In 2012, for the first time, the traditionally staid Grammy Awards telecast included electronic dance music, also known as EDM.
That reflected the explosion in popularity for EDM, as audiences have gravitated to an increasingly enveloping experience where you don’t necessarily need to pop an ecstasy to escape from the world.
While music is the priority, EDM artists also realize that watching someone spin records is, well, boring.
Escapists will be able to revel at this weekend’s Audio Circus, a congregation of three colossal rings of music, laser shows, go-go dancers, sideshow acts, LED walls and two full days of some of the most innovative EDM musicians in the world today.
And the festival is in Utah, no less.
Pretty Lights will headline the first night of the festival, while Infected Mushroom will close out the festival with a show lasting until 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
Derek Vincent Smith knew what he was doing when he coined his stage name, Pretty Lights. While the music is predominant, visuals can elevate and not distract.
“I want to create a method in which I can be in-your-face,” he said. “I want to create an experience more than hearing a different version of something from my record. I want to create a show that gives a lot more meaning to the music — more beauty and things that draw upon memories and emotions.”
Smith is a Colorado native who dropped out of the University of Colorado to pursue music. With Apple computers at his side, he creates dance music that he calls “electro hip-hop soul.” In other words, he blends elements of electronic-based music with beats and samples from hip-hop and soul music.
He has embarked on what he calls his “masterpiece,” his forthcoming album, and will be previewing material from it. Remarkably, he has decided to eschew samples crafted by others to create his own.
“This new record is pretty awesome,” Smith said. “Before, [my music] was samples combined with live instruments and synths. This time, I didn’t want to sample from any vinyl. I spent about a year in analog studios recording on very old gear. I had those put onto vinyl, and then sampled from them. It’s never really been done before. It sounds like I am sampling from old albums.”
His unique approach has EDM fans salivating — fans who have downloaded more than 2.8 million of his albums.
Electro-rock duo Infected Mushroom comes from Israel. Originally formed in 1997 and hailing from Kiryat Yam in the Haifa District, Israel, Amit “Duvdev” Duvdevani and Erez Eisen have since worked with the likes of Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction and Jonathan Davis of Korn and released commercially successful albums such as 2009’s “Legend of the Black Shawarma,” which peaked at No. 9 on Billboard’s Top Electronic Albums chart.
The duo’s new album is “Army of Mushrooms,” and the tour to support it features less of the rock influences the band has been known for. While the new album features a bass-and-drum cover of Foo Fighters’ “The Pretender,” the overall album is a return to the duo’s roots in electronica.
“The show is more electronic and more visual,” Duvdevani said.
The masters of what is called “psytrance” are bringing their new electronic stage show called “The Unveiling.” Departing from a band format, the stage will feature only Duvdevani and Eisen set against a three-dimensional landscape. “It’s a new experience,” Duvdevani said.
Infected Mushroom spent close to 2 1/2 years working on their eighth studio full-length. The challenge, Duvdevani said, is to create an album that sounds cutting-edge, as what sounded fresh two years ago in EDM sounds dated now. “Every album takes a long time to produce,” he said. “You take what is most current. EDM [needs to be] fresh.”
Featuring Pretty Lights, Infected Mushroom, Mac Miller, Mimosa, Figure, The Killabits, Icey, Kill Paris and Nicky Romero. For schedule, visit www.theaudiocircus.com/lineup.php.
When • Friday, Sept. 7, at 6 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 8, at 2 p.m.
Where • Saltair, 12408 W. Saltair Drive, Magna
Tickets • Single-day pass $40; two-day pass $75; VIP pass $150; at SmithsTix