DJ Sneak Says He Doesn't Care About The Future Of Fabric Nightclub

Screenshot via YouTube.

DJ Sneak has made a reputation for his outspoken, occasionally offensive remarks. Now, he’s come under fire for his opinions regarding the future of Fabric nightclub, and he’s not apologizing for it. Fabric remains closed after its license was suspended and pending a police investigation of the deaths of two 8-year-old men.

British musician and producer Steve Mac captured a now-deleted Instagram post from DJ Sneak which included an image of the Fabric logo and #idon’tcare. “You can’t hide from your posts,” Mac wrote on his Facebook post of DJ Sneak’s Instagram image.

Never one afraid for confrontation, DJ Sneak has owned up to the post and called out the media outlets who’ve reported on it, too. He first took to his Twitter account to air his opinion. “All you weak ass online blah blah blah websites can go shuv it in your arse,” he wrote.

Since then, DJ Sneak has written a longer Facebook post addressing his haters. “Well guess what I still don’t care,” he began. “I will not apologize for any comments. If you don’t like my comments posts and opinions utilize your right to Unfriend Delete Block.”

Despite his opinion, many inside and outside of the nightlife industry have thrown their support for the nightclub. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged authorities to find a way to keep Fabric open and a petition now has more than 80,000 signatures.

DJ Khaled Endorses Hillary Clinton For President

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. Presidential election is less than three months away and Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton gained another endorsement from a popular musician: DJ Khaled. In an interview with Katie Couric on Yahoo Global News, the producer explained why he wanted to vote for the former senator and Secretary of State.

“I’m not votin’ for him. No. Definitely not voting for him. The key is to vote because we need a vote to put the people in power that we want to represent us,” Khaled told Couric. “So I’m definitely gonna vote for Hillary.”

Khaled also referred to Republican Nominee Donald Trump as “They,” the popular descriptor Khaled has used in the past to describe his enemies.

“They don’t want you to win. They don’t want you to progress. They don’t want you to prosper,” Khaled offered. “They want to lock the door on you … they also come in different disguises. They can actually come hug you, and come show you love, but be really behind the scenes and really finish you.”

Watch DJ Khaled’s entire interview with Katie Couric below.

Stream And Download A Slinky New EP From KiNK

Photo courtesy of KiNK.

Bulgarian producer KiNK is back with a brand new EP and it’s yours for free. Recorded at Red Bull Studios in Paris, the new four-track EP was created over the course of one week and features frequent KiNK collaborator Rachel Row.

The producer only brought an Acidlab Drumatix and a LepLoop with him while recording. During the course of the week, he made a conscious decision to use what was available in the studio including a Rhodes MK1 piano, a Moog Minimoog Voyager, an acoustic drum kit and the Mu-Tron Bi-Phase. “It was a very intense experience, the clock was ticking and I had to learn how to play instruments that were new to me,” he said. “So in short I had to quickly bound out of my comfort zone, which did me a world of good.”

“Say the Word,” the second track on the EP, is an homage to Laurent Garnier’s “Flashback,” according to the producer. Row makes an appearance on “Naive” the last track on the EP. “It was a very intense session,” Strahil told Red Bull, “but everything went without a hitch, thanks to the studio’s excellent vibe and the professionalism of its staff.”

Stream and download the new KiNK EP below.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Scored Google's Tribute To The 100th Anniversary Of The National Parks Service

Screenshot from Google.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith adds to her collection of unique side projects with a collaboration with Google. The experimental synth musician scored Google’s video tribute to the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service titled, “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks.” Her gorgeous synth-based creations perfectly capture the beauty of many of the nation’s sites such as the Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska and the Hawai’l Volcanoes National Park.

Watch the interactive video here. Earlier this month, we interviewed Smith and Suzanne Ciani about their new album, Sunergy.

The Six Types Of People Who Will Ruin Burning Man Just By Being There

Illustrations by Howl

Burning Man is the festival you attend when you want a transformative experience and an escape from mundane life. The goal of your nine-day utopian journey is to gracefully exit The Playa, leaving no trace, with an altered perception of reality. In simpler terms, it’s an activated charcoal, gluten-free, frequently chemically enhanced juice cleanse for your soul.

For people like me, Burning Man would most likely result in death. The thought of biking through a blinding dust storm to encounter a hippie using a hula-hoop as a weapon against a child who dared to use shampoo would give me an aneurism. I once flushed an entire family of goldfish down the toilet to avoid cleaning their tankrelying solely on transmitting vibes and trading dream catchers for a can of lima beans just wouldn’t work in my favor.

But at its dust-ridden core, Burning Man is a melting pot of demographics, subcultures, and psychedelic mindseach more annoying than the next. Still, the most humanizing aspect of this often-contentious festival is its array of people from every economic class: sinister tech geniuses like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg and eccentric celebrities like P. Diddy and his famous pink umbrella brush shoulders with folks who think healing crystals and olive oil will cure fibromyalgia.

Below, we made you a handy reference guide for the many types of mind-numbingly annoying people you will come across during your stay in Black Rock City.

1. The Sparkle Ponies

“The Sparkle Ponies,” also known as the models, spend the majority of their days fine-tuning their bindis, pouring water on the ground to create a puddle where they can admire their own reflection, and figuring out how to helicopter in Annie Liebovitz for a joint photo shoot with a half-naked Jamie Jones atop art installations.

If the Sparkle Ponies are not being coddled and worshipped by their pack of Instagram followers, they can be seen wandering through The Deep Playa without a cause, often trailing closely behind the one-percenters like a bunch of selfie stick-wielding dementia patients. As they meander through the rough terrains of Black Rock City in skin-tight latex, their million-dollar bombshell bras and six-pack abs glisten in the sunlight. The male models trade their protein shakes for mushrooms and GHB, and the female models swap cigarettes for a trendy snakeskin choker, all while desperately trying to catch a ride on Katy Perry’s segway or finagle their way into a venture capitalist’s pop-up fast food joint, “Burner King.” After a day of social climbing, they get bored and leave.

2. The Techno Snobs

The Techno Snobs only come to Burning Man because they caught a glimpse of a flyer in a techno Facebook group and are under the impression that Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann will be playing back-to-back for days on end in the middle of a desolate dungeon. They all know each other from the deranged YouTube comment sections where they spend days rummaging through Marco Carola videos trying to score the track IDs. They blacklist anyone who has Shazam or any other iPhone besides the space grey 6+ (no case).

They hail primarily from New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, but swear that “Berghain is home.” Although he has been studying the German Rosetta Stone for approximately one day, at any given moment, Leo, from Miami, can be heard asking, “Wo ist die techno?” To which Jerry, from the Bronx, replies, “You gotta stop with the fucking German techno, bro! I told you I only know how to say ‘Romanian DJ’ and ‘warehouse.'”

They don’t bring bicycles because they think the desert has Uber Black readily available to take them from camp to camp. They can be seen miserably moping around their camping grounds, trying to locate Chris Liebing’s bald head in a sea of colorful galactic unicorns. They attend the Lee Burridge sunrise set at Robot Heart, only to fall asleep on the ground, saying, “It put me to sleep, dude. Where’s Function or Anthony Parasole when you need them?”

3. The One-Percenters

When they’re not preoccupied with hogging 99 percent of the world’s wealth, the one percenters flee to Black Rock City to seek solitude from their butlers and assistants. Their festival entry methods include flying in a TAO Group investor’s chartered private jet and hogging the Nevada freeways in RVs equipped with reverse-osmosis Fiji water showers and Egyptian cotton mattresses. Their favorite DJs include former Miami Heat star turned DJ Rony Seikaly, Behrouz, and Guy Gerber. Their attire entails baseball caps stitched with “Mykonos fucks Ibiza” slogans, hooded Louis Vuitton scarves embroidered with llama fur, and body suits with matching moon boots spraypainted by Mr. Brainwash and Alec Monopoly.

During the day, you can find these one-percenters carrying around the ashes of Albert Hofmann in a Cartier vial, and mating with each other to conceive a dust-fund baby. At night, they’ll either be gleefully swinging off the Robot Heart bus (which is like a Greyhound bus that experimented with acid in art school)or riding their bikes, yelling, “This is what it feels like to have nothing!”

You know when a superstar DJ is sometimes forced to fly commercial, but knows in the back of their minds that it’s temporary? That’s how the one-percenters feel about hanging out with the plebs at Burning Man.

4. The Jaded and Afraid

The Jaded and Afraid are the veterans of Burning Man. Horrified about Burning Man’s growing popularity, they will incessantly tell you that 1996 was the year “everything ended.” They regularly gripe in the Burning Man Facebook community groups that the quality of people continues to get worse, and the culture has been ruined by the arrival of “the kids,” “the rich,” and Skrillex.

These disgruntled men and women drag in their own generators and pink flamingos from their homes in Reno, Nevada, and spend their days on the Playa stationed near their 1976 Volvo wagon, sipping on lukewarm beer and puffing on spliffs. They hate house and techno, sneer at groups of costumed partiers running to the Maceo Plex set, and fervently believe that songs without guitars don’t qualify as “real” music. “Show me somebody who can play an instrument, on a stage, livethat’s what I call talent,” they growl whenever they hear someone playing anything by The Chainsmokers.

5. The Stardust Vagabonds

These non-GMO, organic raw vegan souls make it to Burning Man because the universe guided them there. Constellations served as their Google Maps, and the moons of Saturn sent their brains pulsating cosmic signals to head in the direction of Nevada. They call Burning Man the only place they belong, forgetting that just a few months before, they claimed a tree hammock at Electric Forest as their real home.

These nonconformist dust-dwellers are what would happen if a Carl Sagan quote came to life, destroyed all their neurotransmitters by doing too much ayahuasca, and mutated. The Stardust Vagabonds don’t believe in soap, footwear, or basic hygiene, but they do believe that the dandruff from their unwashed scalps yields healing properties more effective than modern medicine. They will try to convince you that your third eye caught conjunctivitis after you touched the railings at Flosstradamus’ last set, and that you should say “almond milk” three times in the mirror for a cure.

Starlight Vagabonds single-handedly keep rave toy companies in business, and can be seen flashing their light-up respirator masks and LED batons while hula-hooping to a Bassnectar or Infected Mushroom set played out of their hemp seed speakers. They spend their days at the festival practicing sun salutations, masturbating with coconut oil, and warning about the health hazards of drinking from plastic water bottlesbut will cheerfully snort ketamine off shit-stained portapotties when the feeling strikes them. They bring their children to orgy domes on the Playa to expand their minds, and will whip anyone with an incense stick for disobeying any of the ten principles of Burning Man. Oh, and they call orgasming on The Playa “dusting a nut.”

6. The Flummoxed Europeans

These adventurous Europeans somehow score a Burning Man ticket through a friend of an Ibiza dealer’s girlfriend’s buddy who runs a nightclub deep in Italy. On their magical journey to the Playa, they take seventeen buses, a boat, a taxi, and Noah’s Arc, but once they get there, they have no idea what to do and end up more confused than Ten Walls’ agent after he somehow manages to book his client a gig. Completely unprepared, they show up with a bag the size of a pre-schooler’s lunch box and forget to pack a toothbrush and toilet paper. A bright-eyed family from a commune in Seattle may end up “adopting” them, letting them mooch off their food, drinks, and shelter. But the Euros will inevitably leave their cigarettes and trash lying around, which will result in an attack from The Stardust Vagabonds, who bum-rush the Europeans in order to take revenge, brandishing their light-up toys, beaded dreadlocks violently flopping in the wind.

The Flummoxed Europeans aren’t happy with Burning Man’s current DJ lineup, which includes parties and stages with names like Intergalactic Sasquatch and the Automatic Subconscious. If it were up to them, they’d be chain smoking Marlboro Lights as Jamie XX or James Blake floats down from the sky with another cigarette or a nutella croissant.

Follow Austin Gebbia on Twitter

The Eight Most Surreal Moments In Burning Man's History

Image via Youtube

By now, everyone and their mothers, life coaches, and cycling instructors is getting ready for the annual Playa pilgrimage known as Burning Man. Between the barely-there outfits, notorious camp groups, breath-taking art installations, and fur-covered bicycles, Nevada’s Black Rock City becomes a temporary fantasy land where anything goes.

If your only interaction with the Burn is vicariously living through the videos friends post of themselves during sunrise at Robot Heart, there’s so much more you’re missing. Here, we’ve take you on a journey through some of the weirdest, raddest, and most surreal Burning Man experiences, as documented by YouTube.

1. Skrillex DJing on an art car to a packed crowd of dust

He was playing Magnetic Man’s “I Need Air,” which may or may not have been intentional.

2. A wedding in stop-motion

Weddings at Burning Man aren’t all too uncommon these days, but this video documenting Burning Man-trimony was filmed entirely in stop motion, making an already outlandish event look even more surreal. Extra points for using Mario (aka Mario Basanov, aka Ten Walls) & Vidis’s “Changed” as the soundtrack. May their love burn longer than Basanov’s career.

3. When someone turned Clueless character Amber’s iconic dress into an art car

4. Le Mystere De Papa Loko

Klan-like costumes, babies, and painted penises: Burning Man’s operas are the stuff of legend. Here’s a recap of the 1999 edition, per the official website:

“In a ceremony of Mystery and Sacralization, the members of the five sects of Playa Voudoun (the green-mudded snake-people of Damballah; the red, fire wielding knights of Ogoun; the white-veiled, erotic Ezilis; the black-draped, morbidly obscene yet capricious Guede; and the energetic drummers and builders of Couzin Azaka) invaded the flaming Sacrosanct Pentagon. At the climax of the rite, altars, stages and giant totems were set ablaze. Frenetically dancing to the fire, the Children of the Spirits, followed by all Burning Man participants in attendance, pierced the flaming Portal of Life and Death in an initiation by fire into the new era.”

5. Katy Perry’s first burn

Katy Perry can make “Firework,” but she can’t seem to figure out how to make a Segway work. (Celebritiesthey’re just like us!) “Obvious first time burner alert,” she wrote upon sharing the video on Instagram.

6. Halcyon and on and on…

In which a man spends most of this 14-minute video handing out stickers to fellow Burners. The highlight of this video is around 7:50, when you can hear Fergie’s “Glamorous” in the background. Ten years later: still a jam.

7. Burning Man 2014: A Bear’s Life

If only for its glorious soundtrack alone. Lana Del Ray’s “Summertime Sadness” is peak soul-searching-in-the-sand material.

8. The Burn vs. The Bladder

On watching the Man burn: “The Man exploded in flames, and there was fireworks, and it was brilliant, and the Man was burning… and burning… and burning… and our bladders were filling… and filling… and filling… and the damn thing would not fall down… A lot of people are saying this was the worst Man burn in a long time.”

DJ Tennis' Burning Man Playlist Is Not What You'd Expect

Photo via Youtube.

Italy’s Manfredi Romano, AKA Life and Death record label founder DJ Tennis, is something of a regular throughout Burning Man’s many beat-riddling music stages and dust traversing art cars. While the DJ and producer certainly delves in a more tech-centric sound often rinsed at roaming camps like Robot Heart (check his 2015 live set for a taste), he cut his teeth pushing left-field sounds and even had a career tour managing punk bands back in the day. Ahead of his yearly pilgrimage to the playa, Tennis hit us up to share a YouTube playlist of some of the more eclectic sounds that he holds dear from his many years attending and playing at the Burn. Check out what he had to say about the tracks, followed by the embeds below.

DJ Tennis: Despite what most people think, Burning Man is not a music festival; its more of a social experimenta temporary city of around 70,000 inhabitants, that pops up in the middle of Nevada desert and suddenly disappears without leaving trace. Its citizens are devoted to creativity: creativity in art, technology, music and expression.

My first outing was a shocking emotional experience. I quickly found myself on a constant mission to explore, absorb, and reorganize an ever-growing amount of stimulation. My senses and my perception were reset to a primitive level. Every visual, musical and sensory experience was different and more intense than the last. This is a little playlist of tunes that have accompanied me the past few yearssomehow, they sounded different out there.

1. Nese Karabcek – Yali Yali (Todd Terje Edit)

Turkish music in the 70s had strong funk and disco influences. Mixed with traditional music, the results are simply incredible. This song is a great example of that, and Todd Terje (in my opinion, one of today’s best psychedelic and disco contemporary artists) chose to re-edit the track.

2. Anton Valotti – Spiro

Anton Valotti is a studio musician who mainly composed music for soundtracks. The cinematic segments of his themes perfectly match the incredible landscape of Burning Man’s playa.

3. The Beatles – A Day In The Life

This song is probably my favorite Beatles song from my favorite Beatles album. It’s an album that’s a milestone in the pop evolution during such an important moment of our social and political history1967. Harmonic, rhythmic, and dissonant elements really pushed the limits of the music industry during that period.

4. Black Truth Rhythm Band – Umbala

This is a band from Trinidad but with obvious afro funk and jazz influences. The Caribbean elements make this track a psychedelic funk gem.

5. Now Now Now – Problem (Enzo Elia AfroNeukolln Edit)

This Italian-made edit is a modern classic Balearic recordcertainly a must for every eclectic DJ today. That man whistling on a desert beach is everything.

6. Luke Abbott – Brazil (Slow Version)

Surfing the border between psychedelia and modern Trancethe slightly detuned synth chord progressions and repetitive percussive pattern made this one of my favorite tracks for Burning Man.

7. Underworld – Dark & Long

Underworld mixed psychedelic elements into rave music and the results were an in instant popular success.

8. Burial & Four Tet – Moth

A mesmerizing masterpiece. The mystery that surrounded the identity of Burial made this tune all the more special. Beyond sex, acid and psychedelia.

9. Serge Gainsbourg – Ballade de Melody Nelson

Serge Gainsbourg: humorous, provocative, satirical, and/or a subversive musical genius. This ballad, together with Jane Birkin, demonstrates how musical schemes are formed only to be undone.

10. Peter Gabriel – Feeling Begins

This soundtrack from the Scorsese film Last Temptation of Christ, is a pure masterpiece and definitely one of the most successful experiments of crossover between traditional folk music and electronica. This is the opening track, made with an Akai S950 Sampler and a synthesizer, showing just how prolific and eclectic Peter Gabriel was.

How The Director Of Netflix’s EDM Film Used His Past As A DJ To Explore The Collective Joy Of Festivals

From the set of XOXO/Courtesy of Netflix

EDM is dying, just ask anyone. Marquee clubs on the Vegas strip are finding it unsustainable to pay big name DJs exorbitant guarantees, attendance at some of the scene’s bigger festivals is down, and moralist panic around drug deaths are forcing legislators to close clubs and attempt to outlaw raves nationwide. But worry not denizens of Tomorrowland, there are still true believers in our midst, those who fight for the collective ecstasy that can happendrugs or nowhen you choose to lose yourself to dance surrounded by tens of thousands of friends and strangers. Christopher Louiethe director of XOXO, Netflix’s new film set at an EDM festivalis one such crusader.

As a teenager, Louie centered the whole of his identity around Southern California’s vibrant ’90s rave scene. He went to his first show at the age of 14, took his first pill of MDMA and had his mind opened to a whole new world that he never really knew was possible. “I was raised in an atheist household,” he tells me on a Skype call just a few weeks before the film’s August 26 release. “I’d never been to church, never connected before to a communal, group experience. That was the first time I did that.”

Slowly he picked up DJing for himself, and at the age of 18 he started playing happy hardcore at gigs across the West Coasteven once flying out to Boulder, Colorado to headline a rave in a public high school. He eventually ended up at UCLA, working toward a sociology degree, where he met a film professor who hired him to assist on shoots and then eventually as a directing partner. Together they called themselves Walter Robot and handled music videos for the likes of Modest Mouse, Gnarls Barkley, Death Cab for Cutie, Kid Cudi, and more. That work dried up in the early part of this decade, right around when Louie first heard about the rumblings of EDM.

Regardless of the music the DJs playedmuch of which he says he didn’t fully understand at firstLouie saw this new scene as the rebirth of the community that changed his life as a kid. A new generation of kids was going to these massive events and experiencing the feeling he’s come to refer to as “collective effervescence”a term he’s borrowed from his sociology days to describe the group dynamics of experiencing this body-rattling music all at once.

It’s this feeling that drives XOXO, a story of six strangers from different walks of life all colliding at a fictional EDC-like megafestival that gives the film its name. There’s a teenage DJ with a viral hit on YouTube, his friend and manager who’s working delivery shifts at his dad’s restaurant, a hopeless romantic looking for love, a couple on the verge of a breakup, a cynical old head who’s prattling about how things were back in the day to anyone who’ll listen. Over the course of a fateful afternoon some are wowed, dreams are fulfilled and crushed and fulfilled, people are druggedbut everything sorta works out and the characters demonstrate communitarian joy that can come from events like these. If you can let your guard down, there’s a big world out there that you can connect withthat’s the power of EDM and of XOXO‘s better moments. THUMP caught up with Louie in early August to talk about how his history in electronic music shaped this strange warmth at the heart of the film.

Director Christopher Louie/Photo courtesy of Netflix

THUMP: Tell me a bit about your background, how did you first start going to raves and getting involved in DJing?
Christopher Louie: I started going to raves when I was 14. My first rave was at an old warehouse in San Bernardino, California called the Masterdome and it was a transformative experience. I did my first pill at my first rave. It was a completely amazing experience. After that I got really into drugs, doing a little bit of everything. Eventually I kind of stopped caring so much about the party and it became more about the drugs, unfortunately. In my sophomore year shut down that party scene in Boulder for the next year.

So this film came about as a tribute to that background, but where did the idea to set it at a contemporary EDM festival come from? Why not look back?
That’s a tough question. When I think about the rave scene back then, it was way more like a punk scene. It was so underground, there was this element of danger. You’d break into warehouses and go get a checkpoint so that you could better hide the location from cops. But if I made a looking-back movie, it would be ignoring the fact that the scene is still being experienced now on a much bigger scale. It would have been too micro. At the biggest, that was for 10,000 people, but now we’re talking 70,000 to 120,000 people a night.

When the Tomorrowland 2012 aftermovie came out, it got 100 million views. Everybody was talking about it, even people who weren’t into electronic music. My mom fucking told me: “There’s this guy, Dead-Mow-Five, he’s doing EDM like you!” My mom had to tell me what EDM was because I didn’t know.

I thought this was fucking crazy. I knew that I had to make a movie about my experiences in that world. The scene being rebirthed in 2012 gave me the unique experience to make a looking back film but set in present day, making it more relevant for the kids who are the age now that I was then.

You see the big festival circuit as an embodiment of the scene you were a part of?
Oh yeah, definitely. Without a doubt! In order to get our financing, I got access to a festival and I went and shot a teaser for the movie. It was the first time I’d been to a festival since EDC in 2010, and this was 2014. It was a crazy day and at the end of it I was sitting there and Calvin Harris was playing. I went out in the audience to dance with the actors. It was the first time I was able to breathe and settle in. I sat back and I looked and it was 60,000 people all singing his songs. I got that same feeling I had when I was 14, that unity or whatever. On top of that, I looked over and I saw a kid carrying a totem that said “Fuck her right in the pussy.” This is the exact same thing as when I was younger, except way fucking bigger.

What’s your relationship to the music and culture like today? It’s easy, knowing your story, to see you as jaded old guy in the movie, but that seems like not how you really feel about it.
No, not at all. That’s what allowed me to make the movie. There’s Chris D’Elia the jaded old guy, there’s the dreamer DJ kid who’s making music but doesn’t want to share it with the rest of the world, his hapless manager, the young couple in love, and Sarah Hyland as a hopeless romantic going to meet a dude she met online. They’re archetypal characters that everyone can identify with and I wrote all of them because I had a piece in all those characters throughout my life from 14 to now.

The way you grapple with the cynic’s viewpoint in the film is really interesting. You push back so hard on the idea that this music could be looked down upon.
I really wanted to show the contradiction in holding that idea. Everyone who’s experiencing things now could have no idea how you felt back then? That’s stupid.

This film is going to exist as one of the most mainstream depictions of EDM. Did you feel a particular responsibility to represent it accurately because of that?
At first, I felt an obligation to be as authentic as possible and convey my experiences. But it hits me so much harder now. When I saw that those kids died at HARD Summer, I didn’t cry or anything, but I got emotionally upset thinking about their families. I feel that my movie is about the other side of that, but you can’t ignore that that shit happens.

I feel very confident though. Yes, my movie depicts drugs, and yes, it depicts kids having a fucking good time on drugs because I did when I was young and I came out of it alive. But that said, it is not an irresponsible, debaucherous party drug movie like Project X or something.

I think that it’s the opposite reallyit suggests that these places and substances can be uplifting experiences, almost in a spiritual way.
It’s so much more sexy for a newspaper to post a story about the kids who died there than the 59,000 kids who didn’t and had an amazing time. I know my personal experiencedrugs were a part of it. That’s why the movie’s like that. But it in no way says drugs are necessary to have spiritual or enlightening experience at a festival. The obligation was to the truth.

Cashmere Cat Produced One Of Britney Spears' Songs Off Her New Album, 'Glory'

Britney Spears and Cashmere Cat (photos courtesy of the artists)

Thank Godney it’s Friday. Today, reigning pop queen Britney Spears released her ninth studio album Glory, much to the delight of our inner-preteen selves, and it features production from one Magnus August Hiberg, aka Cashmere Cat, along with Robopop (a producer for Maroon 5, Lana Del Rey, and Kesha) and Mischke, who has worked with the Spice Girls, Pussycat Dolls, and Little Mix.

Titled “Just Luv Me,” the track is as smooth and soft as Hiberg’s professional namesake, making for a slowed, subtle pop ditty that lies in stark contrast to the maximal, bombastic production she sang over her last few albums. Listen to it below or over on Spotify.

Cashmere Cat has become a go-to producer for Top 40 artists since releasing his debut EP, Mirror Maru, in October 2012. In the last two years, he’s crafted beats for Charli XCX, Tinashe, Miguel, G-Eazy, Kanye West, and A$AP Ferg. Most recently, he worked on Francis and the Lights’ “Friends” featuring Bon Iver and Kanye West, and he also collaborated with The Weeknd.

Meanwhile, Spears has been wising up to the dance world in recent years. Before enlisting Hiberg, her previous album, Britney Jean, had production help from Sebastian Ingrosso, Otto Knows, David Guetta, Nicky Romero, Diplo, and Richard Vission. She also worked regularly with Bloodshy aka Christian Karlsson, who is also a member of Miike Show and one-half of Galantis. However, Cashmere Cat is the only dance music producer of note on Glory.

Back in April, we speculated on who would have the production honors of her new album and look how wrong we were.

Meet WWWINGS, The Internet-Based Trio Using Beats To Escape Life In Post-Soviet Hell

Lit Daw, Lit Eyne and Lit Internetthe trio of pseudonymous producers who comprise futurist avant-club trio WWWINGSlive in what they describe as a “post-Soviet hell.” Hailing from Kiev in the Ukraine, Tyumen in Siberia, and the Kamchatka Peninsula in Far Eastern Russia, respectively, the artists are no strangers to a world wracked by cultural malaise, government corruption, and censorship. For Lit Internet, you can add active volcanoes and bi-monthly earthquakes to that list. “Our lives have bad vibes,” he tells THUMP in early August over the Russian messenging app Telegram. “So our project is kinda escapism from that reality.”

Fittingly, every WWWINGS song sounds like the end of the world. Pummeling percussion, frenzied pacing, and alien timbresdistinctly machine-like, cold and hardare hallmarks of the group’s sound. The music they make locates itself in the spaces between future-shock and techno-optimism, where dystopia and utopia blur into one. Like experimental collectives NON Worldwide, N.A.A.F.I., and Janus, as well as next-gen producers like Endgame and the duo Amnesia Scanner, WWWINGS lurks on the penumbral fringes of club music, repurposing grime, trap, and various regional dance strains into something altogether new, exciting, and devastating.

Not much is known about WWWINGSalmost nothing. Now ranging in age from eighteen to twenty-four, the three producers have cycled through countless individual pseudonyms, SoundCloud pages, and project names over the years; as of this writing, they’ve yet to reveal their real names. Their Instagram accounts feature no photos of themselves, and their Twitter feeds give even less away, consisting of little more than sporadic SoundCloud, YouTube links, and WWWINGS-related retweets. Until now, they also haven’t given anybody a substantial interview, instead preferring to troll fans and journalists with evasive maneuvers and outright misdirection. Last year, when THUMP asked them what the concept was behind their EP 3000 they replied, “Now That’s What I Call Music For Internet Suicide Pact”; when we asked what the recording process was like, they responded with a photoshopped stock photo depicting a young boy with a laptop, headphones, black angel wings, and a telling smirk.

Yet despite how vague they were when pressed for specific details or biographical clarifications throughout our four-hour interview, not once did the artists ever come across as anything but genuine. They were reserved, cautiouscagey certaintlybut never deceptive or insincere.

The truth is, in a very real sense, WWWINGS is an entity that exists solely online. The three artists have never met in person, much less performed live. They communicate with each other exclusively over the internet, and they compose and collaborate solely across digital pathways, via email, SoundCloud, the popular Russian social networking site VK, or Telegram, an end-to-end encrypted cloud-based app that allows users to message one another without fear of prying eyes, and where they have asked that we conduct our interview. “It’s literally WWW FRIENDSHIP,” Lit Internet quips. Hence the “WWW” in WWWINGS.

As they tell it, Daw, Eyne, and Lit Internet gave up on finding creative, cultural, and intellectual nourishment in the so-called “real world” long ago. Even the language they speak is noticeably informed by internet culture: their answers to my questions are delivered in short, condensed bursts, punctuated throughout with the jargon of memes, instant messaging, and hyperlinks.

Lit Eyne and Lit Internet were the first to collide online, meeting roughly four years ago via VK group chats and music, meme, and anime-related interest pages. Their relationship began as “efriends,” Lit Internet saysjust “sharing memes and edgy music”; various next-wave hip-hop acts like the Sad Boys and Young Thug, along with a steady stream of prickly electronic tracks brought them closer together. Shortly thereafter, the two cofounded a now defunct music blog on VK entitled WEBCOAST. By 2013, Eyne was already making dreamy, faded tracks under the name GRADIENTKID. As the pair’s friendship developed, the two began a joint project, BWWWOYS, a big-beat driven enterprise that often sounded like R&B made by some Artificial Intelligence.

“Even strong political figures can’t fix what’s wrong here, so how we can do it thru music? We can only express anxious vibeswe see no future for Russia or Ukraine.”Lit Daw

“BWWWOYS was my school,” Lit Internet explains, “Lit Eyne was experiencedhe taught me how to produce.” Like the bulk of underground producers, Eyne and Lit Internet spent hours excavating YouTube, SoundCloud, and Google to sharpen their skills. But as is the case with many online experimental club projects, SoundCloud pages get scrubbed, YouTube links vanish, blogs die, and after approximately two years, they discontinued BWWWOYS in 2015, as IRL responsibilities like work and school made it difficult for the duo to colloborate effectively.

After BWWWOYS, Eyne and Lit Internet took a break from music-makingthat is, until Lit Daw entered the picture, when he messaged Lit Internet out of the blue on VK. Daw was initially the most experienced of the group, having made beats for American rappers for years. “I can only tell you they’re kinda popular artists,” Lit internet says, adding: “Daw was already a pro at sixteen.”

The chance connection inspired Lit Internet to start producing again, resulting in the stellar 2015 release, ANGELYSIUM, which contorted the squelches and brisk silences of eski grime into a series of thrillingly fresh shapes. Daw mastered ANGELYSIUM in full and contributed production work to “Lit Future,” arguably the release’s most infectious track. In addition to supplying the trio with their nameANGELYSIUM’s closer is entitled “WWWINGS”the album was the catalyst that finally brought all three producers together. So captivating was the release that it lured Eyne back into the fold. “The production inspired me to come back to making music,” he recalls.

To call the three producers “prolific” would be an understatement. Not counting one-off singlesof which there are manyWWWINGS has delivered seven releases in just the last ten months, covering everything from gloomy hip-hop, to hellish club cuts, to icy ambient fit to soundtrack apocalyptic films. Considering that all the trio’s tracks are made in what is essentially a piecemeal processadding or subtracting elements and sharing the results back and forth across SoundCloud and Telegramthe rate at which they bring new music into the world is a testament to the chemistry they share.

But for all the brilliance found in their catalog, one release scans as especially important. Originally self-released in March of this yearthen reissued on vinyl by Planet Mu earlier this monthPHOENIXXX is the most searing and challenging statement from WWWINGS thus far. Its list of collaborators reads like a who’s who of today’s most forward-thinking producersChino Amobi, Lao, IMAABS, Kastle, and Endgame, among othersand it’s bursting at the seams with moving parts. Colossal bellows, needling synthetic bleats, and grating textures unfold in explosive, angular blocks; harsh noise sits next to shimmering, pristine sounds, dissonance directly up against eerie silences. Bringing to mind the harshest corners of club musicsee ANGEL-HO’s Red Devil mix or Lotic’s Agitationsthe album sounds like the groan of unimaginable technologies thrashing to life, envisioning a new, distinctly 21st century brand of industrial music as much as any internet-accelerated dance strain. But what sticks out the mostand what is ultimately PHOENIXXX’s defining qualityis the release’s fierce kineticism, a style that takes juxtaposition and raw energy as its primary organizing principles. Lit Daw describes it as a “symphony of cacophony.”

Of all their contemporaries, WWWINGS say they feel a particular kinship with NON Records and N.A.A.F.I, two collectives that have supplied the trio with some of their most rewarding collaborations, and which share their affinity for vast, alienating soundscapes, jarring hairpin turns, and erratic beat programming. Still, there are clear differences between them. Many of experimental music’s most compelling voices use their art as a means to empower, defend, or otherwise celebrate underrepresented and marginalized communities. NON’s mission statement, for example, describes the entity as “a collective of African artists, and of the diaspora, using sound as their primary media, to articulate the visible and invisible structures that create binaries in society, and in turn distribute power.” WWWINGS, however, takes a slightly different route, eschewing narrative or any sort of explicit political cause in favor of a decidedly fatalistic atmosphere.

“We love NON,” Lit Daw explains. “But for us, mostly we just express our own feelings, ‘cuz we are from Russia/Ukraine. Even strong political figures can’t fix what’s wrong here, so how we can do it thru music? We can only express anxious vibeswe see no future for Russia or Ukraine.”

Lethally unpredicatble and unrestrained police forces, online censorship, and mistreatment of the LGBTQ community are just a sample of the injustices the trio say they observe daily. But instead of using their art to convey a message, WWWINGS music relays an experienceusing unsettling compositions as a vehicle to replicate how it feels to live inside the unsavory social and cultural environments where our artists feel trapped.

Following the death of BWWWOYS and the release of ANGELYSIUM, the three producers experienced a moment of uncertainty, unclear on how and in what form they would make music moving forward. In hindsight, they view WWWINGS, and ultimately PHOENIXXX, as their rebirth. “It’s our comeback,” Lit Internet says. “We are ordinary guys IRL,” he adds, “so for us this is our big achievement.”

“We just wanted something to be remembered for after death,” Daw explains, “sort of like the way people have children.”

Like all children, PHOENIXXX is both a joy and a utility, an outlet of hope and a way of reaching forward into the future. In WWWINGS’ case specifically, it’s a means of taking flight in the face of mounting evilsbut recognizing them too. It’s not an insular artifactconcerned only with the three individuals who built itbut rather a channel for connection between people, individuals who might find solace in knowing that they’re not alone in their suffering. For others, it provides a rare, if distressing, chance to better understand the plight of those whose lives are worlds removed from their own. It’s a music that, much like the internet that spawned it, helps bridge the gap between people.

What It's Like To Get Married At Burning Man

This article was originally published on THUMP Mexico.

Committing to another person for the rest of your life can be an overwhelming thought for manybut if you decide to tie the knot at Burning Man, the week-long desert gathering of music, arts, and fire, you’re definitely starting things on the right foot, right?

Enter Mariana and Lalo, two Mexican burners who decided to do just that: merge their love for acrobatic yoga, partying, music, and community in a wedding ceremony in the mythical Black Rock City three year ago. In addition to giving us the inside scoop on what it’s like to get married at Burning Man, Mariana and Lalo offered up some photos from their wedding album, so you can get an idea of just how magical things are when you’re in love in the dust.

THUMP: What made you decide you wanted to get married at Burning Man?

Mariana: When we decided we wanted to get married, we obviously thought about where we would do it. I Told Lalo ‘Burning Man!,” and after getting quite excited, we both agreed.

Lalo: My eyes lit up because in my head I thought: “She’s definitely the perfect woman.” I knew we both had the determination and persistence to make it happen. All it needed was some organization and hard work.

What memories do you have of the wedding that wouldn’t have been possible if you’d had a conventional wedding?

Lalo: Pretty much all of them. But mainly it was the energy we felt when we got there. Going to Burning Man is a logistical challenge and coordinating a large group of people to go to the desert for a week of camping certainly doesn’t make it any easier. So the energy that came with all of that made the experience really spiritual: the costumes, the ceremony at the pyramid temple, the food and mezcal we gave away in the camp. Not to mention there was a maniacal 24-hour party at Robot Heart that ended with us dancing at dawn. You couldn’t beat it.

Mariana: Also, as acro-yoga teachers, we gave a workshop to 80 people who attended wanting to learn. And there was a bike ride along the playa with all our invited friends, new friendsand Reverend Bobo!

Lalo: I remember I could’t find Reverend Bobo, and had been trying to look for him since we arrived at the beginning of the week. On Friday, the day of the wedding, we got a crew together to try to locate him so we could start the ceremony. I found him at 10AM, and the wedding was at 2PM . Thankfully, everything went well. “By the laws of the state of Nevada, I pronounce you husband and wife,” he said.

Pedaling all the way to the temple with our friends, ready for the wedding.

Finally arriving at the chosen ceremony site. Here came the moment of truth!

Making a “salute to the seven directions,” where the energies of each cardinal point extend into the sky, ground, and the inside of each personto open a portal of happiness.

Reading our marriage vows. “In health, in sickness, and in the party.”

Looks of love!

The pyramid temple where the ceremony took place.

“I pronounce you husband and wife.”

Delivery of the rings to us newlyweds.

A group photo after the ceremony in front of the sculpture “Truth is Beauty.”

The two of us with Reverend Bobo, who was commissioned to conduct the marriage ceremony.

Pedaling toward the Robot Heart camp at sunset.

A distant view of the temple where the wedding was held.

Some art around the area.

Newlywed selfie!

On our way to celebrate the union.

Lalo leading our wedding toast, where we gave mezcal to the guests and explained the benefits of this Mexican elixir.

Chromatics Announce Long-Awaited 'Dear Tommy' Album, Share Blood-Soaked Video For Title Track

Screencap via YouTube

When Chromatics put out their last album, 2012’s critically-acclaimed Kill for Love, the world was a very different place. David Bowie and Prince were still alive, a Twin Peaks reboot was still only in fans’ dreams, and the thought of a Donald Trump presidency was completely unfathomable. Four years and countless delays later, Johnny Jewel and co. have announced details about their long-awaited follow-up, Dear Tommy.

The tracklist, which you can see below, features a handful of songs longtime followers of the band will recognize, including “Cherry,” “I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around,” and “Shadow.” They’ve also shared a stylish music video for the slow-burning title track, which evokes an 80s horror film, with flowers, broken glass, and blood-soaked guitars.

The album doesn’t have a concrete release date yet, but hopefully we can expect it sooner rather than later on Italians Do It Better.

Dear Tommy Tracklist:

1. Fresh Blood
2. In Films
3. Time Rider
4. I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around
5. Cherry
6. She Says
7. Just Like You
8. 4 A.M.
9. Teacher
10. Camera
11. Dear Tommy
12. Touch Blue
13. After Hours
14. Shadow
15. In Silence
16. Colorblind
17. Endless Sleep

Max Mertens is on Twitter.