By Graeme Wiggins
VANCOUVER — Spring is here, and festival season is drawing close. To start us off is the Seasons Festival, now in its fifth year, coming to various venues around Vancouver from April 1st to 5th. It started as a single event at the Vancouver Convention Centre, but organizer Matt Owchar says “We definitely consider this our ‘breakout’ year with a two-day main event and more diverse musical offerings than ever.” With electronic music, technology is kind of central, so the festival is pushing some technological boundaries. Explains Owchar, “We’ve teamed up with Vancouver based Hybridity to bring in their Generate App for some mobile content fuelled A/V installations that will have festival-goers contributing unique content at events throughout the week.” This year they’re also incorporating come charity work as well. “We’re actually donating $1 per every ticket sold to the Vancouver Food Bank & teaming up with an organization called Feed the People for an Easter Sunday event where we’ll be making and distributing food in the DTES.” So pick up a pass, or just see an event. This should be a festival that showcases a pretty diverse selection within the genre, and helps push the genre forward.
Former Las Vegas Indie kid Justin David Blau, started his DJ career making mashups on YouTube. Now he’s moving huge crowds to a spirited mix of progressive house, dubstep and electro-house keeping crowds interested with a melodic take on these genres, some nice poppy vocals in the mix, and a fun sprinkle of mashups and throwback samples.
If the list of guests (including Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne) on her new album “Run” is any indication, Australia’s Alison Wonderland’s DJ set should be an eclectic one. Classically trained, with a background in indie rock, she now makes a diverse mix of future bass, trap, pop and techno.
Vancouver’s Bear Mountain might be a good choice for festival-goers looking for something a little more organic and soulful with a touch of psychedelia. Combining both live drums and guitar with sampled drums, synths and a soulful tenor live vocal, Bear Mountain create a thickly textured sound that will still keep the party going.
It’s hard to say anything about Bonobo that hasn’t already been said. The man is a legend, with already canonized releases of pitch perfect downtempo on the Ninja Tune label. With complex basslines, and various textures of different world music genres, his DJ set is sure to be chilled out and awesome.
One of MTV’s 2013 “Artists to Watch,” Francis made his name off his pioneering Moombahton sound but his new album on Mad Decent “Money Sucks, Friends Rule” really draws from the genre blurring that Mad Decent roster head Diplo is known for with pop, electro, dancehall and trap all represented.
Having made their name with a range of genres like Trap, Glitch Hop and dubstep, this Scandinavian duo has started broadening their appeal with newer releases with more electro and house styles. Their intensity hasn’t dropped however, with some hardstyle thrown into the mix as well.
With a single recently nominated for ‘Best Deep Bass Single’ at the Bass Music Awards, and successful showing at AC Slater’s Night Bass night in LA, Taiki Nulight is a master of the dark bass line. He started out with dubstep, and now moved on to what he calls “Melting garage, bass, and house together.”
Former DMC World Championship competitor turned electronic producer Cashmere Cat is a star on the rise. Having made it big with remixes for Lana Del Rey and 2 Chainz propelled him to work stars like Ariana Grande, Wiz Khalifa and Miguel. Norwegian Magnus Hoiberg has also helped produce one song on the forthcoming Kanye West album.
Anna Lunoe has a deep respect for both the pop side of things; having toured with Kaskade and Calvin Harris, and the more rule-breaking side of the equation; having opened for MIA and citing Spank Rock and french rap group TTC as influences. Her DJ sets are always a journey through genre, and you never know where it’ll go.
With his infamous Night Bass event in LA, AC Slater has been taking festival EDM’s love of maximal bass, dialling it down a notch and reintroducing some genre fluidity to the dance floor. Garage, grime, house all get their time, with the bass cranked a little louder than the old days, but not enough to overwhelm those getting loose on the dance floor.
Seasons Festival 2015 happens throughout Vancouver April 1st through 5th.3Lau, AC Slater, Alison Wonderland, Anna Lunoe, BC, Bear Mountain, Bonobo, British Columbia, Cashmere Cat, Dillon Francis, Pegboard Nerds, Seasons Festival, Seasons Festival 2015, Taiki Nulight