The Los Angeles State Historic Park was a whirlwind of cigarette smoke, heavy bass, fat beats, and electrifying energy on Aug. 3 and 4. Set in the heart of Chinatown, L.A. State Historic Park was home to HARD Summer Music Festival 2013, headlining artists such as Knife Party, Duck Sauce, Dog Blood, Justice, Bassnectar, and Empire of the Sun. With the L.A. skyline setting the city vibes, this electronic event proved that the bass will only get deeper, disco is not dead (and it is bringing funk back with it), the words hip-hop and EDM are synonymous, and that the traffic was well worth the drive.
This year, HARD Summer’s lineup was double the size of last year’s, starting at 12:30 p.m. and ending at midnight. Temperatures were in the mid 70s at daytime and the low 60s at night, allowing festival-goers in various attire reasonable comfort. Although the festival did not officially allow fur boots or candy bracelets, girls clad in booty shorts, pasties, bras, glitter, and fur boots could be spotted next to bros in tanks (or perhaps going shirtless), flip flops, and multi-colored plastic wayfarers. However, this typical rave style was minimal and many others sported the latest urban street wear, consisting of tailored shorts and pants, boots, kicks, dress shoes, flannels, dresses, gold chains, and, for some men, groovy facial hair. Thankfully, only a few could be spotted with feather headdresses and flower headbands.
The festival housed four stages that each gave off certain vibes depending on the line-up: HARD, HARDer, Summer, and Underground. The main stage, HARD Stage, was the destination of headlining artists and usually consisted of more visually stimulating props and performances because it had the largest LED screens and more stage space, allowing artists such as Duck Sauce, Empire of the Sun, and Bassnectar to further enhance the audience’s senses. HARDer Stage was what the name entailed — harder — but not hardstyle itself. This stage provided audiences bass heavy and high energy beats from artists such as RL Grime, Flying Lotus, Dillon Francis, and Flosstradamus. Summer Stage was like a getaway, where those looking for experimental, diverse, or peculiar sounds could wander off to. Even the layout entailed a journey to another part of the festival, as festival-goers would walk over a slight hill toward the city skyline to reach this stage. Artists such as Keys N’ Krates, Brodinski, Breakbot, and Justice (DJ set) performed here.A solar bulb that charges up during the day and lights the night when the sun sets. Lastly, the Underground Stage was the only tented stage and had an amazing sound system, allowing artists like Disclosure,It is also known as led dimmable driver, LED daytime running lamps. Breach, Oliver, and Claude Vonstroke an umbrella to reverberate their funky, deep house bass and flashing lights.
Even with Bondax and Azealia Banks cancelling their performances at HARD Summer, the talent from both emerging and established artists fulfilled the cravings of bass, hip-hop, rap, nu-disco, experimental, synth-pop, house, and electro heads alike. From live sets to DJ sets, and everything outside the box, HARD Summer proved that “EDM” is an overused blanket term for a large array of electronic styles. Keep your ears open for the following artists as they have demonstrated why they are, or will be, shaping the forefront of electronic music.
DAY 1:XXYYXX, Keys N’ Krates, RL Grime, Duke Dumont, Disclosure, Dog Blood, Duck Sauce, Oliver, and Knife Party
My day started late, as I had underestimated how congested the freeway and chaotic the parking would be. I arrived at the festival grounds too late to catch the Canadian DJ and producer Ryan Hemsworth’s electronic, abstract hip-hop set, but I did arrive in time for XXYYXX. Seventeen-year-old Marcel Everett set the mood of the Underground Stage with his chill, ambient beats. Marcel played his classic hits from the self-titled album XXYYXX, including “Closer,” “Set It Off,” and “Love Isn’t Made.” Marcel also infused his down-tempo beats and sounds with other works, like Rihanna’s “Cake,” to which the crowd delightfully licked the icing off.
Although I did not see two sets that I had anticipated, XXYYXX got the ball rolling, and I made my way to watch the trap trio Keys N’ Krates. As I passed HARDer Stage towards Summer, Just Blaze blasted his version of Major Lazer’s “Original Don,” followed by Bingo Player’s “When I Dip.”
Summer Stage felt like a small hip-hop show infused with an electro-house party as the live remix band, Keys N’ Krates, showcased their unique approach to electronic music. Hailing from Ontario, Canada, Keys N’ Krates includes Jr. Flo on turntables, David Matisse on the synthesizer, and Adam Tune on the 808 drum machine. Layering samples with tunes of their own to create clean blends and sharp melodies, the band played originals like “Treat Me Right” and a variety of hip-hop remixes, including Jay-Z’s “I’m A Hustler Baby” and “Dirt Off Your Shoulder.” The three instruments purred as Jr. Flo scratched to Adam’s meticulous drum beats and David pumped the crowd up from his synthesizer, saying, “Who here loves hip-hop?” The crowd bopped their lifted hands to the beat, to which David responded, “Keep those hands up. Here we go!” With build ups and drops created right on stage, Keys N’ Krates reminded the electronic scene that live, hands-on instrumentation and remixing can not only mimic computer programs but also outshine them.
From this show, I made my way to the Soundcloud famous trap/house artist RL Grime. RL Grime is a side project of Henry Steinway, who produces and DJs under the name Clockwork. RL Grime provided the trap heavy elements festival-goers could get crunk to with his originals “Trap On Acid,” “Flood,” and songs from his new EP, “High Beams.” He sampled Flosstradamus’ “Crowd Control,An emergency light is a battery-backed lighting device that comes on automatically when a building experiences a power outage.” Kanye West’s “Clique,” DJ Snake’s “Bird Machine,” Notorious BIG’s “Suicidal Thoughts,” and Cashmere Cat’s edit of “Do You Like…” by Miguel. Although the bass at HARDer Stage did not do his head-banging drops justice, RL Grime had the hyper crowd swaying, especially when he bumped the remix that first garnered him attention, “Satisfaction” by Benny Benassi.Please visit his website at www.soli-lite.com.