EDC Las Vegas is a wild experience. It’s not just a festival; it’s a week in Sin City with pool parties, nightclubs and In n Out Burgers galore. Year after year the production at the Speedway is bigger, the stages are crazier, the pre parties are wilder.
With a strong representation at the event and the pre-parties, we thought we’d tag along with Viper for the ride this year. It’s taken us almost three weeks to recover, but this is how it went down…
Destination Bassrush Pool Party at the Hard Rock hotel. Matrix & Futurebound are closing out the afternoon and our day is spent with mojitos the size of our heads, sweating bullets and wishing we applied more sunscreen.
With 12th Planet, Ookay, Bro Safari, Crizzly, Dirtyphonics and Habstrakt on the line-up it felt like the entire bass community in Vegas was in attendance. The pool was a constant beat-synced splash zone, the cabana day beds were filled with people smiling and the front of the stage crowd was head banging to an almost dangerous extent.
Next up: EDC. We prepped and readied ourselves for the drive to the middle of the desert. The artist area of the festival is a festival in itself equipped with bars and constant array of food and massage stations. But we weren’t hanging around there… We got involved in the main event and caught a ton of random sets.
Walking through the grounds you could hear music coming from every angle. We knew Jauz was already destroying the Kinetic Field so we used that as a starting point. His Shark Squad was out in full force and his set was perfect to kick off the weekend. After more wandering we found ourselves passing by Snails on the Basspod, Kaskade on the Circuit Grounds and into the Neon Garden for the end of Loco Dice and the beginning of Hot Since 82. The contrast in sound from the Kinetic Field to the techno tent is abrupt, but the energy feels the same… Everyone is on a mission.
That’s the great thing about EDC, there is so much good music playing constantly at once, it really doesn’t matter what stage you go to. Exploring and discovering new artists is half the fun of EDC. The art, the food, the fireworks and the creative activities to discover around the festival grounds are enough to keep one going all night.
Friday climaxed with an incredible hour long set from Matrix & Futurebound. Sun rising, fans raging…. America’s love for drum & bass reaches new levels once again.
“We’ve played EDC Chicago, New York and London, but this is our first Vegas,” says Futurebound hours before the set. “We can’t wait to test out some new material and see how the fans react! That’s what we love about playing in North America, we just come and do our thing and we represent our sound, and people love it. It’s important as a DJ that you’re not just a jukebox who’s here to play the top 10 off Beatport.
Essentially our sets are filled with tracks we truly love, and people here in the US just lose their shit to it really. That’s really why we do this whole thing.”
Seeing them close the BassPod stage on Friday night, it’s clear their mission was a success. For Futurebound, though, drum & bass is the entry point into a much wider world of bass. Viper have long-since expressed a passion for all tempos and textures and have recently hit a new eclectic height with the Bassrush 1.0 compilation album, a brand new venture with Insomniac, the team behind EDC.
“Bassrush 1.0 is everything we had hoped it to be and more. It’s a great combination of the best in current dnb, great cross genre material from all over, and a good look into the history of one of our favorite labels, Viper! On top of that, the Viper presence at the Basspod stage over that three day weekend was incredible. The quadruple back to back of Cyantific, The Prototypes, Brookes Brothers, and Insideinfo was absolutely legendary and drew an incredible number of our headliners. The Matrix and Futurebound set goes without saying, precise, energetic and uplifting. Exactly what we all need.” – Derek @ Insomniac / Bassrush
B2B sets over the weekend were a key theme throughout EDC with tag-team tear-ups by the dozen. Not just at the Basspod, too. One particular B2B that really made EDC shine was the UK happy hardcore energy of Gammer B2B Darren Styles. I had never had the pleasure of witnessing a happy hardcore set live, and this set satisfied every inch of my expectations. The entire crowd was losing it to this (still very niche in America) genre. This is another example of how incredibly supportive Insomniac is of all forms of electronic music in general.
Meanwhile in the artist trailer with Cyantific, Brookes Brothers, The Prototypes and InsideInfo, we got chatting about drum & bass in America and the scene’s differences between the UK and US. how that’s different from the fans in the UK. To be honest, trying to coordinate four British dudes (one member of Brookes Brothers and one member of The Prototypes unfortunately couldn’t make it) to sit still and talk right before their first time ever playing EDC Vegas was like trying to wrangle four wild kangaroos. Keeping track of who said what was pretty much impossible but here’s a comment that sums up the differences.
“It’s exciting to play in front of a crowd in the US, because not a lot of them get to see us on a regular basis. It’s like a novelty. In the UK people are exposed to it constantly, it’s one of the main scenes there so it loses it’s uniqueness. The more we can spread drum and bass in America, the better. It needs to take control and it will. Insomniac is a really big supporter of D&B and that’s so cool. They’re really pushing us with Bassrush and we’re really lucky to be out here.”
Some of the guys had just flown in, some had been there the night before… All were amped to play the closing set of the Basspod later that evening. That set time wrapped up the Basspod line-up for the whole weekend with special guest headliner the sunrise. An electrifying experience that gave the whole festival a final kick up the butt.
At the end of a long weekend, attendees are understandably slower and jaded but not for Cyantific, Insideinfo, The Prototypes and Brookes Brothers. Closing out an entire EDC weekend is a huge responsibility. You’re literally the last taste these people are going to have in their mouths until next year. Brookes Brothers, Cyantific, InsideInfo and The Prototypes held nothing back while dropping huge banger after banger that had the crowd going absolutely mental. To be honest I was impressed with the energy they kept and the attention from the crowd they commanded at such a late hour of the night. The MC kept hands in the air and heads banging right up until the sun was up and the music was forced to stop. By the last song, I took a look over to my left and saw two completely naked guys wearing giant fake penis outfits and rocking out in their own little world…pretty sure this video has gone viral, as it should be. Oh America…
Overall the weekend was incredible. We could have spent it with a wide range of labels but the momentum and presence of Viper in the US really galvanized our experience. As we said goodbye (or, good morning) to the dusty neon speedway, I asked Futurebound what his vision is for the next years of Viper…
“The plan is to do more compilations, we really want to build on our brand. And in a few years, I’m going to run for presidency.”
He’s got my vote.