Pasquale Rotella on the Future of EDM in 2014

Courtesy of Erik Kabik
Pasquale Rotella
Insomniac's CEO Pasquale Rotella created the Electric Daisy Carnival in 1996, just three years after founding his company. A proud owner of nine crates of vinyl, Rotella grew a passion for electronic dance music, even manning the decks under his DJ moniker, Minder. Of course, these days people know him for throwing massive EDM events like Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. Sporting old-school "raver" type gear such as a big Dr. Seuss hat, and attending underground parties which had themes and props back in the day sparked his imagination to produce his own events. Taking inspiration from theme parks and movies, Rotella does his best to create unique experiences that are meant to highlight the crowd instead of the DJs.

Today he takes you to another world of carnival rides, theatrical performers, art installations, and audience participation at events like EDC (one of the largest EDM festivals in the country), the Wonderland events, and Enhanced Concert Series to more than three million attendees in California, Nevada, Colorado, Washington, New York, Puerto Rico and London. This December 31st, Rotella will ring in the New Year right here at the Anaheim Convention Center for their third annual White Wonderland. We spoke to Rotella to find out what can we expect this New Year's Eve, the direction of his company in 2014, and how becoming a new father has influenced him.

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Dirtyphonics (DJ Set) - The Observatory - July 18th, 2013

Jason 'Ohdagyo' Fenmore /
Charly & Pitchin from Dirtyphonics

Dirtyphonics (DJ Set)
The Observatory
July 18th, 2013

In the aftermath of their four month plus tour, the French quartet Dirtyphonics continues to support their debut full-length album Irreverence on Dim Mak Records with gigs at the biggest festivals and clubs around the world. Last night, members Charly and Pitchin made a stop in Orange County to the Observatory in Santa Ana for a special DJ set as part of InnerVision Events, Bassrush and LA Beatdown's Bassology dub infused 18 and over night filled with bass-in-your-face goodness which ignited a crazy moshing rage fest in the smaller Constellation room of the venue. The sold out event featured opening sounds from Dip Vertigo with MC Ridda and Neuropunk.

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Kastle Creates Futuristic EDM Sounds to Benefit the Present

Scott Lentz Photography
Kastle at Casselmans Bar & Venue in Denver

Some artists are just born to be visionary forward thinkers who create ideas, styles and genres long before they are the "popular" thing. Barrett Richards, the producer/DJ better known as Kastle, comes from a small town in northwest Pennsylvania where he got into playing music at the young age of 12. Inspired by the early house sounds of Moby, he picked up synthesizers and ditched his guitar to create futuristic "forward thinking" music. Later he moved to San Francisco to be further influenced by things like philosophy and science. It's fitting considering most of the great thinkers in both of those disciplines were considered "ahead of their time" despite creating theories and inventions to improve the present.

"I think a lot of people describe my music as futuristic but for me its very now," says Richards. "I guess because it's so different people tend to think it's futuristic but it's very much where I am." People tend to label things that they don't understand especially when it's breaking molds and creating something that sounds very unique. Also being on tour with dubstep master 12th Planet probably further created his acceptance in the dub community. "You can maybe say I'm an extension of that scene a little. I have definitely been influenced by the dub and bass scene," the DJ adds. Fusing together bass, dubstep, house, electronica and R&B Kastle has created his own unique sound which is clearly shown on his first self-titled album which came out in April on his label Symbol Recordings. Tonight, he's wrapping up his 15-stop North American live tour with a DJ set at Focus Tuesdays in Newport Beach, live set at Low End Theory in LA tomorrow and then heading to Mexico City on Thursday.

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The Five Best EDM Shows in April

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Tim Norris / OC Weekly
Coachella Sahara Tent 2012

Festival season is upon us and that means not one, but two weeks of Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival with enough electronic dance music to keep aficionados fist pumping in their sleep with anticipation. With one of the biggest music events of the year just around the corner, why bother doing anything else all month? Well, for those not willing to shell out the $350 for three days or others who weren't lucky enough to score a ticket before it sold out fear not because there's plenty of EDM shows right here in OC and in LA to get your party music fix. We did all the research for you to ensure you don't miss the five best dance music shows of all genres to ensure you spend your hard earned money on the right events.

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Five Must-See Artists at Beyond Wonderland

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Matt Oliver / OC Weekly
Steve Aoki with Travis Barker at Beyond Wonderland 2012

This weekend, Insomniac takes its fourth journey down the Alice & Wonderland-themed rabbit hole to Beyond Wonderland Music Festival, held at the San Manuel Amphitheater after the city of San Bernardino complained from previous wonderland events at the NOS Events Center. Don't be fooled by the new location however. If anything, it means a new venue for Insomniac's CEO Pasquale Rotella to curate into a magical world filled with art installations, performers, rides and some of electronic dance music's biggest stars including David Guetta, Steve Angello and Afrojack. For fans excited to roam the hills of the San Manuel Amphitheater and discover its new found home, we have put together a list of five must-see acts amidst all of the heavy dose of spine-rattling basslines.

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Maceo Plex: The Deep House Dark Horse of Beyond Wonderland

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After falling in love with electro in his native Miami, Eric Estornel began deejaying in the early 90s. Like most EDM enthusiasts he later got into techno and began making house beats in 1996. He moved his family to Dallas where he made a name for himself as a local DJ, but it wasn't until he fled to the European dance music scene that things started to take off for him four years ago. He released an LP on the infamous Crosstown Rebels label and his appeal has since skyrocketed. Tonight, going by his DJ moniker Maceo Plex, the soulful, underground producer is headlining the official Insomniac Beyond Wonderland pre-party alongside Maya Jane Coles at Exchange LA and playing the Crosstown Rebels Rave stage at Beyond Wonderland Saturday only to make his way back to Miami for his Ultra Music Festival debut on Sunday!

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Swedish House Mafia - LA State Historic Park - March 8th - 9th, 2013

Shannon Nehls / OC Weekly
Swedish House Mafia

Swedish House Mafia
March 8th - 9th, 2013
LA Historic Park

Who would have thought that just after seeing the legendary Tiësto sell out the Staples Center on March 2 that LA would receive another one of the biggest EDM weekends since Electric Daisy Carnival was held at the Los Angeles Colosseum. Erick Morillo played at Avalon AND Sound Nightclub, Carl Cox brought the house down at Exchange, Sasha was also at Sound and Ben Klock saw the sun rise at an incredible warehouse party. But the biggest event of the weekend and probably year was Swedish House Mafia's Masquerade Motel which played it's final west coast dates of their "One Last Tour" on Friday March 8th and Saturday the 9th at the LA Historic Park. Only a group as big as Swedish House Mafia would be able to sell 35,000 tickets in minutes only to add more show dates, which included this Friday night event.

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Laidback Luke - Fox Theater - March 8th, 2013

Alejandra Loera / OC Weekly
Laidback Luke at the Fox Theater Pomona

Laidback Luke
March 8th, 2013
Fox Theater Pomona

Last night the Filipino/Dutch DJ sensation Laidback Luke brought his signature mix of hip-hop and electro house to the Fox Theater in Pomona. Legally known as Luke Van Scheppingen, Laidback Luke has been killing it on the electronic music scene for the past 15 years. Know for his infamous Mixmash Records which continue to release hit after hit and his grand Super You & Me parties that sell out the biggest venues all over the world with it's audiences dressed in super hero get ups - Laidback Luke is one of the hardest working DJs and producers in the game who continues to amaze and wow his fans. This special Thursday night 18 and over event brought some serious dance music to the I.E. thanks to powerhouse promoters LED and Goldenvoice.

The show started at 11pm, noticeable early by EDM standards, and raged for a full two hours with in your face electro mash-ups and remixes of Luke's own originals as well as surprisingly a lot of Swedish House Mafia edits - perhaps playing homage to the 60,000 people event all of the EDM crowd will be attending this weekend at the Los Angeles Historic Park. We're not complaining however, as the vocals of of his track with SHM group mates "Leave the World Behind" echoed on the sound system we got carried away in anticipation. The crowd seemed fittingly for the Fox Theater's old school "rave" culture (this used to be the spot back in the early hey days of dance music) with kandi kids and girls in fluffies ready to get their shuffle on the packed dance floor.

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Tiësto - Staples Center - March 2, 2013

Shannon Nehls / OC Weekly
Tiësto's Club Life at the Staples Center
Staples Center
March 2, 2013

This weekend, the mega-star Dutch DJ/producer Tijs Michiel Verwest, better known as Tiësto, returned to Los Angeles via the Staples Center after his epic, soldout show at the Honda Center in 2011 for 26,000 electronic dance music fans. This marks the second time an EDM artist has played a headlining gig at the legendary venue (Kaskade brought his Freaks of Nature Tour to the Staples Center just last summer). Thanks to powerhouse promoters Insomniac Events and Goldenvoice, the College Invasion Tour brought in DJ Alvaro & Tommy Trash as the opening selectors of the evening, which sent loud basslines all the way to Figueroa at an early 6 p.m.

See Also: Why Tiësto Became an Indie-Inspired Electro Chameleon
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Why Tiësto Became an Indie-Inspired Electro Chameleon

Tijs Michiel Verwest, a.k.a. Tiësto

Tijs Michiel Verwest is more than just an electronic-dance-music (EDM) DJ and producer. He is the quintessential originator of the iconic brand Tiësto, which has continued to revolutionize itself and change the game for dance music artists all over the world for almost two decades. With Grammy nominations, numerous awards, collaborations with Guess Clothing, a Sirius XM Club Life Radio Channel, the No. 1 podcast on iTunes, his own Madame Tussaud's wax statue, residencies all over the world, and headlining every major festival including Coachella's main stage, plus being the first DJ to play at the Olympic Games in Athens, as well as the highest paid DJ on the Forbes list, Tiësto has proven to be larger than life, with no signs of slowing down.

Though he suffered a minor touring setback due to back problems on his 2012 College Invasion Tour, he is making up the missed dates this winter, including a stop at the Staples Center March 2. Presented by Goldenvoice and Insomniac, this performance marks the second time a DJ will play a show at the Staples Center -- Kaskade was the first DJ to sell it out with his Freaks of Nature Tour last summer. So in honor of Tiësto's Los Angeles comeback (he was last in LA in 2011 as a part of that year's College Invasion Tour, which hosted 26,000 fans at the Home Depot Center), we chatted with Verwest right as he hit the tour bus with fellow DJ friends Tommy Trash, Quintino and Alvaro. The Dutch artist covered everything from cultivating his sound to impromptu gigs to what's currently on his iPod.

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