by: Rachel Narozniak
by: Rachel Narozniak
Nov 26, 2020
Today is Thanksgiving. It’s a time to give thanks for good health, good friends, good family, and, of course, good music. We thought we’d take the time to pay tribute to our favorite parts of dance music culture on this day of thanks, not only for the ones behind the turntables while we get to party, but for the greater dance music culture and its constantly expanding fanbase. This one’s for the producers and performers that put their full hearts and souls into everything they do, the clubs that go all out every night of the week, and the people who live and breathe dance music. Today, we celebrate you. It’s the least we can do.
“Every year since assuming a leadership position at DA, I’ve always been most thankful for the team—they are the sharpest, most dedicated, most determined group of writers in all of dance music. They support the artists and events they love, the music that moves us, and each other day-in and day-out solely out of passionate love for dance music and this brand. But this year, my level of gratitude I have for this group is unlike years past. We all had a difficult year, but in a year when I personally suffered more than I ever have before, this team was here not only to support DA when I wasn’t well enough to do so myself, but they also propped me up in a way I’ll never be able to fully thank them for.
This year was so difficult on me, it shook the foundations of the things I love most—especially electronic music—to the point where I almost completely lost sight of my purpose here. This team of Astronauts continually reminded me of why I love this community so much and why we do what we do, even on the days it was nearly impossible to see that on my own. Meals being delivered across the country on my darkest days, endless Slack threads of spirit-lifting memes and old festival footage, and a relentless willingness to tackle things together, no matter how sad or shitty they got this year, are just some of the things about this team that I am most grateful for.
Let’s get back to dance floors together as soon as we safely can—here’s to a better year in 2021. For us, for our peers in this community struggling to make ends meet, and for this scene as a whole. Watch this space and trust these Astronauts to bring it all to you with love.”
“In the short time that I have been with the team at DA, I could not be more grateful to be surrounded by intelligibly positive individuals who not only want to see each other succeed but also share the same passion for electronic music and use their voices to offer fans informed perspectives on their favorite music. In a year that doesn’t feel real, I am grateful for the hardships we as a community are being put through. Knowing each member of this global community is resilient and adaptive, I know we will rid of all negativity, dispose of the ego, and better ourselves in time for future events and festivals. Someday soon we’ll instill gratitude back into our movement of peace, love, unity, and respect. Finally, I am grateful for this blessing in disguise that we are facing, in hopes it burgeons a new dynasty of astute creatives/leaders and robust sound that will positively shift electronic dance music into the future.”
“In a year as agonizing as 2020 has been, I’m thankful for being a part of Dancing Astronaut and being able to make even the slightest difference in dance music. I’m thankful for Insomniac Events, Proximity, Tomorrowland, and every other team that has gone out of its way to keep us entertained with virtual events throughout the pandemic.
Music-wise, I’m thankful for discovering one of my new favorite artists in Lane 8 and am thankful for STMPD RCRDS and Ophelia Records, who are giving platforms to artists and are both properly pushing this scene in the right direction. Last but not least, I’m thankful for i_o. I was far from a techno fan before discovering his music, and genuinely respected how he was changing not only my perception of it, but dance music’s as a whole. I hope that his passing continues to shine a brighter light on the mental health issue that has plagued the music industry for far too long.”
“I’m thankful this year for the dancing astronaut in me who is continuously curious and excited about new sounds and styles different humans create using those little rectangular machines. I’m thankful for this team of idiosyncratic scribes who write to their big hearts’ content, following closely along through annals of electronic music history with dedication and fervor.
This year, however, I’m strangely thankful for no live music festivals, as safety and health, both physical and mental, take precedence over entertainment.
I’m thankful for Mat Zo for inviting me into his Minecraft world, an escape that adequately quenched my festival desires for a weekend. I’m thankful for Dillon Francis, who took time to tell me about his air fryer and working on his This Mixtape Is Fire project for the five-year anniversary. I’m thankful for Pioneer who lent me their CDJ 3000s for two weeks, to test drive their new generation of professional DJ technology (review coming soon.) I’m lastly thankful for live streaming, an industry that took a big step forward in light of new circumstances and will continue to thrive as live events come back, and they WILL come back.”
“In the time that I’ve worked for Dancing Astronaut, the feeling that being brought aboard this team four years ago was one of the best things to happen to me has largely remained unchanged. This year, I can’t say the same, because it did change; it augmented in the most profoundly positive way.
The inaccessibility of live, in-person music events was just one of the drastic changes that 2020 introduced. Amid the constant uncertainty and changing circumstances that this new decade brought on, the DA team’s passion for dance music and this brand did not falter. The privilege of being a part of this tight-knit, fiery family of fellow dance music enthusiasts was only magnified this year as it became clear that no matter how long live events remain out of reach, this DA community and its fervor for electronic music and culture won’t yield to anything.
When 2020 and COVID-19 are eventually behind us, I know that I will look back at the days and nights spent brainstorming content ideas, sharing songs, reminiscing about the magic of live music, and trading thoughts on livestreams as some of my fondest memories of this difficult and often dark period. In fact, I already am. For that, I thank DA and all the faces behind those two letters.”
“2020 has been a year of challenge, reflection, and change for all of us regardless of industry. We’ve suffered great loss in the past several months; however, I’m thankful to have witnessed everyone—from artists, DJs, and musicians, to journalists, managers, labels and promoters—come together as a collective and push towards a brighter future. Initiatives like Save Our Stages have truly spoken to all of us; the simple fact is we as an industry cannot survive without live events. Being able to find community within the digital landscape and still receiving massive amounts of dance music has also been an insane gift. Small moments like coincidentally seeing friends in the comment section of the same IG live DJ set or getting to celebrate ABGT400 with my small crew in the living room have been the gems that have gotten me through quarantine. Although they’ll never replace the feeling of being at a festival or some decrepit warehouse (boy, I cannot wait), crazy times feel a little more normal.
Lastly, I’m thankful for Dancing Astronaut and the people who make this wonderful fam. It always warms my heart getting to work with you all in a closer capacity and seeing all the stellar music, writing, and ideas you have to offer. Most of all, I’m thankful that we’ve decided to dedicate our platform to spotlighting more artists of color—specifically the Black creators who have pioneered dance music and the ones that follow to blaze trails—to making a conscious effort of inclusion in our coverage, and using our power as a media voice to activate and shine light on issues of racial injustice, sexual harassment, mental health, and more.
“Quarantine has really reinvigorated my passion for writing and being a part of the creatively supportive and awesome team at Dancing Astronaut. The pandemic has devastated the industry in so many ways, but the point of today is to give thanks. Life has slowed down, and a result of that has been that I have had the time to dive into full-length albums I wouldn’t have normally had the time to listen to. I’ve discovered new artists. I’ve attended my first ever Tomorrowland, which is possible thanks to the events industry finding a way to miraculously create live performance experiences online that are still completely jaw dropping and impactful. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I am thankful for Lady Gaga and Chromatica, which have carried me through months of quarantine and kept a smile on my face.”
“This year was exceptionally difficult for many, myself definitely included. This stupid pandemic saw me pack my things and move halfway across the world, then again halfway across the country, each time leaving friends behind. Throughout all the craziness, though, I am beyond thankful for music being a consistent source of peace and sanity. I’m thankful for my first full year with the unbelievable Dancing Astronaut crew, which allowed me to still feel like I was involved in the industry while most live events were cancelled.
I have to give a special shout out to Virtual Riot’s Still Kids EP for the second year in a row (really appreciate that VIP that released earlier this year), as well as Ship Wrek and Illenium for putting out phenomenal mixes that I kept bumping on repeat all year long. Also big ups to Excision for launching Subsidia and giving some of the best from the underground bass scene a platform to shine, including some of my hometown friends (I see you Perry Wayne!). Even though 2020 was tough, there’s always something to be thankful for, and I’m looking forward to whatever comes next!”
“With all that’s gone on this past year, it’s hard not to be thankful for the little things. I think I speak for millions more than myself when I say that if it weren’t for music, old and new, I’m not sure how I would have made it through this year. We’ve all had to physically forego one of, if not the most, important pillars in dance music: community. It’s certainly a weird feeling to viscerally miss hundreds of thousands of people that I’ve never met before. But, with great loss comes great new beginnings, and for that, I can only be grateful.
On a broader note, I’m thankful for all of the producers and artists who have alchemized travesty into love and that love into art. I’m thankful for the inspiration that has finagled its way into the most jarring and unstable year in modern history. I’m also overwhelmingly thankful for the amazing livestreams that so many amazing artists and organizations worked in unison to create, for no other reason than to bring joy and hope to the entire EDM world.
More personally, I’m thankful for my favorite musicians, some of whom include Flume, Glass Animals, Sylvan Esso, Billie Eilish, Apashe, Elderbrook, Whethan, Louis the Child, and Joji (to name a few), who have churned out some of the best new music this year which has only further cemented my appreciation for them and for the tunes we have yet to hear. Lastly, I want to thank my Dancing Astronaut family. I was brought onto the team hardly three months ago and I have been shown more love, respect, and authenticity than I could have ever hoped for. It’s not often you meet a group of people so passionate, intelligent, kind, and so much more. I feel unfathomably thankful for their guidance and for the opportunity to do what I love every day. And if you’re reading this, I’m thankful for you, too!! Happy Thanksgiving!”