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Eric Prydz has his sights set on transforming American EDM

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Prydz of LA: The Swedish DJ’s West Coast move started with tequila, beer and a really bad hangover.
Sam Glaser @sammyglaser

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Eric Prydz
February 9, doors at 10:30 p.m., $50 men, $30 women
Surrender at Encore, 770-7300

You’re originally from Sweden; you moved to London, then moved to LA last year. How is living on the West Coast different from Western Europe?

Living in the U.K. for eight years and then coming here is like removing a big gray lid off the sky, because you’ve got sun here! ... At the time, [the U.K.] was such a great place to be when it came to underground dance music. It was at the center of the scene—all the managers, all the labels, everyone was based in London—so it was like a no-brainer for me.

So you moved because the future of EDM is in the U.S.?

Well, I have a phobia when it comes to flying. ... But there is just so much going on in America, I didn’t really wanna miss out. This summer I had 10 days off in LA. Me and my friend, we were out, just walking around on Sunset, and we ended up at this taco place. We started drinking tequila and beer, and we got really drunk at 6 o’clock in the afternoon. It was a lovely day, the sun was out, not too hot, not too cold. My girlfriend called me, I’m kinda drunk and say, “You know what, we should f*cking move here.” ... I woke up the next morning with a massive hangover ... and she was like, “Eric, were you serious about what you said last night?” And I said, “What did I say?” ... Then I was like, “Why not? Yeah, let’s.”

What’s going to sustain EDM here?

Everyone seems to play exactly the same records and exactly the same sounds. I’m not really hearing the music going somewhere at the moment, which is not really what I’m used to, because in the U.K. and Europe music changed all the time. ... Back in the days when dance music was released on vinyl, records had a much longer lifespan than they have today. Today, music is like fast food. If a track is released on Beatport, it’s considered old three, four weeks later.

Your sound is highly emotional with minimal lyrics. How do you affect a crowd with beats and melodies?

If you want to say something, you don’t necessarily have to say it with words. You can say it with melody, or with emotion, or with textures. You can create these pieces that make people feel a certain way, and you can combine them in a clever way and really grasp people’s attention on a dancefloor. ... I feel a lot, these days, that people have vocals on their tracks just for the sake of having a vocal. They have a perfectly good track that gets a lot of attention, and people loved it, and then they feel they have to smack on this vocal just to get it played on the radio.

What are you looking for when you’re choosing between dark/gritty or melodic/uplifting?

The ideal thing is when you’re up there, you are one with the crowd; you are down on the dancefloor, as well. You are at the same wavelength of everyone else in that club. And tracks just come naturally.

You produce under many different genres and aliases. Why?

It’s because I have a really broad interest in music, and I like everything from very soft techno to rock music and everything in between. Sometimes I make dark music, stripped down, techno sounding stuff, and the next time I’ll make something ambient, very melodic. If I would release all this music under the same name, I think it would be quite confusing for people. Also, I like the fact of hiding behind different names … without people judging them as Eric Prydz records.

What’s the deal with the Black Dice party you’re bringing to Surrender and XS?

Black Dice is all about bringing something new. Vegas recently, it’s very commercial. So it was kind of fun for me to come there and play this summer. I came there and I did what I normally do, music that Vegas really hasn’t heard before, and it really worked. That is what Black Dice is gonna be all about: It’s gonna be like darkening things up a bit, and just stripping it down and making it all about the music.

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