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The lights are mobile. The bass is rumbling. The people are dancing. The energy is high at Denver’s Mission Ballroom this October evening for the Desert Hearts takeover, and in the last few moments before the lights come up, Justin Martin is capping off the night with one sound, in particular.

This sound is sitting atop the illustrious evening like a glistening bejeweled crown upon the head of a regent so loved and respected that history books will write tales of how her people cheered for her.

Conversely, it’s a sound that practically never finds its way within the perimeter of a venue hosting dance music. It’s the sound of the harp. The metallic clang of wired strings circumvented by a mystical and harmonious ring.

Slowly, out of the bumping mix, repeated strums of the harp emerge, casting a calming glow on the audience as space opens within their hearts for emotions to come through (alongside the unbridled joy ubiquitous of the night in question), and one such emotion is a familiar contentment.

Everyone knows the track. Justin is playing “Don’t Go (VIP).”

See, despite the fact that the harp is unconventional in such an environment, everyone familiar with Justin Martin is expecting music that falls outside the lines.

Consider the sound of his early classics like “Don’t Go (VIP)” to his newest single, “Defrost My Heart,” with Victoria Rae. Sure most have a four-one-the-floor beat, but even the broad term “house music” may be inaccurate (and even diminutive) due to the surplus of subtlety and emotion within the seams of his productions.

As with all art, Martin’s approach to his music is an extension of himself, and thus, this unconventional approach applies to the way he presents himself as an artist as well. 

“I never really tapped into the full mainstream EDM. I’ve been out on this fringe and I love it. I’m OK with that. I’m not trying to be some superstar,” Martin says sitting in the green room of Mission Ballroom minutes before sharing the stage with Mikey Lion of the Desert Hearts crew

From professional operations such as working without a traditional artist team around him (instead relying on close friends with good instincts) to his candor and openness with his fans (with whom he frequently communicates in public spaces like Instagram), Martin’s intentions are about creating something pure, fun, true to himself, and true to the supportive community surrounding him.

Fueled by these same intentions, the next creation Martin is working on is his record label, What To Do.

“I’ve always liked the ambiguousness of the three words ‘What To Do’ because it could be a question or it could be a command or a suggestion. I prefer it more as a suggestion than a question. It’s leading by example. I wanted to create a platform that I could not only release my own projects on, but that could help other artists I believe need to be heard,” Martin says. “I want to release music that makes people feel something on the dancefloor.”

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As a label, What To Do isn’t brand new. The first release was Martin’s single “Needs” for which he handled all the music, artwork, post-production, promotion, and distribution when he put it out at the beginning of 2020. 

From there, he continued this “do it all myself” trend for all 15 releases on What To Do up until this point (all of which were his own music save for a few remixes), but he realized this trend was not even close to sustainable, especially with a full touring schedule that begins in March and is “relentless” until after Halloween.

Now, a new phase is beginning for What To Do. The label has its first-ever signees other than Martin himself. It has a new distribution deal (that took almost six months to solidify), and a new label manager, the respected house artist, Astronomar.

Furthermore, along with this progress for the label, Martin also has a new outlook on his own life and career:

“I’m so content right now. It’s a very happy bubble,” Martin says. “I just want to keep filling that space with stuff that I really, truly believe in. I have no idea how it’s going to do. Could hit. Could flop, but I know that we’re back taking chances and we are releasing stuff from the heart.”

Unfortunately, as often happens, this new outlook came as a dualistic response to difficulty. Martin had to learn things the hard way, and the hard way involved him being within the lines—being within what the music industry ostensibly demands from artists.

Because once the industry reopened after pandemic-related lockdowns, there was a massive landrush of music and events stemming from a palpable tension surrounding the urge to make up for lost time.

This led to severe inundation—a spiraling kind of inundation fueled by the endless comparisons resulting from social media and the “if it works for them it’ll work for me” mentality. 

The scene was more saturated than it had ever been, and Martin was a part of that.

“I was selling out every single show, but for some reason, I still felt like it wasn’t enough,” Martin says. He recalls a night in the days leading up to the first Portola in San Francisco back in October of 2022.

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Saylor Nedelman – @storiesbysay

His house in Oakland was full of friends who had come to the Bay to see his set, and instead of enjoying the company of his loved ones, he was in the studio making music.

Even though he was only playing for an hour (and he had enough unreleased music for three hours minimum) he, again, still felt like it wasn’t enough.

“My buddy comes down the stairs and says, ‘Dude, you’re good. You don’t need to finish this last thing. Look around you. Your friends are here to support you. Look at what you’ve accomplished for yourself. Look at this studio. Your family’s here,’ and I couldn’t see it in that moment,” Martin says.

In the next few weeks that followed, Martin did see it, though. Moreover, he saw that he needed to slow down and take a breath. He cancelled shows for the first time in his career, and from there began to shift his life back into balance.

He prioritized his mental health by starting therapy. He created a less demanding studio schedule, turning off his computer by midnight rather than 4AM. This summer he even took a break from the studio as a whole.

Most of all, he realized it was OK to forgive himself if he didn’t live up to the unrealistic standards he perceived from the industry (and himself).

“I needed to take a step back and be a little more kind to myself. Revaluate the people I was working with, where I needed help, and where I needed to ask for help,” Martin says. “ I needed to evaluate my relationship with the music.”

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Saylor Nedelman – @storiesbysay

A major aspect of this reevaluation was Martin’s relationship with Dirtybird, with which he severed his involvement in early 2020.  

Since the genesis of Dirtybird in 2005, Martin was a key player. He helped build it from free parties in Golden Gate Park to a global force of dance music culture.

But as time went on and Dirtybird grew, Martin realized he didn’t fit within the lines of Dirtybird either. He’s still on good terms with them, but after one of his releases was sent back with notes (something that had never happened in over a decade), he knew it was time to break out on his own.

Dirtybird’s community is known around the world, and Martin is now building his own community around his own ethos.

“One of my goals with [What To Do] is to grow a new community around a new sound,” Martin says. “We’ve done it once before I know I can do it again.” 

For Martin, everyone who has supported him over the years is a part of that community. From the friends who were visiting him before Portola, to the new team who are working with him on What To Do, to the people who may only ever interact with him on social media but still ground him in the fact that he can use those channels to share from the heart rather than to chase trends and build clout.

And, of course, another aspect of that community is the new artists who will soon release music on What To Do

“I truly believe in the people I’m signing, not only as musicians but as awesome people. We’re on the brink of this big collaborative group effort,” Martin says.

The first signee who will release music on What To Do in this new phase is named MNTRA, a SoCal-based producer and artist who has already developed an impressive reputation. 

Currently, MNTRA is on a tour of North America serving as direct support for the alternative house music outfit, The Sponges, in addition to forming his own group effort, Boiz House (which performed at Dirtybird Campout 2022) and sharing releases on prominent labels like Box of Cats and Space Yacht.

“MNTRA is such a beloved character. He has his own incredible beautiful community surrounding him and supporting him,” Martin says. “He sent me a [drum & bass] demo in 2022 that I just fell in love with instantly. It was exciting for me because I don’t want to just release house or tech house. I want to release whatever I like.”

After that first demo, MNTRA kept sending music, eventually sharing an album that Martin admits was a bit rough around the edges, but had within it the soul of What To Do. Thus MNTRA’s album will be coming out on the label in the near future.

What’s interesting is that Martin first received the music while he himself was in that phase of precipitance, and he initially wanted to get MNTRA’s album out before the end of summer 2023.

But after his own personal realignment along with the various hurdles like the lengthy process of solidifying a new distribution deal, the release will be approached with far more intent.

As such Martin’s had time to work with MNTRA on all the different aspects of the project: the visuals, the story they’re going to tell, how the singles will roll out into the album; really just how he plans to introduce MNTRA to the world beyond his existing fanbase.

“Not rushing, taking a breath, him being extremely flexible with it, being open to listening, being open to being patient with the whole process is going to be very beneficial in the long run,” Martin says.

That is how Martin is approaching his life and career in this new phase, and furthermore, he is setting that example to all the artists he’s working with and everyone on his team.

It may sound simple, but given it’s a lesson that Martin only learned years into his evolution as an artist, the idea of the endless grind is clearly still what’s expected from artists in 2023. 

In order to shift that perspective it takes role models like Justin Martin to work outside the lines, and with the era of What To Do 2.0 approaching ever-faster, soon a whole community of artists will be working outside the lines towards the ultimate goal of making you feel something on the dancefloor.

Featured image provided by Saylor Nedelman – @storiesbysay

The post Interview: Justin Martin Is Building Community Outside The Lines appeared first on EDM Maniac.


By: Harry Levin
Title: Interview: Justin Martin Is Building Community Outside The Lines
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Published Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2023 20:10:26 +0000

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A State Of Trance Top 1000 #1 Is Revealed!

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After 30 years of nothing but Trance excellence, with all the feels, and all the incredible talent, Armin van Buuren‘s legacy prevails. A State of Trance Top 1000 Award revealed the number one track of the label. We can’t imagine how hard it was to pick their top track ever. Cue the drum rolls please… The award goes to none other than Dutch Trance producer RAM and German DJ Jorn van Deynhoven. The honorary title is thanks to their remix of the 2009 masterpiece ‘RAMsterdam’.

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A post shared by ☆ R A M ☆ (@ramofficial)

The Duo took it on their social medias to showcase the plate they received to commemorate the award. We can’t forget the track has earned over 10 million streams on spotify. The track embodies Trance in its rawest form. Its true nature and drive summarize the power the genre carries from decade to decade. Naturally, ‘RAMsterdam’ (Jorn van Deynhoven Remix) reigns supreme over 999 other songs that have moved millions of people since the inception of A State of Trance. Furthermore, RAM mentioned on his Facebook post that after he earned the title, DJ Mag announced his residency in the number one Trance club in China for 2024.

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Both artists are one of a kind, and the award deeply recognizes the mark they continue to leave on a State of Trance and the scene itself. ‘RAMsterdam’ (Jorn van Deynhoven Remix)paved the way for more unique sounds to evolve and develop to this day. RAM and van Deynhoven have what it takes to carry the title of worldwide phenomenon.

Congratulations to these two legends! Now, go ahead and leave ‘Ramsterdam’ (Jorn van Deynhoven Remix) on replay. After all, it is the number 1 ASOS Top 1000 track.

The post A State Of Trance Top 1000 #1 Is Revealed! appeared first on EDMTunes.


By: Jay Seabrook
Title: A State Of Trance Top 1000 #1 Is Revealed!
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Published Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2024 13:54:55 +0000

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[EVENT REVIEW] Ultra Chile Returns After Nearly A Decade, And In Full Force Too

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The large ‘U’ festival celebrated a fantastic return to South America recently.

When you think of Ultra Music Festival, you likely gravitate towards Miami straight away. But we’re lucky enough to have them all over the world, celebrating parties far and wide. That is certainly a blessing for energetic crowds living in somewhat further places in the globe, like South America.

I’ve been here for a while, and it’s safe to say it’s growing a strong community of Dance-devoted madmen like me. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know the Argentinian scene fairly well, and also those in its neighbouring country, Chile. This is a country where Hardstyle reigns supreme, and genres like Techno and its branches are seeing a roaring uptrend in the number of fans and followers. So much so, that Ultra themselves decided to pay a visit. A two-day visit, mind you.

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Ultra Chile: Its History

Chile had its first Ultra in 2013, with the next two years also calling artists from around the world to come together on the far southern end of the globe for Ultra Chile 2014 and 2015. The year after, Chile received a more compact Road To Ultra, as well as in 2017, for the Ultra host of those years was the continental giant, Brazil. After that, Chile would have to wait some time before the brand set foot on it again.

2023 saw Road To Ultra return to the long country for a Halloween party, headlined by Marshmello, Nicky Romero, Oliver Heldens, and Two Friends. And this year, the acclaimed main branch returned in full force, with two days of unstoppable beats coming from a handful of places, and showcasing an impressive plethora of talents, established, up-and-coming, returning… everything.

It was held on Friday, April 19th, and Saturday, April 20th, in Santiago’s iconic go-to place for massive events, Espacio Riesco.

Day One: Friday

Day One kicked off late in the afternoon, at 7 PM to be precise. The crowds started to appear from very early on. Once inside, it was time to have a look at the place, and, oh dear, they truly made the most out of the venue. Three of the four stages were on that day, the Mainstage, on the back of the property and boasting an impressive open-air setting, the Resistance stage, a blacked-out, massive former plane hangar to welcome the best Techno represents in the world, and the Carolina stage, a local-lineup filled stage out on the open.

Day One Winners

Jumping between the Mainstage and the Resistance stage allowed me to watch basically all artists for a little. That’s life at a festival, you can’t really marry one particular DJ. That said, I think I’ve got my favourite artist of the night, and it is Stephan Bodzin.

I had never watched him play, so I was basically going in not knowing what to expect. Add to that, I was at the Main seeing Armin before, so I didn’t really know what I was about to witness. Walking into Resistance, the first thing I noticed was that there was A TON of space to dance and just be yourself. The Mainstage was filled to the brim with people, and well, that left the Techno-devoted stage with a crowd that was truly enjoying Bodzin’s magic. I did too.

I swear, ten minutes in I was already fully hooked. Eyes closed, moving side to side, that kind of hooked. Him playing a live set was a tenfold amplifier as well, since he was interacting a lot with the audience, and the audience interacted a lot with him back. Ask me to name one track from his set, I can’t. But what I CAN recall vividly is how happy he was managing his instruments, and how happy the people dancing beside him were. I was one of them, fully gone away in a trance. A star for you, mate.

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Day Two: Saturday

Day Two started quite earlier, promising twelve endless hours of good music. My friend — who flew in from Buenos Aires for the festival — and I entered the place just past 2:30 PM. And after a little day tour of the venue, we headed straight to the brand-new Resistance Square stage. Reason being, Daniella Da Silva was on at 3:00.

The stage itself was really interesting to me, since the Ultra guys turned this giant conference place into the host for the darkest, most energetic beats of the entire day. I remember my highschool once took me for University speeches or something of that kind literal years ago, and seeing it changed to fit a literal Ultra festival blew me away.

The other stages were just as breathtaking as the day before, and now places like the Mainstage enjoyed the geographic surroundings of Espacio Riesco: mountains for days. It was another level. Point for you, day parties!

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Day Two Winners

Daniella Da Silva

My friend wanted to see her so badly, and I wanted to learn from someone new to me. Good. Lord. Those were 90 minutes of nonstop dancing. There are pictures and videos of me absolutely losing it during her set which I won’t show for, reasons, but let me tell you, her energy is sensational. Dark, Hard Techno. I’m not of the kind to enjoy that in a car ride or on a normal day, but I for sure allowed myself to enjoy her beats at Ultra. I felt slightly sore after that, and that should tell you enough of how good of a set hers was.


My childhood hero. How wouldn’t I have enjoyed Hardwell’s set when he was my role model when I was in school back in the day? Growing up loving ‘Encoded’, ‘Spaceman’, and his remix of ‘Man With The Red Face’, it was about time to see him again. Absolutely nuts. Lots of what he played I had heard before at his Ultra Miami set from earlier this year, but far from taking away from the experience, it allowed me to sing my lungs out. Special shoutout to that ‘Strobe‘ x ‘Save The World‘ mashup which nearly got me crying.


These guys take the gold for me, no question. Seeing Hardwell, you know beforehand that it’s going to be a phenomenal show, but I had never seen Kasablanca before. I’d only heard their Anjuna tunes. And so my friend and I got to the very front of the Mainstage to see them. We could not have decided better.

They played a live set, just like Bodzin had done the day before. The difference here was the setting: While Stephan Bodzin played inside the warehouse vibe of the Resistance stage, Kasablanca did it out in the open. And their set just so happened to occur during the last hours of the day and into the night, sunset included.

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They absolutely rocked it. From synths to vocals to literal choreography, their set had it all. They truly made good use of the Mainstage speakers as well, with their fat-bottomed tracks. I can’t tell you just how magical that time was, even the landscape fit the vibe of their music. Mountains all around, the clouds turning slightly red at sunset (see a few pictures above), and the moon reigning high aloft by the time they dropped their remix of Above & Beyond’s ‘Black Room Boy’. The duo take the gold, and my heart with it. I won’t turn down the possibility of seeing them in the future.

Final Thoughts

It had been a while since I last attended a big festival, since I’d been much more inclined to go to artist-focused events. It was a refreshing treat to come to Ultra Chile and soak in the festival experience again. My mate and I had a great time, enjoyed the food (shoutout to Papa John’s), the Gin Tonics, and the feel-good atmosphere. For now, be right back, I’ll be listening to Kasablanca!

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The post [EVENT REVIEW] Ultra Chile Returns After Nearly A Decade, And In Full Force Too appeared first on EDMTunes.


By: Felipe Latorre Cabello
Title: [EVENT REVIEW] Ultra Chile Returns After Nearly A Decade, And In Full Force Too
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Published Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2024 18:43:56 +0000

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Adriatique’s ‘Beyond Us’ (Hatshepsut Version Alex Wann Remix) Is a Mystical Voyage

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As time goes by, some songs become timeless classics. Even more when artists reimagine different emotions and moods. This is the case with Eynka‘s ‘Beyond Us‘. It wasn’t long until Swiss Electronic duo Adriatique made their own renditions of the track. They amped it up a notch when they immortalized their rendition at the Hatshepsut Temple in Egypt last year for Cercle. Finally, we’re delighted to get an even more magical version of the track, brought to you by Deep House Parisian Icon Alex Wann.

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A post shared by Alex Wann (@alexwannmusic)

‘Beyond Us’ (Hatshepsut Version Alex Wann Remix)

How do you remaster and refresh a track that has so much influence and power, you may ask? Well, it seems like Alex Wann found the right formula for his ‘Beyond Us’ remix. From Eynka’s melodic touch, to Adriatique’s deeper and darker undertones, Wann manages to deliver an ethereal track with powerful afro elements. The percussion calls out to your ancestors, and the groove represents the vast deserts phenomenally. After a successful run with his Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’ Remix, the producer continues to influence the world around him.

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A star in the rise, Alex has received the support from House legends Keinemusik, Pete Tong, Swedish House Mafia, Diplo, and Blond:ish. This remix furtherly proves his ability to produce with different elements and styles, such as Adriatique’s unique sounds. Earlier this year he embarked in a North American tour, visiting major musical capitals such as Miami, New York, Toronto, San Francisco, and Montreal. Next Up, Alex Wann will make his rounds around Ibiza, Milan, Dubai, and La Bourget.

Watch out for Alex Wann this summer! He will most likely reign supreme with this delicious version of ‘Beyond Us’.

The post Adriatique’s ‘Beyond Us’ (Hatshepsut Version Alex Wann Remix) Is a Mystical Voyage appeared first on EDMTunes.


By: Jay Seabrook
Title: Adriatique’s ‘Beyond Us’ (Hatshepsut Version Alex Wann Remix) Is a Mystical Voyage
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Published Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2024 01:18:32 +0000

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