my choices.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Which software do you use to produce?

I use FL Studios. Loud and Proud, since the beginning.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What approach do you use when you start making a new song?

It’s just the stuff I think in my head. I beat box a lot, not in public or anything, but like to myself. So all the noises I make like in my head or in my mouth I try to like translate them into an actual song. Like synths I have in my head I try and make them as close as possible. It’s pretty cool, ya know it just depends. Depends on my mood, the vibe, even what it looks like outside.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What are some of your favorite plugins you use often?

I use a lot of Nexus, Sylenth and Massive is pretty cool. I’ve been using Serum too. Serum’s pretty cool.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: It’s good for glitch effects right?

Yeah it is but I actually use Blue Glitch for the glitchy shit. And yeah that’s pretty much what I use along with the in house FL Studio plugins.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Nexus, Sylenth and Massive seem to be the three staples that most producers use.

Yeah for sure. They’re the ones that almost every producer has.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: So we’ve heard about your other identities as Coaster and Leisure. Have you played shows under those names?

Yeah I used to as Leisure a long time ago. I actually switched over from Leisure to Ookay permanently. And then Coaster, I’ve done a couple shows and obviously I’ve done shows as Ookay. But yeah, with Coaster I’ve only done three shows. San Diego, LA and Miami.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Coaster is more of the kinda chill trap right?

Yeah chill trap, house music, all that kinda stuff. More on the mellow side.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Which is your favorite identity to play as? Do you have one?

I think probably Ookay. I just like being super energetic on stage. Just act crazy and shit. It’s about being wild and connecting with the crowd. I have a blast!

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Who are some new artists your following these days?

Um, new people? I guess Retrohandz. There’s a lot of good up and coming producers.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: How about Snails?

Well yeah. I knew about Snails before he was Snails. Before he even had Snails as a name. So like, I’ve seen that guy grow and he’s killin it! I’m really proud of him. He’s actually one of the people I’m just so happy for.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Have you ever toured with him?

I’ve played a couple shows with him here and there but never like a stop-after-stop tour with him.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What other artists are you hoping to collaborate with this year?

I’m talking to Valentino right now, Valentino Kahn. Um, I want to finish this one with A-Trak. I’ll see what the Yellow Claw guys are up to later. Um, I dunno probably Hardwell.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: So what’s up with you and Hardwell these days? Still blocked on his Twitter?

Yeah but I keep sending him Snapchats, he doesn’t reply but he opens them at least. So I got that going for me.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: So what other shows are you most looking forward to this year?

Tomorrowland is definitely gonna be a staple for me out in Belgium, I’m gonna be freaking out! Excited for that and EDC Vegas is going to be really awesome too. First time playing that. Ile Soniq in Montreal is gonna be cool. Actually going to be playing with Snails! Haha so that’s going to be a good time.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Nice! Maybe a possible Vomit-Trap collab in the upcoming future?

Haha I dunno, but I’d love to. That’d be great! We’ve done one before, me and Snails, but its old as shit. It was before Snails even had his sound yet.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: How long have you been producing?

Um, about 4 or 5 years now.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Have you been using FL Studio the whole time?

Yup, since the beginning! Everyday man, in the studios trying my best.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What do you think about FL studio 12?

I actually haven’t used it yet! I haven’t even seen it. I need to Google it later and study it.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: You need to get it! They basically took every annoying this from FL studio 11 and fixed it, making it smoother, cleaner and faster!

That’s dope! Shout out to FL Studios by the way.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What’s the best pizza you’ve had this past month?

There’s this place in LA called Olio, and it’s like really good brick oven baked pizza. And they use like really fresh ingredients so its super healthy pizza. That place, and Blaze Pizza in Hollywood. Blaze Pizza is like my Go-To for pizza when I like really need it then and there.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: If I can make a recommendation next time you’re in Denver, check out MOD Pizza. You pay for your crust and then you can get as many different toppings as you want and they’re all really fresh and delicious.

Damn! That’s Lit! I’m definitely gonna check that out. Shout out to MOD Pizza!

After the interview I had a chance to hang out a bit for Ookay and it was easy to see how much he loves his job. Of course, the amount of fans screaming and cheering his name, while dancing along with him while he is on stage will give credit to that statement. If your festival season includes EDC Las Vegas within the next month, head over to his set and get ready for an amazing show.

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AUTHOR CREDIT: SHANNON BALMES PHOTO CREDIT: RANDALL EYRE

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