“The Pinnacle in America”: 3 Electronic Artists Share Their Approach to DJing in the Coachella Mecca

As we write this article, the last remaining whispers of Coachella 2024 are fading away, crashing into the high peaks of the imposing mountains that surround the desert valley from which they originate. Like every year, those murmurs span the entirety of the multi-genre festival, from Kid Cudi’s fall (which resulted in a broken calcaneus) to the electrifying reunion of Orange County’s very own No Doubt.

However, as we scroll through ‘chella’s trendiest online moments, one thing stands out: dance music dominance.

Whether at the festival itself or one of the many afterparties scattered across the desert, this year’s festival weekend was rife with extraordinary rave moments. One of the most notable was the marvelous yet inconspicuous Framework in the Desert, a highlight of Coachella’s first weekend.

Led by renowned LA promoter Framework and situated inside an airport hangar miles from the festival’s grounds, the innovative hotspot hosted Dom Dolla, Charlotte de Witte, Patrick Mason and a surprise b2b set from John Summit and Cloonee.

The “Titan’s End Art Car” at Framework in the Desert.

Daniela Becerra

Back inside the Coachella grounds, dance music’s presence on social media was undeniable.

Setting aside Grimes-gate, one has to look no further than the impressive overhaul of the Empire Polo Club this year. The fan-favorite Do LaB was redesigned, the fabled Sahara was moved and expanded and, not to be outdone, the brand-new Quasar stage emerged from the ground like a desert mirage.

Coachella’s Quasar stage.

Julian Bajsel

In addition to the Yuma tent, this means Coachella’s vast Indio real estate comprises four spaces dedicated solely to electronic dance music. In other words, one-half of the entirety of the festival’s footprint.

The landscape of this legendary locale is extending its arms, embracing the diverse soundscapes of dance music more than ever. For DJs and producers, the adoption of this once-niche genre is increasing their chances to perform at the storied Coachella.

Out of the wide-ranging roster of talented electronic artists that graced each of those four stages, we caught up with three who embodied the spirit of the festival’s evolving scenery. From newcomers to seasoned pros, this trio of tastemakers are here to share their Coachella stories.

REBŪKE

Right off the heels of his impressive remix of deadmau5’s iconic “Not Exactly”, Rebūke launched himself headfirst into the Yuma tent for his first-ever Coachella performance.

Calling it a “celebration of five years of Rebūke,” the Irish DJ and producer has spent years preparing for this moment. Speaking about the monumental occasion, he said “this particular show is a milestone of every artist, be it American or international.”

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After gaining notoriety with hits like “Along Came Polly” and his massive collaboration with Anyma, “Syren,” the melodic techno star has more than earned his slot inside the Yuma.

Having never attended the event, Rebūke has relied on videos and photos of past festival moments to guide him on what to expect from this California staple.

“For me, Coachella is the American version of Glastonbury; that’s what every European artist wants to do. This is such an important festival, not just for the fans but for the music industry and music culture,” Rebūke told us. “From Daft Punk doing the pyramid back in the day and Justice doing their thing now, this is all massive stuff and I’m excited to be involved in it.”

Azzecca

Another surging DJ making her first appearance inside the Empire Polo Club was Chicago’s very own Azzecca. Having attended the illustrious festival multiple times as a fan, she compares her Do LaB debut to being on cloud nine.

“Sometimes when you DJ it feels like a little bit of a push and pull,” Azzecca said. “But sometimes you’re locked in with the crowd, it’s fun for everyone involved and you can just feel it. Today, both of my sets genuinely felt like we were locked in and we partied together and it was really fun.”

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As much fun as Azzecca’s inaugural performance was, the gravity of the moment is not lost on her.

“I never would have imagined I would be playing at Coachella right now, or playing to the crowds I’m playing to right now,” she adds. “Everything for me these days feels like a peak.”

Azzecca’s consistency in her projects has landed her multiple slots on upcoming high-profile events including EDC Las Vegas, Elements, and ARC Music Festivals. However, she still speaks highly about the Indio venue.

“If you love music, not just dance music, but all different types of music, this is the pinnacle in America. Coachella is the best festival and if you could go you should go.”

Will Clarke

For Will Clarke, who’s taken to the decks at Coachella in previous years, his 2024 Yuma takeover was approached with less nerves and a bit more preparation. Adding to that ease and prep work was his familiarity with the performance space.

“The Yuma is territory that we’re used to,” Clarke said. “It’s a dark room with a lot of people in it and I’m fortunate enough to play a lot of those rooms. I think if I was playing Sahara or one of the other big stages it would be a different situation.”

The task at hand would be overwhelming to some, but the U.K. house music vet carried on with gravitas.

“What’s the worst that could happen? You could push the wrong button, the music could turn off and then you literally push another button and then it goes on again,” he adds. “I’m not out here doing a Grimes, like I know how to DJ.”

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Although the grandeur of Coachella is not lost on Clarke, the Bristol native’s disassociation with the event comes primarily from his British upbringing.

“Growing up in the U.K., you don’t hear much about Coachella. And so, I came here with everyone hyping it up. “It’s an unbelievable festival but it has not been part of my childhood. It’s not something I’ve always looked up to.”

So what’s Clarke’s Coachella equivalent? Glastonbury.

“If I was playing Glastonbury, I’d be shitting my pants right now.”

Aside from controlling the dancefloor with his latest single, Clarke has also been leading the way in long-form conversations with his peers. His podcast, which began in April 2020, has allowed him to candidly speak with venerated artists the likes of Kaskade, Moby and A-Trak.

“The podcast comes from a place of speaking to creatives, obviously mostly electronic artists and some in-betweens,” he explains. “I think it’s important to be able to have normal conversations in life, not just artist on artist, but in general.”

Emphasizing the need for more human connection, Clarke elaborates on his yearning to have dialogue in spaces outside of his normal work environment.

“This may sound weird, but I’m not a huge fan of going to a nightclub. I’d rather go for dinner and have a good conversation with people. For me, the conversation stops at the nightclub or the bar.”

While a nightclub may not be an ideal place for a heart-to-heart, it’s a great place to be introduced to new music. For Clarke, his latest track is due out next week and will feature House Gospel Choir.

Time to take us to church.

FOLLOW REBŪKE:

Instagram: instagram.com/rebukemusic
X: x.com/rebukemusic
Spotify: tinyurl.com/2p976k79

FOLLOW AZZECCA:

Instagram: instagram.com/azzecca
X: x.com/azzecca
Spotify: sptfy.com/Q1pg

FOLLOW WILL CLARKE:

Instagram: instagram.com/djwillclarke
X: x.com/djwillclarke
Spotify: tinyurl.com/56fcbh5x

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