Steve Angello has announced his intentions to start stepping away from the festivals and the big rooms and dive back into the underground scene that gave him his start in dance music.
“I really miss the club scene,” said Angello prior to his opening night at LiFE in the SLS Las Vegas where he is to hold a monthly residency. “I miss the culture. Everything has become so festival-driven now. It’s fucking retarded. You’re seeing all this new talent coming through but no one has to go through the club scene.
“It irritates me. I grew up a DJ and a club head, and I used to come over [to the UK] with Eric Prydz like 15 years ago. And I used to play all these little rooms in Brighton, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow and it was such a great club scene for me to come up in because you learn so much, but I feel like that’s all been forgotten. Nobody is paying their dues in the clubs.”
He went on to explain his emphasis on this club education with the young artists that are signed to his label Size, and how he’s trying earnestly to convince them to shun the big stages in favour of the underground experience of working small, intimate rooms.
“I’m trying to push the artists on my label to become more club-orientated. Some of them think I’m evil! We have an artist right now that’s getting really big and is being offered lots of festivals and I said ‘Listen, your next tour is a club tour’ and he was like ‘Fuck that I don’t want to do a club tour’ and I was like ‘You’ve got to. We’ll do it small. 150 people, great soundsystem, no LEDs, just back to basics.’ Now he’s actually getting more excited about because it’s something different!”
In our interview with the big room, hard tech don, Angello echoed many of his contemporaries’ concerns about the commercial space that dance music is occupying at the moment, and that America’s rampant embrace of the festival was a worrying sign for the industry.
“In America they’re trying to get licenses for 600 dance festivals next year,” he explained. “I just saw the papers the other week, and I was shocked. It’s fucking horrendous. The things that people are planning to do next year might destroy the whole scene in America.”
But while he’s locked into a major residency at one of Vegas’ big new clubs, Angello insisted that he was drawn to LiFE because of it’s intentions to support the underground artists, and the space itself suited his vision of what his future performances will feel like.
“The soundsystem (Funktion-One) is amazing. And I’ve had a problem in Vegas finding a place where I can play techy or housey and the crowd will react to it. But here the soundsystem is great, the vibe is great and I can do all the fireworks and pyro stuff I want.”
The opening night of his residency ‘Reflections’ was also Angello’s 32nd birthday, and the former Swedish House Mafia member explored the deeper elements of the hard tech sound he’s become known for. He pushed his crowd close to the edge of their comfort zone with aggressive, plummeting drops, before reeling them back in with some of the poppier strings and epic toplines of yesteryear.
Angello’s set was a carefully orchestrated mix for the opening night of a long residency that should see him start to drift towards his roots and leave the big stuff behind him. But whether or not the EDM-fiending Vegas crowd are ready to go deep remains to be seen.