Flynn Collins who’s known by his stage name Flynninho is one of the biggest names in house music coming out of Chicago. The 25-year-old DJ and producer has been on fire lately dropping huge releases and booking a performance at North Coast Festival where he’ll play alongside some of the biggest names in dance music. With roots embedded in genres like g- house and bass house mixed in with his love of old school punk, rock, and grunge, Flynninho’s high energy, in-your-face style is unparalleled.

A true modern-day Rockstar, Flynninho is quickly becoming a household name in electronic music and is set to have a breakout year in 2021. The Daily Frequency sat down with him to discuss his new Evanescence remix, the music industry, and a whole lot more!

Check out the full interview below!

First of all congratulations on booking North Coast! It’s such an insane lineup how does it feel to have the opportunity to play alongside such big names?

Thank you so much for the congratulations and for having me on to be interviewed! It really is mind-bending for me to think about this year’s North Coast. Being part of this year’s lineup in the first festival back from COVID, alongside so many of Chicago’s best artists and massive tour artists who have inspired me in my music and my pursuit of my dreams is honestly super humbling. A lot of these artists, such as Wax Motif and NGHTMRE, I have seen live at shows and festivals- now we are playing the same festival together! I am still kind of processing it all but what I can say is this- it definitely is a moment that kind of leaves me both speechless but also validates my dreams and all the work I have been putting in to make sure that my vision becomes a reality. I think when the moment comes to finally play though, I know I will just enjoy the moment, all that it is, and rock out with everyone there who comes to our set! The coolest part of it is the amount of people (friends, family, artists) that have reached out to me since the lineup drop telling me that they bought tickets just to see me!

So how did you get into producing? Do you come from a musical family or is it something that you gravitated towards on your own?

My story is unique in the sense that I actually planned on playing and being around soccer forever- I played at the highest level, thought I would maybe start a soccer agency after my career had ended! I grew up with music around me every day! My dad was a rockstar doing alternative and rock during the 90s and my mom was super into house music. While being brought up around music, I had never planned on walking into music production, DJing, and performing. I did choir, grew up singing, having rap battles with my little brother (who is actually a fantastic rapper and lyrical poet) but I never planned on pursuing it fully or making a career out of it. It was only when I hit college and went to my first music festival, Spring Awakening 2015, where I really started to fall in love with EDM and would be thinking to myself ‘Mannnn, I would absolutely crush it if I was up there and knew how to do all of it!’ I would be blasting dubstep, house, trap, or future bass every day during soccer workouts, but it was only really after soccer was starting to look like it was coming near an end that I ended up running into Nick Mazzei (NIICK NIICE) and Kyle Garcia who I had seen crush a festival set in Iowa as WITNESS the year before. I ended up chatting them up, fangirling about how good their set was, and eventually, they invited me out to their events they were starting as Be Nice Collective. I came out, joining Be Nice Collective as the intern, and became tight with the other artists who also were part of it. AYOO (another bass house duo who is on North Coast’s lineup), DJ Pharaoh, and NIICK NIICE pushed me to start DJing and make music at the end of 2017- fast forward to now in 2021 and I am full throttle into what I’m going to be doing the rest of my life! Ironically, I recently found an old homework assignment from when I was five where I had written that I was ‘going to be a rockstar and in the NFL’ so shout out to five-year-old me for predicting that I was born to have careers in football (the one where you actually use your feet though) and in music!

Transitioning from pro soccer to DJing is definitely out of the ordinary! Is there anything that you’ve taken from your days on the field that you can apply to your music career?

 I feel like I’ve lived a few lives in this lifetime already at 25, so I am grateful that I have been able to experience so many different things so early on. The mentality between soccer and music is strikingly similar- without my soccer career, I don’t know if I would be as successful in my approach to music as I have been. Taking lessons and mindsets like pushing through your mental barriers to make the impossible happen, never giving up even when you feel your body will, and pushing through adversity are all things that have done wonders in preparing me for what my music career has and will entail. Making it at the highest level requires discipline in either art form. This may mean you are not going to that party you get invited to so you can sleep, you can’t hang out with people all the time because you need to invest it in working on your craft, or that you are going to miss holidays with family so you can grind with your passion. The main idea with all of those in soccer and in music is crucial- you have to be able to get it done, sacrifice when you need to while also not sacrificing parts of yourself essential to you. It isn’t a super sexy answer, but the time will never be right to go for something like your dreams- if you aren’t willing to find a way to succeed when it isn’t exactly the way you picture it in your head, how will you respond?

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

 In terms of overall music tastes, I would say that I listened to almost everything growing up- everything from the Backstreet Boys and Ludacris to Motley Crue and Sum41. I remember in a single day I would bump music like Blink182 and Fall Out Boy and follow it up with Mac Miller and Freddie Gibbs and it would all hit- I guess you can say I was already curating the style I DJ like! I’ve always connected with the rock and roll, grunge, and pop-punk music that I grew up with harder than anything else. I remember watching the movie Dirt on Netflix and thinking to myself ‘That’s literally every vibe that makes sense to me!’ With all that being said, nothing has ever hit as hard as EDM- particularly dubstep and bass house. The earlier music I put out has clear undertones of Malaa, Joyryde, and Jauz while more recently artists like Saint Punk, Julian Jordan, and Seth Hills have been really influencing my house sound and been doing some amazing things. However, this year I have been returning to my roots and using everything from Evanescence and Motley Crue that I grew up on to Kayzo and Pixel Terror as inspiration.

 You just underwent a complete rebrand. What is the thought process behind your new vision and what’s the end goal?

This has been in the making for two years, so I am glad the shift has finally started! I am a person who prides on being true to myself and pushing others to do the same- for better or worse, I have always grown up marching to my own beat and really have refused to be anything but me. The thinking behind the rebrand wasn’t as much of a rebrand as much as it was getting my music’s sound and my brand’s image to be as close to reflect who I am on the daily while also accurately portraying past events I have experienced. I think that a lot of people feel like they have to live this perfect life because of social media and it is almost like a competition as to who can have the best life ever. It would drive me crazy because when I would see this, I would reflect back and see that every moment of my life hasn’t been beautiful- there are plenty of negative moments to match the positive ones and both have their places in my life. I have seen so many artists crumble early on because of this pressure to be releasing the best tracks of their life while also playing the biggest gigs of their careers out of the gate- the reality is that you have to start somewhere and it is not all rainbows and amazing times with amazing people. So, since there are a lot of tough moments that test you and help you grow, ultimately I am just being as vulnerable as I can be about the good and the bad that actually goes on so that way the next generation of artists do not have to feel the same anxieties I have. The whole point is to be happy and fulfilled by pursuing your dreams- this is for me another step in the right direction to ultimately better myself and those around me.

You’ve been open about manifestation and actualization. How important is it to visualize your goals?

Manifesting and actualizing is something that was instilled into me by coaches, sports performance experts, and psychologists during my soccer career that has never left my way to go at my life and dreams. The human mind is really an incredible and terrifying thing- it has the ability to do anything and push us through anything we need it to while also being able to tear you apart. The biggest question you have to ask yourself is this; If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, why would anyone else? The biggest thing I tell myself and others who want to be successful has always been this ability to manifest and actualize things into a reality. Believing in something that isn’t there yet is a very hard thing for many to perceive, yet I have found if you believe in it that badly, constantly put it out there that it will happen and work hard to match that belief via tangible goals, you will always be building towards your vision and end up exactly where you need to be!

You portray yourself as a modern-day Rockstar. Do you feel like that old-school rockstar mindset is something that is missing in music nowadays?

Abso-f**king-lutely (pardon my french). I really don’t know when it happened in music that was on the radio, but within the last two years in EDM especially, a lot of music lost this feeling that was so synonymous with the tracks that artists like CRANKDAT, NGHTMRE, Tchami, and Jauz were putting out. I remember when Jauz dropped ‘Feel The Volume’ and how insane the feeling was of hearing it played out versus some of the music that has been being released today. I don’t want to say it is because so many people want to be artists and DJs- I think music being open to everyone and more accessible/affordable to people who couldn’t afford to make music is genuinely beautiful. I think it more so has to do with artists being afraid to do something different if it means less streams, less followers, and it doesn’t follow a trend like the current slap house/deep house remix of an old song trend that has been going on for almost the entirety of quarantine. For myself, the rockstar mentality to make and release what you want while not really focusing on making music everyone will like or being something everyone will like is something that is lost. Saint Punk actually put up a post on Instagram recently that said “Been doing it my way from the beginning and this year is no different.” That is my exact way of thinking, a rockstar mentality that is raw and real that is focused on being true to themselves and being uncompromising in that. When you think like that, the music you make as an extension of you will connect with who it’s supposed to, and I think that in itself is the most beautiful thing.

It’s common today to see a lot of remixes of the same songs which in turn becomes repetitive. You on the other hand go outside the box with the songs you choose to remix. What attracts you to remix something like Kickstart My Heart by Mötley Crüe?

 I always say to myself that if I hear a remix of a song that I am thinking of remixing myself that I love already, why would I make another one? An example is the song SICKO MODE. We all know the Skrillex remix of it which is banging, but I thought I could do something different. I go searching for other remixes of the song and stumble upon the remix Guy Arthur did of SICKO MODEit’s probably one of the top five sickest tracks I have ever heard in my life, so creative, and it is a track I have played out regularly. At that point, there is no point to do a remix of something I have already found that I really, really connected with. Deciding on and remixing a track for me goes through a checklist: 1) I really like the original track and it resonated with me. 2) I can honor the original track’s identity and feeling while also bringing a new identity that elicits both the feeling you get when hearing that original and brings new feelings to hearing the remix. 3) There aren’t 1000 remixes of it already and there isn’t a remix I would play out already. Those that are now out that I have done, specifically my KCKSTRT MY HRT and BRING ME TO LIFE remixes, I feel check all of those boxes and are both songs that really hit with me growing up. I am super thrilled with how both turned out and honestly I am happy to give both those tracks a second life to remember the feelings that came with hearing those but in a brand new way. Old-school feeling with a new school take on it if you will!

On your Sherm In The Booth episode, you talk about not settling into producing a genre that comes easy to you. How important is it to push your boundaries creatively and work outside your comfort zone? 

 Since I grew up with so many different musical tastes and DJ so many different types of places in Chicago, while I do maintain my own identity and sense of self, one of the biggest things to me has been to not be open to different types of music, people, and places that I or others may not think that I match up with. In the club circuit, during my sets, I am dropping BadBunny, Drake, and Calvin Harris all in one set- all have connected with me in some way so finding ways to make it all fit together is the fun part! I am super energy, wild, and someone who loves to have fun, while at the same time I am also intense, deep, and can feel the weight of the world and those around me. I would like to think everyone has different layers to them, so music shouldn’t be any different. Most of my music for the most part gives you that intensity, wild, fast, and dark in different forms genre-wise. Sometimes I want to be on my sad-boy vibes and make something that is just emotional and vibey, while other tracks are straight aggression and wild. Both are parts of me, so I want to be able to bring both and have a space to convey every part of me!

 I love your style. It is aggressive, in your face, and full of energy. You really developed a sound of your own. When did you feel like you finally found your lane?

 I feel like you have just nailed it on the head better than anyone else!!! Honestly, the first track that really nailed what I was trying to do was when MURDEROUS dropped on SWUTCH. It was the first time I was able to bring all the elements together of what my sound’s foundation. I think like a person grows and evolves, an artist’s sound should do the same. I remember when I started, I definitely leaned into the plucky, early Malaa/Matroda basslines and jackin’ house percussion with a dark, yet fast pace to back it up. A lot of this year’s songs that set to drop this year feature repeating bass shots found in STMPD style future/bass house, maintaining the same intensity and aggressive darkness in the drops while also channeling more emotion into my breakdowns. I am super excited for it all to come out!

You just released a massive Evanescence remix of Bring Me to Life with your mentor Got Lucky. As a young artist how important is it to learn from someone like that and how does it feel to release a track together?

Alex has been a game-changer for me, mentoring and believing in me the same way I do while also giving feedback and new ideas that I normally wouldn’t normally think about. Learning from him, having him as a resource to lean on, looking up to him, and gaining a best friend in the process is the best possible outcome I could’ve ever imagined and I really am so grateful for him taking the time to be a huge part in developing as an artist. Having someone who you can relate to, connect with both as a person and an artist, is so important because there are times where being an artist can feel isolating, lonely, frustrating, and almost aimless when you aren’t seeing the immediate results of it. Having him there to push me to keep going, to keep growing, and to use as a sounding board makes it a lot easier to stick it out and to go for it all. You can imagine that being able to be working and collaborating with him is pretty rewarding for me- the fact that we could create something so amazing together with him is super humbling and only validates all the work we have both been putting in! He’s an idol of mine, his music is awesome, and it’s amazing that our friendship has translated to a moment like this.

The pandemic flipped everyone’s life upside down. How hard was it to cope with such an abrupt lifestyle change and how were you able to push yourself through?

Honestly, it was one of the hardest things to ever go through. Seeing everything just be paused after grinding for my dreams and performing every day resulted in a huge emotional, mental, and psychological shift that demanded me to adjust quickly. There have been moments of darkness that no one anticipated having to cope with while true moments of beauty have also came about that have to be appreciated, even more than any of us ever have. Personally, I was right on the cusp of having some massive things- things that would have opened up some massive doors- that unfortunately had to be canceled. I’ve lost loved ones during this time that I wish were still here and financially and emotionally struggled heavily over quarantine, but I think knowing that I wasn’t the only one in this boat made me want to keep releasing, keep creating and not just let everything I worked for pause too. The impact of my own work ethic not stopping, instead evolving, to work within the current times I hope pushed people to do the same. My best friends, my family, my peers truly held it down for me, and together we were able to be there for each other and foster a community of artists and DJs that normally wouldn’t get to connect- being part of that was a key motivator to know that I had to keep going too!

You have an intense work ethic. You were playing 7 shows a week before covid, can fans expect more of the same once everything fully opens up?

Oh hellllll yeah! I loved playing every single night- I fully expect to be doing the same once the current times allow it. I am working on some things to ensure that I get to bounce around a bit more and play all over, so we will see what the future holds!

From the outside looking in the music industry is full of glitz and glam but the reality is it can be a cutthroat business. What advice would you give a new DJ just starting out?

The reality is that while it can be glamorous, rewarding and a giant party, it also is just as ruthless in the sense that you can be the next biggest thing one moment, and then you can be cast aside if you aren’t constantly working to improve at the top. It’s hard to give advice because everyone’s situation is different, but one thing that I think translates across all walks of life is this notion of holding yourself fully accountable for everything that happens and that everything that you do. You can only do that once you take the time to fully understand what you are and what you are not. It is really easy to point fingers at everyone else as to why something didn’t happen or why something went wrong for you. What starts to happen is you stop blaming everyone else for the bad, you focus in on what you can and what you can’t control, and your dreams are then fully in your hands to make it happen. You will be in control of your destiny, less angry at other people, and more in-tune with yourself. It improves your appreciation when others do a solid for you, lessens your resentment towards others, and gives you a perspective of exactly where you stand. You owe it to dreams and yourself, to be honest with the work you put in and where you are so, only furthering you in your pursuits to grow.

 Lastly, when it’s all said and done what would you want your legacy to be?

I live by this: At the end of the day, I want to be a great person first, and a great artist second. Music is my platform to really connect, motivate, and inspire others towards acceptance and love of everyone, myself included. I express myself as hard, true, and vulnerable as I do so others feel like they can do the same. Even when performing, the show isn’t me- it is everyone who is there- light guys, dancers, security, and the crowd- we all make the show happen together. The only thing I am doing is acting as a conductor to curate the moments we all get to experience together. It doesn’t matter what your race is, your sexuality is, or what your upbringing is- you can do whatever you want in this world if you’re willing to grind for it and believe in it. There is a place for everyone here. I strive to be much more than just an artist at the end of the day. I want to make the world and those feel what I feel every time I am performing- love, freedom, and alive. I want them to remember why life is so worth getting through the lows we all face so we can feel these highs life has to offer. Music saved my life, and all I want to do is give that love, gratitude, and opportunity back to everyone around me. My music is the physical result of that. If I only inspire one person to not give up, to love instead of hate, to fight for their dreams whatever they may be, and to know that it’s okay to be whoever you are, then I have done my part. I want to look back and know that I made my mark using my platform to the best of my abilities, made those around me the best they could be, stayed open and honest no matter what it may have been, learned from my mistakes, and loved as hard as I could. When you bring that to every show, every time you perform, you’ll end up where you need to be. (:

Who would have thought that we’d be forced to go this long without music festivals? It’s now been well over a year since the last fest has gone down in the United States and if you are anything like us you’re getting antsy. I mean a whole year without raging with the crew, dancing like tripped-out hippies, and singing in a crowd like no one’s watching? It’s a miracle we even made it this long! But, luckily things are slowly but surely getting back to normal.  Music venues are reopening. Artists are announcing tours. Festivals are revealing lineups and releasing tickets. A full-blown festival season is growing more and more likely every day. As long as it keeps getting better the end of 2021 will be a movie! In the meantime, we can’t help but reminisce about all of the things we miss the most about music festivals!

1. Seeing Your Favorite Artists

Although obvious, there’s nothing quite like that feeling of seeing your favorite artist with your best friends in a crowd full of people. What’s even better is seeing a bunch of your favorite artists on the same weekend or even the same day! One of the many reasons why festivals will always be superior to concerts!

2. Dressing Outlandishly

One of many fascinating attires you will see at Eforrest.

Of course, you can rock some face paint, a pashmina, a trippy mask, or a Halloween costume into the supermarket but odds are you’ll turn some heads. At a music festival, there is no judgment and you’ll even catch quite a few high fives!

3. Making New Friends

Bonnarovians participating in hi-five Friday.

There aren’t too many places you can think of that are as happy as music festivals. You’ll find yourself connecting with people you’ve never met like they’ve been your best friend for years!

4. Campsite Drinking Games

Most underrated things about music festivals is the campground hang.

Whether your game is beer pong, slap cup, or flip cup it goes down in the campgrounds! Mix in some good music, good friends, good booze and you got the perfect pre-game!

5. Trading With Strangers

Trading Kandi at music festivals.

From trading Kandi in the crowd to exchanging gifts at spots like Electric Forrest’s Trading Post, people tend to be more giving at music festivals. Odds are you’ll head home with a souvenir that’ll remind you of all the craziness that went down that weekend!

6. Laying in the Grass

Tripped out at Shambhala Music Festival

One of the best feelings at a music festival is laying down in the grass to catch a chill show especially when you’re tired or a little too spun.

7. Getting Lost

A popular totem among festival goers.

Getting lost in the real world is terrifying but getting lost and exploring on your own at a festival is a raver’s right to passage.

8. Surprise Sets

Skrillex b2b Mija Surprise Sunrise Set at Bonnaroo 2014

Yeah, the lineup is everything but when you stumble upon a legendary set that wasn’t supposed to happen things get wonky in a good way. No pun intended!

9. Discovering New Artists

One of the best parts about seeing so many artists at a music festival is watching someone you’ve never heard of absolutely crushing it on stage! Sometimes the best performances are the ones you least expect!

10. Dancing All Night

Kalliope late night shows at Bonnaroo.

Everyone knows that once the sun goes down the energy goes up. Things tend to fall a little more on the wild side at night and it’s the perfect time to get your freak on and dance like your life depended on it!

John Williams, who goes by the name JWILLI is a rising DJ and producer coming out of Chicago who can’t be boxed into one specific genre. Finding inspiration from a multitude of avenues the 26-year-old producer takes pride in the versatility of his sound and it shows. From massive remixes to original songs JWILLI creates everything from emotional melodic bass to hard-hitting dubstep and is quickly becoming one of EDM’S most promising new artists.

The Daily Frequency had the chance to sit down with JWILLI and discuss his official remix with Abel Grey, his inspirations, and more!

Check out the full interview below!

When did you decide music was something you wanted to pursue? Was this a lane you always envisioned yourself going through?

I think I’ve known most of my life that I would do something with music. I’ve been writing songs since I was a little kid when I wanted to be a rock star, I wanted to be the next Fall Out Boy or ADTR. I started learning guitar early on and picked up trumpet with the school band around the same time. And once I started that classical training I was dead set on becoming a music teacher or professor. That’s actually what I was studying when I first started college, music education. Up until that point, I was learning more and more traditional instruments, I never at all thought that I would be pursuing electronic music. But once I was exposed to it, it became obvious to me that I wanted to chase it. I started to DJ at bars and private events throughout college, and once I learned more about production and developed my skills a bit, I decided I was going to really dedicate myself and my life to music.

What’s your creative process when in the studio? Do you have any routines to get you in that creative state or do you just go with the flow and find inspiration as it comes?

It varies a lot, and for a long time, I would just kinda wait for that inspiration to strike, to get into the creative flow. That could be frequent or scarce, and the inspiration could be totally random and abstract, or very defined. But that’s changed, and still changes a lot from project to project. I don’t think being totally at the whim of that creativity showing up is the most efficient thing for an artist that wants to be consistent.

For me, I’ve learned that that creative spark isn’t something I can force but it is something I can facilitate and encourage. Lately, when I want to start something new, I’ve found a working process. I like to start in the morning before I’ve gotten on my phone or listened to anything or spoken to anyone. I’ll open up Ableton, grab water or tea and an edible, and sit down for a couple hours and just go bananas in the DAW. Usually, I start by just jamming on guitar or piano, or digging for some crazy sample, and build on that. More often than not I’ll come out with a working sketch, or sometimes an entire tune. I think for me it works because my ears and mind are totally fresh, and I haven’t really been influenced by anything I’ve heard or done yet that day. It’s just me and that raw creativity in my own little world.

Chicago is widely known as the birthplace of house music. Do you believe your home city has had an impact on your musical taste and direction?

Absolutely, at first, it was a subtle influence but now it’s very pronounced. I grew up in the cornfields a couple of hours south of Chicago, so house wasn’t something I heard much of growing up. But when I first got to college, a lot of students were from the city/the burbs and brought house music with them. I think it’s one of the reasons I started with house when I first taught myself to DJ, it was salient and accessible. And later when I took a college class on Ableton, we were taught the history of electronic production, and even though house wasn’t the genre I really wanted to create at the time, its history and influence on electronic music as a whole was inspiring and undeniable. Fast forward, I’ve now been living in Chicago for almost 3 years and the vast majority of my peers are primarily house producers and DJs. A lot of them have become good friends of mine, some are even mentors to me which I’m extremely grateful for. Those relationships have opened me up to a whole new world of house music – the 4 am sets at Happy’s are vastly different than what makes it to the radio, and knowing the personalities that create house music has given me a better understanding of the genre. I think that’s where the culture comes in too. It’s influenced me to the point where I’ve actually been writing a lot of house music the past couple of months.

Which artists would you say are your biggest inspiration for your sound?

This question always gets me haha. There are seriously so many artists big and small I look to for inspiration. I’d say my top 3 have stayed pretty consistent: Seven Lions, Illenium, and NGHTMRE. I found all of them very early into my discovery of electronic music, but along the way, I’ve been heavily influenced by tons of others. Nurko, Modern Machines, MitiS, Dezza, MK, Au5, Blanke. I also find tons of inspiration from non-EDM artists and try to incorporate some of those elements into my sound.

What genres aside from electronic music do you gravitate towards the most?

I know it’s a bit cliche, but honestly, there isn’t much music I don’t like haha, my Spotify library is a hot mess. I’ve been a lifelong fan of rock, especially punk-pop, metal, and post-hardcore. The vocal melodies, guitar riffs, drums, lyrics, the emotion infused into the music, it’s just so engaging. To name one band, Dance Gavin Dance has this incredible versatility to their sound that I just find deeply inspirational. And I think it’s interesting how a lot of those characteristics translate into electronic music, both literally with the music (try telling me a metal breakdown doesn’t sound similar to dubstep) and culturally (I see lots of people who loved metal in the 2000’s/2010’s coming over to bass music). I also love modern rap, especially melodic sad boi rap with its adoption of 2000’s emo/punk-pop elements. I’d really like to see that specific genre hybrid with electronic music more.

Do you have any inspirations outside of the realm of music?

I find inspiration in as many non-music things in my life as possible. I think it helps bring a more original flavor to my sound than my musical influences because it eliminates the worry of unconsciously copying another style. Being in nature is a big one, it helps me feel grounded and opens up my perspective. Another big one would be my life experiences, relationships and friendships. Just love in general I suppose is one of my biggest inspirations. There’s just such a wealth of emotion to dig into and translate there. Doing that in an honest way, I think, opens up one of the core reasons a lot of people listen to music; to experience and process strong emotions, to feel understood and validated in whatever is going on in their own lives that the music helps them relate too, positive or negative. And sometimes it’s not that deep, like you just want to party or chill out which is great too, but sometimes it’s deep too. Some of my other inspirations are really all over the place – anime, the MCU, living in downtown Chicago, certain video games (read: Bloodborne), space, the human experience. My music peers here in Chicago are also a massive inspiration. I’m always finding new things to inspire me as well. Sometimes it’s as minor as a weird sound that a bottle makes or a random sample I hear in a show or something.

You release a lot of remixes, is there any song, in particular, that was your favorite to work on?

Probably Drunk Me. I had taken about a year where I didn’t produce much of anything; between graduating college, moving to a new city, starting a big boy job, DJing clubs in Chicago and some other life events it just kind of fell to the side. When I started working on it, my life was in a very weird place and I was lacking direction as a person in the aftermath of a toxic relationship and leaving a toxic job. I was spending a lot of time doing things on my own, doing some soul searching, and trying to rebuild myself and my life. R3HAB’s remix came up when I was taking a train back to my hometown and reminded me of the original that I’d heard years earlier and forgotten about. I put on the OG and it just hit home in some really strong ways; the lyrics felt all too similar to what I was experiencing in my personal life, the original was country music which had a nostalgia factor from growing up with it, and Mitchell Tenpenny’s voice and the melody just struck me as beautiful. I started on the remix as soon as the song ended, and did most of the work either on train rides to and from the city, or while back at home where my sister would help me work out the kinks in the tune. It was a very personal process rediscovering my passion for writing music, making this hybrid of the music I’d grown up with vs the music I currently loved, while I was simultaneously trying to figure myself out between the kid I’d grown up as and the person I was becoming. It helped me redevelop my love of and confidence in creating music and artistic expression. I felt like I was unloading a lot of my own emotion into the song just through the process of making it. I was terrified to release it because it was so personal, but when I finally did I got one of the best responses I’ve ever had to my work, and it’s still my most streamed song today.

Going through your catalog it is obvious you have the ability to switch up your style yet still stay genuine to your sound. Is versatility something you really try to focus on?

First of all, thank you, that is a massive compliment to me haha. It’s absolutely something I aim for. A major goal of mine is to be authentic as an artist, and to me, that means chasing all the creative ideas that just pop up in my head. And with such a variety of inspirations, that often means chasing ideas all over the place and in weird directions. It’s satisfying to me as a creative, it encourages that little creative voice in my head to be louder/more confident, and it makes the work feel honest. However, it does often pose a challenge to keep so many different styles and genres cohesive to what I want my artist brand to be. But some of my favorite artists manage to do it really well – Seven Lions and Nitti Gritti immediately come to mind as artists that have managed to fuse tons of genres into their defined sounds and brands. I want to develop a recognizable signature sound, but also want to just kinda make whatever, like a punk-pop EP or a bunch of dubstep plates or something, who knows. It can be difficult figuring out where to draw the line but the endless variety is also my favorite thing about art and creativity.

You have quite a few shows under your belt, especially for a new producer. How did it feel to play with huge artists such as Two Friends and R3hab?

Those were some incredible experiences that taught me a lot very quickly. The R3HAB show was first, and was my first real show outside of a bar/club or private event. At that point, I had been a DJ for a few years and was confident in my ability to perform, but I was still a new producer without much of my own music to share beyond edits. That show helped give me some context about what it was like being on the other side of the stage, and showed me the difference between the DJing world and the producer/DJ world.

The show with Two Friends was probably my favorite show I’ve played to date. It was a year after the R3HAB show in the same venue so it was the perfect benchmark to look back and see how much I had grown; I’m happy to say I grew a lot in that time with my sound, brand, and skill set. The show itself was amazing too – we were within 10 tickets of selling out, had massive production that apparently the crew brought off of Zedd’s recent tour, raised a ton of money for charity, and Two Friends threw down a killer set. I had been a fan of theirs throughout college and had already seen them on tour once, so it was insanely cool getting to open for them. Hanging with them before and after the show was a blast, it was 50% goofing around and drinking tequila and 50% of them dishing out veteran wisdom and answering all of our (the opening artists’) questions about their career and just the professional music world in general. They’re busy guys and absolutely did not have to do that but it meant a lot that they took the time to just hang out and help us learn.

The pandemic has disrupted our day-to-day life and hit especially hard in the music industry. As an artist how did you cope with everything going on and remain positive during the lockdown?

It was definitely tough, it was really challenging to stay positive at times, but I did my best to take it as an opportunity. Just a couple months before the pandemic, I had taken some time off of DJing the clubs in Chicago to improve my craft, and also decided I was going to invest in myself as an artist and had started building out a respectable bedroom studio. I remember being worried about how much I would even use it, with summertime Chi just around the corner. But with the pandemic DJing went out the window, so I doubled down on producing, built out a custom production PC, and just completely dove in. I also lost my day job with the pandemic shortly after that, so I finally had all the free time in the world to get better at music.

It was cathartic creating my own music consistently for the first time in years, and honestly, it helped keep me sane. I got more involved in online communities with other producers, and I’ve gotta say it was a game-changer for me. A big one for me is feedback streams; some of my favorite producers have made themselves so accessible with Twitch, Patreon, etc and it is priceless being able to get constructive feedback from some of the best in the game. Every song you’ve heard from me in the past 6 months has gone through at least a handful of those streams, and I firmly believe it helped me step my game up. Because of all these online communities, I’ve met some really incredible artists and made some great friends, and I’m really excited to see how it’ll all translate in person when the industry can open back up again.

As a fan, there are so many aspects of live music that I miss. From the artist’s perspective, what do you miss most about live shows?

I definitely miss hanging out around the venue pre- and post-set, getting to see the other artists play, and meeting people in the crowd. Not to mention the energy in a venue. Every show I’ve played, or even just gone to, I’ve walked away making new friends and fans. Just everyone being so happy and carefree and excited, it’s contagious. Also I just really miss feeling a sub rattle my rib cage and lasers hitting me in the face haha.

What are your favorite festivals you’ve been to as a fan and what was the last one you’ve been to?

Lollapalooza holds a special place in my heart since it’s here in Chicago. It was my first festival (if you don’t count Warped Tour) and it’s where I really fell in love with the live aspect of electronic music over a couple summers. I remember being on the rail for NGHTMRE in 2017 and it was just a mindblowing set, and it heavily influenced the sound of my DJ sets for a while afterwards. My all-time favorite though, and the last fest I went to, is EDCLV 2019. It really cemented the fact that I want to pursue electronic music, it was like pouring gasoline on the fire. I saw some of the craziest sets including my dream lineup in one day (shoutout Skrillex surprise set), and seeing the community come to life at that scale and meeting people from all over the world was an insanely cool and even humbling experience. I bought my ticket for 2020 as soon as I got home and am still holding on to it for whenever festivals resume. To any festival lover or just anyone toying with the idea of going, go.

What can fans expect from you as the year goes on?

Lots of new music, including plenty of collaborations. At the time of this interview, I have just released an official remix for Able Grey. It’s called “Out Of My Mind” and I decided to go back to my future bass roots for it, I’m really excited with how it turned out. I’ll also be incorporating some new genres into my sound, so some house music and more dnb is definitely coming. More melodic bass too. For the time being, you can expect some occasional chill progressive house live streams on Twitch, and a few bigger streams, but fingers crossed there will be show announcements soon as things open up. There are some other more tentative plans as well that I won’t say too much about yet, but I’ll say it looks like there may be an EP and a collective launch with some friends in the near future as well. Maybe even some new JWILLI merch too.

Lastly, if there was one thing you could accomplish in your music career what would it be?

A more specific goal I want to accomplish is playing the festival circuit, with EDCLV and Lollapalooza at the top of my bucket list. But really, I just want to create a large catalog of quality, beautiful music that people can relate to and express themselves with. I have this whole musical universe in my head, and I want to get that out and onto people’s speakers.I want that music to be the kind that helps people feel deeply, whatever that feeling is for them, and I want to share it with as many people as possible. It’s a pretty abstract goal but I think it’s an important one to keep me in the right headspace while I’m creating.

Before there was Waves or Kids See Ghosts, before there was Man on the Moon III or The Scotts, before the accolades, Coachella, or the HBO shows, there was a kid named Cudi. A rapper from Cleveland Ohio, who to many, was more than just a rapper. He was the voice of a generation who not only changed the direction of hip-hop but became the signal of hope for stoners, loners, and outcasts alike. There is a reason why there is a generation of kids who claim “Kid Cudi saved my life.” Kid Cudi gave a voice to the voiceless. He wasn’t flaunting his money, boasting, or bragging. He wasn’t driving fancy cars or dressing outlandishly. He was in jeans and a flannel preaching “I am you and you are me.” He expressed his emotions, admitted his shortcomings, and became an open book, exposing his insecurities and in doing so related to millions of kids just like him. He became the stoner rapper who didn’t smoke weed for the clout or his image but because he used marijuana to cope with the world. He was real, authentic, and original. You may say you know Kid Cudi. You know Day N’ Night or Pursuit of Happiness, you know Man on the Moon II, and even Indicud. You may even know his mixtape A Kid Named Cudi, or his rock albums WZRD and Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven but there is a collection of songs only the real Cudi fans know about. From unreleased singles to obscure features, Kid Cudi did some of his best work behind the scenes and out of the spotlight. Here are the best Kid Cudi songs that never made it to the mainstream.

Dat New New

Released around the same time as Day N’ Night, Dat New New never saw the light of day when it came to mainstream play. You won’t find this jam on Spotify or Apple Music but nonetheless it remains a classic.

I Be High

Sampling Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay, Kid Cudi raps about the polarity of life as he creates a true stoners anthem.

Love Stoned

Freestyling over a Justin Timberlake sample, Kid Cudi delivers the legendary line “I smoke to get high because the world is so low.”

Angles and Demons

For eternity Kid Cudi stans will wonder why this never made it on the Man on the Moon.

Wasting My Minutes

Cudi teams up with 88 Keys and showcases his comedic and storytelling abilities.

Goodbye

Cudi shows off his flow and lyricism over a sample of Pink Floyd’s Cruel World.

She Came Along

This groovy western track was released 11 years ago on Sharam’s Get Wild Lp. Although you can find She Came Along on all streaming platforms it remains one of Cudi’s most obscure tracks in his discography.

All Summer

Cudi channels his inner free spirit as he raps about good vibes, good weed, shrooms, and just loving life.

Symphonies

One of Cudi’s most surprising performances, Symphonies is euphoric, nostalgic, and remains a straight up vibe 11 years later.

Falling Star

R3k’s mashup of Symphonies and Florence the Machine’s Cosmic Love will leave with chills throughout your body.

Do It Alone

One of Cudi’s most emotional tracks, Do It Alone is yet another stoner anthem.

Love

Cudi provides guidance and inspiration to his army of lonely stoners as his harmonies and melodies will leave you in emotional bliss.

Never Come Down

Cudi spits hard on this gloomy track and proves that his talent as an emcce should never be in question.

Cudderisback

Sampling Vampire Weekend’s Ottoman, Kid Cudi spits a lighthearted fun freestyle as we get a behind the scene look at his life while on tour.

Higher Up

Cudi spits his whole life story over Dr. Dre’s Imagine. The only downside is that it isn’t longer.

Dose of Dopeness

Although never officially released Dose Of Dopeness is one of Cudi’s best performances. A perfect mix of lyricism, rapping, and melodies. 11 years later and Dose of Dopeness is still next level.

With great pain comes great art. In times of struggle, creativity seems to blossom, especially when it comes to music. In the 60s and 70s, as the world was ridden with racial injustice, political assassinations, police brutality, and an unjust war, rock and roll flourished as bands used the harsh realities imposed on their generation to fuel creativity and push musical boundaries. In the 80s and 90s, as police brutality, poverty, drugs, and violence continued to rage against society, hip-hop and punk became the new rock and roll as bands and artists used these new genres and creative outlets to combat the establishment. In 2020 the coronavirus swept through the globe causing lockdowns and disrupting life as we know it. Mix that with more police brutality, racism, protests, riots, and a divided America can only mean one thing. 2021 will be filled with great music.


What better way to pull ourselves out of these historically absurd times than with the power of music? Our generation craves, peace, love, and unity as we long for change and our own path. When the world looks back on our time they will see a generation that chose love over hate. A generation that pushed for an insurgence in consciousness through the power of music and festivals.

Despite what mainstream media may imply the music of this generation is without a doubt electronic and to say the best has yet to come would be an understatement. We are currently in the midst of a musical revolution. No festivals, tours, or shows means DJs are stuck home honing their craft and sitting on a bunch of unreleased music. Without the pressures and time restraints that come with being a touring DJ, artists have had the opportunity to commit all of their energy to producing and songwriting. Mix in the frustrations and tribulations caused by the lockdown and the state of our world, artists can muster up the inspiration to really push their creative limits.


Now, as the vaccine continues to circulate and festivals and shows seems more likely to happen , artists are beginning to release new music and announce upcoming albums. Here are the top 10 electronic records either rumored or announced we are looking forward to the most!

Kaskade – Reset- Release Date : 3/5/21

Although, only four songs, Kaskade goes back to his roots as his newest EP most resembles his Automatic and Atmosphere projects rather than his previous Redux releases. There is a common message through each track. With all that happened in 2020, Kaskade suggests we need a reset to get back to love and optimism.

Charles the First – Solus- Release Date : 3/5/21

If there is one artist truly pushing the boundaries of what electronic music can be, it would be Charles the First as he ingeniously meshes lo fi down tempo hip-hop with dance and dubstep inspired sounds creating a musical journey like no other.

Porter Robinson- Nurture- Release Date: 4/23/21

Arguably the most anticipated album of the year, Porter is set to release his first LP since his critically acclaimed Worlds album in 2014. Based off the four singles released in the past few months, Nurture has the potential to spark another creative revolution in dance music and will surely be talked about for years to come.

San Holo- BB u ok? – Release date- 5/21/21

San Holo is set to release his most diverse and personal record of his career thus far. Featuring artists such as Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, American Football, Mija and more, BB u ok? will be right up there with the best electronic albums in 2021.

Mersiv- Pretty Dark Loud – Release Date- TBA

After releasing his single Talkin Bout in January, Mersiv announced his debut album is in the works via Instagram in early February. Mersiv has been quickly rising to stardom in the past few years and is set to take the bass scene by storm once this highly anticipated album finally drops.

Illenium- Album title and release date TBA

Along with releasing his massive single Nightlight featuring vocals by Annika Wells, Illenium has teased an album coming sometime in the near future. Known for his heavy hitting, melodic dubstep and his emotional song content, Illenium will have you headbanging into your feels.

Flume- Album title and release date TBA

After releasing a remix of Eiffel 65’s Blue, the legendary Australian producer Flume announced he’s working a new album on George Breakfast’s Bangers & Bants radio show. “I’ve just kind of been sending demos out and trying to get as much music together before the lockdown finishes and hopefully come out of it with something to show for myself,” Flume said in the interview. “And we’ll see what happens, but yeah, I’m hoping to have a record done before the end of the year.”

Lsdream- Album title and release date TBA

After just celebrating the 3-year anniversary of the Lsdream project, trap lord turned spiritual bass shaman Sami Damient has announced his second single High Vibrations will be released as a follow up to the Follow the Vibe single released at the end of 2020. One can only speculate Lsdream has more music on the way.

Ganja White Night- Album title and release date TBA

Although no singles have been released, Ganja White Night recently took to Instagram to announce the postponement of Wobble Rocks, their 3 day concert series at Red Rocks, Colorado for not only safety concerns but to allow them the chance to release new music as they hinted at an upcoming album.

Alison Wonderland – Album title and release date TBA

Even without touring, Alison Wonderland has been hard at work throughout 2020, releasing singles like Bad Things and Anything featuring Valentino Kahn as well as teasing her 3rd Studio album set to release in the spring of 2021. With her producing skills combined with her ability to sing and play musical instruments, the EDM scene will be in for quite a treat once her album drops.

There is something extraordinary about the power of the music festival community that reaches well beyond just music. From going to festivals and shows for ten years now, I’ve not only discovered new music year after year but have had remarkable experiences that shaped how I view the world. I’ve made lifelong friends and have been exposed to new ideas that allowed me to open my mind in ways I’ve never thought possible. Our community runs on a wavelength that tends to be overlooked by the rest of the world. Surrounded by war, hate, judgment, and conformity, festivals and shows act as a haven for the free spirit. A place where like-minded individuals come together, spreading love, peace, and individuality. A place that encourages conscious thinking and spirituality as much as it promotes music.

One of the best things I’ve taken away from the festival community is the practice of meditation. During a walk through the campgrounds of Okeechobee Music Festival, I stumbled upon Lsdream’s cosmic soundbath set, and it completely changed my life. I never thought about how powerful the act of just breathing and being actually is. That the act of doing nothing and allowing your thoughts to come and go has a profound effect on how you view the world. I left the soundbath set feeling not only refreshed but as if I had gone through some sort of transformation, and I wanted more. Meditation was something I never considered, and if it weren’t for music festivals, I would never have given it a chance.

Meditation teaches you to live in the moment. We spend most of our days either stuck in the past or worrying about the future. We rarely ever take the time just to be, and meditation allows you to do just that. After all, we love music festivals so much because they, too, embrace living in the moment. For those three or four days, nothing else matters. Not the past nor the future. Not your career, your classes, or the bills you have to pay.  What matters is dancing with your friends, basking in love, and enjoying the now. Ironically, Okeechobee’s theme is “Be here now.” I left the festival eager to learn more about meditation and ready to incorporate it into my own life.

Meditation not only helps you live in the now, but it actually changes the wiring of the brain. Studies have shown that meditation enlarges the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for managing emotions, focusing your attention, decision making, and adjusting to complex behaviors. Meditation can help with depression, anxiety, and overall well being. There are also different kinds of meditation. There is mindfulness where the point is not to allow your thoughts to control your emotions. Just let your thoughts come and go. Then there is focused meditation, where you focus on a goal you want to achieve and tap into the frequency of the universe.

As I began to read and research meditation, I came across various practices that helped me make meditation a daily routine. From guided meditations to meditation music to mediation apps, here are some of my favorites that will help you find inner peace whether you’re a beginner or a meditation guru!

Guided Meditations

10 Minute Chakra Balance Guided Meditation

Great for beginners! Balance your chakra’s and promote positive energy with this 10 minute meditation.

10 Minute Manifestation Meditation

This powerful meditation will help you achieve your biggest goals through the law of attraction.

Spirit Guide Meditation Playlist

This playlist of guided meditations is designed to connect you with your spirit guide!

LIGHTCODE Guided Meditation Playlist

With this playlist Lsdream and his wife Sarah Hudson, guide you through numerous meditations with music provided by Lsdream’s ambient moniker LIGHTCODE!

Music for Meditation

Tipper’s Ambient CoSM Set

Tipper provides an ambient set perfect for meditation at the Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors!

Charles the First Out of the Dark Mix

Charles the First performs a groovy downtempo set that’s perfect to vibe out and relax your mind.

LIGHTCODE & Lsdream Higher Conscious Set

Lsdream mixes a trippy downtempo set with excerpts of guidance from teachers like Alan Watts and Ram Das! Also check out Lsdream’s LIGHTCODE album!

Meditation Apps

Synctuition

Synctuition is a meditation app that is designed to sync you in to your intuition using gamma wave frequencies, binary beats, and 3d sounds!

Calm

Less intense than Synctuition but Calm offers great guided mediations, podcasts, and even sleep stories!

Will Geary, who goes by the name Hi Will is a bass and dubstep producer from Port Jervis, New York, who recently moved out to  Colorado. He’s been hard at work releasing an 11 track ep titled Inverted, along with three singles in 2020. 2021 has the potential to be a break out year for the Colorado producer who just released a brand new banger called Stankface featuring Filth Collins.

The Daily Frequency caught up with Hi Will to discuss how he started making music, DJ’ing, and a whole lot more!

Check out the full interview below!

You made the big jump from New York to Colorado. What has that experience been like?

Moving to Colorado has been a dream of mine since before I could remember. I started skiing when I was four and snowboarding when I was 14 and never experienced a pow day until I moved here. It was a super easy transition for me. A ton of my friends from college also moved here around when I did so I was never really got lonely, and I had a job, and everything lined up before I got here.

How did you get into making music? Has it been something that’s always been apart of your life, or is it something you got into as you got older?

It took me a few starts. My great-grandpa was a pretty famous drummer back in the day, so I really wanted to play drums in school but was assigned trumpet, so I never really took it too seriously and quit band in middle school. I was into punk rock, so I picked up a guitar but again didn’t really make it too far. I grew out of punk music and started listening to hip hop in 9th grade. My first attempt at college didn’t go well, so when I withdrew after a couple weeks, I wanted to start making beats in garage band but was quickly discouraged. This was in 2008, so there weren’t as many resources as there are now to teach yourself. Fast forward to Sumer 2012, I was really into house and dubstep and went to my first music festival, Camp Bisco XI. This was the summer that EDM trap was first starting to emerge. When Skrillex dropped Wild for the night (going in) edit, it was the first time I heard EDM trap music, and it all kind of clicked for me that it was something I wanted to make myself. I blew my entire refund check on a MacBook when I went back to school that fall, got a bootleg version of Ableton, and dove in.

What challenges did you face as a new producer?

I had a bumpy start. I was kind of stubborn and could’ve saved a lot of time if I had a better process back then. A lot of frustrating hours spent in Ableton learning by trial and error. My one friend that was also producing at the time was also anti samples, anti preset, etc., and pushed me towards trying to make everything myself. Then my releases weren’t getting any attention, so I stopped putting music out, and would just fall in and out of Ableton for a couple of years.

When did you decide that music was something you really wanted to pursue?

 I was done with school, living in western NY, and facing a mountain of student loans. I was pursuing being a financial advisor, and the message there was you need to focus 100% on building your business if you want to be successful. I really wasn’t happy and would work all day and come home and produce all night. I don’t know who I was trying to prove wrong, but it was actually pretty motivating for making music, but I was lying to everyone. Lying to prospective clients, trying to act like I was someone I wasn’t so they would trust me to manage their money. Lying to my manager that I was 100% committed to being a financial advisor and lying to myself that I was putting enough effort into producing. I did that for a few years and was finally on my feet enough to fulfill a lifelong dream of moving to Colorado.

Would you say the move to Colorado helped you creatively?

Colorado is a lot more chill than western NY professionally. You can be yourself a lot more at an office job, and its not uncommon to have a career without giving up your interests. When I first moved, I wasn’t sure if I’d have to take a drug test for my new job or not, so the first time I smoked weed in a couple of months, I got awkwardly stoned and came home and wrote probably my darkest song, Terminated. I still had no real idea what I wanted out of producing, but I had years of projects starting to stack up.

Have the restrictions with covid allowed you to focus on your craft?

I can thank the pandemic for giving me a lot of free time alone to get my shit together. I put together a tracklist for Inverted and then wiped my computer’s hard drive. I’ve learned a lot and have been really focusing on my mixing and mastering skills to get an industry-standard sounding product and get my workflow a lot faster where I’m not spending months or years on songs. I’m about to graduate from the AMP program with KMG in Denver, which has helped a lot.

What’s your creative process? Walk us through an average day at the studio.

I still don’t have a one-off creative process to start. It’s usually trying to learn something new, or making a drum loop, or chord progression, or wanting to sample something or make a  “type beat”.  Once I get excited about the direction of a project, I try to not put it down until I sketch something out that I can finish, or at least bounce a snippet from and listen to and decide if its something I want to put more time in on or start something new. A good practice if you get stuck or aren’t feeling very creative is to try to learn something new. Usually, if I try to make a new sound or something, I get inspired for a song by the time I’m done with the tutorial.

You released a lot of music in 2020, including an 11 track ep and three singles. How do you find inspiration day in and day out?

Like I said before, Inverted is basically all my more amateur sounding stuff that I liked enough to put out, and is basically 7 years of work. The three singles I put out this year were basically sketched out, pulling an all-nighter when the inspiration struck.

Your sound seems to be heavily influenced by hip-hop. Who are your favorite rappers at the moment?

Favorite rappers seem to come and go, but Futures has been a favorite for a while, I listened to a lot of da baby and Lil baby last year.

Who are your influences in electronic music?

My biggest influences would have to be early RL Grime, Flosstradamus and Skrillex, pretty lights, and basshead era Bassnectar. Dillon Francis is also a huge influence of mine. I like how he was able to blow up without being confined to a genre, which is the producer id like to be, with some high-energy bangers for playing shows and less aggressive songs that are more universally enjoyable.

Aside from hip-hop and electronic music, what other genres do you resonate with and draw inspiration from?

I listen to a ton of different music. As far as inspiration goes, id have to say I usually get inspired by indie tracks. Video Game by Sufjan Stevens is a good example. I should drop a remix to that, actually, haha.

You spend a lot of your free time outside. Do you believe taking time out of the studio to hike or snowboard benefits your creative process?

It’s always good to take a break, but if anything, it’s detrimental to producing. Snowboarding is probably my #1 distraction, and I feel bad about using my limited free time, not in the studio.

You play vinyl when you DJ. Do you believe that’s becoming a lost art?

I came across an offer I couldn’t refuse when I bought my vinyl set up. It still runs through Serato. It’s just timecoded vinyls. I really like the vinyl set up because, with the spinning records, you actually feel the music moving underneath your fingers. Plus, if you can spin and beat match on technics, you can pretty much use anything. Personally, I’m not a big fan of turntablism. A few tricks in a DJ set can take it up a notch, but other than that, it’s just not a sound I think is desirable. As far as straight vinyl djing, it seems like more of a novelty. Someone can do a lot more with a controller these days, and being limited to the tracks you have on actual records seems like it just limits the DJ for no good reason.

Do you listen to any music on vinyl?

I got my girlfriend an Odesza vinyl for Christmas, and it sounded amazing. I think id like to start an actual vinyl collection and buy some of my favorites. Two that come to mind would be Anderson Paaks Malibu and Post Malones Stoney.

What’s the last show you saw, and who are you most excited to see when live music comes back?

The last show I saw was NGHTMRE at the Amplitude drive-in. It was pretty sick! I don’t really have any tickets for anything coming up, but I just pray we get red rocks back this summer.

You just released your new single featuring Filth Collins; what should fans expect from you as the year goes on?

I have a ton of projects I’m working on. Stankface is my first track with original vocals, and Filth and I work pretty well together, so we’ll be releasing a lot more high energy tracks this year. I have some more melodic tunes coming out with my homie Astro Piano that we just have to wrap up and some hip hop joints. I pretty much have a hip hop instrumental tape I want to drop as well. I have a remix dropping for Subbspaced next month and a few other remixes I might put out on Soundcloud. Most of my fans know me from Inverted, so anyone whose been following me will notice that I stepped my game up and will just keep getting better. So this year, I’m holding myself to a higher standard, a lot of collabs, and just bigger and better records. I hope to play out in Denver a good amount this year, too, if we can get past covid. I’ll be putting out a mix with all originals at some point this year.

If there is one thing that quarantine has shown us about the music industry, it’s that the electronic dance scene as a collective cannot be stopped. You can take away our shows, festivals, and tours, but our music isn’t going anywhere. With the “if you build it, they will come” attitude, EDM has stepped up to the plate better than any other genre in all of music.  From live stream events to drive in raves to quarantine mixes, the EDM community has proven day in and day out that our community goes far beyond live music. If you are apart of the community, you understand. It doesn’t matter if you love dubstep, house, big room,  trance, or any other sub-genre, the unity, passion, and love for this music is undeniable. Festivals, artists, and labels have created a virtual world of music, bringing everything we love about the scene right into our living rooms. Whether you’ve thrown a house party to watch one of the numerous rave- athons hosted by Pasquale and Insomniac, sat on zoom with your friends while getting down to Lsdream, or raved by yourself to Ghastly in your room, live streams have made the most challenging year of our lives a little more enjoyable. Of course, nothing can replace that transcendent feeling live music offers. Still, I’m thankful for EDM for keeping the rave alive and proud to be apart of this beautiful community during these presented and trying times.

Here are our favorite sets that got us through quarantine!

10. Sidepiece- Edc Vegas Rave-a-Thon

Powerhouse DJ’s Nitti Gritti and Party Favor team up for a bumpin’ b2b under their house moniker Sidepiece!

9. Slander Virtual Vibes (Medusa Set)

Slander throws down a legendary set with one of the coolest stage set up we’ve seen resembling the head of Medusa.

8. Ducky – HARD Summer Staycation Virtual Rave-A-Thon

Ducky shocks Insomniac’s founder Pasquale and viewers alike with one of the best sets we’ve seen all of quarantine.

7. Dr. Fresch – Original Sound 

Dr. Fresch throws down as usual in front of a crowd of 90,000 marijuana plants!

6.CloZee – ShambhaRoo

Clozee perfectly synchronizes her Shambhala and Bonnaroo set into a tripped out show in the jungle!

5. Jai Wolf – Secret Sky

Jai wolf puts a unique spin on a live stream set as he incorporates stellar graphics in an exclusive audiovisual mix.

4. Subtronics- Bonnaroo 2020

Subtronics debuts new music in an all original set for Bonnaroo’s Virtual Festival!

3. Porter Robinson -Secret Sky

Porter Robinson closes out a virtual version of his Sky Festival with a nostalgic hour and a half set.

2. Lane 8 – Sunrise Set 

Lane 8 plays a euphoric set as he cruises Grand lake in Colorado.

1. Lsdream- Rave Cave Series

It’s hard to pick just one rave cave set as Lsdream throws down different themed sets displaying new music, trippy graphics, and heavy wubs!

Ultra Miami is set to be canceled yet again for concerns created by the coronavirus. Organizers of the festival are awaiting approval of the new dates from the city of Miami before releasing an official cancelation announcement.

This will be the second straight year Ultra has been forced to cancel due to the pandemic. Last year Ultra was canceled just a week before its opening day as it became the first major festival to close its doors due to the virus.

In a letter dated on January 21, 2021, Ultra’s general counsel attorney, Sandy York states that conditions that led city officials to cancel Ultra in 2020 remain in place for 2021. York also asks for approval to reschedule the festival.

As Ultra is always held in March, news of the cancellation in 2021 comes to no surprise as covid19 rates continue to climb throughout America. With the vaccine just now starting to circulate, there is not enough time for spring shows to safely occur, let alone major festivals.

Organizers hope to hold the festival in 2022 from March 25-27 at Bayfront Amphitheater.

Ultra is one of the world’s biggest electronic music festivals and showcases some of the best talent that dance music has to offer.

James Flanders, known musically as James, is an upcoming music producer coming out of Philadelphia. After recently quitting his job to pursue his passion, James is dialed in and ready to establish a name for himself in the future bass and electronic music scene. Riding the wave of his massive single titled ‘One More Night’ and his remix of Zedd’s ‘Clarity’, James has his sights set high as he rolls into 2021.

We sat down with James to discuss his inspirations, career goals, and more.

Check out the full interview below!

How did you get into making music?

I’ve loved music for a long, long time. I always had an interest in making it myself in high school and college but never dove in and learned. It seemed overwhelming, and I never thought it was something I could do. In my last year of college, I finally began messing around with Ableton. As college was winding down, I realized I needed to take finding a job and starting a career seriously. Since music was something I was always passionate about, I figured it was time to explore that avenue.

What drew you to electronic music?

 A few things. The big sell is the passion and energy that come with the music. There’s something about EDM music that really makes me feel. It’s a beautiful thing. Apart from that, though, I love the community. When I started going to these concerts, I was blown away by how friendly everyone was.

What’s your creative process? Do you have a specific routine, or does it vary depending on the day?

 When I’m starting a song, I always begin with the chord progression. The progression sets the mood for the entire song, so it’s a great place to start. From there, it’s kind of random. I build off the progression in no particular order, letting whatever ideas I’m hearing flow naturally. This way, I don’t confine myself to thinking, “I need to do the beat next” or “Now I have to do the melody.” I feel like that would be limiting and damper ideas coming naturally.

You recently took some time off from producing to sharpen your DJ skills. What was the most challenging part of that process?

Honestly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I was lucky to have a few friends who knew how to DJ already that walked me through it. That and some YouTube videos. If you want to learn how to DJ, you can learn in a week if you put in an hour a day. The hardest part was having opportunities actually to put the skill to use! Nothing like learning how to DJ for a crowd during a quarantine when there can’t be crowds.

Your first-ever show was a live stream, which is becoming a great tool for new and established DJs alike. Do you believe live streams will be a new normal even when live music comes back?

I don’t think so. While they have been a great substitute for live music during quarantine, it really is just that – a substitute. You will never be able to match the real thing through a tv screen. Something I could see happening is putting live in-person concerts (when they come back) up to stream for people who can’t make the concert. I think that would be pretty cool.

You announced you quit your job to pursue music full time, which I applaud. Do you believe having that do-or-die attitude will push you further than having a plan b to fall back on?

 Thank you! I think it will. I think quitting the job made it real for me. While it was always in the back of my mind I wanted to make this music thing happen, I never really believed it WOULD happen while working. My job was my plan A and my career, so it’s where a lot of my energy went (even though I hated it). To anyone reading this who hates their job – IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. It might take some hard work to make your passions your career, but it is undoubtedly worth it.

I love your clarity remix, and your live set was very euphoric and nostalgic. Who would you say are your biggest inspirations for your sound?

Thank you! That’s what I go for. I try to take inspiration from anyone I’m listening to, but I do take more from a few artists specifically. Illenium, Nurko, and Porter Robinson are a few to note. Like I said earlier, I like EDM music because it really makes me feel. These artists, in particular, drive that home for me. I want to give that amazing feeling I get from those artists to the people listening to my music.

Would you say there are any other genres aside from EDM that have an impact on your creative process?

 For sure! I grew up listening to rap and alternative. I always listened to a decent amount of classic rock as well (thanks, dad!!). I’m lucky to have parents who LOVE music and love a wide range of it too. I have no doubt that the exposure to so much good music over the years has impacted how I produce.

Who are your favorite artists at the moment?

Nurko, Illenium, Elderbrook, and Rüfüs Du Sol.

What was the best concert or festival you’ve been to and why?

 This is a tough one! I’ve been to so many amazing shows and festivals, which I feel very lucky for. If we’re talking specific concert, I’d say Flume at Firefly 2017. Flume’s music is so damn cool and different. Seeing that live was like no concert I’d been to before. So unique. Festival wise I’d say Ultra 2019. The lineup was an absolute beauty, and the setting was just magical in general. I also went with an amazing group of people.

If you could work with any artist from any genre, who would it be?

 I’m sounding like a broken record here but probably Illenium. He’s one of my bigger influences and also unbelievably talented. I could learn so much from him.

If you could accomplish one goal in your musical career, what would it be?

 When my adventure into making music is all said and done, whenever that may be, I just hope that it brought some positivity, love, and connection into this world. That’s what music is all about. If my music is able to do that, I’d be the happiest guy in the world.