“It was made with technology, so I call it techno”
Gary Richards. Probably the most well known man in this mainstream brand of music called EDM – a culture that has sweeped America for the past decade. Its rise to mainstream culture was meteoric, infecting every piece of entertainment you could imagine. EDM became the most debated topic in the entertainment industry, with everybody wanting a piece. And within this industry, Gary Richards stays on the minds of businesses, CEOs, and fans. Hundreds of thousands of fans. His branded HARD events have magnified in size occurring all across the United States, his artist personality DESTRUCTO is a icon in and of its own, and the relationships he’s formed throughout the industry are limitless. Hearing this quote at the EDMBiz conference in Las Vegas stuck with me. I was giddy in my seat.
Techno. I kept repeating it to myself. Well, a voice in the back of my head kept repeating it…maybe that voice just couldn’t focus on the now because of what was in store for the future. Maybe it was because I was seeing another icon in the industry later that night.
Carl Cox. There’s no introduction needed since the man is a legend. Each time I’ve seen him has been revolutionary. Whether that’s at Treasure Island in San Francisco, EDC Las Vegas in 2013, or at a show in Amsterdam for ADE, he has a presence that infects not only the music but the people he’s playing for. You can’t help but dance your heart out even when shots cost $15 a piece. Let me say that again….$15 a piece! What happens in Vegas definitely stays in Vegas, or in other words:
“Your money gets lost here.”
Las Vegas. Look at all the people running around for EDMBiz and the madness known as EDC. Don’t get me wrong, I had my share of excitement driving down to EDC from San Francisco, with enough packed in the trunk for a week at Coachella. Rave gear, kandi, water bottles stacked up to the brim of the car with enough ripped and torn clothes to keep me comfortable in the desert of Vegas. I’ve done it twice, but I couldn’t do it this year. I came strictly to Las Vegas for the EDMBiz conference where I had two full days of networking, speeches, and panels. From Jeff Boyle, the CGO of Insomniac to the CEO of Goldenvoice Skip Paige, anyone who had a stake in this whole EDM industry was sitting right in front of me. And the last panel up on stage had not only Carl Cox, but Borgore, Gary Richards, Carnage, Arty, Steve Angello, and the two beautiful ladies from Posso. With the uproarious applause Cox received each time he spoke, it reminded me how loved this man was in the industry. And how I was seeing him that night. When asked about what he thought about the future of EDM, Cox said what we all wanted to hear.
“I think it’s going to keep going for twenty years and more, I don’t ever see it stopping”.
LIGHT Nightclub. Yes, that’s right – Carl Cox was playing that night at the famed nightclub in Vegas, located in Mandalay Bay’s lobby where a billionaire named Ron Burkle had recently invested a billion dollars. It’s a pretty big deal in Vegas…after you traversed the floor crowded with casinos, mini stages and dance floors with James Brown blasting on the speakers and improv dancers in Vegas getting down to the funk, you finally make it to a long line of club-goers who want to experience what that billion dollars could do for Vegas nightlife. And we weren’t disappointed.
As you start walking into the club, it feels as though you’re leaving reality. Walking up the stairs with hypnotic blue lights lining infinity mirrors created a different world from the fast paced lifestyle in Vegas. Walk in, and the expanse grabs at you. It’s not expansive to the point of being unbearable, like some clubs in Barcelona are. No, LIGHT gets the space just right with two elevated bars on either side of the club, a VIP section in the middle tier with couches and security guards posted to avoid degenerates like myself from waltzing in, and a massive dance floor in front of the artist on the bottom tier. Behind the DJ were giant LED panels and posted above were scattered panels across the club’s ceiling. Anything projected onto the LED screens behind the DJ were projected above too, transporting you into a new club experience. As I ordered two red bulls and jaggermeister shots for $54, the DJ before Carl played some funky tech house which stopped anyone from sitting on the sidelines. It didn’t take long for us to hear “Oh Yes! Oh Yes! Oh Yes!” and everyone in the club bolted down to the stage.
Ok I lied, not everyone ran down. People also sat in their VIP booths, bought overpriced drinks, and smoked cigarrettes as Carl Cox came on. It surprised me for a second too. Here was an icon in the dance music industry, someone who’s face is recognizable in any country for electronic music, and the general audience wasn’t as excited as I was!? Then I remembered, I’m in Vegas! Some of these people came for the nightlife of the city, not the genius behind the tables. At the same time, I was so relieved that the nightlife was this man from Britain playing massive techno tunes.
“If anyone says the bubble is popping, it’s not….the culture is growing because it’s infiltrating everything”
Sean Kristi. The owner of Surrender Nightclub was right. It had never appeared to me as true as it had tonight at LIGHT, as Carl Cox played to a massive audience in a Vegas nightclub. The ambiance was inspiring; it told a story for the future of America with electronic music.
Carl Cox is one of the best DJs in the world. This night at LIGHT, he was spectacular. Between his seamless transitions from one funky tech house to the other, Cox would give us a second to breathe every now and again, but never a second to stop dancing. The energy levels rose and fell at his whim, while the LEDs shown futuristic dimensional models on screen. Pillars of light of various colors from blue to flourescent purple would shine down on the dance floor from the ceilings, as the crowd shouted for Carl to keep killing it. Smiling, he’d play brand new tracks from his Intec label, but he never let one track take over the environment of the club. No, Carl Cox is an expert artist with expertise in transitions, track selection, and overall, an attention and an ear for detail in mixing. Even as scantily dressed women flew down on both trapezes and bubble spheres from the ceilings, Cox never let his attention shift away from the music. That’s what it was all about, even when LIGHT nightclub threw their wonderful theatrics into the audience. There were sparklers, beautiful women bearing gifts of alcohol, pillars of light from above and LED panels forming Carl Cox’s face and insignia, but nothing but the music matters to Carl Cox. And with this revolution of music, that’s how it should always be.
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