Mad Decent Block Party tour kicks off in Fort Lauderdale

 

The beat master’s eclectic label brings together a wide range of EDM stars including Toronto duo Zeds Dead and moombahton king Dillon Francis.

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By Michael Hamersly | mikehamersly@gmail.com

Fans of electronic dance music — and particularly its modern subgenres of dubstep, electro house, trap and glitch — are sure to flock to Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, where the Mad Decent Block Party kicks off its annual tour.

The all-day beatfest celebrating EDM superstar Diplo’s eclectic label features top cutting-edge acts including Zeds Dead, Flosstradamus, Dillon Francis, Flume, DJ Snake, Action Bronson and more.

Mad Decent is different from most electronic-music labels in that it ventures beyond the typical house and trance sounds, embracing exotic forms of music such as Angolan kuduro, Brazilian baile funk and moombahton. Its novel approach attracts many artists who have an adventuresome, experimental side.

“I like that it’s sort of boundless in a way,” says Dylan “DC” Mamid, who along with Zach “Hooks” Rapp-Rovan makes up the Toronto duo Zeds Dead. “They just have a cool home where they inspire no boundaries and don’t pin themselves to one genre. And just being weird — we’re weird, so we’re down with that, for sure.”

Moombahton master Dillon Francis, who is good friends with both Diplo and dubstep legend Skrillex, offers a unique summary of Mad Decent’s mission: “To put out really f---ing cool music that teaches you about the different cultures around the world. And that’s what I try to do, and that’s why I look up to Diplo so much.”

Moombahton is a cross between house music and reggaeton, but Francis pins it down further: “It’s pretty much house music slowed to 110 bpm, and there may or may not be a ‘dem bow’ in it, where it’s going, like, ‘Doot. DA-doo DA doot. DA-doo DA doot.’

Francis — whose salacious, twerk-heavy video for Get Low, his new single with DJ Snake, recently topped three million views on YouTube — is quick to point out that he’s much more than moombahton.

“That’s what everyone knows me for, but my style is pretty much all over the place,” he says. “Before that I was making really s----y electro music [laughs], and before I was doing that I was probably making really bad dubstep music.”

All self-deprecation aside, Ultra Music Festival favorite Francis was recently crowned “your next superstar DJ” by Las Vegas Weekly for his high-energy live shows.

“I just try to play stuff that’s really fun and entertaining,” he says, “and I also try to play a lot of throwback stuff that nobody’s really playing anymore, like ending a set with K-Ci & JoJo’s All My Life. It’s really fun to do that because it helps break up the monotony of all the electronic music that you’re hearing all night.”

You won’t find any monotony in sets by Zeds Dead, which is also renowned for its exciting live performances.

“They’re pretty f---ing crazy for the most part,” says Mamid, whose nickname “DC” stands for the dirty crates of hip-hop records he used to dig through. “Our music goes all over the place, and so do our live sets. We like to take people on a journey, whether it’s an hour or two hours, while maintaining a pretty energetic vibe throughout. It’s definitely a party-oriented set, but the journey will go up and down and explore a lot of different side territories.”

Mamid and Rapp-Rovan (whose “Hooks” moniker was inspired by both Captain Hook and melodic hooks) are looking forward to another journey to Florida.

“We get to Miami a lot, with Ultra and WMC, and all the shows we play there,” he says. “All of Florida goes super-crazy over Zeds Dead, and the fans down there are great and the energy’s great. Last time we played in Fort Lauderdale was insane — people were just going nuts. I don’t know what it is, but people are always raging in Florida.”

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