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Bixel Boys Drop Knowledge on #FREELIFE, ‘Big-Room Underground’ and Upcoming Australian Tour


Rob May and Ian Macpherson are two talented young lads from LA who are collectively known as the Bixel Boys. The two have become known for making “underground tunes for big rooms” and have developed quite the following since their start in early 2013. The duo also has records out on Sweat it Out!, Nervous, Main Course and Armada Music already, not bad for only being active for a year. We’ve been tracking their progress for a while now, watching ‘em being announced on the Splash House lineup and EDC Las Vegas lineup, checking em out in San Diego and covering their latest release ‘Empire‘; saying we’re impressed with their work would be a bit of an understatement.

These guys aren’t here in a small way, they’re here to make some waves. To help with this, they’ve started the #FREELIFE movement. To help us and all their fans understand it we asked where this idea came from and how it relates to their production and lifestyle:

“…we’re sorta all over the place, the point of free life is freely expressing yourself. We never feel compelled to put our sound into a specific genre or do a specific sound. When we’re in the studio we just do what we wanna do in that moment, and that’s more healthy for creativity in the long run. Not forcing yourself into a box but rather just expanding yourself, doing a bunch of different things and not caring that there’s a bunch of consistency in your work.

What’s awesome about if you just listen to Bixel Boys and what we’ve done, you’re listening to a learning process…you’re witnessing our growth…a lot of artists have that grace period where they’re not heard or seen very much and they have time to develop and evolve their sound. with us it’s sorta like people are seeing that live.

That phrase is something that all of us were saying. …it’s about being comfortable. it’s about being yourself.”

Pushing this movement is big because it lets aspiring artists free themselves from any parameters they might see, to fuel creativity and nurture the creation of big better music. Hearing that kind of compassion they have for creativity is pretty cool, especially given the state of music in general and the constant craving (and demand) for new unique sounds. Really though this could be used as just a life principle; being true to one’s self it the best way to accomplish your goals and enjoy doing it. With the rapid success these two have had, it’s apparently not a half bad mindset to live by.

Their quick success has them traveling to Australia soon. Like now soon. The two leave for the land down under Thursday July 10, a day after the time this was written. The tour will have 5 stops, including: Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne. The Australian scene is fostering some pretty incredible dance music creation, so bringing their unique ‘big room underground’ sound should be really well received. What’s so special about that style is that it manages to bring together two colliding worlds in a mixture that’s….well almost intuitive.

“Big room underground for us is incorporating that style of sweep up but giving that more diverse drops and keeping them intriguing. Where as big room and pop songs, you know where it’s going to go. We try to do songs that are…not anti-drop…but they are songs that are more weighted in the breakdowns.”

Their song structure isn’t formulaic, like standard big-room but it’s not off the wall or peculiar like experimental underground; instead they present a nice middle ground with big pulsations and visceral sounds, but in a setup that keeps crowds guessing and keeps them actively thinking. That’s how they kept their EDC crowd so immersed in the music.

The Australia tour should be an equally great success, and who knows who they’ll run into or network with along the way. During our interview they mentioned how great the roster was at Sweat it Out!, including Yolanda Be Cool who said if Jesus were two guys he’d be the Bixel Boys (paraphrasing here); the two duos should be hanging out in Sydney.

“Those guys are a big inspiration to us. We’re lucky and also a little blessed that they decided to take us under with their whole and to even have this opportunity to go to Australia.

To tell you what kind of guys these guys are: when we first signed our stuff over to Sweat it Out. They hit us up and were like “we should go celebrate let’s go get dinner”. We’ve never met ‘em. …and we’re going to quote-unquote dinner.

We go in. It’s like a models party. All free booze.
…tequila was dinner that night.”

So the guys definitely know how to have a good time, and they’re sure to bring that youth, energy and excitement with them all throughout the Australia tour. If you missed them at EDC, or haven’t planned to see em yet, make sure to check em out when they return to the state-side; they’ll be playing in San Francisco and San Diego at the end of this month and HARD Fest in August. We’re excited to keep up with Bixel Boys as their career continues to evolve, and are looking forward to sharing it all with you the readers.

The post Bixel Boys Drop Knowledge on #FREELIFE, ‘Big-Room Underground’ and Upcoming Australian Tour appeared first on EDMTunes.

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DA’s Sunday Morning Medicine

Sunday Morning Medicine is a feature from Dancing Astronaut dedicated to the mellower side of electronic music. We bring you our favorite therapeutic selections — old and new — in an attempt to alleviate the agonizing effects of a long weekend of partying.

This week’s edition of Sunday Morning Medicine features a wide array of genres, from progressive house, to deep house, to deep dubstep and more. Starting off with a brilliant Robotaki remix of The M Machine, we move through selections from Disclosure, J. Sparrow, Pleasurekraft and DEVolution.

1. The M Machine’s Metropolis Remixed included some truly phenomenal renditions. Robotaki’s progressive house take on “A King of Alone” is one of the cleanest of the entire package.

2. Disclosure’s “Help Me Lose My Mind” was arguably the chillest song on Settle, yet somehow SOHN has managed to make it even more laid back with his soothing official remix.

3. J. Sparrow is a master of mellow, enveloping dubstep. With emphasis on a clean, morphing sub-bass and a non-invasive approach, J. Sparrow’s remix of Annie Drury is delightfully deep.

4. Pleasurekraft are masters of refined tech house, yet they took it a bit deeper and housier for their collaboration with Jace0 and Vedic. “Chloroformd” will have you curiously head bopping all the way through.

5. Finally, while we’re on that more upbeat groove, we end things with DEVolution’s infectiously dancey “My Friends.”

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New Pulselocker service for DJs provides viable alternative to music piracy


“How many times have you bought a track based on the 90-120 sec sample time, and realized that you hated everything but that sample? Or bought a track with the intent to play it out and never actually did?” – Ben Harris, CEO, Pulselocker

Being a DJ is not cheap. On top of the thousands of dollars DJs pour into their gear, the cost of buying hundreds of tracks a month can add up quickly. It’s no secret why many dance music fans and DJs turn to piracy: it’s easy, it’s accessible, and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than legal means. Pulselocker is a new service for DJs that offers a third alternative. Users pay a monthly subscription in return for full access to over four million tracks. When you’ve found a track you like, the song is stored into your “locker” on your computer, where it can be accessed offline by third party apps like Traktor and Serato. We caught up with Pulselocker CEO Ben Harris for an exclusive  insight into the new, innovative DJ service.

What is your vision with Pulselocker?

Coming from the music industry, we saw the evolution from vinyl, to CD to digital. Throughout this process, we noticed that artist revenues were getting hit hard by the effects of piracy. Producing records used to provide a livable wage but now it’s gone from a primary job to a serious hobby, wherein you need a day job to pay the bills. Obviously, the digital download model hasn’t really evolved over the years and its biggest vulnerability has been the ease that that content can be shared, legally or not. That said, our vision was to provide a solid user experience that also serves as a viable alternative to piracy.

Harris goes on to explain where Pulselocker fits within the music industry:

As the music industry has evolved, services like Spotify/Rdio have captured a lot of market-share because they give users the freedom to listen to what they want on demand. We are trying to fill the gap in the electronic/independent music space by providing people with a service that allows them to stream to full tracks they can’t find on those services, as well as the ability to experiment with that music on the leading DJ apps – so that they know, when they actually buy that track, it’s a keeper that they’ll play over and over. Not something they’ll purchase that sits as digital clutter on their hard drive.

Is Pulselocker a response to the rampant music piracy in dance music culture?

We see Pulselocker as a viable alternative to piracy. According to a report from the Norwegian researchers at IPSOS, piracy has fallen in that country thanks to alternative sources, like Spotify, Rdio and Netflix. However, the current dance music ecosystem doesn’t have this option available to them and so the tendency to pirate music are far greater. When content is easily available with one click, it creates a more interesting market dynamic and a better experience for both producers and consumers.

Harris then explains how Pulselocker will affect artists:

From the artist perspective, we’re also committed to helping them earn more money from their current and back catalog. This is the reason for our triple monetization approach. Basically, this means that rights holders have three ways of monetizing their current and back catalog. If a user streams a track, we pay a royalty; if a user takes that tracks and plays it in Serato/Traktor for more than 90 seconds, we pay a higher royalty; and if a user likes it enough to buy it, we pay an even higher royalty. Our goal is to build a sustainable business that helps the artists, and provide users with a cutting edge experience. While we won’t solve piracy, we’re doing everything we can to put more money back in the artists’ pockets.

What is the idea behind the numerous sub-genres?

Technology has made it easier than ever to produce music, and as a result, a new sub-genres seem to appear almost daily. To support the burgeoning growth of the types of music out there, we decided to expand the categorization of our genre pages and list as many of the most popular sub genres as we could. We feel that this ultra-customized approach gives users a more relevant and valuable experience than simply searching for a particular sound under the broader genres.

We will say that we don’t simply accept all genres and post them to our genre page. If you were to create a genre, 50 other people would have to add content to that genre for it to show up on the page. That way, we use crowdsourcing as a way to help the most relevant genres bubble up to the top.

This is just the beginning for Pulselocker. Having just signed a deal with Merlin Networks, Pulselocker will soon be doubling their catalog of tracks. Expect many more major labels to be integrated soon. Pulselocker is currently offering a free two week trial of the service.

Sign up for a free trial at Pulselocker.com.

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