All my EDM prayers were answered on the night of Friday, May 10. I knew that I wanted to dance, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into as I took the now familiar trip into NYC to get to Pacha. With VeniVici opening for John Dahlback and Grand and Warren closing, the entire night – from the moment I stepped into the club until the it was time for the lights to come back on- I was surrounded by penetrating beats and high energy songs.
Rising stars VeniVici, a local duo, had a perfect opening set. With a similar style to Fedde Le Grand, you could have mistaken the booth for their throne as the Pacha crowd went nuts for their entire reign. If you get the chance, I’d highly recommend you check VeniVici out. Everyone was singing along to “No Beef” by Afrojack and you could see hundreds of palms as everyone raised their hands and danced to “1234” by Spencer Hill. They made sure to “Pump Up the Jams” and kept it “Raw,” engaging the crowd and keeping the energy high.
Around 1am, I was escorted upstairs by Pacha management to meet with John Dahlback. With some time before his set, I got the opportunity to speak with him one-on-one and find out a little more about who he is. Growing up surrounded by a family of musicians and talent, he was inspired and encouraged by everyone to pursue his own passion for music. He said that he always hated being in school, and by the incredibly young age of 13, he knew that DJing was much more than a hobby; it would be his career. With a great support system giving him feedback and motivating him, he found success at age 16 when he landed a record deal. The rest is history.
In an industry that is becoming more and more mainstream, how does Dahlback managed to stand out? The key, he says, is originality. Don’t be a follower, but try to remain true to your own work and be a leader. I asked if he wanted to give EDMNYC the inside scoop. What should we look out for from the Swedish DJ? This year, he is slated to release 10 new tracks and will be appearing at some US and European festivals! If you are looking to take a trip to Europe to see him however, you will be hearing something different than you would in the US. In Europe, he says, the trending sound is techno, and he tailors his sets to what he knows the fans will love to hear.
Around 1:30 he stepped into the booth, and with a flawless transition, took the club into his own world of house music. Club banger after banger, such as Zedd’s “Clarity,” Kaskade’s “Invisible,” and Moguai’s “Champs,” pumped through the speakers. He thrilled the crowd with remixes of less traditional songs like “Walking on the Moon” by the Dream ft. Kanye West. One of my favorite parts of the night was while he was spinning “Joyenergizer” by Sander Van Doorn, I heard the telltale notes of “Beating of My Heart” rise up. But, instead of the usual lyrics, he mixed in Morgan Page’s “I Fight for You.” Even with earplugs in, my head was pounding from the intense bass!
Some of the other hits you could have been dancing to included the following:
“Life (Diamonds in the Dark)” – John Dahlback
“City of Dreams” – Alesso
“Sweet Nothing” – Calvin Harris
“Big” – Sneaky Sound System
“April” – Syn Cole
“Pressure” – John Dahlback
“Reload” – Sebastian Ingrosso and Tommy Trash
“We’ll Be Coming Back” – Calvin Harris
“I Could Be the One” – Avicii
“Walking Alone” – Dirty South
“Together” – Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso
“Panic” – John Dahlback
“EDC” rotated on the TV screens, a reminder of the highly anticipated festival that was less than a week away. There was a complete sensory overload, and you could get so lost in your own world of beats and lights that before you knew it, management was motioning, unfortunately, for Dahlback to wrap it up. Still reeling from his musical dominance of the club, the duo Grand & Warren took to the turntables.
I had the chance to speak with them during the night. The duo, made up of Gary Rabbitt and James Alexander, grew up together and attended St. Peters Prep in Jersey City. With the passion they bring, they compare their set experience to Steve Aoki’s performances. James told me that Grand & Warren believe in moving people with their music and remaining unique by learning from other artists. They definitely brought a certain je ne sais quoi with surprises like dropping the song “Ruff Riders Anthem.”
I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t feel the least bit tired; the whole night my adrenaline was pumping along to the bass. There wasn’t a moment to stop dancing and think about my aching feet. I simply enjoyed every DJ and forgot there was a world outside of the dance floor. I got an entire night of my favorite house music – what more could I ask for?
See you all at EDC!
–Marisa Bianco for EDMNYC