Bianca Oblivion warms up for her appearance at Ace Hotel DTLA this weekend with a playlist that pays homage to the musical sprawl that is Los Angeles.
Ahead of her eagerly anticipated set at Dummy Presents: The Astral Plane on September 2nd at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, one third of Club Aerobics and high BPM hop-scotcher Bianca Oblivion has put together an extra special playlist that embodies what she sees as the best of Los Angeles diverse music culture.
Read through Bianca's insights below and listen seamlessly on SoundCloud.
Over the course of my late teen to adult life, I’ve seen LA music scenes emerge and converge, club nights rise and fall, and young punks develop into internationally acclaimed artists. Club communities, particularly within the underground, are crucial to building genres and connecting with similar scenes on a national/global scale.
I spent two years living on the east coast and moved back to LA exactly one year ago, and during that time I was able to gain some perspective both during my time away and upon my return. What makes the LA scene so vibrant is also what makes it so daunting – the physical sprawl of the city, its saturation of DJs/parties/performers, and the sheer volume of events. It’s much more manageable to align yourself with a nightlife niche and primarily attend those events, especially once you narrow down your genre preferences. Personally, I prefer to experience music and nightlife as I do LA as a whole, by navigating my way through the city to uncover the varied and unique events it has to offer. As a DJ, I’ve learned so much from attending a wide range of clubs and parties, which has in turn influenced the way I craft my own sets. This playlist represents a year of my LA nightlife, a few examples of new tracks that have captured the vibe of some of my favorite escapades.
Dancehall and Caribbean sounds have been a prominent part of the east coast black diaspora that influenced street and club culture, particularly in New York and New England, yet has rarely been associated with LA culture. With the influx of east coast transplants and the climate of hip hop and pop music turning tropical (Drake, RiRi, Sean Paul and Sia of recent), more and more parties have embraced this sound with its EDM infused remixes and its UK derivatives. UK house, bassline, and garage have found their way once again into sweaty underground raves as well as large scale club events. Dancehall and ragga vocals are used in both tropical and UK styles, which means you’re seeing way more whinin’ in the club and I’m with it.
Heavy bass, rap, and trap parties pop up all over town yet the most interesting nights are those that cross genres and formats. I once DJed for a secret DIY strip show party that included performers of all genders, sizes, styles, and abilities. I dropped Tony Quattro’s Hopscotch remix as the last track during the hosts’ freestyle performance and the energy was insane – bass thumping and asses bumping while they commanded the runway and took turns swinging around the pole.
I live for the raw energy of vogue tracks, and when I get to experience it in person it always goes hard. Whether at formal ballroom battles or freestyling sessions in the middle of a club, voguing commands the dancefloor and elevates the party to another level. While New York is a ballroom mecca, especially with MikeQ’s Qween Beat label, LA has a thriving scene of its own. While the Kking Kong flip of J-Trick & Reece Low’s I’m So Hot isn’t a vogue track, its club infused afrobeat carries the chanting vocals seamlessly, reminiscent of 2PeKes’ remix of MikeQ’s “Ah Dub,” another club essential.
I have never shied away from the higher BPMs, but lately in LA there have been far more opportunities for me to experience 160 and beyond. From sweaty raves with rainbow-haired kids bouncing around to the footwork and drum and bass heads vibing out to heavy bass, party-goers have begun to rethink their midtempo mindset.
I leave you with two tracks that epitomize so much of what LA culture is all about. From big trucks blasting Zapateados, to blue tarp backyard family functions with serious sound systems, and late night taco truck salvation – regional Mexican music infiltrates every part of the city. The fusion of these styles with trap, club, and EDM has led to some very hype tracks that represent the post-Moombahton/cumbiaton wave, which use similar percussive elements whilst pushing the BPM and energy way higher.
Bianca Oblivion plays Dummy Presents: The Astral Plane on September 2nd at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles (free with RSVP).