For those who don’t know about the electronic dance music scene, you soon will when the beats start thumping in the Okanagan.
One of the hottest trends in music today, EDM, as it is better known, has seen disc jockeys remove themselves from those dark booths in dingy nightclubs to headline arena-sized shows that are drawing millions of fans.
Some of the hottest DJ/producers on the scene are in Vernon Thursday to do just that as the Aokify North America Tour makes its only stop in the B.C. Interior at Kal Tire Place.
Put on by the same gang that hosts the Center of Gravity music festival in Kelowna, and other Valley-based promoters, the tour features headliner Steve Aoki, hip hop artist Waka Flocka Flame, Montreal production duo Botnek and Israeli DJ/producer Borgore.
Known for his recent work with singer/provocateur Miley Cyrus as well as his Wild Out EP on Aoki’s Dim Mak Records, Borgore is a producer of dubstep and trap, which is based on the use of an 808 Roland drum machine. He is also influenced by heavy metal and used to play drums in a death metal band in his native Tel Aviv.
Borgore was recently asked about how his music has evolved, on his collaborations, and how the Aokify tour is going. Here’s what he had to say via email:
Tell me about (your) Wild Out EP? What influences contributed to the project?
Borgore: I think it is a very eclectic EP because we have a bunch of different genres and a bunch of different sounds. Waka Flocka is one of my favourite rappers and we started working on this tune a long time ago and made the track sound like house.
How did the collaboration begin? Did you meet somewhere?
B: I remixed Waka two years ago and I told him I would love to work with vocals from him. He sent me something and I made the song a year and a half ago. I was really scared to put the song out because I was scared it wasn’t up to par as far as the hip-hop beats from trap producers out there go. I played it to him in Spain a year and a half ago and he loved it. He gave me a boost to finish off the track.
Do you see more electronic artists doing collaborations with hip-hop artists like Waka?
B: I think so. It has kind of taken over. I think a lot of people would like to be part of it. What I tried to do with Waka is not change his nature. The part of him in the song is very 808 sounding. I would love to see more rappers over electronic music as long as no one is going to try and sound like an EDM singer all of a sudden. It is a beautiful mix, but everyone needs to keep their sound.
You don’t want electronic music to change other people’s sound, but do you think working with some of these hip-hop artists has influenced your sound at all?
B: I think the whole genre called trap is based on a real genre called trap in hip-hop. Producers like 808 Mafia (Lex Luger and Southside) and even Mike Will, all these guys used to do trap and then EDM adopted the 808 thing with house stuff on top of it. Now we call it trap. Yes 100 per cent. You hear it in my early work, songs like Nympho. I did all these trap sections in the intro.
You also collaborated with Miley Cyrus on Decisions. Do you see yourself collaborating with any other pop artists in the future?
B: One hundred per cent, I would love to. I honestly want to collaborate with everyone from all types of genres. I had metal bands, I had pop artists, I had hip-hop artists, I had Middle Eastern Israeli type of singing. I’m ADD in nature and it keeps me on my toes to keep doing different stuff, not always the same (stuff).
The Aokify America Tour is a very interesting lineup: Steve Aoki, Waka Flocka Flame, and Borgore. What has been the reaction from the crowd in terms of your performances? How do they react different to you, Steve, and Waka?
B: There are a lot of house DJs and a lot of rappers. But what is unique with Steve, Waka, and myself is that our lineup is very party-oriented. It’s just a crazy party from beginning to end. It’s like the gnarliest party I have ever been to. There are always people on the stage, always things going into the crowd. The whole environment is like a crazy party you see in the movies. It’s like a college party.
How has the tour been going so far? Are you guys all getting along? Are you guys partying together?
B: Steve and Waka are just genuinely really nice people and I love hanging out with them. I party hard with Waka and I work out with Steve. Honestly, I think it is one of the best tours I have ever been on. I am really getting along with everyone. I genuinely think that if I were still an 18-year-old kid, thinking about going to party like this would be mind blowing.
How’s the bus/tour life treating you?
B: Our bus is pretty turnt up. I’ll just leave it like that. There were a couple of times where my tour manager went to the bus and just shook his head like, “What are we doing? How are we going to fix this?”
What song has had the biggest crowd reactions from your sets and the other artists on the tour?
B: I drum with Waka on one of his songs, Hard in Da Paint. For me, it’s one of the most exciting parts of his set. For my set, I think that Wild Out is one of the songs that everyone goes absolutely mental over. In Steve’s set, it’s pretty turnt up the whole time. I go on during Steve’s set during a song we have been testing on this tour. When I go on for this song, it is really insane, too. I think the whole crowd from the beginning to end of these shows loves it. We had good openers as well and the crowd goes crazy for them.
A 2013 Grammy nominee, and fifth highest earning DJ in the world (according to Forbes Magazine), Aoki is also dominating the music world with his recent releases, including new single Bring You To Life (Transcend) with house producer Rune RK and featuring vocalist RAS.
He also collaborated with Linkin Park on current release, A Light That Never Comes, and his other single Boneless, a collaboration with Chris Lake and Tujamo from Aoki’s upcoming album Neon Future, due out in 2014, hit #1 on Beatport and has received over 3.7 million views on YouTube.
This tour is Aoki’s first return to Canada since making his epic 80-foot-long cake toss at the VELD festival in Toronto this past August that went viral. (You can see the very happy recipient of the cake in face on YouTube.)
The Aokify North America Tour hits Vernon Thursday, Nov. 21. Doors to Kal Tire Place open at 6 p.m. General admission (all ages) tickets are now $39, with a VIP lounge (19-plus) and meet and greet tickets also available. Get them at aokifyvernon.zoobis.com or www.ticketseller.ca, or in person at the Downtown Internet Lounge or Dunas Skate and Snow in Vernon.