May 22, 2018

EUROSUMMER '18: A Playlist for Sunburn Season


Before I jet off to Berlin, Paris, and London to kick off the Summer of 2018 -- while acknowledging how obnoxious this sentence actually is -- I want to bestow upon you the playlist you'll need to accompany your season of sunburns, sandcastles, and barbecues.

If I had to pick some highlights out this compilation of 40+ tracks, they would be: Troye Sivan's "Bloom" (an anthem for bottoms!), Anne-Marie's nostalgic "2002," and the excellent "Some Kind of Wonderful" by MOBS, the Australian pop group that has been churning out irresistible bops ever since they beeped on my radar several months ago.

@TheFirstEcho

May 17, 2018

12 Questions with Elephante at EDC 2018


I may be heading to Las Vegas this weekend, but sadly, I will not be attending EDC where Elephante will be taking the stage at the dance music festival. (Instead, I'll be treating my parents to dinner at Gordon Ramsay Hell's Kitchen and the Jennifer Lopez concert for their birthdays.) But the DJ did take some time to answer a few questions for me at Bello Mag.

Elephante (a.k.a. Tim Wu), the EDM wunderkind behind hits like “Catching On” (featuring Nevve) and “Closer” (featuring BISHØP), will be playing EDC, the landmark dance music festival in Las Vegas, for the first time this month. The 28-year-old Ann Arbor, MI native will also be kicking off a residency at MGM’s Hakkasan, the Sin City nightclub that has been luring the likes of Tiesto, Steve Aoki, and Calvin Harris. 
Before taking the stage this weekend at the festival’s circuitGROUNDS, he shared his summer plans, his thoughts on Avicii, and his John Mayer wish…

What are you most looking forward to at EDC in Vegas? 
Just looking out at the crowd from on stage…this is a moment I’ve been dreaming of for years and years, and I remember telling myself when I was in the crowd that one day I’d be up there. And then of course, wandering around seeing the festival, it’s such an insane production, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with this year.
What was the first album you became obsessed with? 
Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That was the first CD I ever bought. The album art is still one of my favorites ever. I also loved different songs as I grew up. I started off hating “Around The World,” but it’s one of my favorites now.
What was the first remix you remember that blew you away?
Probably Avicii’s remix of “Drowning” by Armin Van Buuren. I loved the shape and flow of the whole song and how it felt like such a narrative. And then I heard Avicii play it in Vegas at my first show I’d ever been to there, and I was like, this is best shit ever. RIP to the legend.
How would you describe your sense of style? Any designers that you’re currently admiring? 
Um…Alt-streetwear (I just made that up). The only designer stuff I’m really wearing right now is shoes. I love all the Off White, NBHD, NAKED type collabs. I’ve been wearing a lot of local LA designer stuff, and lately, a ton of vintage Nike/Adidas track jackets.
What’s one piece of clothing that is a wardrobe must for you?
Jackets. I probably have like a hundred different ones. Jean jackets, track jackets, camo, leather… living in LA, you gotta layer, so you can throw together something dope without thinking too much.

What’s one life hack you’ve mastered while touring?
Buy a nice eye mask. You kinda look like a weenie, but trust, it changes everything. On flights it’s amazing – makes it way easier to fall asleep, and then if you’re in a hotel with weak curtains, it helps you get good sleep, especially if your schedule is all messed up like mine. Also drink a ton of water, that’s huge.
Name one singer you’d love to collaborate with…
The Weeknd… Abel, holleratcherboy. Or John Mayer. He was my idol growing up.
What’s the weirdest place where you’ve been inspired musically?
I mean, inspiration can really strike anywhere. Random stuff comes to me in the bathroom or shower all the time. One weird place was on the NYC subway. There was this older guy, who was doing this sort of slam poetry thing with drums, but talking about the history of drumming and rhythm, and I thought it was so dope, so I actually went past my stop just listening and recording on my phone – maybe one day I’ll end up using it as a sample.
Where were you when you learned the sad news about Avicii? What was your reaction?
I was at home in my studio working on music… it was absolutely devastating. He was one of my greatest inspirations, and without him I don’t think I would be doing what I am today. I spent a lot of time reflecting and listening to his old music, and it took me on a trip. It brought back a ton of memories, and it reminded me of how far I’ve been on my own journey, so it was an emotional day.
How did your residency at Hakkasan in Vegas come about?
I showed up at the club and knocked out the DJ and plugged in. When they heard the hot, hot fire I was spinning they were like, okay you can stay.
How do you see EDM evolving? Are there any new sounds that you find yourself gravitating towards or wanting to experiment with?
I think EDM is moving away from specific genres and more towards using electronic sounds as a vocabulary and a technique, rather than just a formula. Artists are pushing the boundaries of what an electronic song is, and I think it’s really exciting. I’ve found myself gravitating towards the more organic sounds that I grew up with, like guitars and pianos, and using those with the electronic stuff to create something new.

Besides playing more cities, what are you plans for Summer 2018?
I have a 9-song EP called Glass Mansion coming out on June 15th. I’ve been working on it for the last year and a half, and I’m incredibly proud of it. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever made to the sounds and stories inside my head, and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.
For Elephante’s tour dates and more info check out elephantemusic.com.

@TheFirstEcho

May 10, 2018

Early 2000s Nostalgia Is Already Here, Thanks to Anne-Marie


It was inevitable. But who knew it would happen so quickly?

There's now a segment of a generation that is not only throwing it back to the 90s -- they're straight-up reliving the early aughts. Anne-Marie, the British pop singer, released "2002," which was co-written by Ed Sheeran and is loaded with plenty of Britney Spears, Jay-Z, and *NSYNC references to make your heart long for simpler, pre-YouTube times.


If you want to check out the official video, which is packed with visual homages to the aforementioned pop artists, watch it here.

And if that isn't enough to convince you that 00s nostalgia is starting to become a thing, then take a look at this Ellen clip from last week:

@TheFirstEcho

May 03, 2018

#TBT: Tweets from the 90s


There are times when I am thankful for having survived my adolescence before the advent of social media. But there are times when I think to myself: What if? What if I had all these platforms at my fingertips? What would my posts look like? 

Probably something like this:


And this:


And then this...



Of course I would have to include this:


...along with music videos that defined most of the decade for me:

Christina Aguilera's "Accelerate": A Transcription of My Reaction


Recorded at 6:31am PST

6:31am - Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod... [goes on YouTube, finds the "Official Video"] Oh, there's a video already?

Oh, it's featuring Ty Dollar $ign and 2 Chainz? Hmmm...

6:32am - So, before I play this, I just want to say that I had a dream about this, about listening to her new single, and it's what woke me up at the buttcrack of dawn. The excitement, like, woke me up, knowing a new Christina Aguilera song was debuting today. And in my dream, it sounded good! You ever dream about songs that don't exist yet? It was like a really good banger. Pulse-pounding beat. Powerful chorus. God, I hope this could be a summer jam. Okay, let's just press play.

6:33am - Okay, she's lapping up some milk with her tongue. Um, does no one remember "Not Myself Tonight" from 2010?

The beat...Are these what they call 808 drums?

Oh, okay.

6:34am - The video looks like leftover, repurposed footage from her Paper magazine photo shoot.

Okay, lips covered in glitter. I just know someone's gonna call her out for mimicking what Miley did for her Dead Petz album cover.

6:37am - Okay, um, I need a minute to digest.

6:38am - This can't be the official single. I do like the cooing near the end with the hint of synths. It's very 90s. But this is not what I expected. What the f**k is she doing?

And yes, I'm all about her aesthetic for this era. She's not piling on the makeup, and she's so pretty without it. But this isn't about her looks.

And first of all -- and I know this is gonna sound like I'm defending her because she's my number one and all -- but I'd just like to say that Christina now represents an era long gone. When pop stars actually had vocals and didn't sound like moody ghost girls trying to haunt a house (I'm looking at you, Halsey and Lorde). Yes, come at me. Come. At. Me.

That said, this track does nothing for her vocals. Where does it go? Nowhere. I hate to say it, but it sounds like a B-side. Does anyone do B-sides anymore? Ugh, I don't even think this is worth replaying, and I was planning on having this on repeat all weekend while I'm in Palm Springs and lounging by the pool and everything. Ugh. Talk about anticlimactic.

6:40am - Why is she letting me down? Wait, she's not letting me down. She does have more. Liberation is coming out June 15. This CANNOT be representative of what the rest of the album sounds like, right? She'll for sure have a power ballad. God, Top 40 nowadays hasn't had a good power ballad. Because no one can do them. No one does them really.

What. Is. She. Doing?

6:41am - 8:04am - [gets sucked into a YouTube wormhole]

8:09am - [searches Internet for other reactions]

8:32am - Okay, Perez Hilton is saying it may just be a buzz single. Please, God, let it be that.


@TheFirstEcho

Just Because: 9 Music Videos That Take Place in Laundromats

It's one of the biggest music video tropes that's rarely explored in pop culture. The public laundromat has become a go-to loca...