Identity Festival sets up shop at Gexa Energy Pavilion tomorrow, August 10. The touring electronic dance music festival sprang to life last year, with the help of celebrity DJs Kaskade and Steve Aoki, and just hit the road on its second North American tour. This year includes sets by Wolfgang Gartner, Hardwell, Arty, singer-songwriter Eva Simons and is headlined by Swedish DJ Eric Prydz.
We asked Prydz about his relationship with the Identity Festival, the current state of EDM and his plans for the future.
You're already a few weeks into the Identity Festival, how's it going so far? Really good, thanks. The crowds have been really responsive to what and how I play. I think what I do is a little different than what they are used to, so the reaction is really pleasing.
In which cities are you the most excited to perform? To be honest, all of them. Some I have played before so it has been good to go back, but it is always good to go and play new cities.
How did you get involved with the Identity Festival? We were planning a trip over a bit later in the year but then we got the chance of being part of ID tour, which was a fantastic opportunity.
Who are some of your favorite acts playing the festival? I have not seen that many to be honest. My schedule is so tight due to us touring by bus that by the time we arrive on site I am literally playing.
Who are some of your favorite EDM artists? There are so many, from Daft Punk to Kraftwerk. The Swedish techno scene has been very influential for me, artists like Adam Beyer, Jesper Dahlback, Thomas Krome have massively impressed me.
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How has the scene changed since you started DJ-ing? A few ways, actually. As far as DJ-ing is concerned, when I started out, we were all carrying huge boxes of vinyl. It was all about those special tunes that nobody else had, as well as the big records everyone knew and loved. Now I carry a SD card and play from that. The SD card also allows me to write music and play it out almost immediately as I travel, which is hugely helpful in the writing process. The shows have also changed. There are less club shows and more festivals these days. Artists are creating huge rock-style shows to create more of a concert experience. I have my EPIC (Eric Prydz in Concert) show, and that has been really successful.
Where do you think EDM is heading? At the moment we are in the middle of a commercial phase, similar to that of the late '90s, especially in the UK. I think the sound will probably darken, and I hope will move more underground. You can already feel this happening in the UK and the rest of Europe.
What can people expect to see from you in the next year? I just released my Pryda album, which has been a great success. I have singles forthcoming on [the label] Pryda and Virgin, which is really exciting.
Why should people watch your set at Identity? I think I do things a little differently than some of the other artists on the tour, which is why I was so desperate to come. Most of what I play is my own music, some released, some not. I like to take the crowd on a bit of a musical journey during my sets; my music is all about melody and individuality rather than playing the same records as everyone else.