Tag Archives: trance

Fei-Fei got me hammered on tequila

23 Sep

Feided 3

Sometimes, to get the story, you have to be willing to go outside your comfort zone. Sometimes, you just have to drink a lot of tequila.

To write about DJ/producer Fei-Fei, I went to the opening night of her new monthly event, Feided, where the tiny Chinese-American dubstep fan proceeded to basically drink me under the table. She bought me tequila shot after tequila shot, and then, when I made the mistake of admitting I didn’t feel all that drunk yet, she bought me another tequila shot. Feided is pronounced “Faded” and, believe me, it’s an appropriate name. This girl likes to knock ’em back. (That’s her on the right in the above photo, still going strong while yours truly was propped up against a wall somewhere waiting for the room to stop spinning.)

Somehow, I still managed to partially document the evening—although a follow-up interview over coffee several days later helped a lot.

Bass Drops and Tequila Shots With Fei-Fei, EDM’s Wild Child


Songwriting sneaks into the dance charts

15 Jun


“Dance music” and “singer-songwriter” are not terms that usually go hand in hand. But Matthew Koma has been changing that. Over the past three years, this guy has collaborated with at least half a dozen of the biggest names in electronic dance music, including Tiësto, Hardwell, Zedd and Afrojack. Not primarily by producing beats or singing hooks—although he can do those things, too—but by writing lyrics and melodies that can ride atop their tracks.

My Q&A with Koma is my first piece for Insomniac’s new website. Yep, America’s biggest rave EDM event promoter is getting into the content business, and I’m pretty psyched to be along for the ride. I remember when Pasquale Rotella was still out and about at underground parties, flyering for his own events. It’s crazy to see how far he’s taken Insomniac, and I have no doubt he can take it even further. Hopefully I’ll be along for the ride.

Matthew Koma: The Voice of EDM

The clubbing life

9 May
Photo by Drew Barillas

Photo by Drew Barillas

I think the first show I ever saw at Avalon was Sasha on his Involver tour in the summer or fall of 2004. Instead of putting him onstage, they set him up in one of the side balconies beneath a giant projection screen that, as I recall, basically just played endless variations of his name and the Involver logo like the world’s most expensive screen saver. Ballsily (is that a word? guess it is now), for at least the first five minutes of his set, Sasha didn’t drop a single beat. But the crowd was enraptured, in so small part because the music sounded incredible. “Immersive” was a word I remember using later to describe the experience. Everyone faced the DJ—by this time in dance music history, crowds always faced the DJ—but the music was all around us. I’ll always have a soft spot for L.A.’s first house and trance mega-club, Circus—less clubby, more like a warehouse, which is more my speed—but the sound at Avalon was unbelievable.

For my latest LA Weekly piece, I got to meet one of the architects of that sound. His name is John Lyons and my article only scratched the surface of everything this guy has done. From co-founding the House of Blues to pretty much inventing the nightclub scene in Boston, he’s one of the industry’s heaviest hitters.

I also got to interview some of the biggest names in dance music, all of whom testified to the power and clarity of that Avalon sound system. The new one they just installed is supposed to be even better. I got a little taste of it while it was still in “beta,” so to speak, but I’m looking forward to hearing it now that’s fully fine-tuned. Maybe next time Sasha’s in town.

Avalon: A Sonic Overhaul and a Look Back