Whether you call it Miami Music Week, Winter Music Conference, or that weird series of parties surrounding Ultra Music Festival, electronic music enthusiasts who’ve passed through Miami in late March likely have a story about it.
As is likely to happen when a global network of dancefloor freaks congregates upon a single city, weirdness and extremely unlikely coincidences always ensue in Miami around this time of year.
With Miami Music Week 2019 underway, several veterans of the pilgrimage caught up with Mixmag to share their favorite memories of the city and world-renowned gathering.
I was playing at a party and I met a woman who turned out to be a great supporter and followed me to all my events. At the time I was looking for a home and when I finally found the house I liked, it was unfortunately too expensive through a real estate agency. In spite of this I decided to go anyway to visit that property for sale. When I knocked on the door, the same lady I met at the Miami Music Week party welcomed me in and, in the end, allowed me to buy her house. She even made me a form of facilitated payment that was very flexible…
Some takeaways I had from this:
1) Never underestimate anyone you meet, for better or for worse.
2) If you are kind and true with whom you meet, sooner or later it will return back to you in some way.
3) In new encounters it is better to listen to one's feeling first.
4) If you really want something, the situation will turn in your favor when you least expect it.
5) The meetings that take place during a musical connection moment are remembered forever.
Brina Knauss will be performing at Get Lost Miami and the Humans Alike Opening Party with Luciano and Friends.
It had been a few days since I’d slept and I was somewhat out of it, dancing to Richie Hawtin on the dance floor of Ice Palace when this strange girl grabbed me by the arm. "OH MY GOD," she said, "YOU'RE MY FAVORITE DJ IN THE WORLD... COME MEET MY FRIENDS."
Being of a friendly disposition and not particularly in any condition to resist, I was then dragged by the arm across the dance floor to one of the cabanas off to the side. I was thusly presented to said "FRIENDS" in the following way. 'LOOK EVERYONE. MY FAVORITE DJ... SVEN VÄTH.” Not wanting to be rude, I decided to (try to) impersonate the great man. I guess the name Sven got in my head and influenced my response of "Hello, My name is Sven!," which came out of my mouth sounding, at best, like a bad version of the Swedish Chef from ‘the Muppet Show’. I never broke character. I wonder if she ever realized.
I’ve had quite a few mental nights in Miami over the years, but one that sticks out was about four years ago. I had been on Sasha's boat party all day with my Mrs. and we had let our hair down properly. I then had to go straight from the boat to play for Knee Deep in Sound at Heart as I was playing early there. The plan was to go to the hotel to get some rest, then get up early to fly to NYC for a gig the next day, and then fly back to Miami for Get Lost straight after that.
Halfway through playing for KDIS I got told Heidi couldn't make it, so I asked if I could cover her set. And then Andrea Oliva went AWOL and didn't turn up, so I ended up playing for six hours, which was wicked — but of course, we ended up carrying on partying. This resulted in us missing our flights, having to buy new ones and the next thing you know I'm sat in the Plaza Hotel in New York City having afternoon tea amongst loads of middle-aged women totally spaced out... one of the most absurd nights ever!
This one goes out to my poor friend who went into a world of psychedelia by mistake! I was given a chocolate bar containing magic mushrooms at very well-known party (not going to name names). I was still breastfeeding my son at the time, so I couldn’t have it, and I gave it to a friend. Even though I told him what it was he obviously didn’t register and he ate the whole thing. An hour later I couldn’t find him anymore!
He finally returned to the party 12 hours later, having missed almost all of it because he had to take himself back to the hotel room until he was vaguely back to normal. I asked him “Why would I give you a normal bar of chocolate at a party?! That would be so weird!” He wasn’t pissed off at me though; on the contrary actually, he still talks to me. So there’s no love lost.
It was the very first Desert Hearts party in Miami and we had this all-night rager at Lemon City Studios. It was this super amazing party and it was really the first time that we were ever in Miami, so all this lore and its legendary party status... it was our first time experiencing it.
We had no idea, but it was the seven-year year anniversary of the Electric Pickle. And we had never been to the Pickle before, so we didn't know any of the shenanigans that go on there. So we show up and they're having this super weird shindig in the back; all kinds of creatures are hanging out and Soul Clap was DJing.
It was like 9 or 10 in the morning at this point… and there's this one guy who’s just in the center of the dance floor, wearing nothing but a speedo, and he's blowing up balloons. He’s blowing up balloon animals in this really sexual humping motion, parading all his balloon characters around the dance floor, and the entire party is basically focused around him at that point. And everyone, all of the Miami locals, they just kept saying "Oh my God, this is so Miami." For us, it was the most what the fuck, awesome intro to that city that we could ever imagine.
Walker & Royce
Going to Miami is always wild, the energy in the city is always high especially during MMW or WMC or Ultra Week (whatever you like to call it now). The party lineups are always stacked and the clubs can be quite hard to get into. One year when we were still working at Nervous Records we had just pressed a new vinyl for a SAM Records (legendary disco label) project we had completed. On one side was Soul Clap's remix of Vicky D "The Beat Is Mine" and then Maxxi Soundsystem's remix of Scandal's "Just Let Me Dance" on the other. We wanted to get a copy to Eli from Soul Clap so we decided to bring one to a party he was playing.
The line-up was next level with all of these super hot acts, and when we got there the line was out of control. People were yelling and screaming and security was really tight. At this time we didn't have the same pull we have now as artists and decided to just bail and head home. As we were walking away, a side door flew open and a security guard pointed at us and said "DJs?" to which we replied "Yes.” Since we had vinyl he assumed that we were playing there that night, and had us escorted to the backstage area with the proper wristbands and everything. It ended up being one of the best nights we ever had in Miami. So much fun!
Zach Schlein is a freelance writer based in Miami. Find more of his work here
[Photos: Trevor Thompson Spearhead, Galen Oakes, William Worrell, Federico Laudacina]