Lee Burridge talks ‘spiritual botox’ and growing his culture ahead of new All Day I Dream tour [Interview]
Lee Burridge’s Burning Man-inspired brainchild, All Day I Dream, has become synonymous with infectiously positive energy, pleasurable aesthetics, and hypnotic, intricate music that keeps audiences fully engaged for hours at a time. The brand, which evolved from a Resident Advisor mix title into a small outdoor gathering on a Brooklyn rooftop, has since expanded into a transformational institution of sorts with an adjoining record label that embodies its ideology in sonic form.
ADID’s expansion comes as little surprise, given Burridge’s long years serving the electronic community. His resume demonstrates his keen intuition at finding and nurturing new aspects of dance music that will later attract legions of fans for years to come. The first hint of this comes from his fabled early days in Hong Kong and Thailand, where the then-young talent played a sizable role in developing the regions’ underground club scenes.
After further growing his career back home in the UK and becoming a figurehead within the minimal movement, Burridge grew heavily involved with the culture of Burning Man. It was on the Playa where his tastes blossomed into what we often hear from him today: emotive, bittersweet shades of house and techno that are often otherworldly in nature.
Now, Burridge and his team draw thousands of fans each year into the All Day I Dream fold, all of which are enthralling in their beautiful, immersive setups with music yielding the ability to take attendees on journeys from day to night, or night to morning. Furthermore, Lee’s constantly smiling face and optimistic outlook on life creates a symbiotic relationship between himself, his accompanying artists, and the crowd, making for a unique energy present at All Day I Dream events that is often hard to come by.
The next step has finally arrived for Lee & his ADID crew: a world tour. Deemed “All Day I Dream A Summer of Love,” the tour will unfold across various cities across the globe for a total of 22 stops. Before the tour kicks off at Los Angeles’ Gin Ling Way venue, Lee Burridge linked up with Dancing Astronaut to discuss his philosophy for ADID’s growth, how he works with producers to create such ethereal music, and finally, how he uses “spiritual botox” and his love of music to maintain his energized, ever-bubbly persona.
ADID is returning to Gin Ling Way for its first LA Summer show in quite some time. What inspired the move to that venue as opposed to your old digs at the Egyptian?
We’ve traditionally only done the Egyptian on January 1st. During Summertime I always try to find venues that are more open with more sky. We’ve been looking for ranches and green spaces but damn wedding planners keep getting the locations! I really enjoyed Gin Ling way earlier this year and as it only gets to hold several events like this per year we are very lucky to be able to return.
How did the world tour idea come about? Was it just that you realized global hunger for ADID had risen to the point where you felt ready to embark on such an endeavor?
I’ve always hoped to be able to share the All Day I Dream experience with music lovers around the world. Music is such a universal language that can really go everywhere and it would, at least, resonate with a few like minded souls.I wanted to grow ADID slowly though. I felt it was really important to create a home or homes for the party. To allow it’s identity to be built by those attending as well as my vision. It’s character and feeling comes not only from the music but the way people relate to it and embrace it as part of their experience. The US is it’s place of birth and it’s spiritual home. It’s where Summer season happens and where other countries look to when they think of it. Over the past six years I’ve slowly built out from New York to LA and now San Francisco as it’s hubs. Then also creating a regular event at Off Sonar as well as London (until the club burned down…I swear it wasn’t me!).In the past two years, all the other one off events in places like Berlin, Moscow, Morocco and Paris have shined a light on the feeling and the experience and have allowed me to take it globally with a preceding reputation. This has created a momentum for it before even arriving in new lands. I’ve started working with a new and very talented team of people who are looking after All Day I Dream and after extensive meetings and planning we decided the idea is ready to create a project like this.
Since choosing the right venue where ADID can optimize its positive impact, how do you know innately when a certain place or country is the right one to break new ground or return to?
Returning to a place is easy. The parties and response were amazing! Picking new locations relies on the knowledge of my agent Jazz who works tirelessly on behalf of his roster of artists including myself and now All Day I Dream. He works closely with promotors all over the world and finds the right people to work with. These are people who understand the vibe and ethos of my idea and can translate that locally. We have looked at all sorts of venues and certain ones just speak to me. Obviously I’m always looking for locations that present organic elements such as ones near the ocean, a park with trees and greenery or even a desert with a sunset. The more natural backdrops allow our production a great stage to stand on, however we aren’t limited by just those. Some of our events are held in cities and those cases, I look for as much sky as possible. We’ve been asked to do the event in clubs—as is the case at ADE in Amsterdam where it’s winter and too cold—but unless certain things prohibit us, I want to remain exclusively an outdoor event.
Any “bucket list” destinations you’re conquering with this world tour? What places remain?
I really think South America is a place where we can create real magic. I’m hoping to return to Australia as we ran up against some issues last time. The events were actually super nice but I feel we can do a lot more there. I’l like to establish a presence in Ibiza but venue options have proven difficult this year and I’d love to do a winter one in the snow somewhere in the mountains. Oh, and from day one there’s a location in the Atlas mountains in Morocco where they meet the desert and a lake. Beautiful! Oh, Oh…and Iceland. What an amazing backdrop. OK, there are still loads of places I intend to take the event.
As ADID expands into a strong global force, do you see your setup potentially evolving once more? Like, have different places on your travels thus far inspired you to add details to “the temple” and such to make it feel more whimsical or entrancing?
I always intend to keep evolving the aesthetic; it’s an important part of the overall experience. We have our key ingredients that form the identity, but the structures for the booth will, hopefully, continue to change each year or two. There will be a new structure at the second New York event this summer as we had to move our opening event from the Mirage (due to it not being open in time for the June event), we decided to save it for the second event. I’m always looking to integrate elements from my travels in to the event. I like it when people notice the level of detail that goes in to the parties. There’s so much work prior to Summer as well as the days before in the build and I only intend to make it more and more detailed for my poor staff who build it all night long! Sorry guys :)
You’ve collaborated with Lost Desert quite a bit – 3 times or so in the past year with your Loopyness EP being the most recent. What has drawn you to him in particular as a composing partner?
We’ve actually got new music coming out this month, July and September too! I feel really lucky to have met him and also Junior who sings on Lingala and many of the other tracks. They are both very generous souls and lovely to spend time with. When it’s easy to spend time with someone it’s a good foundation to work off of. Lost Desert is a super talented musician and we both are on the same wave length musically right now.
How do tracks fall into place for you, as someone who isn’t quite well-versed in production? Are most of your ideas sparked simultaneously like “Stand Up” was at Burning Man, or do you come up with ideas for tracks and approach a producer that you feel would best make your idea a reality?
I’m lucky in the fact that LD is always working on new musical ideas—sketches or loops to build on. I’m able to bring a certain feeling and direction to that. The world of All Day I Dream has it’s own unique flavour and opening up LD’s talent to that has helped guid each musical composition. I’ve found certain times being immersed in a track you’re working on that it’s hard to step back from the track sometimes. If I’ve not been a part of that process, my ears are fresh and able to figure out which parts are working and which aren’t. We are still really only getting started and I want to be able to bring more to the studio each time I’m there. In the mean time I’m (still) the one shouting for more reverb and throwing in samples from all the TV I’m watching instead of working on the music ;)
You’ve noted that your music these days seems to appeal more to “the ladies” due to it’s melodic, sentimental nature. Do you ever feel like more “macho” men close their minds to this type of stuff because they don’t want to open themselves up and feel vulnerable?
Let me clarify. It’s not that it appeals “more to the ladies”. It’s simply attracting a lot more girls than most of the other events I’ve seen. Girls really seem to resonate with the whole experience and it’s a very comfortable, stylish and pleasant environment for them. We also have a huge amount of guys there too. I’m not sure too many would describe themselves as “macho” but we have a broad cross section of people. I don’t think anyone should limit their experience to one thing. Everyone is welcome with us. I’m sure there are plenty of people who think the party and the music isn’t great but that’s probably more down to personal taste than feeling vulnerable. Perhaps I just don’t know those kind of guys though. Why wouldn’t they want to come hang out at a party full of beautiful people though?
What are your secrets to maintaining that beguiling, youthful energy you unfailingly possess at each of your shows? It’s infectious!
Spiritual botox (hmmm…that sounds like I should trademark it and start a cult and dose everyone up with it)! Seriously though, I think it’s the music and the company I keep. I’m grateful each and every day for being given the gift of living a life following my dream. Music has allowed me freedom in my life and choices and makes me very happy and content. When I play music it always takes a hold of me and I become some sort of channel to another place. If I’m sick, I’m not while I’m playing. If I’m in pain, I’m not while I’m playing. I actually had an abscess under my tooth a few years ago at an All Day I Dream on the rooftop in Brooklyn that for 7 hours didn’t bother me while I was DJing…until I turned the music off that is!)Also, spending so much time in the presence of youthful energy is always contagious. The dance floor tends to stay the same age. I also see a lot of opposing energy in the world. Let’s simplify and say positive and negative. Right now negative energy is everywhere. You feel it. You see it. As someone in a position where I am able and lucky enough to feel positivity, I have to share that. I have to pass it on. I try to do that with All Day I Dream and the music I play. Even if I can affect just one more person. Make them a little more positive than they were that day or that week then, perhaps, that also will continue to spread out.
Where do you see ADID in five years from now? Do you think it will grow to the point where there will be even more parties thrown without you since the brand is thriving so much at the moment?
I really hope it will continue to grow. I like the idea of it being able to take place without me as there are so many talented artists who can also create an amazing vibe. I’d love to hold down monthly Summer residencies all over the world as the continuity of a monthly event really allows the whole experience to go deeper. For us to give more as well especially with the production and decor. I also want to be able to create one special event each year in a difference location that we invite all those who love the experience so much to. Those who truly are dreamers. To get them together from all corners of the world just so they can share a weekend together.
Final words of wisdom to the people who are about to be treated to a dreamy experience?
Never answer the final question anyone asks you to remain slightly mysterious.
As we sit, allured, by Burridge’s esoteric signoff, we are happy to present the “All Day I Dream: A Summer of Love” tour dates below:
Tickets and tour information are available here.