The final day of Ultra Musical Festival 2012 started off at noon with cloudy skies and high winds. It looked like a bad storm was brewing. Thankfully not a single drop of rain fell and the clouds blew over to reveal blue, sunny skies. There was however, plenty of lightning and thunder on the eight stages in Bayfront Park.
Unlike Friday and Saturday, the crowd was much smaller when the gates opened on Sunday (and for a few hours afterwards). The cause of this was most likely diminishing returns. Party hard on Friday, hurt a little more Saturday. Party again on Saturday, hurt even more on Sunday. Dragging yourself out of bed after two days (and nights) of raging isn’t easy.
We saw Laidback Luke perform at the National Hotel on Thursday and at Ultra on Saturday and had the chance to interview him on Sunday. Here’s what he had to say:
Independent Philly: You got your start as a graffiti artist, how did you transition to producing music instead of visual art?
Laidback Luke: Drawing is my first talent in life. I actually see music as images in my head. When I got caught doing graffiti, I decided to focus on music more.
IP: How’d you come up with the name Laidback Luke?
LL: Since my name is Luke and I wanted a double letter artist name, I was looking for the perfect ‘L’-word to add. I heard Snoop Dogg in Gin & Juice rapping ‘Laaaiiiidback’ and I was sold! Later on my friends told me it fitted my character…not when I play or make music though!
IP: You have a crazy touring schedule, what’s the most difficult part about constantly being out on the road?
LL: It was hard to get used to not having a home for most of the time of the year. DJs that are touring as much as I am are basically homeless people. I always say my home is wherever I lay my carry-on luggage. The toughest part of the touring is the constant lack of sleep. DJs on tour will sleep an average of four hours a night.
IP: What was the craziest thing you saw at your Mixmash pool party at The National Hotel on Thursday?
LL: It must have been the line at the door, while it was already packed inside. I think we had 600 people outside of the
door that couldn’t get in. I felt really sorry about that. We were sold out one and a half! Obviously we had some
crazy party stuff going on inside. I saw paparazzi in the bushes to take shots of Paris Hilton (laughs). First time I saw those
guys sneaking around with their tele-lenses.
IP: Do you prefer to play at giant events like Ultra or at smaller, more intimate clubs?
LL: Any place that has the right vibe and crowd for me, and any place where it goes off! To me the size doesn’t
matter, I still love DJing regardless.
IP: There were close to 100,000 peopIe watching you on the Main Stage at Ultra yesterday. Would that be the largest crowd you’ve played in front of?
LL: I once played a park event in the Hague in the Netherlands in front of 150,000 people. Loved Ultra though, one of the sets of the year where I felt most in control of my decks and the crowd. Best feeling in the world, like hitting a homerun!
IP: What other DJ’s were you most excited to check out during your time in Miami this week?
LL: I actually didn’t go to Miami with a plan to check out this and that DJ this year. I just went day by day. I had a lot of
fun seeing people play I didn’t see before like MK, Worthy, and Eats Everything. I enjoyed hearing guys like Deadmau5, Afrojack, and Tommy Trash as well.
IP: Do you have any new tracks or albums in the works for 2012?
LL: Absolutely! No albums yet, but a lot of new tracks on the way! We aired one at Ultra and it features Chuckie and Martin Solveig on the vocal. There’s quite a buzz on it on Youtube already.
IP: You’re playing the Starlight Ballroom in Philadelphia on Thursday (March 29th). What can fans in Philly that have never seen you perform live before expect from a Laidback Luke Set?
LL: I always try and bring the energy and the fun. Expect a lot of double ‘L’ hand movements in the air. And me playing my big paddle air piano (laughs). I am a very technical DJ though and watch the vibe and crowd closely on what to play as well. My sets are never the same and it’s always improvised and most fitted to the moment.
IP: Do you want to give a quick shout out to your fans in Philadelphia?
LL: I’m very happy to be back, I have a long history with Philly. 611 records was the first to bring me back in 1998! See you guys there, let’s have some crazy fun!
IP: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise, or even shock our readers/viewers….
LL: Darth Vader isn’t really my father.
We’re certainly looking forward to checking out Laidback Luke for a third time in the last week in Philly. We hope those of you in our hometown will join us!
After interviewing Big Gigantic on Saturday we were anxious to catch their Sunday set on the Live Stage. They were stellar. Their infusion of live sax and drums over some sick bumping beats is something every EDM fan should experience at least once.
From there we popped over to the Main Stage to catch the tail end of Bingo Players.
We decided to stick around for all of Cazzette and it was well worth it. The Swedish duo are the second major act managed by Ash Pournouri (who also handles Avicii). They threw down several news tracks and had the place rocking.
Up next was pop singer Dev so we stuck around. Her tracks (especially the ones she’s done with The Cataracs) are very catchy…evidently much more so when recorded than when performed live. We we not impressed. We’re not saying Dev was lip-syncing, but it certainly appeared that way at times from the photo pit.
The highlight of her set was when she brought out rapper/producer Timbaland. Can’t say that we were all that disappointed that her set lasted just 20 minutes.
Dev was soon replaced by fan favorite Steve Aoki who took the stage as the crowd chanted his name. Aoki mixed old and new together, dropping some brand new tracks, and resorting to old tricks.
As is customary at his shows, the inflatable raft surfed atop the crowd and he smashed a full sheet cake onto the faces of some fans in the front row. His set was spot-on and, along with several guest vocalists, he set the bar for the rest of the afternoon on the Main Stage.
The crowd was starting to build to massive size again so we headed towards the back on the venue to catch Knife Party’s Main Stage set. This was one of our favorite sets of the day. It was straight fire. We strolled around listening to Knife Party for a while before heading off to the media tent for an interview.
You can catch that interview with Chase & Status here:
As we re-entered the venue through the artist/media entrance, we were instantly drawn to the Live Stage where Bloody Beetroots DJ set was getting under way. The Live Stage was jammed with fans and we quickly figured out why, this set was simply amazing. We stayed for every last track. This was one of our top five sets of the entire weekend.
The sun had just finished setting when we got back to the Main Stage and the glow gear was out in full force for the end of Kaskade‘s set. We rocked out to that until it was time for David Guetta to hit the stage and then we got our game faces on and headed back into the photo pit.
David Guetta had one of the largest crowds we saw all weekend. Numerous DJ’s popped up to join him in the DJ booth including Afrojack and Steve Aoki. The high energy parts of Guetta’s set had the place going hard. He commented on the beauty of being a part of such a magic event at a magic time for EDM. Sadly, he kept toning down the set to build it back up. With only an hour of time to work with, this seemed a little counterproductive and never allowed him to really create and maintain a vibe.
The second he was finished we made a mad dash for the Live Stage to catch our final set of Ultra, Bassnectar. Hot damn. Talk about ending the day, and the festival on a high-note.
Bassnectar proved why he is undoubtedly one of EDM’s biggest fan favorites. He fuzed up-tempo, down-tempo, EDM, hip-hop, rock and beyond seamlessly.
He head-banged along with the huge sea of fans as CO2 blasts, confetti cannons, and fireworks exploded. Do you believe in magic? You do it you caught this set.
Our Ultra Musical Festival experience was simply amazing. Throughout the three full days we spent there we saw some amazing DJs and live performances, met some great people, and spent time with over 160,000 people without seeing a single fight break out.
Those of you who were there know how amazing it was. For those who missed it, we hope our recaps, interviews, and photo galleries will help you feel like a small part of you was there. We’ve already circled the dates for Ultra 2013 on our concert calendar.
You can check out a full photo gallery from Ultra Music Festival Day 3 below: