What It’s Like: Hanging Out With Matt Lange

1

When I heard Matt Lange was coming to San Francisco’s Audio, and better yet Adrenalin Room was bringing him here, I won’t lie. I got a little panic-y.

This is the guy who had released with Anjunabeats and Mau5trap, two of the coolest labels in dance music in my book, and been featured on numerous podcasts which I had jammed out way too hard to. A guy known for his insane production skills and unique sound. And I might get to be in the same room as him.

Matt Lange Adrenalin Room Audio San Francisco

What should I say? How should I act? Should I wear my special pants? What does that even mean? Indeed, all these questions and more were running through my head as the night rapidly approached. But when the time finally rolled around, and Adrenalin Room co-founders Ryan Russell and Swapneel Ukhalkar told me to meet them at Akiko sushi house on Geary st., the result was different than expected. I walked in, and there was just 3 guys at a table, sitting down to a nice meal. When I came over, Ryan said “Coleman, this is Matt.” We shook hands, and then continued with the dinner’s proceedings in a quite ordinary fashion.

As the night carried on, I soon came to realize that this iconic figure was, in fact, just a normal human being like everyone else, famous or otherwise. That being said, he is one fascinating guy. In the hours we spent together, topics of discussion included “scoring for film and video games”, “past and present collaborations”, and a very lengthy “love for good beer”. Let’s delve a bit, shall we?

Mr. Lange is no stranger to making music for outlets other than just the DJ booth or your home stereo. His production skills have been displayed in TV productions, advertisements, and most recently (and coolest), online video games. His most recent addition to this front was a music kit for Counter Strike (gamers, take note). As we discussed the process of scoring for the game, Matt expressed not only that he generally enjoyed the different challenge presented by making tracks for video games versus simply releasing music, but it was also one of his most lucrative sources of income at the moment (producers, take note).

Gabe Cory (Dolby), SNR, Matt Lange, Ryan (AR)

Another thing about Matt that tickled me quite a bit, as well as really brought him down to earth for me, was his deep appreciation and love for a good IPA. We spent nearly an hour in his hotel room discussing the subtle differences of Russian River’s infamous Pliny the Elder, and his little and much harder to locate brother, Pliny the Younger. After having a good, long laugh over what was essentially the underground railroad of micro-brewed beers, I had a feeling this guy was for real. And not just because he likes his ale with more then 5% ABV.

IMG_9202

I could sit with Matt, Ryan, and Neel and have a regular, enjoyable conversation. Nothing was forced; it was allowed to just flow. I know I’ve had this experience more than once where someone I hold in high regard becomes at my level, and there are times when it has been pretty brutally honest. But there are also times, such as this one, when they turn out better than I could have hoped. Matt Lange is simply a cool guy who makes music for a living. He’s recorded and released music with labels that I’m familiar with, and that music has made me swoon quite a few times. If you’re a fan like I am, than you should be just as excited about his full-length debut album, Ephemera, which is out now via Mau5trap records.

Take it from the guy who just saw his live show: it will behoove you to buy it immediately. And if he’s ever in your town, buying him a nice pale ale before his music makes love to your eardrums could never hurt either.

Adrenalin Room is a San Francisco Record Label. Click Here To Hear Our Music.

Insomniac Finally Gets Some Sleep: Dreamstate Festival’s Freshman Debut

1

Sometimes we feel like the amount of fun we get to have as dance music fans is just unfair. Another month, another awesome festival — let’s talk about the most recent creation from Insomniac Events: Dreamstate.

Dreamstate

Insomniac Events is becoming more than just a household name in the electronic music scene. The storied production company is now creating (or maybe recreating) scenes themselves. If you’ve been to EDC’s Bassrush or Basscon stage or their equivalent separate-event “massives,” you’ll know what we’re talking about. And the newest scene Insomniac has turned to is a subgenre that is a veritable pillar of EDM, which arguably birthed the entire mega-genre back in the 90s – TRANCE.

That’s right, Dreamstate LA — which actually went down a bit outside of LA in San Bernardino, CA while you were recovering from your Thanksgiving dinners on Nov. 27-28 — was the first ever Insomniac festival to be solely dedicated to Trance. And not the “Trouse” version of Trance that has been flooding the mainstream recently, but classic, dramatic, beautiful, pure Trance that’s had die-hard fans since before some of us were even born.

Dreamstate LA’s lineup boasted such Trance gods as Paul van Dyk, Aly & Fila, Astrix, John O’Callaghan, Ace Ventura, and Paul Oakenfold… and we could go on with that list through basically the whole lineup. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the festival sold out at the speed of a 138 BPM bassline.

Here is our run down of the frosh festival’s pros and cons:

PROS:

(1) Who Do We Have to Thank For Those Epic LASERS?

The music at Dreamstate LA was really second to none as far as classic Trance goes, and should at least share the #1 spot on the list, but seriously the light show from the stage was of the gods (the…Trance gods?). Such epic fucking lasers that words cannot describe them accurately – so here are some pictures:

static1.squarespace static1.squarespace-2 static1.squarespace-1

Yep – fucking epic. The graphics were also so damn good that they felt hard to look at directly sometimes (fuck yeah), and they definitely helped in taking the crowd into another dimension (a… Dreamstate, perhaps? Okay, sorry we’ll stop). Maybe a consequence of there only being one stage, it seemed like Insomniac pulled out all of the stops on the stage visuals and production, which combined to fill the warehouse venue — and our hearts/minds — and never quit just like the amazing music.

(2) Day 1 and Day 2 Showcased Different Subgenres

While both days were filled with solid, old-school, crazy-high BPM Trance (+ a motherfucking wild laser voyage), there seemed to be a definite divide between the festival’s two days. Day 1 leaned toward darker, heavier Progessive-Trance-esque sounds and tracks. Day 2 took us more into bright, happy, Uplifting Trance land (with, of course, a little sprinkling of every sort of classic Trance throughout each day – I mean, I didn’t call these guys Trance gods for nothing. They know how to mix). This sort of made it feel like we got two festivals in one, and created a cool, festival-spanning emotional journey that was like a macrocosm of a Trance track starting with a dark bassline and then slowly morphing before your ears to build and build to an heavenly, euphoric peak leaving you with that otherworldly feeling that truly embodies a state. Of. Trance. Or maybe that was just us.

(3) Trance Fans Love Each Other and Never Stop the Party

Maybe it really is just us, but we definitely think that the #TranceFamily moniker is a true representation of the Trance scene. Everyone at the show was part of the family. There was no pushing, fighting, or aggression like you (sadly) see at some shows these days. People were giving each other high fives and cheering on dance-offs in the crowd, and everyone seemed to be keeping up with the million-mile-per-hour beats, vibing with the melodies, and just generally having a good time. We don’t know if its the emotional nature of the music or something the subgenre’s scene has cultivated separately, but it seems like Trance crowds really know the meaning of PLUR. Oh, and — Trance fan or not — if you can dance to 138 BPM for essentially two days straight, then you clearly know how to keep the party going.

12188223_1533197123664257_7906419727282099660_o

(4) Only One Stage

Now, initially, we thought this might be a Con. We like being able to explore the festival grounds, check out artwork, etc., and run into old friends or make new ones on the way. However, after taking some time to reflect, there is something so special and “rave-y” about having just the one stage in an off-the-beaten-path warehouse, like underground raves used to be when Trance was king and “Trouse” was a misspelling of trouser.

Our final conclusion on the matter is that keeping it simple with one stage was a legit af move by Insomniac. It allowed them to give us the most fantastic laser show of all time ever, avoided the inevitable time sink of getting from stage to stage, and left the event feeling intimate despite being a massive. Also, they smartly put the bars and bathrooms outside, which kept us moving around enough to keep things interesting and still left room to explore the festival more than you could a one-stage club.

(5) Good Crowd Flow/Control

Crowd flow is something that might go unnoticed at most festivals (unless they are poorly planned), but we really appreciated the entrance-only, exit-only format of the venue on that front. When you have tons of people fighting past each other in two directions through small doorways, things can get uncomfortable and crazy real quick. Dreamstate didn’t need a botched trial run to figure that out, and from its first year appeared to have mastered the fact that having one-way entrance/exits makes for good crowd flow and happy ravers (maybe Insomniac learned its lesson from the Coliseum hallways circa EDC 2009). Might seem simple in hindsight, but its something we’ve seen screwed up all too many times.

CONS:

(1) Lack of Typical Insomniac Bells and Whistles

Now, this is really only a semi-Con because like I said above, we ended up appreciating the classic underground warehouse rave vibe that they managed to create even at such a huge festival, but we’ve been to some pretty tiny underground raves with better art installations and side-activities than we saw at Dreamstate. There was one sort of thrown together piece of art outside the bathrooms that was kind of cool, but otherwise the grounds were pretty bare except for the bars and the merchandise tent. We usually love Insomniac because of the fun extras and special touches that they add when designing a festival and choosing booths, etc. There wasn’t really any of that here, which though like we said maybe was part of the design, was somehow still a bit disappointing.

Dreamstate

(2) Dear Dreamstate, Have You Ever Heard of Toilet Paper?

Enough said, really. Total amateur hour w/r/t the bathroom situation, Dreamstate. In both GA and VIP. Still love you though. Xoxo.

(3) It Was Fucking Freezing

Not Insomniac’s fault, not the Trance gods’ fault, but we had to list this because holy shit was it cold, and we were in SoCal so it was clear that no one was really prepared for that. Dreamstate had to put out a notice before the second day warning people to bundle up more for Day 2 (thanks, Momstate) since the temperature was somehow going to be even LOWER that night. Sheesh. Luckily, they had heat lamps outside at the tables near the bars, and the bathrooms weren’t too far from the warmth of the warehouse. If the show had been outside though, that would’ve been a nightmare. Perhaps a semi-Pro here because it shows another instance of good planning on the part of Insomniac.

So, as you can see, Dreamstate LA’s Cons are fewer and way less material than the festival’s many Pros, and that reflects the amazing time we had and how impressed we were by this festival’s freshman debut. If you don’t already know, there is ANOTHER Dreamstate coming up in SF on January 16th and 17th of 2016, at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. We hadn’t planned on going to that, but after having such a blast at Dreamstate LA, our whole group is going to be doubling down on the Dream and raging at the SF debut. If you aren’t afraid of 138 BPM and want to be taken on a Trace journey (and have your mind blown out of your skull by lasers), we’d suggest you join us! Bring your own toilet paper.

Dreamstate

REVIEW :: Arty Debut Album “Glorious”

4

Before we begin, start by playing Arty’s album.

Ahead of our show with Arty September 28 at Ruby Skye in San Francisco, we have finally received the highly anticipated debut album from producing stud, Arty. His album, Glorious, gives us 14 tracks that offer a diverse collection of progressive house beats, many of which include killer vocals as well. Not to give any spoilers, but we at Adrenalin Room just wanted to give you a hint of what you can expect this holiday season, and tell you about a few of our favorites.

arty glorious ruby skye insomniac lento sir up all night records

The album’s title track is a wonderful mix of gray melancholy and sunny optimism. With beautiful vocal contributions from LA based indie pop group Blondfire, Glorious comes from a place of sadness or vulnerability, but only stays there for a quick moment. Just as the sun rises quicker than you realize, the track takes us to a place of warmth and encouragement, somewhere we can be free to frolic and dance. “Shine, you know the world is beautiful.”

3 tracks later, we are hit yet again by a slower and quiet intro, but this time it starts out just as strong and powerful as it finishes. Stronger hits with heavy and soulful vocals from Ray Dalton, backed by both acoustic and electric sounds that combine for a picker-me-up that I can only imagine would be a blast to play out for any DJ.

Arty Ruby Skye

The last song I’ll brag about before I let you listen to this wonderful record for yourself is feel your love. Again, with great vocals and an acoustic track accompanying the songs house vibes, it produces a sound that is unique to Arty within this album, and meshes very well with most, if not all, dance music enthusiasts.

One of our favorite things on this album is that it has the Forest Gump effect: it’s a box of chocolates. Every track has its own sound, its own individualized feel and instrumentation and voice. Each one reflects a little part of the dedication and precision that Arty put into this record, and make no mistake. That time was well worth it.

dj_arty_by_drew_ressler_rukes.com_WEB

 

You can catch Arty with us in the Adrenalin Room on Saturday November 28 with us at Ruby Skye in San Francisco. Click here for event details and tickets.

It’s OK to be Different: Seven Lions on making the music he wants

ll

      It is so easy to get lost in the shuffle, and even easier to get lost in the shuffle of trying not to get lost in the shuffle. Everyone wants to be different, but fit in all at once. You want your cake to be better than everyone else’s, but for everyone to smile and laugh while they watch you eat it. There’s a myth that a fine line exists, but let’s be real. You can’t have both.

      What’s truly rare is when someone comes to terms with that fact, and they settle for either eating their regular cake and making everyone happy, or baking a completely bodacious cake that others get confused and intimidated by. It’s not what they’re used to, and they can’t label it, so they chastise it and call it weird, maybe even throw it on the ground.

      I’d be highly surprised if this has actually happened with a cake, but you see what’s going on here. If you’ve made it this far as well as read the title, hopefully you’re starting to realize that Seven Lions is the baker who made the really awesome cake that people are sometimes afraid to eat.

      Jeff Montalvo, better known as Seven Lions, has put himself galaxies away from what any other current electronic music maker is branding themselves as, and he’s gotten there on the back of one big lesson that he learned early on as a producer and musician.

“I’m doing whatever I want, and I know it will make people upset.”

GrSXjVKD

      When I first saw Jeff play, he was opening for Above and Beyond at the Bill Graham Civic Center in San Francisco. My friends and I were in awe of how he flowed from genre to genre so seamlessly and so effectively, keeping the crowds full attention from start to finish. I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Jeff and talking to him about where he sits in the realm of electronic music, and how he deals with the constant criticism of not staying with one type of cake (genre… you get it).

 

“I think it’s been like that from the beginning. Mixing trance with dubstep was something that pissed off people, and I just got used to the fact that immediately, no matter what you do, you’re going to make people angry. I think it’s really weird because it’s just music, and I feel like people shouldn’t get so upset about what styles of music you’re making. If you don’t like it, move on. But people are really nasty, and I learned that very quickly, so I got used to it early on.”

      It comes as an utter shock to me that he is ridiculed for conquering such an enormous musical spectrum, having released with OWLSA, Ultra, Anjunabeats, and most recently Who’s Afraid of 138?!, among others. That’s essentially the biggest labels in every major genre of dance music right now, an accomplishment that I doubt anyone else in the game can boast, and this guys getting his parade rained on for not just sticking to one.


“I knew Serpent of Old would piss off a lot of people, but nobody ever sees their Facebook numbers actually go down. But I put that song up and Bloop Bloop Bloop (sound of Facebook numbers actually going down).”

SO555x555

      Just to add to the list, because why not, Jeff is also a self admitted metal head, having been in several metal and punk bands in the past. This influence can be seen in part through his collaboration with AFI front man Davey Havok, December.

“A lot of the stuff I like metal wise is very melodic, just like the music that I make, so it kind of transfers. It’s also powerful and heavy, and I like making music that is both powerful and heavy as well as melodic, which I think is where metal meets electronic music.”

      Personally, I don’t like labels. I believe we should give art the freedom to be what it is, and not have to put it into categories and sub categories to feel comfortable about it. I realize that it makes talking about it or selling it easier, having the ability to reach a larger audience if you label a song as “trance” rather than simply “new song by artist”, but this also limits the creative capacity to what an artist can make, or what we think an artist should make. We always want new and better music but we are afraid of, and quite often reject, new or better sounds.

      I love that Jeff has the courage to do what he does best, and make music the way he wants to make music. He has gotten used to the fact that he doesn’t have to please everybody, and it has become glaringly obvious that he WON’T please everybody, but he still has the confidence in himself to release the music that he finds to be enjoyable.

      Seven Lions is the antithesis of a “sellout”, which is absolutely a blistering path to lead, and we as the audience make it that way. We criticize artists for exploring new musical paths because we have grown so fond of their old sounds. But we, as the audience, can change. Instead of saying, “wow, this doesn’t sound like your last song, you are a terrible artist”, we could keep an open mind and say “it’s not my favorite, but I respect you for trying something else. Maybe I’ll really connect with your next record”. Without this mindset of growing musically as an audience, we can’t allow the ones who make the records we like to grow musically as artists.

Jeff-Montalvo-Seven-Lions

      You probably won’t enjoy every song Seven Lions puts out, but I can guarantee you that if you like electronic music, or metal for that matter, you can find something in his bakery that satisfies your sweet tooth.

And if not, take his advice. “It’s just music, move on.” Find a new cake.

 

Be sure to catch Seven Lions in San Francisco this Halloween for Bill Graham Civic Center’s Boo!

The Godfather of Progressive House: EDX [Exclusive Adrenalinroom.com Interview]

1

 For those of you who have been listening to house music within, oh I don’t know, the last 20 years or so, you probably recognize Italian talent Maurizio Colella’s surname, EDX. He’s been a staple of the scene for as long as it’s been around, being widely recognized as one of the fathers of progressive house. As his sound and productions have progressed (pun intended), the genre follows, and it’s not the other way around. He is consistently coming out with fresh new music, or fresh new takes on old music; his remixes are just as popular as his singles are, and for a good reason. So, sit back and let the man himself give you a little fresh perspective on his current state of being.

1. Adrenalin Room, Ruby Skye, and San Francisco are excited to have you back; what’s one thing you look forward to when you play a show in The Bay Area that you can’t find anywhere else?

I’m freaking in love with the bay area. I’ve always received so much love and the crowd is very dedicated, especially in SF. I am really looking forward to coming back and it’s been exactly one year since my last Ruby Skye play.

2. You have been lumped in with artists such as Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz as forerunners of progressive house. What’s it like being in the ranks with names such as those?

This was from many years back, during the early days of the Progressive House renaissance in 2008. It was a great journey. My music was able to evolve a lot – even the EDM generation came in a few years ago, and that mixed up a little of all genres for a few months. Now, I really feel that I’m able to make my music like I always have, just with a fresher and much more sexy EDX twist. There are so many great talents around these days, and it’s always great to be playing shows alongside excellent musicians and DJs.

3. With the phrase “No Xcuses,” you have put out an album, a podcast, and numerous witty puns, just to name a few items. How important do you feel it is for an artist to have their own original brand or feature that makes them stand out aside from their music?

No Xcuses is a simple statement that really stands for my way of doing things. Especially these days where there are all these great talents and DJs popping up from every single part of this world. It’s becoming much more important for each of us to have our own brand that sticks out and somehow shares a lifestyle connected to an artist and the music. Today, I’m really proud to be able to share music once a week in our 40 countries on my weekly NoXcuses show, it always keeps me on the cutting-edge with fresh new music.

edx-2

4. Being active for nearly 2 decades, how do you stay motivated to keep making amazing original and forward-thinking sounds? Any tricks you’ve learned along the way that you’d care to share on staying innovative in a musical world that is constantly changing?

Just be yourself and do what you feel the most. I always was one of those guys that wanted to share a feel-good vibe with music and while DJing, creating a nightlife journey for that someone who is looking forward to it all week. Being able to travel the world is another thing. Meeting all of these great fans and seeing different cultures really inspires me a lot. Let’s keep our fingers crossed so this vibe in me stays there forever. 🙂

5. Your recent track with Spada “Catchfire” incorporates beautiful vocals; how does working with a vocal track differ from a purely instrumental one?

I love to work around a vocal and composition from someone by adding my own twist, a new chord progression to make it complete. I’m kind of returning to my early days as a remixer. When I remixed Kaskade’s “Angel On My Shoulder” or Dubfire’s “Roadkill,” it was always important for me to add not only my own twist but also something that makes the track have some sort of a magic feeling. I love to work on instrumentals as well. This can sometimes be much more diverse, but I love to work with vocals. Check out my remix for Deadmau5’s “Arguru” or Nora En Pure’s “Uruguay.”


As a man of principles, experience, and most of all originality, EDX is in for the long haul. My favorite answer here was his statement about No Xcuses, for a couple reasons. 1) I love podcasts. They give you a chance to get to know an artist via listening to their handpicked songs while also broadening your horizons by bringing you great tracks to rock out to. 2) his view on the industry is very simple: you just keep making new, original music no matter what. Find creativity, find artistic inspiration, and make something beautiful. Because if you don’t, these days someone else will. And trust us: EDX will.

Learn more about EDX: http://edx.ch

Check out our interview with Ilan Bluestone: http://adrenalinroom.com/ilan-bluestone-interview/

Learn More About The Adrenalin Room Co-Founders: http://adrenalinroom.com/interview-with-swapneel-and-ryan-the-founders-of-adrenalin-room/

 

Matt Lange Aftermovie

One of our most memorable parties of 2014 was with our good friend Matt Lange, known for his material on Anjunadeep and mau5trap. Here’s a recap of the awesome night at Audio San Francisco.