Dancing Astronaut Gives Thanks 2019
Today is Thanksgiving. It’s a time to give thanks for good health, good friends, good family, and, of course, good music. We thought we’d take the time to pay tribute to our favorite parts of dance music culture on this day of thanks, not only for the ones behind the turntables while we get to party, but for the greater dance music culture and its constantly expanding fanbase. This one’s for the producers and performers that put their full hearts and souls into everything they do, the clubs that go all out every night of the week, and the people who live and breathe dance music. Today, we celebrate you. It’s the least we can do.
I’m grateful for all the badass women burning expectations to the ground. The landscape will never be the same after 2019. From the DJs and producers to the writers, management, photographers, designers, and publicists who get the good word out—we’re out here, and we’re running shit. No nook or corner of this kooky, spectacular EDM continuum is safe from us now, and for that I am ever grateful.
As another year closes in, I am thankful that dance music continues to be a fixture in my life. I am thankful that we have continued to honor the influence and legacy of those we have lost—from Keith Flint to Avicii—and that what they gave us will live on forever. I am thankful for Flume’s return, his boundary-pushing craft, and for being one of my first introductions to the genre. I am eternally thankful for Above & Beyond for blessing us with group therapy and everyone on the Anjuna roster for always putting out damn good music.
More importantly, I can’t forget to thank the people who make it as poignantly special of a community as possible. To my Dancing Astronaut teammates, I’m unspeakably grateful to have found a talented bunch that geek out on music as much, if not more than I do. To all my rave fam, you catch me in moments unlike any other. I’m blessed to have been able to build a connection as intimate and profound as the ones I have with you all.
For the third year in a row, it’s been an absolute honor and privilege to work for such an upstanding publication. I’m thankful for my DA coworkers, who keep me both sane and insane. I’m thankful for the ever-growing electronic music scene, with all its ups and downs. And though I said this last year, it cannot be overstated: I’m thankful for artists who have spoken openly about mental health this year. Thank you for starting conversations and showing people they’re not alone.
This year in dance music I am thankful for one aspect more than anything—the people. I am always the guy who puts music first. I’ll roll up to a three-day festival alone and not make any efforts to engage with anyone there throughout the weekend. Now, this largely due to my very personal relationship with music that I tend to enjoy in solitude. It also stems in part from my own issues with social anxiety and self-esteem, and oftentimes I would avoid branching out within the scene out of fear; fear of rejection, fear of vulnerability.
2019 was the first year where I truly overcame that fear and reaped the rewards as such. The number of people I’ve met across this trip around the sun who share my values and goals gives me faith and energy. There are so many passionate people around you when you’re at a festival, a rave, or a club night. Only after I wasn’t afraid to display my passion did I realize that was the case, and passionate people are what the world needs right now. I am certainly the still the guy who puts the music first, but now I appreciate the music even more (which I didn’t think is possible) because I know that my love I have for it is not only mine.
As a music journalist based in the Tri-state area, I’m grateful to have so many electronically dedicated music venues within reach, such as BASEMENT, Avant Gardner/Brooklyn Mirage, the Knockdown Center, Terminal 5, and of course, Webster Hall. Each of these sites has its own distinct ambiance; it’s nice to have this variation of vibes available for these live experiences. Electronic culture is alive and well in New York, and each year it seems only to augment and change in new, exciting ways.
On the A&R end of things, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work closely with some ascendant artists who will assuredly make waves as they continue to dive into electronic music. CC NOKO, Tropix, Shae District, Chris Varvaro, Solstis, So Dope, KC Gilmore, the list goes on. The same is true of working with the publicists who have coordinated interviews and exclusives, and shared new music/artists with me in the name of creating valuable content. Music journalists couldn’t do what we do without publicists, so I’m grateful to have had the chance to work with some great ones this year in an effort to bring the releases that deserves support to the forefront.
First and foremost, I am beyond thankful to be a part of the Dancing Astronaut family. Having a platform to discuss what I’m most passionate about, electronic music, is a dream come true. Currently residing in Shanghai, I also truly appreciate the artists that go out of their way to tour in China and continue to support the vibrant electronic music community that’s present and growing here. As far as actual music is concerned, three specific pieces I could not live without in 2019 come to mind, so I’d like to give special thanks to Ship Wrek for their 1001Tracklists mix, Virtual Riot for his ‘Still Kids’ EP, and Ace Aura for FINALLY blessing us with this melodic riddim ID he’s been teasing for what seems like eternity. The global EDM community is my home, and I’m so thankful for the many friends, artists, and professionals I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet through it. Happy Thanksgiving!
I am thankful that 2019 saw an enthusiastic return of the full length album. Not to say that the LP has gone out of style, but 2019 has yielded such an amazing collection of albums, it felt like this year brought an applied emphasis to album structure. Avicii’s posthumous TIM gave one final glimpse at the work one of our generation’s brightest stars was creating. Audien, who has been a household name for years, finally released his debut Escapism. Illenium continued to prove his versatility and talent as the pioneer of future bass with Ascend. 2019 was practically defined by Madeon’s return with Good Faith. Flume, M83, and The Chemical Brothers all turned in brilliant full length projects this year. While EPs and singles fuel the industry, nothing can replace the sonic journey a well-thought album takes a listener through.
This year I am just thankful for the work. I am thankful I get to help guide some of the most incredibly sharp and talented women run this publication. I have seen every iteration of Dancing Astronaut, and to still be around such continued enthusiasm for this brand’s mission over what has been close to a decade now really warms my heart. There’s a village of people that bleed for DA and I can’t thank them enough. I am also thankful for the DA alumnus out there—the ones running other major music publications, DJing alongside deadmau5, creating software that’s changing the game, curating on our favorite streaming platforms, managing today’s top acts, and producing creative content for some of the biggest brands in the world. Thank you all for contributing to electronic music in the ways that you do.
I’m especially thankful this year for the Dancing Astronaut team; four-and-half-years later they continue to have my back, teach me new things, and remain supportive through thick and thin. This year has also seen some incredible new writers join the team, and I couldn’t be any more excited of the direction the site will take in the coming year. Harry, Mo, Josh, Rugby, Mitch, Jessica, Ben—you are all ROCKSTARS! Keep up the good work. To my fellow management teammates—Bella, Dave, Robyn, and Natalie—major shout-out to you as well for killing it at all times of the year.
Another thing I’ve been thankful for this year is the grassroots side of dance music here in LA. It’s been amazing to see the fruits of various local promoters paying off; our scene is florishing right now with some of the best talent finally making their westward trek out here. The community seems to grow tighter with each passing year as well, which I completely love. Cheers to that!