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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Romp and rave at BADLANDS


    Courtesy of Specto Entertainment

    In the past decade, electronic dance music and hip-hop worked to develop a sheepish on-stage relationship. The two widely popular, contemporary music genres are often prone to playing on-again off-again lovers, usually at the leisure of the electronic dance music scene. However, in more recent history, the genres have been placed on a collision course, forcing a more concrete relationship. This newly envisioned trajectory signals a more equal partnership between the two camps in club and festival scenes nationwide.

    This Friday, The Slaughterhouse on Grant Road will host the first-annual BADLANDS mini-festival. The event will combine the works of such EDM artists as Will Sparks with such hip-hop artists as Waka Flocka Flame.

    “Shortly after RETURN OF THE DARKSIDE last September, we started developing BADLANDS,” said Jason Sikorsky, BADLANDS event coordinator. “Knowing that we wanted to do an EDM and hip-hop hybrid type show, we knew we had to look for talent from both genres that meshed well.”

    Adopting a “Mad Max,” post-apocalyptic theme, BADLANDS works to construct a desert-esque, Burning Man vibe. BADLANDS will mesh the sounds of bounce, electro-house and hip-hop to build the young festival’s narrative. Introducing the unique sound of Melbourne bounce to the Tucson scene, Sparks, premiere Australian DJ, will make his first Arizona appearance on his stateside tour.

    “I’m really excited to be here for the first time,” Sparks said. “I’ve heard so much about it! At the moment, I have about eight unreleased tracks which I will play, … and there’s plenty of others, too. It’s gonna be [a show] to remember.”

    Among international talent hitting the two BADLANDS stages is local artist Cameron Cannon. Born in Denver, Cannon said he relocated to Tucson two years ago to complete his undergraduate degree at the UA.

    “I got into the music scene when I was 16 years old,” Cannon said. “I began performing at the age of 17 during my first semester of my senior year of high school when I opened for Radical Something during their tour stop in Denver. Since then, I have performed for such acts as Juicy J, Lil Jon and Machine Gun Kelly. I would describe my style as more upbeat and energetic, though I don’t tend to stick to one style in particular.”

    Other local talent includes Michael Godovchik, who performs under the project name “Godovchik.” Tucson born and bred, Godovchik will represent the Tucson progressive house scene at BADLANDS.

    “I’ve never been so excited for a show before,” Godovchik said. “I’ve played so many now, I’ve lost count, but this is by far the biggest to date. I have about five new songs that I produced that I will be premiering Friday. I’m very excited to just get up there and move people [with my music].”

    Utilizing nearly every social media site at their disposal, BADLANDS relies heavily on word-of-mouth advertising. Similar to RETURN OF THE DARKSIDE, Sikorsky and company implemented a campaign of over 100 people working the ground, posting flyers around the campus and other Tucson hotspots to attract their audience.

    “We are excited for the turnout,” Sikorsky said. “Will Sparks is definitely at the top of his game when it comes to bounce music, so we’re excited to see how people react to his set at BADLANDS. And as of late, Waka Flocka Flame has found a lot of success with track collaborations with major EDM artists. Both EDM and hip-hop fans will enjoy this genre blending.”

    Hopeful for the future of BADLANDS, Sikorsky is optimistic the reception of this new Tucson mini-festival will be widely received.

    “If all goes well, we plan on continuing to do BADLANDS as an annual mini-festival here in Tucson,” Sikorsky said. “Next year, we’d like to continue to grow the brand and bring in bigger names. Down the road, we would love to expand BADLANDS into a two-day festival. We have big plans for this brand.”

    BADLANDS proudly touts the collaboration of two unique sounds, as well as working to highlight the talent of international and local artists alike. This festival works as the sonic and cultural crossroads of popular American music in Tucson, bringing the many sounds of the two genres under the same roof.

    “I want people to walk away saying they had a blast,” Godovchik said. “That’s what this music is really all about — just being with your best friends, forgetting all your problems, dancing and having the time of your life.”


    Follow Elise McClain on Twitter.

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