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Aug 31

‘We Are Your Friends’ Flops, ‘EDM’ Dies With It

Not even a great soundtrack could save Zac Efron's EDM DJ star vehicle We Are Your Friends from grossing a mere $1.8 million in its first few nights, and having one of the worst opening weekends of a major studio release seen on over 2,000 screens in Hollywood history. While this suggests that this is the moment that EDM as a term can be considered dead, history proves that it doesn't necessarily mean that dance music is dead, too.

In 1977, Saturday Night Fever--a legendary film released near the apex of disco's popularity--proved to be much more popular than We Are Your Friends. Though Fever only opened to 726 theaters, the film grossed $2.538 million. In gross earnings inflation adjusted for 2015, that's $10.152 million. How did Saturday Night Fever not fall flat out of the gates and lead to the demise of disco, but We Are Your Friends' epic failure put the final nail in the coffin for EDM? In order to figure that out, we must consider the timing of the film's release as it compares to mainstream public opinion regarding dance music and culture.

It wasn't until 19 months after Saturday Night Fever's 1977 debut that Disco Demolition Night--the night of Saturday Night Fever-related backlash at Chicago's Comiskey Park where a rock-loving radio DJ burned disco records in centerfield and started a riot--took place. In 2015, the exact opposite of what occurred in 1977 has occurred. EDM records by the likes of Hardwell or Avicii were spared at Comiskey Park, but instead, a film just went down in flames at the box office. As Walmer Convenience blog editor Brice Sopher correctly points out in an article entitled "The Real Reason Why We Are Your Friends Flopped," the film failed because it's "behind the times."

Taking his criticism surrounding the film one step further, Sopher writes, "Marketing We Are Your Friends as an 'EDM' movie is what killed it. Everyone who calls the music 'EDM' doesn’t actually fucking like it and everyone who likes the music doesn't fucking call it 'EDM.' It was a movie that looked like some old ass producer’s lame nephew fucking told him about 'EDM' and he was like 'this is marketing gold' and then made the movie with human Ken doll Zac Efron."

As Sopher continues regarding EDM, "Everyone who actually likes dance music calls it 'dance music' or fucking house music or techno or one of the other multiple genres that people like to party to."

Oftentimes the mainstream media gets dance culture wrong and ultimately causes it great embarrassment when they ascribe buzzwords to, and create films about, what we love. However, dance culture survived in spite of disco, John Travolta's white suit, and records burning in centerfield. Similarly, we will also survive Zac Efron playing that "EDM," too.

In our scene, we may try our hardest to be friends with each other, but it's readily apparent when it comes to the mainstream: they oftentimes misunderstand us and just are not our friends at all. However, as always, dance music survives and remains just fine.
Aug 31

PREMIERE: Autograf – Dream (Fawks Remix) [Ultra]

Autograf's idyllic ditty and debut original, Dream, is getting its own remix package, and LessThan3 has the exclusive premiere of the official--and officially filthy--house remix from Fawks (pictured).

LA's bass house upstart Fawks last blipped LT3 with his mean mix of RL Grime's Core, and he turns his remix talents on Chicago trio Autograf next for a house remix heavy on the bass and piano. While measurably more subdued than many of his other works known for putting the "bass" in bass house, his take on Dream is a quality demonstration of his mastery of the modern garage-house sound and a great new way to enjoy one of Autograf's best.

Pick it up alongside takes from Robotaki, Sebastian Carter, and more when it drops Sept. 4 on Ultra.

Autograf - Dream (Fawks Remix) [Ultra]
Aug 31

EXCLUSIVE: Sex Panther Drops First Solo Tune, ‘Rue,’ Talks Going Alone

For anyone who thought electro house predator Sex Panther was satisfied in its recent slumber, prepare yourself for a leaned-out, revitalized prowler of the jungle fostering one simple goal: make fun music.

After parting ways with his co-founder, Ryan Fontana, Newport Beach's Aaron Cool (pictured) is looking to the future as the sole soul in control of the famed Sex Panther name, and LessThan3 has an exclusive interview and premiere of his first solo work, Rue.

A high-energy affair, Rue represents the first taste of the new Sex Panther, which Cool groomed for the wetter regions, so to speak, holding the atmosphere of a raucous pool party high among formative factors in his inaugural independent cut.

"It's definitely more splashy than loungey, though," Cool said, expanding on the vibe of Rue.

While finely suited for a summer day, perhaps more importantly, the tune fits in with the persona he plans to carry on into Panther's future. With high-voltage performances placed high on his to-do list, Cool saw no alternative to crafting a keystone cut for his sets while simultaneously setting the tone for his resurgence. But shouldering the burden of two takes serious strength in addition to bringing up certain questions, like whether or not to rename.

"I thought about changing the name; I never really did like that name," Cool said. "At first--when we first started it--when Ryan said it, I was just like, 'yeah, that's funny, whatever, I don't care.' To me, I didn't think anything of it because I didn't think anything was going to really happen out of it."

During Sex Panther's 2011 infancy, Cool said he anticipated playing "only a few shows," leaning on the project mostly as something to do between jobs. However, all Ron Burgundy colognes aside, fate had a special eye for this feline, and despite its nonchalant selection process, the Sex Panther brand had accrued gravity and become too powerful to leave behind.

The name arose about as effortlessly as the project itself after the two met at a Guitar Center in Fountain Valley and bonded over their mutual desire to dive head-first into the DJ world. While learning the ropes together, cementing their bond as an official duo just made sense. Four years and about a half-dozen releases later, the Panther caught a snag.

"Last year, we weren't playing that much," Cool said of his partner's involvement. "He didn't really seem like he was into DJing... he just wasn't putting a lot of energy into it."

Diverted, as so often happens, by life, and to some extent, a woman, Fontana drifted away, Cool said. By January 2015, after multiple unreturned attempts to link up, he felt a change coming.

"Finally, he was like, 'I don't think I'm going to DJ anymore. My heart's not in it.'"

Still friends, but no longer a duo, Fontana gave Cool his blessing to continue the project solo while he pursued other passions including writing and that aforementioned lady-friend, which brings us to today, where we find the Panther reawakening.

Rue represents the first step in a new path for Sex Panther, one that balances ferocious and cuddly in a new way--one that places the reinvigorated act in the front corner of the club pool playfully pounding out waves across the unsuspecting crowd.

Henceforth a solo act, Cool finds himself driven by his solitude.

"Now that it's just me, I know that if I don't do something, no one's going to help out at all," he said.

With Fontana historically handling most of the marketing side, he definitely has his paws full with new responsibilities, but those paws have been itching to get to work anyhow, and their most pressing item of business is new music.

"I'm going to have my own style of what we had before," Cool said, explaining that while fans will still recognize the Sex Panther sound, it will be clear there's a new cat in town.

"I really want everything to be more bouncy and fun," he said of his plans for tweaking the project's ethos.

With a newfound focus and drive, Sex Panther is poised to go hard--hard enough to be actually banned in nine countries.

Pick up Rue when it drops Sept. 14 from Brawla.

Sex Panther - Rue (Original Mix) [Brawla]
Aug 31

Diplo And Sleepy Tom Collab On ’90s Soul-Meets-House Heater ‘Be Right There’

As a fidgeting electro kick tap dances across the bottom end, vocalist Priscilla Renea belts out sections of Jade's 1992 soul smash Don't Walk Away on Diplo and Sleepy Tom's collaborative house groove Be Right There.

Vancouver-based Tom has ridden Pusher, his Fool's Gold-released Anna Lunoe collab, to greater acclaim in 2015. Thus, following up that smash with a release alongside one of EDM-as-pop's biggest DJ/producers is an obvious next step.

House grooves have been creeping its way into the cool down portions of Diplo's mainstage festival sets, and will likely be a huge part of what he's spinning throughout the fall and into the winter. Of his remaining 2015 bookings, most significant to date could be the back-to-back weekends he plays Australia's Stereosonic Festival in November and December. For more Diplo dates, check out his schedule here.

Purchase Be Right There from Beatport here.
Diplo & Sleepy Tom - Be Right There (Original Mix) [Mad Decent]
Aug 31

Disco Diaries 76: Curated By Satin Jackets

Satin Jackets epitomizes the type of music we seek on a weekly basis for our Disco Diaries playlists. There's truly something special about their ability to manifest the magic of classic disco with a smooth, modern twist, and once you've heard any one of a their original singles, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Satin Jackets was brought to life by two friends, German producer/DJ Tim Bernhardt and lead performer Den Ishu. They've gained notable traction over the last couple years, with infectious singles You Make Me Feel Good and Shine On You, as well as countless remixes hosted by premier Belgian disco house label, Eskimo Recordings.

Ahead of their upcoming Labor Day Weekend performance, we've invited Satin Jackets to share a bit of their groovy magic with us today. Treat yourself to an enticing preview of the show with Bernhardt's favorite five songs, plus personal commentary below. If you enjoy the below as much as we did, you can look forward to Satin Jackets' Sept. 6 set at The Standard DTLA as part of L'Affaire Musicale and Ouija Entertainment's summer Wicked Paradise series. Find details on the event here and be sure to grab your tickets here.

CASSARA - Fantasma [Soundcolours]
This track reminds me of the good times of early Daft Punk. It's rough and straightforward in its approach, like making a statement. CASSARA is also a Hamburg-based musical friend who's just released a remix for Aeroplane with my label Eskimo Recordings.
Purchase here.

Roosevelt - Hold On [Greco-Roman]
This is indie pop like I love it. Great soundscape, catchy, with smart vocals. Reminds me of New Order but in a modern way.
Purchase here.

Ben Macklin - Never Giving Up (Mogul Remix) [Modal]
Berlin's up-and-coming Mogul shows he can combine jazz and breakbeat into this excellent remix while still keeping it within the house music realm.
Purchase here.

ONUKA - Look (Tigerskin Remix)
I'm a big fan of this Ukrainian band fronted by Nata Zhyzhchenko. The Tigerskin remix of this tune from their first EP puts the right house-y feel on it. Wouldn't mind collaborating with Nata someday.
Purchase here/free download here.

Seoul - Stay With Us [Majestic Casual]
I find the atmosphere of this song very intimate and touching. It brings up images and scenery in my mind. Very dreamy. I used it in my Between the Beats mix and still think it's the highlight of it.
Purchase here.

Cassara - Fantasma [Soundcolours]
Roosevelt - Hold On [Greco-Roman]
Ben Macklin - Never Giving Up (Mogul Remix) [Modal]
ONUKA - Look (Tigerskin Remix)
Seoul - Stay With Us [Majestic Casual]