Billboard Cover: The Rebirth of Justin Bieber

bieber-cover-billboard-sm

READ IT AT BILLBOARD (in print too)

Justin Bieber took me to church. Literally. It wasn’t part of the plan. All he promised was a 60-minute interview. Instead we talked for 90, went to dinner, then walked over to a Beverly Hills hotel for a sermon. Before you ask, the kid’s all right. He’s working on him, and the music is better than ever, but all that’s in the story, along with input from Big Sean, Skrillex, Scooter, Poo Bear, and, yes, his pastor. Read why, in Justin’s words, he “wouldn’t suggest being a child star.”

Also, peep the photo gallery featuring more awesome shots by Zooey Grossman.

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Holy Ship 2014: High With Skrillex on the High Seas

Skrillex at Holy Ship!! with Tiesto and Zedd

READ MORE AT SPIN

We went on a rave cruise and it was ridiculous. For your vicarious enjoyment (not ours, no, of course not) we left from Miami on January 9 and returned three days later, stopping along the way at two private Bahamian islands for beach parties featuring the likes of Diplo, Chromeo, Disclosure, and Duck Sauce. There were also a ton of skull-drilling EDM performances within the hull of a mega-ship. And 4,000 fellow revelers. And a never-ending pizza buffet. And that time Skrillex smoked us out onstage while Pharrell performed two feet away. Continue reading

EDM, Glitter Pasties, Rapping Ogres and Skrillex: The 20 Craziest Things We Saw at HARD Summer

Happy to report that we attended the two-day EDM bacchanal known as HARD Summer, and actually lived to tell the story. Check out the excellent gallery over at SPIN, featuring the photography of our frequent partner in festivalling, Erik Voake. Artists covered include: Skrillex, Boys Noize, Bloc Party, Nero, A-Trak, AraabMuzik, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, 12th Planet, James Murphy, Dillon Francis, Bootsy Collins, and Squarepusher (with a shout-out to Poolside). Dig in!

Using the Beatles as a Weapon

In which the A.V. Clubhouse was asked which music we’d use to punish an enemy (a la the army and Metallica). Read em all here. My entry below:

Reading Kenny’s response makes me wonder at the long-term psychological effects on those fortunate (?) enough to have attended the Watch The Throne tour. Twenty years from now, our society will feature a sizable segment who flinches at the mere mention of words like CRAY-on and CRAY-fish (or Kreayshawn, but that might be for different reasons). I’ve used hardcore music, from Brotha Lynch Hung to Refused, to spite parents, roommates, and neighbors when occasion called for it, but as I get a little older, a little smarter, and a lot meaner, I think less about blunt-force trauma and more about the kind of psychic brutality that could drive people to question their very existence. Like “Revolution 9” by The Beatles, played not loud, but at a just audible level through a small speaker spackled into the wall between my apartment and the one next door, on some sort of standalone device hotwired to the building’s grid so it never runs out of power. Or a quietly nagging Skrillex loop somehow rigged to trigger every time the platinum-Jeep-driving douchebag down the street uses a kitchen appliance. “Honey, is the blender broken?” “No, it’s fine.” “Then why does it sound like an engine that won’t turn over?” I mean, really, people. We’re adults now. It’s time we start thinking like the terrorists.

Backstage at HARD with Skrillex, Fatboy Slim, Riff Raff, Soulwax, Rusko, Gaslamp Killer and More

Posting this nearly a month late because it’s taken that long to recover. HARD Haunted Mansion, Los Angeles’ premier Halloween (don’t-call-it-a) rave found yours truly crawling through the catacombs of the historic Shrine Auditorium with photographer Erik Voake on a quest for some truly exclusive content for SPIN. Diametrically opposed to the common sense of all involved, we were allowed into the artists’ dressing rooms to witness pre- and post-game rituals, most of which involved copious amounts of booze (duh). The article appears as a photo gallery on SPIN.com, so here it is indexed for easy access:

Raver Madness: Electric Daisy Carnival (and the Dance Music Industry) Fights for its Rights

Sharing this here a bit belatedly (it’s from October’s issue of SPIN), but it’s no less relevant today than it was a couple of months back. In a music industry (#whatindustry?) that has been in a constant state of tumult for more than a decade, the business of dance is booming. We’ve all heard that old “DJs are the new rock stars” chestnut a gazillion times, but it’s never been truer. Actually, it’s also misleading — rock stars had chart hits and huge record labels backing them. These guys commission their own jets to shows where thousands of kids await their favorite songs that have never been played on the radio. This article is, on a macro level, about the love-hate relationship that the mainstream has with rave culture. On a micro level, it’s about Los Angeles, Electric Daisy Carnival, Sasha Rodriguez, the nightly news and millions of dollars. (via SPIN)

Feature: Skrillex is Breaking Out

Sonny Moore is Skrillex, an ex emo addict now owning the dance floor.

I interviewed Skrillex, a.k.a. Sonny Moore, for Spin’s latest issue (Strokes cover) and found the L.A. resident to be an exuberant force for positivity and creative freedom. I saw him perform at SXSW a couple of weeks ago and found him to be a party-rocking, crowd-surfing, bass-fiending maniac. All of which is to say, the kid represents the best of both worlds — he’s got the brains and — despite being the former singer for emo band From First to Last — he’s got the brawn. Read about him at Spin.

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SXSW 2011 Day 3: Odd Future, Das Racist, Pentagram, Little Dragon, Skrillex, more

Little Dragon at SXSW 2011 (Ian Witlen)

Wow. If my love for all things Odd Future didn’t already color me a fanboy, consider the deed done after I saw the impossible happen (read the review below) at their daytime gig at an altogether awesome party thrown by legendary skate mag Thrasher. Readers of this blog will also know I’m a dogged Das Racist apologist, and them dudes kicked things off right by going through a case of PBR while onstage. But that’s not all that happened on Day 3. I ate a pair of strikingly delicious sliders (think Carl’s Jr.’s Bacon Western Cheeseburger done gourmet and petit), Little Dragon made beautiful music (following up a one-two-punch of Gayngs and Black Lips), and Skrillex inspired Austiners to shake a leg.

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