EDM Watch: Marshmello teams up with Khalid for ‘Silence,’ his most complete song yet

Marshmello has been riding a wave of crazy momentum over the past 18 months, and his latest song — “Silence,” featuring Texas teenager Khalid — might be the one that pushes him firmly into the mainstream.

Crossing into the pop charts is a tricky balance for many dance music producers, because it often involves the appearance of “selling out” in fans’ eyes — at least in terms of the artist’s style.

But “Silence” retains most characteristics of a Marshmello song — happy brightness mixed with a hip-hop beat — except it’s smooth enough to be palatable to Top 40 pop radio stations. Personally, I hope mainstream radio gives it a chance.

Khalid’s vocals are, of course, the star attraction here. You wouldn’t expect anything less from this quickly rising talent, whose soulful tone is clearly beyond his years. Meanwhile, Marshmello does excellent work in blending in enough of his style to make sure you know he’s there — but he seems content to stay in the background on this one.

That’s why, taken as a whole, “Silence” is Marshmello’s most complete song yet. And it deserves to end up being his most popular, too.

Check out the lyric video for “Silence” below and get ready to put it on repeat:

Major Lazer embraces NASCAR theme at Indy’s 400 Fest

I’m not going to try to convince anyone that getting 5,000 or 10,000 Millennials to show up at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a concert is going to suddenly create a lot of race fans.

That’s obviously not the case. The vast majority of the music lovers who came to see EDM megastars Major Lazer, rapper Mac Miller and DJ group Cheat Codes on Friday — the first day of the inaugural IMS “400 Fest” — have no interest in following NASCAR and never will.

But what if the track could expose new fans from a desirable demographic to NASCAR while making some money in the process? Even if a half percent of those people decided to take a second look at NASCAR, wouldn’t that be worth it?

Thanks to Friday headliners Major Lazer, IMS got a little help.

Before Major Lazer members Diplo and Walshy Fire took the stage (Jillionaire, the third of the trio, was performing in Ibiza), crew members passed out giant checkered flags with Major Lazer’s logo on them. Fans waved the flags around throughout the concert, and Walshy Fire also participated during one song.

In addition, the group’s four dancers sported checkered flag pattern booty shorts — which they emphasized through extensive twerking. And at one point, the DJs themselves wore shirts that appeared to say MAJOR LAZER in the style of the NASCAR bar logo (I think they also had a stock car on the shirt, but I couldn’t quite make it out).

Diplo seemed impressed by IMS and at one point urged the crowd to turn up and take advantage of “this great racetrack right here,” which he called “amazing.”

Again, I’m not saying all that is about to create thousands of new fans or even dozens. But it can’t hurt when Major Lazer tells an 18-year-old that Indianapolis Motor Speedway is cool and then shrouds its performance with checkered flag imagery.

 

Indy 500 Impressions: Race Day

My typical beat is NASCAR, but this week I’m at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to experience the Indy 500. I’ll be posting daily updates from the track. Today: A timeline of Indianapolis 500 race day.

4:50 a.m.

I’m absolutely wide awake and wired — and I haven’t even had any coffee yet. I’m already at the track, and I feel like bouncing off the walls of the media center.

I woke up at 3 a.m. — 30 minutes before my alarm — and decided I might as well get ready and hit the road. I’ve never been to an event where 300,000 people are expected, so I figured it would be best to beat the traffic if possible, and I could always sleep in the car if necessary.

But when I pulled into the muddy parking lot at 4:10, I was too pumped to think about sleeping. My adrenaline is already turned up, and I’m ready for the world’s greatest automobile race.

I walked into the track (the media gate was already open, although the public gate doesn’t open until the 6 a.m. cannon boom) and was greeted with blanket of silence. The pagoda lit the night like a lantern, and all was quiet except for the sound of golf carts driving around with workers preparing TV live shots and equipment for the day.

It’s a thrill to be here.

7:05 a.m.

The cannon sounded an hour ago, and a flood of people immediately started streaming through the gates. The place is already buzzing — and whistling, thanks to the yellow shirts — and everyone seems to be in a good mood. Some are in a better mood than others, perhaps thanks to some early-morning drinking.

There’s something about the atmosphere, even just after dawn, that seems important. I ran into a couple of race fans from Sacramento who are attending their first Indy 500, and they said, “It feels like an event.” That’s a good way to put it.

It’s fun to think about how this same race day rhythm has been happening here for decades, down to the minute. Tradition is such a major part of the draw here, because Hoosiers have grown up experiencing the same pattern, year after year. Life may change, but the 500 doesn’t.

My Indiana-born wife, Sarah, has only missed one Indy 500 in her life — but she’s missed several Thanksgivings and Christmases at home. The one year she skipped it, she was in tears — longing to be with her family and filled with regret. The whole “Back Home Again” thing is more than a song to people here.

The funny thing is, I don’t think Sarah cares about the race itself anymore (she goes to the Snake Pit with her brother these days), but the tradition of attending is part of her heritage. Her grandparents and extended family all come to the race as well.

It must be so cool for lifelong attendees of this race to be greeted by the wave of memories when walking through the tunnel. Children who once held their parents’ hands here have grown up and now bring kids of their own, toting their little backpacks while the adults drag the coolers.

10:35 a.m.

Damn, Indy 500 race day is absolutely lit!

I went to check out the legendary Snake Pit, which I’ve heard so much about. There were expected to be nearly 30,000 people in attendance there today (it’s an add-on from the general admission race ticket), which is impressive considering it’s basically a separate event.

Adventure Club was playing, and they put on a good show (I saw them at Electric Daisy Carnival last year). Sure enough, even though it was only 9 a.m., the Snake Pit crowd was already going off.

The Snake Pit is allllll young people. Probably 99% of the crowd is under 25 years old. There’s a very high-tech, festival-worthy stage capable of spewing smoke and fire, and the bass is so loud, you honestly would have no idea you’re at a racetrack (a hill on the backside makes it a semi-enclosed venue).

It’s hard to believe two of the world’s top DJs, Zedd and Marshmello, will be performing there in a few hours. They constantly travel all over the world for concerts and here they are at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Speaking of Marshmello, I got a text from SportsBusiness Journal’s Adam Stern saying ‘Mello was in the media center. So I rushed back from the Snake Pit, looked through the media center and couldn’t find him. Damn.

But he had to be somewhere, so I started looking on pit road. Sure enough, Marshmello was walking around with his team. Mellogang from all over, including IMS President Doug Boles, greeted Marshmello and posed for pictures. Few things make me happier than seeing two of my passions — EDM and racing — colliding.

Anyway, just over an hour until the green flag.

12:40 p.m.

The start of the Indy 500 was probably the most exciting sports moment I’ve experienced since being at the Belmont Stakes for the Triple Crown win in 2015.

We all see the pageantry of the 500 every year, and it’s everything you’d expect and more to feel it in person. The call of “Drivers, to your cars,” the playing of taps, “Back Home Again” and the balloon launch, the starting of engines and the parade laps — the excitement just builds and builds.

I’m pretty sure everyone had full-body chills at various points during the pre-race ceremonies. By the time drivers actually took the green flag, the energy built to a fever pitch and people just let out this huge “YEAHHHHH” at the start of the race.

It’s pretty badass.

5:57 p.m.

Well, I’m sad this day has come to an end. This was one of the more fun experiences I’ve had in awhile, and I can see why people come back year after year. It was an honor to be in attendance.

First of all, the race itself seemed to have everything: Lead changes (35!), different leaders (a race-record 15, nearly half the field) and lots of passes (871). There were aggressive moves, crazy restarts and enough crashes to prove how much the drivers were pushing the limits.

Second, the atmosphere was just so, so cool. It’s always special to feel like part of something big — and that’s definitely the case at Indy based on attendance alone (let alone the significance of the race). And the track itself does a great job with this event; despite the complaints about the yellow shirts, they keep things running smoothly.

Third, I enjoyed experiencing a different form of racing. There are some similarities between NASCAR and IndyCar, sure — but there are a lot of things each could learn from the other. I’d like to see both sanctioning bodies work together more to lift up all forms of motorsports in the United States. Fans don’t have to choose just one.

I know dollars are scarcer these days and overall interest might be down, but that’s exactly why generating more enthusiasm for racing in general is a good thing. Whether it’s NASCAR or IndyCar, help more fans get to know and love racing; then everyone wins.

Conor Daly, IndyCar driver and friend of EDM stars

How many American race car drivers are buddies with the likes of Deadmau5, Marshmello and Zedd?

The answer is: One.

That driver is IndyCar’s Conor Daly, a friend to many DJs in the electronic dance music community. That’s pretty badass if you think about it, since racing and EDM have dramatically different audiences for the most part.

But Daly can go between both worlds with ease, and has been doing so since he struck up a friendship with Deadmau5 in 2013.

Deadmau5 had followed Daly on Twitter and they started messaging back and forth. When Daly had an open weekend in 2014, he went to Vegas and met up with Deadmau5 — which led to connecting with other DJs and their friends. (Deadmau5 has since been to several IndyCar events and even taken a ride with James Hinchcliffe at Indianapolis.)

“I’m like a really business-to-business relationship type of person, so I connect with people through other people and we become friends,” Daly told me Thursday. “And suddenly you’re in different groups of people.

“It’s a small world in there (in the EDM community) just like it’s a small world here. If you know someone in the racing community, they probably know 30 other people that you know. So it’s the same thing, just a different environment.”

Daly said there are many people in dance music who “appreciate cars and racing,” but just don’t know much about it. So they’re curious and end up asking questions — just as Daly asks questions about music.

Marshmello, who Daly met last year, is playing at the Indy 500 Snake Pit on Sunday (along with Zedd and several others) — and expressed his enthusiasm for learning more about racing.

“Marshmello texted me at the end of last year after I met him and he was like, ‘Hey, my dad just saw some of your crashes on YouTube. That’s crazy! You guys are nuts,'” Daly said. “So apparently they were talking about that. He’s excited about it for sure. Apparently one of his video guys went to (Indiana) as well, so they’ve been hyping up the Indy 500.”

Daly said he’s been trying to get Zedd up to speed on Indy ahead of his Sunday appearance, but Zedd isn’t super into racing yet.

“I’ve been trying to tell him as much as I can, but until you see it here in real life, you don’t really know,” Daly said. “So we’ll see what he thinks.”

Last year, Skrillex and Martin Garrix — who is friends with Formula One driver Max Verstappen — were the headliners at the Snake Pit (an EDM concert in Turn 3 that takes place before and during the Indy 500 itself).

Daly obviously can’t attend the concert while the race is going on, but went to Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to see friend MAKJ perform last year and saw Deadmau5 in Chicago earlier this month. Daly plans to attend EDC again in Las Vegas next month.

Knowing the two groups of fans as well as he does, Daly said the Snake Pit represents an important part of building the Indy 500 tradition.

“It’s a huge group of people who would never entertain the idea of a race unless it was involved with this type of concert,” he said. “Even if it’s 10 or 15 people, if we can turn their heads and say, ‘Whoa, this race is actually really entertaining, too,’ then who knows?

“It gets people to the venue, gets people here and gets people talking about the Indy 500. (The 500 experience) is the race, it’s the Snake Pit, it’s everything.”

 

 

 

Danica Patrick responds to Nicki Minaj shoutout in Major Lazer’s “Run Up”

It’s pretty great to be a famous race car driver, but getting a shoutout in a pop song? That’s an even higher level of awesomeness.

In Major Lazer’s song “Run Up,” the EDM trio features a verse from Nicki Minaj — who sneaks in a shoutout to Danica Patrick.

“I told ‘em, ‘Pull up on me faster than Danica,’” Minaj raps. “That’s on the low; I’m tryna blow him like harmonicas.”

Since I ask important questions here at JeffGluck.com, I had to know what Patrick thought of the shoutout (which she believes is her first in a song).

“Very flattering,” Patrick told me. “I’ve never met her, but I’m flattered she knows who I am. She could have called — I would have danced in the video!”

Patrick said she’s actually a fan of Minaj; she often plays Nicki’s Pandora station (along with Beyonce) while working out.

“So that (coincidence) is kind of funny,” Patrick said. “I’ll have to be listening while I’m working out to hear that song pop up.”

(Hat-tip to FoxSports.com for first noticing this.)

EDM Watch: Martin Garrix’s new song with Brooks — Byte — is awesome

So it’s 4 a.m. and I’m sitting in the Albuquerque waiting on a 5 a.m. flight to Dallas. Did you know they even had 5 a.m. flights? I didn’t.

I should be tired, but I’m not. You know why? Because I’m listening to Martin Garrix’s new song — a collab with Brooks called “Byte” — and I’m HYPED.

Seriously, this is way better than caffeine (even though no coffee shops are open right now anyway).

Garrix unveiled this song during his Ultra set two weeks ago, and it caught my ear right away (along with all other Garrix fans). I’m so pumped we didn’t even have to wait a month for it to be released.

Byte is decidedly old-school Garrix — sorry if you were expecting another future bass single like “Scared to be Lonely” or “In the Name of Love” — and there are no vocals (it doesn’t need them).

Holy crap, I love this song. Just picture him dropping this at a concert with tens of thousands of happy people jumping up and down, surrounded by fire and smoke and lasers.

You can’t help but get into the beat.

EDM Watch: The Chainsmokers, Coldplay drop ‘Something Just Like This’ overnight

I didn’t see this coming so soon, but it was a great surprise to wake up to a new song from The Chainsmokers and Coldplay this morning: “Something Just Like This.”

We knew from social media accounts the two groups had been working on a collab together, but there hadn’t been any sort of countdown or hint it was going to drop so quickly. But with The Chainsmokers on a European tour, they brought out Coldplay to unveil the new song Wednesday night and then released it to coincide with the performance.

I love the tune. The Chainsmokers continue to crush the sweet spot between EDM and pop, and Coldplay’s presence really brings out Alex and Drew’s creativity.

Similar to “Don’t Let Me Down,” The Chainsmokers let the song build to a crescendo with the third drop being the memorable one (it even has guitar riffs!).

But enough talk about it. Take a listen for yourself: