Techno Tuesday: Meet the venerated crew behind Desert Hearts
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Out on the West Coast, a crew of five friends are steadily changing the festival landscape. Desert Hearts, as the collective is known, have fostered one of the more dedicated communities in the house and techno space. Their eponymous, bi-annual event draws thousands of revelers out to the reclusive Los Coyotes Reservation in Southern California. Off the grid, without WIFI or cell phone service, they throw a 72-hour festival where the music doesn’t stop. Centered around one stage, attendees drift in and out of the dancefloor at their convenience, never overtly concerned with who is playing at the moment, always trusting the crew’s savvy lineup curation.
As the festival bubble continues to get more saturated, Desert Hearts have managed to not only stand out from the crowd, but to present an experience that is wholly unique and undeniably authentic.
This weekend, from April 1-4, Desert Hearts will host their annual Spring festival featuring the likes of Butch, DJ Harvey, Extrawelt, Jozif, Super Flu, Yokoo (among others), and of course, the Desert Hearts crew themselves. Ahead of the event, we’ve asked the crew to reflect on the incredible success of their burgeoning events brand.
Tickets for Desert Hearts Spring Festival are available here.
Photo Credit: Jorg Photo
What’s the hardest part about throwing a 72 hour festival?
The hardest part is balancing the pre-festival logistics, touring, and onsite logistics while still being able to focus on our passions. Now that we’re touring in the winter and summer it’s been a huge learning process planning the festival while on the road. It’s taught us a lot about team building, delegating, and further strengthening our community. Something awesome that’s turned out to be positive from this difficulty is that we’ve began to create teams at the festival that are beginning to run on their own. Whether it be volunteer coordination, medical, security, traffic control, box office, art curation, or any other aspect of the festival … smaller sub communities exist, form, and continue to grow within the Desert Hearts community. Which will eventually allow the festival to become a living organism that plans and creates itself more and more. In turn, allowing us more time to focus on the bigger picture and the vision of Desert Hearts. We really want to spread this love to the world and focus on keeping our home festival intimate and organic, while also growing internationally by exploring opportunities for boutique festivals and special Desert Hearts experiences around the planet.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned in your three years of throwing Desert Hearts?
The biggest thing I’ve learned in all my three years of throwing Desert Hearts is that intimacy is the key to keeping that impeccable vibe. Prior to the first Desert Hearts, I attended a bunch of massive sized festivals for half a decade. I had an amazing time at all these festivals, but they were lacking vibe and they were nothing more than a party. Every festival with multiple stages always has a bunch of conflicts when it came to set times. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been walking to another stage and pass by a huge group of your friends that are walking to the other stage. By the time you decide who to see, you’ve already missed half of that act’s set. At Desert Hearts, keeping it intimate at about 3,000 attendee’s, you either find your friends on the dancefloor or just a short walk away at your campsite. At the end of the day.. One Stage, one vibe is one of the biggest attributes I’ve learned about throwing a boutique festival.
At what point did you know you had achieved something special with Desert Hearts?
That would be Saturday night at our very first Desert Hearts. We had gone through numerous challenges to make it happen and endured freezing temperatures, so when it finally came together the vibe was magical. I remember being on the dance floor surrounded by happy faces and telling the boys that we’d created something special and that DH was going to change the world with love. There were only a couple of hundred people there but everyone came together that night and it was the start of our beautiful family. People often ask me if I could have possibly imagined us getting to where we are at so quickly. I believe that you have to believe 100% in your goals for them to manifest, and that we’re barely scratching the surface of our intention to spread love and positivity to the world.
Where do you see Desert Hearts in 5 years?
5 years from now I’d like to see our label ‘Desert Hearts Records’ being the driving force behind getting our message of love and positive energy spread to the far reaches of the world. It’s undeniable that our festivals in Southern California have always been the backbone of our Desert Hearts Community, but it’s the easy accessibility of the label and the music that’s allowed us to share our family’s ethos with the rest of the world. In 5 years I think we’ll be throwing Desert Hearts Festivals and City Hearts Tours in likeminded communities all around the world. This is a movement our love and our music is the medium in which we choose to push it forward.
What’s one thing that will never change about Desert Hearts?
The one thing that will never change about Desert Hearts is that contagious vibe and sense of community. Whether it’s below freezing temperature with face piercing winds, or police helicopters circling above, the vibe has always and will always be.
What’s your favorite aspect of the Desert Hearts community?
Marbs: “Music should make you feel something, it should move you in more ways than one. Desert Hearts brings people together through this universal connection of music and art. It’s changed many lives for the better. It’s planted a seed in a generation of people who want more love and more community. The best part is … it’s spreading and that’s beautiful.”
Deep Jesus: Hearing the numerous stories of how Desert Hearts has impacted each person in a unique and positive way. From getting someone off hardcore drugs to the endless amount of newly established lifelong connections…these stories and memories will be with me forever.
Porky: “Making an global paradigm shift towards towards love, freedom, & self-expression!”
Mikey: “When someone discovers the Desert Hearts Community for the first time and realizes this is exactly what they’ve been looking for all their life.”
Lee Reynolds: The positive intentions and love that everybody shares. Seeing that many people opening their hearts to each other and expressing their inner beauty.