Welcome to my Ultra-world. It is a land filled with sun, sex, sounds, and sea. The energy here is relentless, the pace is fast. People come from around the globe to experience the narcotic pulse of bass that emanates throughout the city. Come with us as we voyage in to the depths of debauchery and dance, and experience the glory that is known as Miami Music Week.

Pool parties are a mainstay of the Winter Music Conference, so let our journey begin in South Beach at the Raleigh Hotel pool for the DIM MAK Miami Beach Party. Here we can observe the one and only Steve Aoki in his natural habitat. Aoki provides copious entertainment for all, and he is generous enough to even give some of his devoted following cake and champagne! Though very little of these accoutrements actually make it in to anyone’s mouths, it’s the thought that counts. Other notables to be taken from the environment are Deorro, The Chainsmokers, 3lau, Felix Cartel, and Autoerotique. Amidst the hard hitting, fist pumping, in-your-face beats that DIM MAK records is known for, we can’t help but to be pleased with the plethora of beauty and movement that surrounds us. A large pool waits patiently behind, framed in a soft blue hue and coaxing weary partiers towards it cool waters with the promise of buoyancy. As the party wanes, we trickle with the masses back on to Collins Avenue and become engulfed in an ocean of neon, skin, and cars that cost more than most families homes.

’New Dim Mak Music!’

Back across the bay and just a couple miles north of the Ultra Music Festival, we now travel to a chic and sensuous lounge nestled in the heart of Wynwood. The famed area is known for its walls; ever-changing murals blanket the buildings. The crackle and hiss of spray paint can be heard around every corner and an aroma of acrylic permeates the nostrils like a vandal’s potpourri. Be mindful of the razor wire on your right as we meander towards The Social Lubricant. TSL’s staff holds up to the lounge’s name, offering courteous and brisk service along with reasonable drink prices (for Miami). Absorb the deep house beats put on tonight by the likes of underground sensation Thugfucker. That’s right, Thugfucker. While the American and Icelandic combination of Greg Oreck and Holmar Filipsson could certainly play until 5am, the line up tonight will not require them to. Both of the boys are in excellent spirits this evening from the looks of it. Their connection with their crowd is palpable. Each twist and turn of their set seems to mean something, each bassline tickles the stapes in a profound way. Don’t forget about Thugfucker’s buddies either. Matt Tolfrey, Nick Curly, Francesca Lombardo, and many others are here as well to ensure auditory satisfaction. Are you hungry? There’s a sushi bar in the back corner to compliment your ethanol if you so choose…I would highly suggest it, we’ll be here awhile.

’Thugfucker live’

We’ve shown you South Beach and gone underground in Wynwood, so let’s venture now to what everybody has been waiting for; let’s go to Ultra Music Festival 2014! A cab is necessary because parking is the worst clusterfuck you’ve ever seen in your life. I am scheduled to interview Art Department, Paper Diamonds, and Vello Virkhaus prior to partaking in any of the festivities. You’ll notice that there, regrettably, is no press area within Ultra’s grounds…there IS, however, a mega yacht docked right next to the grounds that we can use. After delightful conversation coupled with a Krewella photo-op and a chance brush by with Zedd (he has sparkly eyes, pay no mind to my screaming “Zedd! You’re awesome!”), we tromp through the hidden workings back stage to make our way over to the Underground stage. Cue the sensory overload!

A foggy haze of food kiosk’s combustibles, dust, and cigarette smoke cloud our view as we cantor along the festival’s walkways. Clothes are optional in this Mecca of music, but glow sticks and the buddy system are musts. As we pass by each of the 7 stages here at UMF, lets take a quick listen to M.I.A. throwing down her blend of hip hop, pop, and electro at the Live stage. Further along on our trek, we can appreciate the raw talent that is displayed by famed artist Alec Monopoly. His massive live spray paint depictions of Kate Moss and the monopoly man DJing amaze all comers with vibrant colors and dynamism. Over the grassy knoll, behind the resting conglomeration of crowd and tucked away on the south side of the grounds we discover the Underground stage. The vibe is chill and dancey. People with good taste are here. If you want to jump up and down in your overpriced ultra romper, go to the Main stage. If you want to be blown away by the sensual dance swagger of Canadian duo Art Department, stay right where you are my friends. Vocal dynamo Kenny Glasgow and No.19 record label founder, Johnny White, are known for their dominant live performances. The beats can’t get much sexier than when Kenny sways and swigs on Maker’s Mark as Johnny takes a drag and frets with the next track.

Last year, the UMF Megastructure took us by complete surprise. Infatuated with the majesty of the Main stage, we bypassed the iconic area until the last day when we were thoroughly impressed by Thomas Gold. This time around, let’s get there early! Massive LEDs surround us on 3 sides and lumber over our heads. Are we getting taller!? Nope, that’s just the ceiling screens slowly floating downwards towards us. Though it’s disappointing that Funktion-One speakers are not making an appearance this year at the Megastructure, Carl Cox and his visual team create an astounding array of ocular candy for us to savor. Fog cannons blast a cooling coat of nitrogen over the crowd helping to alleviate the dance-induced pyrexia Mr. Cox has spread to the masses.

After all this dancing, let’s head back to Midtown for a bite to eat and a quick nap. Gigi’s is open late and close by. They’re playing dubstep this evening over the restaurant’s PA system, which is somewhat mal-paired with the home-style soul food on the menu. As a matter of fact, I can barely hear what you’re trying to say because it sounds like I’ve got Optimus Prime and Megatron fighting overhead, so let’s take this outside, shall we? Ahhh, that’s better! Miami outdoors at 2 in the morning is a special thing, and now we can hear each other. Try some of the cornbread. The buttery, crispy delight melts in your mouth and coddles the tongue in a heavenly southern oblivion. I’ve now suddenly acquired my parent’s Arkansas accent, but it should pass by the time we interview Dirtyphonics tomorrow. One quick dance night-cap at Bardot to finish this evening off and we’re ready for some Zzz’s.

After a great sleep and a late breakfast, let’s head back to the festival at Bayside for our romp with the boys of Dirtyphonics. Back on the yacht, we discover what our research had said was four, has now been streamlined to two French electro mad men. They’re performing at Ultra today, arriving from a show in Connecticut just the night before. The guys are stoked to be in Miami, but their stent is shortlived as they will be jet-setting to their next show in a matter of hours. We couldn’t get enough of the deep house grooves yesterday, so with all our interviews in the bag, we voyage back to the Underground stage. Adriatique doesn’t disappoint here, and their chill, saucy, bass heavy throb weens us in to the evening proper.

’Foxcast 4: Adriatique (April 2014)’

The line up is vast and wide spread tonight, so I hope you brought a comfortable pair of shoes. After Adriatique, we make our way over to the Live stage to catch Trentemoller. Next it’s the Megastructure for Loco Dice. Tale of Us at Underground is a MUST, but alas, our trudge through the rain has left us fruitless as the torrent has rendered DJ equipment here impotent and the boys will not be playing this evening from what we can tell. Downtrodden but not yet defeated, we head over to the Main stage and witness the most special visual experience of our lifes. As rain pours down on the Ultra crowd, Above & Beyond have to switch to gear behind the stage and play with their backs facing us. No matter; the massive array of lasers refracting in a million directions off the droplets of rain has created an effect so astounding it would be difficult to pay attention to anything else. Armin van Buuren kindly reminds us to eat, sleep, rave and repeat before the coup-de-grace of Deadmau5.

’Tale of Us – Live @ 3842 Meters (Chamonix)’

I want to hate Deadmau5’s performance, I really do. But I can’t. I absolutely love it. We saw him play a fantastic unplugged set at Mansion in Miami in January, but due to the disrespectful and unenthusiastic VIPs stationed directly in front of Joel, he vowed to never play another Miami club. I get where Deadmau5 is coming from…we were literally the only people jumping up and down in VIP when he dropped Strobe, and that, in my opinion, is heresy! Deadmau5 still took everyone’s money, and his comments and tweets regarding the experience left us disappointed. Club Space eventually came to the rescue of Miami Mau5 fans and offered the music producer $25,000 and all travel expenses paid if he would come back to Miami and put on a club show for the fans. Mr. Zimmerman graciously accepted the offer and $1 tickets were sold out within minutes.

Tonight, Deadmau5 showcases what he’s been toiling with on his MOOGs. His visualizations accompanying the darker feel of his new tunes are extraordinary. The beginning of his set starts with a finely honed version of “777” (atleast that’s what he had called it on his Soundcloud). An enormous cartoon of an upside down, dangling, naked man being held on to by a demon clutching his toes is terrifying and intoxicating to watch on the Ultra vortex. A stirring rendition of Martin Garrix’s “Animals” combined with “Old McDonald Had a Farm” follows suit, and the crowd is somewhat uneasy with the trolling. Is he calling us stupid? Perhaps. The rest of the set is filled with neon jellyfish and mind melting drops that ooze aural
excellence. Deadmau5’s performance leaves nothing to be desired, and the experience is a dragon that we will be chasing for a LONG time.

The city air is crisp, palm trees sway. Our ears are ringing as the sudden quiet slowly seeps in. We trek with the other lemmings back north, reflecting on the momentous display of music and lights we’ve just witnessed. The night, however, is far from over. After a quick change of garments in to something more worthy of South Beach, we catch a cab across the bay once more. Our destination is Treehouse. The lounge is hosting a barrage of burly Germans, most notably the “super-house” slayers known as andhim.

’andhim live at Fusion Festival 2013’

Treehouse has two rooms for our auditory delight, red and blue. It’s tough to decide which room we like more, as both are crowded with gorgeous partiers, top notch DJs, and full bars. The sweat we’ve worked up requires we head outside to cool down and decompress, but not for long. andhim is coaxing us back inside, and their beards are too mighty to be away from their set for long. Their “super-house” is deep, pretty, and minimal. One cannot help but feel happy when these two are on the 1’s and 2’s. We should go to Berlin!

Well, there’s surprise guests still at Ultra (Skrillex and Diplo), and Paul van Dyk at the Megastructure is sure to be mega-amazing, but we are SPENT my friends. That’s it for us. Thank you for venturing along this wild week with us. We hope you’ve had fun and picked up some new music to take home with you. Until next year, keep dancing.

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