24 SEVEN ENTERTAINMENT & GEORGE FM PRESENTS
No need to head out of town and deal with traffic this Waitangi Day - the place to be is ASB Showgrounds in Auckland City!
We’re trucking in 100 tonnes of sand to make our very own beach for you to party the day away, complete with dance floor and plenty of places to sit in the sun and top up your tan.
Along with a fully licensed bar serving your favourite summer beverages, there'll be plenty of food available for when you need to top up your energy to get back on the dance floor. Our VIP guests will enjoy a fantastic grassy area complete with bar, bathrooms and unrestricted view of the stage and dance floor.
Parties on the beach are usually not possible thanks to alcohol bans and council red tape, so this is your chance to get your groove on in the sand. It's going to be a scorcher of a day, so get your mates together, grab your tickets, and get ready for one of the best parties you'll experience in 2020 – just don't forget your sunscreen!
For all media and general inquiries use this form to contact us.
An awful lot has changed for Armand Van Helden since he first signed to Southern Fried back in 2002. In 2005, he’s scored a huge commercial hit with ‘My My My’, his biggest hit since ‘You Don’t Know Me’ hit number 1 back in ‘99. In the interim, he’s released two excellent long players, ‘Nympho’ (2004) and ‘Ghettoblaster’ (2007) while also satisfying his New York culture vulture cravings with ‘New York: A Mix Odyssey’ (2004) and ‘A Mix Odyssey Two’ (2008), the latter of which is an homage to the emerging hip house and electro movement of 1988 and is by far the most classic retrospective compilation we’ve heard all year. And yet, to return to our opening point, by the man’s own admission, nothing’s really changed that much at all. Are you a contented elder statesman these days, Armand?
“I had my son for a long time - only David Morales had kids before me!” he laughs. “But I never had a golden retriever. That’s supposed to knock you out but I think it makes you more focused. I’ve actually been speaking on this subject with friends, this idea of personal happiness and success in terms of public perception. Most artists are happiest personally when they’re out of the public eye: so whenever I’ve fallen off, it means that I’m enjoying life. The odd thing about Southern Fried as opposed to other labels is they understand that I’m that kind of guy. I know you don’t make money unless you are up in peoples’ faces 24/7 but I’m not concerned with that so it takes a deep understanding to know and accept what I’ll do and what I won’t do.”
With five top thirty singles under his belt, sales of the first ‘…Odyssey’ at over 50,000 and ‘My My My’ having sold well over 150,000 copies physically and digitally, it appears that Armand has found himself a new home in the new millennium. But how does the naturally man who never courts publicity or remix work (Armand says he’s never actually asked to remix a record himself in his entire career) rate his current label? “Pretty much completely amazing,” he snaps back. “They’ve done what nobody else could do in terms of understanding. Southern Fried is one of the tightest, most visionary labels in the UK. I’m really big on the professional thing. The UK industry gets a little ugly but they understand.”
Armand Van Helden was born in Boston in 1970 to a Dutch/Indonesian father and a French-Lebanese mother, but traveled around the world as a child spending time in the Netherlands, Turkey and Italy, as his father was a member of the U.S. Air Force. He bought a drum machine when he was still a teenager and started DJing two years later. (Though that’s still a side to his career that he doesn’t feel comfortable about. If anything, he’d rather be making beats.) But the great thing about Armand is that despite an incredible 15- year career – which was really kick-started by the wild pitch drama that is ‘Witch Doktor’ on Strictly in 1994 - he doesn’t really have a musical master plan or a studied understanding of where his career path will lead next. Point out that ‘My My My’ is easily his most popular song since ‘You Don’t Know Me’ and he’ll claim to have not really noticed. “It was an odd one. I guess the way to look at ‘My My My’ is this: at that time I was trying to produce hip-hop. I was digging in the crates, found a sample and just snapped it together.”
It’s his distance that makes his music all the more impressive. If anything, it’s instinctual and he knows it. “I don’t live this scene. I don’t,” he insists. “I dip in on occasion and when I meet friends who live and breathe it, I love to hear how they start a conversation. There are all these names and genres and I have no idea who they are! I wouldn’t say I’m fresh about what’s happening, it’s just straight feel. I think it’s better for me to NOT know what’s going on. If I did I might turn in a minimal track with a low voice and then it’s gone in a month and a half.” And that’s what makes AVH such a fascinating, if occasionally frustrating proposition. He’s the house producer who loves hip-hop, the beat master who would die happy if he could make a beat with Pharrell Wiliams or find a (female) muse for his musical meanderings. It’s this quest, this stabbing in the dark that makes his recent music so intriguing. Try and pigeonhole him into one genre and you’ll fail miserably. He’s made tribal house for Strictly, soul-flavoured garage for London/ FFRR, straight-up electro-house for Southern Fried and pop-flavoured rock for himself. He’s a man on a mission, he just doesn’t quite know what. What he does know, however, is the importance of digging in the crates and digging different scenes without actually being a part of any one of them. On his latest ‘Odyssey’, he revives hip house just before the UK dance industry jumps on the bandwagon.
“I’ve always loved that music,” he says, not unreasonably. “I was always the dude who played Tribe Called Quest and The Jungle Brothers ‘I’ll House You’ – that American version of what dance music is. This is nothing new for me but the timing is right. I couldn’t do this ten years ago – it wouldn’t make sense. I’m combining and showing people the great records from ’88: it’s for the kids. It was a forgotten music and I still think that hip-hop denies it. Black people dominated the house clubs but I do feel like I’m breaking open an old wound, bringing up old songs. I’m like the BBC doing a documentary on a forgotten time. [Artists like Usher] all do slightly house-y music. Maybe the hip hop community will hear this, maybe Fabulous will hear this and be inspired.” Either way, the foundations have been laid down and he’s here to give them a new polish.
There are several new tracks on the new comp, and none of them sound like anything we’ve heard from Armand come before. One of the biggest club tracks of 2008 was the Switch mix of ‘Je T’Aime’ – which was of course in itself a tribute to Armand’s classic remix of CJ Bolland’s ‘Sugar Is Sweeter’ - and it does sound like Armand is channelling Dave Switch Taylor in return on the incendiary house tracks ‘Shake That Ass’ and ‘This Ain’t Hollywood’. It’s not something he denies: in fact, he has nothing but praise for the West London house producer. “When I go to an M.I.A. show, they’re the best looking people I have ever seen. I don’t think the UK realizes what Switch is doing. He is the only one I know who has been able to pull off what he has done with M.I.A. If you’re a producer, you can do scenester music but you always want something bigger than that because you do what you do best. I’m seeing Americans losing their minds to a guy making techy house with a buzzing bass-line. He sat down at some point and found M.I.A. and that changed history. M.I.A. is what the rest of us are supposed to be doing. It’s so screwed up that we can’t see.”
Ask Armand what the secret to his success is and he draws a complete blank. Ask him what makes Timbaland great or Madonna a pop juggernaut and he’ll come back with an answer that takes ten minutes to reach its conclusion. Ask him about the state of the music industry and the art of music-making and he’ll stand on his soapbox in Union Square for the best part of an hour. “Making music is a science project. For every label, it’s the same.” But he does have an answer for anyone who wondered how ‘Hear My Name’ or ‘My My My’ got made. The art, it transpires, is in not trying too hard to make the magic happen. “I think the main thing is for it to be unforced. If people go ‘where’s the next album with ‘I Want Your Soul Part 2’, you might pull it off, you might not. I’ve just never gone really over the top with what I do for a living.”
Armand Van Helden is 38 years old. Like the hipster in ‘Losing My Edge’, he was there in the 80s, he was a drum n bass/garage alchemist in the 90s and he wanted your soul in 2007. But right now, his dial is tuned to electro, albeit the Steve Aokoi/Crookers-style electro that’s urrentky hotter than Brooklyn in the middle of August. But ask him what the difference is between Crookers electro and classic electro and the reply is bemusing but still typically Armand. “You’re not going to like the answer,” he says. “To me, it’s all part of the fun. I don’t look at the music by the sound. I actually go by who follows the sound. When it comes to music, I’m concerned about mixed races combining with youth culture. I am really turned off when people go to a party in Ibiza and they’re ‘oh, don’t go there, that’s a German night or that’s an Italian night. I feel that dance music is here to transcend boundaries. If trance music was half black, I would love it. But it’s not, it’s white as hell. The simplest root of that analogy stems from hip-hop: hip-hop brought races together.” So let’s get this straight: what drives you is the idea of social movement? “Yes. There are a number of driving factors…. Are we separating or are we bringing together? When you go to a party and it’s models and bottles and everyone dresses the same, I don’t mind them in a club if that’s 15% of the club that OK but if it’s the whole club, I hate it.”
But despite all this, Armand is not tired or even cynical about the world. He’s just eager to see what’s around the corner. And despite a healthy cynicism for record labels (aside from his current Fried home), he’s actually optimistic about the future and his place in it. “People just think we’re making music but there’s a lot to think about. Because of the current climate, you have to be a thinker. The successful people are not idiots. If you have a successful pop record, you are not an idiot. I don’t care if it’s pop garbage, you’ve made a record that’s transcends everything.” Is making music like winning the Olympics, Armand? It seems so. “I look at it all like a game. Are you going for gold or are you going for bronze?”
Armand Van Helden still lives in the same spacious condo that he’s lived in for the best part of a decade. He watches the world through his eyes and TV still hits the clubs at least twice a week. But rather than moan about the state of the dance nation, he consciously stays on its fringes. And he remains philosophical about the world that pays his bills. “Dance music is bigger than ever,” he asserts. “I see these kids – blogging manics, everyone is sharing MP3 – they’re not paying for music and they’re going to cool parties. There are roof parties all day every day and they’re on every night of the summmer. I know it’s not the same as in 1994. Gladys @ Strictly Rhythm told me we could sell 15,000 for Strictly and by the end it we were selling 1500. But all that happened was only a certain number of people knew how to make house music. Before only a select few knew the magic tricks.”
But if there’s one party that demonstrates his attitude in 2008, it’s summed up by a party he saw on his doorstep just a fortnight back. “I was in Union Square a couple of weeks ago and the cops couldn’t shut it down because was a silent rave. A thousand people, everyone had the same song on their headphones, they were all dancing but there’s no sound. They all hit ‘play’ on a two-hour pod-cast and were dancing all in unison. The authorities cannot stop being people going into a park. That is not illegal. It was special, all you could hear was feet.” Armand chuckles to himself at the thought of such a unique event. Who would have thought it? We’d like to know the answer to that question, actually. “That,” he concludes, “is borderline genius.”
There really is very little in the world of music and entertainment that Erick Morillo hasn’t turned his hand to. He’s a platinum-selling artist, he’s topped the charts worldwide as the producer behind Reel 2 Real’s hit “I Like To Move It” (used in both Madagascar movies, reaching millions of viewers worldwide and covered by Will I Am in Madagascar 2) and he’s been responsible for a bewildering array of dance- floor tracks including ‘Reach’, ‘Believe’, ‘Do What You Want’ and ‘I Feel Love’ - under pseudonyms including Ministers De La Funk, The Dronez (with Harry ‘Choo Choo’ Romero and Jose Nunez) and Li’l Mo Ying Yang. He’s remixed everyone from Whitney Houston to Basement Jaxx and continues to run the legendary Subliminal Records house music empire. On his debut album he collaborated with Puff Daddy and Boy George alike.
For almost two decades, Erick has remained one of the most in-demand and instantly recognizable DJs in the world. From the instant success of his weekly ‘Sessions’ parties in New York, to hosting events like the annual road-blocking Subliminal Sessions parties in Miami at Winter Music Conference, to his coveted residency at Ministry of Sound (he’s still one of the only American DJs to ever hold one) and of course his now legendary Subliminal Sessions parties at Pacha Ibiza, Morillo just doesn’t stop. His non-stop DJing schedule at one point saw him straddling the globe playing up to a whopping 30 gigs a month, particularly in the summer months where he’ll play everywhere from Naples and Mykonos to London. He’s also become a familiar television personality through his appearances on MTV and MTV Ibiza two years in a row whilst starring in a seven part series for UK TV station Channel 4.
Raised in Colombia, then New Jersey, Erick was weaned on a musical diet of Latin rhythms, reggae and hip-hop. He started DJing at the age of 11 and after securing himself DJ sets at several local gigs decided to take a studio engineering course at the local Centre of Media Arts. He was soon inducted into the house fraternity through his friend Marc Anthony (the Salsa King), whilst he was working with the now legendary Louie Vega and Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez on “Ride On The Rhythm”. “Louie’s watched out for me since the beginning,” he says of the Masters At Work legend. One minor detail: in the booth at Pacha last time they played together was a certain supermodel called Naomi Campbell and beside her was one of Erick’s musical heroes, the legendary Quincy Jones. “Can you believe it? Quincy Jones came to my party,” he says, still in shock. “When we saw him there, Louie and I decided to play a bunch of his classics, like Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough’. He told me he loved my bass lines,” smiles Erick. “One of the proudest days in my life.”
In 1997, after spending almost a year of meticulously planning everything from logos to packaging, Morillo took it that one step further and launched SubliminalRecords with his production partners Harry Romero and Jose Nunez. Guided by Morillo’s ear and studio presence, the brand has gone on to become synonymous with a funk-fuelled, soulful house sound. And in 2004 Erick released his first artist album worldwide, entitled “My World” it featured heavyweight collaborations from the likes of Puff Daddy, DJ Rap, Boy George and even a reunion with the Mad Stuntman. The lead single ‘Break Down The Doors’ featured The Audio Bullys, and in the years that followed, further singles and club tracks followed. After ‘Live Your Life’ and ‘Stronger’ came Erick’s collaboration with Skin and Eddie Thonieck, “If This Ain’t Love”, quickly followed by ‘Elephant’ featuring Alexandra Burke, a Top 5 UK smash. The global touring continued, as did his dominance at clubs from Pacha Ibiza and Ministry Of Sound in London.
After a well-documented break from the scene, Morillo returned to his spiritual home of Ibiza in 2014. But unlike previous seasons, he only took on one show, at Space: “I decided to take a step back and I really got to see the industry changing. I did one party at Space for their 25th birthday; two sets, one outside and then I did the last 4 hours of the terrace, which brought back a bunch of memories! I loved playing and it was a great statement to make.” Fast-forward to the summer of 2017 and things are right where he wants them to be, with Subliminal having successfully re-launched in the digital sphere with a whole raft of releases that have topped the dance charts. Tracks like ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ and ‘Shiny Disco Balls’ are ripe for remixing, but Erick promises that the focus will remain on the new as much as the classic catalogue. “It’s going to be great music from house to techno – a little bit of everything,” he says. “We’re going to be releasing lots of records from different people.” “Thus far the reception from DJs and the label fans has been amazing. Looking forward to their reaction when they hear all of the new releases.”
Having played key sets at the opening and closing of the legendary Space last summer, Erick will be returning to Ibiza several times this summer, with sets at Amnesia, Pacha and Blue Marlin to follow on from his recent much-hyped Mixmag Lab session, which proved the producer is back to his untouchable best. Starting as he means to go on, 2017 has seen Erick drop several original productions and key collaborations, teaming up with Junolarc and Ora Solar on big-room house anthems ‘Blinded’, ‘Don’t Belong’ and ‘Gone’ to excellent effect. What’s more, the likes of Kolsch, Harry Romero, Danny Howard and Pirupa having turned out for Subliminal since its relaunch, the labels resurgence and creative knack in continuing to showcase new and exciting club music further reinforces its status as one of the most important labels in house music. With a relentless tour schedule and a plethora of exciting releases to come, it looks set to be yet another landmark year with for Erick and his Subliminal imprint.
1.1 These Terms and Conditions may be subject to change at any time, by 24seven Entertainment Limited with or without notification.
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3.2 Sundown Sessions is a strictly R18 event and in accordance with New Zealand liquor licensing laws we will only allow entry of persons with one of these three valid forms of identification:
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3.3 No exceptions to this policy are possible in compliance with New Zealand law, and the name on the identification needs to exactly match the name on the event admission e-ticket. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct and current identification and attendees who do not present the valid form of identification will be not be granted admittance to the event, with no refunds provided.
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4.1 Sundown Sessions will not permit the entry of attendees who break the following conditions of entry, and will eject those who break these rules at their discretion without warning, with no refunds provided. Items deemed to be in violation of these conditions of entry will be confiscated and not returned.
These conditions of entry are:
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Participating in dangerous activities such as aggressive dancing, stage diving, crowd surfing or climbing may result in denial of entry, immediate ejection, or referral to New Zealand Police if deemed appropriate.
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