Five Ninjas. Five Coachella Stories. [Event Review]

1973921_10152331943336648_3838130913208587342_o

Story 1 – Clayton Warwick

Day one of Coachella was an interesting one for me. Coming off of a full day of food poisoning hell, sitting through twelve hours of hot sunlight was the last thing I wanted to do. None the less, I bucked up and rode down to the festival with our crew. Despite severe dehydration, an uneasy stomach, and a blinding headache, I made my way through some of my favorite artists that were playing that day.

Before I delved into performances, I had to stop off to interview the legendary Gareth Emery in the press area. Thankfully, they were fully stocked with hydrating beverages, which helped my recovery quite nicely. After a fun and engaging chat with Gareth, I was ready to take on what day one had to offer.

The highlights were too abundant to cover in great length, featuring notable sets from Ellie Goulding, Aloe Blacc, Zedd, and of course Outkast. While Outkast’s performance wasn’t my favorite musically, it was still amazing based on the sheer nostalgic appeal. I found myself belting out lyrics through a queasy stomach on multiple occasions, simply not giving a fuck at how I felt. At that moment, I knew they had something special going.

Day two was a much more enjoyable experience for me, especially given the fact that I saw the most impressive set of the entire festival, in my honest opinion. We worked our way to the very front of the Mojave tent to catch the always entertaining post-rock instrumental band Mogwai, and were absolutely blown away. In a 50 minute set of pure musical intoxication, Mogwai utilized their slow, building rhythms to provide a complete encapsulation. It was truly amazing.

There were other highlights from Day two as well, including an absolute ear-fuck from Skrillex, whose visuals essentially were the internet boiled into one 50 minute set. Other acts that impressed included Kid Cudi, Capital Cities, Head and the Heart, and City and Colour.

Day three was probably the most memorable for me, musically, as I was able to witness some acts I’ve been writing about for the past few years. Right out of the gates we caught James Vincent McMorrow, who had the best vocal talent out of any artist at the festival. His set was mesmerizing, and was then followed up nicely by his labelmate, The 1975, who displayed their up-and-coming rock god status. Matty casually flipped his mic cord around as he strutted the stage, boasting nothing but sheer swagger.

For the last few sets of the night, we were honestly so exhausted that we listened from afar, sitting with the aching-foot crowd of parents and older festival-goers. Disclosure was nothing short of stunning, even though we couldn’t see the stage from where we were at.

Once again, Coachella has proved to me that no matter how hard you try, your plans will be proved futile. It’s so easy to get caught in the moment, forgoing your well thought out plans for those of the friends you are with. It’s both a blessing, and a curse, but 100% worth every minute of it.

Story 2 – Brooke Ferguson

As I walked into the Polo Fields Campgrounds, I instantly felt like I was at home. Each and every year that I attend Coachella, I automatically know that my mind is about to enter into an entirely new dimension full of phenomenal music, abstract art, and memories to last me a lifetime. This year, I decided to change up my festival routine and experience music on an entirely new level. I ventured off into a hypnotic place where I was surrounded by some of the most enchanting people I have ever come across. Their love for music and inter-human connectivity fulfilled all of my festival cravings. There is nothing more exciting than being around a bunch of weirdo’s who love to vibe on a level that promotes the provocation of a divine synchronicity.

Every day brought forth new experiences, new people, and new music. It is nearly impossible to see everyone you plan to watch, but I guess that is what makes Coachella such an adventure in and of itself. We are given the opportunity to either solidify ourselves to a strict schedule, or we can simply allow our wandering souls to guide us towards the unknown; the only place where insurmountable beauty exists.

This year at Coachella, I decided to let the music bring me solace and peace of mind. I spent a lot of my time underneath the glorious Sahara Tent where the bass could be felt a mile away. I should have remembered to bring some diapers with me because there were plenty of sketchy moments where I could have totally lost all control of my bodily functions. When you have artists like Dillon Francis, Carnage, The Glitch Mob, Krewella, and more, the probability of crapping your pants increases with each rise in frequency. I know I wasn’t the only one who experienced moments of uncertainty as to whether or not it was the beat that dropped or my pants. I am still contemplating this to this day.

Overall, Coachella provided its attendees with a wide array of talent to please everyone’s musical inclinations. Having an eclectic taste in music made it extremely difficult to choose my top acts of the weekend. After nearly a week of battling an extreme case of cognitive dissonance, I have finally made up my mind as to who blew my mind away. The winning sets this year go to: Flight Facilities, Cage The Elephant, Kill Paris, and Adventure Club. Each of these artists evoked a different side of me, whether it be my inner diva at Flight Facilities and Kill Paris or my inner flower child at Cage The Elephant. I guess it’s safe to say that I can diagnose myself with multiple personality disorder because there were many different sides of me that made their debut that weekend. Only at Coachella is it socially acceptable to black out from being over-stimulated by your surroundings and not recall the absurdity of your behavior.

Now that my favorite festival has come to an end and the post-Coachella depression has subdued, I must endure the next 365 excruciating days of monotony until I can once again return to my Utopia.
Continue reading

Related items:

[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo Playlist (April 2014 Round #4)

indie-dojo-music-ninjaSometimes we take music for granted. We’re so used to having it around, we  forget to take a moment and appreciate all the talented people in the world that fill our silence with glorious sounds.  But imagine the world  sans music for a second. Sounds like a horrible, horrible nightmare, doesn’t it?  Luckily, this could never happen. And even if it did, the Indie Dojo’s got an arsenal of sweet, sweet lullabies to send you back into blissful dreams full of guitars, drum machines, violins, triangles, shakers, tambourines, djembes ….and the list goes on and on and on….and on. You know where to find us.

Fox and Fowl
Birds On A Wire
Release You
Tom Misch & Carmody
Liam Finn
Better To Be
WOODS
Moving To The Left
Animal Years
Walking Slow
Related items:

[420 Mix] DJ AA’s Sets On The Beach in Hawaii

1624749_740430664000_178572923_n

Well the much-needed long weekend has finally arrived and many of you will be celebrating in different ways. For Chill Dojo resident DJ AA, April 20th signifies a year since hitting the music scene with his first of many downtempo bootlegs, featuring Ziggy Marley’s ‘Beach in Hawaii’. He marks the upcoming occasion and festivities in the most fitting way possible, giving us four 20 minute mixes to mellow out your time in the best way possible. Flowing from deep house to reggae, to the tropical vibes that are the life-force of summer, this mix of chill tunes will serve as the perfect backdrop to your weekend’s activities, whatever they may be.

Peep his Soundcloud for all the tracklists and grab this bundle free on Facebook to fuel the vibes over the next few days, or whenever you require a dose of chill.

Sets On The Beach In Hawaii #1
Sets On The Beach In Hawaii #2
Sets On The Beach In Hawaii #3
Sets On The Beach In Hawaii #4
Related items:

[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (April 2014 Round #3)

indie-dojo-music-ninjaSick of hearing about Coachella? We understand. Just press play and you won’t hear another word about it….for now.

Plastic Flowers
Summertime Pop
ZHU
Paradise Awaits.
Arling & Cameron
NY is burning (small speaker_320kb)
Monogem
Wait And See
Jacob Clarke
Oaksome Gust (WIP)
Related items:

Exclusive Interview with Vello Virkhaus, Founder of V Squared Labs

unnamed

While covering Ultra Music Festival in Miami last weekend, we had the opportunity to catch up with Vello Virkhaus, the founder of V Squared Labs (http://vsquaredlabs.com/project/ultra-worldwide/) and official VJ of Ultra since it’s inception. Mr. Virkhaus was recently named #35 on Rolling Stone’s list of the top 50 people in EDM to date. What followed was a candid discussion about his past, present, and future projects, along with some of the more intimate details of how the amazing visual production at Ultra comes about.

TMN: Vello thank you so much for coming and speaking with us at The Music Ninja. Our readers are really interested to hear about what you’re doing and where you’re at. So first of all, how’d the show go today?

Vello: Everything is running really smoothly and it’s great to see the vortex come to life. I happen to love vortexes, they’re a personal favorite.

TMN: Now what do you mean by Vortex exactly?

Vello: As a visual artist, this stage. The designer who created it made it in kind of a radial array that recedes in space, so it has an effect that’s like a tunnel almost, which we call a vortex, or wormhole, which has a lot of movement. So it’s a really complicated surface and it’s awesome to see it mapped out. I’m really proud of our team this year. On an engineering and deployment level, we’re pretty small scale for a large festival like this, which has been good. We have more room in front of us, which is nice.

TMN: How did V Squared get started up?

Vello: I guess my first big entertainment project was with Korn in California. So Korn got me in to doing more concert visuals for rock bands…EDM actually lead to Korn, and then Korn went back to EDM so we’ve all been spinning in strange circles with people like J Devil coming out with his whole, evil-self, dubstep thing and being progressive. So it’s a nice circle. So we started there and it’s been growing slowly every year.

TMN: You have an art background correct? You went to Kansas City for a while I think?

Vello: One year there, and then I had my little rebellion, and then I moved to Chicago and went to the art institute there. So yeah I did my tenure, climbed the pole to my bachelors and then went in to post-production.

TMN: You had some other projects prior to V Squared as well?

Vello: Well, we really started in Ultra with Rabbit in the Moon. They were our first collaborators, and that brought me to Florida. And through Rabbit in the Moon, and Dave, and all the original people who were in this scene, they brought me to Ultra and brought OVT, our first company, in to do visuals. It’s been a cool growing process. So, from the beach to here, on the yacht, is like a time warp almost.
Continue reading

Related items:

[Synth-Pop] Bestfriends – Refine EP

bestfriendsrefine

We had the chance to feature Chicago dance-poppers Bestfriends along with their gorgeous single “The Way I Feel” a few weeks back, and in the time since we’d been salivating like one of Pavlov’s Dobermans for the full release of Refine; the duo’s latest extended play. Well today, our patience was finally rewarded with the full drop, and immediately the five track synth-pop-meets-electronic-R&B fueled journey jumped onto this writer’s short list of favorite albums of 2014 thus far. While listening to their incredibly inviting and sonically textured sound, it’s easy to forget that only a pair of musicians -Gregory Shanahan & Nick Scalise- oversee Bestfriends’ entire artistic process. From the ground floor of writing and composing, to recording and performing, Bestfriends even manage to see their work all the way through to the final mixing and mastering stages, leaving no stone unturned from their vision in the process. It’s clear from the onset of Refine as opening track “When the Lights” bounces into your ears so gracefully behind a rhythmic lead guitar and four-four kick that this artistic attention to detail translates into a wonderfully shapeshifting and fully listenable collection. These two synth savantes’ meticulous crafting of Refine has resulted in an EP which feels deeply rooted in their  emotive brand of dancey, layered pop music while simultaneously playing out as all kinds of accessible to cutthroat music fans and casual listeners alike. Bestfriends’ Refine EP is available for purchase now through iTunes , so if listening a few times here isn’t enough, do like we did and hop on over to add this one to your library permanently. For now though, just stream Refine in its entirety below.

When The Lights
The Way I Feel
Lakeshore
Refine
Lyra
Related items:

[Electro-Pop] Racing Glaciers – Moths (Carousel Remix)

carousel
Racing Glaciers
Moths (Carousel Remix)

It’s been a bit since we’ve had the pleasure of featuring our favorite synth-heavy happy-dance duo in the music landscape, L.A. based Carousel, and that is quite a shame as their sophisticated brand of electronica always seems to pull a warm smile from most of our staff here at TMN. This morning, much to our delight, Carousel unveiled their latest addition to the remix pool; molding Brit Racing Glaciers’ slightly folky ballad into a whirlwind of atmospheric MIDI jabs and sunny, playful percussion. The pair’s slick instrumentation jives wonderfully with Tim Monaghan’s original vocal track, inspiring some desirable visions of the impending Spring and Summer seasons. Quite honestly we’ve just been looping this tune on repeat (wishing we were beach side with one of those fruity umbrella drinks) since our first listen and their pristine sound never once let its grasp loosen from our ears. Carousel’s remix comes as part of Racing Glaciers’ forthcoming Moths EP which can be purchased here, but for the stream-only type, do yourself a favor by hitting the play button, slinking back and unwinding after your long day.

Related items: