These are all the artists playing our 2023 Miami Music Week pool party
We catch up with every artist playing our Miami Music Week pool party at the Sagamore Hotel: ACRAZE, Cassy, Dombresky, Dom Dolla, Heidi Lawden, Jaden Thompson, Kasia, LP Giobbi, Purple Disco Machine and Mau P
DJ Mag returns to South Beach for our annual pool party as part of Miami Music Week on Wednesday 22nd March. You can watch all the sets from the event below.
We caught up with every artist playing the event, including ACRAZE, Cassy, Dombresky, Dom Dolla, Heidi Lawden, Jaden Thompson, Kasia, LP Giobbi, Purple Disco Machine and Mau P, below.
Our Miami Music Week pool party takes place at the Sagamore Hotel as part of the Epic Pool Parties series, which lasts from 22nd to 26th March. As well as hosting the opening party, DJ Mag will be presenting the parties at the venue throughout the week.
The full line-up for the series, including DJ Mag’s own party on 22nd March, include global house mainstays Defected on Thursday 23rd, Nick Warren's The Soundgarden on Friday 24th, The Epic Pool Party with a special b2b from Danny Tenaglia and Seth Troxler on Saturday 25th, and Glitterbox on Sunday 26th.
Five-day passes for the series are available now for $250, while info on tickets and VIP tables for the series are available via the Epic Pool Party website.
“It’s been such a journey,” says ACRAZE. “Last year I reached so many milestones: winning an award for ‘Do It To It’, doing almost 160 shows, playing in so many different countries for the first time, doing things I never thought I‘d be able to do.” Speaking on the phone from LA one February morning, the DJ and producer hasn’t been out of bed long, but already sounds full of energy as he gets to talking about his plans for 2023. “We’ve been planning a lot of stuff that we didn’t get to do last year, like put out a merch line and start doing production at shows — like building my own stage, start doing more hard ticket shows — and trying to build my brand as much as possible.”
It’s been a whirlwind two years for ACRAZE. Though he’d seen some success before producing turbo-charged Jersey club tracks, it was 2021’s ‘Do It To It’ — a tech-house slugger featuring the main vocal hook from R&B group Cherish’s 2006 track of the same name — that really put him on the map. First dropping it at a New Year’s party as 2020 became ’21, the track snowballed to become one of the biggest tunes of the year, cracking the top 10 in the UK, USA and plenty more countries, becoming a TikTok mega hit, and being played by DJs from across the dance music spectrum. ACRAZE rode the ‘Do It To It’ wave to Ultra, Tomorrowland and stages across North America, Europe and Asia, showcasing his considerable DJ skills.
Last year, he dropped ‘Believe’, neatly side-stepping the potential pitfalls of following up such a huge debut by opting for a proggy reach-for-the-lasers melody and chugging psytrance low-end. A collaboration with UK duo Goodboys, the track’s vocal borrows parts from Fragma’s 2000 classic ‘Toca’s Miracle’, giving it just enough of a nostalgic lean for fans to make the connection with ‘Do It To It’, while showcasing ACRAZE’s versatility. “‘Do It To It’ to ‘Believe’ was definitely a big sonic change, but it’s gonna hint at some stuff that might be coming throughout the year,” he explains, adding that he’s been working hard on “trying to build my own sound”.
He’s already lining up his next drop, which features a sample from Natasha Bedingfield’s ‘Pocketful Of Sunshine’. “It sounds pretty massive. I’ve been working on it for a while,” he says, recalling how the inspiration to finish the first version of the track struck right before his show with DJ Snake at the Parc Des Princes (the home stadium of PSG football club) in Paris last June.
While the track continues his run of noughties nostalgia-powered music, ACRAZE says he’s already moving beyond that sound. “I’m always trying to think of what could be next, I’m always trying to experiment,” he tells us. “The next one is gonna be really cool, it does involve a sample, but a lot of the next records probably won’t.”
When it comes to new records, he plans to potentially release as many as 10 in 2023. He’ll also be scaling back on shows somewhat, after suffering with burnout last year. “I don’t think DJs realise how bad it can be to travel so much and be so fatigued every day and tired,” says ACRAZE. He believes being able to talk to people, whether that be a mental health professional or your team (he refers to his own as “family”), is key when times are tough. Taking downtime to explore the places he visits while touring is something he wants to do more of this year too. “I think it’s important for people to see the world, and new inspiration might be drawn from seeing stuff you haven’t [seen before],” he says.
There’ll still be plenty of opportunities to catch ACRAZE in action at festivals, his Wynn Las Vegas residency, some dates in new places around the world, and of course, at DJ Mag’s Miami pool party. But, he says, this year he’ll be “keeping back and focusing more on music, so that way I’ll have a bigger next year.” BEN HINDLE
“Maybe I’m going to stop DJing altogether, who knows?” Cassy is walking through LAX airport in the midst of her US tour. But there was a time during the pandemic when she didn’t know if she would ever be on the road again. She’d split with her label manager and her artist manager. There were pressing-plant issues, she had written an album but couldn’t find a home for it and was tired of the hustle. In that moment, she decided she was just going to do what she wanted, with no agenda. “I focused on what was right,” she says. “On what I was 100% behind, and I only made tracks I really loved.” It’s an age-old sentiment but one that so many artists lose sight of when they get to a certain level. The pressure to be who people expect, to play a certain way, to conform can all be overbearing and, in some cases, end up throttling all creativity. That’s where Cassy found herself despite having achieved so much.
Over the last 20 years she became an established part of the underground — resident at Panorama Bar in Berlin, Output in New York, Ibiza’s DC-10 and Amsterdam’s Trouw among other places. She had her own label, she has released on the quality likes of Perlon, Aus Music and Uzuri, but was no longer as inspired as she once was. But that was then, and this is now, and she’s back making some of the best music of her life.
The album that never was did eventually get released, but as two EPs — ‘CBM 1’ and ‘CBM 2’ — on Housewax. “It worked out better that way,” she says. “I’m not a pure music person, I’m a DJ, I just want to make tracks for the club, house-y stuff that isn’t for banging out.” As well as those two EPs which offered up timeless house — some deep and dusty, some soulful and tech-leaning — she has also started a series of EPs that are inspired by what she thinks her DJ heroes might be playing today. More are to follow, as is a first solo EP on her own Kwench label for 18 months. It’s a label that is now flying and has helped clarify Cassy’s mission: at first she set out with the aim of “releasing lots of different young artists quite frequently, but that was too stressful and not what I wanted. Now I just want to release like four EPs a year that I really like.” That means she is making a broad range of styles with a range of artists who inspire her.
Having recently dug all her vinyl out of storage, Cassy is also in love with DJing once more. She’s someone who plays across the board, mixing up the right amount of head, heart and heel in what she plays. Of course, she was long associated with her key residency at Panorama Bar, but that came with its downsides. “It was annoying when people would come up to me and be like ‘Oh, can you play like you play at Panorama Bar?’ and I’d say, ‘No I cannot, we’re not in Panorama Bar!’”
One place she does always enjoy is Miami. “I love it, it’s one of my happy places,” she says. “I always have a really good time playing there and I love that I get to meet so many people at the conference, so I can’t wait to play this year.” KRISTAN J CARYL
"Miami is like Vegas right now. It’s going crazy there all the time,” grins premiership house producer Dombresky as DJ Mag speaks to him just weeks ahead of joining us at our pool party for Miami Music Week. “I try and stay a maximum of 48 hours and then I have to leave or I’m in trouble!”
Montpellier-born/LA-based, Dombresky knows Miami well. It’s the first US city he located to when he made the bold move to up sticks from France, quit his life as a commercial R&B and hip-hop DJ, and become the producer you see at the top of line-ups today. “Me, my manager and another DJ friend moved there, but we didn’t know anyone there!” he laughs again. “It was not the best place to network or meet the industry, so after six months we moved to LA, which was much better. I think it was the right move.”
With a packed schedule and a discography bulging with universally appreciated and applauded anthems, it’s safe to say he definitely made the right move. In fact, when he first headed to America, Dombresky didn’t even produce. Now his tracks have become a staple across the house music spectrum — from deep house to bass house and even mainstream EDM. “It’s funny,” considers the DJ born Quentin Dombres. “But Martin Garrix is actually playing ‘Soul Sacrifice’ now. I made that four years ago and he’s playing it today!”
Dombresky is all about the marathon and not the sprint. We contemplate other big crossover anthems he’s had over the last five or so years. Cuts like ‘Utopia’, ‘Simple Hit’, ‘Down Low’ and many other big releases all boasted traits of instant anthem status from the moment they dropped — big grooves, universal across the ever-sprawling sub-genre menu, instantly reloadable and always feel-good — but it took months for them to heat up. “All my music has taken time. It never becomes huge when I release it, it grows over time,” he agrees. “But I love that process. It’s always my personal goal to make timeless music. I want my music to not sound old in five or 10 years, you know? It’s a long journey. It’s a life journey!”
Next up on the process-loving Frenchman’s life journey is a new single, ‘I Really Love You’. It drops during Miami Music Week and flips the flavour from his previous single — the acidic thumper ‘Save Our Souls’ with Noizu — back to the funkier, disco-tinged, big hooky signature he came through with when he emerged on Tchami’s Confessions almost 10 years ago. “We had a lot of fun going back to back and bringing back that classic rave sound,” says Quentin of his Noizu link-up last year. “That was a good adventure but now I’m focused back on Dombresky.”
Focused and firing on all cylinders. While he’s clearly in his element playing the long game and sculpting tracks super-charged with longevity that can take months to build up hype, Dombresky is too savvy to let the industry catch him resting on his laurels. “You have to accept the rules of the game if you want to play the game, right? The reality of the industry is that everything is going so fast now and the appetite of people is so much so I need to release a bit more than I currently do,” he reflects. “So my intention now is to keep the quality but be a little faster.”
With plans to develop his label Process Records later this year too, 2023 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Dombresky. Providing he stays out of trouble, of course... DAVE JENKINS
Every kid thinks they know what they want to be when they grow up. A young Dominic Matheson planned to follow in his father’s footsteps and study architecture. Upon completing Year 12, his old man offered simple advice: “Make sure you want to do it before you do it.”
A decade and change later, it’s clear the mustachioed producer took those words to heart. Today, Matheson is an architect of sorts — but not the kind who records punch lists or designs luxury high rises. Dom Dolla records body-moving vocal lines. He designs soulful melodies. He’s an artist who enlists a DIY mindset to construct enduring earworms from start to finish. And some days he still has to pinch himself to make sure the towering life he’s erected for himself is real. “I never saw my career getting this far,” he tells DJ Mag in a tone of genuine disbelief. “I’ve sort of smashed the goal I’ve set for myself over the years, and I know that if I wasn’t working with the people that I loved, I probably wouldn’t have made it this far, because I wouldn’t love doing it so much. That isn’t lost on me — I’m just so grateful.”
And Matheson has plenty to be thankful for. On top of assembling a team made up of his best friends on the planet, the globetrotting producer is riding high off his most propulsive year yet — one that’s seen him sell out monolithic venues, share stages with pop stars, and drop one of the year’s most buzzed-about tracks. We’re referring, of course, to the nostalgia-tinged ‘Miracle Maker’, which has amassed 25 million streams and counting.
Months later, its ’90s-inspired textures and dazzling R&B toplines continue to slam speakers across continents. When Dom met Tiësto at Tomorrowland last summer (or “God", as he’s coined his luminary on social media) the Dutch artist revealed that the only reason he didn’t slip the chart-topping tune into his own set was “because every other DJ had already played it,” so yeah, it’s safe to say things are moving along quite nicely for the always-smiling Aussie, who approaches any limitation as an opportunity for innovation.
When we catch up with Matheson via video call, we’re still sipping our morning coffee, but it’s nearly dusk in the Southern Hemisphere, where our cover star is enjoying a rare break from the road. He started 2023 off with a bang, on stage at Beyond The Valley Festival in his home state of Victoria, with Canadian songstress Nelly Furtado in tow. Now that the holiday madness has passed, Dom’s recharging near his old stomping grounds, among the people and places he knows best.
“I’m at my mum and dad’s in Melbourne at the moment. This is the family house I grew up in,” he shares, warmly gesturing around the room. From the looks of it, it’s an incredible estate to kick back in, with lofty ceilings and sprawling windows, designed by his father in the period following his retirement. “All of this is Filipino furniture, these are called Paminggalans, I believe.” Matheson points to the standing cabinetry in the background, indicating lesser-known aspects of his history. Until the mid-’90s, his father oversaw building projects in the bustling city of Manila. His mother worked in health and community development, taking time off when their two children were born. Dom came first, and his sister a few years later.
“I wish I could remember it, but they spent the better part of a decade there. I really should take them back one day,” he says, looking off as though a light bulb’s gone off in his head. The family of four returned to Australia when Dom was two, eventually settling in the small town of Darwin in the Northern Territory. Dad was a huge jazz fan, while the matriarch was partial to Spanish flamenco’s rapid strums. So, when Matheson discovered electronic music at a young age, it was purely by chance.
Bali — one of his mum’s frequent holiday destinations — was only a short flight away. “In Indonesia, you could buy these burned movies and CDs for $1. She’d ask, ‘Oh, what songs do you want?’ and I’d say, ‘Just pick ones with the cool album covers’” Dom recalls, acting out the youthful eagerness that accompanied seeing her off on trips. On one such excursion, she came home with a particularly slammin’ souvenir for her baby boy — a bootleg copy of Basement Jaxx’s 2001 album, ‘Rooty’. “It has this albino gorilla on the front and this big, pink text, and she thought, ‘Dom would like that,’” he continues. “It was the first time I’d ever really listened to dance music that I was aware of, and I became obsessed. I must have listened to that album something like 1,000 times.” MEGAN VENZIN
The above is an excerpt from Dom Dolla's March 2023 DJ Mag cover story. You can get a copy of the magazine here.
“I remember that when I was a young ‘un, I would always say that with the right kind of music and a half an E, you could have a good time in a telephone box,” said Heidi Lawden in a 2021 interview with DJ Mag. Two years on, it’s a statement the DJ still stands by. “Yeah, I said that,” she doubles down with a light laugh, “and I definitely would say it again — if the music’s right, the vibe and the view, then definitely. You can have a good time anywhere, right?”
Lawden oozes the energy of a lifer — a club kid turned professional raver turned party organiser extraordinaire with a conversational swagger that’s probably got her into as much trouble as it’s got her out of. It’s mid-morning pacific time when we catch up with the LA-based DJ and she’s in a playful, anecdotal mood. “Someone was saying to me the other day,” she pauses to assume a breathy voice, “‘Oooh you should come and play our partay, because we only play stuff over 163BPM and I see that you get there quite often in your sets’. And I’m like, ‘That’s a shame because there’s some really amazing music at 160’, just to fuck with them,” more conspiratorial laughter.
Lawden belongs to a generation that partied every night, fought hard to keep the doors of the warehouses open, and built secure rooms in clubs to stave off robberies. Having moved from Barrow-in-Furness, a ship building town in the north of England, to London to study hairdressing as a teen, she was quickly recruited to a raving crew that got her into the most infamous clubs of the early ‘90s. Soon she was running nights at the Rock Garden and later the Gardening Club, booking the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Terry Farley, Nancy Noise and Steve Bicknell, to name a few.
Head-hunted by Ministry of Sound years later, Lawden curated line-ups with all the first- and second-wave house heavies — Levan, Knuckles, Humphries, Masters At Work — and was also behind the club’s Friday techno night Open All Hours, which brought Mike Huckaby and Carl Craig to town. She even set up the Open All Hours label, signing Craig’s ‘Throw’ EP for its first release. “I hand wrote the press release, sent it out to a few DJs and the label was born.”
By the late ‘90s, Lawden had shifted to artist and label management, before relocating to LA for a quiet life with then-partner DJ Harvey and their son. But that creative energy soon found a new outlet on the West Coast, with Lawden back into booker mode for Hollywood events. It was also when Lawden herself was rediscovered — by her work mates. “I had a wonderful boss and he had a recording studio in one side of the office and a full turntable setup, and I was just mucking about one day after work and everybody was, unbeknownst to me, listening in the other room, and they were just like, ‘What the fuck, you're a DJ? You’re gonna DJ — why are we paying money for all these people?’” And that’s how Lawden stumbled into phase two of her DJ career and the California life of her dreams, playing house parties in Venice on the weekend, where empty pools were transformed into skate parks and everybody was out to have a good, free time.
Lawden sets can lean toward low-swung, cosmic chuggers, but the DJ is also known to play hard and fast. She spent most of January in the studio, circling back to the sounds that built the scene she’s lived and breathed her whole adult life, some of which she might play at DJ Mag’s Miami party. “Dance music’s given me the best living I could have ever imagined,” she says as we get toward the end of our chat. “I live really simply — I appreciate a simple life — and clubbing and organising parties has enabled me to pay my rent, bring up a child and a couple of dogs. It’s a life not a living, and if it felt like a living it would lose some magic for me.” Days later, Lawden sends DJ Mag a few old Ministry fliers — one of which has Margaret Thatcher’s face superimposed on a topless burlesque dancer’s body. “Got in trouble for that one ;),” she messages. RIA HYLTON
"I don't really want to be breaking through forever, you know?" laughs Jaden Thompson. In truth, he is already well past that stage: at 23 years old he’s an established fabric resident — the club's youngest ever — who was recently given a second all-night-long slot in Room 2. He has been a regular on the international circuit for years, is no stranger to the top of the digital charts, and started 2023 with a tour of the States before he returns for our party during Miami Music Week.
When we call him at 2PM one afternoon, he jokes that we're lucky he’s "awake early today". Most nights he works late so rises late, because despite so much success so soon, the politely spoken Jaden is keen to keep progressing. Born in Swindon but now based in Manchester (because there are fewer distractions than in London), he gives off the impression of someone with a wise head and a real sense of focus.
As part of the ongoing mission to take his sound to the next level, he has recently hooked up with singers for the first time. "There's definitely more pressure now," he says when asked about the transition from wide-eyed hopeful to full-time DJ and producer. "The quality of the music has always been important to me, but that's even more true now. It's not right for me then I won't put it out. It won't do me any good, so I have to please myself before I listen to other people."
He’s been right to trust his ear because it has already taken him to labels like Cuttin’ Headz, Material Trax and FFRR. His earliest music got high-profile plays by Pete Tong on Radio 1 and now he has a signature sound that is powerful and physical but never short on warmth and groove. It's inspired by the greats like Kerri Chandler and Omar S, and all because he once got lost down a YouTube rabbit hole as a young teen.
Ever since Jaden first started messing around with production, vocals have been a key part of his sound, though mostly in sample form. He grew up around hip-hop, R&B and soul, and says artists like Erykah Badu, Aaliyah and Mary J. Blige are where he "got the ear for it", adding that, "it's the sound of the vocals rather than the lyrics" which he is drawn to. "If you get that catchy element, it will bang,” he says, "even if the lyrics are in a different language."
Back in late 2021, Thompson started his own label Midnight Parade, but only now is the second release about to drop. "In the past I've been overcritical of my work," he admits. "I thought, 'If it isn't going to be a hit, what's the point?'" These days he's more relaxed, and is now happy making club stuff, crossover stuff, and serving up remixes for the likes of Luuk Van Dijk, The Martinez Brothers and PIV Records, all of which are soon to come. "I know when tunes are done now. Once I like something that's enough, I don't overthink it."
When Jaden lines up for us in Miami it will be his first-ever appearance at Music Week. "I've heard great things and I'm sure there will be good vibes with people by the pool so I will play accordingly." With that, he signs off. There is music to be made. For Jaden, that's what it's all about. KRISTAN J CARYL
KASIA’s musical journey began with two drumsticks. Her father, a hippie who raised his kids on a diet of classic rock of the Polish persuasion, encouraged his daughter to take up an instrument at an early age — she chose the drums. “When I was a child we had two drum sets in the house,” the DJ/producer tells DJ Mag over the phone. “My dad didn’t play much in the house, but there were five of us and he really tried to push each of us in a musical direction.”
KASIA still has a drum set in her Miami apartment, along with other percussion instruments she’s working into her healing practice, the long-term plan being to incorporate live drum samples into future productions. “There are different frequencies of music which set you in different moods and I like to combine these feelings — feelings of nostalgia, euphoria,” she explains. “For me it’s important to combine all these frequencies to give you a whole variety of emotions.”
KASIA is big on energy and intention. She weaves emotional prog house and melodic techno for the big room, often spinning for stadium-size audiences. Whether it’s frenetic and uptempo or a steady and low-swung mix, she’s always drawing on those bottomless, energetic sounds, with the aim of pulling the listener into new states. “My big thing, when I’m preparing a show, is to create a story,” she shares. “I like to create an emotion, to connect people with their inner-self and with those around them — moments of happiness, but also moments of reflection.”
Music has always been in her life, but it took a while for KASIA to arrive at her current path, DJing at key clubbing destinations around the world and producing full-time. Her first port of call after undergraduate studies in Poland and the US was the modelling circuit. It gave opportunities for travel, but not much room for expression. “Being a model, I always understood that I was selling a look, but I had so much more to say and modelling wasn’t fulfilling the part of me that wanted to express more of myself.”
The experience did, however, bring her into closer contact with underground sounds and the DJ booth in particular. It was some four years ago that she began dreaming of a new life. “I was just like, ‘You know what, I'm gonna try. I've been wanting this for so long – what is stopping me? I'm just gonna get the equipment. If I don't try I’ll never know if I'm good or not’.”
KASIA bought a Pioneer XDJ-RX2 and never looked back. “It was the best decision of my life,” she enthuses. “I was obsessed, practising for hours and watching tutorials.” KASIA began producing around the same time she began to DJ — a move she’s glad she made — and when not on tour she’s normally in her New York studio, flanked by a column of keyboards, testing out new sounds. Her debut EP, ‘Concussion’, is scheduled for release March 10th, with more projects rolling out later on in the year.
For DJ Mag’s Miami party, KASIA is hoping to keep things playful and upbeat. She normally sets an intention for each set — so does she have one in mind for the day party yet? “It will be melodic,” she answers, and perhaps a few psychedelic curveballs. “I want to create something uplifting, with higher vibrations but also bring moments of surprise, so when you show up you show them something more than they were expecting.” RIA HYLTON
Since LP Giobbi first walked into Another Planet Entertainment [APE] in Berkeley, California, pretending she had a meeting with the CEO, she’s remained embedded in the music industry. Only a sophomore in college at the time, LP blagged her first job at one of the top concert promoters in the United States. Several years later, LP now balances roles including Global Music Director for W Hotels and co-founder of FEMME HOUSE with a career as a fully fledged producer, DJ and pianist.
At the time of writing, LP Giobbi’s album ‘Garcia (Remixed)’ is about to drop, honouring her ‘Deadhead’ roots — the term for fans of the American rock band Grateful Dead. “I grew up really just listening to jam-band music,” she recalls, speaking from her family home in Eugene, Oregon, where she has an upcoming show. “My parents are Deadheads, so that was a huge part of our upbringing, it was always playing in our house.” That, along with LP’s classical piano practise, which she learnt from the second grade.
‘Garcia (Remixed)’ consists of Grateful Dead tracks co-remixed by DJ Tennis, Le Chev and LP Giobbi. While it’s a song-focused album, LP’s sound can be club-driven too. Last year, she worked with Bklava on the electro-pop anthem ‘Sinner’. She also joined Pete Tong’s Ibiza Classics orchestra in London, accompanying Ultra Naté on piano, who sang her classic track ‘Free’. The night marked a full-circle moment, with LP fusing her classical roots with dance music.
The jam-band influence bleeds into LP’s DJ sets too. “Sometimes I’ll use one deck for acapellas and vocal stuff, one deck for percussion and one deck for instrumental loops, and put things together as I mix, like live remixing,” she says. “I’m trying to make it as improvisational as possible so that every set is different and I’m entertained, and so people can come back not knowing what to expect.”
Having studied Jazz Piano Performance at UC Berkeley while working as an intern at APE, LP learnt about the inner workings of the music biz, which would later benefit her as an artist. When she joined an “all-female electronic synth sci-fi band” after college, LP copped that the producers in the studio were all male. But something clicked when she read an article about Grimes producing her own records. “I realised that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’,” she remembers, describing how she explored Pro-Tools and Ableton. “Because I never saw myself in that [producer] role, it never even occurred to me I could be in that role. That’s when I really learnt the power of visual representation, which is how FEMME HOUSE manifested.”
When LP pursued her solo career in 2018, she bought the cheapest CDJs she could find on craigslist and watched YouTube videos. Then, she landed a string of gigs supporting Sofi Tukker on tour, learning on the job and becoming “a student of the game”. A year later, LP co-launched the non-profit platform FEMME HOUSE with Lauren A. Spalding to cultivate ‘more equitable opportunity for women and gender-expansive individuals’ in all areas of music.
When the pandemic hit, FEMME HOUSE morphed into a machine of its own. A worldwide community signed up for free and paid online technical courses, FEMME HOUSE now hosts multiple in-person workshops, online courses, scholarships for BIPOC individuals and much more. 2020 also signified a turning point for LP, who gradually built a fanbase during her live-streamed DJ marathons. She also produced her breakout house track ‘Meet Again (feat. Little Boots)’.
So how does LP Giobbi juggle the sprawling world of FEMME HOUSE, W Hotels, producing music and life on the road? “Oddly, it kinda helps me be a more balanced person. Also, when you’re an artist, it’s all about you, and I don’t know how healthy that is!” she laughs. “So with FEMME HOUSE, it just reminds me why I am doing this and what’s really important out there — it’s not fame or the success of your personal career, but what are you leaving in the world.” NIAMH O'CONNOR
"I still don’t know what actually happened these past months," says Mau P. "It’s insane." He's referring to the fact that last year he went from unknown to world renowned overnight, all off the back of his debut tune 'Drugs From Amsterdam’. It immediately struck a chord with DJs and dancers thanks to its hooky and anthemic chorus, catchy, bass-heavy house groove and smart samples of his native Amsterdam Metro. Looking back now, the Dutchman says there wasn’t any direct inspiration for the tune, which came to him while doing some grocery shopping.
"I’m always thinking about music when I’m alone," he says. "Out of nowhere, the hook popped up in my head. I immediately recorded it into my phone and while doing so I also came up with the melody. I knew it sounded like a banger in my head and that was affirmed when I started working on it in the studio. I didn’t think about anything except 'this sounds new and I’m having fun'.” And that was enough. The tune has since raced to over 50 million plays and climbed the charts at Shazam, Spotify, Billboard and Beatport. Along the way Mau got congratulatory DMs from David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Tiësto, and as he "started to feel how big this wave was gonna be, I grabbed my surfboard and got on it!"
A debut North American tour followed at the start of 2023, as did sophomore tune 'Gimme That Bounce'. “I was just trying to make a cool beat,” he says of this second sleazy and low-slung tech-house pumper, which features relatable spoken word vocals by Mau himself. "It’s about the 9-to-5 slur we’re all in that we wanna escape by just getting into that bounce at the weekend," he says. "I snuck in some office sounds and samples into the production and every piece of the puzzle fell into place."
After just two tunes, Mau P has already established a signature sound, or "signature feeling" as he prefers to call it. "I want people to listen to a song the same way they would look at a painting; to think about something in a way they haven’t thought of it yet. At the same time it has to have an amazing groove, something you can chant or sing along to, even if it’s just one repeating note."
All this success might seem to have come in an instant, but it was a long time in the making. Mau P had been making music for eight years when he dropped that debut single late last summer. He decided to send a folder full of tunes out to several DJs and it was Lee Foss who reached out to ask about “that Amsterdam track” and then signed it to his Repopulate Mars label.
He has been DJing even longer, playing weddings and school parties as a teenager and later getting into DJ battles to hone his skills. Even before then music was a big part of his life. He grew up in a household of musicians — his late father a saxophone player and his mother a "wonderful singer" — so he had the luxury of having almost every instrument within reach from the moment he was able to walk, making rhythms on the drums as a kid and learning piano.
It was the electrifying sounds of Skrillex that drew him back to electronic music, while Swedish House Mafia also made their mark on him with their Miami sets and the first proper rave he attended — one of the legendary Awakenings at Gashouder, no less — really sealed the deal.
Now riding the wave of success, Mau recently bought his first house in Amsterdam, not far from a recording studio that used to belong to his dad. He regularly pops in to check on his mixes. "I’ve been looking at this gold certification record hanging on the wall at my parents’ house ever since I was little," he says. "It belongs to my dad and I promised him one day I would get one too so I can hang it next to his." With 'Drugs From Amsterdam' fast approaching that golden threshold in the Netherlands, he won't have long to wait. KRISTAN J CARYL
A massive vermillion space egg from the ‘80s has crashed through the club ceiling. Its pulsating fissure disgorges an ark’s-worth of fabulous creatures: go-go gazelles with sparkly Mohicans, flower-crowned lads sporting old-school Ray-Bans, sultry aliens writhing in fluorescent bikinis to a turbo-charged retouch of Lipps Inc.’s ‘Funkytown’. If the Star Wars Mos Eisley cantina invaded peak-era Ministry Of Sound and served up a fruity Sex On The Beach with a little cocktail umbrella, this would probably be the vibe.
The scene is, in fact, a 2023 Glitterbox party at Hï Ibiza, and in the middle of the neon bacchanal stands its unlikely captain, a charmingly reserved German with a perfectly trimmed moustache and a collection of geometrics-forward tropical shirts. As Purple Disco Machine, Tino Piontek has become a prime representative of disco’s wanton heritage at bigger festivals and clubs, while pushing forward his own universally appealing, sampladelic sound.
A dynamic producer with multiple albums of original compositions under his belt and streaming hits like ‘Hypnotized’ and ‘Fireworks’, he can pull off a smash singalong rework of the Human League’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’ and remixes for pop monarchs Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa and Kylie Minogue. His exquisitely star-dusted remix of Lizzo’s ‘About Damn Time’ just scored him a 2023 Grammy, in fact.
Yet he still geeks out over vintage Italo disco synths, and effortlessly holds an amped-up Tomorrowland crowd of thousands enraptured by chestnuts like Bronski Beat’s 1983 slow-burning gay coming-out anthem ‘Smalltown Boy’ — something those who were around when it was released could hardly imagine. It all may leave younger dancers asking, ‘How can I feel nostalgic for something I’ve never lived through?’
“It’s all the ’80s,” Piontek says over Zoom from his home studio in Dresden. “Everyone has a connection to the ’80s, from your childhood or your parents — everyone is linked up for some reason through the ’80s. It’s like a special feeling that’s playful but genuine. Other genres have become so serious over the years. EDM got so aggressive, with the build-up and the dirty drop. On the other side, tech-house is also quite serious, dark, and moody.
“Purple Disco Machine stands out among the other sounds,” he continues. “When I play the main stage at these festivals in the middle of all the EDM and tech-house guys, this is the only sound that is bright and joyful. We’re all together in the sunshine, even if the sun has already gone down.”
The above is an excerpt from Purple Disco Machine's March 2023 DJ Mag cover story. Read the full feature here.