Tokyo, Japan March 2017

My new favorite place in the world…

Japan has been on the list for a long, long time, and it was well worth the wait. From the art, to the music, to the fashion, to the culture and food, Japan is the most amazing place I’ve been to so far. Everything is vibrant and beaming with creativity and passion.

The music…

I was lucky enough to meet a local DJ one night who gave me great advice of what clubs to check out where locals go rather than going to the more touristy spots. She told me of two parties for the weekend, and I check them both out.

The first club was a new spot called VENT. The music was on point, all House and Techno. There is a small bar upstairs with a DJ and the main room downstairs that has a larger dance floor. The main room set the vibes right with minimal lighting, so you can get into that dark techno feel.

IMG_20170318_040235

 

The second club I checked out was Contact in Shibuya for the MNML party. This club had something quite refreshing that I loved. It’s underground in every sense of the word, the music and atmosphere, and the fact that it is two floors below ground level. There’s plenty of space to grab a seat or a drink, and there is one DJ playing by the bar. However, the main room is separated. You have to walk through a door to get inside it, and outside the door there’s a sign and a bouncer that says…

IMG_20170322_223107_304

I think every festival and club should have a space like this. Every single person in that room was focused on the music, just dancing and enjoying it. Nowadays, we get so caught up in sharing everything we’re doing on social media and get stuck in our phone rather than in the moment. It was so refreshing to let go of the phone, and just be there, and to see a crowd that was so immersed in the music. This was one of my favorite experiences.

The art…

I was lucky to be there while the Yayoi Kusama My Eternal Soul exhibit was at the National Art Center Tokyo. The exhibit just finished traveling through Europe and is now touring the US. If you have the chance to see it, I highly recommend it. Yayoi began making art when she was a child in order to cope with hallucinations and depression. It’s so interesting to me to learn about her life, and how she has used art to cope with mental illness. It shows how something beautiful can come out of something so difficult and painful. She currently lives in a mental health hospital in Japan, where she has her studio and continues making art.

IMG_20170315_140312_812

The fashion…

Japanese fashion is my absolute favorite in the world. It is constantly pushing boundaries, and is the most creative I’ve ever seen. One of the most well-known pieces of Japanese fashion is Harajuku fashion, and the most infamous street of shops in Harajuku is Takeshita Street.  This street is packed full of people and shops and food. It’s buzzing with creativity and excitement.

IMG_20170316_185214_806

Nearby, I recommend checking out the Kawaii Monster Cafe. It’s a dreamland inside with psychedelic looking trees, a giant cake, and color all around. The monster girls perform while you eat, and the music was pretty good, too. I heard them mixing in “Ooey” by Vitalic – approved!

IMG_20170316_191217_358

Quiet moments…

To balance the buzzing nightlife, you can relax, surrounded by beauty at shrines and temples. There are plenty to choose from in Tokyo and elsewhere. Some of the most beautiful are in Kyoto, just a couple hours by train.

IMG_20170331_083006_644

IMG_20170320_103520_972

Overall…

Japan is a must see, so add it to the bucket list. Tokyo was my favorite part, but there is so  much beauty throughout the whole country. If you’re looking for the local, underground music spots, go to VENT or Contact. Besides that, just get out in the town. The people are nice, so you’ll make friends and have a great time everywhere you go. There is so much going on at all times, so just walk down the street and see what you find.

 

 

Holy Ship 8.0 1.6.17-1.10.17

A wild ride…

Holy Ship is one that is coveted by most seasoned festival goers and was on the bucket list for me. This year, the stars finally aligned and I embarked on 8.0.

You hear from your friends just how amazing it is but it really is something you have to experience for yourself. Holy Ship does a fantastic job at creating a sense of community. Not just so people can feel cool being a part of ShipFam but so that while on the ship, you feel as if you are a part of something. It really does feel like a family and it keeps everything positive. You can count on others to turn in your phone if you lose it, not steal it, etc. Everyone is looking out for each other and sharing the experience together.

Another thing I really loved was that since the capacity is only around 4,000 people, most of the stages were never really crowded. I got to see some of my favorite DJ’s and could be in the front row if I wanted to and still have plenty of room to dance. Normally at festivals, I’m way in the back because I like being able to dance and move around, but on Holy Ship, you can be anywhere you want to be.

Since all the DJ’s are on the ship the whole time, there are so many surprise b2b’s which makes it even more special. Each set can be something different. Also, most DJ’s play more than once, so if you’re too turnt to catch them the first time, you have another chance. And, trust me, this is something you’ll need on Ship. This is nice, too, because Holy Ship is a whole experience and you don’t want to get too focused on making it to every set. You should wander around and take everything in, and go check out artists you don’t know that well, too. I got lucky and stumbled into the Theatre just to take a break and sit down, and Amtrac was playing. It ended up being one of my favorite sets, and the production in there was insane!

img_20170107_233712

Another one of my favorite parts was also the private island party! Make sure you wake up for this. Nothing like vibing on your own island with fellow shippers.

img_20170107_154446

The only tough part can be if you get sea sick. We hit some rough waters this year, so I ended up feeling a little sick. But it’s such a good time that I just pushed through it and despite feeling like crap at times, I had so much fun, nothing could put a damper on it.

If you are lucky enough to secure a spot on Holy Ship in the future, buy some sea bands and Dramamine, remember that you are a part of the community and spread good vibes, and get ready to dance your ass off!

 

 

Lightning In A Bottle 5.25-30.2016

The most beautiful journey…

Ahh LIB..I’ve been to all kinds of festivals all around the world, and I have never experienced a vibe like this. I had been trying to go for years and knew that I would love it, but I could never have imagined just how absolutely beautiful it would be. As it stands, this is my favorite festival.

Do Lab so perfectly creates an atmosphere of trust and community. You don’t feel like you are at an organized event, you feel like you went into the desert to have a party with your friends. Part of what makes this so special is that every single person working at the festival is beyond happy to be there. From security to vendors, everyone is smiling and enjoying themselves. The community at LIB breeds positivity and embraces all things inspirational.

The music is amazing and diverse. From world music to ambient to dubstep to trap and everything in between, the lineup is carefully put together to showcase real, talented artists. My favorite stage, was definitely the Woogie stage. I’m hoping I can go to Woogie Weekend next year, too. But, my favorite set was Moderat, which was on the main stage. I was so beyond excited to be able to see them live, and they blew me away. If you ever get the chance to see them, you need to!

Woogie

But LIB is so much more than the music lineup. In every little corner, there is something new to explore. Not only the events listed on the lineup such as the Grand Artique, Pagoda Bar, yoga, talks, etc… but also little installations and set ups all throughout the festival grounds. You see something intriguing and just go to it and discover. There was a metal temple that was on the edge of a valley where you could just stare off into the dark abyss, as I was running through a valley below the bridge someone was setting up an area to stop and have a cup of hot tea, and my personal favorite was Meditation Lookout. My friend and I stumbled upon this area when exploring on the first day. Luckily it was right as the sun was setting, and a crowd was sitting on the hill to take in the beauty. We sat down and as the sun set, everyone began to howl and cheer for the sun. It was such a freeing experience, and I felt so connected to and thankful for this magnificent home we call Earth.

LIB is not meant for everyone, however. If you go to this festival, you need to be prepared to go in with an open heart and let yourself take it all in. It’s not like any other festival you’ve experienced. It’s not about raging, it’s about the love of music and having an amazing experience. Put everything from the world aside, open your mind, let positivity flow, and just enjoy.

Sign

I could go on and on about how amazing the art is, the people, the set up, the positivity, the sustainability, everything. It is so apparent that the people who put this on (Do Lab) really care about what they are doing and put their heart and soul into every piece of it. And the people who go to this festival embrace and enhance the vibe and create such a wonderful community. But this isn’t something that can be described in words, you have to go and experience it.

One last moment…

On the last night of the festival, I had to step away from the music for a moment to go back to Meditation Lookout to watch one last sunset. The feeling of the festival coming to an end and the beauty before me brought me to tears. Such an amazing end to a beautiful journey.

Sunset_MeditationLookout

***

Things to know:

  • Make sure you come prepared to take your trash away. Everyone here cares about our home, so please take care of it.
  • Get there as early as you can to get a good camping spot (the early arrival pass is worth it)
  • If you’re flying home after the festival, book your flight for the next day to make sure you don’t miss it. (It took us an abnormally long time to get out of the festival grounds, and I missed my flight)
  • Bring a dust mask and be prepared if you have allergies. My nose went crazy, so I had to constantly wear a mask, but every moment was still worth it.
  • Do sunset yoga at least once

 

 

 

Factory 93 Knee Deep In Sound 05.21.2016

Underwhelmed…

I was so excited when I heard about Insomniac’s new project, Factory 93. I’m a huge fan of house and techno, and loved to hear that they were taking it back to the underground. Luckily, I was already planning on being in LA on the date of the first ever show. I’m a fan of Hot Since 82 as well, so there was no way I was going to miss this debut!

IMG_4728.jpg

Unfortunately, it wasn’t everything I hoped. The music was great, and the warehouse is cool, but they missed the mark on creating the old, underground vibe.

Some of the pluses were that Hot Since 82 played a killer set. The room was full but there was still plenty of room to dance. Everyone was getting down, and kept going all night long. The production was well done. They had a black diamond cube hanging in the center, nothing too flashy to fit the dark aesthetic of the scene. Outside, there is a large mural on the building and plenty of room for everyone to hang out if they want to escape the music for a second.

IMG_4751.jpg

Where I was let down, was that they still maintained the high price, LA culture. The tickets were over priced unless you bought the early bird. For what you got, I think $50 was too much. If they are really trying to create the same feel as years ago when people had illegal warehouse parties, you can’t charge $50+ for a ticket. With minimal production and the way the event is set up, there’s no reason they should be charging this much. You also shouldn’t be charging $20 for a drink. Both of these things definitely took away from the feel that they are supposed to be trying to create for Factory 93. Another downside was that there were not many porter potties. The lines were so long. You need more than 10 porter potties for an event where there is over a thousand people. Because this still had the overpriced aspects of upscale night clubs in LA, it felt like they missed the mark on “taking it back to the underground.”

Although this was a bit underwhelming and did not meet my expectations of what they said they were trying to create for the event, they do book some amazing acts, so I would go again just for that, with lower expectations. Don’t go expecting it to feel like a warehouse party from the 90’s. And, buy the early bird ticket so you feel like you got your money’s worth.

 

Hippie Sabotage 3.24.2016

The most sincere love for fans I’ve ever seen…

160324HippieSabotage2

 

On a Thursday night, the show sold out in advance. It was a packed house at Terminal West (which is an awesome venue, I recommend looking up what shows they have if you’re ever in Atlanta) in Atlanta, Georgia. Hippie Sabotage blew up just a couple years ago after remixing Tove Lo’s Habits (Stay High). Although, my personal favorite is another track, Able To See Me, which you can check out here if you don’t already know it.

The show was of course absolutely amazing. Their production was top notch with insane visuals. They also mostly play their own music, which I really respect.

160324HippieSabotage

But what really stuck with me about this show wasn’t the music or the production, it was how sincere and humble these two brothers were. During the show they talked about how grateful they were to be where they are today. How, not that long ago, they were living out of their car, trying to make music on a busted laptop. During the show they even told the entire crowd to come up on stage with them and they had a dance party with all their fans. At the end they also made sure to come out and talk to everyone who wanted to. I’ve never seen such appreciation for fans at any show before. You could feel the sincerity in everything they were doing and saying. They really knew that their fans are what put them where they are. That without them, they would be nowhere. A lot of people say this, but you could feel that these guys really meant it. It was simply amazing and such a breath of fresh air to see an artist stay true even as they start getting big.

If you have a chance to catch them while they’re still on tour, I highly recommend it.

Show dates can be found here.

 

 

Awakenings Outdoor 2015

Non-stop techno…

Ah Awakenings… Quite possibly the best techno event in the world. I’ve still got some on my list to check out, but so far, this is my #1.

Throughout the year they have various Awakenings events. Often at the Gashouder in Amsterdam, and they recently brought the event to New York and Antwerp. But the biggest event is Awakenings Outdoor.  Two days, multiple stages, exclusively techno. This is the only techno festival I’ve been to that was just as large as a multi-genre electronic music festival.

People travel from all over Europe to come to this. The vibes are unreal. Every person there absolutely loves the music and is there solely for that. You meet people of numerous nationalities who come together through the love of music. There’s non-stop dancing the whole day, then on to the after parties.. because you know Amsterdam knows how to party.

The space is beautiful and open with awesome looking stages. There’s a lake right in the middle of the grounds that is so serene and relaxing when you need to take a rest. One thing you realize when going to festivals around Amsterdam is that The Netherlands is such a beautiful country.

Awakenings_Lake

One of the many stages is a Drumcode stage, where I was so lucky to catch the king himself, Adam Beyer. His set was by far the best of the weekend. Another one of my favorites was one of the tent stages. For some reason techno and tents just go perfectly together. And in Europe, it’s especially nice because in the summer, the sun doesn’t fully go down until after 10pm so most of the festival is in daylight. But in the darkness of the tent, you get the full effect with lights and visuals.

2015_AwakeningsOutdoor_Tent

Every true techno lover NEEDS to go to Awakenings Outdoor. 30,000+ people, 8 stages, 2 days, ALL TECHNO. What more could you ask for?

 

***

Things to know:

  • The festival ends around 11pm (but there are plenty of after parties to choose from)
  • This is slightly outside of Amsterdam, so the best way to get there is a shuttle. (They have the info on their website: http://www.awakeningsfestival.nl/route/ ; Taxis can be a little expensive, and the wait to get one is really long)
  • If you want something from the merch stand, get it early. They will sell out of everything.

EDC LA 2010 – The Beginning

EDC LA 2010

The beginning of it all…

The last time for EDC in LA, the first time I went to an electronic music festival. This was what sparked it all. I had gotten into electronic music and constantly hung out with friends listening to it at house parties or going out to clubs. We often had DJ’s and made our own mini raves, but I had never been to what we then called a “massive”.

We did the whole thing, had an outfit making night, shopped around for glowing accessories to complete it, bought our tickets and were ready to go. We show up and walk in and I’m blown away by the masses of people and the complete freedom that I felt. You could do whatever you wanted, wear what you want, just be happy and alive.

The entire lineup was amazing, and at the time Deadmau5 had just blown up and that’s who we were most excited to see close out the main stage.

EDCSettimes

But here, it was about more than just the music. I can’t even remember who all we saw because as the day unfolded we were swept up in the entire event, running from stage to stage and experiencing everything along the way. Going down the rabbit hole – walking through the tunnel of lights with spectrum glasses, contributing to the giant wall of neon finger paint, making new friends all over the place.

It all seemed to pass by so quickly, and then it was the closing, where Deadmau5 of course crushed it. We left wishing it would never end, that we could stay in this beautiful world Insomniac had created forever.

EDC LA was a pivotal moment in my life. I had never seen such a large group of people that were so free and open and just enjoying life. I felt so happy and inspired, and from there I was hooked. Festivals were now my biggest passion and a part of my soul.