SPLASH HOUSE, June 10-12
A Palm Springs pool+music festival
text + interviews Rowland Akinduro
photos courtesy of Splash House
For those who experienced the Sahara tent at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and also have an insatiable desire to revisit some of the musical elements of that experience in an innovative wet & wild, multi-destination pool party setting, then Splash House is the premier summer festival event of choice. For those that have not experienced the Sahara Tent vibes, then Splash House is still the premier summer festival event of choice. Whether it’s lounging in a decorated balcony at the Seguaro while taking in an elevated perspective of the fun under the sun, staying posted in motion on a floaty at the Riviera while Big Wild drops his latest banger, getting transported between destinations in a bus pumping great EDM, or dancing the night away at the Palm Springs Air Museum, Splash House delivers in ways that infuses the latest in desired experiential entertainment into the aforementioned vacation destinations to create new heights of fun and recognition for all.
Coachella Magazine had an opportunity to speak with the production crew which introduced a level of appreciation for the complexity that is involved in transforming these hotels into a uniquely world-renowned experience. We also had a chance to chat it up with some of the exquisite talent selected to perform at this auspicious event. Specifically two very talented musicians from completely different ends of the EDM spectrum and world: Bearson from Norway and Big Wild who is originally from Massachusetts but resides in California.
Rowland: First of all, what part of the world are you from?
R: How did you get into electronic music? What inspired you to start?
B: It was actually at the end of my middle school years. I saw this classmate that was just playing around with his computer with music. I had no idea that you can actually make music with the computer, so I was really drawn with what was going on on his screen. I decided to buy the same program and from there I started learning. I saw YouTube tutorials and shit. I was into it for a few months, and then I just started doing it all myself learning techniques.
R: On the production level.
B: You reach a certain level where you can actually experiment with certain techniques. Once I kind of reached that level, I saw that I could experiment myself.
R: That’s dope. What do you feel is your best attribute? Remixing, producing, mixing?
B: To me it’s…well, I’ve been doing all that.
R: What’s you favorite?
B: I mean I started out doing remixes, but that was basically because I didn’t have any a cappella’s to work around or any vocals to work with. So when I was remixing I used other people’s vocals that were good for my own stuff. And it was easier to work around vocal than creating something totally instrumental. As of right now, I really enjoy making original tracks. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past year.
R: What would you say the balance is between performing your original tracks and performing what is going to please the crowd?
B: That’s an interesting question because there are a lot of unreleased songs that I exclude from my set because it would fit better in a live set. So for that reason, I would fill in those gaps where all my new stuff would be with stuff that would fit the DJ set that I’m playing. There’s a lot of stuff that I’m making right now that doesn’t necessarily fit into the DJ format. As of right now a lot of my songs work with DJ sets so that’s kind of what I’m doing now. And obviously you want to play songs that will get the crowd excited as well so I try to include a couple songs that will give life to the set. So you can play like three songs that are not crowd pleasers but if you include one in between then you keep them excited throughout the whole set.
R: So it’s that crowd excitement.
B: I guess, yeah.
R: Is this your first time playing in America?
B: I played SXSW but this is the first proper show that’s not a showcase that I’m doing in The States.
R: How has it been so far?
B: It’s been a great. What I like about the American crowds is that they are always way more open to hearing music than what I’m used to from Norway. Because when I play out in Norway, they expect big radio hits and songs they know, where as here, you can play whatever you want and as long as it’s good music, people will fuck with it.
That’s my favorite part about playing here; also the crowd response. When you play a song, people will react in a bigger way. In Norway, they really wouldn’t show their excitement for the song.
R: So you’d say in Norway it’s a little bit more reserved and held back where as here in The United States they’re more open like ah fuck it?
B: Yeah that’s a social thing to. In Norway, you’re not really supposed to show yourself as a big bear, if you know what I mean. You’re not supposed to make yourself look big.
R: Ah, is that where your name comes from?
B: Yeah also that, ‘Bearson’ because my last name is Bjørn-Hansen and Bjørn means bear in English.
R: So you just hybridized and infused it together.
B: Yeah that also it’s my dad’s last name. So it’s like bears’ son
R: Oh ok that’s clever.
B: It was just a name I had when I uploaded stuff on my private soundcloud. That’s the name I’d use. When it came to the day where I was gonna release my first public track, I just decided to stick with it.
R: What’s your birthday?
B: Eleventh of August.
R: Aye I’m August fifteenth!
B: Ah, sick! Leos! You know I always get along with other Leos!
R: Me too! So that pretty much wraps up our interview here. I would say what would be one final statement you want to make to your fans or people that are starting to get turned on to your music.
B: Just that I really appreciate everyone that listens to my stuff. A couple years ago, I couldn’t imagine living off of and traveling the world making music and having people buy and listen to it. That’s really surreal in and of itself. Other than that, I’m going on tour in the US starting June 15 in DC, going to New York, San Francisco, LA just like an all-around trip.
R: Right on, so watch out for the tour.
B: (Laughs) I guess.
R: Well thank you so much.
B: Yes thank you!
Big Wild interview:
Rowland: So you go by Big Wild?
Big Wild: I go by Big Wild real name is Jackson.
R: What part of the world are you from?
BW: I was born and raised in Massachusetts and I’ve lived in California for about 2 1/2 years now.
R: Earlier we got a little chance to talk about your stage presence and the technique you’re using which is very much live percussion based integrated with electronic music production. Talk a little bit about that and how that came about if you will.
BW: I’ve always kind of tried to do some type of life aspect in my show. It just came about by going to shows and I always feel like I’ve connected more with the show when the performer was playing some kind of instrument on the stage as opposed to DJing, which is an instrument, but it’s not one that I necessarily related to as much. I kind of wanted to do a hybrid because electronic music is really hard to play out in a live situation aside from DJing. That’s why I play all my own music, I have my own instruments, I do different edits for live shows you won’t be able to hear outside of that.
R: So you can make it something special for the people that are experiencing the live show.
R: How did you get into production?
BW: I was 13 and now I’m 25. I’ve been doing it for 12 years now. And it’s kind of how I first really got into music.
And it’s kind of how I first really got into music.
R: Fruity Loops or FL studio rather.
BW: I used Fruity Loops for a long time like 6 or 7 years. I used ProTools for a little bit, and I’ve used Ableton for the last four years.
R: What do you feel about Ableton? Because there might be some people interested in production that read this. What do you prefer about Ableton as oppose to the other digital audio workstations?
BW: “that’s very demonic” comments on one of the tracks in Justin Martin’s set as a dredging industrial pulse pounded through the speakers in the distant background before the ‘drop’ hit.
R: ooh that was a good drop
BW: (laughs) What do I think about Ableton?
I think Ableton is really good at pitch shifting and working with samples and cutting them up, messing them up, mangling them, or whatever. That’s were you can get a lot of creative weird sounds that could end up being that it factor of the track. I find it easier to get those types of sounds with Ableton than I did with Fruity Loops.
R: Right on. For somebody that’s just getting started or interested in pursuing a career in music, touring and booking gigs,
A) What would be your advice? and B) Some of the challenges you’ve faced?
BW: The most important thing is to first just nail down your production. Get your songwriting ability up. And basically, the easiest way to kind of do it is to try and emulate your favorite people, like your favorite producers or whoever and from there, try and make something your own. Also, you kind of find out that when you almost copy your favorite people, you sort of put your spin on it already. Also, be really good at listening to your favorite elements of songs. Like, “I’m gonna do that in my song,” but maybe with a twist. Always try to push yourself to do something different creatively and then you start to get attention from the people. That’s what happened to me. People were attracted to what they were hearing on my soundcloud and from there, I linked with Odesza, a booking agent and management. And it all started from me producing and working on that.
So that’s Ground Zero I would say, just working on your music and your songwriting. It’s super tough though; it’s very hard to always try and do something unique and different. Sometimes, that’s why a lot of people will stick to trends and do stuff that’s popular because it’s easy. You hear something and your like, “that’s hot right now, I’m gonna do that.” If you want to go that route, you can, but you got to be careful because there’s usually not much longevity to it and you won’t stick out as much from the crowd as opposed to just having something different.
R: And being a pioneer of that different sound.
BW: Right. You could be starting a new trend.
R: So you mentioned some of the bits of advice that you have. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in the industry?
BW: I’ve definitely had a lot of trouble; it’s not as much of a problem now, but when I was first starting out, people didn’t really know what I was doing on stage necessarily. Because your DJing but not normally, because I’m doing all this shit so I was kind of like in this gray area I felt I was in. And I would have a lot of trouble just playing certain shows because they couldn’t accommodate what I needed on stage just for the live setup aspect. But slowly I feel like people are warming up to what I do and there’s other people that do it now too. It’s kinda of becoming more known and not as much of this weird thing. As far as challenges go, I find the most challenging thing is coming up with something fresh and new. It really forces you to be creative and not stick to one formula which can be really tough. So that’s probably the biggest challenge and I face it every day when I’m in the studio or during my live sets; I think, how am I going to do something special and unique. That’s the hardest part.
R: Well thank you for being a part of Coachella Magazine. On top of that, one final question. What do you feel you want to reach out and tell your fans or some people that are just getting turned on to your music? What would be the one thing that maybe I didn’t ask that you would want to mention?
BW: I have a lot of new singles that I’ve been working on and I’ve finished a lot of them and I’ve been kind of quiet in recent music but I want people to know that I have a lot of really cool music I’m excited to push out and also a lot of shows that I haven’t announced yet. I’m really stoked about it. A lot of new stuff coming.
R: So stay tuned!?
BW: Hell yeah.
R: Well thank you Big Wild!
BW: No problem
Splash House returns August 12-14, 2016