Of Course Drake Showed Up at EDC

Atlanta producer Metro Boomin surprised the Electric Daisy Carnival audience by bringing out Drake during his performance last night. The OVO boss opened his appearance with “Jumpman,” which Metro produced, and also played tracks including “Pop Style,” “Gyalchester” and “Fake Love.”

It’s rare that Drake does an unenthusiastic performance, but he looks particularly stoked to be at the EDM fest in the footage below. “Young Metro 3X brought me to space for a night,” he said in an Instagram post about the show.

Drake wasn’t the only rapper to do a surprise show during this year’s edition of EDC: Afrojack also brought out Rae Sremmurd during his set, and Lil Jon came out during Flosstradamus’ performance.

Follow Alexander on Twitter.

More Than 400 Medical Calls Reported During the First Day of Electric Daisy Carnival

According to a report from the Associated Press and Las Vegas Now, more than 400 medical calls were placed during the first night of the Electric Daisy Carnival. The festival began on Friday and takes place in the Nevada desert.

The total number of medical calls was 443, according to the Associated Press. According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, six people were taken overnight to a local hospital.

There has been no reported determining cause for the medical calls, but Las Vegas is reportedly suffering its first major heat wave of the year. Friday’s temperatures reached a high of 113, and there appears to be no break this weekend, with predicted highs of 117 degrees for Saturday and Sunday.

In addition to the numerous medical calls, police reportedly made 29 felony narcotic arrests and 118 attendees were ejected from the festival.

More than 136,000 people were estimated to have attended the first day of Electric Daisy Carnival.

Paul Oakenfold Learned About Ibiza Because Of A World Famous Drag Queen

When the books are written about the history of acid houseand there have been several alreadyone key fact seems to elude authors as they regurgitate the old story of how Paul Oakenfold and friends visited Ibiza, took some ecstasy, and came back to kick off the Summer of Love.

“I was working for a record company and they want Divine,” he tells the Rave Curious podcast. “That’s how I really discovered Ibiza.”

The rest, as they say, is history, with Oakenfold returning to London to bring that white island magic to the UK. From there he rocketed to the top of the DJ hierarchy, first working with Madchester stars the Happy Mondays, and eventually opening for U2 and Madonna on stadium tours. You even have Oakie to thank for the Las Vegas DJ craze, which he may have started in 2008 with a weekly gig at The Palms.

Throughout it all, he’s seen a lot and shares plenty on the Rave Curious Podcast, including his new Generations concept, celebrating 30 years of acid house and his new residency in an American city you’d probably never guess. Find out by pressing play.

Subscribe to the Rave Curious Podcast on iTunes or listen on Soundcloud, and get a new episode every other week, plus download past interviews with Adam Beyer, Chris Liebing, Danny Tenaglia, Radio Slave, Cassy and more. While you’re at it, you can also follow Rave Curious on Facebook and Twitter.

To Heaven And Back: I Experienced The World's First Zero Gravity DJ Set

This article ran originally on THUMP UK.

Things are happening right now. Illicit things. Seedy things. The kind of sinful things that can taint entire lives and wreck whole families. In a thousand hotel rooms right now, right this second, bonds are being broken, rules rewritten. As chandeliers dim and the sun begins to rise slowly above the purple-tinged mountain ranges that sit flat-footed on the horizon, another day in some kind of paradise stumbles into view, bleary eyed and faint.

I check my phone: it’s 5:03AM. I drag a thick curtain open and the city unfurls before me, stretching lazily into the distance, seemingly endless, seemingly infinite, seemingly nondescript. A shower. A change of clothes. A lift from the 28th floor. The whole place heavy with the cloying sweetness of industrial strength air-freshener. Crumpled suits and battered trainers. A Jason Derulo song battles for aural supremacy with the perpetual clank of the slot machines. Croupiers sit in contemplative silence, destined to forever smell of strong straight cigarettes and spilled drinks.

Half-asleep and in search of the kind of comfort only weak instant coffee brewed in catering-friendly sized batches can offer, I make my way through the opulent rabbit hutch that is Las Vegas’ SLS hotel. In my tracksuit bottoms and cheap t-shirt I’m studiously ignored by the team in the high rollers room, or as ignored as anyone can be in a casino in a city that’s as surveillance heavy as Las Vegas. In a few hours, I think to myself as I get in what I’m pretty sure is the correct lift, I am going to experience something that I’m pretty sure 99.9999% of world hasn’t. And it’s making me feel quite nervous.

The reason I found myself in a hair and makeup room, ten hours and five thousand miles away from home is simple: in just a few hours from now, the world’s first zero-gravity DJ set would be taking place. And I was going to be there to experience it. In that plane. Floating about. Above the Mojave Desert.

The insanely ambitious early morning flight was the result of immensely hard work carried out by a vast team assembled by beer manufacturers Desperados, who’d invited a select few lucky souls from all around the world to spend a few days on the west coast for the Bass Drop experience. From scientists like Robert Alexander, through to stylists, filmmakers, and pilots, a ton of talented people had come together to do something that had never been done before. Thiseveryone was thinking to themselves through the odd silence of an incredibly early morninghad better be good.

Sat in a chair gormlessly observing row after row of clothes that looked more suited to the VIP area Studio 54 than the backrow of a Boeing 727, my mind couldn’t help but wander. What if I, unlike the cool, calm, and collected bunch I’d seen in the instructional video we all gathered around a swimming pool to watch, spewed everywhere? What if, rather than floating gaily through a plane as if it were a daily experience of mine, I managed to backflip myself into a neck brace? What if, and this was the scariest prospect of all, it wasn’t as fucking amazing as experiencing a DJ set in zero-gravity should be?

Luckily there wasn’t a vast amount of time to properly tuck into one of the narratives of doubt I’d started conjuring up. Peter, a Berlin based noise musician, artist, and stylist, grabbed me by the wrist, sized me up, and stuffed a sequined jacket into my hands.

“This is the one,” he said.

“Are you sure?” I said.

“Absolutely. Put it on now. Oh, and these. Yes, these as well, please.”

Peter handed me a pair of thick, blood red football socks. I’d gotten off relatively lightly. Later on in the week, during what was quite possibly the swankiest party this writer’s ever been invited to, Peter confessed that he’d sensed my abject fearwhich is why I managed to sidestep the gold lame get ups that most of my other passengers had been poured into.

Even the makeover I was subjected to was relatively harmless. For reasons only known to two other people on the planetneither of whom wanted to give said reasons to meI was turned into a kind of conflict-battered all American high-school football action hero. With my pseudo-shredded neck giving me the effect of a painfully sunburnt holiday-maker, I was strapped up with a kitted-out Fitbit of sorts and told to make my way into another room where a trampoline and a slow-motion camera were awaiting me. Reminding myself that I was in Las Vegas on a Tuesday morning rather than the office, I did as I was told. You can see what I look like jumping very awkwardly off a trampolinelooking for all the world like a bloke who’s just eaten a massive fucking roast dinner, or an unmasked Darth Vader, or Shaun Ryder after a long weekbelow. Reader, I did this for you.

Having spent at least half a second in the air, it was time to bundle onto a coach and zip down the world famous Vegas strip. All of usaround 30 people in total, gawked at the supreme gaudiness unfolding on either side of the bus. Look, there’s the Bellagio! There’s the Venetian! Oh wow, is that the Trump Hotel Las Vegas? You betcha bottom dollar it is! It was all margarita bars and circuses. Well, it was for all of us except Ralf Schmerberg, the German director tasked with turning the four zero gravity flights that were taking place over two days into art. Ralf took his task seriously, and with a kind of Teutonic efficiency that’d be beyond parody had it not actually happened. A DSLR camera was brandished with the kind of seriousness usually reserved for combat zones; voices were hushed; awe and fear instilled in each and every one of us. “Don’t look at me,” Ralf said, ensuring he had everyone’s complete and total attention, “when you are experiencing this moment of otherworldly excitement, I don’t want you looking at me. Anyone who looks at me is out.”

With those words ringing round our heads, we trundled into the business end of McCarren airport where our plane was patiently waiting for us. In single file we hopped in via the rear entrance, like soldiers ready to be parachuted into deep, dense jungle. We took our seats and, just like on a real, normal, commercial flight, we quietly sat through the safety demonstrations. It was at that point that you sensed that we’d all realized that this really wasn’t going to be like a real, normal, commercial flight. Noticing the pair of decks and two sets of massive speakers where the other seats should be, the lack of windows and jet black padding covering everything else, it was clear: this was a nightclub.

Before we get to the nitty gritty of the experience itself, a little on the science. The zero gravity excursions offered by Zero G utilize parabolic flight. Essentially, parabolic flight involves a plane flying upwards at an alarming angle, reaching a plateau, and then immediately dropping back down again, nose-first. This procedure generates a sense of genuine weightlessness. I just about scraped a C in my science GCSEs so many of the details as to how this is possible are slightly lost on me. Even the Wikipedia page for it brought back not-exactly-fond memories of wet Tuesday afternoons in November trying to cheat on module testswhich, let’s be honest, is about as far away from being in a FLYING NIGHTCLUB as it’s possible to be.

Looking around the plane, my gaze fell on the guy tasked with soundtracking this and the following flights, Mike Cervello. Cervello is an Amsterdam based DJ who plays and produces the kind of big-room ready EDM that sits somewhere between Skrillex and London on da Track. While everyone else onboard looks like they’re about to perform keyhole surgery wearing a blindfold and boxing gloves, Cervello sits calmly and quietly, patiently waiting for the nod that tacitly means “you are about to perform a special DJ set in zero gravity and if you fuck it up, even slightly, then lots of people are going to be very, very, very cross, so please, please, please do not fuck this up in the slightest.” Mike Cervello didn’t look like a man who ever fucked anything up.

Cervello’s bass-heavy sound was perfectly suited to the project, and while his signature brand of flash-bang-wallop dance music might not have been the kind of thing you’d usually catch me listening to, up there, 30,000ft above the real world, it sort of made sense. After all, this was about pure unadulterated bass, about what happens to our hearts and minds when we experience the bass dropping while we float around like weightless children. As such, it probably wouldn’t have been wise to book Larry Heard or Sassy J. Mike Cervello knew this too. A wry smile crept over his face. He was ready. The flight staff were ready. We, I supposed, were just about ready too.

So there I am, laying on my back on the floor of a planestaring at the ceiling, just like I’ve been told togetting ready to float. Music starts playing, and the music gets louder, and the plane starts to feel strange. The combination of the lights and the sound and the physical confusion of it all starts to remind of laying in bed after a night outbody brimming with fuck knows what, chemical reactions taking place by the tonneand I start to feel distinctly odd. I look to my left and spot a competition winneran incredibly boisterous competition winner who I never saw without a bottle of beer and a cigarette on the go throughout the weekgoing ever-so-slightly grey. Keep an eye on him, I thought.

A voice on the tannoy snaps me back into some kind of reality. “In thirty seconds we will perform our first drop. You’re going to experience Martian gravity. I repeat, you’re going to experience Martian gravity.”

Thirty seconds later, we experience Martian gravity. Martian gravity feels odd. You’re very aware of your own physicality, of being a lump of meat in a plane, but at the same time, there’s a subtle difference. Things feel lighter. A lot lighter. Flipping over without any difficulty whatsoever, we all start doing push ups. Back here on sad and sorry Earth, I cannot do single push up. In the imagined Mars of that plane I could do a thousand without breaking a sweat. I was an Adonis.

At this point Mike Cervello is keeping things pretty chilled, playing the kind of wafty ambient you might hear on a daytrip to the Great Yarmouth Sealife Centre. It’s appropriately calming. Mike Cervello is in control. Mike Cervello is strapped to the floor of the plane. He is experiencing human gravity. DJ gravity. He is not doing push ups. Ralf, stern, commanding, endearing Ralf, is a roving and probing extension of his camera, a gaudily-dressed eyeball beamed in from the deepest recess of Berlin, somehow up there way above the clouds.

The natural progression from Martian gravity is, obviously, to take things lunar. So that’s what we do. This gradual easing into total and utter weightlessness is incredibly pleasant. Sure, at this stage it’s obvious that a nervousness is hanging over everyone, but we’re having fun at the same time. Actual fun. Actual real, genuine, fun. On a plane. The voice on the tannoy gives us another warning. I brace myself and close my eyes and the next thing I know I’m moonwalking. I am Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and for fifteen seconds I forget everything I’ve ever known about movement. We hop and bound and high five and adopt the kind of expression you’d imagine an iron-age ancestor might when presented with a ring-pull tin of tomatoes. Cervello’s selections have gotten harder and heavier, Ralf’s movements more acrobatic. Something is happening here: the anticipated’s becoming a reality.

After our brief lunar excursion the plane starts to wobble a tad. It’d done the same on the way up but most of us had chosen to ignore it. After all, what’s a little turbulence between friends before zero gravity? I couldn’t help but notice a tinge of consternation on the faces of those overseeing the project. The rehearsals were over and this was the first real flight, the first time the Desperados team had shown their work to the world. Things, evidently, obviously, had to be right. Things, from our perspective, were going fine. More than fine. Things were fantastic. Cervello was in full flow and had we not been under strict no-alcohol conditionsto the point of having been breathalyzed prior to boardingI could have quite happily chugged down a beer or six. Turbulence be damned. We were headed for the holy grailwe were diving towards weightlessness at an alarming rate.

If you’ve not experienced total weightlessness, it feels something like this: imagine swimming underwater, except there’s no water there and you’re not actually swimming. Focus on that sensation of pressure, though. Hone in on that. Imagine it coursing through every fibre of your being, every cell rendered into a kind of beautiful nothingness. You are nearly there. Now, take that feeling and start doing forward rolls and backflips. While a bigger-than-Jesus bassline rumbles through a fucking plane that is hurtling towards the ground. The video below shows you what happened to me and my body during that freefall.

You have fifteen seconds at your disposal to exploit, fifteen seconds with which to do whatever you can, whatever you so please. Funny, isn’t it, how strangely subjective time is, how utterly elasticated it can become. When the soothing voice-over on the instructional video tells you that each parabola will last fifteen seconds you catch yourself trying to segment fifteen seconds into something real and relatable and liveable. Fifteen seconds, you think, is the time it takes to eat a banana really quickly, or put some swimming trunks on. Fifteen seconds is nothing. Down here at least. Way up where a celestial blue is nearly all you can see, where atmospheres begin to merge and mutate and an unblinking, unceasing, total and utter darkness edges into view, fifteen seconds becomes something malleable. It becomes alien. You can do a lot in fifteen seconds.

During those first fifteen seconds I find myself flailing, twirling, feeling totally out of control. I bounced off one wall into another. I nearly knocked stoic old Mike Cervello over. I gripped onto a guide rope and pretty much tore it down. And it felt incredible. Few experiences in life ever reach the giddy heights of the unbelievable, but this was up there. A group of strangers had been united, bonding over the sheer surreality of what was happening, and how it was happening, and why it was happening to us. All except for our grey-faced competition-winner, however, who had floated away from us and was being profusely sick into a bag. As the tannoy boomed its “FEET DOWN” warningsignalling the end of our first parabola, the end of our first taste of real weightlessness, firmly reminding us that gravity rules everything around it, and that bones can and do breakI breathed a sigh of relief that specks of puke hadn’t made their way into the cabin and that my makeup hadn’t been tarnished by the regurgitated remains of coffee, nachos, and hummus. Even here, in heaven, the corporeal cannot be escaped.

There was that wobbling again, and again, those faces of consternation. The plane’s wobbles became almost indiscernible from those that Mike Cervello was pinging at us. The fancy-dressed amongst ourselves smiled through it, like children who’d been taken to the funfair only to have the waltzers run at half speed. In theory, we had fourteen more goes at zero gravity, fourteen more bites of the most transformative apple you’ve ever tasted.

The reality was slightly different. After our second descentmore measured than the first, each of us having gained at least some understanding of how our bodies worked in this new world we’d been lucky enough to inhabitturbulence took total hold. We were going to have to turn round and land a lot quicker than anyone had anticipated, and more crucially, wanted.

The most American looking man I’ve ever seen ushered me back into my seat. Mike Cervello turned the music off. Ralf, who we’d all stopped looking at, trundled back to his chair in a state of emotional devastation. We sat quietly, coming to terms with our newly restored sense of balance. The experience had, it seemed, been beyond words. We were each given a bottle of water and a bag of crisps. Eyes shut, heads down.

We landed with a bump, trooping out the way we’d come in, single-filing our way onto the coach. It was a cloudless day in Las Vegas. The desert stretched into the distance. To my left was a huge billboard for a French Montana show, and to my right a succession of Cessnas. Our zero gravity dream had ended abruptly, but we were no less thankful to try something that only a handful of others in this life ever have or ever will. The briefto create a nightclub without gravityhad come off. I had done it. I had been to the world’s first zero gravity DJ set and lived to tell the tale. I had, in a moment that hasn’t and probably won’t ever sink in, heard “One More Time” by Daft Punk as I zipped through the cabin of a plane, flying high above the Mojave Desert.

The coach left the airport. I looked out of the window. A smallish plane had just landed. It was Donald Trump’s. We were definitely back here on Earth.

Josh is on Twitter

To Heaven And Back: I Experienced The World's First Zero Gravity DJ Set

This article ran originally on THUMP UK.

Things are happening right now. Illicit things. Seedy things. The kind of sinful things that can taint entire lives and wreck whole families. In a thousand hotel rooms right now, right this second, bonds are being broken, rules rewritten. As chandeliers dim and the sun begins to rise slowly above the purple-tinged mountain ranges that sit flat-footed on the horizon, another day in some kind of paradise stumbles into view, bleary eyed and faint.

I check my phone: it’s 5:03AM. I drag a thick curtain open and the city unfurls before me, stretching lazily into the distance, seemingly endless, seemingly infinite, seemingly nondescript. A shower. A change of clothes. A lift from the 28th floor. The whole place heavy with the cloying sweetness of industrial strength air-freshener. Crumpled suits and battered trainers. A Jason Derulo song battles for aural supremacy with the perpetual clank of the slot machines. Croupiers sit in contemplative silence, destined to forever smell of strong straight cigarettes and spilled drinks.

Half-asleep and in search of the kind of comfort only weak instant coffee brewed in catering-friendly sized batches can offer, I make my way through the opulent rabbit hutch that is Las Vegas’ SLS hotel. In my tracksuit bottoms and cheap t-shirt I’m studiously ignored by the team in the high rollers room, or as ignored as anyone can be in a casino in a city that’s as surveillance heavy as Las Vegas. In a few hours, I think to myself as I get in what I’m pretty sure is the correct lift, I am going to experience something that I’m pretty sure 99.9999% of world hasn’t. And it’s making me feel quite nervous.

The reason I found myself in a hair and makeup room, ten hours and five thousand miles away from home is simple: in just a few hours from now, the world’s first zero-gravity DJ set would be taking place. And I was going to be there to experience it. In that plane. Floating about. Above the Mojave Desert.

The insanely ambitious early morning flight was the result of immensely hard work carried out by a vast team assembled by beer manufacturers Desperados, who’d invited a select few lucky souls from all around the world to spend a few days on the west coast for the Bass Drop experience. From scientists like Robert Alexander, through to stylists, filmmakers, and pilots, a ton of talented people had come together to do something that had never been done before. Thiseveryone was thinking to themselves through the odd silence of an incredibly early morninghad better be good.

Sat in a chair gormlessly observing row after row of clothes that looked more suited to the VIP area Studio 54 than the backrow of a Boeing 727, my mind couldn’t help but wander. What if I, unlike the cool, calm, and collected bunch I’d seen in the instructional video we all gathered around a swimming pool to watch, spewed everywhere? What if, rather than floating gaily through a plane as if it were a daily experience of mine, I managed to backflip myself into a neck brace? What if, and this was the scariest prospect of all, it wasn’t as fucking amazing as experiencing a DJ set in zero-gravity should be?

Luckily there wasn’t a vast amount of time to properly tuck into one of the narratives of doubt I’d started conjuring up. Peter, a Berlin based noise musician, artist, and stylist, grabbed me by the wrist, sized me up, and stuffed a sequined jacket into my hands.

“This is the one,” he said.

“Are you sure?” I said.

“Absolutely. Put it on now. Oh, and these. Yes, these as well, please.”

Peter handed me a pair of thick, blood red football socks. I’d gotten off relatively lightly. Later on in the week, during what was quite possibly the swankiest party this writer’s ever been invited to, Peter confessed that he’d sensed my abject fearwhich is why I managed to sidestep the gold lame get ups that most of my other passengers had been poured into.

Even the makeover I was subjected to was relatively harmless. For reasons only known to two other people on the planetneither of whom wanted to give said reasons to meI was turned into a kind of conflict-battered all American high-school football action hero. With my pseudo-shredded neck giving me the effect of a painfully sunburnt holiday-maker, I was strapped up with a kitted-out Fitbit of sorts and told to make my way into another room where a trampoline and a slow-motion camera were awaiting me. Reminding myself that I was in Las Vegas on a Tuesday morning rather than the office, I did as I was told. You can see what I look like jumping very awkwardly off a trampolinelooking for all the world like a bloke who’s just eaten a massive fucking roast dinner, or an unmasked Darth Vader, or Shaun Ryder after a long weekbelow. Reader, I did this for you.

Having spent at least half a second in the air, it was time to bundle onto a coach and zip down the world famous Vegas strip. All of usaround 30 people in total, gawked at the supreme gaudiness unfolding on either side of the bus. Look, there’s the Bellagio! There’s the Venetian! Oh wow, is that the Trump Hotel Las Vegas? You betcha bottom dollar it is! It was all margarita bars and circuses. Well, it was for all of us except Ralf Schmerberg, the German director tasked with turning the four zero gravity flights that were taking place over two days into art. Ralf took his task seriously, and with a kind of Teutonic efficiency that’d be beyond parody had it not actually happened. A DSLR camera was brandished with the kind of seriousness usually reserved for combat zones; voices were hushed; awe and fear instilled in each and every one of us. “Don’t look at me,” Ralf said, ensuring he had everyone’s complete and total attention, “when you are experiencing this moment of otherworldly excitement, I don’t want you looking at me. Anyone who looks at me is out.”

With those words ringing round our heads, we trundled into the business end of McCarren airport where our plane was patiently waiting for us. In single file we hopped in via the rear entrance, like soldiers ready to be parachuted into deep, dense jungle. We took our seats and, just like on a real, normal, commercial flight, we quietly sat through the safety demonstrations. It was at that point that you sensed that we’d all realized that this really wasn’t going to be like a real, normal, commercial flight. Noticing the pair of decks and two sets of massive speakers where the other seats should be, the lack of windows and jet black padding covering everything else, it was clear: this was a nightclub.

Before we get to the nitty gritty of the experience itself, a little on the science. The zero gravity excursions offered by Zero G utilize parabolic flight. Essentially, parabolic flight involves a plane flying upwards at an alarming angle, reaching a plateau, and then immediately dropping back down again, nose-first. This procedure generates a sense of genuine weightlessness. I just about scraped a C in my science GCSEs so many of the details as to how this is possible are slightly lost on me. Even the Wikipedia page for it brought back not-exactly-fond memories of wet Tuesday afternoons in November trying to cheat on module testswhich, let’s be honest, is about as far away from being in a FLYING NIGHTCLUB as it’s possible to be.

Looking around the plane, my gaze fell on the guy tasked with soundtracking this and the following flights, Mike Cervello. Cervello is an Amsterdam based DJ who plays and produces the kind of big-room ready EDM that sits somewhere between Skrillex and London on da Track. While everyone else onboard looks like they’re about to perform keyhole surgery wearing a blindfold and boxing gloves, Cervello sits calmly and quietly, patiently waiting for the nod that tacitly means “you are about to perform a special DJ set in zero gravity and if you fuck it up, even slightly, then lots of people are going to be very, very, very cross, so please, please, please do not fuck this up in the slightest.” Mike Cervello didn’t look like a man who ever fucked anything up.

Cervello’s bass-heavy sound was perfectly suited to the project, and while his signature brand of flash-bang-wallop dance music might not have been the kind of thing you’d usually catch me listening to, up there, 30,000ft above the real world, it sort of made sense. After all, this was about pure unadulterated bass, about what happens to our hearts and minds when we experience the bass dropping while we float around like weightless children. As such, it probably wouldn’t have been wise to book Larry Heard or Sassy J. Mike Cervello knew this too. A wry smile crept over his face. He was ready. The flight staff were ready. We, I supposed, were just about ready too.

So there I am, laying on my back on the floor of a planestaring at the ceiling, just like I’ve been told togetting ready to float. Music starts playing, and the music gets louder, and the plane starts to feel strange. The combination of the lights and the sound and the physical confusion of it all starts to remind of laying in bed after a night outbody brimming with fuck knows what, chemical reactions taking place by the tonneand I start to feel distinctly odd. I look to my left and spot a competition winneran incredibly boisterous competition winner who I never saw without a bottle of beer and a cigarette on the go throughout the weekgoing ever-so-slightly grey. Keep an eye on him, I thought.

A voice on the tannoy snaps me back into some kind of reality. “In thirty seconds we will perform our first drop. You’re going to experience Martian gravity. I repeat, you’re going to experience Martian gravity.”

Thirty seconds later, we experience Martian gravity. Martian gravity feels odd. You’re very aware of your own physicality, of being a lump of meat in a plane, but at the same time, there’s a subtle difference. Things feel lighter. A lot lighter. Flipping over without any difficulty whatsoever, we all start doing push ups. Back here on sad and sorry Earth, I cannot do single push up. In the imagined Mars of that plane I could do a thousand without breaking a sweat. I was an Adonis.

At this point Mike Cervello is keeping things pretty chilled, playing the kind of wafty ambient you might hear on a daytrip to the Great Yarmouth Sealife Centre. It’s appropriately calming. Mike Cervello is in control. Mike Cervello is strapped to the floor of the plane. He is experiencing human gravity. DJ gravity. He is not doing push ups. Ralf, stern, commanding, endearing Ralf, is a roving and probing extension of his camera, a gaudily-dressed eyeball beamed in from the deepest recess of Berlin, somehow up there way above the clouds.

The natural progression from Martian gravity is, obviously, to take things lunar. So that’s what we do. This gradual easing into total and utter weightlessness is incredibly pleasant. Sure, at this stage it’s obvious that a nervousness is hanging over everyone, but we’re having fun at the same time. Actual fun. Actual real, genuine, fun. On a plane. The voice on the tannoy gives us another warning. I brace myself and close my eyes and the next thing I know I’m moonwalking. I am Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and for fifteen seconds I forget everything I’ve ever known about movement. We hop and bound and high five and adopt the kind of expression you’d imagine an iron-age ancestor might when presented with a ring-pull tin of tomatoes. Cervello’s selections have gotten harder and heavier, Ralf’s movements more acrobatic. Something is happening here: the anticipated’s becoming a reality.

After our brief lunar excursion the plane starts to wobble a tad. It’d done the same on the way up but most of us had chosen to ignore it. After all, what’s a little turbulence between friends before zero gravity? I couldn’t help but notice a tinge of consternation on the faces of those overseeing the project. The rehearsals were over and this was the first real flight, the first time the Desperados team had shown their work to the world. Things, evidently, obviously, had to be right. Things, from our perspective, were going fine. More than fine. Things were fantastic. Cervello was in full flow and had we not been under strict no-alcohol conditionsto the point of having been breathalyzed prior to boardingI could have quite happily chugged down a beer or six. Turbulence be damned. We were headed for the holy grailwe were diving towards weightlessness at an alarming rate.

If you’ve not experienced total weightlessness, it feels something like this: imagine swimming underwater, except there’s no water there and you’re not actually swimming. Focus on that sensation of pressure, though. Hone in on that. Imagine it coursing through every fibre of your being, every cell rendered into a kind of beautiful nothingness. You are nearly there. Now, take that feeling and start doing forward rolls and backflips. While a bigger-than-Jesus bassline rumbles through a fucking plane that is hurtling towards the ground. The video below shows you what happened to me and my body during that freefall.

You have fifteen seconds at your disposal to exploit, fifteen seconds with which to do whatever you can, whatever you so please. Funny, isn’t it, how strangely subjective time is, how utterly elasticated it can become. When the soothing voice-over on the instructional video tells you that each parabola will last fifteen seconds you catch yourself trying to segment fifteen seconds into something real and relatable and liveable. Fifteen seconds, you think, is the time it takes to eat a banana really quickly, or put some swimming trunks on. Fifteen seconds is nothing. Down here at least. Way up where a celestial blue is nearly all you can see, where atmospheres begin to merge and mutate and an unblinking, unceasing, total and utter darkness edges into view, fifteen seconds becomes something malleable. It becomes alien. You can do a lot in fifteen seconds.

During those first fifteen seconds I find myself flailing, twirling, feeling totally out of control. I bounced off one wall into another. I nearly knocked stoic old Mike Cervello over. I gripped onto a guide rope and pretty much tore it down. And it felt incredible. Few experiences in life ever reach the giddy heights of the unbelievable, but this was up there. A group of strangers had been united, bonding over the sheer surreality of what was happening, and how it was happening, and why it was happening to us. All except for our grey-faced competition-winner, however, who had floated away from us and was being profusely sick into a bag. As the tannoy boomed its “FEET DOWN” warningsignalling the end of our first parabola, the end of our first taste of real weightlessness, firmly reminding us that gravity rules everything around it, and that bones can and do breakI breathed a sigh of relief that specks of puke hadn’t made their way into the cabin and that my makeup hadn’t been tarnished by the regurgitated remains of coffee, nachos, and hummus. Even here, in heaven, the corporeal cannot be escaped.

There was that wobbling again, and again, those faces of consternation. The plane’s wobbles became almost indiscernible from those that Mike Cervello was pinging at us. The fancy-dressed amongst ourselves smiled through it, like children who’d been taken to the funfair only to have the waltzers run at half speed. In theory, we had fourteen more goes at zero gravity, fourteen more bites of the most transformative apple you’ve ever tasted.

The reality was slightly different. After our second descentmore measured than the first, each of us having gained at least some understanding of how our bodies worked in this new world we’d been lucky enough to inhabitturbulence took total hold. We were going to have to turn round and land a lot quicker than anyone had anticipated, and more crucially, wanted.

The most American looking man I’ve ever seen ushered me back into my seat. Mike Cervello turned the music off. Ralf, who we’d all stopped looking at, trundled back to his chair in a state of emotional devastation. We sat quietly, coming to terms with our newly restored sense of balance. The experience had, it seemed, been beyond words. We were each given a bottle of water and a bag of crisps. Eyes shut, heads down.

We landed with a bump, trooping out the way we’d come in, single-filing our way onto the coach. It was a cloudless day in Las Vegas. The desert stretched into the distance. To my left was a huge billboard for a French Montana show, and to my right a succession of Cessnas. Our zero gravity dream had ended abruptly, but we were no less thankful to try something that only a handful of others in this life ever have or ever will. The briefto create a nightclub without gravityhad come off. I had done it. I had been to the world’s first zero gravity DJ set and lived to tell the tale. I had, in a moment that hasn’t and probably won’t ever sink in, heard “One More Time” by Daft Punk as I zipped through the cabin of a plane, flying high above the Mojave Desert.

The coach left the airport. I looked out of the window. A smallish plane had just landed. It was Donald Trump’s. We were definitely back here on Earth.

Josh is on Twitter

Gonjasufi Recommends You Listen To His Darkly Cathartic New Album With The Lights On

Photo courtesy of Warp Records

The first words heard on Callus, the first full-length album in four years from San Diego-born producer Gonjasufi, take the form of two concise, biting questions.

“Is anybody private? Is anything sacred?” asks the artistwhose real name is Sumach Ecksin a drawling bellow on opening track “Your Maker,” before proceeding to deliver his world-weary lyrics over industrial drums and distorted, searing guitars.

As its title suggests, the record is hardened both thematically and musically, chronicling Ecks’ personal struggles following the release of 2012’s MU.ZZ.LE. While his song “Nikels and Dimes” ended up being sampled by Jay Z on the rapper’s 2013 album Magna Carta Holy Grail, he was ostracized by many of his fellow artists in the west coast experimental scene, who accused him of selling out. He developed a cocaine addiction (he’s since become clean), and to top it all off, he was ripped off by his booking agency and left broke.

Recorded in Los Angeles’ Atwater Village, Las Vegas, and the “hellishly hot” Californian desert town of Joshua Tree, Callus sees Ecks exorcising his personal demons over the course of 19 apocalyptic, occasionally abrasive tracks, with a little help from former Cure guitarist Pearl Thompson. We recently spoke to the veteran producer, singer, and former yogi over Skype about how fatherhood keeps him positive, why you should listen to his latest album with the lights on, and more.

THUMP: This is your first album in four years and it feels incredibly cathartic on numerous levels. Did you feel like an emotional weight had been lifted off your shoulders after you finished?

Gonjasufi: I did man. After I made “Manic Depressant,” I felt like I got off so much angst that was pent-up. A lot of that shit was due to my own self-induced shit, because of me wanting to be accepted and having to deal with the rejection from the yoga world, the music world, and my friends from the perceived success from the Jay Z shit. They all thought I was a fucking millionaire, some of my close friends started hating me, and I just felt more alone.

Tell me a little bit about moving to Joshua Tree to finish the record and how it compares to other places that you’ve lived.
The people are all very open, there’s a lot of artists here, it’s not very judgemental. I was driving from Vegas last night through the desert, and I was thinking how non-judgemental Vegas is because sin is legal. People aren’t really judging, and in cities closer to the coast, there’s a lot of superficial shit going on. I love Los Angeles, I love San Diego, but there’s a lot of fake shit going on in those cities.

How did you end up collaborating with Pearl Thompson?
One of my good friends Lisa Johnson is a photographer, she did a book called 108 Rock Star Guitars, where she took all these photos of guitars. I guess Pearl came to visit her, they were driving and she was playing my shit, and Pearl asked, “Who’s this?” And she’s like, “Oh it’s my friend Sumach.” I went and had dinner at Lisa’s house and connected with Pearl, and he came over to Atwater and we just jammed.

Were you a big Cure fan growing up?
Not necessarily. I knew a few songs, the way he played, he showed up and I’d never seen anybody play without their fingertips. It didn’t look like he was playing guitar but I was blown away with the sounds.

It feels like a particularly bleak period in the United States right now, both politically and socially, how do you try to stay positive?
It’s hard. I try to stay off social networks and stay engulfed in my kids. I still fall victim to shit, like today, I woke up I saw all the stuff happening to women and domestic violence by the police. I just want to go online and blast off on the fucking police. It’s a fine lineI don’t want to be labeled, I don’t want to become a fucking target. But to not address it and let it keep going? So I pour these feelings into sounds and vibrations and try to help other people through. The record is more dark overall because the world is more fucked up than it was five years ago.

You’re a teacher, what advice would you give to young musicians? Do any of your children play instruments?
I never really thought about it like that. My kids do. One of my daughters, every time I play, she comes up and jams with me. I’ll be on the piano and she’ll drum for like an hour, we get some good moments.

Now that Callus is finally out, what’s next for you?
I’m doing the Blakhalemary record with my wifeshe did the vocals on the song “When I Die”and it’s going to be very minimal. I’m also working on the follow-up to the Gonjasufi record, it’s pretty much almost done, I’m just finishing mixing it. It’s kind of in the same vein as Callus, almost like , you gotta listen to it with the lights on.

Callus is out now on Warp Records.

Max Mertens is on Twitter.


Gonjasufi Recommends You Listen To His Darkly Cathartic New Album With The Lights On

Photo courtesy of Warp Records

The first words heard on Callus, the first full-length album in four years from San Diego-born producer Gonjasufi, take the form of two concise, biting questions.

“Is anybody private? Is anything sacred?” asks the artistwhose real name is Sumach Ecksin a drawling bellow on opening track “Your Maker,” before proceeding to deliver his world-weary lyrics over industrial drums and distorted, searing guitars.

As its title suggests, the record is hardened both thematically and musically, chronicling Ecks’ personal struggles following the release of 2012’s MU.ZZ.LE. While his song “Nikels and Dimes” ended up being sampled by Jay Z on the rapper’s 2013 album Magna Carta Holy Grail, he was ostracized by many of his fellow artists in the west coast experimental scene, who accused him of selling out. He developed a cocaine addiction (he’s since become clean), and to top it all off, he was ripped off by his booking agency and left broke.

Recorded in Los Angeles’ Atwater Village, Las Vegas, and the “hellishly hot” Californian desert town of Joshua Tree, Callus sees Ecks exorcising his personal demons over the course of 19 apocalyptic, occasionally abrasive tracks, with a little help from former Cure guitarist Pearl Thompson. We recently spoke to the veteran producer, singer, and former yogi over Skype about how fatherhood keeps him positive, why you should listen to his latest album with the lights on, and more.

THUMP: This is your first album in four years and it feels incredibly cathartic on numerous levels. Did you feel like an emotional weight had been lifted off your shoulders after you finished?

Gonjasufi: I did man. After I made “Manic Depressant,” I felt like I got off so much angst that was pent-up. A lot of that shit was due to my own self-induced shit, because of me wanting to be accepted and having to deal with the rejection from the yoga world, the music world, and my friends from the perceived success from the Jay Z shit. They all thought I was a fucking millionaire, some of my close friends started hating me, and I just felt more alone.

Tell me a little bit about moving to Joshua Tree to finish the record and how it compares to other places that you’ve lived.
The people are all very open, there’s a lot of artists here, it’s not very judgemental. I was driving from Vegas last night through the desert, and I was thinking how non-judgemental Vegas is because sin is legal. People aren’t really judging, and in cities closer to the coast, there’s a lot of superficial shit going on. I love Los Angeles, I love San Diego, but there’s a lot of fake shit going on in those cities.

How did you end up collaborating with Pearl Thompson?
One of my good friends Lisa Johnson is a photographer, she did a book called 108 Rock Star Guitars, where she took all these photos of guitars. I guess Pearl came to visit her, they were driving and she was playing my shit, and Pearl asked, “Who’s this?” And she’s like, “Oh it’s my friend Sumach.” I went and had dinner at Lisa’s house and connected with Pearl, and he came over to Atwater and we just jammed.

Were you a big Cure fan growing up?
Not necessarily. I knew a few songs, the way he played, he showed up and I’d never seen anybody play without their fingertips. It didn’t look like he was playing guitar but I was blown away with the sounds.

It feels like a particularly bleak period in the United States right now, both politically and socially, how do you try to stay positive?
It’s hard. I try to stay off social networks and stay engulfed in my kids. I still fall victim to shit, like today, I woke up I saw all the stuff happening to women and domestic violence by the police. I just want to go online and blast off on the fucking police. It’s a fine lineI don’t want to be labeled, I don’t want to become a fucking target. But to not address it and let it keep going? So I pour these feelings into sounds and vibrations and try to help other people through. The record is more dark overall because the world is more fucked up than it was five years ago.

You’re a teacher, what advice would you give to young musicians? Do any of your children play instruments?
I never really thought about it like that. My kids do. One of my daughters, every time I play, she comes up and jams with me. I’ll be on the piano and she’ll drum for like an hour, we get some good moments.

Now that Callus is finally out, what’s next for you?
I’m doing the Blakhalemary record with my wifeshe did the vocals on the song “When I Die”and it’s going to be very minimal. I’m also working on the follow-up to the Gonjasufi record, it’s pretty much almost done, I’m just finishing mixing it. It’s kind of in the same vein as Callus, almost like , you gotta listen to it with the lights on.

Callus is out now on Warp Records.

Max Mertens is on Twitter.


Photos Of The Beautiful Freaks At America's Biggest Gabber Festival

Photos by Justin Cole Smith

Last month, I saw an event pop up in my Facebook feed called “Gabberfest 2016: America’s Hardest.” Slated for June 18-19, the three-year-old festival promised to help “fans of the sounds too extreme for any mainstream festival find their sanctuary during two days of pure chaos,” and a “hellish inferno under the Las Vegas sun.”

A couple of my Facebook friends had said they were attending, but I knew they weren’t actually going tothe flyer was pretty goofy and the event was way out in Vegas. Still, I became super curious about what a gabber festival in America would look like in 2016. Gabbera Netherlands-born subgenre of hardcore music marked by heavily distorted kickdrums, whiplash-inducing BPMs, and no-fucks-given aggressionwas mostly popular in Europe 10 or 20 years ago, corrupting an entire generation of Dutch children.

I imagined a few different scenarios, the most likely that the actual festival would be sparsely attended, mostly by weird, angry, bald white dudes. What I found in reality was a hyper-dedicated and tight-knit scene gabber heads leftover from the larger hardcore explosion in America decades ago that either got swallowed or abandoned by more accessible electronic music genres over time.

Watch our documentary on the Rotterdam Terror Corps, Holland’s Most Badass Hardcore Collective

These lovable freaks gathered in a dive bar called Hard Hat Lounge north of the strip. Many of them were also DJing at the festival, which was thrown by Las Vegas resident Brandon Ramirez AKA the “White Ape,” with the help of a San Bernadino-based production company Techno Belligerent. Their dedication to ball-bustingly hard electronic music is so unwavering that they were even willing to put up with the 108 degree weather to rage in the parking lot.

Even though Gabberfest was organized as a pre-party to the massive EDM festival Electric Daisy Carnival, where crossover hardcore act Lenny Dee and quite a few hardstyle DJs were playing, I didn’t talk to a single person at Gabberfest who was attending EDC as well.

Chatting with some of the folks present, I felt instantly welcomed into their community, and got the sense that everyone was very optimistic about the future of their micro-scene. Even the Satanists were super nice!

Deadly Buda

THUMP: How did you get into gabber?

I guess I got into it right when it started, more or less… I threw my first rave in 1991.

How do you feel listening to gabber? Whats the perfect setting for it?

That big distorted kick drum really stimulates the fight-or-flight response so it makes dancing like a thrill ridethat’s what I like about the gabber sound. You want a big system you can jam out to.

How do you feel about the American gabber scenedo feel like it’s a unified culture?

There are all these awesome producers in America who are basically getting no attention whatsoever. One of the great things about Gabberfest is we’re getting everyone to meet up and start cooperating to make the scene bigger and better. You are seeing the unification of the scene right here.

Do drugs make the gabber experience better or worse?

Technically I think it makes it worseit makes it harder to dance. I think drugs hold back any music scene, but smaller music scenes have more people dedicated to the music.

What do you think it would take for gabber to become more popular? Would you want it to be?

I think you’re seeing it happen right now.

Steven AKA Metal Jesus

How did you get into gabber? What makes it special?

I was asking friends for the hardest, fastest music and Berzerker was a a band I was given. I started seeing tags like speedcore and terrorcore, so I just started to look that shit up and that’s how I got in the scene. My first party was Angerfist’s first party in the United States at Murder the Dancefloor in 2007. Now I’m at the point where I can go to a party alone and know three or four people there.

So you feel like there’s a unified scene?

Fuck yeah.

How do you feel listening to gabber?

Oh man, I could play gabber to wake me up, and play gabber to put me to sleep.

Do drugs make the gabber experience better or worse?

I dance so hard and so long that if I do do drugs, it’s gonna fuck me over big time. So just water and caffeine and make sure I get some good protein and fruit through out the day. People can do whatever the fuck they want, but from what I have seen, not very many people do hard drugs.

Tell me about how you dress to a gabber rave?

Oh I have no clueI’ll wear whatever I’m comfortable in.

Brent AKA Counterterrorist

How did you get into gabber?

I got to see Delta9 at a New Year’s party about five years ago when I first got into gabber. I found more of it online and just really went with it.

How do you feel about the American gabber scene? Do feel like it’s a unified culture?

It used to be really big and I feel like it can be again if we coordinate.

Do drugs make the gabber experience better or worse?

Thats an interesting question. I have to say it’s based on the person. It can go really well or really bad. Alcohol is a big thing with gabber. Where I’m from, mostly people would do a lot of acid and listen to breakcore and stuff. Drugs can enhance .

Tell me about your clothing or style.

HK: I’ve just always done whatever the fuck I want. I don’t like to do the whole super feminine style. Just whatever is comfortable.

Brandon AKA The White Ape

How did you get into gabber?

A lot of us we just stumbled onto the mixtapes, but back then, what really hooked me was the energy and the power of hardcore music at its peak. That was 20 years ago.

How come there aren’t more women in the scene?

We have a few strong women DJs, but we could always use more women.

Do drugs make the gabber experience better or worse?

Drugs are everywhere. It’s an unavoidable evil, but in the hardcore scene I don’t think it’s as much as an overt problem as in other scenes.

Helbert AKA En3gy

How did you get into gabber?

I used to have a friend who would bring back tapes from the UK and Holland in the mid-90s and tell me, “you gotta listen to this stuff.”

How do you feel about the American gabber scene? Do feel like it’s a unified culture?

It’s had its ups and downs. Once we stick together, things will start to get there again.

Do drugs make the gabber experience better or worse?

It makes no difference. I’m sober half the timeunless I’m drunk.

Tell me about your style.

I grew up in the hood, so for me, it’s just urban. I’m relaxed.

Gary and Donna

How did you get into gabber?

Gary: Being in the hard dance scene and hardstyle just eventually led to this.

Donna: Artists out of LA just started to bring it out more to Texas.

Do drugs make the gabber experience better or worse?

Gary: Drugs maybe just make it a little more fun. I could be sober or on anything.

Do you feel like women are properly represented in the gabber scene?

Donna: There needs to be more active women in the gabber scene. Women are scared to be more hardcore than the boys.

Tell me about what you’re wearing.

Gary: I’m gonna dress however the fuck I want. To be honest, we’re Satanists, and I just love anything dark and evil.

More photos from Gabberfest:

Adam Schwarz is a DJ based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.

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