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“DJs – Then & Now”, Week 2: DIPLO!

 

Hey folks! Yes, it’s time once again for “DJs – Then & Now”, that feature where we go back in time to see just what your favorite spinners looked like in the early days of their careers, and how they’ve stood the test of time since then! And have we got a treat for you today! It’s the man who can’t stop setting up new groups for your entertainment–can you say JACK U? Can you say MAJOR LAZER? That’s right, this week it’s the one and only DIPLO!!!

 

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Hmmm…maybe it is true that aging is particularly kind to males! After nine years of producing, performing and touring the world several times over (check the dates), and only a little crow’s feet shows up, that ain’t half bad! Do you think that’s all in the DNA, or has Diplo found a particularly effective moisturizer instead?

Stay tuned for Week 3 of “DJs – Then & Now”…same time, same web site!

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Posts from Michael: John “00” Fleming and the catching of powerful moments

Hello everyone,

I hope that all of you are having a good day today. I want to share something with you folks that on the surface might not seem to have much to do with DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM, as it’s an event that happened just eight days ago–not an incident from the 90s glory days as chronicled in the book. However, I think you might change your mind about that after you read about what happened at Avalon Hollywood last Saturday night, September 3rd. It was going to be an old-school trance fest, as the headliners were the double billing of Christopher Lawrence and John “00” Fleming. There are few trance artists in the world that have longer pedigrees than these two, and having known both of them for a long time now (nearly twenty years in Christopher’s case), I’ve seen them do some amazing things with audiences. If you’re into trance, a night with these guys will not disappoint…and this was certainly the case at Avalon this night. Trading off on the decks on a constant basis, they brought the energy level in the room to a spectacular height.

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However, something else was going on that neither Christopher nor I was aware of…something particularly intense and powerful that was going to transform this ordinary night out into something bigger. Much bigger. I’ll let Christopher tell the story at this point–this is from his Instagram post about that night.

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“I can’t begin to explain what a privilege it is to have John “00” Fleming [as my] best friend and DJ partner. I have never met someone with as much integrity behind the decks and in everyday life. On the night of our set at Avalon Hollywood last weekend, John received the news that his mother had passed just before we left for the show. He never mentioned this to me even as we drove to the show and did our prep and sound check. True to his professional nature and dedication to his audience, he kept silent knowing that I would worry about him if I knew and that it might effect our eight hour open to close show. How he found the strength to do this I will never know.

At Avalon that night he played the most powerful set I’ve ever heard from him. We have played many sets together but this one stood out from the others. There was a particularly intense part when John had been playing pounding techno and the crowd was loving it. I went up to him to tell him how much I was digging it when he suddenly made the dance floor erupt with an incredible emotional melody.

It was only the next day when John told me of his mother’s passing that he said the powerful techno set followed by the euphoric release was when he had been thinking of his mother. It made that intense part of his set all the more special and explained the raw emotional roller coaster his sets had been throughout the night.

John’s mother was always extremely proud of him with good reason and I know she was looking down on him that night. I felt very honored to have shared the stage with him.

It was important for me to let you know what an incredible person John is. So perhaps show him a little more love as he sets out on a three day tour of back to back open-to-close sets in Australia.”

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This is my photograph of the moment that Christopher was talking about. When I look at it today, it almost gives me shivers, it’s such an epic and transformative moment…and I happened to catch it and immortalize it. I won’t say it was completely by accident–I was there doing my job professionally, as I always strive to do–but as Christopher said, John was the only one in that room who truly knew what was going on. I didn’t know. Christopher didn’t know. Nobody on that stage knew. So for me as a photographer, to know that I serendipitously caught the instant where John is just about transcending into some higher plane, and knowing (now) the circumstances behind it…well, these are the moments that keep photographers going. This is what we live for–knowing that we got it.

Here’s a link to a YouTube video that I shot that also captures the atmosphere pretty well. Sorry about the noisy quality.

On another, more sobering note, I wish to express my condolences to John Fleming. I know this can’t be an easy time for him, in spite of the big outpouring of fan emotions thanks to Christopher’s post. And as usual for him, he’s going straight ahead into more work, even during this trying time. I hope that he continues to get support from the public in the future, because of course you can’t really just cope with something like this.

Anyway, as I said at the beginning of this piece, I believe this has a lot to do with DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM, because just as back in the day, electronic music has the ability to take a moment and transform it, to shape it into something bigger, something more sublime…and dare I say, universal. This is something that has not changed over the decades, from the classic rave days to today’s EDM world. Thus, the spirit of DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM is very much alive on today’s dance floors, in spite of the fact that the audience has inevitably changed over the years. That Avalon crowd wasn’t made up of old, grizzled rave veterans like myself. It was a largely twenty-something audience that was going for Christopher Lawrence’s and John Fleming’s trance just as passionately as their old fans back in the 90s and 00s. It’s heartening to see that spirit has been passed intact from one generation to the next. It’s why, even in the light of the numerous incidents that have been plaguing festivals as of late, that I still have faith in the future of electronic music. This thing is now too big to simply go away–it has woven itself into the fabric of American pop culture so deeply that it will never be completely removed.

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NEW weekly photo feature: “DJs – THEN & NOW”, Week 1: CARL COX!

What’s up, folks! Guess what—today is your lucky day! No, seriously, it really is your lucky day! Why is that, you might ask—good question! It’s because today is the day that we’re debuting a new regular feature here on the DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM blog, which we think is gonna be a lot of fun, called “DJs: THEN & NOW”!

It’s actually very simple: electronic music has been around for over three decades now, and many of the artists in this genre have been around for almost that long as well! And let’s face it, people can sometimes change a LOT over the course of a decade or two! Luckily, DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM author Michael Tullberg’s enormous photographic archives contain thousands of both vintage and current pictures of some of dance music’s biggest legends. So, now you get to see for yourself whether or not time–or perhaps a good plastic surgeon–has been kind to your old favorites!

(OK, we admit it, this isn’t exactly our invention—in fact, we’ve stolen this bit from all those other celebrity web sites you’ve recently been on. Well, are you guys aware that there are no truly original ideas left? That everything is a derivative of something else? Anyone? Bueller?)

Just to be clear, we are not looking to embarrass or single out any artist for particular attention.  Remember that this is all being done in the name of science, in the drastically under-reported field of ripening disc jockeys. We are proud and honored to play our small role in this most important of research fields, and plan to have a paper on the subject published soon in Scientific American (no, not really). So if you’re gonna comment, please refrain from ridicule, and show a little PLUR for the artist.

This is gonna be a weekly thing, so be sure to mark your calendars with regular reminders to pay this site a visit! And let’s kick off things with the original raving force of nature—the inventor of the three-turntable setup, Ibiza’s main source of income for the last fifteen years, the original Number One DJ in the World—CARL COX!!

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Wow…sixteen years and barely so much as a wrinkle! Even his glasses are in exactly the same position! What’s your secret, Carl???

Of course, Carl also appears in the pages of DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM, which you can order on this very web site–and we hope that you do!

Until next time, then…when we’ll have a brand new DJ for you! Share this as much as you like in the meantime!

 

The 5150 Crew

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New DJMAG monthly “Stay In” column out now!

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WOO-HOO! Just wanted to let you folks know that Michael’s latest monthly “Stay In” column for DJMAG is now out! This month, Michael’s covering his very own “DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM: The Out-Takes” iBook, the classic punk movie “Repo Man”, Activision Anthology, Hard 8 Clothing, “Scenes From A Hat” (from “Whose Line Is It Anyway”), and the always controversial “Omaha The Cat Dancer”! Enjoy reading!

“DFTS Out-Takes” page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dancefloor-thunderstorm-out/id1090607538?mt=11

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NEW INTERVIEW! Michael appears on EDMIdentity.com!

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Great news–Michael has yet another interview up on the Net now! It’s on the web site EDMIdentity.com, where Michael and interviewer Grant Gilmore talk about the history of electronic music photography, how it and the scene have changed over the years, and of course about DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM! The conversation took place back in June in Las Vegas, right after Michael had delivered his presentation about photography at EDMbiz. Here’s the link:

http://edmidentity.com/2016/08/29/featured-interview-michael-tullberg/

Here’s a really nice opening quote from Grant: “While you may not always know the name behind the lens, you’ll definitely recognize the photos. Over the past twenty years, Michael has made a name for himself in the rave scene. Whether he’s capturing intimate moments with artists in undisclosed locations, dark venues with limited production, or festivals that leave you stunned, his shots are up there with the best of the best.” Wow. Thanks, Grant. That means a lot.

AND…some more good news. We’re going to be featuring a new weekly running bit here on this web site. Can’t tell you all the details yet, but it involves DJs and their longevity. Stay tuned for updates as they come! Now, get on back to what you were doing…after ordering a copy of DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM for yourself, of course!

Michael Tullberg’s “In Seventh Heaven” riot article now up on Insomniac.com!

What’s up?? Just wanted to let you guys know that “DFTS” author Michael Tullberg is now writing retro reviews of classic raves for Insomniac, and that his first piece is now up on their web site! It’s the story of the notorious 1996/97 “In Seventh Heaven” New Years Eve riot in downtown Los Angeles, which is also featured in the pages of DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM. Here’s the link:

https://www.insomniac.com/media/riot-mayhem-and-nightsticks-seventh-heaven

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We’ll let you guys read the article for yourself, but suffice it to say that it wasn’t a pretty evening that night. It involved bogus synthetic drugs, numerous hospitalizations, and the LAPD coming in and shutting the party down with all the subtlety of a rhino charging. A bunch of Michael’s images are also featured, along with some video which shows ravers fleeing for their safety down the street from cops in riot gear.

More articles are to come, from events that didn’t end in such cataclysmic violence. Stay tuned.

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News: Amazon feedback & new interview article

Hey folks,

It’s been a busy week for us here at 5150–then again, every week is a busy one in our business!–and we have some good things to show for it. First off, “DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM” is beginning to collect some great reviews on its Amazon.com page! Take a look at these:

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Very cool! Nice to see that people are enjoying the book enough to take the time to say so publicly on Amazon! And here’s the second good thing to happen this week: Michael’s latest interview piece! This time it’s with More Moi Music, who interviewed Michael while he was at EDMbiz in Las Vegas last June. It’s a really good article overall, and while Michael has some pointed things to say in it, we think that the More Moi people really topped off the piece just right with the following ending paragraph:

“While we weren’t adults raving in the 90s, we and other fellow Millennials, tend to feel nostalgic for times we’ve never experienced ourselves. We long for the simpler times detailed in Dancefloor Thunderstorm, which focused solely on the music, the atmosphere, and the raw energy it could provide. We hope that the resurfacing of these untold stories permeates into today’s DJ celebrity crazed, financially oriented and production heavy dance music culture.”

Couldn’t have said it any better ourselves. Here’s the link to the article:

http://www.moremoimoremusic.com/spotlight/michael-tullberg-dancefloor-thunderstorm

Getting ready for a busy weekend. Hope yours is productive!

NEW PHOTO EXHIBITION in DTLA! July 9 at Pop Obscure Records!

Good news! “DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM” author Michael Tullberg is going to be taking part in a group photography exhibition at the brand-new Pop Obscure Records in downtown L.A.! It’s co-run by Michael’s old friend and colleague Sherry Lee from Freestyle Photographic Supplies, and it’s part record store (vinyl only!) and part art gallery.

The show’s theme is Music, so appropriately enough Michael went and pulled some of his good vintage rave material. Here’s one of them:

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The other participants in the show are first-rate artists, so you know there’s gonna be a great selection of works to admire! The show opens on Saturday, July 9th. It’s gonna be a great night , and we hope that you can make it down!

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More EDM Press Takes Notice! XLR8R Puts Out New Interview Article!

Oh yeah, this is good news. One of the great old-school rave media outlets, XLR8R.com, has just put out a new interview article with Michael. It contains not only the usual number of great classic rave photographs, but also a bunch of insightful comments from Michael about his photographs, rave history, and Rave vs. EDM. Here’s the link to the story:

https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2016/05/interview-dancefloor-thunderstorms-michael-tullberg/

Here’s a clip from the opening paragraph: “Southern California was on the ground floor when rave culture and dance music exploded in the 90’s and, thankfully, the archival tales and photographic relics of that time are now seeing the light of day. In a new book titled Dancefloor Thunderstorm—released in October of last year—electronic music photojournalist Michael Tullberg gives the reader a voyeuristic look at some of the biggest and most outrageous parties and underground raves from the 1990s and early 2000s. Reporting from the center of American rave culture during that time, Tullberg amassed an enormous library of photos, news articles, interviews, and memorabilia—the best of which make up the contents of his book.”

Sounds pretty accurate to us. Oh and by the way, it’s not only ONE WEEK until Michael speaks on the discussion panel at West Coast Weekender in San Diego!

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Michael will be taking part in the “Music For Positive Social Change” panel discussion on Friday, May 13 at 4:00 PM! We very highly recommend that you attend this new electronic music conference, since there are not only several very thought provoking panels taking place, but also numerous great parties in the evenings, as can be seen in the flyer!

And of course, only two days later it’s the big book signing at Dr. Freecloud’s Record Shoppe! It starts at 1:00 and “officially” ends at 3:00…but of course, if we find any reason to keep it going longer, we see no reason not to take advantage of that! Be sure to make your way down for a day of fun stories and more than a little of old-school rave history! SEE YOU THERE!