Electric Daisy Carnival’s hundreds-strong lineup represents an opportunity to discover new talent and rediscover pioneers of the electronic music scene. For Pasquale Rotella, CEO of promoter Insomniac, this year’s festival also marks an important achievement—and a chance to celebrate EDC’s history. “This is our 30th anniversary, so we brought in some artists that haven’t played with us for a very long time—R.A.W.; Frankie Bones, who’s the originator of PLUR [Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect]; DJ Dan; DJ Trance, who was a resident for us even before trance music existed,” Rotella tells the Weekly. “We have lots of surprises planned and artists who we haven’t announced yet. People are going to be stoked.” Here are eight acts to get you started as you sift through the schedule.
Pretty Pink (Friday night, 10 p.m., Quantum Valley)
Don’t let the name fool you, Pretty Pink’s material is anything but light. Picture a throng of sweat-soaked bodies writhing in an underground club to a pulsating, submerged beat—that’s Pretty Pink. The deep house maestro with a decade of production under her belt is known for immersing the listener in sensations. Born Digital, her latest album released on her Deep Woods label, expands on that sound with a brighter, more electric approach that should translate well to the stage.
Andy C (Friday night, 12:30 a.m., Basspod)
“There’s been a real interest recently in a genre that I personally have never lost love for—drum and bass,” Rotella says, and this year’s EDC has tons of it. Englishman Andy C, a founding father of the genre, leads the charge, and he brings a frenetic mixing style to the decks, one that shifts the weight of the track from one extreme to the next, evidenced on 2017 hit “What Bass.” The DJ and producer also leads Ram Records, one of the largest independent drum and bass labels around.
Ferry Corston (Friday night, 3 a.m., Quantum Valley)
Corsten has made genre-defining tunes under several aliases (Moonman, System F, Gouryella), but longtime listeners know him best as the groundbreaking Dutch DJ and producer who established a blueprint for trance. For nearly three decades, Corsten has fine-tuned a sound that’s both genre-blurring and radiant. Cuts like “Connect” and “Out of the Blue” demand stamina, so prepare to leave some sweat on the dancefloor during this legend’s set.
Nala (Saturday night, 7 p.m., Cosmic Meadow)
Infectious, sexy and tailor-made for the underground, Nala’s music caught the attention of Claude VonStroke, and the rest, well, it’s history. The Miami DJ and Dirtybird Records signee has since become a hot commodity in techno and house circles, and her signature use of her own hypnotic vocals—check out “Everything Is Burning”—leaves a stamp on whatever she touches.
Sherelle (Saturday night, 3 a.m., Bionic Jungle)
With a background in dancehall and a passion for the percussive jungle style that developed out of the U.K., Sherelle is a raver’s dream. The London DJ is playful behind the decks, juking and pump-faking listeners with unexpected transitions and sound effects just for sport. She’s also busting down doors with her indie labels Hooversound and Beautiful, which specifically represent Black and LGBTQ people like her in the community.
Ellen Allien (Sunday night, 8:30 p.m., Neon Garden)
A techno wizard in her own right, Ellen Allien laid the groundwork for her legacy with resonant rave cuts and a progressive catalog of IDM, fueled by enigmatic grooves and roiling basslines. The German producer’s edit of “Their Blood” by Rose Anschütz personifies that approach, building toward a doomful finale that feels equal parts chilling and sexy. There’s a magnetism to Allien’s sounds, and over decades she has shared it with the world on most every major festival stage.
Jeff Mills (Sunday night, 11:30 p.m., Neon Garden)
One of the hardest-working and most iconic names in techno, Jeff Mills will make a rare EDC appearance this weekend. The Detroit legend who co-founded that city’s Underground Resistance collective in 1989 mostly plays overseas, so catching him under the desert sky should be quite an experience. Mills’ old-school approach has historically involved up to four turntables and a drum machine, but the result is a dynamic experience, rich in composition, expertly mixed and often grittily industrial.
Todd Terry (Sunday night, 4 a.m., Bionic Jungle)
Legendary. Iconic. Game-changing. That about sums it up for Todd Terry, one of the pioneers behind ’80s New York house. Terry produced The Jungle Brothers’ 1988 hip-hop hit “I’ll House You”—built around his own track “Can You Party”—and his 1995 dance remix of “Missing” by Everything but the Girl took that English pop band to new heights. Terry’s influence will be felt for many years to come, and we’re privileged to get an earful of it at this year’s fest.
ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL May 19-21, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, lasvegas.electricdaisycarnival.com.
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