Well, at least according to the songs in this week’s New Music Monday playlist.
Let’s start with Justin Bieber, who is clearly on a roll right now. Fresh off the success of “Cold Water,” which is just the latest of a slew of recent hits, the pop star lends his voice on the melodic electronic track “Let Me Love You,” off of DJ Snake‘s new album Encore. There’s zero doubt this will be a huge hit.
Warpaint also made the list with the love-dovey “New Song,” and let’s not forget about Porter Robinson‘s new collab with Madeon in “Shelter.”
There’s plenty more as well. I’m totally digging A R I Z O N A‘s “Cross My Mind,” Savoir Adore‘s “Savages,” Colouring‘s “About You,”–and heck, even One Republic won me over this week with their new track “Kids,” which sounds a bit different than what I am used to hearing from them.
Time to bust out your headphones and scroll through the playlist below, because this selection of 45 new songs are my favorite in quite a while! There’s still a little bit of time remaining to lock in that summer romance, so let these tunes be your guide!
With fall underway, most of the year’s biggest music festivals are a thing of the past.
But Life Is Beautiful gives people a chance at one final big festival hurrah until 2016 Coachella.
Taking place this weekend in Downtown Las Vegas, the music and arts festival features huge talent, including Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons, Brandon Flowers, Snoop Dogg, Duran Duran, Kygo – and a slew of my favorites (Porter Robinson, Death Cab for Cutie, Madeon, Future Islands, Glass Animals, Peking Duk, Audien and What So Not).
Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful
Skyelyfe sat down at Soho House in West Hollywood with the festival’s co-owner, WENDOH Media‘s Ryan Doherty. Doherty discussed the headliner selection process, the things that set this festival greatly apart from the others and some of the year-long challenges that were faced in pulling this incredible experience together.
Read on to learn six behind-the-scenes things to know about Life Is Beautiful festival:
1. The Setup Is Wild
“At a music festival, you’re usually in a venue. In this case, the entire downtown is turned into a venue,” Doherty said. “We fence off 17 blocks, we have stages and parking lots in the middle of the streets. There are casinos, bars, restaurants that become parts of the venue. It has this ever-evolving footprint that changes every year.”
Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful
2. Here’s How the Headliners Came to Be
“We had a lot of artists we went after for headliners,” Doherty said. “The festival scene has gotten so broad now. There’s a festival every weekend, and we’re all fighting over the same talent. We got lucky. We did end up getting who we wanted. Stevie Wonder was a big get for us. He’s not going to be playing for a [much longer] time. You never know when he’s going to hang it up, so for us to get him for a festival is a good get. We had hoped to get Imagine Dragons because we don’t have a local sports team. We have very few hometown heroes. So, the Killers and Imagine Dragons are like our two hometown heroes. and Kendrick, we kind of bet on that horse, so we got him a long time ago and hoped he would catch on fire. And so far, it’s paid off. He’s turned in some great festival performances already this year. His music is smart and conscious. One of the goals was to make the lineup diverse, and I think that was accomplished.”
Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful
3. The Challenges of Putting Together L.I.B Differ from Other Festivals
“There are a million moving parts to a music festival,” Doherty explained. “There are tons of speed bumps, but no obstacles. It just takes a long time to get things done. Most of you go to a music festival and you have to deal with the personalities of rockstars. We have to deal with the personalities of chefs and rockstars. We have an entire speaker series, so we have all these speakers. It’s a lot of stars who have all different personalities and are all coming in from different places from all over the world. Just booking their travel is a full-time job.”
4. Just Dealing with Venue Matters Alone Took a Whole Year
“We have to shut down city blocks, rearrange traffic,” Doherty said. “When you have a venue you can walk into, like a Coachella, where it’s a big field, it’s a lot easier. We have residents that we move to hotels for a weekend, we have perimeter fences that we have to put up around 17 blocks. People are surprised it takes a whole year to put this together, but it’s 100,000 people across four pillars. We have the speaker series, we have the culinary program, then we have the musicians and then we have art.”
Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful
5. The Festival’s Learning Project Is Something That Doesn’t Exist Elsewhere
“It’s essentially built around the platform of small, 200-300-person theater-style engagements going on during the festival,” Doherty explained. “It’s short-form content. These are 20-minute sessions. The idea of it is so that if you’re in groups, you can divide off and two of you can catch a session while the others catch a music set and then you can meet up and get some food together. The learning project is really meant to inspire everyone. You’re not getting that at any other music festival – whether it’s an inspirational culinary experience or little pop-up demonstrations.”
6. Despite Its Las Vegas Location, L.I.B. Doesn’t Typically Bring Out the Party Animals
“It’s really not that kind of festival,” Doherty said. “It’s not that crazy type of environment.”
At just 23 years old, AronChupa joins Avicii, Zedd, Alesso, Martin Garrix and Porter Robinson on the list of currently booming EDM producers who shot to wild fame at impressively young ages.
As he prepares to hit the main stage tomorrow at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, the Swedish artist, whose real name is Aron Ekberg, sat down with skyelyfe earlier this week in L.A.’s Santa Monica, to discuss becoming an overnight sensation with the release of his oddball single, “I’m An Albatraoz” (which features his sister Nora Ekberg on vocals). The hit went certified double platinum in Sweden and platinum in New Zealand, Italy and Denmark. It has also been streamed more than 200 million times via Spotify and YouTube and has been Shazammed four million times.
Ekberg certainly doesn’t credit those (not so) hard-hitting lyrics for the song’s success, explaining with a laugh: “They’re not poetry. I was focusing on the beat pretty much, but we needed something to sing. I can’t even remember the lyrics myself now.”
Read on to find out what annoys the rising star about EDM, what he thinks the pros and cons are of young fame, why “hip-hop-swing” should be on everyone’s radar and how he’s paying it forward with his fans.
skyelyfe: What is your take on L.A. and what has your experience been like when you’ve visited?
Aron Ekberg: It’s the bomb [laughs]. I really like L.A. I’ve been here a couple of times. The shows are always good here and I don’t know if there is anywhere else on earth where the EDM or music scene [in general] is as big as it is here. It’s hard not to like L.A. There’s a little too much traffic, but I like L.A. a lot. I had a show last Friday at the Palladium with David Guetta, Zedd and Alesso. It was fun!
SL: Going off of that, what is the vibe among artists in your genre? Do you guys mesh well? Feed off of each others’ ideas?
AE: [Regardless of what field] you work in, if you meet someone in your [business], you connect in some way. That’s the same with producers. We have a lot to talk about. It’s cool.
SL: Which artists do you look up to or have a style you somewhat want to emulate?
AE: To be honest, I don’t have anyone like that. It’s hard to explain exactly what I want to do. I didn’t start off as a DJ. I started off in rock bands and stuff like that. How I first got into making music was when I got a piano and guitar from my parents and I started to play when I was around 10 years old. I’d be around these bands who would go to big studios and record and I thought about how I wanted to do something like that. So I started recording myself playing the guitar and singing. Eventually, I was just adding more elements to the vocal tracks I was recording myself. And then it just suddenly turned into EDM.
SL: And you’re only 23. Do you think to yourself, “Wow, if I’m 23 now, just imagine where I can be at 30?”
AE: It’s crazy for sure, but at the same time, you get a little spoiled in a way. I went to college and then had to quit college because I started with music and it went so well, so I didn’t have time for college. I feel like to me, I’m getting a little spoiled because I never really worked. I don’t call what I do a job. I get to do whatever I want, so I’m scared of someday maybe … actually having to work for real. I might get depressed, I don’t know.
SL: Tell me about “I’m An Albatraoz.” The video is quite entertaining and the song is interesting, to say the least
AE: I’ve always been influenced by old music. I really like swing, blues, jazz and those types. I like to mix it up with EDM, and that’s how I came up with the beat to this song. I was sitting myself down in the studio, telling myself, “Ok, now I’m going to do something totally different from everything else.” And I did. What is [that lyric]? “Mouse – mmm that little mouse. Fuck the little mouse.” I wanted something to rhyme with mouse. And then we were thinking about different birds. I was like, “Albatross. Let’s say say Albatraoz. Ok, that works.”
SL: As an emerging artist, what is something you want to avoid? And what’s something you want to maintain?
AE: I wouldn’t want to call myself an “EDM” artist in the future. I don’t want people to be surprised if I were to release a rock song. Maybe not rock, maybe that’s a little too far out there, but I want to be able to do different stuff. If I do a hip-hop song or whatever, I wouldn’t want my fans to be surprised.
SL: What do you think the biggest problem with EDM is these days?
AE: I’ve got to be honest and say that I think everything sounds way too similar to each other. I swear to god, before my sets sometimes, I go through Beatport and all these lists all the time to look for new music, and everything is too similar. I remember two, three years ago, when I heard Martin Garrix’s “Animals” and stuff like that, it was really, really cool to hear for the first time. But that’s all I hear these days. Every time I do something, I want to do something that’s different. Sometimes I’m even tired of the tracks I’m playing myself. But I mean I think there are tons of good producers. Oliver Heldens is a genius. It’s a totally new thing that he’s been coming up with. I think Avicii was great when he first came out, but now there are now so many producers who do the exact same thing [he started with]. Yeah, sure, it works, I guess, because people like it, but I feel like something new needs to happen.
SL: What’s a current song that really exemplifies the fresh new sound you’re interested in? Or what’s playing when you’re just driving around or getting ready for a night out?
AE: I don’t really just listen to music anymore, to be honest. If I listen to anything, it’s something completely different. Because if I listen to EDM tracks, I think, like, “Oh, maybe I should try this or that.” I get into work mode, so I don’t really listen to EDM in that way. I’m listening to a lot of electro-swing right now, like Parov Stelar. And Movits! does hip-hop swing. I’ve always liked weird music.
SL: Tell me about your YouTube Billionaire project
AE: It’s basically for anyone. Anyone can upload a video on my website YouTube Billionaire, and for each view, you get a cent [out of my pocket]. You can really upload whatever you like.
SL: So now that you’ve conquered the YouTube space and have become a name to know in the EDM scene, what’s next for you?
AE: That’s a good question. I don’t really like thinking about that. I just want to go with the flow. I don’t really set up plans, but I have a lot of cool things coming up in 2015. Aside from playing at Ultra, I’ll be touring pretty much all over the world. It’s fun, and I just can’t wait to release more stuff.
Photo credit: Alex Wessely
5 FUN FACTS
Last thing I splurged on: “Before I got to L.A., I flew to Ottawa first and I walked by Sunglass Hut. I bought a pair of new Ray-Ban sunglasses. They were like $250. I put them on and then I walked on the plane. And I put them in the little pouch in the back of the seat in front of me, and obviously I forgot them. So I had them literally for like five hours.”
Last time I cooked: “I cook every day. I love cooking. My specialty is Swedish meatballs. I’ve been on tour for two-and-a-half weeks, so I usually don’t cook when I’m on tour, but before that, I did.”
Last concert I attended that wasn’t my own: “My friend was hosting a party and he wanted to be a DJ. It was like three weeks. It was all right. It was fun. To be honest, since I work with shows, I don’t really go watch. When I’m off, I don’t really like going to concerts because that’s where I work. When I go back home and people want to go out clubbing, I’m like, ‘No.’ ”
Last time I was upset: “I was really upset last Wednesday. They suspected me for being high in customs. They thought I was on some drugs, but I hadn’t slept the night before. I was up working all night and I told them that. They asked me if I was on drugs. I’ve never taken drugs in my entire life. They said they didn’t believe me and they went through my entire bags and everything. Then the let me into the country.”
My last regret: “I had been working on a song for three days and I put it on a hard drive and before I went to bed, I took my laptop and was watching a movie and my hard drive was still connected to the computer. I was too lazy to eject it and the whole song was gone. I regret that. I didn’t back it up because I was too lazy.”
Let’s be honest – the words “music” and “quality” don’t go hand-in-hand these days. And when a good song finally does come along, it seems to only be off a two or three-track EP. Why is it so hard to find full compilations of good (even decent) music today? It took some effort, but I managed to come up with a list of four new full-length albums that I actually want to hear on repeat. Check them out below:
Banks – Goddess: Banks has been on the radar of critics this past year with the release of two EPs –Fall Overand London – and now with the debut of her first studio album Goddess, her star can only rise from here. Not only does she exhibit flawless vocal talent, but her effortless signature sexy, dark sound and thought-provoking lyrics set her aside from other pop artists. Unlike many current acts, the singer, also known as Jillian Banks, enlisted the production efforts of lesser-known artists (including a favorite of mine, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs) to compile a collection of perfection. Each track on Goddess is easy on the ears, but my three favorite are: “Alibi,” “Fuck Em Only We Know,” and “Warm Water.”
Chris Brown – X (Deluxe Version): Despite his lawsuits, jail time and dysfunctional (understatement) relationships, Chris Brown is an artist to look upon highly if I am solely focused on his music. In a saturated era of hip-hop where every track is “[DJ] Mustard on that beat, ho,” it’s actually a breath of fresh air to hear from Brown on his latest album X. As he’s done in the past, the controversial crooner continues to set his style apart on each track from the same-sounding songs that fill our radio raves. Not to say X is free from explicit lines, but misogynistic lyrics take a backseat for the majority of the album, in exchange for many references to “making love.” And while I don’t actually take any of his sweet-talking sonnets seriously, Brown shines on “Time for Love,” “Lost in Ya Love” – and yes, even the much less romantic radio hit “Loyal,” which happens to be my favorite on the album.
Porter Robinson – Worlds: Taking a step back from the bass-heavy hits that made up Porter Robinson’s 2011 Spitfire, the 22-year-old’s latest effort Worlds is surprisingly (and thankfully) a 12-track compilation of melodic bliss, with some vocal assistance from Lemaitre, Imaginary Cities and Urban Cone. Gaining inspiration this time around from video games and Japanese culture, the electronic music producer, who has said he’s a big fan of going a softer direction, stands out with “Sad Machine,” “Years of War,” and “Lionhearted.”
Various – Anjunadeep 06: With fall upon us, Anjunadeep 06 couldn’t have come out at a better time. For those unfamiliar, these regularly released compilations of the newer generation of trance and deep house are brought to you by Above & Beyond‘s London-based label. This collection in particular – which especially shines with Cubicolor‘s “Got This Feeling,” 16 Bit Lolitas‘ “Premuim Emo,” and Lane8‘s “Diamonds” – is perfect for the new season. The songs are soothing and sexy, fitting for background music at a party, or even just getting ready for a night out in the cold weather.