12 Sets You Need To Hear Before EDC Vegas

While ‘The Headliner Is You’ at Electric Daisy Carnival, you can still count on an A-list cast of DJs leading each night from dusk ‘till dawn. As we count down the days until EDC returns to the Las Vegas Speedway, inthemix stacks up 12 Soundcloud sets that should soundtrack your road-trip.

Armin van Buuren’s trance masterclass

On the final night of EDC Vegas last year, trance don Armin van Buuren stepped into a 2am slot at the Kinetic Field between David Guetta and Porter Robinson. With just an hour to work with, he went straight for anthems like Marco V’s take on Mr Brightside and the Dash Berlin remix of his own Not Giving Up On Love. The night before, after the ASOT arena was shut down by the desert storm, he’d gone back-to-back with Markus Schulz in the A State Of Trance studio. So, what’s he planning for 2013?

The DJ’s recent three-hour session for Pete Tong’s Essential Mix should clue you in. As he announced on the show: “It’s been a while since I did my last studio mix so I decided to make something special for you, have a proper build-up in this one, starting at 125BPM and building up all the way to a whopping who’s afraid of 138BPM.” Armin gets the job done with a host of exclusives from his own studio and beyond, and the climax brings “some proper banging and uplifting trance”. Sounds to you like a perfect EDC soundtrack? You’re not the only one.

The singular Eric Prydz sound

“There’s big things happening with dance music over in the States and my last proper tour there was about 2008,” Eric Prydz told inthemix in 2012, as he prepared to make the move to L.A. Since arriving in America, the Swedish powerhouse has proven to be unstoppable. From closing the Sahara structure on both weekends of Coachella to his Black Dice residency in Las Vegas (“we blacken out the whole club, put the lights down, and make it all about the music,” he told inthemix), Prydz is a unique breed of big-room DJ.

On the road to the Las Vegas Speedway this month, he’s already lit up the stages of EDC in New York and Chicago. In the company of headliners like Tiesto, Calvin Harris, Afrojack and Avicii, the Swede brings a different class of peaktime set: dark, hypnotic and unmistakeably Prydz. “95-percent is my own music, which is just the way I play,” he told inthemix. “I make the music I want to play. I do edits, private remixes – when people see me who follow the Pryda label, they don’t want to hear the tracks they’ve heard a hundred times before.”

In February of this year, Prydz was invited to return to the BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix studio for a two-hour session. It showcased just how much custom-made fire-power he has to work with, with a battalion of Pryda broken up by a few like minds including his protégé Jeremy Olander. For proof of the mastery he’ll bring to EDC under the desert sky, look no further.

The MPC mastery of AraabMUZIK

AraabMUZIK was in the “wrong place at the wrong time,” according to his reps, when he faced an attempted robbery and shooting in early May. But the so-called ‘MVP of the MPC’ rallied quickly, even setting up a portable studio to his hospital room. Now, he’ll take his rightful place on-stage at EDC Las Vegas – and, with trap music having its mainstage moment, the timing couldn’t be better.

Before dance fans fell for trap’s thundering basslines, simmering snare drums and head-nodding tempos, AraabMUZIK was tapping these sounds as a hip hop producer. But his debut album, 2011’s Electronic Dream, revealed he had EDM clout too: the LP sampled Kaskade, deadmau5 and OceanLab. Araab’s performances at this year’s Ultra Music Festival proved that he can mesh the genres with ease (and the push of a button or two). He’s even releasing an album on Ultra Records in July, which will feature remixes of tracks from the label with his signature twist.

AraabMUZIK’s February mixtape For Professional Use Only offers a taste of his innovative, uninhibited style; tribal drums flirt with electric guitar riffs on The Prince Is Coming, for example, and a delicate vocal gets chopped and sampled to pieces on Beauty. While there’s more to Araab’s music than just ground-shaking low-end, the prospect of experiencing his music on festival-grade speakers has us excited for his EDC debut. His show is part DJ set, part on-the-fly beatmaking – but, more than anything, it’s one hell of a show.

‘Dope treats’ from Porter Robinson

“It’s approaching 4:45pm at Electric Zoo Festival in New York, and I’m shoulder-to-shoulder in a surge of neon,” inthemix wrote in September of last year. “The traffic is headed in one direction: towards the mainstage. Inflatable dolls, home-made signs, American flags, effigies and arms decked out in kandi bracelets are all pointed skywards. The reason for this swarm is the day’s next DJ, Porter Robinson – or, as a girl I pass would have it, ‘PORRRTTTERRR!’”

There’s no doubting the mass appeal of Porter Robinson – before even turning 21, he’s amassed a fan count in the hundreds of thousands and, with only a few years of experience under his belt, is regularly called on to saddle up next to the likes of Tiesto for the biggest sets of the day.

But his sets stand apart from his mainstage peers: rather than working through ‘The Playlist’, Porter drops unexpected tracks like Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker in next to the electro-house he’s built his production career on. “I have no issues presenting a high-energy thing, but now I also like to make references for more knowledgeable crowds,” he told us.

Look no further than Porter’s recent 30-minute mix for triple j radio for an idea of how he likes to do things: he and Mat Zo’s mega-hit Easy is in there, alongside ‘dope treats’ from big-roomer Kaskade, Mad Decent fast-riser GTA and trance duo W&W.

Next page